Bosch 800 plus dishwasher

Derek87January 23, 2012

hi there...i've read with interest many of the archived articles, and yet, i apologize if somehow i have missed the relevant thread.

after years of dealing with a less than optimal GE and washing before we wash, my wife and i have decided it's time to get a better dishwasher with the hopes of saving ourselves some time and disappointment from dishes/pans with food remaining on them in our GE model (which actually wasn't cheap either -- it was the best model the builder offered and retailed at 900-1000, if i recall correctly).

anyway, we are looking at the different 800 plus series models by Bosch with special interest in the built in water softener. our water is pretty hard (8-10 grams/gal) and it's my guess that is partly responsible for our less than optimal results at times (using Trader Joe's detergent, Cascade Advanced, and Finish Powerballs)

my questions are: (hopefully from people who own them)

- how much salt does this thing use? from what i can gather (although Bosch doesn't seem to publish its manuals online), the softener usage depends on water hardness. what i'm interested in figuring out is, if we should use that feature of the 800 plus, how often will we be buying salt (and how much will be paying per wash for that feature to be effective)

- have people used the 800plus with fairly hard water like ours and still had good cleaning results without using the softener? if so, which detergent?

- i'm assuming from what i can gather from Bosch's less than good comparison tool that there really isn't that much difference (beyond sound levels and slightly different energy consumption) between the 3 different 800plus models?

- happy with yours? complaints?

thanks for any thoughts and help.


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"our water is pretty hard (8-10 grams/gal) and it's my guess that is partly responsible for our less than optimal results at times"

yes , this certainly contributes to it.

"how often will we be buying salt"

that depends on how often you run the unit and on which program(s)

"how much will be paying per wash for that feature to be effective"

The feature is effective if you have hard water - period. How much it'll cost you will depend on how often you run the DW and the cost of the salt. The salt isn't used every wash. It is used to recharge the softening matrix inside the machine.

A softening cycle (matrix) is good for so many gallons of water run through it and then it has to be recharged.

I'm sure you could spend a couple of hours on the phone with Bosch getting an answer to the capacity, and the amount of water used in a given cycle. You can then guesstimate how many loads you'll run a week/month and then make a trip to the market or the computer to see the price of the salt and then whittle your pencil or flex the ol slide rule and come up with an answer to your cost question.

I can save you some time with an off the cuff answer: A few cents a load. More importantly, if you are really concerned about the price of the salt, you should not be looking at Euro dishwashers in general - especially those with a built-in softener. You are also going to need to use rinse-aid with this and other Euro models too!

This will also add to your per load cost. I believe there is a thread around here in which some one figured the relative cost of that already. Again, a few cents a load and it's just part of the cost of doing business.

Think of it as a high performance car that needs high octane gas and synthetic oil in order to function as designed. Sure it will run on reg. gas and use dinosaur oil, but you'll be giving up the performance you paid for.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 8:01PM
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I hope you get some responses from owners. I have been looking at the 800 plus line myself. I thought that there were links at the Bosch site that could get an online manual. Someone here said that they successfully used the salt for their water softener I believe. That stuff is dirt cheap -- About 5 dollars for a 50 pound bag. I can't believe tha cost of salt would concern you if you are considering a washer that costs over a thousand dollars. My research led me to believe that the best bang for the buck was the SHE8ER55UC. What did you conclude?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 8:03PM
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@antss: thanks for the thoughts. your "off the cuff" is what i was looking for. i just wanted to get relative perspective of whether this was going to add an appreciable cost to cleaning.

@nerdyshopper: i haven't made a conclusion yet. why do you think the 8ER is the best bang for the buck for you? my gut reaction right now is that 7ER has all that we need although i'll give a look soon at our local dealer to see if the extra rack variability is worthwhile. while 2db is significant, i am hoping 42db is more than quiet enough for our needs.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 11:52PM
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I run mine about every 3rd day and add salt about twice a year. Bosch does send a water testing strip with the dishwasher along with a guide on how much salt to add depending on the results. My 20 lb bag I bought a year ago for less than ten dollars barely has a dent in it. I have the 800 series SHE68E15UC.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 7:21AM
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Hi. We have the 800 Plus series SHE7ER55UC. We were considering the 8ER as well, but when we were ready to buy, the local independent stores had a discount on the SHE7 but not the SHE8, so we let that be the deciding factor.

From the Bosch site, it looked like all we'd be giving up was a couple of extra cycles that we would not use -- since we handwash our "good" stemware anyway -- and that we'd not notice the 2dB sound level difference. When we looked at the two in person, we couldn't discern any difference in the racking. We've been pleased so far (3 months).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 8:45AM
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Derek, Bosch has manuals for about everything online. Navigate to the dishwasher you want, scroll down the page and you will see several "tabs" one of which reads "Manuals and Downloads." If you can't see it, do a search for "manual" on the page. Click that tab. The top link in the resulting tab is the user manual download link. Click it, and you will be taken to a large list of manuals in various languages for that model. Select the one you want to download and that's it.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 8:47AM
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@boschboy: i am guessing you aren't using Somat or Finish salt? those appear to be much pricier, but what are recommended for these machines. which salt did you purchase? nevertheless, based on your response and antss, it's something i'm less concerned about if it's in the "few pennies" per load rice range.

@kashmi: i still need to go down and try out some of our plates in the different models. we too don't need the 2db saving (i think!) nor the extra cycles. coming from a GE that is spacious but doesn't fit our dishes well (we have an 11.5 and 9.5 plate which can't go side to side and the tine spacing is awkaward), i'm hoping that the smaller but better designed bosch will work better for us, but only true experimenting will give me enough confidence to make the purchase.

@mojavean: thanks for your response. i dont know how i missed that tiny link above the other three (which were of little interest to me). thanks for pointing out my less than careful scan of that page!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 1:43PM
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When I look at the comparison sheets I downloaded from their site the only difference I can find now other than the number of gentle cycles has to do with rack quality and the type of racks in the various model. The 9 ER has what they call "VarioFlex Plus" racks, the 8 ER has "VarioFlex" racks and the 7 ER has "Vario" racks. Some poster here had said to look out for rack quality in Bosches because that is where they have cheaped out on some lines and they are prone to broken/bent tines. Also tine spacing may be different. I guess I was just trying to avoid problems since I haven't seen one locally to check for that. If you can where you are please report what you find.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 9:09PM
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I thought all 800+ series shared the same racks, and that was kinda the selling point aside from german production. If not, then the cheapest Miele is a better buy.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 10:20PM
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to the eye, my experience last night matches oceangirl67 and nerdyshopper, the racks, at least based on my own experience of a few plates last night and clicking things around suggested no discernable difference between the 8ER and 7ER. if we got 800+, we will more than likely go with the 7ER as we don't need the stemware cycle.

i was really impressed with how well our dishes fit in. our big 11.5" plates fit in the back tines with closer spacing as well as the front tines with the slightly wider spacing. i am hoping/imagining that they would get clean in either rack. but in either case, this means we could clean 14-15 plates of this size as opposed to our poorly designed GE which could fit only 6 of them (at least held properly and not nesting on each other due to bad tine design).

i need to bring my wife and a few other pieces (bowls, glasses) this weekend before taking the plunge, but we are leading towards the 7ER...except there is a Thermador lurking for $799 (rebadged Bosch 800 series) that is hard to ignore since it is significantly less.

@kashmi: curious -- how hard is your water? what have you "thrown at" the 7ER? tried anything like a lasagne pan with baked on cheese yet?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Hi, Derek.

Water hardness We've always thought our well water was hard, since installing even cheapo descalers on each of our shower heads made a noticeable difference. But the Bosch test strip only colored at the very end (unfortunately, I don't remember the precise reading). For now, we've opted not to use salt until we get an independent water test (which we need to do anyway just as a precaution because of the well). I can report back once we know for sure.

Cleaning Ability In comparison with our previous 14 year old Bosch, this one does a fabulous job. For example, we'd made a lasagne-like dish last week that we re-heated over the weekend. The pan with the baked-on, blackened sauce came out of the DW "clean as a whistle." In the previous DW I would have still had to clean off the blackened bits by hand.

I don't rinse plates -- though one of our Beagles seems to think that's his job! -- so we are not babying the DW.

I had wondered how flatware in the third tray would clean. Stuck on cheese sauce and egg from breakfast, however, clean right off the fork tines.

My only complaint is that glasses and mugs don't fit as well in the bottom rack as they did with our previous Bosch. Something about the tine angle and spacing, it seems. Since it's just the two of us, we end up with more dirty glasses and mugs than plates. But I'm learning how to get more and more in the DW over time, For example, to get our wine glasses to fit, I had to lower the middle rack to the lowest position. But that still left plenty of room in the lower rack: our 12 x 17 cooling racks fit on the outside edges and the KitchenAid bowl fits in with no trouble.

The only weird event is that the Express wash used to take 30 minutes. Now it takes an hour. Gremlins?!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 1:39PM
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thanks for all of the insights, Kashmi. that's really a great testimony, and without salt being used, too!

from what i am guessing we will be on the border of needing salt from what i can gather from the manual and if our city water people are to be trusted, so we'll probably either not use salt or use the lowest setting.

we are currently a household of two, so it's good to get your shared perspective. i plan bring some glasses and other items to the store this weekend before making a final decision.

i did some more research and it seems that based on the actual catalog, the racks for the 7ER and 8ER are indeed identical (the 9ER has the "plus" racks). i think we will be fine without the fine stemware mode and the extra 2db. (our 60db GE sounds like an airplane by comparison)

interesting that the Express wash is taking so long. it's "spec'd" to be 30 minutes in the catalog...

how well does the express wash work, by the way?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 2:25PM
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It sounds like you could actually see teh racks of the various models. Did you find truely identical racks? If so, we need to know what you found. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 4:27PM
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i can't vouch that i'm 100% confident they are identical, but for my brief testing of the two units (they weren't side by side but across the showroom from one another), they seemed the same. the Bosch catalog claims that they are the same with the 9ER having a more advanced system.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 4:54PM
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i can't vouch that i'm 100% confident they are identical, but for my brief testing of the two units (they weren't side by side but across the showroom from one another), they seemed the same. the Bosch catalog claims that they are the same with the 9ER having a more advanced system.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Mystery solved! The "add rinse aid" light's been on for a couple of weeks. I had not refilled the reservoir because I couldn't tell any difference in the look of the dishes without it. On the off chance that not having it made a difference, I poured some in. And voila, Express is now showing 30 min and the regular cycle ("Auto") is showing much less time as well. I had noticed lately that for the last 20 minutes or so the DW just seemed to be "sitting there" with nothing going on. Hum....

In any case, to answer your specific question: Express Wash works great. I've only run it when we've had a surfeit of glasses and not much else. The one downside is that you can't select the "Sanitize" option with Express.

My mother has an older Bosch (about 5 yrs old) and she always uses Express Wash. She doesn't have a "sanitize" button, so I think hers always heats the water to the 160 or 170 degree temp -- which was the case with our former DW.

NerdyShopper: As best I could tell when we looked at the SHE7 and SHE8 is that the racks were the same EXCEPT that with the "Flex" on the SHE8, more of the rows of tines could be folded flat than on the SHE7. (And the salesperson suggested that with the SHE9, almost all the tines could be folded flat.) But enough of those rows fold down on the 7 to work for us. YMMV, of course.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 5:20PM
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I'm also looking at the 800 plus. I've had a Bosch for 16 years and I think it was the 47dB model. It's in a peninsula cabinet and the back faces the family room. It is so quiet, I've had people open it while it was running a load of dishes without realizing it's even on. I often must touch the front to see if it's hot to determine that it's running. You do hear the water drain through the sink pipes, but I don't see how that can be helped and even that isn't bad. I'm really looking forward to the newer, even quieter models and hoping I'll regain some of the cleaning power mine had when it was younger.

Derek87, I hope you'll report on which one you select and how it works. Thanks to those who gave info on theirs.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 5:26PM
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i'll definitely report back once we've made a decision and tried it out.

still thinking mildly about the closeout Thermador (rebadged Bosch 800) but i think we will still likely go with the ER since the water softener option gives me more confidence that we'll get good results.

btw, any tips of packing "large soup bowls" (ie, deep) in the Bosch? seems that for our two member household, we will readily use the middle shelf a lot, but i wonder if there are creative ways to use the lower rack tines to accommodate largish cereal and soup bowls...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:07PM
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so...getting closer but not quite final in our decision process.

i went carefully through the manual and went back to the store tonight to look at the racks on the 7ER and 8ER.

here is what i can now have surmised are the differences between the 7ER and 8ER (ie, what $200 gets you). i hope this is complete:

- 42 vs 40 db sound rating
- extra wash cycle for 8ER
- glassware setting for 8ER
- eco mode for 8ER
- there are two foldable set of tines on the middle rack of the 8ER that are not there on the 7ER

i wonder how useful the extra wash setting is? it says in the manual that it allows extra water when extra cleaning is desired. but i'm hoping that this is not really needed? (i'd consider power scrub for extra dirty dishes)

for you few out there who own the 800plus: what mode do you normally use? normal? auto?

do people use the "intensive drying" setting? (available on both models)

i still can't seem to justify the extra $200 for the 8ER unless someone can tell me that the extra wash is an important cycle. the extra two sets of tines that fold down might be nice in some occasions, but again, not $200 worth, to us. (especially since i'm already running over the original budget and still have that Thermador lurking as a cheaper option)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:24PM
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