“ Brand: Bosch / Capacity: 7 Kg / Power Source: Electric / Dryer Type: Home Dryer / Load Type: Front Loader / Cycles: 11 Cycles / Cool Down Feature: Without Cool Down Feature / Moisture-Sensor: With Moisture-Sensor / Overall Depth: 62.5 cm / Overall Height: 85 cm / Overall Width: 60 cm „
Around four years ago we had the need for a new washer and dryer and we came home with a couple of Boschs (see my separate review for the washing machine). The reason that we chose Bosch is that, although they are at the higher end of the price bracket, they have a good reputation and, in our experience, their products perform and last well.
Additionally, the space we had for a tumble dryer did not have a connection to the outside which I had been under the impression was completely necessary to install a tumble dryer. However, I was to embark upon a journey into the world of condenser dryers, a world I hadn't even known existed!
For anyone as ignorant as I was, the condenser dryer is a clever piece of kit that simply needs to be plugged in, with no air venting necessary at all. It works by removing the moisture from the clothes and depositing this moisture neatly in a plastic container which the user then empties from time to time. Cool huh?!
So, how does this particular condenser dryer fare?.....
== PRICE, DIMENSIONS, CAPACITY ==
To be honest, I can't remember exactly how much we paid for it but I have seen them recently for around £450.
The dryer measures 60cm wide by 60cm deep by 85cm high. It has adjustable feet so you can alter the height to an extent.
It has a fairly large maximum drying capacity of 7kg. We needed this since the washing machine we bought at the same time has a capacity of 8kg so it seemed silly to then get a dryer with a much smaller capacity! So they work quite well side by side.
== FEATURES - SO WHAT DOES IT DO BESIDES JUST DRY? ==
This is not just any old tumble dryer. Oh no, this one can tell how wet your clothes are and will accordingly adjust the drying time to get them just right. This is obviously an energy-saving feature as it means you aren't wasting drying time on clothes that are already dry. So it earns its keep to an extent.
There are two main drying options, split into categories:
== Cottons ==
You can set cottons to be Extra Dry, Very Dry, Cupboard Dry or Iron Dry. These range in dryness from the driest being the extra-dry setting to the iron-dry which leaves the clothes/towels etc slightly damp. In practise I almost always use the very dry setting as I have tried the cupboard dry and find the load is not quite dry enough to put away. Since there are only two timed drying facilities - one at 40 mins and one at 20 mins (a shortfall covered below), it is not possible to just give them another 5 minutes, so this has put me off using the cupboard dry facility which is now completely ignored on my machine.
== Easy-Care ==
This has categories of Very Dry, Cupboard Dry and Iron Dry. In fact I rarely use this setting as I don't tend to tumble dry anything apart from cottons - I hang all T-shirts etc. The Easy-Care setting has a maximum load of 3.5kg, which is half of the machine's total capacity.
In addition to these two main drying categories there are also 3 other options:
- Woollens (finish) - this will fluff up the textiles but not actually dry them and they need to be hung afterwards.
- Short Programme - this is intended for washing which is to be dried quickly eg synthetic fabrics or cottons.
- Timed Programmes - there are only two timed options, a 40 minute cycle and a 20 minute 'freshen up' .
I must admit this took a bit of getting used to, as I was used to just chucking my washing in the dryer and choosing a time based on what it was and how much of it I'd put in there. Once I got used to this though and started to trust it, I didn't miss being able to choose the time much at all. The only problem I find is that there are sometimes times when I just want to pop something in there for 10 minutes, or maybe 30 minutes, and I don't want to choose a programme. The restriction here is that you simply can't do that, unless it happens that you want to tumble for either 20 or 40 minutes exactly. However, it does seem very quick to ascertain whether something is already fairly dry, and will therefore adjust its drying time accordingly - it has simply been a matter of learning over time what the best option to choose would be for what I want to achieve.
In addition to these drying choices, there is also an option to select 'low heat' which is something I use if I am tumble drying something a little more delicate.
There is a buzzer option which you can choose to have on or off that will tell you when your load is ready.
The digital display shows the time remaining in hours and minutes, but this will change according to how long the sensors within the machine thinks it needs. So for example, if you were to put in a couple of towels that were already part dry, and select 'cottons extra dry' the display would immediately show something like an hour or more. But then as the machine realised the towels are already almost there, that time will rapidly decrease. So it's not always a good indication but usually will give you an idea as to how long the drying will take.
== Anti-Crease Function ==
If you haven't removed the load from the machine once your drying has finished, the dryer has an anti-crease function which will continue to turn the washing at specific intervals. This will keep the washing loose and fluffy for an hour after it has finished drying. Very helpful.
== PRACTICALITIES - IS IT USER-FRIENDLY? ==
The programme selector is a nice, chunky, user-friendly rotating knob, with satisfying clicks so you know when it's in place. The other buttons (of which there are only three - the on/off, the low heat on/off and the buzzer on/off) are touch sensitive and, like with my washing machine, I find that with my very dry hands they don't always notice when I touch/tap them so sometimes I have to do it two or three times for it to register.
This has been a very easy machine to use and take care of. Like any dryer, it has a fluff filter which needs regular cleaning. This really couldn't be simpler - you just lift it out, open it up and run your hand over the filter to remove the fluff which is always in a nice easy layer anyway. Then close it up and put it back. That's it!
In addition, as this is a condenser dryer, the water container needs to be emptied. I find the frequency with which I need to do this is totally dependent on the type of washing I am doing. Three towel washes and it will need an empty. Shirts and sheets, it would probably go for five or six washes before it's full. To empty it is easy and quick, you just pull it out (being careful to keep it horizontal as there's a hole in the top!) walk to the sink, pour the water down the sink and then put it back. Easy peasy. No problem if you forget to empty the container - the machine will simply stop if there's no room for any more condensation and a light will come on to tell you why.
From time to time (every six months or so) the air cooler needs a clean. The machine has a handy light to tell you when this is necessary. Again this is quite easy and takes a matter of minutes. Some water can spill out so I do put a cloth on the floor underneath before I remove this, but then it's just a case of removing the soggy fluff that has built up and then replacing the cooler.
The machine has a status display to tell you what it's up to. Using a column of lights, it will let you know what stage the drying is at from a choice of four - it is either:
- Iron dry
- Cupboard dry
- Anti-crease mode
So if you feel the need to keep a constant check on your load and want to know just how dry it is without having to open the dryer, then your Bosch will let you know. Personally I can't say I've ever looked but I'm sure there are many people out there who would!
As above, we've had this tumble dryer for around four years now and (touch wood) I have never had the need to call an engineer as it hasn't given me a moment's trouble. A Bosch through and through.
(Review will also appear on Ciao)
The comprehensive Bosch WTE86304 condenser tumble dryer features a LED display showing time remaining and has 11 drying programmes over 3 drying levels / You can time your drying from 20-60 minutes and the sensor drying feature will ensure the programme switches off when the load is dry / The WTE86304 will then go through its anti-crease phase for up to 60 minutes, tumbling the load to eliminate excess creasing / Short name: Bosch WTE 86304