For six weeks in Switzerland I was the official dishwasher, and enjoyed it. In my appliance hierarchy, a dishwasher ranks below a microwave; chiefly, I'm afraid, because without the latter it's a pain to heat up my cup of tea, which I'm forever leaving somewhere to get cold. Nonetheless, I am inordinately thrilled by one of the first purchases we made upon my return: a Bosch dishwasher, not the top of the line but not the bottom, either.
Our old dishwasher (GE "Potscrubber 1200") didn't owe us a thing, having served us well for a quarter of a century. The cost, spread over time and ignoring inflation, was less than $20 per year.
Does anyone expect an appliance to last 25 years anymore? Believe it or not, the dishwasher was not our oldest appliance, either: we've had our stove and freezer since 1977! The freezer is as good as ever, if you don't count the cosmetic angle; the stove is limping somewhat, but all four burners, the oven, and the microwave still function well. On the positive side, the short life of today's appliances makes one aspect of shopping easier: if you decide you don't like what you bought, you don't have as much time to wait before getting another chance.
For the most part, I loathe shopping and the decision-making that goes with it. Thankfully, my wonderful husband did the preliminary research while I was washing dishes overseas, so the remainder of the process was almost painless. We went with the Bosch on our brother-in-law's recommendation—in his business, he learns a lot about such things—as well as for its German engineering. That it was made in North Carolina is nice, too. We bought it from Lowe's and were very pleased with the installer (who is also an amateur luthier, we discovered). We've had the new machine for four days, and here are a few things I've noticed that are different from our previous dishwasher.
- It's much quieter. We chose not to get the model with a delayed start option, because this is so quiet there's no need to wait to run it, even if you have company or are watching a movie.
- The cleaning process is much longer. In this it is much like European clothes washers, which favor low water consumption over quick work. So far it has not bothered me that it takes over two hours to wash the dishes. There is an express (30-minute) cycle I can use if necessary.
- The default settings include an "I'm done, come unload me" set of five loud, nagging beeps, which repeat at intervals—I don't know for how long, as I've not yet been able to ignore it past two sets. There's a way to turn the volume down, or off altogether, which I may resort to, as the beeps sound like an alarm clock, not what I want to hear at midnight when I'm deep in slumber.
- Ta-da! I've saved the best for last: The dishes get CLEAN! For reasons unknown, our old dishwasher never really worked right after we returned from our two years in Boston. We nursed it along—for years, really—trying one thing and another, with varying success, but finally threw in the towel. Hence the new dishwasher. Since the new models are designed to function better if you don't rinse the dishes first, I'm having to change my well-ingrained habit of getting them pretty much clean beforehand. (To quote the Bosch rep, "It's a dishWASHER; let it do its job.") We're still testing its limits, and marvelling at the clean dishes.