Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL Dishwasher Review

A simple, cheap and effective dishwasher

Verdict

Throw away the Marigolds, the Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL offers outstanding cleaning performance, flexible features and excellent value, making it a clear best buy.

Pros

  • Outstanding cleaning results
  • Flexible loading
  • Nicely quiet in use
  • Simple controls
  • Good value

Cons

  • No half-load option

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £370.00
  • 15 place capacity
  • 9 programmes
  • 8 options
  • A++ energy efficiency
  • 3D Zone Wash
  • 30-minute quick wash
  • Inverter motor
  • Three rack drawers

What is the Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL Dishwasher?

The Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL dishwasher is a full-size, 60cm width unit with a 15 place setting capacity, nine programmes and eight wash options. The feature count is high with an A++ energy rating, crisp display and 3D Zone Wash to jet through the toughest grease and grime.

With outstanding cleaning results, effective 3D power cleaning, and great energy efficiency results, the HFO 3P23 WL really won us over. The flexibility of its rack storage makes it a joy to load, the controls are straightforward, and the Express 30 wash works well in a very quick time.

This is an outstanding mid-priced dishwasher that delivers top-end performance and features.

Related: Best dishwashers 2019

Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL Dishwasher – What’s it like to use?

Hotpoint, a brand not shy of creating some great dishwashers, may have brought out our favourite yet in the Ultima HFO 3P23 WL. Available to purchase for around £370, and equipped with a raft of features to improve the dishwashing experience, it’s a pleasure to use.

This full-size machine boasts aa 15 place setting capacity over its three racks, a bright, easy to read display, and simple controls. The control panel comprises four buttons on either side of the central display and is clearly labelled.  To the left you have main power, a button that scrolls through the nine programmes, 3D wash options and Turbo high-speed mode. To the right you get an extra-dry option, tablet mode button, delay start and the start/pause button. Each has a clear indicator light above.

The door pops open easily and is nicely balanced to lower and raise without effort. On the top edge of the door are a series of icons that roughly indicate what each program is designed for. We’d have preferred words to name the actual programme, but that would have created some serious language issues since this is a Europe-wide model. Icons it is then.

Equipped with three generously sized racks, loading the Hotpoint proved hassle-free. There’s a handy cutlery tray rack at the top that can be removed and taken to the cutlery drawer for easy unloading. Simply place your cutlery on its side for optimum results, freeing up more space for dishes and plates in the lower rack by getting rid of the traditional cutlery basket.

The tray can be slid together to reduce its width and to offer taller storage space for the rack below, if required. Tall wine glasses aren’t a problem.

The upper rack is height adjustable for more or less space above and below, and perfect for mugs, cereal bowls, glasses and small plates. The foldable flaps, in two sections either side, can be raised up or down and folds to create a small shelf, or they’ll securely hold glass stems. The plate tines in this top rack are fixed, but nicely spaced for your china tea saucers.

With a spacious lower rack, we easily fitted in various-sized plates, pots, bowls and pans. There are small pull-out arms in the rear of the rack that can be used to support frying pans or baking trays in an upright position, thus taking up less space.

The rack is equipped with two rows of plate tines, all of which can be folded flat for larger items. The front tines are a little too close to the front of the rack for the largest plates, but there’s plenty of room around the rear tines.

Beneath the lower rack you can clearly see the orange 3D jet arm. Hotpoint’s 3D Zone Wash uses the variable speed of the machine’s high-tech inverter motor to increase spray power to any one of the three racks as an option.

Adding this extra jet-washing cleaning gumption to the Intensive Cycle ups the consumed power, so it isn’t an option on the Eco programme, for example. Bizarrely, you can also combine 3D Zone Wash with the Normal cycle to reduce energy consumption by around 40%.

Otherwise, the salt fill, removable filter and tablet/rinse aid dispenser are all standard dishwashing fare.

Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL – What programmes does it have?

With a total of nine programmes, the Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL dishwasher kicks off with a 50ºC Eco programme to keep your water and energy costs as low as possible. It’s a long cycle at well over three hours, but promises to use less than 1kWh of electricity and just 11 litres of water for a full load. Wash up in the sink and you’re very likely to use 11 litres of water in the first bowl alone.

The 55ºC Auto Normal, 65ºC Auto Intensive and 50ºC Auto Fast cycles are sensor-based programmes that will automatically up the wash time and water required, depending on how heavily soiled the load is. The Auto Fast programme will be done and dusted in well under an hour for lightly soiled wash loads. If you want faster still, the Express 30 will do a light wash in half an hour.

The intriguingly titled Good Night program is the washing equivalent of a long soak in the bath. It takes 3hrs 30mins and uses 15 litres of water, but promises a very effective clean with very low noise. The last three programmes are a Sanitizing cycle to clean heavily soiled loads with an additional antibacterial wash, a Soak wash to lightly rinse off crockery and a Self-Clean programme to keep the dishwasher itself spotless.

The Zone Wash 3D option can be used on three programmes: Auto Intensive, Auto Normal and Soak. With the Intensive wash, the 3D feature increases spray pressure to jet-wash status and promises to shift the worst baked-on food. You can focus the effect on just one of the three racks, however.

For slightly quicker washes the Turbo feature reduces wash time, but Hotpoint is keen to point out that this doesn’t diminish wash performance. Rather, it ups the spray pressure and energy use a little to charge through the wash a bit quicker. And finally, to improve the drying of your dishes, the Extra Dry option increases the water temperature during the final rinse and extends the drying phase.

Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL – How noisy is it?

If you have a dishwasher that’s approaching teenage status or older, any new dishwasher will sound super-quiet. Manufacturers have done a lot of work on these machines for sound insulation, achieving the best spray pattern for washing rather than jetting the door inner and making a noise.

The Hotpoint claims a very quiet 43dB, or just slightly noisier than a fridge-freezer. Our tests proved the HFO 3P23 WL was a good option for night washing duties, measuring just 44dB at the peak of its cycle. That’s library status and very good for a dishwasher at this mid-price point, further adding to this Hotpoint’s appeal.

Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL – How well does it wash?

Using the Auto Normal programme with the 3D Zone Wash option, this Hotpoint turned in amazing wash results. It completely wiped away tough scrambled egg residue that had been drying on our Pyrex bowl for more than 24 hours after coming out of the microwave. That makes it one of only three machines we’ve ever tested that has achieved a perfect result – and the other two were a whole lot pricier than the HFO 3P23.

Not quite believing our own test results, given the sub £400 asking price, we tried the same test again. We got the same great results.

That wasn’t the only wash success, either. Our greasy wine glasses emerged spotless, glistening and streak-free, while standard dinner plates were ready to go straight back into the cupboard. Over the course of several tests across the programme range, the Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL dishwasher didn’t disappoint, turning in a super-clean wash and very good drying results throughout.

While there was still the odd water pool in the concave bases of cups and a rare drip on some items in the upper rack, it was a simple wipe with a tea towel as you put the items away.

Moreover, engaging the Extra Dry mode negated that completely, albeit at the expense of a few pence more in energy consumption. Drips and small pools are near-unavoidable due to the shape of bowls and cups, so to have so few drips remaining is a great result.

The Auto Intensive programme allied to the 3D option excelled at post-Sunday roast pots and pans, and even the high-speed Express 30 wash gave an admirable account of itself on standard dirty plates and teacups.

We really couldn’t fault the outstanding wash performance of this Hotpoint right across its programme range, and the 3D feature simply adds to its intensive cleaning armoury.

Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL – How much will it cost to run?

As with most appliances boasting more A+’s than a swot’s school report, there’s a gulf between the consumption figures of the Eco programme from which those results are derived and standard wash cycles.

In the Hotpoint’s case, our tests showed the Eco programme uses around 1.1kWh and 12 litres of water. Auto Normal used a far more “normal” 1.7kWh and 16 litres of water. Yet it did the same load in somewhere between an hour and nearly two hours quicker than Eco, depending on the level of soiling. Speed or energy efficiency? The choice is yours.

Our annual test calculation is based on a family that does 250 dishwashing cycles per year, split half on Eco and half on Auto Normal for more heavily soiled loads. In that scenario, the Hotpoint would use a total of 337kWh and 3500 litres of water per annum.

At 15p per kWh that would be £50.60 in electricity and just £12.25 in water, if you were billed at £3.50 per cubic metre supply and waste. Total running costs are therefore around £62-£63 a year. If you switched to using the Eco programme only then that figure would drop to around £51 per year; increasing to about £74 a year using only the Auto Normal cycle.

Those figures are right on the money for a mid-priced A++ machine, and well worth the resource investment for the Hotpoint’s outstanding cleaning performance. We may have been expecting even greater energy savings, but that would be near-miraculous give, the wash performance and low asking price.

For our two-person, two-dog household, we barely run the dishwasher twice a week. That would see the total running costs more than halved and come in very low indeed, no matter the programme selected. You’d certainly use a whole lot more water and energy heating it if you did all that washing up in the sink.

Why buy the Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL?

With outstanding cleaning results, easy to use controls, flexible loading and reasonably low running costs, the Hotpoint HFO 3P23 WL sets the standard for dishwashers at this price. We are still amazed at the completely clean bowl after the microwaved-on egg test and our wine glasses are sparkling on the rack, despite serious testing over the Christmas period.

The 3D Zone Wash works incredibly well in addressing seriously dirty pots and pans, and the Hotpoint remained quiet in use throughout.

If you’re seeking a sleek-looking, freestanding dishwasher that offers great programmes, awesome cleaning power and an asking price that won’t break the bank, Hotpoint’s HFO 3P23 WL is in a class of its own.

Verdict

Throw away the Marigolds – the Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL offers outstanding cleaning performance, flexible features and excellent value, making it a clear best buy.

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