Samsung WaterWall Tall Tub dishwasher review

Samsung’s DW80J9945US dishwasher can blast your crummy dishes clean quietly but not quickly

Samsung WaterWall Tall Tub dishwasher

“The Samsung DW80J9945US is stylish, slick, and quiet, and WaterWall technology works beautifully.”
  • Attractive design
  • Very quiet
  • Lots of cycle options
  • Zone Boost is awesome
  • Long wash cycles
  • Express cycle doesn’t remove all food debris
  • Timer is hidden when the door is closed
MSRP $1,199.00

With its attractive aluminum front and ultra-quiet, ultra-long wash cycles, you might forget the Samsung DW 80J9945US dishwasher is running. Rest assured, when a load takes over three hours to complete, you can bet the dishes and utensils come out pristine. We just wish the Express cycle did as good a job as the longer cycles.

Looking good

The Samsung DW 80J9945US dishwasher can dress up just about any kitchen space, thanks to a slick aluminum front that looks pristine and didn’t seem to attract a lot of fingerprints during testing. Another plus: The dishwasher front works with magnets. So if you’ve been looking for a spot to put that dirty/clean magnet, you’ve found one. About standard size, the DW 80J9945US will fit in a space that measures at least 34 by 24 by 24 inches.

Samsung DW80J9945US
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Like many models currently available, the controls are concealed on the top of the machine, hiding them when the door is closed. That makes it look great, but it’s nearly impossible to see the timer display when while it’s running. That’s a problem with such long wash cycles. This dishwasher doesn’t have a ton of buttons, which makes operation pretty straightforward. On the control panel you’ll find buttons for power, cycle (auto, normal, heavy, delicate, and Express 60), self-clean, upper and lower (you can isolate which nozzle is activated during a washing cycle), Zone Booster, options (sanitize, and Dry+), separate start and delay start buttons, and a timer.

A blue light illuminates when the machine has a wash cycle going. It’s a subtle light, reminiscent of the path lights on an airplane or movie theatre aisle. It also adds a bit of flair to the overall design, so it’s not immediately obvious that this light signals that the dishwasher is doing its thing. During our tests, people often would try to open the door while a cycle was running. It’s not a big deal, of course: The cycle stops and you can restart it. Still, that should tell you how quietly the dishwasher runs.

The Samsung dishwasher has two racks (the upper rack has a built-in wine glass option), two utensil baskets, and a cutlery rack that pulls out from the top of the machine with a removable cutlery pad, which makes it a breeze to put away serving utensils or silverware. Just lift up the pad and bring it to where you store those items in the kitchen. We particularly appreciated that the plastic guides for dishes on the bottom rack could be flipped down, making it ideal for washing pots and pans. While the racks may seem a bit flimsy, that’s definitely not the case. After about a month of heavy use the racks are still secure.

Loaded and ready

We were routinely able to fill the dishwasher to the brim, though we couldn’t completely load 15 place settings, including glasses, as the manual suggests. We could fill the top rack with at least 12 mugs and almost 20 beer glasses. Our kitchen is usually bustling, and the Samsung DW80J9945US could handle plenty and was ready for more.

This is an energy-saving dishwasher, meaning you should expect long washing cycles. Sure, the Express cycle is 60 minutes, but all other wash options are much longer, some surprisingly so. We expect the Heavy cycle to be three hours, but not the everyday Automatic cycle. Even the Delicate cycle is two and a half hours long, and you can’t even add the Sanitize or Dry+ features to it. It’s likely you’ll be doing a lot of loads at night or setting the dishwasher to start before heading out to work. If your kitchen needs to handle a ton of loads in a day, you’ll probably have to rely heavily on the Express cycle.

WaterWall: Worthy or gimmicky?

The big differentiator to the Samsung DW80J9945US versus other models available is its “WaterWall” feature. In an attempt to shake up how dishes get washed, the company has foregone the typical swirling water treatment in favor of a new technology.

People would sometimes open the dishwasher mid-cycle, which should tell you how quietly it runs.

Essentially, the spray arm goes back and forth from the front of the machine to the back; you won’t find that big swirling disc that sits under the bottom rack in most dishwashers.

While this is an interesting concept, how well does it work? WaterWall didn’t exactly blow our minds, but dishes generally came out clean. When we used the Zone Boost feature, pots, dishes, and cutlery came out pristine. That wasn’t the case for everyday loads that we ran using the Express cycle, however. Generally, items were cleaned, but dishes that had stuck on food or grime prior to washing still had some residue after an Express wash. Even the door was still streaked with coffee splashes. We should note there was still a bit of water on a few cups when the cycle completed as well. That said, the more heavy-duty cycles took care of stuck on food with aplomb.

Quietly cleaning

The only real noise you hear emitted from the machine is when the cycle is complete, and that’s the sound of draining water. Depending on your household, this may be the biggest selling point of this Samsung dishwasher: It is exceptionally quiet. At the loudest point, the DW80J9945US registered 54 decibels, which lasted only a couple of minutes at the end of the cycle. For reference, that’s about on par with the noise of an operating refrigerator. Considering that most washing cycles last about three hours, this is a good thing. Plus a lovely little melody plays when the wash is done. Be careful when opening the door right when a load is complete – we found some of the items were still a bit hot to the touch.

In addition to running numerous cycles, we went that extra mile to dirty some dishes for some tests. We smothered dishes and silverware with honey, peanut butter, BBQ sauce, and salsa with melted cheese and let them sit out before wiping them off. Add to that the dirty utensils, a bowl with salsa and melted cheese that got warmed in the microwave, and coffee cups that held warmed half and half and others that had espresso … that’s one tough load. We ran it on the Heavy cycle with a Zone Boost to the right side where we stacked everything (you pick where to focus a Zone Boost, which makes a huge difference).

The DT Accessory Pack

Up your game with these accessories, hand picked by DT editors:

The Homemakers Dish kitchen towels, set of 4 ($22)
Although, there’s actually no handle to hang these from…

InterDesign Gia sponge holder ($7)
Sequester your sponge.

Patriot Web Design Clean/Dirty dishwasher magnet ($6.50)
Erase any doubt.

After a cycle that lasted 3 hours and 39 minutes, our dishes came out pristine for the most part, though one spoon at the bottom of the silverware holder had some debris.

Conclusion

Overall, the Samsung DW80J9945US does a decent job of cleaning dishes on a daily basis, but the Heavy cycle and the Zone Boosts were always more reliable than the Regular. The biggest quibble we have is that most of the cycles are long and the shortest one doesn’t do as good of a job cleaning as we would like. Still, if you have time on your hands to run the dishwasher for hours, this stylish Samsung model could be a good fit.

Highs

  • Attractive design
  • Very quiet
  • Lots of cycle options
  • Zone Boost is awesome

Lows

  • Long wash cycles
  • Express cycle doesn’t remove all food debris
  • Timer is hidden when the door is closed

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