The Whirlpool 6th Sense PowerDry ADP900IX is a flagship freestanding dishwasher that has an A+++ energy rating, a raft of innovative features and a sumptuous glossy stainless steel design. Inside is a flexible racking space featuring split cutlery baskets and a height adjustable top basket. You get a raft of programmes to cover pretty much every dishwashing eventuality, a steam function and a handy one-hour wash and dry programmes.
But the hero features are Whirlpool’s PowerClean and PowerDry systems. The former offers rear-mounted high-pressure jet-wash for really mucky pots and pans, while the latter actively draws moist air and steam out of the compartment at the end of the cycle to leave plates and plastics cupboard bone-dry. A self-cleaning filter saves the weekly muckraking, and a handy ‘pause’ button – so you can add or take-out items mid-wash – complete a well-specified and great looking machine. It’s a top-notch machine.
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The gloss black fascia and button controls look a little daunting to start with, but pulling open the solid feeling door reveals an array of handy programme icon reminders along the top edge. Pushing the programme button scrolls through the 10 programmes and once selected you can add PowerClean and/or PowerDry functions, plus select a delayed start.
The central LED display shows countdown time to complete the wash along with icons that illuminate to demand that the machine be fed rinse aid, salt or water should the tap be turned off. You can opt to wash only the top or lower basket for economical washing of a smaller load and the controls can locked should smaller members of the family have prying fingers.
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There are two cutlery racks at the front the top rack is height adjustable
On the inside, like many dishwashers with a height adjustable top rack, the lower setting shrinks your maximum plate size at the bottom to a little over 24cm. There is about 5cm of lift on the upper basket and, as this Whirlpool does not have a third top tray for cutlery, this still gives you ample room up top. Its maximum 28.5cm plate size isn’t the largest, though, so it’s worth checking if you have any 30cm plates that might not fit.
Cutlery is handled by a more traditional basket, albeit split in two across the front of the lower rack to maximise space. This lower rack can be adjusted to allow large pots and pans to be placed facing the back of the washing compartment.
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The PowerClean system fires high pressure jets onto pots and pans
In almost every other machine this would result in very little cleaning inside from traditional rotating spray bars. However, engage Whirlpool’s PowerClean system and water is pumped through 28 high-pressure jets at the rear (the red parts in the picture) to give your pots and pans a real jet-washing.
For those who need to unload their dishwasher as soon as it is done (or need to test another dishwasher immediately after) the PowerDry system has quickly become a favourite feature among the test team.
Steam is drawn out of the main chamber and pushed through a condenser within the sidewalls. The steam condenses to water, which is run back into the sump to be pumped out before the next wash. Whirpool claims this is particularly effective at drying plastics. The ADP 900 IX quite literally cleans up on well thought out and easy to use features.
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The self-cleaning filter is a great addition
The Whirpool’s default programme is its 6th Sense PowerClean wash. Designed for normal soiled dishes, dried on food and fairly grimy pots and pans, the machine uses a turbidity (dirty water) sensor to adjust the temperature and duration of wash.
The PowerClean features are engaged as standard on this programme, but can be turned off if you need the machine to run a little quieter or items in the lower tray are not too dirty. This cycles dries as standard, although the PowerDry feature can be engaged to speed up the process.
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Among what can be classed as standard programmes are a Pre-wash for crockery that will get a full wash later, Fragile for glassware and china, Eco, Daily, Intensive and two Rapid washes.
The first is a quick sploosh wash for lightly soiled dishes needed in a hurry – just 30-50 minutes depending on soiling. This programme has no a drying cycle so you will need a tea towel. Whirlpool’s 1-hour Wash & Dry programme does exactly what it says, offering a complete cycle in 60 minutes or less.
The 10 strong programme list is completed with a Silent programme. This is where a promoted noise figure of 39dB comes from, even if the energy label uses a standard wash and quotes a still very quiet 44dB.
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Valve noises and water-inrush sounds when filling are fairly well suppressed, but there are still some intrusive noises that might disturb light sleepers in adjacent rooms at night. The ADP 900 IX has a range of noise levels to choose from, starting at very quiet on Silent programme, getting a little louder on the normal 6th Sense wash, and louder still when the PowerClean function is engaged.
The Silent wash measured just below the energy label figure at 43dB at its noisiest and the main wash tipped our meter at around 47dB. The PowerClean is noticeable when it kicks in, particularly when cleaning large metal pans that seem to amplify the sound of the water. Running like this, the Whirlpool went up to 52dB on average with a few peaks higher still.
The 47dB figure on the main wash puts the ADP 900 IX on par with the quieter premium machines we have tested, even if, like most, the reality is somewhat noisier that the energy label headline.