Excellent cleaning capabilities
Long wash time
We purchased the Bosch Ascenta Series Top Control Tall Tub Dishwasher so our reviewer could put it to the test with her dirtiest dishes. Keep reading for our full product review.
Appliance manufacturers claim that less water and energy is wasted when using a dishwasher than washing your dishes by hand. If you need to prewash all of your dishes before you pop them in the dishwasher, though, this theory obviously doesn’t hold up. If your dishwasher is past its prime, it’s time to research new options. The Bosch Ascenta Series Top Control Tall Tub Dishwasher claims to be a sustainable appliance that cuts down on water waste while maintaining sanitary excellence, but with such an affordable price point, it’s easy to be skeptical of such claims. We tested the dishwasher for a month to see if it truly gets the job done without any assistance. Read on to see how it fared.
Setup Process: Make sure you follow prior-to-delivery instructions
We ordered our dishwasher from a big box store who then had the appliance delivered via third-party service. The service did not include installation and also didn’t include the power cord needed to hook the appliance up to our outlet (as opposed to a hardwire installation). Somehow in the ordering process, we failed to note that the power cord had to be purchased separately. All this is to say that setting up our dishwasher took a few more days than anticipated.
Since we were so excited to get the dishwasher up and running, we hired our own handyman to help expedite the process. We were originally quoted about two hours of work, but because our old floors were slightly warped from our last dishwasher, the handyman had to level our floor to reduce the risk of leaks, unnecessary sounds, and other complications. Because of these extra steps, the job took longer but once the floor was handled, the installation went smoothly as the dishwasher is very light and easy to maneuver.
To avoid a mishap like ours, it’s important to closely follow the pre-delivery checklist provided by your retailer. If you order through Home Depot, this means you’ll need to ensure you have/have completed the following:
- New dishwasher connection kit
- Water supply line and electrical outlet within 6 feet of hook up
- Empty and unplug old dishwasher
- Verify your existing electrical and water connections
- Measure your cabinet opening to ensure it’s at least 24 x 24 x 34.5 inches
Design: Modish and modest
Bosch’s top control dishwasher boasts a smooth, stainless-steel face that’s mostly fingerprint resistant. If you touch the face with greasy, post-pizza fingers it will show some smudges, but with clean hands, nothing shows. If you do drip anything on the exterior, the dishwasher can easily be cleaned with a damp rag—we found that it doesn’t hold onto grime.
Since the dishwasher features a top control design—AKA the controls are hidden in the top of the door—that means there aren’t any buttons or features on the outside, either. This meant the Bosch had no issue blending into our kitchen; in fact, it looks more like a stainless steel accent cabinet than an appliance.
The interior of the dishwasher is also stainless steel which gives it a clean and sterile look. Some elements of the storage racks can be customized to your liking (you can flip rows up and down), but thanks to the dishwasher’s tall tub design, you’ll be able to fit larger plates, cutting boards, and pans no matter the configuration.
While Bosch claims that this Ascenta model offers 30 percent more load space compared to other dishwashers, we honestly didn’t notice much of a difference. If you’re loading up pots, pans, and a day’s worth of dishes, you’ll likely struggle, but a regular load—up to 14 place settings—is no issue. The dishwasher also has more than enough room for flatware and the built-in holders (which can be removed) are incredibly helpful, especially for holding hard-to-wash items like garlic presses, emon squeezes, and whisks.
Performance: Impressive and reliable
When we first ran the Bosch, it was so quiet we weren’t sure it was working. Our old dishwasher had us so used to hearing a cacophonous choir of pumps, drains, rattles, and powerful roars that we just associated noise with a successful cycle. During our first run, we kept opening it, interrupting the already started cycle to see if it was working—and it was. We watched TV only a few feet away from the appliance and were delighted that because it operates at 50 decibels—that's 10 decibels lower than normal conversation—we could wash our dishes after dinner and catch a show at the same time.
Each of the appliance’s cycles take about 1.5 hours to complete. The exception is a 30-minute express cycle, but with this, the wash temperature only reaches 113 degrees, whereas every other cycle reaches between 122 and 160 degrees, so it’s not recommended for extra-soiled dishes. Though the performance of all cycles—heavy, auto, normal, delicate, express, and half load—was reliable, it was an adjustment to have to part with all of our dishes for nearly two hours at a time. With our current dish inventory, midday cycles are no longer an option as we won’t have plates or utensils ready in time for dinner.
When we first ran the Bosch, it was so quiet we weren’t sure it was working.
As the Bosch operated, we noticed various pauses in sound that led us to believe the cycle was over. After trial and error, however, we learned that a cycle isn’t over until a long series of beeps.
When our first load of moderately dirty dishes were finally clean, we were excited to see that not only were they spotless, but the dishwasher itself appeared clean too. There were no food particles anywhere to be found and no dish needed a second rinse. Despite the extra long drying program, there was some water pooled on the tops of cups and some wetness at the base of the dishwasher, but this was minimal.
Over the course of four weeks, we experimented with pots and pans that had greasy residue and burnt food particles, coffee cups that still had a ring of grounds at the bottom, wine glasses with dried sediment, plates with hardened tomato sauce, spoons with peanut butter and honey, and even a dog food bowl with wet food residue that refused to budge against a wire scrubber. With the exception of the express cycle, which seemed to do a better job with pre-washed dishes, every cycle blasted food particles away exceptionally. And if that isn’t the mark of a great dishwasher, we don’t know what is.
Features: Complicated to navigate, but a lot to work with
As we’ve already touched on, this dishwasher is incredibly quiet. While there are sounds—you can hear the rush of water and an electric hum—they’re very subtle. We were also impressed by the fact that every cycle, whether half load or heavy, operated at the same 50-decibel level.
The dishwasher has six cycles and two special settings: heavy, auto, normal, delicate, express, and half load, as well sanitation and delayed start. If you want to change the factory settings for the amount of rinse aid that you use in each cycle, or you want to stop and reset a cycle after its been started, you’ll have to do custom command by holding down two buttons at the same time, counting to three, and waiting for either flashing lights or beeps. Though the manual explains these custom settings well, they don’t always work exactly how they say they will. Oftentimes, we had to make up to three attempts to get the dishwasher to stop and reset and it took at least 10 minutes of trial and error to increase the rinse aid release after we realized some of our dishes had residue on them. We assume all of these custom commands will become more like second nature the longer we have the appliance, but they do take some initial getting used to.
With the exception of the express cycle, which seemed to do a better job with pre-washed dishes, every cycle blasted food particles away exceptionally.
Bosch’s Ascenta top control model also features PrecisionWash—an intelligent sensor system that scans dishes throughout the cycle to monitor their soil level. Throughout the cycle, powerful precision spray arms target every item from multiple angles to ensure that no matter how you pack the load, everything gets clean. We did find that even when we packed the dishwasher full, the spray arms were able to reach every nook and cranny.
PureDry technology is another feature that ends each cycle with an extra-hot wash that is supposed to pull moisture away from dishes as they cool. (It’s safe for all plastics, no matter where they are placed.) We found that while plates and other flat dishes did come out dry, cups, bowls, and even some flatware came out with water droplets that still needed to be wiped with a dishcloth before being put away.
This Bosch model is also Energy Star certified. If you don’t pre-wash or pretreat your dishes at all, the appliance can save up to 280 gallons of water per year. Though we did occasionally pre-rinse our dishes to help reduce cycle length, the dishwasher is more than capable of handling all soil levels. With a 24/7 overflow protection system to help prevent water leaks and a built-in leak detector that instantly shuts off the water connection if a leak is noted, we also felt comfortable leaving the appliance running without monitoring it constantly.
Price: Moderate for a high-end appliance
The Bosch Ascenta Series Top Control Dishwasher retails for $700 making it one of the most affordable high-end dishwashers on the market. Many other dishwashers in this price range are not as elegantly designed, do not have top controls and aren’t nearly as silent.
Bosch Ascenta Series Top Control Tall Tub Dishwasher vs. Maytag Top Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher
Maytag’s Top Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher (view on Home Depot) goes for a bit more than Bosch’s—it retails for $849—but certified reviewers rave about its cleaning power, flexible dish racks, low 47-decibel sound rating, and sleek, fingerprint-resistant stainless steel exterior. The external look is fairly similar, it has more straightforward cycles (only three in total, though), and it’s 20 pounds lighter than the Bosch. Based on available settings, we’d still go with the Bosch, but if you’re looking at other brands or are loyal to Maytag, it’s a great pick as well.
Due to its long cleaning cycle, we recommend this dishwasher to those who have extra place settings to use as the appliance runs. That said, if you can wait until the end of the day to run a load, you may have no issue at all. This Bosch model is reliable, powerful, and can take on even the most soiled dishes, so we have no complaints there.
- Product Name Ascenta Dishwasher 24'' Stainless Steel
- Product Brand Bosch
- Price $699.99
- Weight 70 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 24 x 24 x 35 in.
- Color Stainless Steel
- Item Model Number SHX3AR75UC
- Amperage 12 A
- Voltage 120
- Number of Cycles 6
- Number of Place Settings 14
- Decibel (Sound) Rating 50 dBA
- Features Automatic Temperature Control, Hard Food Filter, Hidden Controls, Leak Sensor, Sound Reduction System, Tall Tub
- Warranty 1-year limited