Mention Bosch appliances and the mind immediately jumps to images of tastefully designed ovens, refrigerators, cooktops and of course, stainless steel dishwashers. Their German-engineered dishwashers come at a high price because they offer quiet operation, energy-efficient dishwashing, great features, and a sleek look that can bring a sense of elegance to any kitchen. In real estate ads, the words "Bosch dishwasher" are often used as a point of pride and a major selling point. In our lab tests, we've found the different Bosch models offer great cleaning performance, consistently ranking amongst our top-scoring dishwashers.
The Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N (2019) is everything we've come to expect from Bosch—quiet, efficient, and stylish. With a sound rating of 40 dBA, it's one of the quietest dishwashers that's ever come through our labs. This dishwasher did an amazing job removing some of our more difficult stains, like burnt-on cheese and spinach; however, as is the case with most dishwashers, the spinach that got blasted off of our test dishes was occasionally redeposited onto other dishes.
The major selling point of the SHPM88Z75N is its CrystalDry feature. Using zeolite crystals, this dishwasher completely dries all of your dishes, even the plastic tupperware that always seems to need a couple of passes with a dish towel before you can put it away. If your primary method of storing food is with plastic food storage containers, the SHPM88Z75N will save you a lot of extra time and effort when it comes to getting your dishes clean and dry.
We have plenty of experience testing these products in the lab, but we've also used them outside the lab environment—just like you would in the course of your daily life. This combination helps give us a good sense for which appliances have really useful extra features, as opposed to the kitchen-sink approach to features. Our years of experience and data also gives us insight into how much performance you should expect for your money, which allows us to single out great bargains.
Testing dishwashers is a dirty job, and we're happy to do it. We assess each dishwasher on the three major parts of the dishwasher experience— Performance, Features, and Usability.
Stain removal —We put the three major cycles on a dishwasher (Quick, Heavy, and Normal) to the test by baking food and beverage stains—including milk, spinach, egg, oatmeal, meat, and more—onto 15 to 20 dishes that are then loaded into the dishwasher per the manufacturer's loading directions. At the end of each cycle, we determine how much stain has been removed from each dish. Ideally, each dish is 100 percent clean, but that level of cleaning perfection can be harder to achieve in real life.
Redeposit —Redeposit is the term for when, during the course of a dishwasher cycle, water jets remove bits of food from one dish, only to accidentally get it stuck on a second dish. Any dishwasher that shows little to no evidence of redeposit is a winner in our book.
Number of dirty dishes —After a dishwasher cycle has finished, we count the number of dishes that are not 100 percent clean; if your dishwasher can't clean most of your dishes the first time, it's not doing its job correctly.
Cycle Time —Dishwasher cycles can run the gamut from 30 minutes to four hours. Shorter cycle times are much more convenient, especially when it comes to large dinner parties, where you may need to reuse dishes from dinner when it's time for dessert.
Drying —Whether it's accomplished with rinse aid, a built-in heater, or a built-in fan, customers expect their dishes to be dry as well as clean. We penalize the dishwasher every time a dish comes out wet, whether it's sopping wet or just covered in a few water droplets.
Features and Usability
While all of the features in the world can't make a bad dishwasher better, they can really add the finishing touch to a dishwasher that does a killer cleaning job. We look at the various cycles, cycle options, and dishwasher specs and assess both how useful the features are, and how easy it is to actually use those features.
For example, a third rack that primarily holds cutlery can often be a game-changer when it comes to freeing up valuable real estate in the bottom rack. However, if the third rack is rickety, doesn't slide smoothly, or prevents the dishwasher from actually cleaning the cutlery, we would penalize the dishwasher, rather than reward it just for having a third rack. The whole point of a dishwasher is to save you from having to spend time scrubbing every dirty dish by hand; if a particular feature isn't going to make the process of using a dishwasher better or easier, then we don't want it.
The best dishwashers have short cycles, superior stain removal and drying power, and features that make the experience of using a dishwasher a painless one.
Why Do People Like Bosch Dishwashers?
Bosch occupies an enviable location in the dishwasher market—in the sweet spot for four different facets of a dishwasher: performance, noise, aesthetics, and price.
We're always impressed by how well Bosch's dishwashers clean our test dishes; almost every dishwasher on this list removed more than 99% of stains on all three of the cycles we test: Quick, Normal, and Heavy. While you may be thinking, "Well, obviously a dishwasher should be able to get my dishes 100% clean," that isn't always the case in real life, especially when it comes to the Quick cycle. The dirty dishes we use for the Quick cycle are the same as those we use for the Normal cycle, and the Quick cycle has a much shorter cycle time in which it can get the dishes as clean as it does on the Normal cycle.
Also, our test stains are harder to remove than most food stains because of the food types themselves and the fact that they've been baked onto our test dishes. We want to give each dishwasher a "worst-case scenario" for dirty dishes to see if they will rise to the occasion. To make a long story short, a brand having multiple dishwashers capable of removing more than 99% of our food stains is no small feat.
Bosch was one of the first companies to really push the quiet dishwasher trend. This goes hand-in-hand with the recent trend of open-floorplan homes, where kitchens often flow, without walls, straight into entertainment spaces like the living room or the dining room. The lack of walls can prove problematic if your dishwasher is chugging along while you're trying to have a conversation. The more expensive a Bosch-made dishwasher is, the quieter it is; the Bosch 800 series dishwasher we tested, with its stainless steel tub, has a sound rating of 39 dBA, which is similar to the average noise level in a library.
Bosch prides itself on its streamlined, but functional design. Most models offer pocket handles and top-mounted touch controls so that, from the front, there's nothing to break up the clean lines of the dishwasher's stainless steel finish. Unsurprisingly, though, at lower price tiers, Bosch tends to favor function over form, and front-mounted controls with handles become more prevalent.
As you might expect, the price of a top-of-the-line dishwasher from Bosch is probably going to come in at a number that has three zeroes at the end of it. At this price tier, you'll get great cleaning performance, quiet operation, neat extra features, and magazine-level design and finishes. However, that's not to say that you're out of luck if your budget is smaller; Bosch has a number of different options at a variety of price points.
Even better, we don't see a major performance drop off at lower price tiers—the Bosch 100 series dishwasher, which is the most affordable series of the bunch, removed more than 90% of our food stains on the Quick cycle and did even better on the Normal and Heavy cycles. Yes, the dishwasher is louder, has a front-mounted control panel, and doesn't have a metal stainless steel finish (rather, it has a matte stainless steel finish), but the essential Bosch flavor and performance level is still there. If you have a relatively healthy budget, you should be able to easily pick the Bosch model that fits your kitchen, floor plan, and demand for dish cleanliness.
Note: If the cost of the most affordable Bosch dishwasher models are still not in your price range, check out our list of the most affordable dishwashers.
What Does dBA Mean?
When you see the dBA abbreviation, that is referring to "A-weighted decibels", which is the unit that dishwasher manufacturers use to measure how loud a dishwasher is during its operation. You've probably heard of decibels as a measure of loudness before, but the "A-weighting" basically refers to the fact that certain frequencies are more easily perceived by the human ear than others; for instance, a flute solo sounds louder than a bass solo played at the same volume because the human ear is naturally more attuned to mid- and high-range frequencies than it is to bass-range frequencies. As a result, when manufacturers report how loud a dishwasher actually sounds to someone in the same room of the dishwasher while it's turned on, they report that number in terms of A-weighted decibels (dBA), rather than just decibels (dB).
Other Bosch Dishwashers We Tested
Bosch SHE89PW55N (2017 Benchmark Series)
Editor's Note: The 2017 Bosch Benchmark series dishwashers, including the SHE89PW55N, are nearing the end of their life cycle, and will soon no longer be available for purchase. These dishwashers have been replaced by the 2019 Bosch Benchmark Series dishwashers.
The Bosch SHE89PW55N is one of the models in Bosch's flagship Benchmark series. While the Benchmark dishwashers may cost a lot more than other models, they do offer some niceties for more discerning customers. In addition to a 39 dBA rating—one of the quietest dishwasher ratings we've seen—the Benchmark series offers panel-ready designs, LCD touchscreens, telescoping racks, a deep third rack, and bright interior lighting.
When it comes to performance, though, the SHE89PW55N is a real marvel. Not only were the Normal, Quick, and Heavy cycles all equally effective at removing more than 99 percent of all stains, but the cycles are also extremely efficient; they all use very little water and electricity. While you'll pay more upfront for this dishwasher, you'll end up saving yourself from dirty dishes and high utility bills.
Amazing cleaning—one of the best we’ve tested
Clean, modern design
Runs at a virtually inaudible 39 dBA.
Lackluster price-to-performance ratio
Its many configurations can be confusing
Based on our reviews of other Bosch dishwashers, it’s not surprising that we also love the Bosch 500 series SHPM65Z55N dishwasher. While it’s still on the pricier end of what you might want to pay for a dishwasher, you’re getting a lot of bang for your bucket. With Its quiet operation (44 dBA), adjustable tines, and third rack, you’ll be able to wash many different sizes and types of dishes without worrying about loud noises disrupting your conversation during a dishwasher cycle.
The dishwasher cycles are a bit on the longer side (the Quick cycle clocks in at about an hour), but the cleaning results are worth it. This dishwasher removed nearly all of the stains from our test dishes during the Heavy cycle, which is a rare feat. Additionally, the Auto Air function, which opens the dishwasher door after a cycle has ended to expedite dish drying, is pretty effective; almost every test dish in the Normal and Quick cycles came out bone dry. If you want a Bosch dishwasher but don’t have the budget for a dishwasher in the Bosch 800 series, the Bosch 500 series SHPM65Z55N is a great option.
The Bosch 300 Series continues to offer the same sleek look, quiet operation, and incredible cleaning prowess that Bosch is known for. We tested the Bosch SHSM63W55N and the Bosch SHXM63WS5N, both of which removed nearly 100 percent of the stains on the Heavy cycle, an amazing feat that happens rarely in our test labs.
On top of that, this dishwasher also has a third rack, foldable tines, an adjustable upper rack, solid drying, and an optional water softener.
If you want a Bosch to wash your dishes, but you're on a strict budget, look no further: the Bosch SHEM3AY52N, part of Bosch's 100 Series line of dishwashers, gives you all the cleaning performance you need at a price you can afford. With a noise rating of 50 dBA, it's a bit louder than other Bosch dishwashers on the market, but we didn't find the sound very noticeable during testing. For best stain removal results, we recommend using the Normal and Heavy cycles, which do a great job at getting rid of really tough stains.
While the dishwasher's control panel is basic, you can use the buttons to access a number of different wash and cycle options. This model comes in black, white, and stainless steel finishes, but the stainless steel finish, unsurprisingly, costs a bit extra. Lastly, while this dishwasher doesn't have a true third rack, it does have a small utility rack that sits atop the second rack, and is large enough to fit ladles, short glassware, or more cutlery. Bosch's 100 Series dishwashers make some of the best Bosch features available to those who couldn't afford them previously.
Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.