So, after about 9 months of ownership, here's the Bosch 300 dishwasher review….
The Bosch 300 here has averaged roughly 2 loads per day. We tend to wash teflon cookware and very large items by hand, but everything else goes in the dishwasher. We don't make a point of scraping off dishes/cookware. We don't hesitate to pile dishes on top of other dishes – if we can fit something on top of something else, it goes in. Water here (well water) is moderately hard, and we don't have a water softener.
The reason this gets a specific mention is because some detergents suck. Really.
We've used everything from generic powdered detergents to the pricy tabs, and by and large they all work well in this dishwasher. So well in fact that for us it's become rather pointless to buy the expensive tablets unless they're on a massive sale.
However, we did have a couple boxes of powdered detergent that was dreadfully awful. Dishes were coming out dirty and cloudy. It was so bad that I almost wondered if we put a clean dish in if it might come out looking dirtier. We had to pre-rinse everything by hand, and needed the rinse-aid cranked up to max (6) just for the dishes to not-look-groddy. It was that bad.
So the short version here is… the dishwasher does well with nearly every detergent. Name brand, no-name. Tablet, powder. But it's no miracle worker – if you manage to find a detergent that's awful, your results are going to be awful. Thankfully, we'd only found one detergent that poor (I don't recall where we got it, but it was one of the no-name variants, possibly from a dollar store).
It's a rare occurrence that a dish comes out dirty. Every once in a while a spatula that had some food burnt onto it won't come clean, and if we really baked some food onto glassware and let it sit long enough, every so often there will be a little that didn't come off. When we really jam-pack the dishwasher, sometimes a dish will block the water flow from another, and the one that was blocked might have some caked food left on it.
It's worth mentioning that we predominantly use the “Heavy” cycle. Some of the stuff we throw in is caked pretty thick, and that cycle consistently does a stellar job.
“Auto” gets it's fair share of use as well, but we've found that it's not as consistent – sometimes it gets the thick stuff and other times it doesn't. I've wondered if the soil-sensor is what comes into play here since caked-on stuff takes a while to come off and if most of the dishes are clean before the caked-on stuff breaks loose, the water might be clean enough that the dishwasher thinks everything's clean.
“Normal” honestly doesn't get much use. If everything's quite clean already (or if somebody decided to hand-scrub for some reason), we'll use it, and it'll do fine. I suppose if we ran loads immediately after eating we'd use it more often. It just doesn't do as well when food has had time to bake on overnight.
As mentioned elsewhere on the site, the Bosch 300 uses “condensation drying” (explained elsewhere on this site).
We've found that how dry the dishes get is very much related to the following:
-how high you set the “rinse aid” (higher=dryer)
-how long you leave the dishes in when finished (longer=dryer)
-which cycle you use (heavy=hottest=dryest)
We've found the rinse-aid setting to be the most critical variable when it comes to drying. Because the lowest rinse-aid setting works fine for us in terms of not leaving streaks/spots (surprising due to our hard water), we use “1″ for the rinse aid. If we pull the dishes when the timer hits “0″, the dishes are still a bit damp. When we've used higher rinse-aid settings, they come out much more dry – generally bone-dry by the time the timer hits “0″. It makes sense – with higher settings the water will run off the dishes pretty quickly which means there's less water that needs to evaporate during the final 15 minutes of the cycle.
Time also works wonders. Leaving the dishes in the washer with the door closed when the cycle is finished retains the heat and allows the condensation/evaporation process continue for up to a couple hours. Since we have a habit of forgetting to open/unload the dishwasher, we've benefitted from this many times.
Finally, the cycle matters too. “Heavy Wash” uses the hottest rinse. “Auto Wash” is next. The hotter the rinse, the better (and longer) the evaporation process at the end.
It's worth mentioning that if your dishes have dips where water can “pool”, depending on the volume of water your dishes are holding, you might need to take advantage of all 3 if you're determined to get them completely dry – a high rinse-aid setting, a hot cycle, and some extra time at the end.
For us, we're quite pleased with the drying on the Bosch 300. We never used the “dry” cycle on previous dishwashers due to the power consumption & melted plastic dishes. Since the drying in the Bosch works quite well, has yet to melt anything, and is essentially “free” (minus the cost of the rinse-aid), it's been a win all around. Again, we use the lowest rinse-aid setting and don't mind the bit of dampness – it's a dry climate here anyway. But when experimenting with rinse-aid settings, time, and heat we've had bone-dry dishes many a time.
If you want the little “Sanitized” light to come on, the most consistent way it so simply set a “Heavy Wash”. I don't think we've yet to run a Heavy Wash where it didn't come on (though technically depending on your water temperature and a few other factors it's possible).
I've used it to Sanitize some empty wine bottles in the past.
Note that if you use the dishwasher to sanitize wine bottles, you'll still want to clean them in the sink since the openings are so small that the dishwasher won't do much cleaning on the inside. Also note that wine bottles won't fit in well unless you completely remove the top rack. And since the tongs in the bottom rack are angled and rather close, fitting the wine bottles in is… interesting, so be careful and make sure the door won't crack any when you close it. Oh, and rinse aid probably isn't going to help things and might produce off-flavors in your wine so set it to the lowest setting or wait until the dishwasher's run out. Oh, and the dishwasher isn't a de-labeller – it'll soften labels up some but you'll still have to soak commercial labels in hot water and spend hours peeling them off.
On second thought, do you really want to use the dishwasher to sanitize your wine bottles? That $1-2 bag of Potassium Metabisulfite at the wine kit store for use as a sanitizer is probably looking like a bit of a deal right about now.
The 300 is a quiet dishwasher. Not silent, but quiet.
If nothing else is making noise in the room, we can hear it. If we're in the next room, we can hear it if we listen for it. That said, during the first few weeks of usage, we had a couple “panic” moments where someone in the household said “uh oh what happened to the dishwasher – I just started a load but can't hear it running – something must be wrong!”
We can have a conversation beside it at normal voice levels. If we have a portable fan in the room, it'll drown out the dishwasher noise completely.
Essentially, for a typical household it's so quiet that I suspect most would dismiss the sound it does make as “white noise” after a time. It's never made it hard to hear somebody on the phone, nobody's ever asked “what's that sound in the background?“, and the quiet sounds it does make are far from annoying.
That said, if you're looking for a perfectly silent home, it's not going to fit in (you'll have to step up a few models). It's a quiet appliance, but when things are quiet in the room, you can certainly hear it.
Ok, it's been under a year. So take this with a grain of salt.
So far, the dishwasher looks and runs the same as it did on Day 1. The racks are durable and haven't been chipping. The stainless steel interior looks far better than any of the plastic interiors we've ever had (which were always quickly stained with hard water and browned from heating elements). Really, if we wiped down the stainless interior it would probably look brand new.
Nothing's louder, nothing's noisier, and nothing is squeaky.
In short: so far, so good.
I'll be honest. I hate the hard push-button operation of the thing. You have to push in that power button hard to get the “click” to start things. And if the door is closed when you do so (who am I kidding – you're pushing the power button hard enough to snap the door shut if it wasn't already), a cycle immediately begins. Sure, you can just press a button to swap to another cycle, but that's not intuitive. At all. To this day I don't know if there's a “grace period” to swap to another cycle, so I'm always rushing to do it immediately.
Want extra dry time? That's in a fancy menu that I don't remember how to access. And I literally WROTE how to get to that menu on this site a few months ago in another section.
When is the cycle done? When the timer hits 0. The average person will figure that out when the thing has sat there at “0″ minutes left for a few hours – there's literally no indication it's truly finished except that the timer has stopped moving and that nothing else seems to be happening. There's no auto-shutoff, so if you started a load before you went to bed, the big red “0″ will still be there to greet you in the morning. To be fair, a reason it might not shut off could be so that the pump can start up for a few seconds if more water condenses. But an indicator would be nice. At the very least they could shut off the light for the cycle you'd chosen.
As to the inside… filling the rinse-aid has to be done slowly and carefully. The opening is small enough that it's easy to splash like crazy all over (meaning your next wash will have *lots* of rinse aid). And if you fill it too quickly, it'll overflow fast once full – there's no indicator to see how full it is so you either have to watch carefully and pour slowly, or accept that the “lots” of rinse-aid for your next wash from splashing is now “lots and lots” because you overfilled it and poured a bunch of extra on the door.
The detergent door continues to feel cheap and chintzy. You're pushing/flexing that piece of plastic to slide and lock it. It hasn't broken, but if something physical is going to break I'm putting my money on the detergent door.
The top rack is adjustable, though the few times I've adjusted for something quite large, it's been a little annoying. You do have to pull it out completely and then line up the wheels on the sliders (which have a tendency to slide back in when you're trying to reposition the top rack. It's not unlike top racks for budget dishwashers – something you can do, but something you don't want to do frequently.
While the silverware basket has a number of slots for your spoons, forks, and knives, we only used the slots the first couple of times, after which we just flipped that flap over and just started dumping the silverware in the basket. To be honest, carefully placing utensils in the slots was just too time consuming and limits the number of items you can put in. This is actually a “good news” story though – we literally pack utensils in there now willy-nilly, and they all come out remarkably clean.
It's nice to have a dishwasher that doesn't scream like a banshee, isn't noisy, is energy efficient, and doesn't look any older than the day we installed it.
With the exception of the bad-detergent incident, the thing has cleaned remarkably well and exceeded expectations in this area. Dishes come out sparkling, and dishes that didn't-quite-get-clean-enough are a rarity. I don't think I've soaked or scrubbed a dish since we got this thing.
My biggest hangups are the clunky un-inuitiveness of the controls, and “cheap” feeling/operation of the dispensers. On a dishwasher that retails at a regular price of nearly $900 in Canada, I'm not going to be terribly forgiving in those areas, particularly since you can find budget dishwashers for less than half of that which do better there.
That said, it would be tough to go back to “budget” dishwashers that are noisy, don't have
stainless steel interiors, and use dedicated heating elements to
melt dry your dishes. And the Bosch
300 cleans quite a bit better while using less energy, too.
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