“ Brand: Bosch / Wash & Energy Performance: A / Type: Free-Standing „
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This is our first dishwasher, which we bought from John Lewis in January (10 months ago). We had had a built-in dishwasher before, but it had been broken ever since we moved into the house. As it was our first, we took advice in the shop, which was very helpful for us, and also we had it delivered and installed, with the old dishwasher being taken away for us. Everyone was very helpful and I'd recommend John Lewis as a retailer of dishwashers.
This particular dishwasher we chose because it was a cheap entry level dishwasher with a good energy rating. I also rather liked that it had a plastic inside, which looked like it would be easier to keep clean than a stainless steel. It's white and looks fairly plain on the outside, with a few buttons and a handle to open the door.
I haven't really explored all the settings, just use it on 'automatic' all the time, which works out how dirty your dishes are from the first rinse and sets the programme accordingly. I was a bit nervous about getting the right setting, and this seemed perfect for me, although my husband's parents had a dishwasher so he was a bit more confident, it makes it quicker for him to use as well.
Inside there are two drawers, one of which has space for plates and a cutlery basket, the back plate rack folds down so you can fit large pans in. We usually have at least one pan that needs to go in, so having the fold down racks is excellent for us, gives us a bit more versatility. The top drawer has space for cups and glasses and, again, a small plate rack, half of which folds down and I tend to use that space for loaf tins or small bowls. There are fold down ledges by both the mug part and on the bottom shelf, which I use for long utensils such as wooden spoons and whisks.
All in all, there's a place for everything, and everything can be fitted in somewhere. I know some models have a cutlery tray which is a third narrow shelf, and frees up the bottom drawer for more dirty dishes, but I'm quite happy with a removable cutlery basket as I find it easier to fill and empty. The bottom drawer on this has a large handle as well, which I find makes it easier to get into in a hurry (especially as I'm having difficulty bending at the moment).
So, how does it perform? Well, overall I've been very happy with it. I use an all in one dishwasher tablet, and everything tends to come out clean. We have problems with the drain the dishwasher empties into, and sometimes the dishwasher becomes backed up as a result, but the design is such that even if that happens, the now clean dishes are lifted out of the water. It's relatively easy to clean as well, I give it a dose of Tescos or Waitrose dishwasher cleaner every couple of weeks and it's as good as new. Sometimes we do have problems with the dishes not coming out completely clean, but a rinse is all it takes, and I think that's a function of our drain being a bit blocked rather than the dishwasher. There's a cool down period at the end of the cycle, which helps me know when I can safely remove things. I don't know whether that's standard, but it's very useful.
A little while ago my long-suffering Bosch dishwasher came to the end of its natural life. I immediately started looking for a replacement as the idea of washing up regularly just didn't appeal to me. I had owned it for over 12 years so when it came to a replacement machine Bosch was top of my list as it had never developed any faults until its final demise so I thought the reliability was impressive. However I also wanted a quick replacement. I was not keen to wait a couple of weeks so that did cut down my choice somewhat but when checking the John Lewis website I spotted the Bosch Avantixx SGS45A02GB for £299 with immediate delivery so I decided to opt for that one.
Although I would have liked a silver coloured dishwasher I really couldn't justify the extra expense so this machine is the traditional white of many appliances. The space that we had was also pretty much standard so this appliance fitted perfectly with dimensions of H85 xW60 D61. I usually buy the most basic household appliances as I tend to think that the fancier the gadget the more likely it is to go wrong, this machine was a more sophisticated model than I would probably have selected if I had lots of time to make a selection. Upon opening the packaging I immediately liked the look of the machine. It didn't have the traditional pull-release handle of my old machine; instead it had the front plate with all the buttons and then a small silver trim at the bottom which you slide your hand under to pull the door open. There was an on/off button on the left and then the programme selection buttons on the right along with the warning lights for water, rinse aid and salt and a small digital display.
My husband started to plumb the machine in with the hose that was supplied but we just couldn't get it to work without leaking from the joint. Eventually we went and retrieved the hose from our old dishwasher which luckily we still had. We used this instead and immediately the problem was solved and all the leaking stopped. On inspecting the inside of the end of the hose it became apparent that the thread was faulty which was why it kept cross-threading when attaching it to the rear of the machine. This was luckily only a minor problem for us as we had a replacement hose we could use but it could have been very inconvenient.
The machine came with a quick start guide that said we had to adjust the water softening system after asking our water company what the water hardness in our area is. I know that phoning our water company would be a complete waste of time so we decided to opt for the medium hard water setting as our water comes straight from the Chilterns and is certainly quite hard. Setting this required a rather bizarre sequence of button pushing and turning the machine on and off but it wasn't too complicated. Adding the salt and rinse aid were the next steps and they were both easy as the dispensers are easy to reach and to open. Unfortunately there is no visual way of checking rinse aid levels; you don't know you are running low until the external light shows.
Upon first opening the machine I was struck by the fact that the racks were coated in grey plastic and the base of the machine was also mainly grey plastic. This gave the interior a rather dull look and it didn't look all new and shiny and clean which is one of the things I love about new appliances.
===Starting to Stack===
The interior racks in the machine were similar but not exactly the same as my previous dishwasher. The top drawer is adjustable to two different heights. It uses what Bosch refers to as the Rackmatic system which means that you should be able to adjust the height easily even when the basket is full. I really can't seem to get the hang of this and I tried looking in the handbook and the instructions were as clear as mud. I can't say I ever adjusted the height on my previous dishwasher so I can't see it being a problem but better instructions would have helped.
On the top of the drawer on the left there is a flat plastic flap with niches to hold large knives. I always use this tray as it gets the knives clean and also means that sharp knives are not pointing out of the cutlery basket so there is much less likelihood of an injury. On the right hand side there was also another plastic flap which the manufacturers refer to as etagère which can hold small items and also provide support for long necked wine glasses. I immediately unclipped this shelf as I knew that I wouldn't use it and most of our glasses are large tumblers and they wouldn't fit underneath. Unclipping it is a simple affair and it can always be put back if we decide we need it. The rest of the top drawer has places for cups and mugs and then a front and rear section with prongs. The ones in the front section can easily be flapped down to provide a flat area which allows real flexibility when trying to stack more unusually shaped items.
The top drawer slides out easily and doesn't feel at all flimsy even when fully stacked. It is easy to fit a lot of items in the top basket due to its useful arrangement of prongs and flat areas. There is a small spray point but no rotating arm above it so tall items can still be stacked efficiently. I do find one set of prongs a little inclined to fold flat when emptying the washer and I always have to lift it back into place again before reloading
For some reason the bottom basket pulls out with a blue handle, the point of this totally escapes me as I have never struggled to pull out the bottom basket before by just holding the front but obviously someone thought it was a good idea. The first thing I noticed was the cutlery basket as it was quite distinctive looking as it had two handles. I presume this means that it can be split into two and I have read that on the manufacturer's website too but I can't seem to split it without the one piece of plastic looking like it will break so I have left it as it is. Like most cutlery baskets it has a lattice design on the top to slot the cutlery into to keep it separate and enhance the washing. Unfortunately our cutlery seems too large for most of the holes so I have had to flap the grid out of the way (a very simple operation) on one side and pile my cutlery in together. I wouldn't say that the handles of my cutlery are particularly large so I was surprised that they presented a problem. One of the best features of the basket however is the clever design that allows it to be put almost anywhere in the bottom drawer due to the way it fits over the prongs. This is extremely helpful when stacking varying items.
The rest of the bottom drawer has racks that are a bit of a mystery to me. The front plate section is fine but the rear part has prongs that look like the plate racks but they are adjustable with a ratchet system at the side so they can be set at different angles and there is also a flap down system at the back which I can't understand the purpose of. The handbook has absolutely no information on what these are designed for or how to get the best out of these racks to improve the standard of washing.
===Time To Wash===
Upon stacking this dishwasher I came to the conclusion that it seems slightly smaller inside than my previous model even though it is supposed to take 12 place settings. The depth is definitely sorter as I can fit fewer cups along the side than I used to be able to. However we are only a family of four and there was enough room inside for a normal days washing up.
Loading the detergent was easy as the holder is on the inside of the door and it is large enough to fit powder or tablets and it closes easily with a firm click.
I tend to use either the Auto programme or the Eco programme which both seem to take about two and a quarter hours. This seemed to be a long time to me but I know that my new washing machine also seemed to take ages when I first bought it. I think it has something to do with reducing water and energy consumption, and this is an A rated machine.
I have read reports saying that this machine is noisy but I can't say I think it is particularly loud. I usually clear up the kitchen, shut the door and relax in another room at the end of the day and I haven't thought the noise was intrusive but even when I have put it one and stayed in the kitchen it doesn't seem noisy at all, I can hear it working but it is not overly loud.
The most important thing about a dishwasher is obviously going to be its cleaning performance and here the Bosch really came into its own. All of my utensils, glasses and crockery came out shiny and clean, I was very impressed. They were not blinding me as the various dishwasher detergent ads would have you believe but they were certainly immaculate. I found that the majority of baked on food also came off well and there has only been one occasion when I have had to rewash something by hand but the tray had been very badly burnt on and then left to dry so I was surprised the machine had done as good a job as it did. I do have some saucepans that I was in the dishwasher and they have also come out very clean. The items have also come out very dry and ready to put away as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
The only thing that has come out not completely dry was some plastic food boxes but I think this is quite a common problem with many dishwashers.
One thing that I am having trouble with getting used to is that you have to turn the machine off after the programme finishes. My previous machine would turn itself off when you opened the door and to start the machine next time you simply pressed the programme button. On this one I forget to turn it off after it has finished, I then unload it (or to be more accurate my son normally does), stack it again but to make it start again I have to turn the machine off then on again and then press the programme button. It just seems a bit pointless and irritating.
To open the door you put your hand under the front panel and pull it down, there is no obvious release mechanism. I am obviously stronger than I think as I frequently send it straight down to bang on my shins as it doesn't require a lot of force to open. The door doesn't stay flat unless the bottom basket is pulled out, it bounces up to sit partially open, I find this useful as I don't walk into it and crack my ankles as I tended to with my old machine if someone hadn't shut it.
When I took delivery of this machine it came with a handbook and the front line-drawing actually showed a machine very similar to my previous model. Upon opening the handbook I realised it was a generic publication which vaguely covers all of the Bosch dishwasher models. I have seen this with other manufacturers but then throughout the book they do state which features apply to which models. This handbook gives no information so it is actually quite difficult to work out what the machine does or doesn't do. As I have previously stated there is no mention of the racks in my machine although there is mention of the racks of a previous model. There is no information about splitting the cutlery basket either.
Half-load. The front on my machine states it has a half load option but it is not something I am likely to use as we always seem to make plenty of washing up but besides saying to use slightly less detergent there is no information about whether the whole machine is washed or just the bottom drawer (a feature that happens in some machines I have looked at).
Quick wash. I have used this a few times, particularly when I have guests s and I am running out of small plates and mugs as this only takes half an hour and gets lightly soiled items perfectly clean.
Pre-rinse. I don't use pre-rinse as I tend to stack the machine and then start it but I occasionally used it in my last machine if it I had half stacked it and it would be a while before anything else was put in. This does take nearly 20 minutes and uses 4 litres of water so it is not very environmentally friendly.
Time delay. It is possible to set this machine to turn on any time within the following 19 hours. I have tried this feature just to make sure it works, it simply requires repeated pressing of a programme button. I have no use for this at all but perhaps for people with cheaper electricity at some points it may be useful.
Child Lock. I no longer have young children about but I was interested in finding out if there was a door lock or a programme lock. Referring to the handbook the statement I found read "the description of the childproof door lock is at the back in the envelope". I had no envelope and the description that I eventually spotted inside the back cover didn't appear to show my model. However on crawling on the floor to inspect under the front handle panel I could see a similar sliding knob to that in the picture so I presume it is activated in the same way. There is a programme lock which is activated by pressing buttons on the front which is quite simple.
This is a brilliant dishwasher at a reasonable price. I find that the wash programmes give an excellent performance and I don't think it is too noisy to run. I think the biggest disappointment is the atrocious handbook that is supplied with the machine. It gives information about features but the owner has no way of knowing if their machine has these features. I am none the wiser about whether my machine has the aqua-stop facility that is listed in the handbook and there is mention of a "float" device but very little information on how it works. It would also help if it gave more information about the new racking that the machines have as all the pictures relate to the racking that my very old machine had. I do like the fold down prongs as it does make the space versatile and it accommodates lots of differently shaped items.
However for the price and the quality of the machine I would have to say that I would recommend it and in my opinion it is certainly far better than tackling the washing up by hand!
Short name: Bosch SGS45A02GB