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Smeg DF410SF Dishwasher
Red Dwarf has inevitably made the name of this company a bit of a laughing stock, but that's not all there is to smile about with this efficient and robust dishwasher.
Making a change from the usual white kitchen appliances, we have the silver version of this freestanding device. It still looks pretty smart in spite of our ignoring the instructions to clean it in a particular manner to keep it looking pristine. It is a slimline dishwasher, 45cm wide rather than the standard 60cm, though with the usual depth and height, fitting underneath a work surface.
It plumbs in easily, in our case to the waste pipe underneath the kitchen sink and of course to the cold water supply; just the same as every other dishwasher. The door, which contains the controls, opens downwards, so sticks out several feet when it's open - this means it catches any remaining water, a good piece of design.
Inside it consists of two layers, both of which slide out on rollers moving along a plastic track, the bottom one rests on the open door and thus can take more weight. The top one hangs out in mid-air and seems sturdy enough, howevr, we always try and make sure we push it back in as soon as we've finished with it, just in case it starts sagging under the weight of the contents. The top shelf has places for small plates or bowls down the middle, flanked by channels wide enough for mugs and glasses. One side has a fold down shelf onto which we tend to place large knives and serving spoons. The bottom shelf has racks for larger plates - these can be folded up and down as requried to make room for pans, larger bowls and so on. There's a container into which cutlery can be placed vertically - this goes anywhere convenient in the bottom layer. All in all this arrangement is fairly flexible, and allows for different combinations of items very easily.
Each shelf has a rotating plastic blade underneath which sprays the water around, so you have to make sure that any particularly tall plates in the bottom half dont get in the way of the top one. This isn't too much of a problem, but you have to pack things in a bit carefully at times.
The controls are placed at the top of the door, and comprise an On/Off button, some buttons to select different programmes, and another button which actually starts the machine going. I'm not sure why there needs to be a two stage process for this. All the buttons press in slightly awkwardly to turn them on, and once or twice I've thought I'd started it only to find that the button had got stuck half way and hadn't quite made contact. Finally there's an LED display which tells you how much time is remaining, and other information like whether you need to put more rinse-aid or salt into it.
On the inside of the door is a compartment into which you can place your dishwasher gel, tablet or powder, which pops open automatically at some point, though we stopped using this quite soon and just lob a tablet into the bottom of the machine. This seems to work perfectly well.
In spite of the small width, you can get a reasonably large amount in - the literature claims 10 settings, which I think is optimistic. However, it does a family of 5 well enough, generally only using it once a day with a minimal amount of other washing-up. It is a slight bone of contention in our house as my wife feels we should have got a larger one (when we got it we had less space than now), but until it breaks down irretrievably we're stuck with it really. Unfortunately for her it seems very robust! The only thing which has ever gone wrong is that the plastic handle that opens the door cracked and broke. For a while we had to use a spoon to poke inside to release the catch until I managed to get a replacement handle online, and since then it's been fine.
In general the dishes come out shiny and clean. Occasionally it doesn't do everything perfectly, usually because bowls have been stacked together too closely in the top section, so this is something to watch out for when loading it (and indeed when unloading it, to check on things).
It has an energy rating of A, and consumes 1kWh of energy in use, which seems very low. It hums along quietly in action - 52dB according to the bumf, and certainly isn't at all intrusive. On the setting we mainly use it takes about 1 hour 15 mins to complete a cycle, though there are quicker options. At the end of the cycle the dishes are still very hot; this is intentional to allow them to dry. If I happen to be in the room when it finishes I open the door to release a great cloud of steam and dry them a bit quicker.
As far as maintenance goes, apart from needing to add salt (depending on the water type in your area) and rinse aid every so often, all that needs doing is occasionally clearing out the drain if it's got clogged up. This has only happened 2 or 3 times ince we got it some years ago, so I suspect it only happens if you leave too much food on pots and plates for the filter to deal with. Dealing with it is straightforward and only takes 5 minutes.
If only we'd got a wider model it would be perfect! As it is, it works very well, and even for our relatively large family does a good job at saving us time and energy washing.
Smeg 45cm Freestanding Dishwasher / Don't be deceived by the Smeg DF410W1 Freestanding Dishwasher's small size, because you can still fit 10 place settings into it+»-¥'s cavity. This 45 cm wide white dishwasher is good at lowering your electricity bills as it features A rating for energy efficiency. To suit your demands, you're provided with 5 programmes and 4 washing temperatures.