Dishwashers - trying to choose in SF Bay Area

homey_birdJanuary 29, 2014

Hi everyone,

I know that this is a routine topic around here and I also have read through most current threads on this topic. They were very helpful and in general, in the high-end arena, Miele and Bosch seem to be the two favored dishwashers. So I am inviting the board members to share their opinions on those two, based on some criteria.

I live in SF Bay Area. Water is expensive, and our waste water goes directly in the bay. Therefore, water frugality and ability to work with a good Green dishwasher detergent is very very important. (I am currently using Seventh Generation detergent and am quite happy with it. )

I would love to know from Miela and Bosch owners which Green dishwashing soap they've tried and whether it worked.

Also, I assume all the models with pricing higher than $1200.00 are energy star rated -- but would love to hear stories if anyone has any (pro or against).

Most of my loads are glass, ceramic and stainless steel (mix). I use hardly any plastic (tupperware etc.) but it may change in future. So a separate China cycle, for example, is fairly useless to me. What has been your experience with such type of load?

Noise is an important factor, but the makes/models I am considering do seem to be really quiet. However, I'd love to hear if any caveats in this.

Reliability and longevity are important. I do not mind spending $$'s if that means less hassle later. But I do want to see the money buy reliability. I think most users here have had their dishwashers for under 10 years but how has that experience been and do you think it will go on for another 10?

Service - should be prompt and courteous. Not where a XXX rep will come and act as though the company "bestowed" their product on me. (This, because I heard a lot of complaints on certain brands and their service). Also, waiting for the right parts to arrive for two weeks not work. Hand-washing for 2 weeks would kill me. However, service quality can be specific to a geography, thus I would appreciate some feedback on both Bosch and Miele in SF Bay Area.

Also, Bosch has a lot of models. Consumer Reports rated a $1500.00 model (Ascenta I think) as best. Any feedback regarding this specific model?

Lastly, any recommendations on Miele dealers in SF Bay - South Bay to Peninsula? I can go from San Jose to Redwood City. But do not want to go to San Francisco city looking for a dishwasher.

Thanks a bunch!

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I don't know about Miela, but I believe Bosch uses condensation drying, which could require a rinse aid to get your dishes dry, so while it conserves electricity you're potentially using more chemicals in your water.

My in-laws bought a Bosch and can't get their dishes dry without using a rinse aid, but they're in a different part of the country, so maybe you won't have that problem.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 5:15PM
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I use the Seventh Generation Rinse aid, method detergent (it is the ones with plastic around each pod which melts in the dishwasher) and don't have an issue with my Miele. I also use Miele tabs and Somat with fabulous results too.

If you have hard water, get a Miele with the built in water softener. I would start with the lowest model Miele and go from there, beyond the cycles and most likely a slight difference in noise, they are all good machines. My Miele is now 10yrs old and I have replaced a filter that I damaged when cleaning it.

The rinse aid does not only apply to Euro machines but to the new energy star standard.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Miele is a condensing dryer. I only use rinse aid with it, and those chemicals would generally be poor for the environment if dumped into an ocean or other waterway without some type of pre-treatment.

I own a spartan $899 Miele Classic 4225 is 47 dB and very energy efficient, and I think all Mieles are Energy star I think. I think they get brownie points for not having a "heat" drying cycle, but I don't know the ratings rules for the D.O.E. for dishwashers.

You can go as low as 37 dB for Miele and Bosch for about $1500 to $2500 if money is no object which equates to the quietest on the market.

If doing the install yourself, they are very easy install, but have a few oddities that can cause issues with local inspectors if out-sourcing the install:

-the hose is 7/8* leaving the dishwasher, unlike the typical 5/8" on domestic brands
-good luck finding a siphon break for a 7/8" hose at the top of your sink; I could only find 5/8 x 7/8, not 7/8 x 7/8 needed
-I used the high loop method to make sure it was as siphon resistant as possible.

I've had only for 2 months, but as an appliance engineer by trade (not associated to Miele) I can tell you that the Miele has exquisite craftsmanship and is well thought out in every aspect of the design from installation to the rack design. If you have Corelle dishware, you will be floored by how much will fit in it, even though by volume it may be smaller than a competing GE or KitchenAid.

I'm a basket utensil kind of guy, others like racks, Decide which you are as that will influence your ultimate decision. Bosch had a nice lower model for the top utensil tray at about the same price point.

I can't speak for Miele local service in the Bay area, but I can tell you the one time I called Miele USA for a service part, they picked up the line in about 30 seconds and sent me the part I wanted free of charge, no questions asked, and it arrived in 3 days, Mind you that this was nothing Miele did wrong on their end, it was a part I lost in the mess that was my torn up kitchen. In today's appliance world, this is admirable response to the consumer to "delight me."

Either way, Bosch or Miele, I think you will be quite pleased.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 6:55PM
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I think you might be mis-informed that the cities in the Bay Area allow Raw Sewage to be dumped directly into the bay. The dishwasher drains into the sewage lines and the sewage lines all lead to waste treatment plants. It's my understanding that the Bay Area has some of the strictest rules around when dealing with sewage treatment.

Regarding Rinse Aid... All dishwashers use rinse aid and have a dispenser for rinse aid. I have never found a Bosch or a Miele that used more rinse aid than any other dishwasher.

Water Softener: Both the Bosch and the Miele have models that have built in water softeners. So if you have hard water this may be an option you want.

Regarding Service: I think Bosch has their own technicians in the bay area but I think Miele uses Authorized Servicers.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 7:54PM
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@jakvis, It is true that all dishwashers can use rinse aid and most likely use the same amount, but I've never heard of a heat drying dishwasher that required rinse aid. I have only used a rinse aid once, and only then because it was a free sample. I just leave the dispenser empty.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:51PM
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Hi all, thank you for sharing all the information. I want to keep this discussion going, however, just wanted to clarify my comment regarding waste water. Yes, looks like it gets treated, and so if I use chemicals, they will not kill the marine life but they will use up resources in order to clean up. Also, I have an at least 12-yr old Maytag (noisy) that does a great job with Seventh Generation detergent, and it is my belief that a more expensive and modern, smartly designed dishwasher should at least perform as well with it, if not better. In any case, I should not have to give up on my good choices to go to a modern technology. Therefore, using Green detergent is very important to me.

Thank you again for feedback this far and would appreciate more discussion on this thread!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:57PM
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To quote Tom Lehrer: The breakfast garbage that you throw into the Bay, they drink at lunch in San Jose :-)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 11:25PM
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We actually wanted a Bosch (lower-end model) on paper, other than the condensation drying, but when we got to the store we really disliked the slides used on the racks. When we opened a few of the dishwashers the top rack fell out when we fully extended it (although this could just be an installation problem) and the bottom racks jumped onto the floor.

There was also a Maytag we liked (MDB8959SBS), which had these really smooth ball-bearing slides on the top rack and the bottom rack stayed put when you rolled it out, it was great. It also used heat drying and had a hard food disposer (which is probably what bumped it to 50 dB).

We ended up going with the Maytag and have loved it so far (we've had it about a month). It's a lot quieter than any dishwasher I've ever used, although a few dB louder than a Bosch.

A side not on sewage treatment, it doesn't remove everything from the water, waste water treatment simply uses bacteria to break down sewage. The water that comes out is drinkable, but it's not always the same chemistry as the water that entered the system. Many cities explicitly tell you that they can't remove oils, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, etc.

This post was edited by stmoore1 on Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 13:12

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 9:41AM
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As I said on the other thread, I have a new Bosch dishwasher (higher, but not highest, end - 800 series). We have no problems at all with the racks (a friend has a lower-end model, and the bottom rack on hers does come off the tracks, so it may be model-dependent).

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 11:33AM
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Hi all - just wanted to post an update. Thank you again for everyone's feedback. I spoke to another dealer of Miele here in bay area, and were told that Miele works fine with any powdered dishwasher brand, however, where they recommend Miele's own is if you are using pre-measured quantities such as tablets or sacks.

Looks like I will be familiarizing myself with Rinse Aid but that's life for most Energy Star dishwashers anyway, and Seventh Gen. has a product.

I have not yet figured if our water here is so hard that I will need water softener, but I plan to find out.

Overall, received a very strong feedback on Miele around here, and offline. Also, by Jan 31st, they have a complimentary 5 yr warranty, labor and parts covered, and that sealed the deal. Based on it, we decided on Miele Futura Dimension dishwasher.

Thank you again, I will post if I have any interesting experiences with my new dishwasher.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 10:44PM
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I am in SF BAY area and picked up a never used older model Miele from airport appliance and use the method smarty tabs for the detergent. Having used a few other models in the past including GE, Bosch, Maytag, Kenmore, fisher paykel etc., all I can say is that Miele is brilliant. Actually trusting that you can scrape and load as opposed to rinsing and loading alone saves a ton of water. If you are looking at the water saving impact, I suggest you look at the water usage for the whole process and not just the unit's wash cycle. Maybe you don't need china cycle but the normal and the pots and pans cycle are really really good.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 8:13AM
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As far as water hardness, it depends where in the Bay area you live. If you are in San Francisco or south til about Palo Alto, your water mainly comes from Hetch Hetchy and is pretty pure and soft. If you're just south of there like me or beyond including San Jose and Silicon Valley, much of your water can come from groundwater sources and is pretty hard.

I just put in a water softener last week - they seem uncommon for this area even though water can be fairly hard, but I learned about them visiting my parents in Las Vegas where the water is very hard. With zero hardness I may even try doing without rinse aid altogether.

Our friends were admiring one family's brand new Miele from a just-completed kitchen remodel. One couple with a Bosch weren't happy with the (lack of) condensing drying on their plastics, and admired that the new Miele pops open the door automatically to help with the air drying. So amongst our friends, two happy Miele owners and one somewhat dissatisfied Bosch owner.

For ourselves, unfortunately we had a top-end Maytag carried over from before our own remodel - it is a fairly mediocre performer but just refuses to die (even when it was left in the yard for a year during the remodel). I do hope it does die prematurely, admittedly it mostly works OK as long as I clean out the holes in the spray arms from accumulated gunk about once a year.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:21PM
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We recently installed a Miele dishwasher in San Francisco. The dishwasher has its own water softening system that requires a special granulation of salt. The Customer Care men tested our water and found that we did not require further softening of the water, but that will depend on where you live in the Bay Area. Frankly, I'm not supremely happy with the Miele. I frequently find bits of food that have kicked up into downturned cups on the top fold-down shelves, and some unwashed food residue on utensils that I place in the top rack. This dishwasher has a third spray arm at the very top, so I feel all should get clean. I never had this problem with my Asko with only 2 spray arms, but which finally died of old age.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 7:27PM
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