The LG LDS5040ST really stood out for us, and not just because it looks like its from the era of cassette players and Zack Morris portable phones. Although we were impressed by its cleaning performance, the LDS5040ST also provided us with some of the worst efficiency scores we’ve seen. For consumers in areas where water and power costs are higher, this is a big deal, and we have the raw numbers to help you decide if you might want to consider a greener dishwasher.
Where's the rewind button?
Even with a stainless steel door giving away that it’s a dishwasher, the LDS5040ST’s gray, front-facing control panel might have you mistaking it for a VCR. The row of large, rectangular buttons and the digital cycle timer really adds to that retro look. Maybe LG had some spare parts lying around.
The advantage of kicking it old-school is that those large buttons are very responsive. With an audible click, pressing the keys is reminiscent of changing the channel on an old CRT TV, except that it doesn’t make your hair stand on end. You also don’t have to worry about the LDS5040ST making you go blind if you’re standing too close to it.
The LDS5040ST’s interior is stainless steel and spacious. The racks are highly adjustable, with every row of tines on the bottom rack being collapsible. The full-size cutlery basket gives plenty of room for silverware and serving utensils, while the top rack features two rows of tines with adjustable angles.
Impressive Normal and Power Scrub cycles.
The LDS5040ST is a top-notch performer, especially given its upfront cost. Normal and Power Scrub cycles had no trouble removing the milk, meat, tea, and oatmeal stains. The Power Scrub cycle also handled the burnt cheese, burnt sugar, and baked-on lasagna tests without any problems, and scored an impressive 99.94% on the spinach test. Across the three cycles we tested, redeposit was noticeable enough to affect the scores slightly, but not to a disastrous extent.
Its Quick cycle wasn’t quite as impressive, as sizeable chunks of milk, meat, and oatmeal stains were left behind. It also clocked in at 90 minutes, which might not be fast enough for some people’s expectations. We’ve tested other machines with quick cycles that were closer to 60 minutes, and some of those even did a better job at washing the dishes. This is the cycle to avoid unless you have a load that is lightly soiled or only recently used.
Higher water and power demands compared to other machines.
If you have plans to reduce your carbon footprint, the LDS5040ST will only disappoint you. Easily the machine’s greatest weakness, the LDS5040ST uses ghastly amounts of water and power. The Normal cycle, which you are expected to use the most often, consumes 7.65 gallons of hot water and 1.05 kWh of electricity with each run. The Power Scrub cycle is an even worse offender, taking 9.08 gallons of water while using 1.22 kWh of power. Interestingly, the Quick cycle’s water and power usage is much closer to the rates of other machines, only using 5.92 gallons of water and 0.52 kWh of electricity. Unfortunately, this is also the cycle we recommend you avoid due to its mediocre performance. Our estimated annual cost for running this machine is $42.62, while most of the other machines we've tested are closer to $32.
Something old, something new.
The LDS5040ST shares the exact same list of cycles and features as the LDS5540ST. For cycles, you have Normal, Power Scrub, Quick, Delicate, and Upper Only. For additional wash options, you have Sanitary, Extra Dry, and Extra Rinse. A Delay Start that can be set from one to 19 hours and a Child Lock finish off the list of extras.
And of course, there’s Smart Diagnosis: just because the controls look retro doesn’t mean the technology has to be. Smart Diagnosis is a way for the dishwasher to, in the event of a malfunction, communicate with LG’s customer service the exact nature of the breakdown. You can learn more about it from this article, but the main takeaway is that troubleshooting and repairs are greatly streamlined thanks to this technology.
So much for going green.
The LDS5040ST had impressive scores for most of our tests. On Normal cycle passes, we found that many of the milk, meat, and oatmeal stains were successfully removed. Unfortunately, their perfect scores were marred by minor but noticeable bits of redeposit—when flecks of washed-off stains end up on previously clean dishes. The Power Scrub cycle had this same problem. But for a cycle that you are expected to use for everyday loads, which would never be as dirty as our challenging test loads, this was a strong performer.
The Quick cycle did surprisingly well with the spinach stains, but wasn’t so great with the other stains. Given how much of the other soils got left behind in this cycle, we would recommend limiting its use to loads containing only light soils or very recently used dishes.
The main drawback to the LDS5040ST’s performance is the heavy water and power consumption. With a Normal cycle that takes 7.65 gallons of hot water each run and consumes 1.05 kWh of electricity, the LDS5040ST will put a noticeable mark on your utility bills. Our estimated annual cost for running this machine is $42.62, which is about 30% higher than most of the other machines we've tested. We also found that cycles take a long time to run. For a more detailed analysis of this machine’s efficiency, check out the Science page.
Highly adjustable tines and easily fits 11 place settings
The LDS5040ST can fit 11 place settings and a serving setting. The interior is built almost exactly like the LDS5540ST’s, with only a minor difference in the top rack. Featuring a large amount of space and plenty of adjustable tines, we were pretty satisfied with this dishwasher’s capacity.
Wonderful dishwasher; terrible conservationist.
The LDS5040ST won’t let you watch VHS tapes while you cook, despite an appearance that suggests otherwise. It can, however, wash your dishes, and it does a pretty good job of it. While the design is going to be hit or miss depending on your taste, the controls are very simple and responsive. A good selection of cycles and wash options are also available, and Smart Diagnosis is always a plus. The major drawback about the LDS5040ST is that it doesn’t even pretend to be going green. If you’re concerned about your utility bills, there are other machines that consume significantly less water and electricity than this blast from the past.
Meet the tester
Johnny Yu writes news, features, and reviews for Reviewed.com. He graduated from U-Mass Boston with a Bachelor's in Social Psychology and spends much of his free time expanding his gaming horizons. Sometimes, he does his laundry at work.
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