AEG ComfortLift integrated dishwasher Review
With the AEG ComfortLift integrated dishwasher, loading the lower basket is effortless thanks to ComfortLift technology that raises up the basket. The upper basket, with its complicated layout, isn’t quite as easy to load and the cutlery basket is a touch inflexible. However, these issues can mostly be forgiven thanks to low running costs, excellent cleaning capability and intuitive controls.
- Great cleaning results
- Excellent stain removal (lower basket)
- ComfortLift well balanced
- Crisp projection floor display
- Very low energy and water use
- Very quiet
- Tray struggled with chunky cutlery
- Overly complex upper basket layout
- Drying so-so without AirDry
- Review Price: £929.99
- Fully built-in design
- Lifting basket function
- AirDry technology
- Eco/Fast feature
- 13 place settings
- 7 programmes
- A++ energy rating
- Floor projection display
- QuietMark approved
What is the AEG ComfortLift?
If bending down to load and unload your dishes is a chore, the AEG ComfortLift integrated dishwasher aims to provide a solution, with the lower basket gently and effortlessly sliding out and upwards. Its XXL interior accommodates 13 place settings, and QuickSelect sliding controls allow you to adjust between eco or fast washing options. It packs in seven programmes and AirDry technology, and is nicely bright thanks to the LED lighting featured inside. Expect cheap running costs thanks to the super-frugal A+++ energy rating.
The ComfortLift feature is genuinely handy, and the dishwasher operates super-quietly. It produces sparkling dishes and eliminates tough scrambled egg stains with ease, although upper basket cleaning isn’t quite as stellar as the results from the lower basket. Stiff plastic spines on the cutlery tray made loading chunky-handled cutlery a struggle, and we found the upper basket slightly awkward for our large mugs and wine glasses.
Nevertheless, the ComfortLift design, generally excellent wash results and great features go a long way towards justifying the serious asking price.
AEG ComfortLift – What you need to know
- General dishwashing performance – In general, plates, bowls, pans and cutlery were left looking buffed and shiny. Very impressive tough-stain cleaning in the lower ComfortLift basket
- Loading and unloading – ComfortLift works well, but the upper-basket layout is a little awkward for larger cups and glasses, and the cutlery tray didn’t like chunky-handled knives and forks
- Drying results – Drying results are so-so at the end of the cycle, but AirDry (with the door open) gives decent drying if you give it a further 10 minutes or so
- Running costs – Extremely efficient A+++ energy keeps electricity running costs well below £40 per year (280 washes), and 10 litres of water per full load is far less than you’d use washing up in the sink
Related: Best dishwasher
AEG ComfortLift integrated dishwasher design and features – Some of the best controls we’ve used, but a slightly complicated interior layout
The AEG ComfortLift is a full-width integrated dishwasher packed with fancy features at a not inconsiderable £929.99 asking price. Its headline feature is the ComfortLift lower basket, which slides out and upwards on a sprung mechanism that counterbalances a heavy basket full of crockery.
Given this is AEG’s XXL interior with 13-place capacity, this can be quite a serious weight. It works well when fully loaded, but does require quite a serious push to stow the rack back down when it’s empty. We had mixed feelings about the overall efficacy of the mechanism compared to that of a simple slide-out basket, but could definitely see the advantage if frequent bending down is an issue.
The ComfortLift should make loading and unloading easier than any other dishwasher on the market, thanks to its lift-up lower basket, removable cutlery tray and masses of loading furniture in the upper basket. AEG delivers on this promise, albeit with a few caveats.
The ComfortLift mechanism is complex and heavily sprung to counterbalance a full load. It rolls forward then arcs upwards, coming to rest about 25cm or so above the height of a normal roll-out drawer. Fully loaded it drops down and lifts up with consummate ease, and stays in either position until you activate the release mechanism on the basket’s handle. However, that spring counts against it when the tray is empty; you have to use considerable effort to overcome its force and push it back down into the machine.
Opinions on ComfortLift were divided across the team. On the one hand, it’s undoubtedly a neat design and reduces the effort required for unloading the lower basket. Yet with the lift height only around 25cm, you have to push down a heavily sprung empty basket after it has been unloaded, and it comes at something of a premium over AEG’s non-ComfortLift designs.
I thought it was a superb bit of engineering design and very handy. Jackie thought it was a bit of a gimmick. We’d strongly suggest getting to an AEG retailer to give the ComfortLift basket a test lift.
This is a three-basket design, forgoing the traditional cutlery basket in the lower rack for a slide-out tray at the top of the compartment. The tray is a network of stiff plastic spines to hold cutlery side-on for efficient stacking, but this meant that chunky-handled cutlery simply didn’t fit in, having to rest on top. The tray can be removed and taken to your cutlery drawer for easy unloading and, given the full width and depth of the interior, it’s certainly spacious enough.
The upper basket is a typical roll-out design that can be raised and lowered a few centimetres to trade height between upper and lower baskets. The layout is a rather complex mix of fixed and folding tines, flip-down plastic shelves, rubber-grip glass-stem supports and a red multi-spined rubber rack to protect glasses. We get the idea, but we struggled somewhat with this layout and found it rather inefficient for packing in lots of cups and glasses, particularly larger ones. However, your mileage may vary depending on your cups and glasses.
The lower basket feels much more spacious without the upper basket’s plethora of furniture and offers folding tines to accommodate big pans and bowls. Overall, the interior is extremely well made and neatly finished, complemented by bright LED side lighting that worked well even when the machine was packed out. Beneath the lower basket, you can see AEG’s double-spray bar promising serious cleaning capabilities.
In a sea of integrated dishwashers that cram in lots of buttons along the upper edge of the door, the AEG is delightfully simple to use. Its default Auto programme is complemented by Extra Silent, Extra Power and Glass Care options and the unique QuickSelect feature, intriguingly labelled My Time on the machine. With a swipe control, you can increase the speed of the wash cycle at the cost of a few more pence in running costs.
The fastest option will almost halve the running time, so this gives you plenty of options whether you’re in a hurry or want to max out the ComfortLift’s excellent A+++ efficiency. The controls are complemented by a crisp floor-projection display with a countdown timer.
AEG ComfortLift integrated dishwasher performance – Super-low running costs, without compromised cleaning
For the general cleaning test, we ran the AEG on basic Auto cycle at its default full Eco mode. The machine was loaded to capacity with an assortment of used plates, bowls and mugs from the office and kitchen. We loaded the machine with leading-brand salt and rinse aid, and used a standard dishwasher tablet. You can use triple-action tablets in the AEG, although there’s no specific setting for that, and you’ll almost always get much better results using a separate tablet, salt and rinse aid.
The lengthy 4-hour cycle, counted down by a very crisp floor projection display, was quiet and efficient – using 0.9kWh (14p) and just 10.3l of water. Cleaning was top-notch throughout the compartment. Glasses had a nicely buffed, glossy look, and everything was spotlessly cleaned. Drying at the point the cycle ended was pretty much exactly what we’d expect from an A+++ machine on an Eco cycle… average. The drive for lower running costs mean you’ll need to buff off a few spots and dribbles with a tea towel.
Interestingly, if you can give the load a further 10 mins after the cycle ends drying is much improved, thanks to the AirDry feature. It isn’t a new idea but popping open the door allows the last few spots of moisture to evaporate from the still-warm crockery. It works well – but just remember not to be too hasty in unloading when the cycle has ended.
Our tough stain test included another full, dirty load, this time featuring separate bowls with porridge oats, whey-protein smoothie and cheesy scrambled egg in the lower basket, and red wine-stained glasses and tea-stained white china cups in the top. All stains were allowed to dry for 24 hours before washing. We used the same Auto/Eco programme, although outside of a test environment this sort of load would probably have you reaching for the Extra Power wash option.
For the most part, there was no need for the big gun options – the AEG turned in exceptionally good stain test results. The oats and smoothie bowls were cleaned perfectly, and the red wine glasses emerged glossy, clean and streak-free. Most impressive was the scrambled egg bowl, usually near-impossible to clean – the AEG left just one tiny smear. Clearly, the innovative spray bar for the lower basket works wonders, since this is a genuinely first-class result.
Egg test: Dirty bowl (left) vs clean bowl (right) – move slider to compare
The only minor caveat in an otherwise impeccable performance was the tea-stain test. A couple of our cups still had faint tea stain rings and marks on the china, requiring another, more intense wash to clean fully. This isn’t a wholly unusual result on a standard Auto/Eco cycle, so we can’t criticise the AEG too much here – especially since we’re still in awe of its scrambled egg performance.
Similarly, running costs lived up to the AEG’s A+++ rating and premium price ticket. Using below 1kwh (15p) for a full load is very frugal, and if the load isn’t too dirty those costs slim right down to near 0.85kWh. Sub 11l is also suitably restrained for water use, and equivalent to about two bowls. A standard 280 loads per year would see energy use of around 250kWh (£38.50 @ 15p/kWh) and around 3000 litres of water (£10.50 @ £.50/cubic metres supply and waste). Intense and specialist washes generally used a little more of both resources, but there’s only a minor lift in running cost for some serious cleaning power.
Noise testing proved the AEG to be a library-quiet performer, coming in at around 46-47dB for much of the cycle. A lot of that noise is water splashing; you can barely hear the pump motors working at all. This figure is likely to be nearer the energy label’s stated 44dB when fully installed into a carcass with a furniture door on the front, as we test naked in open space (the dishwasher, not us – just to clarify).
Should I buy the AEG ComfortLift integrated dishwasher?
Innovative and unique, AEG’s ComfortLift rise-up lower basket polarised opinion during testing. Some loved the lack of bending down to load and unload the lower basket, while others suggested it added a premium for a “meh” feature, so we’ll leave that one with you.
There’s no debate about the AEG’s wash results, though, which are top-tier in both general daily cleaning and tough stain-busting tests, with the added benefit of the door-popping AirDry feature improving drying performance for no extra energy cost.
We struggled with the upper basket’s complex, furniture-packed layout and the cutlery tray’s awkward spines that won’t accept knives, forks and spoons with chunky handles, but the intuitive controls and simple operation were winners with everyone. With super-low running costs for good measure, there is plenty to like about the ComfortLift – even if certain design touches are going to appeal to some users more than others.