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LG LDS5040ST Semi-Integrated Dishwasher review: Don't settle for this middling LG dishwasher

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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.

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6.3

LG LDS5040ST Semi-Integrated Dishwasher

The Good

Since its racks have lots of fold-down tines, you can fit anything you want into the $700 LG LDS5040ST dishwasher, and if you've rinsed your dishes beforehand, it's more than capable of doing the rest.

The Bad

If you don't rinse your dishes, expect to find redeposited chunks spread across your plates and bowls. This LG's limited selection of cycles and options all take longer than normal and don't justify the extra time spent with better cleaning. This dishwasher also lacks any notable features.

The Bottom Line

Even though its competent, for the same price, you can find better options than the LG LDS5040ST.

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.

LG's modern dishwasher has a few old-school touches

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Disposing convention

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.

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This LG has an old-fashioned food disposer.

Chris Monroe/CNET

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.

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We run our tests on the Normal cycle with no options selected.

Chris Monroe/CNET

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.

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You can fit 14 place settings in the LDS5040ST or fold down the tines and load bigger dishes.

Chris Monroe/CNET

I would have liked some feature to help this dishwasher stand out beyond just the stainless tub and the disposal. As it stands, it has a run-of-the-mill but functional mix of options.

You can buy the LG LDS5040ST from large appliance dealers such as Best Buy and Home Depot. LG's site will direct you to retailers in your area. As is typical with large appliances, you'll find the LDS5040ST at a discount from the $700 price. Home Depot currently has it for $640.

The LG LDS5040ST isn't available overseas.

Redepositing bulk

Since the features don't stand out and the stainless tub doesn't add up to energy savings, I hoped the hard food disposer would give this LG an edge when it came to limiting redeposit -- making it better at removing bulky foods from your dishes. All of the cycles on the LDS5040ST are longer than average, but I thought that might have a worthwhile payoff as well in sparkling plates and glasses.

My hopes didn't come to fruition. The LG LDS5040ST did fine in our performance test, but couldn't best the scores of either the Kenmore 13699 or the Frigidaire FGID2466QF.

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The LDS5040ST couldn't keep up with similarly priced models from Frigidaire and Kenmore.

Steve Conaway/CNET

Again, its overall score of 73 percent isn't bad. It handily bests models that cost almost twice as much, such as the $1,100 Frigidaire FPID2497RF, which scored a 55 percent. This LG missed spots on a couple of spoons, but otherwise, the jets do a good job of covering every inch of every dish and it had the power to scrape away stuck-on foods such as egg and peanut butter.

Surprisingly, the problem was redeposit. Again, I thought the disposal would give this dishwasher an edge over the mesh filters of its competitors. I was wrong.

As part of our tests, we scrape spinach onto one corner of 10 large plates to see how well a dishwasher's filter handles bulky foods. At the end of each test run in this LG dishwasher, we found little pieces of spinach spread across those plates, as well as on small plates, and coating the inside of coffee cups and glasses. It was gross, but not as damning as it sounds. We're particularly hard on our dishwashers when we test them. If you rinse or scrape your dishes, this LG model will handle the rest easily.

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The LDS5040ST takes while, but it's not a bad cleaner.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The glasses in particular came out of this dishwasher looking almost worse than when they went in. The spinach chunks hurt, but on the normal cycle with no extra drying options -- our standard selection for test runs -- the LG LDS5040ST also left a lot of water spots. Fortunately, when we did turn on Extra Dry, the LDS5040ST upped its game nicely, scoring a 69.2 percent on those supplemental dry tests and eliminating most water spots in the process.

The verdict

The LG LDS5040ST really isn't a bad dishwasher. The problem is that you can do better. Sure, it has no interesting features to speak of, it only has a few cycles and options, and all of the cycles run long. But give it time, and help it out a little by scraping or rinsing your dishes, and the $700 LG will get them clean and dry. That alone makes this dishwasher worth your consideration.

If you're looking in this price range and really like LG products, I understand the purchase, I just don't recommend it. Instead, I'd again offer the excellent trio of similarly priced models we've recently reviewed -- the $600 GE GDF610PMJES is the most feature rich, the $700 Kenmore 13699 is the best cleaner, and the $650 Frigidaire FGID2466QF is the most well-rounded.

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6.3

LG LDS5040ST Semi-Integrated Dishwasher

Score Breakdown

Performance 6Features 6Usability 7Design 7