When it comes to dishwashers, no company has as much clout as Bosch. As far as the Bosch lineup goes, the Bosch SHEM3AY52N(available at Abt for $449.00) is one of the most affordable. The model is part of the 100 series, a group of entry-level dishwashers that are still engineered by Bosch.
While it doesn't boast the same sleek look we tend to expect from Bosch, the SHEM3AY52N removes an above-average amount of stains without making a racket. If you’re looking above-average stain removal without all the flashy features, this is the one to get.
About this dishwasher
• Dimensions: 33 7/8” x 22 9/16” x 23 9/16” (HxDxW)
• Capacity: 14 place settings
• Sound Rating: 50 dBA
• Cycles: 1 Hour US, Auto US, Delicate/Economy Wash US, Power Scrub Plus US, Regular US, Rinse & Hold US
• Third Rack: No
What we like
• Cleans off plates: The SHEM3AY52N is a dishwasher that lives up to its name. Cycle after cycle, it got our testing plates 97.7 percent clean. That’s a strong showing, especially at the sub-$500 price point. However, this isn't the best showing Bosch has ever had. The 800 Series can get plates to 99.94 percent clean. However, the 800 series is the best of what Bosch has to offer.
• Quiet Operation: This Bosch operates at around 50 dBA. To put that in perspective, 50 dBA is about as loud as a rain pattering against a glass window. More to the point, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to hear your dishwasher from another room while it’s running.
• Cupboard-ready dishes: It’s a little hidden (you have to hit Delicates and Start at the same time, then Heavy or Rinse), but you can actually increase the temperature of the final rinse. Hot water is more apt to evaporate off dishes, so with the right settings you can bone-dry plates after every cycle.
• A third rack... sort of: The SHEM3AY52N has a sort of pseudo-third rack. On the left-hand side of the upper cavity, there’s an area called the Utility Rack where you can place a ladle or a set of knives. When not in use, the rack has hinges that allow it to make room for taller items. It's not as useful as a full third rack, but we're not complaining about the extra space.
• Stainless steel interior: Like the third rack, this 100-Series dishwasher has a stainless steel tub, of a kind. Five of the six sides are made of stainless steel while the bottom is made of durable plastic. Having metal on most of the sides helps dampen down noise, and the plastic bottom helps lower costs. It’s not as great as having steel on all sides, but it still provides that classic look.
What we don't like
• It's not a looker: Bosch is better known for bringing European elegance into the kitchen. The SHEM3AY52N isn't going to do that. It has a white plastic exterior and clunky front-facing buttons. The display looks like it belongs to a department store alarm clock. At this lower price point, you can usually get stainless on the outside or the inside, but not both. Bosch chose to hide all the beauty on the inside for this model.
• Too many secret menus: In an effort to have a simple design, Bosch hid most of the features behind complicated controls. All the buttons on the control panel serve a dual purpose. However, you’d never know without studying the manual. For example, if you hit Delicates and Start at the same time, then hit Delicates again, then hit either Heavy or Rinse, you can adjust how much rinse aid you use. It’s all a bit much.
• Not the best cleaner for the money: While the Bosch SHEM3AY52N showed us some impressive cleaning scores, it isn’t the best in its price range. The Whirlpool WDT730PAHZ costs around the same and removed 2 percent more stains. That might not sound like a lot, but at this price point, it’s a war of inches.
What users are saying
Averaging the ratings at Home Depot, Lowes, AJ Madison, and Best Buy, users gave the Bosch SHEM3AY52N 4.3 out of 5 stars. They cite how much they appreciate the build quality and quiet operation. Detractors say they dislike how cluttered the upper rack is.
Should you buy this dishwasher?
Save for a major sale or snatching up a discontinued model, this is the most affordable Bosch dishwasher you can get. The brand has a stellar reputation for a reason. The SHEM3AY52N outshines most dishwashers in this price range. It cleans well and has a lot of unique features like the Utility Rack and an adjustable rinse aid dispenser. For those willing to read the manual, this Bosch has much to offer.
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Senior Lab Technician at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
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.