Bosch 'entry level' dishwashers

bonsMarch 7, 2013

There seem to be so many models of Bosch dishwashers with some stores even having their own 'exclusive' models, I can't decide what to get. And I need to order asap.

Reviews are all over the map, as usual.

I understand they have a smaller/different dish capacity than American brands. I understand that they don't necessarily dry the dishes.

I'm not picky about whether the controls are visible, or if there is a handle or not.

I want Stainless Steel. I'd like to spend under $800.00. I'm only going to be in the house for another couple of years.

What is the advantage, if any, of the stainless tub vs nylon?

Does anyone have a particular model they like?


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Advantages of Stainless tub

1) Does not ignite on fire
2) Does not crack
3) Necessary for condensation drying. You can have vented, heated or both on nylon but not condensation only drying
4) Does not turn yellow or brown.

The reason some large retailers get their own unique model numbers is so they can offer a price guarantee. As in they will give you 150% of the price difference if you find the exact model for less.

If I were you I would go to ebay and type in Bosch 800 dishwasher. See if you can get a TOL Bosch for a midprice model. There are several on auction.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:26PM
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If you're only going to be in the house for a couple of years, you can get a much cheaper DW that will still clean the dishes.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:31PM
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The Bosch "Ascentas/300 series" -- which are the entry level models --- have tubs whose sides and top are stainless and only the base of the tub is a a synthetic. This apparently makes the tub less costly to produce.

The nylon/poly-whatever base is a dark gray, so not likely to yellow or brown the way a white plastic tub interior can. It will still dull and fade with extended use, if that matters to you.

The poly-whatever tub base doesn't seem to make much, if any, difference in drying effectiveness or time.

According to Consumer Reports' testing, the Ascentas/300 series have wash cycle times that are a bit faster than those of the the other Bosch DWs. CR says that the the Ascentas generally average about 95 minutes for cycle times while the 500 and 800 series average around 110 minutes in CR's testing. The difference is probably the result of the better water sensors in the 500 and 800 series acting on the highly turbid water and extremely dirty dishes that CR uses for its testing. On the SHE55 (500 series) unit that I bought last June, the cycle times actually run between 98 and 102 minutes. Probably because I scrape my plates and and the water is less turbid than that used in CR's tests.

I don't have any problem with drying my dishes n my 500 series and didn't have any problem with drying with my previous Bosch DW which I had for 14 years. I tend to run the DW overnight, however, and so there may be more time for things to dry out. When I running multiple loads after a party or big holiday meal, some things do seem a bit damp right out of the DW. Also, hot. Giving them about 15 minutes to cool before handling takes care of the problem for me.

Items with rimmed bases in which water can collect (colander bases, some coffee cups and wine glasses, for example) will hold a bit of water. Some plastic things (Gladware and Rubbermaid storage containers) do seem to hold water droplets. (OTOH, with no heater element in the base of the DW, there are no worries about washing plastics). Leaving the unit sit for a while after the cycles finish seems to take care of most of this.

The Bosch capacity did not seem not noticeably smaller than other dishwashers I looked at when shopping last year. Some DWs seemed to be a bit taller, though, so you might be able to put taller items in a load. Never been a problem for me.

The loading pattern is different and the bottom tines may be a bit closer together than some DWs I saw. Take some of your plates to a store and check this out. Took me a week or two to get used to it and I kept the racks from my old DW for "just in case." But, I quickly found that the new design was more flexible and had as much or more capacity as the old one.

The 800 series will be the quietest with the 500 series being the next quietest. The 300/Ascentas are rated about the same as the old SHU333 Bosch that I replaced in June. I could hear the old Bosch running when I was in the kitchen but not when I was in the adjoining dining room. The first few times I ran the new 500, I had to put my ear to the DW door to hear it running. Two additional points on this. First, getting the DW positioned correctly and properly installing the toe kick are critical to nose suppression. Second, the final drain sequence is quite audible, as it is in almost every other dishwasher.

On the differing model numbers, there are indeed a huge number of them, although they are pretty much all the same dishwashers. The differences within a line are largely cosmetic -- door color, do they take panels, top mounted versus front panel controls, etc.

The store-specific ("exclusive") model numbers are basically for two reasons. One is that some stores (such as Sears and Best Buy) purchase huge shipments at one time, so the model numbers may help with routing and supply. Mainly, as deeageaux says, its a marketing scam. The store can say they only price match on identical model numbers so having "exclusive" models cuts down on the need to price match.

If you need to buy ASAP, the Ascenta/300 series will be less expensive. Stainless exterior finishes run about $100 more than black and white and top-mounted controls also are more expensive than front panel controls. I happen to prefer front mounted panel controls.

Too bad you weren't shopping a couple of weeks ago because holiday pricing can really reduce the price of the 500 and 800 series models. I got my 500 series on a holiday weekend where the price was only about $30 more at an appliance dealer than the Ascentas model I was planning to buy at Lowe's. But, if you need a DW ASAP, that won't work for you. (Too bad this couldn't have come up during President's Day weekend.)

This post was edited by JWVideo on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 15:48

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 3:47PM
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Thanks, JWVideo. That was very helpful. I know I'm over thinking this, and I just need to make a decision.

There are still some sales going on here and there - so I'll just get the best price I can find.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:06PM
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Just so you know the 300 Series Ascenta has the same pump and heater system as the Bosch 800+ D/Ws.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:18PM
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i just purchased the shx55 model and i was looking to stay at $800 also. Sears had a sale and came way down on the price.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 5:33PM
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Jakvis - that is not entirely correct !

The upper tier 800 series Bosch dishwashers that are made in Germany have entirely different components and design than do the the units made in NewBern NC. Heaters and pumps have way different part numbers and cost.

I'm in agreement with weissman, that the o.p. should get a basic, low cost DW if they are moving in 2-5 years and don't really care about appliances as a hobby.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Xedos - Actually I'm correct..
I service Bosch dishwashers and the 800+ and the Ascenta use the same combinded heat pump systems. Part number 705174. You can look this up.
The 500 and 800 series use a separate pump and separate heater.

However I've recently been told that all the Bosch units are switching to the combined heat pump system sometime this year. In training they tell us that the combined system heats water even faster than the older system which was already excellent at 2 degrees F per minute.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 8:04PM
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I've heard some Bosch repair people say the low-end plastic-bottom machines are actualy easier to work on and repair sometimes because you can lift the whole top portion off the plastic tub base. Not sure myself since I've never done it.

Another thing I'd look for is the depth of the top rack, and its ability to be adjusted for height. Many of the newer Bosch dishwashers, and I think all of the plastic-lower-tub machines, use the new-design door that is very thin with the only the detergent dispenser protruding from a small area in the top center, as seen in this photo:

All of the higher-end models that use this door design have top racks that take advantage of the extra depth by increasing the depth of the top rack (front to back) with an inset only in the center area in front of the detergent dispenser, but only a small number of the low-end machines seem to use this design (mostly without the tray shown here that catches detergent tablets so they disolve more slowly). But it allows four-fifths of the top rack to be as almost as large as in deeper "American size" machines, despite the overall shallower depth of the machine. This picture shows a Thermador (made by Bosch) but it's the same rack design; I'm showing it because it's the clearest photo I could find online:

Many of the low-end Bosch dishwashers use the old-style top rack that is flat the whole width across the front, not jutting forward to the left and right of the small dispenser to take advantage of the new door design (some higher-end Bosch DWs still seem to use the old door design which is thick across the whole top portion and thus requires the smaller top racks). I have a (probably discontinued since it's a few years old) SHE4 series with the larger top rack, which was one step above bottom of the line. It also has a height adjustment, not via levers, but by removing the whole rack and reinserting it at a different height - there are two sets of roller wheels. Even that helps you set it up for what you use most often.

I think the low-end Bosch machines are probably the best overall at their price range, typically $500-550 the last I looked.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 1:21PM
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Jakvis - technically you're not.

While they use the same combo heater /pump (it has a diff part # BTW only because the orig. is not stocked in the USA so 705174 is the substitute), the rest of the circulation sys is different. The part # and part for the drain pump is diff in those German manuf. units.

Look , I'm not trying to compare wrench lengths with you or question your ability.

I am simply trying to add perspective to people that might read this and conclude from your comment that the insides of a $400 dollar bosch and the $2000 one are the same -

AND THEY ARE FAR FROM THAT !!!. They are in two totally leagues quality and feature wise on the inside.

Compare that to mieles' line which is almost exactly the same top to bottom internally. Bosch cuts quality as well as use features as you move down their line. Miele cuts the wash programs and the xtra insulation as as well as oooh aaaahhh things like interior lights and auto open and closing doors as you move down market. You don't get a cheaper tub, or sump, or suspension or frame the Bosch.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 5:35PM
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xedos - not trying to start a fight - my only statement was

"Just so you know the 300 Series Ascenta has the same pump and heater system as the Bosch 800+ D/Ws."

I'm not saying the dishwashers have the same feature sets... only that the same pump and heating system was used in both machines. Of course there are more differences in features.

The OP was concerned about the many models and differences. All I was pointing out was was the basic heart of the Bosch system is the same between the 300 and the 800+.
In my later post I also mentioned that Bosch will be switching to the same system in all the dishwashers sold here.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 7:00PM
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One seemingly knowledgeable salesman who had been to the NC Bosch factory told me the 800 series use some different internals and a more isolated motor and/or pump (don't remember specifics) to make them ultra-quiet 39 or 40 dBa, and that even the Thermador dishwashers that cost more than the top-line Bosch units use 500-series internal components, which is why they're rated at 42 or 44 dB rather than 39. This was because Bosch wanted their own brand to be the quietest available and has made that their primary selling point.

I didn't realize Bosch was still importing any of their US-market dishwashers, except maybe the 18"/45cm models.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 7:11PM
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