As it turns out, extra wash arms do make a difference. CES this winter, promising better cleaning results in less time. Quad Wash is what it sounds like -- four arms at the bottom of the dishwasher instead of the usual two.on the company's latest dishwashers at
I admire LG's approach to dishwasher innovation -- one more focused on performance than flashy features like the admittedly cool. That approach could have easily backfired if the performance scores didn't hold up to testing. Lo and behold, the $700 LG LDF5545ST uses Quad Wash to great effect and earned a terrific cleaning score in a relatively efficient time.
The LG LDF5545ST isn't quite as good of a performer as the $700 better cleaning power for less and more features at a higher price, but if you want a mid-range model, I heartily recommend the well-balanced $700 LG LDF5545ST.I reviewed last year, but the LDF5545ST comes pretty close, and it has a lot more features than the Kenmore 13699. In fact, the LG LDF5545ST is the most feature-rich, mid-range dishwasher I've tested yet. You can find
Does Quad Wash live up to expectations?
You can buy the LG LDF5545ST now from most large appliance retailers such as Home Depot and Best Buy. Head to LG's site for vendors in your area. As usual for large appliances, you'll likely find the LDF5545ST for less than its $700 manufacturer price. Right now, Best Buy has it for $640.
Since the LG LDF5545ST isn't the best cleaner you can find for the price -- even the $500earned a slightly better score -- the Quad Wash arms might not seem worth the hype. However, compare the $700 LG LDF5545ST with a $700 LG model we tested last year (the ), and the effectiveness of Quad Wash becomes apparent.
Last year's mid-range LG earned a 73.8 percent on our cleaning tests (see the chart below for a visual of what that score means). The LDF5545ST with Quad Wash scored a much-improved 87 percent on the same tests. Those 13 plus points make a huge difference in terms of how you'll use your dishwasher. You have to rinse or scrape your dishes before loading them into the older model. The model with Quad Wash can handle whatever you throw at it with only minor blemishes from the toughest loads.
The difference between this LG model and the comparably priced Kenmores isn't as huge. The Kenmore 13699 earned a 90.6 percent, and the Kenmore 13479 barely edged this LG out with a 87.1 percent cleaning score. Quad Wash doesn't elevate the LDF5545ST enough to earn best in class cleaning scores, but it did earn great cleaning scores and dramatically improved LG's mid-range performance.
Stand out features
On the other hand, the LG LDF5545ST's features far exceed the extras offered by those Kenmore models. The LDF5545ST lacks stem holders, but otherwise, it has all the basics you'd expect for that price:
- Fold down tines
- An upper rack you can easily raise and lower
- A stainless tub to help with efficiency
- Room for 15 place settings
- A quiet 48 dB sound rating
- A countdown timer
- A nice mix of basic cycles: Auto, Heavy, Delicate, Normal, Turbo, Express and Rinse
- The usual extra options: High Temp, Extra Dry and Delay Start
Plus, the LDF5545ST has quite a few useful extras that elevate it above the mid-range competition:
- In addition to the usual cycles, it has a machine-clean cycle.
- Plus, you can download one of these four extra cycles: Pots and Pans, Casseroles, Glassware and Night Care.
- It supplements the basic options with one called Dual Zone which gently washes the upper rack while using more force on the bottom rack.
- It also has a Half Load option so you can just wash the top or bottom rack.
- A Night Dry option runs the ventilation fan periodically to get rid of steam if you're letting your dishes sit overnight.
- You can use LG's SmartThinQ app to troubleshoot the dishwasher and keep track of when to run the Machine Clean cycle.
Note that the LG LDF5545ST isn't actually a Wi-Fi enabled dishwasher. I initially thought it was when I saw it was compatible with SmartThinQ, LG's smart appliance app. But it's only equipped to talk to the app through NFC (near field communication), so you can download cycles or troubleshoot the dishwasher by touching your phone to the top of the door.
I liked the NFC as a bonus feature. You can only have one extra cycle equipped to your Download Cycle button at a time, but it's easy to switch them out and check your dishwasher status by tapping your phone on the dishwasher. Still, keep in mind that since it's not a Wi-Fi enabled dishwasher, you can't use your phone to keep track of the time remaining in a cycle while it runs.