The first time we encountered the DW80H9970US was on the show floor of the 2014 International CES. On the outside, it looked like a luxurious, stainless steel dishwasher. But on the inside, it wowed us with a unique new method of washing dishes and left us eager to test the new technology in our appliance lab.
See, all other dishwashers rely on a spinning wash arm that sprays water onto dirty dishes. But this Samsung uses a new technology that the company calls WaterWall. It's a motorized sprayer that moves back and forth across the entire bottom of the tub—a moving "wall" of spray jets. This video does a good job showing how it works.
We've finally put WaterWall technology to the test, and can confidently say that this Samsung is among the best-performing dishwashers on the market. And because it's part of Samsung's high-end Chef Collection, this machine also comes equipped with amenities like a third rack, touch controls, and a wide range of cycles and wash options. Yes, it's expensive. But that's the price of being an early adopter.
Just a few steps away from perfect
The DW80H9970US showed no noticeable instances of redeposit on any of the cycles we tested. However, we did notice that food particles were left behind on the inside of some of the bowls, which are loaded facing sideways on the lower rack. We suspect a combination of that positioning and the WaterWall's upward spray pattern meant that some areas of deep bowls end up not getting enough water.
That said, the DW80H9970US's overall cleaning performance was still superb. The Normal cycle removed nearly every stain in under two hours, and the Heavy cycle was even more thorough, although it took three hours to run. This cycle left minuscule amounts of lasagna, burnt cheese, meat, and egg behind without redepositing any stains.
Even the Express 60 cycle cleaned very well. Fast cycles tend not to be as thorough, especially with tough, sticky stains like oatmeal; Express 60 scored 99.97% on oatmeal removal. The cycle took an average of 72 minutes, though, so it didn't quite live up to its name.
Even the display is unique.
The DW80H9970US has an unmistakably high-end appearance. Clad entirely in stainless steel with a control panel hidden on top of the door, the Chef Collection and Samsung logos proudly stand out. Keep that in mind if you prefer your dishwasher to blend in.
There's a cleverly-engineered timer display on the front that uses tiny holes backlit by LED lighting. Samsung calls it Star Display, and it's nearly invisible when it's not on. The bright blue coloring matches the indicator lights on the control panel, which features a more traditional digital display.
Touch controls are hit-or-miss, but on the DW80H9970US, they're a sure hit. The buttons are responsive without being too sensitive, and unlike glossy plastic control panels, they are somewhat resistant to smudges and blemishes.
Sitting at the bottom of the DW80H9970US's stainless steel tub lies the source of its cleaning power: the WaterWall spray jets. The mechanism consists of a stationary "wall" of six high-intensity nozzles and a moving bar that deflects those jets upwards and at different angles. As the bar moves along its track, it creates a wall of water that travels back and forth, ensuring that every portion of the tub gets a healthy dose of H2O.
The DW80H9970US's third rack has one neat trick not found in other dishwashers: a removable rubber pad. Samsung calls this Flextray, and it lets you easily and conveniently carry off all your silverware after the wash.
Other, more familiar options inside the DW80H9970US include fold-down cup shelves, adjustable tines, and multiple height settings for the upper rack. We were able to fit 11 place settings and a single serving setting inside the DW80H9970US.
Assuming direct control
The five cycles on the DW80H9970US are Auto, Normal, Heavy, Delicate, and Express 60. Nothing new here, but it's a wide selection that will take care of most of your dishwashing needs.
Of course, what's a high-end machine without a boatload of options? The DW80H9970US has a feature called Zone Booster, which lets you intensify the spray jets on the left or right of the lower rack. Combine that with the Upper and Lower Rack-only options and you can literally control which parts of the tub get the most attention.
There are also some familiar faces, such as Sanitize, which adds some heat to water, and Dry+, a feature that adds extra drying time. A Child Lock and a Delay that can be set for 1-24 hours round out the list of available options.
Despite generating a wall of water, the DW80H9970US isn't any thirstier than other machines.
One of the areas we were especially curious about was the WaterWall's water consumption. According to our tests, the DW80H9970US doesn't use any more water or electricity than the average dishwasher currently on the market. The estimated annual cost: $27.56.
Broken down by cycle, Normal took 0.59 kWh of power and 2.63 gallons of hot water, Heavy took 1.10 kWh of power and 6.64 gallons of water, and Express 60 used 0.69 kWh of power and 4.08 gallons of water. These numbers all hover around the average of what other dishwashers would consume for their equivalent cycles.
Flextray and a host of adjustable supports makes loading easy
Between the Flextray rubber mat on the third rack, the large number of foldable tines of the bottom rack, and the cup shelves and adjustable height of the top rack, the DW80H9970US gives you many options when it comes to loading. We were able to fit 11 standardized place settings and a serving setting inside the spacious interior.
This wall is rock solid.
We were very interested to see how well the WaterWall's revolutionary new wash mechanism would perform. After all, there's nothing else out there like it.
After a week of testing, we observed excellent outcomes. The Normal cycle did an especially impressive job with removing stains. Although it wasn't perfect, the cycle still posted results that were worthy of a high-end dishwasher. It also took less than two hours to run, which is always a plus.
The Heavy cycle took a little over three hours to complete, but it delivered a more thorough cleaning performance. Only trace amounts of spinach, burnt cheese, and baked-on lasagna were left after our tests.
Express 60 is the name of the DW80H9970US's fast-cleaning cycle, but it took an average of 72 minutes to complete during our testing. For a quick cycle, it did a pretty decent job removing some of the tougher stains, like dried oatmeal.
Some dishwashers can spread food particles from one plate to another during the wash, making previously clean dishes dirty again. It's a phenomenon known as redeposit, and it even happens to some high-end machines. That never happened in our tests of the DW80H9970US.
A problem we did notice, however, was that some food particles consistently remained on the bottom lips of bowls placed in the bottom rack. We suspect that upward-facing streams of water didn't reach those spots, and suggest that Samsung include angled tines in any product updates to ensure that curved items get total coverage.
We estimated that the typical consumer will spend $27.56 yearly to run the DW80H9970US, which is around average for dishwasher water and energy consumption.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
The WaterWall is a great defense against dirty dishes.
It's rare to see an appliance fundamentally redesigned, but that's what happened here. Samsung's WaterWall motorized moving wash arm is unlike anything we've ever seen, and our tests make a convincing case for its effectiveness.
The DW80H9970US isn't just about the WaterWall, though. As an expensive, luxury dishwasher in the same league as the Bosch SHE8PT55UC and the GE Monogram ZDT870SSFSS , it comes with a beautiful forward-facing timer display, responsive touch controls, and a third rack.
If you already have other appliances from Samsung's Chef Collection series in your kitchen, the DW80H9970US will be a welcome addition. And if you're an early adopter of new technology, you can now claim a dishwasher unlike any other.
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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