I've been having fun over the past couple of months trying out all the appliances we had fitted with our new kitchen. Yes, I realise I need to get out more. One of these was this Bosch dishwasher, a 60cm wide fully integrated dishwasher from the Bosch range.
==Price and Availability==
Bizarrely, when we designed and ordered our kitchen, the dishwasher was offered to us at a price of £50. It was a deal they were running in-store, so rather than choose our own dishwasher based on any other criteria, we opted for this one as it was on offer, and also our other appliances were from Bosch so it made sense to have them all matching. We also had a two year warranty with our model, which is peace of mind if anything was to break. The customer service number is printed on the inside door panel, which is useful if you should ever need to phone them in a panic situation! Looking around online, I can't find this dishwasher for less than around £300, so it's definitely at the top end of the price range for this kind of item.
==What's the deal?==
As with any dishwasher, the basic premise is that you load it with dishes, shut the door and the washing up is done for you. We had only owned one other dishwasher prior to this one, and that was a slimline dishwasher. As there's only two of us in our household, I used to think the slimline one was sufficient for our needs, but as it turned out, we always seemed to be behind with the washing up, and I often ended up helping out our dishwasher friend by washing the overflow items by hand, heaven forbid!
Imagine my delight when this full sized dishwasher was offered to us for a steal at £50 as part of our kitchen! I didn't enquire too much about the features, as the most important thing to me was that it was full sized. And also because I was very grateful to my husband for using his hard-earned bonus to buy our kitchen. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover there are some handy features on this model.
The energy rating is A, which is good to know as the dishwasher is one of the most used appliances in our house. The capacity according to the user manual is twelve place settings, and the shelves are adjustable height-wise to allow you to alter it depending on what suits you best. We haven't adjusted ours because we like the top shelf reasonably high to allow bulky items to be placed on the bottom shelf without catching the blades. The controls are placed at the top of the door rather than on the front, and as with most dishwashers, the door opens outwards from the top rather than the side.
The control panel is very simple, and doesn't complicate things with lots of flashing lights or indicators. The left hand side literally has the on/off button, and the right hand side has an indicator to let you know the cycle has ended, five cycle buttons, and an indicator to alert you to the fact the dishwasher needs rinse aid or salt. You can literally start using the dishwasher straight away, without having to read through pages of waffle in the user manual, although it can be useful to refer to the manual if you are unsure of the different cycles.
The cycles themselves are fairly self-explanatory, but there are little diagrams on the control panel to indicate the type of thing you can use them for. The cycles available are:
*Intensive (70 degrees)
*Normal (65 degrees)
*Economy (50 degrees)
*Quick Wash (45 degrees)
We usually use the 45 degree quick wash, which is perfectly adequate for day to day stuff.
==How does it compare to our previous dishwasher?==
Well, without wishing to repeat myself( I'm not quite ready to turn into my mother just yet), I have to say that the size of this dishwasher is its main selling point. Although there are only two of us, I am a keen baker, and often make cakes and meals from scratch. This creates a lot of dirty dishes, which I now just place straight into the dishwasher and hey presto, you'd never know I'd been baking. Along with our lovely new kitchen which is now my favourite room in the house, this ease of cleaning up has re-ignited my passion for baking, as I found sometimes what puts me off is the thought of the dirty dishes afterwards.
The dishwasher can fit some very bulky items in with no hassle whatsoever. Notably, our wok, and my large plastic mixing bowl can comfortably fit on the bottom shelf, and this means you're not having to scrub or leave things to soak because they don't fit in the dishwasher. Our previous dishwasher used to struggle to fit large bowls or pans, as they would catch the blade as it spins, but with this one I haven't yet found anything that won't fit (cue crunching sound as the blade gets stuck and breaks!).
The second main selling point of this dishwasher (I don't know why I keep saying "selling point", I'm not on commission or anything!), is its speed. We tend to use the same function each time we use it, and this takes around 30 minutes which is next to no time compared to our previous dishwasher which seemed to take forever. This makes it very easy to keep the kitchen tidy, because we can unload the dishwasher as soon as it's finished, and it's ready to go again, meaning there are no dirty dishes hanging around your kitchen.
Previously, the dishwasher was plumbed into the utility room as we were using a temporary (if two years can be called "temporary") kitchen, but now we have our proper kitchen fitted, we have this dishwasher integrated into the units. The good thing about this is that you don't really notice it's there, and to be honest it makes such little noise, sometimes I forget I put it on! The noise factor could have posed a potential bugbear for us, as we have a breakfast bar built into the kitchen and it's quite a sociable room when people come round, or when we both get in from work. I didn't want to be sitting at the breakfast bar having to shout over the dishwasher, but thankfully it really is unbelievably quiet so this isn't the case. There have been times when I've had to press my ear to the unit door, just to make sure it's working, as it's so quiet I wasn't sure if it was on or not.
==I'M FINISHED, YOUR DISHES ARE CLEAN==
The one thing I find a bit annoying about this dishwasher, although it's probably a necessity, is the way it mithers the life out of you when it has finished. It beeps several times to let you know the cycle has finished, and then if you don't turn it off immediately, it beeps several times, repeatedly, every few minutes. Basically, if you're within earshot of the dishwasher when it finishes, I would recommend dropping whatever you're doing to turn it off. Otherwise, you'll just get really annoyed with it which will result in you stomping your way through the kitchen in a bad mood.
The reason I say this is probably a necessary evil (is evil too far?), is because the dishwasher is integrated into the unit, so it would be very easy to forget about it and not turn it off when the cycle is finished. This would just be a waste of energy.
The only thing I miss which is necessary from an integration point of view, is that the control panel which tells you whether the dishwasher is on and how long it has left, is on the inside door of the dishwasher, rather than the front. This makes sense, as otherwise it wouldn't be integrated, and obviously it doesn't have an indicator to say how long is left because you wouldn't be able to see it, so if you're the kind of person who likes to see how long the dishwasher has left, or confirmation of the fact it is on, I would probably recommend steering clear of any integrated dishwasher, regardless of the brand.
Size aside, I guess the most important thing is performance (don't worry, I don't intend to continue this review in the style of the "Carry On" films!). I have absolutely no issues with the performance of this dishwasher. It cleans most items perfectly, and what I particularly like is that we can wash glasses alongside other items and they don't come out cloudy like they used to with our old dishwasher. The only dishes we've had problems with are when we've forgotten to load the dishwasher straight away and we've had casserole dishes with food baked on them. Even in this instance, the dishwasher has a great attempt, and only left a tiny bit which was easy enough to scrub off with a scourer. I can't blame the dishwasher for our laziness, so I'm not going to knock a star off for this. We could always use the pre-rinse option but to be honest as we load the dishwasher straight away, it tends to go on once a day so nothing is left standing with food on it for too long.
==To Sum Up==
I can't really fault this dishwasher to be honest. Apart from the annoying beeping to signal the end of the cycle, there isn't anything negative to report about this model. I did consider knocking a star off for the annoying beeping, but I guess ultimately it is kind of necessary with the dishwasher being integrated, and it only annoys me so much because I'm a grumpy so-and-so! The size, speed and noise of this dishwasher make it an excellent option for the price range, and it's one I would have no hesitation in recommending.
(Review also appears on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
Short name: Bosch SGV53E43GB