About the LG LDFN4542S dishwasher
- Dimensions: 33.63" x 23.75" x 24.63" (H x W x D)
- Finishes: White, Smooth Black, Print-proof Stainless Steel ($80 extra), Black Stainless Steel ($130 extra)
- Cycles: Auto, Heavy, Delicate, Normal, Turbo, Download Cycle, Machine Clean, Rinse, Express
- Cycle options: Dual Zone, Half Load, Energy Saver, High Temp, Extra Dry, Delay Start, Control Lock, Night Dry
- User manual: LG LDFN4542S dishwasher manual
What we like
The Heavy cycle performs the best of its cycle selections
While we aren’t terribly impressed with the LG LDFN4542S’s cleaning power overall (more on this in a minute), its Heavy cycle does a decent job cleaning. Consequently, this is the cycle we recommend using as a default.
The LG LDFN4542S’s Heavy cycle was able to clean away an average of 98.49% of our test stains, which is about a 10% improvement over its other cycles and slightly better than the average dishwasher’s performance.
Even though the Heavy cycle cleans better, our test results indicate that it also has more redeposit than with either Normal or Express, because the Heavy cycle reuses its wash water more.
It has an adjustable upper rack and smart features for additional functionality
Having trouble fitting a few taller items in the middle or lower rack? No problem: The LG LDFN4542S’s middle rack can be adjusted vertically, allowing you to give either the lower or upper rack a bit more vertical clearance.
Rounding out the LDFN4542S’s usability features is its Wi-Fi connectivity, which grants you access to LG’s smart app, ThinQ. The app lets you track diagnostics and control the appliance remotely.
What we don’t like
Its cleaning power is underwhelming for a dishwasher at this price point
Most dishwashers are able to get dishes between 96% and 98% clean after a wash, depending on the cycle. Numbers are almost always in the mid-to-high 90% range, because people tend to have a relatively high bar for when dishes are considered “clean.”
Generally anything more than a few specks is going to go back in for a second wash cycle.
While the LG LDFN4542S is able to get decent cleaning numbers on its Heavy cycle, its Normal and Express cycles disappoint big time, only cleaning away 87.61% and 88.82% of the total stains respectively—a significant step down from an average performance.
While many of the plates were completely clean after a cycle, the LDFN4542S seemed to have some consistency issues with its wash arms, leading to a few stubborn stains stowed in certain locations only getting 10% to 20% clean.
It has some trouble with redeposit
Redeposit is what happens when a dishwasher’s filter doesn’t completely remove all of the solid waste from the washing water before recirculating it.
The result? Otherwise spotless dishes with little flecks of food stuck to them.
The LG LDFN4542S has some minor issues with redeposit that get worse the longer the cycle is. That means you’ll see more specks after a Heavy cycle than you would after running an Express cycle, because the Heavy cycle reuses its wash water more.
Depending on the types of food you eat, this problem may be more or less significant. For example, plant-based powders or sauces with small particulates will likely result in more redeposit than other foods, and you can mitigate the problem by rinsing off your dishes before a wash cycle.
Its third rack is more shallow than average
Depending on what kinds of cooking utensils you regularly use, this could either be a complete non-issue or a dealbreaker. The third rack is traditionally used for storing items that are too large for the cutlery basket, like spatulas and ladles, but the LDFN4542S had some trouble accommodating even a relatively flat serving spoon: Its upturned edge was just tall enough to get caught on the ceiling’s edge.
Third racks are traditionally shallow, but can usually accommodate just about any large utensil and even small bowls. Just keep in mind you might not be able to keep everything you want up there.
What owners are saying
Owners seem to be happy with their LDFN4542S, awarding it a 4.3 out of 5 stars across major retailers. Those who have left praise for the dishwasher think it does a decent job cleaning, has relatively quiet operation, and find its adjustable middle rack helpful. Complaints mostly center around the third rack not being as useful as on other models and on the unit’s lack of cleaning power.
LG covers parts and labor for one year, with extensions for the electronic control board and racks (up to 5 years), the direct drive motor (up to 10 years), and the stainless steel tub has a lifetime guarantee.
Considering the industry standard is just one year for parts and service, we’re happy with how LG goes above and beyond to ensure the quality of their dishwashers.
Should you buy the LG LDFN4542S dishwasher?
No—This average dishwasher is too expensive for what it offers
The LG LDP6810SS’s washing performance is below average across the board, and the unit has trouble with redeposit dirtying up otherwise clean dishes.
While the lower racks are fine and do their jobs well, the third rack doesn’t have enough clearance for a ladle—and larger utensils like ladles and spatulas are the main use-case for a third rack.
While we don’t think the LDP6810SS will completely let you down, we also think it’s currently overpriced for what it does offer: We equate its performance on par with a decent budget model—so, if you can find the LG LDFN4542S on sale for a few hundred dollars off, pick it up.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with over ten years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.
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