Hotpoint HDA3640DSA Review
The Hotpoint HDA3640DSA proved to be the triumvirate of low quality—performance, design, and features were all deplorable.
In some ways, the worst thing about buying a bad product is the anger you’re forced to experience. The wasted time and money is certainly a bummer, but having to see that product in your house day in and day out is like a complimentary slap in the face.
That's why we’re here: to suffer through such an experience so you don’t have to. If you're buying a dishwasher on a budget, you'll be especially glad we got a chance to review the atrocious Hotpoint HDA3640DSA, a poorly designed machine that isn't worth your consideration let alone its $459 MSRP.
This machine is especially upsetting to us because it's clearly aimed at the budget buyer, someone who has the most to lose from wasting their money on a lousy machine. We always try to put ourselves in consumers' shoes, so we were livid after our week with this dishwasher.
Design & Usability
Ugly, impractical, and completely opposed to the general decency of ergonomics
This dishwasher is clunky and uncomfortable. “Uncomfortable?” you may be asking yourself. “How can a dishwasher be uncomfortable? Are you wearing the thing like a dress? You nuts?” I’ll tell you how this thing is uncomfortable: The handle—if you want to call it that—is so sharp that it quite literally cuts into your skin. Sanding the edges of the door handle? For this Hotpoint, that's just too much to ask.
We’re not kidding—this handle inflicts pain. And you’re not even rewarded by a wash tub made of gold, or stainless steel. It's a plastic tub, which does a lousy job masking the noise of the wash process.
Now let’s talk about the control panel. There's no problem with the design: visually, it's a Reagan-era throwback with its dial selector and clunky plastic push buttons. The problem is that it feels so darn cheap. Turn that dial and you'll hear random clanging, like you were trying to start a lawnmower engine for the first time in a decade. The plastic console itself feels like it could fall off at any moment, and the “stainless-ish” front screams "budget!"
The only two features can't be considered "features," because they're necessary for the most basic wash.
There are just two features on this machine—Hi Temp Wash and Heated Dry. Yes, these two features are standard on most dishwashers.
Without the Hi Temp Wash option, the Normal cycle reached a measly 119.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is downright embarrassing compared to any other machine we've tested. You might as well wash your dishes with tap water on a hot day in Phoenix. Even with the Hi Temp option on, the machine still only reached 131.6 degrees. The other “feature,” the Heated Dry, was similarly frustrating, in that there was virtually no drying stage without it.
Without the Heated Dry option engaged, the wash tub wouldn’t even drain the water left over from a cycle let alone dry the dishes. Seriously, each cycle ended with roughly a gallon of filthy dishwater just sloshing around at the base of the tub. Multiple consumer reviews we've read complain about the same flaw.
So is there any positive “feature” of the HDA3640DSA? I would argue no. It’s true that this machine is highly efficient (read our Science section for more on this), but that’s only because it doesn’t spend enough time or energy actually doing what it’s supposed to be doing, which is cleaning dishes. Once again, this machine finds a way to dupe you.
Inconsistent and inadequate—any questions?
This machine performs as well as you’d expect from a cheap dishwasher with a single wash arm and lackluster heating element: dismally.
First of all, there is no quick cycle, although you could certainly use the dial start a wash part way into the Normal wash, but that’s just silly—as it would do little more than dampen your dish stains.
It’s not often that a Normal cycle performs better than the Heavy, but in this case it did. This isn’t because the Normal wash is uniformly superior, it’s because the Hotpoint's Pots & Pans cycle was incredibly inconsistent in its performance. Not to excuse this machine’s overall poor performance, but the Normal wash was at least consistent. Each stain it tackled ended up between 95 to 99 percent clean.
The main problem with this machine was "redeposit" – when a dishwasher sprays the food particles it's washed off onto formerly clean dishes halfway through the wash process. It was also incredibly loud and took its sweet old time to complete.
Plain and simple: Do not buy this dishwasher.
We’ve said this before, but this time we really mean it: Regardless of how dire your financial straits are, there is absolutely no reason to buy this dishwasher. It’s bad. Really bad. So just don’t do it. Please don’t. Don’t you even dare.
We might be willing to turn the other cheek if this machine were available for less than $300, but with an MSRP of $459 it’s upsetting. There is no silver lining; it was inadequate across the board—performance, features, design, usability, capacity, consistency, and reliability. Efficiency was decent, but that’s no excuse when it doesn’t even approach the amount of water and energy needed to complete a halfway decent wash cycle.
Get Our Newsletter
Real advice from real experts. Sign up for our newsletter
Thanks for signing up!