When looking at Bosch dishwashers, it's not uncommon to see a feature such as “SaniDry” or “Sanitize”. The names of these features sound cool, but obviously it helps to know what it does, and what the advantage might be.
SECTION 1 – features shared by many BOSCH models (which the 300-series has).
Delay Start – self-explanatory. Some models have a fixed choice of 3 settings (3/6/9H), while others can be adjusted up to 19, or 24-hours.
EcoSense Wash Management System – An energy saving feature – Essentially, there are sensors to determine how dirty the water is. If it's clean (which means the dishes must be clean now too), the machine won't bother with an additional fresh water fill.
Extra Dry Heat – Nearly all the Bosch dishwashers appear to have this feature (though it can be a pain to enable depending on model). Since Bosch dishwashers don't dry with a typical “element” heater, instead relying on condensation drying, the way to increase drying is to increase the heat of the final rinse water. And that's exactly what this feature does – it bumps up the temperature of the final rinse, and increases the “drying” time (the wait time after the rinse finishes to allow the water to evaporate/condense).
For the base 300-series dishwasher, how to enable Extra Heat Dry is as follows:
- Find the left Cancel/Reset button (it's the 3rd button in the base 300-series). Press and hold it.
- While holding the button, press and hold the On/Off button.
- The LED display will activate, and show a 0 or 1. You can let go of both buttons now.
- Press the left Cancel/Reset button (3rd button in base 300-series) to switch between 0 and 1. A “1″ means extra dry heat is enabled. A “0″ means extra heat dry is disabled.
- Press the On/Off button to save the setting.
Other models tend to enable Extra Dry Heat in a similar fashion, but you'll have to check the manual. As I said, it's a pain, because it's not intuitive (really, why couldn't they just add a separate, easy-to-use button…?).
Flip Tines – the “tines” flip down. Since tines are typically designed for plates, bowls, and cups, if you're washing something else (pots, pans, juice jugs, etc), being able to flip the tines down can keep them out of the way and make it easier to fit these items in.
Flow-Through Heater – essentially, an in-line water heater in the Bosch models. It brings (and keeps) the wash/rinse water at the high temperature required for a good wash.
Noise Reduction System – a fancy way to say the quiet two-pump motors and insulation make it a quiet dishwasher.
Nylon Coated Racks – better than PVC and Vinyl, nylon racks tend to last longer, and resist chipping/scratching.
OptiDry – another way of saying “low rinse aid detector”. If the dishwasher is low (or out) of rinse aid, the dishwasher increases the drying time.
SaniDry – as mentioned above, the Bosch dishwasher uses condensation-drying. SaniDry is the name the marketing department gave it.
Stainless Steel TallTub – the tub isn't plastic – it's stainless steel. Stainless steel is better than plastic. It lasts longer, is more durable, doesn't warp easily, doesn't stain easily, insulates against noise better, insulates the water against heat-loss better, etc (the only downside is the cost).
Triple Filtration System – where other manufacturers have a built-in food grinder, Bosch uses filters instead. It's quieter, probably cheaper to make, and one less mechanical part that can break down. In addition, foreign objects (and food) shouldn't enter the pump which should help keep the pump life higher. The downside of course is that you have to pull the filters and clean them if they get blocked.
SECTION 2 – features in various BOSCH models (base 300-series has few/none of these).
Half-Load option – Designed for small (half) load. Appears to be implemented in various ways between models. The goal is to reduce energy and water consumption.
However, in models where it's an independent cycle (it's own cycle), it only offers clear advantages over the “Heavy Wash” cycle – in fact, Auto & Normal cycles have the potential to use less water (because they have ranges based on different factors, Normal can use less water at a lower temp, Auto can be shorter, use less water, and be at a lower temp).
On the other hand, in models where it is *applied* to another cycle, it generally results in a shorter wash time (though Auto Wash can technically be 4 minutes shorter in ideal conditions). Bosch isn't clear as to how much water/temperature reduction is applies in these cases, if any.
InfoLight – because Bosch models are generally very quiet, in units with top-panel controls/display it can be difficult to determine whether your washer is still on. Thus, most models with top-controls contain an InfoLight which shines an LED on the floor while the wash is running.
Sanitize – while the vast majority of Bosch models (including the 300) include a light that will let you know if the wash temp/time was high enough to “sanitize” the dishes, a few Bosch models also add a selectable “Sanitize” feature which you can turn on to guarantee that Sanitization will take place. It can be used on the main wash cycles (Heavy, Auto, Normal), but can't be turned on for cycles such as Delicate & Express, as they don't reach the necessary temps/time by design.
Variable Spray Pressure – while I haven't found official documentation from Bosch as to what-specifically-it-does, obviously it's function is to use different spray pressure. From what I've gathered, it appears to use less pressure for glass/delicate cycles, and more pressure for heavier cycles (heavy, pots/pans, etc).
Built-in Water Softener – Found in only the highest-end of Bosch models (800-plus series), this contains a water softener. Why would you care about water softness? For a few reasons. First, hard water requires more detergent to work than soft water. In fact, in their dishwasher manuals, Bosch gives various amounts of “recommended detergent” based on your water hardness. Second, hard water has a high tendancy to leave water-spots when it dries. Generally, using rinse aid helps to deter this anyway, though it's possible to end up with water “streaks” instead if the water is hard enough. Finally, hard water leaves unsightly rust-stains. While the stainless-steel tub in Bosch dishwashers will be resistant to this build-up, it's possible to end up with build-up in other areas of the machine the water flows through (which you might not see). All that said, it's only available in the expensive dishwasher line, you might find it a pain to fill the salt reservoir (you have to remove the bottom rack to reach it) and if you already have a home water softener, it's completely redundant.
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