“This Electrolux E1241D81S dishwasher will look good in any kitchen, but lacks basic cleaning functionality.”
- Straightforward settings
- When opening mid-cycle, the load picks up where it left off
- Third tray on top
- Runs quiet
- Doesn’t do the best job cleaning dishes
- No light indicating that it’s running
- Front panel isn’t magnetic
Dishwashers these days are really upping the game with cleaning technology and overall functionality. They run quieter than ever, and many now feature more flexibility with adjustable racks, or in some cases, third racks.
The Electrolux EI24ID81SS is no different – on paper anyway. The dishwasher has a third shelf, adjustable racks, and is quiet to a fault (we couldn’t tell if it was on or not).
It has a streamlined design that’s not overly stylish or modern, and sports just the right number of cleaning cycles with both icons and cycle names along the top panel of the machine. We ran dozens of loads of dishes in the Electrolux E1241D81S ($900), and despite all the bells and whistles it features, thought the machine could use some improvement in cleaning performance.
The Electrolux EI24ID81SS dishwasher is fairly non-descript: a simple stainless-steel cover and a long bar across the top, much like the Maytag MDB8969SDM. Unlike that model, though, the Electrolux has no branding on the outside, which could make it ideal for a kitchen that doesn’t want to boast the brand names of the appliances within it.
The bad news is that the front of the unit isn’t magnetic, so you can’t use one of those fun dirty/clean magnets to let you know the status of the dishes inside. This machine could also use some sort of indicator light letting the owner know that it’s running. It runs extremely quiet (a good thing) but doesn’t have any lights to suggest when it’s in use (a not-so-good thing).
This was a problem in our testing kitchen, as we resorted to post-it notes alerting people of the status of the dishes in the dishwasher.
The inside of the dishwasher is ultra-customizable, so fill it to the rim however you prefer.
Inside the unit, you’ll find a silverware/knife/utensil tray at the very top, an adjustable upper rack, and a lower rack with fold down tines and a removable cutlery/silverware basket. It’s clear that a lot of thought was given to outfitting the inside of the dishwasher, allowing people to fill it to the rim in whatever fashion they prefer.
The cups and saucers shelf is easy to adjust – move it up or down to make room for larger glasses on either the top or the bottom. You can also lift the stemware rack (ideal for securing your stemmed glasses in place) and fold down the cup shelf holder to handle even more bowls. The bottom shelf is spacious, and you can adjust the tines to easily accommodate larger bowls and pots. Be careful sliding it out, though, because if you pull too hard it can slide right off the tracks. The system in place for rolling the racks out isn’t as sturdy as we’ve seen in other models.
We found it puzzling that the dishwasher came with an extra caddy for cutlery considering it had the dedicated shelf on top. That said, the caddy is easy to remove and is a good way to handle larger cooking utensils like spatulas. All told, it allows for extra flexibility.
As for features, the Electrolux model has its fair share, and we applaud the company for not making them overly complicated. There are four energy options: hi-temp, sanitize, air dry (which does double duty as the child lock button), and max dry. Be aware that adding these options to a cycle can extend the already long wash times to up to three hours. To be fair, in the day of energy-saving appliances, most dishwashing cycles tend to run long.
The eight washing cycles include: auto, heavy, normal, eco (good for pre-rinsed dishes), rinse (plan on washing the dishes later), fast, upper (focuses on the silverware tray on the top), and stemware (ideal for china and crystal). If you’re in any kind of hurry, pick the fast setting—it only takes 30 minutes, whereas the other cycles can take at least two hours to complete and longer if you add drying features.
This is one of the quieter dishwashers we’ve tested.
The eight wash cycles are distinguished by both name and icon on the top panel of the dishwasher. Simply press the cycle you want, add any additional drying options you desire, and that’s it. How long the load should take will display on the status window on the top panel. There’s no real rocket science needed to figure out which cycle you’re choosing or how long it will run. That’s not where we had an issue.
As noted before, one problem with this dishwasher is that it’s nearly impossible to tell when the machine starts a cycle unless you’re standing next to it with your ear pressed to the panel listening intently. There’s no light or anything. Most dishwashers available today provide some way of letting you know it’s in operation, whether via a light on the front panel, or numbers telling you how long the load will last on the top panel.
The dishes on the top shelf didn’t always come out clean despite rinsing items before placing them into the dishwasher.
With this unit, we had to get creative with the post-it notes in our testing office, literally sticking one on that said “running” and another that noted that the dishwasher was “now accepting dirty dishes” because so many opened it not knowing it was in the middle of a cycle.
The good news is that this is one of the quietest dishwashers we tested. During our tests, the highest decibel level we recorded was 58.3, which is about equivalent to the sound of an electric toothbrush. If you’re tired of overly loud appliances, the Electrolux won’t disappoint.
One of the interesting energy-saving features found in the machine is DishSense Technology, which, according to Electrolux, can determine how dirty the dishes are in a load and then adjust the cycle accordingly. A wonderful idea — if it works. Like many appliances today, enabling energy-saving efficiencies is important. But if you end up running the same load more than once, which is what we had to do to get our dishes clean, then it’s not all that efficient.
During a month of testing, we ran loads on all the settings to see how well the machine performed. Unfortunately, the dishes and even some of the silverware on the top shelf didn’t always come out clean despite rinsing items before placing them into the dishwasher. To really put the unit through its paces, we smeared two big plates, one small plate, a bowl, a knife, fork, and spoon with chunky peanut butter, Nutella, maple syrup, cream cheese, hummus, mustard, and hot sauce and let them sit out for two hours.
We did a quick scrape of the dishes to remove peanut pieces from the chunky peanut butter. After that, we placed them in the dishwasher without rinsing and ran the load on Heavy cycle. About three hours later, the results were not as we hoped. We found an orange-like residue on one plate, while others had clear streaks (as if waiting for a rinse), and there was still a lip print on a glass.
In other tests throughout the course of a month, we often had to re-wash plates and spoons that we found with left-over residue after a regular cycle. With that said, though, we did find that we pulled out clean dishes about 75 percent of the time. We just wish that number was closer to 100 percent.
The Electrolux dishwasher comes with a one-year limited warranty. The company will repair or replace any parts that prove to be defective in materials or workmanship. You can also get replacements for the dishwasher tub or the electronic control model for up to the first five years of ownership. Additionally, the stainless tub and door liner of the dishwasher are covered by a lifetime limited warranty.
We really wanted to like the Electrolux EI24ID81SS dishwasher, but it just fell a little short. While we appreciated the thoughtful touches found in the racks inside the machine, we couldn’t get past the fact that it just doesn’t do a good job cleaning dishes. And let’s face it: it’s the one thing it should do well, especially at this price point.
Is there a better alternative?
There are better alternatives, such as the LG LDP6797ST dishwasher, which does a phenomenal job getting unrinsed dishes clean. While that model is about a year old, it also costs less (you can find it for around $800), making it more affordable and a better buy than the Electrolux E1241D81S.
How long will it last?
On average, dishwashers should last between eight to 12 years. Electrolux has an overall great reputation as an appliance maker, and isn’t going away. Also, considering it has a non-descript front panel, this Electrolux model likely won’t go out of style anytime soon.
Should you buy it?
You’ll probably be doing yourself a favor if you skip purchasing this machine. It struggled to get dishes clean even on its most heavy-duty cycle. Chances are high that the performance isn’t going to improve with time or by using high-end dishwashing liquids. Bells and whistles aside, the most important feature of a dishwasher should be its ability to clean dishes.
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