This dishwasher looks pretty ugly when you see it standing alone. When disguised behind a maple cupboard door, which is what we chose for our kitchen units, it looks lovely because you can't see it. The Neff model we had fitted just over two years ago is model S5443X1, which has been replaced by model S5453X1 the same but with a 70 degree wash cycle rather than our hottest 65 degree cycle.
This dishwasher is a stainless steel appliance specifically designed to be built into a unit. Neff is a German company. Our previous dishwasher was a white AEG stand alone model. It was great but the kitchen design company we chose, only worked with Neff so we had to have a model from their range. The AEG although 7 years old went to a new home and is still going strong. I would have happily chosen another AEG model.
When you open the cupboard door, a black edged panel greets you with the controls of the dishwasher. These are a cinch. There is an on/off button on the left and to the right are four setting buttons; the Hot 65 degrees, the Eco 50 degrees, the Quick 35 degrees and a rinse button. A red light indicates which, if any, of these buttons have been selected.
When you pull the door right down, you are then able to pull out both dishwasher baskets.
This dishwasher is rated double A for energy and washing. It is pretty quiet when in operation with a sound level of 52 decibels re 1pW. The dishwasher is fully integrated and suitable for worktops of height 860-920mm. In terms of power consumption, the hot wash uses 1.45kWh, the Eco 1.05kWh and the Quickie 0.7kWh.
If you load your dishwasher perfectly as shown in the instruction booklet, the top basket can officially hold 12 cups and saucers, 12 glasses, 12 glasses and 2 small plates and 3 dishes, plus a couple of large handled items whilst the lower basket takes 12 dinner plates, 10 small plates, 12 bowls and all the associated cutlery.
In practice, I find that the top basket holds around 12 mugs (whoever uses cups and saucers!), 8 glasses or plastic cups, 6 breakfast bowls, a couple of glasses, 2 long handled cooking utensils and any other miscellany like egg cups and plastic boxes.
The bottom basket glides out easily and rests against the opened paneled door. The bottom basket holds a lot and because there is a good distance between the top and bottom basket, you can pile things on top of each other and still not interfere with the rotating arm which is cleverly located underneath the bottom basket and also just underneath the top basket. This means that you can even put a large, square baking tray in one of the plate spaces and it fits. The biggest plates are best stacked in the front portion of the lower basket as this allows plenty of water to clean between the plates. The plate spacers are closer together at the back of the basket so I put my saucepans, jugs, cooking dishes here.
The cutlery basket is located in the middle of the bottom basket. It holds loads and has removable plastic cutlery separators. I can't stand these as it means each piece of cutlery has to be put in piece by piece. If you take them off there are six sections to the basket and you can put a whole bunch of cutlery in each one. It is best in terms of cleaning to put all cutlery in the basket upside down with the dirtiest part at the top. In the case of sharp knives however, I put these point down to save slicing my fingers when emptying (why is it always me that does this job)???
Fill it Right Up
Having owned and used a dishwasher for around 10 years, I am quite careful to make sure that it never breaks down. I don't like washing up in the quantities that a family of six produce! So far, so good, I have had no reason to contact Neff in the 2 years that this dishwasher has been in use. I always scrape off any remains of food into the bin, basically because I detest cleaning out the waste plug at the base of the dishwasher. It's almost as bad as pulling hairs out of the bath plug hole ugh. So, my motto is, don't put the food waste in and then you wont have to clean the filters. I never have to do this, perhaps the odd kidney bean but no bones or fat and gunk. However, if you need to clean the filters, this is easily done by twisting the filter plug, removing and rinsing in warm water. The spray arms may also be removed for cleaning if they get clogged up.
For a Good Clean & Polish
This is very easy. There is a small slide covered unit built into the front panel where you add the desired dishwasher cleaner. I use Finish as recommended by Neff. There is also a reservoir for rinse aid. When this is empty the round hole becomes transparent. When it is full the hole shows as black. A quick squirt of rinse aid soon fills up the hole and keeps all your crockery and glasses sparkly bright.
There is a unit in the base of the dishwasher for the addition of dishwasher salt. This is required in areas of hard water and helps dissolve limescale. As we live in an area with soft water, salt is not required.
Turn It On
Select the on button and then select either a Hot wash, Eco or a Quickie. I only use the Hot button when we've had a roast dinner and everything is really mucky. Most often I will use the Eco programme but there are occasions when a quickie is just fine. Lunch plates and mugs and anything reasonably clean comes out squeaky even on a 35 degree wash. This is really useful as it only takes 30 minutes from start to finish.
Ease of Use
This dishwasher, like most really, is very easy to use. The cleaning results are excellent too. I never have to wash anything again although I should add that I don't put filthy pans or lasagna dishes in without having first soaked them for a while.
When the programme is complete the dishwasher peeps at you. This is quite alarming until you get used to it. It peeps several times and then stops. It repeats again after a while until you open the door and acknowledge that you know it has finished its job. Do dishwashers have feelings? Mine seems to, it's more than happy when you open the door and say 'great job darling'.
The only bad point on this dishwasher is the length of time that the Eco programme takes; a full 2 hours for a cycle which at first I found very annoying. Now that I've got used to it, I put the dishwasher on after breakfast or after dinner, whenever it is full, and unload at a time that suits, usually in the middle of making dinner or lunch. Yeah well, it's not my favourite job. The beeping is another point I'm not so keen on. It alarms guests as well.
Any dishwasher that works is worth its weight in gold when there is a lot of washing up to be done. What is really good about this Neff model is that it looks great because it's unseen, it operates really quietly (until it starts beeping) and it cleans everything without fault. The quickie is to be recommended too, useful when dishes are not too mucky. The hot programme works a treat when everything is filthy. I would award it 8 out of 10, losing one mark for long cycle length and another mark for irritating beep. What with the kettle going ping and the microwave and dishwasher beeping away it's a wonder I still have any sanity. Good job I have music in the kitchen to drown away those little irritations!
This dishwasher retails for around £400.
PS The instruction manual tells me the beep can be turned off, but I've got used to it now and might miss it once gone.
Thanks for reading.
This dishwasher incorporates the very best of Neff`s expertise in the washing-up field / An encapsulated water heater provides more interior space and the Aqua safe water protection system minimises the risk of flooding in the kitchen / Larger items such as oven trays and shelves can be efficiently washed by the large item spray and due to the foldable plate supports / Rated `A` for energy efficiency, wash performance and drying performance, the dishwasher can deal with 12 place settings / With economical residual heat drying, Quick Wash setting, adjustable top basket and child lock / Short name: Neff S5453X1