Searching for a new dishwasher? Whether you have started your search because your current dishwasher broke (as is evidenced by the volume of duct tape holding it together) or you are building a new home, it is possible that you may end up overwhelmed by the hundreds of choices and thousands of reviews.
What is even more frustrating is when you think you are close to making your decision and then seemingly overnight you are finding more information about how the dishwasher you chose is worse than your last choice and now you will feel like you will need to start all over. That overwhelming thought leads you to just add another roll of duct tape to your shopping list and postpone making a dishwasher decision.
Should you find yourself in analysis paralysis, I think that would be a good time to step back, take a deep breath, and continue reading for some insider knowledge you will rarely find online or even in most stores.
Having been in the appliance industry for 10+ years, I have gained a lot of knowledge from manufacturers in attending factory trainings and by discussing/debating product merits with their representatives. Equally informative are all of the conversations that take place in-store in discussing with customers about their wants, needs and issues with past appliances. I am hoping that some, or all, of what I have learned will help make your decision easier and worry free.
As with any other industry, every dishwasher brand makes claims that their dishwashers are the best. Also, as with any other industry, each brand has representatives that visit stores to “sell” their brand to sales people. Their job is to support retailers with display models, advertising, lead time of new models arriving and train sales staff on what makes their brand better than the competition and why you should sell more of their brand than their competitors. Further down the line they will also be able to assist us with any issue that you may have with your purchase.
Objectively, there just has be one brand that outperforms all the other brands…
Let’s look at an example. The factory rep for Company X will explain why the new Company X dishwashers are better than other brands of dishwashers. Company X may claim to have the lowest repair rate of any other brand of dishwashers and hence the best reliability. The only problem with this is that every brand cannot all have the best dishwasher. Objectively, there just has be one brand that outperforms all the other brands of dishwashers.
- What criteria do we look at when it comes to the performance of a dishwasher?
- Performance: how will this dishwasher clean and dry dirty dishes?
- Will I have to use a drying agent?
- Does it require scraping and rinsing for the best results?
- Appearance: Does it look good? Does it match my current appliances?
- Reliability: How reliable is it?
- Energy Consumption: Does it save energy vs. my current model?
- Wash Versatility / Duration: Which wash cycles does it have?
- How fast are those cycles?
- Safety: What about leak protection?
- Quietness: How quiet is the dishwasher?
- Capacity: How many place settings or dishes can fit in one load?
- How flexible are the racks for odd shaped pieces?
- Price: For all of the qualities listed above, is it a good value?
With the above criteria in place, I feel that one brand of dishwasher stands alone and that brand is Bosch. You may have heard of Bosch, however the brand is not as well known in the United States as they are in Europe and Asia. Bosch was begun in 1886 in Stuttgart, Germany by Robert Bosch as the
“Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering”. Bosch’s first dishwasher rolled off the factory assembly line in 1964 and was marketed with the promise of saving time, work and water.
As time progresses, Bosch becomes known as the go-to for a quiet top performing dishwashing machine. As you see in the ads pictured, the quietness of their machines became a focal point in their advertising as early as 1990 and continues today.
Currently, the majority of Bosch dishwashers (ASCENTA, 300 Series, 500 Series and 800 Series) are made in their New Bern, North Carolina manufacturing facility. Bosch employs enough North Carolinians to make them one of the largest employers in North Carolina.
One final disclaimer — Before I explain why buying a Bosch dishwasher is a wise decision that you will not regret, I do want to say that Bosch may not be the best fit for every single customer. Purchasers that are uber sensitive to drying performance or anyone looking for the absolute cheapest dishwasher can stop reading here. In my experience, there is no single product that can please 100% of people 100% of the time. That having been typed, in general, odds are that you’re going to love everything that the Bosch dishwasher will do for your dishes.
In my own experience, I have had more compliments for Bosch dishwashers from my customers than any other brand. People will call me after they have had time with their dishwasher to try it out and they will just rave about the silence and how well it actually cleans. Bosch is also the most requested dishwasher when customers come into the store. Most people have used them in rental homes or apartments and having used them at a friend or family members house and have to have one. Have I also had service calls for them? Of course. No brand of dishwasher will be trouble free, but those calls are much fewer and farther between when compared to other brands. Beyond my personal experience, I do want to lay down some hard data for you as well.
My first data point I would like to look at is reliability from Consumer Reports. After polling 42,108 people that had purchased a dishwasher between 2012 and 2016 about their experiences, they came up with the following data. In terms of reliability of dishwasher brands, Bosch Dishwashers came out on top.
Reviewed.com, a major reviewer of appliances and other items, in March of 2018, called the Bosch 800 Series dishwasher “…the best dishwasher we’ve ever tested.” The model that they tested was item SHPM98W75N (now replaced by SHPM88Z75N)and they touted the following features:
- More folding tines on the first rack – This offers flexibility in how you load the dishwasher.
- Even more quietness – ambient noise levels range from 42dBA to 39dBA on this series. (more on that in a bit)
- The MyWay™ rack – A rack available on SHEM78Z55N and SHPM88Z75N designed and angled to fit small items like espresso cups, ramekins and ceral bowls.
- Touch controls – the 800 Series has capacitive touch controls, so just a light touch starts the machine.
- Smartphone connectivity – SHE88PZ65N is the model that is compatible with Bosch’s Home Connect smartphone app.
More about quietness
As we mentioned previously, one can hardly mention a Bosch dishwasher without someone asking “How quiet are they, really?” Pretty darn quiet! Bosch dishwashers are very quiet and barely noticeable running at an average of 44 decibels, or dBA. They offer even quieter models in the 800 and Benchmark series but most ears cannot tell the difference. So lets look at the scale below.
I, personally, had a roll away dishwasher in the past, that I would swear clocked in between industrial noise and pneumatic drill. For this example, lets just look at the high end of the Bosch dishwasher decibel range of 49dBA. That falls somewhere between your bedroom and the average ambient noise of a wind turbine. That is pretty darn quiet. If you opt for one of the Bosch 800 series or Benchmark series, you are looking at 30-something dBA, about the sound of your bedroom. When installed correctly, you will not even hear your dishwasher run at that level!
Product Lineup and Prices
You can find ASCENTA hybrid tubs, not a fully stainless steel tub, which range about 50 dBA (wind turbine) and only two racks for as low as $499 on sale. The 300 series is often considered the best overall value with a full stainless-steel tub, adjustable tines, adjustable height on the second rack, a third rack for silverware and utensils, 30 – 60 minute speed wash cycles, and great washing and drying performance. The average price ranges from $600-$800 on 300 series. The highest ranked and considered the most featured models for the price would be the 800 series models that range from $850-$1,250 on sale. The 800 series is what is usually ranked as #1 in dishwashers across all brands from websites that test and review appliances.
I hope that the information that I was able to provide has helped inform you more about Bosch dishwashers. When in doubt, selecting a Bosch dishwasher is a very wise decision when purchasing a new dishwasher.