Product Type: Bosch Hotpoint Dishwasher
Newest Review: ... space in the bottom, it has a unique slide out drawer at the top where everything slots in. This means that the utensils get washed much ... more
Dishing the dirt
Bosch SMS69L Logixx
Member Name: Chouchin
Bosch SMS69L Logixx
Advantages: Very quiet, energy efficient
Disadvantages: Pricey, results not always perfect
So there I was, dishwasher defunct, or reparable only for an eye-watering sum, and soon persuaded I needed a replacement. Enter, to a fanfare of trumpets and sighs of relief, the Bosch SMS69L. Seven years after my previous dishwasher purchase, had the technology improved? Let's consider the problems I described above.
1. Noise. One thing that has been obvious as I moved through the years and models is the noise reduction. I thought my previous one (a Miele) was the tops, but this is better. It is simply barely noticeable, a background hum that merges with the other ambient household noise like PC hard drives and the central heating boiler. It's quieter than my fan oven. Bosch says it operates at 40 decibels, less than normal conversation. I believe it.
2. Does it wash all the dishes? Yes, in theory, if they fit in the machine and are not specifically non-dishwasher proof. In practice, all models recommend against crystal, wooden handles, hand painted ceramics and silver. Personally I would add to that non-stick pans. Then there is the vexed question of glassware. Over the years I found out the hard way that dishwashers will eventually make your glasses go cloudy. In the short term glasses will emerge looking sparkly clean, like the images on many dishwasher products, but gradually they cloud over, like a British summer day. You can either accept this, and replace your glasses every 6 - 12 months, or add them to the pile of to-be-hand-washed.
So how does this machine do? It has a glass protection system, but mark this. I didn't know it had one until it was in and operating. The digital read-out informs me at every full wash cycle that the glass protection system is in operation. Despite having researched this model and read the instruction booklet before using it (note that, chaps) this was the first I'd heard of it. Internet searching has since come up with nothing to say what it is and how it works. After several months the glasses still "ting" with sparkle. If it works long term then this alone would be a reason for selecting this model. But why is Bosch so coy about it?
3. Does it wash the dishes properly? No. Most of the dishes are fine most of the time, and it's better than my previous model. Dinner plates and cutlery are a problem. I am far from being ultra-fussy, but even I have to pull out items for further soaking and hand washing. I don't expect it to clean burnt on residue, but surely cleaning plates and knives is what it's for.
4. Fluids and powders. No advance on the add detergent every time, plus rinse aid and salt when needed scenario. Tablets, liquid and powder are all OK. What is new, is the ability to pre-set the rinse aid and salt levels to suit your water hardness. Living in a hard water area, I now find that I'm topping up with rinse aid and salt far more often than before. Will this prolong the life of the machine and ensure better results for longer? We'll see. I'll get back to you in five years.
5. Programme length. There are plenty of programmes, ranging from the auto intensive to express with a pre-rinse option. Times vary from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours so if you're in a hurry it's back to the washing-up bowl. But that's not the point. You set it going and forget about it while you do something more rewarding (like writing consumer reviews). You can even programme it to start at a particular time. Programme timings are also indicative rather than prescriptive. The model has some clever sensors which measure the turbidity of the rinsing water to sense how much cleaning is still required, and adjusts the timings accordingly. So if your plates only have a few crumbs on them the same programme will take less time than if it's trying to deal with congealed curry leftovers.
6. High initial outlay. This is one of the top end Logixx range and the price is around £425. Obviously it's worth shopping around. Generally I think you get what you pay for with dishwashers and with the complexity of their insides it's worth paying as much as you can afford.
There are other features worth mentioning although some come in the "bells and whistles" category, and would not necessarily affect your purchasing decision. Racks are varied and adjustable so you should be able to fit any combination of dishes. Having had a cutlery tray, as opposed to a box, in my previous model I was keen to have one again but couldn't find one in the Bosch range - until I opened the machine! Another thing they kept quiet about! Honestly, somebody needs to talk to their marketing department.
The control panel is neatly tucked away inside the door giving a smooth uncluttered front. The finger tip controls emit a beep to let you know they've received your instructions and will now get on with things. Also in the panel are warning lights if salt or rinse aid need to be topped up. I would rather these were more prominent as it's quite easy to set it going without noticing one of them is on. What's that red light, I thought the first time I noticed it, and how long has it been on?
Once it's going your machine will message you. Admittedly its conversation is limited to what it's doing, how long it's going to take and the fact that it's protecting your glassware, all in a digital read-out in a small panel. If you open the door while in operation it gets a little tetchy and tells you to close it. If this repetitive "aren't I a clever machine" spiel drives you crazy you can turn it off.
Other programmable features include half load, intensive zone and hygiene extra. Intensive zone is useful as you can put some really dirty stuff in the bottom and it gets more of a going over from the lower spray arms than the top layer. Hygiene extra gives a hotter rinse if you want items to be squeaky clean, like chopping boards or baby bottles. All the dirt has to go somewhere, but the three levels of filters (coarse, fine and micro) are easy to disassemble, clean and reassemble.
Of course it's white, but is it green? The water industry likes dishwashers as the more efficient modern appliances use less water than washing up by hand. This model's clever sensors detect turbidity, as I said above, and if the water's clean enough it gets re-used for rinsing. The variety of programmes means temperature and water volume can be controlled to suit the load, i.e. no overkill. With delayed programming you can take advantage of cheaper energy at night (and the noise won't keep you awake), and it's got a heat exchanger to help heat the water. It is, not surprisingly, recommended by the Energy Savings Trust.
So I think 4 stars for this. It wins on quietness, programme range, looks and energy efficiency; it loses on price and aspects of its performance. Less development needs to be put into features like hygiene extra and digital read-outs, and more into the basic cleaning operation. But on the whole I wouldn't be without one, and I'm getting along fine with this particular model. I wonder if I could teach it to hoover?
Summary: An time-saver with a few imperfections
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