The LG LDFN4542D is a front-controlled, built-in dishwasher that marries a stylish design with an eye-catching spec sheet that includes LG's latest QuadWash technology. On the surface, it looks like an enticing proposition – but is it really? And should you choose this model over the other products in our guide to the best dishwashers? That's what we're going to explore in this article.
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LG LDFN4542D review: Overview
LG is, of course, one of the world's best-known electronics brands, offering a wide spectrum of products across a number of different sectors. In 2017, the company expanded its range of kitchen appliances by launching a new line of LG QuadWash dishwashers that boasted four spray arms instead of the two that dishwashers traditionally come with, along with smartphone control and a host of other features.
Available in both the front- and top-controlled formats, LG's dishwashers vary in price from $699 to $1,899, placing the LG LDFN4542D ($849) somewhere around the middle of the range.
LG LDFN4542D review: Specs
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 23.75 x 33.5 x 24.5 inches
- Control location: Front
- Noise rating: 48dBA
- Holds: 15 place settings
- Racks: 3
- Cycles: 9
- ENERGY STAR rated: Yes
- Extras: QuadWash; Dynamic Dry; three racks
- Warranty: 1-year labor and parts; 5-year control board and rack parts; 10-year direct drive motor; lifetime stainless steel door liner or tub
LG LDFN4542D review: Design
If you're having an expensive new kitchen fitted, then the last thing you want is a bunch of dated appliances spoiling the aesthetic. No such worries with the LDFN4542D, with the black Stainless Steel door and front-mounted control panel that give it an air of assured sophistication. This model also comes in standard Stainless Steel as the LDFN4542S ($799), Smooth Black as the LDFN4542B ($699), and White as the LDFN4542W ($699). But, while those colors are all very nice (and also cheaper), the Black Stainless Steel variant just has something special about it. While we're on the subject of aesthetics, it's worth mentioning that all of these dishwashers boast LG's PrintProof finish, which means that you can easily wipe any fingerprints off if your little rascals leave their handprints behind.
If you do have kids, then you're probably wondering whether it's a good idea to have a machine with a front-mounted control panel – after all, what could be more frustrating than arriving at your dishwasher ready to unload your clean crockery, only to find that your curious cutie has hit the pause button ten minutes into the cycle? You needn't worry about that, as there's a Control Lock function that disables all of the buttons, except for the power button. One thing you should know, though, is that the function doesn't lock the pocket-handled door, meaning there's still a chance that your kids could open it and get into a spot of bother.
At 23.75 x 33.5 x 24.5 inches (WxHxD), the LDFN4542D is pretty much the standard size for a built-in dishwasher, meaning it should fit in nicely with your plush new kitchen cabinets (color-wise, the Black Stainless Steel should go with just about anything – but, as we said, there are other options if you don't like it). Unless you're a confident DIYer, we recommend getting the machine fitted by a professional. It might cost a couple of hundred bucks, but it'll save you a lot of hassle and tears.
On to the interior, and the LDFN4542D's NeverRust stainless steel tub contains three racks, the upper of which is a cutlery rack that can be removed if you need more room down below. Some people prefer these dedicated cutlery racks as they enable you to lay your knives, forks, spoons, etc, alongside each other, theoretically providing a more hygienic wash. On the downside, it does take a little longer to load them up – after all, with a cutlery basket you can just shove everything in.
Below the cutlery rack is a height-adjustable rack for cups, bowls and smaller plates, and beneath that is a deeper rack for larger plates, pots, pans, etc. As with most dishwashers, the bottom two racks feature tines that can be folded down depending on how much space you need – note, though, that the maximum number of place settings this machine can hold is 15, so trying to cram in any more than that is not recommended.
LG LDFN4542D review: Features
The headline feature here is the aforementioned QuadWash and as the name suggests, this system uses four spray arms to ensure that everything inside the machine gets a thorough clean. In case your food detritus was in any doubt that it was engaged in a battle to the death, the QuadWash tech is backed up by an advanced three-stage filtration system that traps those particles of waste, helping to keep the noise down and improve efficiency.
We mentioned that QuadWash was the big story here, but that might depend on whether you're into your smart features, because the LDFN4542D is all set up for those. You can activate wash cycles, download ones that don't come with the machine as standard, and troubleshoot any issues, all with a few taps of the LG ThinQ app. It sounds cool but whether you'll bother using it after the novelty wears off remains to be seen.
There are nine wash cycles in total – eight built-in options plus a slot for any that you happen to download from elsewhere. The built-in cycles include things like Delicate (for cleaning your finest bone china), Express (a 33-minute clean that's ideal for lightly soiled dishes), Turbo (handy for blitzing caked-on leftovers, but heavier on the water and energy usage), and Machine Clean (for giving the tub a bit of a hose down). Additionally, there are features such as Dual Zone (which enables you to select an intense clean for the bottom rack and a lighter one for the upper), Delay Start (giving you the option of activating the machine 1-12 hours in the future), and Dynamic Dry (which will get your plates and pans cupboard-ready in next to no time).
LG LDFN4542D review: Performance
LG is committed to greener living and recently announced plans to be 100% renewable by 2050. As for how kind its current line-up is to the environment, well, the LDFN4542D has its plus and minus points. In terms of water consumption, this dishwasher sits somewhere in the middle ground in this ENERGY STAR comparison, using an average of 2.9 gallons per cycle. As for energy usage, the LDFN4542D clocks in at 258kWh/yr, which is higher than all of the other dishwashers in that article (but slightly lower than the Frigidaire Gallery FGID2466QF, which we reviewed recently). Nevertheless, it has earned an ENERGY STAR rating.
One area in which this LG machine excels is in the amount of noise it makes (or rather doesn't make). Operating at just 48dBA, it's easily one of the quietest dishwashers in its price range.
LG LDFN4542D review: User reviews
To date, the dishwasher has earned an overall rating of 4.5 out of five stars, with nobody giving it the minimum of one star (that's quite rare). One five-star reviewer seemed thrilled with their purchase, writing: “This dishwasher is working great and is super-quiet! Still figuring out all of the settings, but so far I'm impressed!”
Another customer was happy with how well the machine washed their dishes, but felt that the overnight drying feature could be better. Awarding the LDFN4542D four stars out of five, they complained that they “still find lots of water on my cups and other dishes”.
There were only a few users who didn't like the machine at all. One two-star reviewer described it as “poorly designed”, adding that “the racks are designed in a way that really limits the way you can load dishes. There is no accessory to safely wash stemware in the top rack, and the bottom rack has only four rows of tines, compared to my previous dishwasher that had seven rows.”
Should you buy the LG LDFN4542D?
If you're looking for a classy-looking built-in dishwasher with excellent cleaning performance and a good choice of wash cycles, then this LG model ticks those boxes. It offers plenty of space for the average-sized family, works quietly, and enables you to easily wipe away mucky fingerprints.
It's by no means perfect, and the lack of a door lock and slightly disappointing energy efficiency let it down a tad. But considering it's not one of the most expensive dishwashers out there, we think it's a very decent option.