Our new $1,300 three-hour Bosch dishwasher

We replaced a noisy 2010-vintage dishwasher with a brand-new $1,300 Bosch that got top ratings in Consumer Reports. The first installer showed up, pulled the old one out, and declared that the Bosch would never fit due to having a “closed frame” rather than the standard “open frame.” He drove back to the Best Buy warehouse and was never heard from again. I made a few measurements and checked the Bosch installation guide, but I couldn’t figure out exactly why there was an incompatibility.

I assumed that eventually Best Buy would refund our money, but that hadn’t happened after more than a month. I decided to call them up. “We were waiting for you to schedule a redelivery,” the agent said, apparently unaware that the Bosch would never fit under our counter. We agreed on a date. The second installer showed up and, without commenting on any particular challenge, hooked up the new dishwasher. Adventures in American consumerism!

The machine works reasonably well and is nearly silent, but it holds fewer dishes than the old machine and defaults to a three-hour (!) cycle time. A Whirlpool from 1996 was much faster and also better at cleaning. The new machine sometimes leaves things stuck onto spoons, etc.

“Let’s Talk about Ghastly Dishwashers” says dishwashers meeting a 2013 standard use only three(!) gallons of water. (The article also says “Trump is a smart politician” so maybe we should verify the rest of the claims?)

We end up doing about three loads per day, so I’m not sure that we’re saving water or electricity.

Separately, I think it is interesting that, in a society that is otherwise uninterested in quantitative noise measurements, dishwashers are prominently advertised with dBA ratings (40 dBA for the Bosch). If people want to know how many dBA for a $600 dishwasher, why don’t they want to know the dBA for the interior of an aircraft or automobile?

34 thoughts on “Our new $1,300 three-hour Bosch dishwasher

  1. We recently moved to a new home with a 5 year old Viking dishwasher that judging by internet reviews is an expensive pile of crap purchased only for the nameplate. Except my experience is that it works extremely well using the 34 minute short cycle. Post holiday party cleanup of a completely full dishwasher in 34 minutes with no stuck on food. We lightly rinse large food particle off plates, and use whatever liquid dishwashing detergent we find at Sam’s Club plus the Finish Jet-Dry. I throw in an Affresh dishwasher cleaner tablet every two months or so and run the cycle to keep it clean. It is slightly louder than I would like, but it only runs half an hour. It doesn’t have a heated dryer, but the dishes really are almost dry at the end.

    So try the short cycle option and don’t use all those fancy options. What does anyone eat that requires their dishes being sanitized anyway?

  2. HP workstations have dBA ratings, but I suspect that’s because the stringent workplace safety requirements in Germany and Scandinavian countries classify noise as an occupational hazard.

    My brother-in-law has a fancy Bosch where there is a third “VarioDrawer” tray on top just for cutlery. you lay the cutlery out in slots, and it works far better than the haphazard cutlery baskets used in ordinary dishwashers. Try putting spoons in different compartments of the basket, and mixing them with forks and knives rather than putting like with like, so they don’t nest in the wash, which reduces cleaning effectiveness.

  3. Better to be poor & know how to install a dishwasher yourself than wealthy enough to own a house & totally dependent on a Best Buy technician. Washing machines were also much faster & less efficient, 30 years ago. What a joy it was to not have to ration water & live on a planet 1/2 as crowded.

    • lion2: I think that the delivery and installation cost was $200. If I had done everything myself, wouldn’t it have cost more than $200 to get a junk company to haul away the old dishwasher?

  4. People do judge the “quietness” of lots of things. Car companies taut this feature all the time. Especially Lincoln and Lexus. I know that was one of the major criteria I used last year when buying a new luxury SUV. I bought a Lincoln MKX as it was less $$ and very nice. It is also especially quiet due to noise cancelling tech and special glass and insulation.

    As far as dishwashers you goofed with the Bosch. You should have purchased a Kitchen Aid. Kitchen Aid makes great appliances and they are reasonably priced. My new dishwasher is great. It is two years old. It holds ton of dishes and is totally silent. If you run it on the long scrubber cycle it takes about 3 hours. But if you run in on express wash it takes about 30 minutes. I also only run it every 2 days as it takes that long to fill it up. We hand wash pots and pans and big bowls. We also rinse all dishes before putting them in the dishwasher to eliminate food smells.

    I bet your Bosch has a express wash cycle. Look at the control panels. You also need to pre-wash and rinse your silverware and plates to get off the hard food and major mess so the washer works OK.

    • Um, NO, you absolutely do NOT have to pre-wash and pre-rinse silverware OR dishware. I don’t know what planet you’ve been on the last 10 years or so, but I NEVER pre-rinse and I would refuse to pre-wash anything! If you have to do that to get your dishes clean, then it’s time for a new dishwasher. Incidentally, if you don’t want to have sour food smells inside your dishwasher between cycles, well…THAT’S WHAT “RINSE & HOLD IS FOR. My KitchenAid is over 13 years old, and it is still giving me stellar results, with dishes only scraped and never rinsed first. The day I have to pre-wash my dishes before putting them into my dishwasher, then I don’t need a dishwasher! I have had dishwashers for 30+ years, of all different makes and models, and only ONE couldn’t handle dirty dishes: a cheap Fridgidaire.

  5. Great article. Hard to fathom the Best Buy thing, that’s terrible customer service, and for a relatively high-ticket item, too. You’re having a grand old time with new appliances recently.

    You should link to the CEI Petition to the DOE also:

    https://cei.org/content/cei-petition-department-energy-dishwasher-cycle-times

    It looks like everything started to go south right around 1990 according to their chart. What I’ve never understood is why the water use restrictions seem to be nationwide. Regardless of where one lives, they’re stuck with the same stingy, crummy dishwashers. Why not let people who have plenty of available water use as much as they want? For example, if there’s a well on your property that feeds your dishwasher and sprinklers, and a septic system with a leach field, the homeowner should be able to choose a dishwasher that suits their needs and the capacity of the system. In other words, why not dishwashers for different regions? What’s the rationale for making everyone in the country live by the same draconian standard?

    As for the second issue, it’s the flip side: NHTSA should require that all manufactures publish dBA ratings for the interiors of their cars, in several locations, and it should be on the window stickers/websites/etc. Heck, the infotainment systems should have it available as an active measurement. Then Consumer Reports/Car and Driver, etc., could test the cars with their own sound gear and tell people if the ratings are honest. Given the fact that distracted driving is such a huge issue right now, one would think that being able to compare cars this way would be de rigeur.

  6. We recently bought a Siemens. They are the same company as Bosch and I am not sure what the difference really is. What I love though is how quiet it is. Our Galah used to make dishwasher noises that matched our old dishwasher. I had to hold my hand against the new dishwasher to make sure it was actually doing anything.
    What I would really like is a dishwasher like our Miele at work (a lab). Stainless steel, special inserts for volumetric flasks. A spinning arm above the top shelf. DI water rinse. Unfortunately they cost at least $5000 and the customer service is rubbish. They delivered the wrong machines that needed a much lower DI water pressure and just left them there for a few weeks…

  7. Would never, ever purchase from Best Buy!! Customer service is NO GOOD. Return your money good luck!! Takes at least two months! Three months later they send another bill???

  8. I recently purchased a basic Frigidaire dishwasher on sale for just over $300. The cycle is longer than the 18 year old one it replaced, but it does an excellent job.

  9. I also bought a Bosch diswasher after reading what a wonderful product it was. Everything you have said is so true. Quiet true. So you don’t notice that it is always on.
    I also doubt that it is saving any water or electricity since it takes so long to cycle.
    Also once the extended warrantee expired I have had to have something on it fixed yearly and with the repair people leaving without fixing it and then told to reschedule the appointment. By the second set and company of repairman it is now washing dishes again. Two months later. I have not received my refund from Sears who came out initially in November and were unable to fix it.
    I have called several times to get my $99.00 back but nothing so far. My check cleared 11/18/2019 but no money back yet! 😵

  10. I’ll take a guess that you went with Bosch because of their well-deserved reputation for engineering excellence. Their Automotive Handbook is a bible in the world of automotive systems engineering, and I can still recommend it to you as a thorough reference. It’s widely recognized as one of the best books of its kind, which makes me sad and puzzled to hear the disappointing dishwasher saga. Pick up a copy of the Automotive Handbook if you don’t have one, it’s worth having on the shelf:

    https://www.sae.org/publications/books/content/bosch10/

  11. I have a nice bosch diswasher as well and had some issues with it cleaning. We learned we needed to run water in the sink until it gets hot before starting the dishwasher. From then on, it has been cleaning really well.

  12. Echoing previous comment, your fundamental mistake was hiring somebody to install for you. A dishwasher has two hoses and a plug. You need a water supply line and a small crescent wrench. It takes basically zero experience or skills, which is why if you hire a big chain like Best Buy you’re going to get workers who have zero experience or skills. If you’re so helpless, I guess you have to expect to be taken. Or hire a local, reputable appliance shop, the one that has been in your town for 30 years. Or go the other route, hire an estate manager so they can deal with it, and you can remain completely oblivous.

  13. I think dishwashers are really pioneering the technique of claiming benefits while externalizing hosts. Not since HR started requiring people use their personal credit cards, apply for a refund, and fill out detailed expense reports, has the average cost of something gone down so quickly.

    I had a crappy efficient dishwasher. I washed my dishes three times. First, because I knew the dishes had to be nearly clean to have any chance of emerging clean from the dishwasher. Second, for two and a half hours in the efficient dishwasher. And then a third time, to finish the job that the dishwasher didn’t do. I ‘d guess that I was using 2-3 times as much water, end to end, as the old, inefficient model, that could remove egg yolks that had hardened into an adhesive glue in 35 minutes without a trace.

    My new Bosch actually does a decent job cleaning dishes, and it has a “one hour” setting (that takes 70 minutes, according to the timer that shows up in the display the instant you press the button). So, at least this one actually cleans the dishes.

    I bought it at Best Buy, but I had competent and expensive contractors install it.

  14. We have been living a little rough since Hurricane Michael blew our house down in October 2018. Now in a 1000 sq ft rental with no dishwasher. (New house closes January 24!!)
    It’s surprising how little we miss it, but we are just two with no home entertaining for now. A $10 drain rack and bottle of Dawn is ok, but we rinsed dishes anyway. The new house comes with a stock Frigidaire, hopefully no drama and everything under warranty.
    We miss most the garage, leaving vehicles in the elements and embarking in the rain. Sun/dew cycle in FL is brutal on paint.

  15. My old dishwasher was very noisy, and the resident border collie included it on her list of things to obsessively bark at whenever it was running. The new dishwasher is much more quiet, and the border collie doesn’t seem to notice it.

    I care deeply about dishwasher decibel levels.

  16. My parents had a Kitchenaid dishwasher which lasted for many decades. So 30 years ago, we bought. It was noisy and rusted out a few minutes after the warranty expired. We replaced it with a Bosch, which was more expensive, but much quieter. The normal cycle is about 70 minutes.

    In 25 years, I’ve had to replace the supply valve (after I took the old one out, I realized that I could have just decalcified it in vinegar) and the timer. It has a few quirks. It really doesn’t like citrus seeds, which recirculate until they swell up and block the nozzles. You have to clean out the filter every few weeks. Unlike some US models with incorporated garbage disposals, you do really have to scrape the dishes first (citrus seeds).

    I’m happy with it.

  17. I was going to leave a comment over on the post about the owners manual.

    It was going to say: “If I had a nickel for every time I saw appliance installation instructions still in the wrapper with the appliance incorrectly installed…”

  18. Get an 80’s KitchenAid, one actually made by Hobart. Those things are a beast and will almost remove super glue from your dishes. I’d never buy a newer dishwasher. They are all plastic pieces of trash.

  19. My (1yo) Bosch will usually get the job done on the fast program. Apart from the durability and low noise I like the ease with which you can position the middle tray at an angle. Big plates, tall glasses? Just adjust the middle tray in 20 seconds.

    In Germany and Scandinavia (probably most of the EU these days) all tools, vechicles and appliances come with a noise rating. Reviewers of notebooks, cars, dishwashers often publish their own real life noise measurements. If a purchase is louder than you were led to expect, you can return the blasted thing for a full refund.
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Asus-ROG-Zephyrus-S-GX701GXR-laptop-review-Slim-gaming-laptop-scores-points-with-a-fast-300-Hz-display.448620.0.html

  20. How could we guess this was post was going to nearly coincide with an NBC News article about federal water use regulations? Trump, Kazman, the Sierra Club, Christine Todd Whitman, Rand Paul, the 1992 Energy Policy Act, Energy Star – the whole cast of characters is here:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/flushing-10-times-what-s-really-behind-trump-s-tirades-n1111691

    What I don’t get are the hydrologic cycle arguments for being so draconian with water use restrictions at the federal level. I thought the water was neither created nor destroyed, so as long as you’re not overloading it with phosphates, what is the justification for being so draconian? It comes out of the hydrologic cycle, runs through your dishwasher, sprays off last night’s dinner which is 100% biodegradable, and then goes right back into the hydrologic cycle, doesn’t it?

    Dishwashers have to use less than 5 gallons per cycle by federal law. Why can’t manufacturers of sophisticated computer-controlled dishwashers update the firmware to selectively allow extra water to be used? Why not allow states and even municipalities to set the regulations on a more fine-grained basis? That would seem to be a lot more like the American Way. Consider: we let towns do their own zoning. States enact regulations regarding things like wells and septic systems, nitrogen content, etc., for homes and businesses. Christine Todd Whitman, that fine public servant, and the Sierra Club just dismiss the complaints as irrelevant, but millions of people say otherwise. Why don’t more Americans have more voice in how much water their dishwashers can use?

    Separately, why don’t we do more to desalinate water with nuclear energy? 96% of the world’s water is in the oceans and many countries facing water shortages use desalination for a large percentage of their water. Israel supplies 75% of its water that way. Many other countries including Saudi Arabia desalinate a lot of water, comparatively speaking. China, as usual, is ahead of just about everybody else technologically, including America: “A 300,000 m3/d seawater desal plant at Tianjin is under construction and will be the first zero-liquid discharge (ZLD) plant in the world. It is due to supply petrochemical plants from 2017.”

    https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/non-power-nuclear-applications/industry/nuclear-desalination.aspx

    Here in America, everything seems to be geared toward: “restrict, restrict, restrict” and then to dismiss people’s complaints as irrelevant or worse. Why aren’t we better than that?

  21. This is the 2nd instance of complaining about an expensive Bosch dishwasher from a sample of 2 people. I think I’ll avoid.

    My cheapo plastic 20 year old GE dishwasher is doing fine. Noisy as anything and uses lots of water.

    My theory is the value of the dollar has fallen so much that if they built appliances decently, with metal parts and so on, the American public would all die of sticker shock. So instead, we get poorly made, short-lifespan appliances, at prices we are willing to pay.

  22. $1300.00??? You were robbed. For $800.00 less you could of purchased any number of machines that worked just as well and were just as quiet. And, for your information, they all start out quiet and get louder as they get mucked up with hard water.

    • @Steven: Almost everything Trump says at a rally gets picked up by ABC/CBS/NBC/BLOOMBERG/MSNBC/CNN/FOX/NYT/WAPO/SFGATE/ETC and winds up linked on the Drudge Report in one form or another, usually pretty quickly.

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