If the stores near you don't have many options, and if you need a dishwasher right away and want a competent one at a midrange price, you could settle for the $700 LG LDS5040ST. Make sure to rinse your dishes and it'll treat you well enough. Nothing about it is exciting or exceptional, but it looks fine, and it's pretty quiet.
But this is definitely a dishwasher to settle for, rather than one to seek out. At around the same price, we recently reviewed a trio of better options. The $600 GE GDF610PMJES is my pick if you're looking for useful features. Go with the $700 Kenmore 13699 if you want great cleaning power, or the $650 Frigidaire FGID2466QF, which offers the best balance of cleaning and features of the trio. The LG LDS5040ST fails to make that group a quartet, as it doesn't do anything well enough to carve out a niche of its own. It's not a bad dishwasher, but I don't recommend it unless you're short on options.
The LG LDS5040ST differentiates itself from the three midrange models mentioned above in two key ways, both of which made me hopeful it could be the best of the bunch. First, it has a stainless steel tub, as opposed to the plastic tubs on its three competitors.
The stainless tub should have helped it save energy, but it draws approximately 279 kWh per year according to its manufacturer rating. The GE GDF610PMJES and Kenmore 13699 both draw 270 kWh and the Frigidaire FGID2466QF is rated at 268 kWh.
Balancing out the benefits of the stainless tub in this LG is its hard food disposer -- the other main difference between this model and the others we've tested in this price range. This LG basically has a disposal at the bottom of its tub. The other three fit the more modern trend with a mesh filter to remove large particles from the water.
The disposer uses a lot of energy, but LG does a good job keeping the dishwasher quiet despite it. The LDS5040ST has a sound rating of 50dB vs. 42dB, 50dB and 52dB from the GE, Kenmore and Frigidaire dishwashers, respectively.
Cycles and options
Along with its stainless tub and food disposer, the LG LDS5040ST has five cycles to choose from and three different options you can add on to each cycle. The mix ranges from Power Scrub to Delicate, though I would have liked if the 90-minute Quick cycle was a bit quicker.
The controls are on the front next to the scoop handle instead of integrated on the upper lip -- another way this dishwasher bucks modern design trends. You also pick your cycle with physical buttons instead of touch controls.
The lack of a start button threw me off, but it's typical of the LG dishwashers we've tested so far. Pick your cycle, use the Option button to select if you want Sanitary, Extra Rinse, or Extra Dry. From there, just close the door and the dishwasher will whir into action. The countdown timer on the control panel stays illuminated throughout the run so you always have an estimate of how much time remains.
Searching for features
The dishwasher doesn't have a third rack or anything particularly helpful on the inside. It doesn't even have wine stem holders, but a lot of the tines fold down to help you fit bigger items wherever you'd like. You can even customize the angle of two columns of tines on the upper rack, or set every other tine down in certain rows on the bottom rack. All together, this LG has the capacity for 14 place settings.