The top dishwashers in Consumer Reports’ tests are aces at washing and drying your dishes, use less energy and water than earlier models, and run quietly. To distinguish one from another, manufacturers have been adding nifty new features such as the “Turbo Zone” in the Kenmore 15693, $850, which devotes extra energy and run time to clean especially soiled items. Now Samsung has introduced a dishwasher with a “Storm Wash” that promises to rain down extra water on stubborn food debris. In our recent dishwasher tests, we put that claim to the test.
The Samsung DW80F800UWS, $800, sections off a back corner of the lower rack with two red bands that delineate the Storm Zone. Choose the Storm Wash option and at one point in the cycle, an additional rotating spray arm beneath the zone will wash what you’ve placed in that section of the rack. The cycle’s name suggests that the extra spraying goes on for the length of the wash cycle. But when we placed an action camcorder inside the dishwasher, we observed that the extra spray arm is active for only 2 to 3 minutes of the dishwasher’s 140-minute cycle.
And to use the Samsung’s storm cycle, you have to change your usual loading pattern. Unlike in the Kenmore Turbo Zone, for which you merely need to rearrange your dishes so that they face the souped-up spray, whatever you place in the Samsung Storm Zone displaces other items. Diagrams in the owner’s manual show you how to arrange 8-, 10-, and 12-place settings in the dishwasher. In our tests we wash 10 place settings of heavily soiled items plus a batter-encrusted brownie bowl. But when we tried to fit our usual complement of dishware into the Samsung to test the Storm Zone, we could fit only the brownie bowl in that section and had to save some large dishes for the next load. And if you fold down the rear tines to fit a pot, you can't fit anything else in that section of the dishwasher.
While it missed our list of top dishwasher picks, the Samsung DW80F800UWS was top-notch at washing our normal test load and at drying plastic items. We also found it efficient and quiet. But you can get better performance overall for about the same money. One of our more affordable top picks is the Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR7UC, $730. And we’re continually testing new models in our dishwasher labs and publish the latest test results as they become available.