I’ll be honest I’ve never technically bought a dishwasher. In fact, for most of my life our family kitchen made do with the humble sink, scouring pad, Palmolive and tea towel. A couple of years ago we emerged from the dark ages, our new house came equipped with a unit made by a familiar German big gun. To live without a dishwasher is simply punishing, I now genuinely don’t know how people do it. A few months ago EFTM was approached by Electrolux who had just launched a world first, a dishwasher featuring ‘ComfortLift’ technology. As you know we love a gadget here, so Chris Bowen swapped out his old unit to discover what all the fuss was about.
I’ve given little thought to the workings of a dishwasher. My list of atrocities would include not stacking them correctly, not adding rinse aid when the little red light says to and generally using the wrong cycles and just hoping for the best. When Electrolux took me under its wing and guided me through this new unit, I started to feel a tad guilty about my dishwasher habits. Plus, with a looming party celebrating our one-year of parenthood pending, what better time to give Electrolux a real test.
Electrolux has what it calls a ‘Human Touch’ design philosophy, leading to the creation of the ComfortLift mechanism. This allows for the bottom tray to be lifted out and up to waist height. I’m stunned this is a world first given how much sense it makes. Where do you usually put the heaviest items such as pots and pans? In the bottom. Where are most dishwashers located? Under a kitchen cabinet siting on the floor. The tray can hold up to 18kg, so throwing in slow cookers, massive pots and pans is not a drama.
A smooth release trigger allows the user to pull the basket up in a swift but secure way, it stays locked in place until you unload. For the elderly or people with back problems it’s a huge advantage over other washers. For manic loader and unloaders such as myself, it’s heaven. The strut-based system feels robust and glides up and down smoothly. Independent testing rates it good for more than 25 years based on two washes a day.
What About the Wash.
But Electrolux can’t just rely on the one-party trick of course. The actual washing performance is vital, particularly at this price point. FlexiSpray and FlexiWash technologies are used to pull off cycles with great results without adding to your water bill. A circular or satellite style bottom FlexiSpray arm seems to reach crowded areas much better than my own washer, using up to five levels of spray intensity. You can load the Electrolux in an ad hoc manner and still get perfect results. It creates a more multi direction movement of water through the system than traditional spray arms can. It’s also joined by two other arms in the centre and top.
There are multiple wash modes, more than we’ve been able to use over the last number of months. Eco wash completes the task up to 50 percent quicker while using less water. FlexiWash gives you the option of blasting heavily soiled items at the bottom while been gentler on delicate items higher up in the machine. A Quick Plus mode is just that, for when you’re in a rush, although will suck down more water. An Intensive program ramps up water pressure and temperature up to 70-degees for a more hygienic clean, plus there’s a glass care mode. Running times can be anywhere from 38 minutes through to 190 minutes depending on the cycle.
AirDry technology props the door open at the end of a cycle some 10cm, allowing for a more natural and efficient drying process to take place. I disabled this function, due to the curious toddler lurking about. Water usage ranges from 12 to 16 litres a cycle. It comes with a 4.5-star WELS water efficiency rating and three-star energy rating.
Another interesting concept is the top mounted cutlery draw that replaces a traditional basket. The draw simply slides out allowing you to lay utensils across it. This method takes a little longer than just chucking everything into a basket, but the amount of space it frees up is probably worth it. You can also remove this tray completely to hold those dreaded oven trays that are a menace to clean generally.
The middle tray can be raised to accommodate even larger items in the base, say a tall standing blender. The only problem I have experienced with all these multifunction combinations is that you need to load the dishwasher in a certain order. For example, with the ComfortLift system up you can’t also load the middle tray, because it’s blocked.
You may notice there are no buttons on the front of the unit, instead a control panel and small digital display is located on top of the door surface. This is brilliant given our one-year old boy is drawn to any kind of button like moths to a flame. To let you have a visual idea of where the cycle is at Electrolux has implemented ‘Light Beam-Discrete’ floor light projection. From the base a red light will shine downwards when the cycle is in-progress and then turn green when complete. It would be nice to see a timer of some type to really know how long there is to go. Also, the menu system is icon based and not overly intuitive straight out of the box, yes, I had to read the manual.
SoftGrip and SoftSpikes made of a blue rubber type substance are perfect for fragile glasses. The SoftGrip almost acts like a rubber band, firmly snapping around the stem of Champaign glasses on the middle tray. I think it’s an attractive unit to look at, constructed of stainless steel and has an almost commercial grade look to it. The ComfortLift was recently given the gong as ‘Best in Class’ at the 2018 Good Design Awards. Food for thought.
At present the Electrolux ComfortLift is not available as a freestanding dishwasher. You’ll need the services of a cabinet maker to have the unit permantley installed as a built in underbench unit. The machine measures a typical 96W x 570D x 818H (mm) and is rated at 14 place settings, more than enough for a family of five.
EFTM Rubber Stamp of Approval.
After hosting a party for more than 70 people it’s fair to say the Electrolux ComfortLift copped a decent workout. But irrespective of what mode you use the results are generally a massive step up for what I’ve experienced before. Only the most heavily baked on sauce in a slow cooker has seen the Electrolux ComfortLift trip up. Quick mode is a blessing for large functions and the actual ComfortLift system itself is a massive benefit. The only thing to consider is the price, it sits at the premium end of the market at RRP $1,699. But for a large family looking for a European made, efficient, durable and cleverly designed dishwasher it may well be worth a look. I award the Electrolux ComfortLift dishwasher the EFTM Credit Rubber Stamp of Approval.
Chris is EFTM’s Motoring Editor, driving everything from your entry level hatch to the latest Luxury cars through to the Rolls Royce.
He has been in the media for 20 years, produced three Olympic games broadcasts, attending Beijing 2008 & London 2012.
Strangely he owns a Toyota Camry Hybrid, he defiantly rejects the knockers.
Chris is married to Gillian and resides in Sydney’s North West. They have Sam the English Springer Spaniel and Felix the Burmese cat to keep them company, and recently welcomed baby Henry to the family.