Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher Review

A slimline dishwasher that's big on performance and flexibility
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Verdict

If you don't have the space for a full-sized dishwasher, but don't want to compromise on running costs, flexibility and the number of wash programmes available, the Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher could be for you. Excellent wash performance and low running costs make this a standout slimline dishwasher.

Pros

  • Excellent cleaning results
  • Very effective 3D Zone Wash
  • Decent choice of programmes
  • Flexible loading options
  • Nicely quiet in use

Cons

  • Not the very best at drying
  • Four-hour Eco programme

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £379.99
  • 10 place settings
  • 9 programmes
  • A++ energy efficiency
  • 3D Zone Wash
  • 45cm width
  • 30-minute quick wash
  • Inverter motor
  • FlexiZone loading
  • 2-year guarantee

What is the Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher?

Great for the smaller kitchen thanks to its 45cm width, the Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher is a stylish, stainless-steel-fronted unit boasting 10 place settings. It packs in the same nine programmes and wash options – including the Zone Wash 3D jets – as its 5-star, full-sized sibling, the Hotpoint Ultima HFO 2923. Topping it off is a frugal A++ energy rating, too.

Dazzling cleaning results that left our toughest test bowls with a lovely shine, alongside flexible loading and super-low running costs, make this Hotpoint a slimline winner. Drying results weren’t quite as good as its full-size Ultima brother, but its great looks with stainless-steel trim, effective cleaning and potent 3D Zone Wash power make it a big contender for a small space.

Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher – What’s it like to use?

The Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X dishwasher is a compact version of the outstanding Hotpoint Ultima HFO 3P23 WL Dishwasher, which we absolutely loved. For those with a smaller kitchen, or just less space available, this A++ energy rated dishwasher is just 45cm wide yet offers space for 10 place settings.

Okay, 10 full place settings might be a little ambitious, but there’s no shortage of space or flexible storage options. Our test sample was finished in a rather luxurious stainless-steel door with grey fascia, but a plain white version is also available for around £30 or so less.

The fascia is neat and logical, with eight buttons and a crisp blue-white display set on a gloss black panel. Power, a selection button to scroll through its nine programmes, 3D wash and timer-saver/short wash buttons are to the left, with options for extra drying, multi-function tablet, delay start and start/pause to the right. Each button has its own indicator LED to let you know it’s engaged.

A graphic icon of the nine programmes is printed along the upper-edge of the door, much like an integrated dishwasher, but you might need the user guide to hand for a little while to remember what each of the icons represents.

Pop open the door and you’re promised 10 place settings over two roll-out racks and a compact cutlery basket, which slots in anywhere on the plate tines in the lower rack. The lower rack is surprisingly capacious and pulls out smoothly on four rollers per side. You can load it up with a lot of heavy plates and it never fails to glide in and out.

Two sets of plate tines are available in the lower rack, running crossways, with the rear tines capable of being folded flat. Perhaps splitting that line of tines so half of them could be folded flat would have offered even greater flexibility – but we’re being really picky here.

Hotpoint’s Space Zone A is a special pull-out support in the rear of the lower rack that can be used to support frying pans or baking trays in an upright position, taking up less space.

The upper rack is traditionally laid out with tilted wire cup supports, plate tines for small saucers, and four fold-down plastic flaps that are ideal for supporting wine glass stems or smaller cups and items on top. The upper rack height can be adjusted, giving more or less space beneath, and we successfully used it up one side and down the other, which might be handy for mixed, oddly shaped loads.

The hero feature internally is Hotpoint’s orange Zone Wash 3D jets. These jets concentrate the water spray pressure in several areas of the compartment for best cleaning performance on standard washes. Switch on the Zone Wash 3D option and it significantly ups the washing power to the 3D spray arms, giving your crockery a decent jet-wash in the process. This is a neat touch for a slimline model and aims to get rid of the stubborn food residues that have been left to dry over a couple of days.

Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher – What programmes does it have?

While the Hotpoint’s size might have been shrunk to fit smaller kitchens, the programme and options count certainly hasn’t. Heading up the nine programmes is the 50ºC Eco wash that sees the 3T223 achieve its A++ energy rating. As ever with Eco cycles, it takes a while at precisely four hours, but promises to sip less than 10 litres of water and use comfortably under 1kW of electricity.

There are two “Auto” programmes that sense the soiling level of the load and adjust wash time and resources accordingly. The Auto Intensive and Auto Normal speak for themselves, taking about two-thirds of the time of the Eco cycle but using up to twice as much water and electricity.

The Delicates programme caters for glassware and fragile ceramics, the Express 30’ promises to wash a small, lightly soiled load in half an hour; the Good Night programme runs a slow but thorough near-four-hour wash while keeping the noise down. The programme roster is complete with a Sanitising wash, ideal for baby items, a Soak to rinse food from plates when you’re not going to wash for a while, and a dishwasher Self Clean cycle to freshen up the interior.

The options list is equally comprehensive with Zone Wash 3D, selectable on the upper rack, lower rack or switched off. Short Time reduces the cycle time if you’re in a hurry, and the Extra Dry option uses a higher temperature and longer drying time to effect a perfect dry as soon as the programme has ended.

There’s the option to use multi-function tablets rather than separate detergent, rinse aid and salt, and a delayed start in 30-minute increments up to 24 hours. Finally, there’s a Key Lock to ensure little fingers can’t start an intensive wash for their doll’s house crockery.

Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher – How noisy is it?

The decibel figures for noise on the energy labels for dishwashers can be a little misleading. A nicely low 45dB rating might be a very splashy and irritating water jet noise, while a higher 55dB might be a louder but consistent hum that you can easily ignore. Neither is the case for this very hushed slimline dishwasher.

Hotpoint has deployed a modern inverter motor, meaning very low noise when running at standard water-pumping pressure. Wall insulation in the cabinet is very good, too, so with the basic washes noise is a very quiet and fairly consistent 44-45dB. That’s near-library quiet.

Step up to the Zone Wash 3D option for an intensive wash, which ups the motor speed and water pressure, and the noise raises little but is more variable. If you’re using the upper basket in particular, the 3D Zone Wash makes more water noise on the cabinet walls and a fair bit of sploshing, even if the measured noise is barely any louder. Thanks to the Hotpoint’s good sound insulation, the noise still isn’t onerous, making for a nice quiet dishwasher, whatever the wash.

Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher – How well does it wash?

With its bigger brother producing class-leading results at its very affordable asking price, could the slimline version with its fancy finish replicate the success thanks to the 3D wash technology? Well, almost. Glasses stained with dried, red wine were buffed crystal-clear; our dried-on cereal bowl was left very clean; plus baked beans presented no problems at all for the 3T223.

Only the tough scrambled egg test, microwaved onto a Pyrex bowl and left to dry for 24 hours, gave the Hotpoint any real challenge – and it handled that exceptionally well. The bowl, placed over the lower 3D jets for maximum cleaning but without engaging the 3D option, was buffed to almost perfection, with just a couple of tiny egg stains left barely visible. Since this is designed to be a “near-impossible” test, with only a handful of dishwashers having ever produced a spotless bowl (including Hotpoint’s own Ultima HFO 3P23), this was a fabulous cleaning result and certainly the best we’ve seen from a slimline model.

Our only caveat with the Hotpoint’s exemplary performance is a relatively minor one, in that drying could have been just a little more thorough. A couple of small drips of moisture were still visible on some of the bowls and dishes immediately after the wash, requiring the lightest buffing with a tea towel before they were put away.

This isn’t unusual in highly energy-efficient machines looking to save every watt. If you do want a perfect dry for immediate cupboard storage, this Hotpoint does offer an Extra Dry option for just such a scenario.

While not quite as eye-wateringly good as its full-size counterpart, Hotpoint’s slimline 3D dishwasher remains an outstanding performer and comfortably the best cleaning slimline dishwasher we’ve tested.

Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher – How much will it cost to run?

The Ultima HSFO is cheap to run, particularly in Eco mode. True to the promised specification, the Eco program used under 10 litres of water and just 0.8kWh of electricity for a full load. Yes, it takes four hours, so you wouldn’t want to be using this programme in anticipation of an imminent dinner party. But there’s no arguing with this machine’s A++ credentials and superb low running costs.

The Auto programmes represent a bit more of a variable feast for consumption, depending on how dirty the plates, dishes and bowls are to begin. In our tests using a full load of typical household plates, cutlery, cups and glasses, the Auto Normal programme used an average of 1.2kWh and just 12 litres of water. Given that most washing-up bowls will take about 10 litres of washing water before you’ve rinsed anything, you can see how a dishwasher such as this can seriously bring down your water bills.

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 this household scenario, the Hotpoint 3D Zone Slimline would use around 250kWh of electricity and 2625 litres of water per annum.

In cost terms, at 15p per kWh that would be £37.50 in electricity and £9.18 in water if you were billed at £3.50 per cubic metre supply and waste. Total running costs would be comfortably under £50 per year. We reckon it’s well worth that to save washing up 250 times, made even more appealing thanks to Hotpoint’s excellent cleaning results.

Why buy the Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X Dishwasher?

If you’re stuck for the space required for one of the full-size models on our Best dishwasher list, but want a great-looking slimline model with low running costs and top-spec cleaning performance, look no further. The Hotpoint HSFO 3T223 offers class-leading grime-busting performance for a slimline dishwasher thanks to its 3D Zone Wash feature and a solid list of useful programmes and options. It easily lives up to its A++ efficiency billing, costing less than £50 a year to run – even if you’re using it five times a week.

Drying in the Eco and Auto modes isn’t quite 100%, so a light tea-towelling or the Extra Dry option might be required, and the Eco mode takes a long time. The stainless finish bumps up the cost, so it isn’t quite as spectacularly good value as its Ultima 3D full-sized brother, either. Yet, for a great-looking, flexible, high-performance slimline dishwasher with a bit of kitchen bling, the Hotpoint Ultima HSFO 3T223 W X is hard to beat.

Score


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