* Prices may differ from that shown
This dishwasher was a something that we didn't choose but was given to us by my mother when she moved house and her new house had a dishwasher already in so she gave us her old one. As we were having our kitchen re fitted at the time this seemed a good way to cut down some expense and as the kitchen fitters would install it for us it seemed a win win situation as we didn't have a dishwasher prior to this and they would fit and put in all the necessary pipes. This is a free standing machine rather than a built in appliance.
The S in the name refers to this being a stainless steel model the machine is also available in white or black. It is a 12 place setting machine and it's dimensions are High 850 x Wide600 x Depth 600 mm this means it fits snuggly under the counter in our kitchen. It is energy efficient rated B and has a wash and dryer performance rating of A. A standard programme uses Water: 15 liters and 1.24 kWh of energy what this all means I am not sure but I haven't noticed a huge increase in our electric bills since using the machine. The look of the machine I think is quite stylish with the steel effect. However the embossed programme indicators above the programme buttons are starting to fade and it is hard to know which programme button to press is unless you consultant the manual or just remember from use. The handle on the washer had to be replaced recently as the inner bit that allows you to open the machine broke. This cost £40 to repair which whilst not exorbitant is not a repair I think should have been needed on an appliance that was only around 3 years old.
Our kitchen fitter installed this for us and we did have to call him back on a couple of occasions to get it fitted correctly as there was a slight kink in the both the water feed and the drain pipes. What this meant is the dishwasher wouldn't work as there was not enough pressure into the machine. So if you are installing yourself I would make sure there are no kinks in it to avoid these problems
This is an excellent guide and one I am still referring too on occasions if things go wrong or I want to change the type of programme I use. The guide is very user friendly with clear simple instructions and pictures to help you use the machine. It is quite thick due to it containing several languages but it is still easy to find what you need.
There are five main programmes including a half load, a pre wash and a wash for highly soiled dishes wash. Most of the other 4 programmes it contains that take it up to the 9 programmes on offer is by the inclusion of a pre wash with one of the other programmes. We mainly use the daily wash that seems to be very good at cleaning everyday dishes that don't have any burnt on bits of food in the dishes. If I have made a lasagne or cooked Sunday lunch and there are crispy bits on the dishes I use the strong programme with a pre wash and this has yet to fail on me to get rid of these burnt on bits of food. I have never used the half load programme and given this would mean only using the top basket in the machine I am actually unlikely to use it any time as we tend to fill the machine with dishes from several meals and use both the top and bottom baskets for a wash.
In use and performance
One of my problems with this machine is the loading of it. The bottom basket is fine and even with our large dinner plates or pasta bowls it is easy to stack without any problems at. However the top basket is a bit of a nightmare really. The basket at one side is designed on a tilt and I find this very annoying as if I am putting large glasses here I need to stagger stack them rather than in a line as otherwise they fall down. Often I am placing a pint glass and a mug by it to stop them falling over. The other side of the basket is flat and this poses no problems to loading at all and the drop down rack at the top is useful for both placing large cooking utensils on like a fish slice on top and for holding the bottom of stemmed glasses. The cutlery rack included with the machine is again easy to stack and provide the spoons are facing upwards there is no problems with cleaning.
I have been really please with how well things have come clean in the dishwasher and in fact some bits of burnt on food has come off a lot easier in the dishwasher than me scrubbing and soaking several times. I always use a rinse aid in the wash as recommend in the manual and find that this not only leaves the dishes clean but the glass ware is lovely and sparkly too. The glasses actually look lots cleaner that I can manage in a normal hand wash bar steaming them to give them a polish so for this reason alone I am happy to use the dishwasher for my glass ware. The only time I notice that things haven't been cleaned properly is if I have over loaded part of the cutlery basket and then some of the teaspoons can still have bits of food on them. However bar this I am very happy with the cleaning abilities that this machine gives. Whilst it is cleaning I have to say it doesn't make much noise either and certainly doesn't interfere with conversation in the same room or watching TV in the next room. So I think it is quite a quiet machine really. A wash takes between 95 minutes for a daily wash to my stronger cleaning wash of 110 minutes which is not something i think is over long at all.
Putting in the salt and rinse aid
Whilst the rinse aid is very easy to put into he machine with it being located next to the compartment for the dishwasher powder. The adding of salt is a bit of a body bending experience and I generally need to remove the bottom basket to get access to the salt compartment at the bottom of the machine. Adding it without a funnel is virtually impossible as salt goes everywhere in the base of the machine. With a funnel it is a bit easier but still takes a lot of manoeuvring around from the side of the machine. The filter at the bottom of the machine is easier to access and remove to clean compared to the salt compartment. I tend to do this most washes as I find it easier to do this and give it a rinse under the tap to keep the filter clean than to remember to do it once a week. I notice very little by way of residue in it and it not a horrid job to do at all
Would I recommend it and overall
I would definitely recommend this machine for cleaning as it performs well. However I can't give it the full five starts due to the difficulty loading the top basket due to the angled design this for me detracts from making it easy to load. The salt is also fiddly to put in so I am going to give it 4 stars. It is still available for around £355 from retailers such as www.tradingpost-appliances.co.uk
Short name: Smeg DF612S