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Ladies, have you ever really wanted something for your kitchen and your husband does the shopping? Your first thought is, OH NO! My husband has gone and bought me major appliances several times now, without any consultation from me, and I have to say, I am one of the lucky ones, he is actually quite good at it. Either that, or extremely lucky! One of these first occurences happened three years ago when he bought my dishwasher, and was he EVER spot on with that. It has its faults, as will be discussed, but it cleans dishes like NO other dishwasher I have ever had, and the customer service is absolutely EXCEPTIONAL!
Lets start with the statistics. (It should be noted that I looked these statistics up and do not actually know them off the top of my head. I wouldn't want to get in trouble for dishwasher stat. plagerism, now would I?)
Price: £245 - £299 (so shop about) Energy Consumption per wash: 1.24 kw/h Water Consumption per wash 18 liter Energy Class: B (on a scale of A-G with A being the lowest energy consumption and G being the highest and therefore not very effecient. This scale is accurate throughout these stats with A always being the best of what you want and G being the worst). Washing Effeciency Class: A Drying Power: C (May consume a lot of energy, but it works bloody well!) Total Power: 2300 Voltage: 230 V (voltage necessary for using machine) Noise Level: 49dB (where 50dB is highest acceptable) Size: 85x60x63.5 cm - This would be a full size version, whereas a slimline version would only be 45cm wide) Place Settings: 12 Presets: 4 Max Temp. : 70 deg. Childproof: yes (Ok, this is what it says, but I certainly would ask a salesman how that is, as I am not sure. On mine I surely don't know of anything that keeps a child safe. That is I don't know of any special locks or anything-but maybe that is just me not reading the manual as my son is 8 and knows not to touch it). Colour: Comes only in white to my knowledge, but I could be wrong here. I have never seen them in another colour personally. Type: Freestanding (as opposed to in-built)
Now that all that info. is out of the way, lets get down to some brass tacks. How is it in the kitchen where it is meant to be.
First of all lets look at some of the weak points, as I have not found that many, but they are significant. The major flaw in this machine is in its design. The least of the problems in this area can be found on the outside. I don't know about you, but I like my appliances to maintain a 'new look'. The decals along the top of the machine however, that advertise its brand etc. tend to wipe off with cleanings. I can't say I am overly impressed with that fact. It makes the machine look a bit old and tatty. The good news is, that the function buttons are labeled with some other kind of 'ink' because they have maintained clear and concise text. The next design fault, which is a bit more of a problem is in the cutlery basket. The whole basket is of course plastic, but it is a rather soft plastic and because of this, and the fact that there are no proper materials for strength, the handle falls off and after a while refuses to stay on when holding the basket. The good thing is, you can use the basket without the handle, but that isnt the point. It makes the machine look that much tattier in that respect and it is quite an inconvenience. The third and most significant design fault, which really puts me off in a big way, is the bottom dish rack. The door doesn't have a smooth line from its base to the inside track for the wheels on the rack to slide. There is in fact, a major gap between the door and the entrance to the machine. This causes the wheels to get caught, and then they break quite easily. It is all well and good to try and be careful, but when you are bent over, 'sliding' this rack in, with heavy dishes loaded into it, you still get these wheels stuck, no matter how careful, and this causes them to fall off, and worse, to break off. I personally have learned to live wiithout the wheels, but it is a major irritation.
That covers the complaints. So now, what makes me love this dishwasher?! I will tell you, I have used several dishwashers in my years, and NEVER have I used one, before now, that CONSISTENTLY cleans, and cleans well. In fact, the only time I have ever noticed this dishwasher to perform poorly is when I have made some sort of error (forgetting to clean the lower filter, or forgetting to put dish tabs in it). In three years it has never given me problems (except one time, which I will discuss in a minute). Not only does it clean well, but it has an exceptional drying feature which leaves your dishes spot free and beautiful. It also has water spout spinners on the bottom of the lower and upper racks, as well as a water SHOOTER in the center top of the upper basket. These features make sure that dishes are clean even when you have large pans on the bottom. Water gets to all dishes on both levels, in other words. It is so gentle that even though I have used it for 3 years, my dishes do not have scratches or worn spots from it either. Maybe some of this is down to the tabs I use, but the tabs I have used on past machines has never had this kind of effect.
Another reason I am so impressed with this machine compared to others is because it is SO EASY to keep clean and to use in general. The filters lift out of the bottom with a simple twist and pull, and the inner and outer filters separate with ease. Both filters can be cleaned easily in the kitchen sink. (A tip, I use a 'kitchen use only' toothbrush to get in tight spots). Then, the filter is just as easy to replace. I don't even put off cleaning the filter because it is that easy. It must however, be cleaned regularly, as this will greatly and negatively affect the performance of this machine. As far as using it, you merely put your cleaning product in the square, snap down dish provided, and press two buttons, and you walk away. Whenever you do come back, whether it be immediately after they are finished, or much later, your dishes are clean dry and sparkly! If you accidently press the wrong cycle, you simply hold the on/off switch, and press the appropriate button after the lights begin to flash. All of this of course, explained very clearly in the manual. You couldn't ask for a simpler way to do dishes. One other feature that makes it easy to use is the sheer size of the racks, and the placement of the slots. They are not only spaced nicely, but also quite versatile, as all of the slots on the bottome rack lay completely flat if so desired, so that you can put larger items in.
Finally, I am really impressed with this machine because it is so incredibly reliable! It has never broken down, it washes the dishes clean every time, and though it is 49dB, I have to say, it must be soundproofed because I find it to be extremely quiet.
Service: This is what sells me on an item everytime. Zanussi customer service is incredible! I called when I first got it because it wouldn't wash. I had been through the whole manual, and checked all the hotspots, and still it was not cleaning. I called, and was given a SPECIFIC time, to suit me, for them to come out, and they arrived on time, looked the machine over and showed me what was wrong. It turned out, that when you put the filter in, (after cleaning it) it is to be turned until it click-locks into place. This may sound silly, but I assure you, it was not my fault. NO WHERE in the manual does it say that. That is one thing they need to make customers aware of. But, just the same, the technician was very patient, helpful and effecient, and of course, I was not charged for the call.
Summary: Ok, design faults are a problem and a bother, so there is room for improvement, but all in all, I have to say that this is the best dishwasher I have ever owned, and I would buy another Zanussi whenever this one does die. Afterall, I don't choose my dishwasher first and foremost for its cutlery basket, or pretty writing on the front, I choose it for reliability and performance, and this one gets an A+ on both counts! Not to mention the wonderful customer service, even if I have only had to use them one time in the past 3 years!