Are you tight on space in the kitchen but would like a dishwasher? Hotpoint’s super-svelte SIUF32120X is just 45cm wide but has the capacity for 10 place settings, and boasts A++ eco-chops. Part of Hotpoint’s premium Ultima series it has nine programmes, a 25-minute quick wash and a digital display.
With a price tag approaching £400 it’s not cheap, but this dishwasher is well thought out, delivers solid washing and drying performance, and completes a full load using less than a bowl full of water. The stainless finish is lush, but opting for the white model will save you £50, making it quite bargain too.
Slimline dishwashers tend towards basic basket layouts and limited storage features. Not so the Hotpoint SIUF32120X. This tiny machine has a deep lower basket with one set of fixed plate tines and another set that fold flat to accommodate pots and pans. There is a pop out support arm for odd sized items such as baking trays and the basket runs smoothly on 8 individual wheels. The cutlery basket is basic however and limited to where it can be placed.
The top rack runs equally smoothly and offers over 4cm of height adjustment either side to accommodate larger pans below or taller item at the top. Some machines do allow you to tilt just one side to mix ‘n match storage, but set like this the Hotpoint’s top basket catches the rubber door seal. Around the perimeter of the top basket are four individual glass/cup racks that can be folded up out of the way to create a larger space. There are no tines at the top though and the shaped wire of the basket does little to hold small plates securely. This area is best for cups, glasses and bowls then.
The salt fill opening and supplied funnel are the usual challenge in the middle of the floor of the compartment and beside that is the filter. This simply pinches to remove. On the inside of the door the rinse aid compartment is a traditional covered porthole but the detergent tray does step up a notch. This offers two areas, one for the main wash powder or tab, and a smaller area for pre-wash detergent.
Programme selection uses a single ‘P’ button that scrolls through all nine programmes in order, ensuring you will need to go around at least twice before you remember to stop at the right number. Then chose any of the half load, multi-function tabs or delay start options and press start/pause. As you can guess by the name, this button allows you to pause the wash to add items that got left behind.
The release handle and door feel fairly chunky and clunky, although the door balance as you lower it is reasonably good. While the grey plastic fascia looks a bit cheap in our eyes, the quality of the stainless-steel finish on the door is excellent. It is smooth, glossy and highly fingerprint resistant, with a classy black Hotpoint badge.
This slimline Hotpoint is a 9-programme model. In number one spot is the Eco programme on which the energy label results are based. It promises to use under 10litres of water and cost around 12p per wash in electricity. The down side is that, like all super-eco dishwasher programmes, it’s not exactly speedy. This is a three-hour programme.
Two Automatic cycles use water turbidity (dirtiness) sensors and adjust washing time to suit. The Normal is for the likes of tableware and dishes, while the Intensive programme is ideal for pots and pans. This programme also utilises Hotpoint’s pre-wash detergent compartment to give dirty items an early pre-clean. As the turbidity sensor is involved the run time of these cycles is a variable feast.
A Delicate programme is aimed at your finest crockery. As it runs at a lower temperature it can also be used for dishwasher-safe plastic items like water bottles, tubs and sandwich boxes. If you want a quick and dirty wash, well a quick and clean wash in fact, the Express 25 is a 25-minute cycle. This replicates traditional hand-washing as there is no drying phase. It’s very efficient on electricity but you will need to get the tea towels out.
It would be easy to think the Good Night programme was a super-silent wash, but not so. This programme is designed to ensure the absolute cleanest of washes and the driest of finishes by running extra-long wash and dry phases. It takes 3hours and 30minutes but promises the best cleaning performance when you have got time to sleep through it.
A 10-minute pre-wash programme labelled ‘Soak’ could be a boon at dinner parties. It gives plates a very quick sloshing without detergent, allowing you to quickly rinse plates for the next course. The list is complete with two programmes at either end of the dishwashing spectrum – a Short Time quick wash for when you are, er, short of time and an Ultra Intensive cycle for heavily spoiled pots and pans, and dried on food.
Programme options include a half load setting where you can specify whether the load is in the upper or lower basket, a tabs button for optimising 3-in-1 multifunction tablets and a delay start option from 1 to 24 hours.
We are yet to get to the bottom of why energy label noise levels for dishwashers are so far from the reality. Most of the wash noise from dishwashing is from the water sloshing around the enclosure and hitting the slides rather than the machine’s water pumps. Very few machines we have tested get within 10dB of the energy label figure when you measure the overall noise.
And likewise, this Hotpoint is the same. Across our four test cycles it output a constant 53dB-54dB which is about 10dB more than stated on the energy label. That is about average sound output for a mid-range modern dishwasher and far from intrusive. Conversational speech is around 60dB so this dishwasher isn’t going to but in on kitchen chit-chat.
In a festival of cooking that looked like the remnants of a week in student digs, we used bowls and crockery stained with Weetabix, baked beans and microwaved scrambled egg. These were all left lying around for 48 hours to ensure the stains were properly dried on. We also used a wine glass with the remnants of the bottle of red dried in the bottom. We have yet to find a dishwasher that didn’t shift this stain from a glass but its good fun trying to find one.
Suitably loaded with a dishwasher tab, salt and rinse aid, we ran three main cleaning tests on this skinny Hotpoint, two on Eco and one on Auto Normal. The machine was filled with typical dishwasher fare of plates, bowls, cutlery, cups and glasses, and our test items. Arguably, if you were cleaning a Pyrex bowl covered in dried on scrambled egg you would use an intensive program and probably a pre-wash cycle, rather than Eco or Normal. But we find using standard cycles on these hard to shift stains gives a good indication of the machine’s basic wash performance.
Which transpires to be pretty good for this Hotpoint. On the Eco programme the Weetabix, beans and red wine stain were cleaned perfectly and extra marks were scored for extremely clean and buffed glassware. Drying was a little under-done, which meant there was some pooling of water on to tops of cups and a feint water dribble down some the glasses. This would mean a light streak on the glass if not buffed as you put it away.
The scrambled egg fared remarkably well for an Eco programme wash with the bulk of the larger particles and much of the smear-stains removed (pictured). The Auto Normal programme proved to be an even better bet, with slightly more of the larger blobs disappearing as well. We are not talking the levels of power-cleaning that we have witness by flagship machines but results are very good at this price of dishwasher.
The SIUF32120X certainly lives up to its billing as an A++ energy rated machine as both Eco wash test cycles used just 0.85kWh of electricity. This is very good although a little more than stated in the manual, making the cost of an Eco wash around 12.5p (@15p/kWh). As slimline dishwashers rarely get the R&D investment of full size models, Hotpoint can only be saluted for launching a supremely frugal 45cm machine.
The two-hour long Auto normal program used a little more electricity at exactly 1.0kWh (15 pence). That is still exceptionally good for a 10-place setting dishwasher and gave a slightly better clean than the Eco programme too. The drying was further improved but the odd pool of clean water remained in the base of upturned teas cups and on glasses.
Water consumption on both programmes is very good too. Just 8 litres for the Eco and around 12 litres for the Auto normal is probably a lot less water than it would require to wash 10 place setting by hand. Water consumption on the Auto programme will depend on how dirty the dishes are thanks to the SIUF32120X’s turbidity sensor. The specification suggests between 13 and 14 litres max.
If your family ran 250 fully loaded dishwasher cycles per year, split half Eco programme for normal plates and crockery and half Auto programme for dirtier items, it would cost around £35 per year in electricity and approximately £9 more if you are on metered water. The electricity consumption is up there with our most frugal dishwasher to date, the Miele G6820SC. Although that premium machine is a full-size 14 place model so offers lower energy cost per place setting. For a relatively affordable slimline dishwasher, the Hotpoint SIUF32120X won’t cost you very much to run at all.
Slimline dishwasher are so rarely top performers, but the Hotpoint SIUF32120X bucks the trend with ease. It washes well, has plenty of programmes and flexible racking options (for a slimline), and it isn’t too noisy either. Drying could be better, but that's often a foible of machines chasing top-spec energy ratings. The result, though, is a machine that will wash your dishes all year around for less than £40 in electricity.
A very good slimline dishwasher bringing super-low A++ energy consumption to those with only a small space in the kitchen to spare.