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Kitchen appliance upgrades from LG and Samsung

At CES 2014, refrigerators and dishwashers with cool conveniences

Published: January 09, 2014 04:30 PM

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New strategies for getting dishes clean and keeping food fresh are on display by appliance makers at the 2014 International CES. Samsung is featuring a souped-up dishwasher that can douse the dirtiest items with extra water and both LG and Samsung exhibited door-in-door refrigerators that prevent too much cool air from escaping when the door is repeatedly opened and closed.

Samsung showed new dishwasher features that will appear on at least three models, including the $1,599 Samsung DW80H9970. The first, dubbed WaterWall, comprises two bars of jets situated along the bottom of the tub, beneath the usual rotary sprayers. One bar slides back and forth between the front and back, with six jets pointed upward. The other bar, in the back, has jets that spray toward the front bar, which deflects that water upward. The company claims this results in more even, thorough washing.

Another feature, called Zone Boost, cuts off the left or right half of the WaterWall’s jets—providing more water pressure to the opposite side for heavily soiled items. Delicate items can be positioned in the lightly soaked half.

And while many dishwashers now offer a third rack for utensils and other stray items, removing these items one by one can be time-consuming. To save time, the Samsung models have a removable, flexible silicon liner you can lift by its two handles and remove all the silverware at once. One caveat: In our repair histories, based on subscriber surveys, Samsung has been the most repair-prone brand of dishwasher.

Cool new refrigerators
In refrigerator news, LG as well as Samsung are adopting the popular door-in-door design for their side-by-side refrigerators. Called Grab-N-Go in the Kenmore French-door refrigerators that first offered this feature, the design offers a hidden compartment that lets you reach often-used items, such as beverages and condiments, without opening the refrigerator's main chamber. In addition to convenience, the extra door can improve energy efficiency since less of the refrigerator’s chilled air escapes when the outer door is opened.

Select models of LG’s 2014 line offer the door-in-door feature in the upper-right quadrant of the fridge. Press a button before opening that door, and rather than fully opening the refrigerator you get access to shelves in the door and certain compartments, one of which pulls out. In our repair histories, however, LG (along with KitchenAid) has been among the more repair-prone brands of side-by-side refrigerators with icemakers.

In the 36-inch Samsung RH22H9010SR, $4,999, the door-in-door section runs the height of the fridge. This leaves several compartments you can access (called a Food Showcase), though there are no shelves in the door. In their place is a “metal cooling panel" that the company claims distributes cold air evenly throughout the refrigerator.

If you're looking for a new dishwasher or refrigerator, be sure to read our buying guides for dishwashers and refrigerators before viewing our Ratings of both.

—Ed Perratore

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