Pros: - Thorough Cleaning
- Ultra-Low Energy/Water Consumption
- Built-In Water Softener
- Fits Under Shorter Countertops
Cons: - Unable to Lock Door During Operation
- Control Panel Remains On After Cycle Complete
While attempting to replace my former 16-year-old dishwasher which had ceased operation, I learned a bitter lesson--that my kitchen countertops are over an inch below standard height. As a result, approximately 95% of the dishwashers I researched would not fit in the existing space.
Among the few viable options were lower-end models made by GE and Kenmore. They were all very basic dishwashers that lacked most of the features I was seeking.
Lo and behold, after nearly giving up my search, I stumbled upon the Bosch SGE63E06UC. According to Bosch's 2009 Home Appliances catalog, this model is part of the Evolution 300 Series. Its positioning as a "Special Application" unit did not initially resonate with me, nor did its marketing as an "ADA Compliant" model, as no one in my household has special needs. What did matter to me, however, was that the SGE63E06UC is a slightly shorter dishwasher with legs that could be adjusted to fit my space perfectly. At last, my search was over!
After several loads, I can confidently say that my new dishwasher delivers virtually all of the features that matter to me:
1. Energy-Efficient. Rated at 234 kWh/yr, this model ranks 37th out of 547 of the "greenest" dishwashers available in the U.S. on the government's ENERGY STAR list as of November 2009.
2. Water-Efficient. The ENERGY STAR database lists this model's water consumption at 1.57 gallons per cycle. At this level, it is tied for 3rd lowest water usage out of the 547 products. (This rating is for comparative purposes only. Actual water consumption varies based on the dishwashing cycle selected.)
3. Superb Cleaning Performance. Despite its miserly energy and water consumption, the SGE63E06UC does a marvelous job of cleaning glasses, flatware and plates. The cleaning is thorough, and my items come out shiny and residue-free. Because of the low water usage, only a very small amount of detergent is required--about 15 ml or 1 tablespoon.
4. Quiet. At 49 decibels, this unit is much softer than the typical American dishwasher. (It is not the quietest model in the Bosch line, as the Evolution 800 Plus Series rates at 40 decibels.)
5. Sanitary. During the rinsing and drying cycle, this model produces enough heat to be NSF-certified for bacteria elimination.
The Bosch SGE63E06UC has several features that are fairly atypical in the U.S. market:
- Water Softener - Included with the dishwasher is a test strip for determining water hardness. My test revealed that my Chicago-area Lake Michigan water is indeed moderately hard. Fortunately the SGE63E06UC has a built-in water softener that can be programmed appropriately based on the water hardness test results. The softening process prevents limescale buildup on dishwasher mechanisms, which reduces the need for maintenance. To use this feature, it is necessary to pour special dishwasher salt crystals into a chamber below the bottom rack every few weeks.
- Debris Filter - Many European diswashers, including this one, achieve their energy efficiency in part by not having an electrical food grinder. Instead, there is a manual filter that traps food particles. This filter needs to be inspected and rinsed periodically. Access to the filter is easy, and it only takes a few seconds to unscrew, rinse and replace.
- Half Load Option - With only two people in my household, we only run our Bosch every other day, and even then, it is sometimes only half-full. Fortunately there is a Half Load option that reduces runtime and water consumption. Further, this option permits items to be loaded on both the top and bottom racks.
- Auto Wash Option - When selecting this feature, the unit automatically adjusts runtime and rinse cycles to match the dirtiness of the load. Apparently it does so through analyzing the turbidity of the rinse water. As soon as the water runs clean, the dishwasher aborts unnecessary cycles.
While I feel the Bosch SGE63E06UC fulfills all of my priorities, I did discover a couple of quirks or areas for improvement:
- No Door Lock - While there is a label that reads, "Child Lock," what this refers to is that the control buttons become disabled once a cycle has begun. However, there is apparently no way of actually locking the main door. If there are young children or irresponsible people in the household who are prone to pulling the door open while in use, this could pose a problem.
- Control Panel Remains Illuminated - Once a cycle has completed, the vivid red LED indicators on the control panel remain illuminated. Technically this may mean that the unit is still powered on. It remains so until the user presses the ON/OFF button and the lights go out. It would be nicer if the unit powered down automatically when finished.