Bosch and KitchenAid dishwashers are two brands that have remained at the top of reviewers’ lists amid good competition. If you’re in the market for a dishwasher, chances are your final choice will boil down to Bosch vs KitchenAid. I’m the founder of Designer Appliances, a premier appliance store in New Jersey, and I have 15+ years of experience. I’ve test-driven these Bosch and KitchenAid dishwashers (and their predecessors), and sat through countless hours of training. Most importantly, I’ve heard real-life feedback from our customers in real-time. I’ll examine both the small and significant differences that you should consider before going for either of these powerhouse brands. I’ll also share the best products from both Bosch and KitchenAid dishwasher selection in 2022.
Pros and Cons: How Bosch & KitchenAid Dishwashers Stack Up?
The KitchenAid dishwasher was the top brand for a long time before Bosch entered the market. The German brand introduced quiet dishwashers at a time when dishwasher noise was a huge problem. Bosch slowly edged past KitchenAid in price, selection, styling, reliability, cleaning performance, and drying. In fact, our coveted best dishwashers list doesn’t include any KitchenAid dishwashers.
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That being said, KitchenAid still delivers remarkable features, especially in capacity and filtration categories. Newer KitchenAid dishwasher models operate more quietly, helping them compete with European brands like Bosch.
Catalog Depth: Does Each Brand Have Products for All Budgets?
Winner: Bosch offers a superior selection with more than 100 dishwashers covering a variety of features, visual designs, and price points.
Bosch dishwashers come in five classes distinguished by feature richness.
There’s the entry-level, budget friendly 100 series, with models that have a plastic-bottom tub; the 300 series, with a stainless-steel interior and ADA/18-inch variants; and the 500 series with their innovative design (people love the pocket handle) and AutoAir drying that opens the door to ensure all puddles of water evaporate.
At the top of the list, the 800 series and Benchmark series have premium dishwasher features like Wi-Fi connectivity, a water softener, Crystal dry, the lowest silence ratings, and custom finishes.
On the other hand, KitchenAid only makes less than a handful of dishwashers.
Which Brand Is Quieter?
Winner: Bosch makes the quietest dishwashers on the market. In fact, Bosch dishwashers are so quiet that they beam a light on the floor to indicate operation.
Finding the quietest dishwasher is very important to most people. You don’t want to have a dishwasher disturbing your dinner when you can easily select a quieter option for a comparable price. Bosch makes the quietest dishwashers on the U.S. market, with most hovering between 38 decibels (dB) and 44 dB.
All of the newer KitchenAid dishwashers come in at 39 or 44 dB, which is even quieter than a library. But KitchenAid wasn’t always known for quiet dishwashers. It wasn’t until Bosch entered the market with quiet dishwashers that KitchenAid got rid of the noisy hard food grinder in its machines.
Wash Performance: Which Brand Cleans Better?
Winner: Bosch and KitchenAid tie in this category. Only if you live in an area with hard water, consider a Bosch with a water softener over KitchenAid.
Both KitchenAid and Bosch score pretty high in the washing category. They have similar and impressive wash cycles/options that ensure dishes are sparkling clean after wash.
KitchenAid’s strong points lie in its high load capacity and quality filtration system. With the average KitchenAid dishwasher, you can wash as many as 15 full place settings in one load. That provides space for more dishes than the average family uses in a day.
For effective filtration (i.e. the system that makes sure that there is no remnant food baked on your dishes), KitchenAid makes use of a triple filter system that includes an ultra-fine filter for removing dirt particles from the wash water. Please note that earlier incarnations of KitchenAid dishwashers did not have this system.
Bosch has always been known for its amazing cleaning performance. Bosch dishwashers with a water softener (i.e. the system that eliminates watermarks in hard water areas such as New Jersey) provide superior clean over KitchenAid in the washing category.
The water softener is an important feature that not only ensures a better wash but also prolongs the life of the dishwasher. Besides that, Bosch dishwashers come with two full-size wash arms, a top nozzle that sprays water directly onto the third rack, and a sound filtration system.
KitchenAid’s “Bottle Wash” feature for sports and baby bottles is quite thoughtful and innovative too. However, we recommend using rinse aid to make up for the lack of water softener.
Which Brand Dries Better?
Winner: Bosch easily beats KitchenAid in this category. In fact, Bosch is the leader in the industry when it comes to drying.
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Prior to 2018, the biggest complaint about the Bosch dishwashers was drying. The company invested massive amount of time in research and development to come up with best in class drying: AutoAir Dry and CrystalDry.
KitchenAid’s good drying performance is thanks to the ProDry system and the optional Extended ProDry, available on the priciest models. The fan-enabled ProDry system makes use of a recessed heating element that draws moisture off dishes and also sanitizes them. It’s a remarkable improvement on the interior stainless steel condenser drying method.
But ProDry is no match for Bosch’s zeolite-based CrystalDry system. The CrystalDry option raises the temperature inside the dishwasher to 176 degrees F for optimal drying, and it does this without consuming extra energy! Bosch’s AutoAir Dry then opens the dishwasher door automatically after the cycle’s done to let in fresh air for enhanced drying.
While KitchenAid has a better drying performance than some popular dishwasher brands, Bosch remains the best in the industry.
Which Brand Is More Reliable?
Winner: We rate Bosch higher in this category. (This, however, does not mean a Bosch dishwasher won’t need repairs or give you problems.)
Both Bosch and KitchenAid dishwashers have great initial build quality. However, the difference between the two brands stems from the quality of response when a problem occurs.
In this category, our experience is mostly relevant to the North East US, especially in New York and New Jersey metro area.
Style and Door Design Options
Aside from functionality, dishwasher design is one of the most important factors to consider, especially if you’re someone who’s apt to value aesthetics just as much as performance. Let’s look at how Bosch and KitchenAid compare design-wise.
Door Design Options Bosch dishwashers come in five major door design options: • Recessed Handle: The dishwasher has a visible control panel with a reach-in handle. • Pocket Handle: The control panel is hidden to create a clean profile; the door has a reach-in handle. • Bar Handle: The control panel is hidden, but the handle is a towel-bar style. • Scoop Handle: The door has hidden controls with an elegant reach-in handle. • Custom Panel: The door can accept custom cabinet panels for a seamless kitchen finish. Controls are hidden too.
KitchenAid dishwashers have four major door design options: • Hidden Top controls and Towel Bar handle • Hidden Top controls and Pocket handle • Panel ready designs (which makes models like the KDTM504EPA very desirable)
Panel Ready Dishwashers to Match Your CabinetsPanel ready dishwashers is, perhaps, the category where Bosch completely outdoes KitchenAid.
KitchenAid dishwashers have a major downside. No model is truly 24 inches deep, which is the depth of the standard kitchen cabinet designs. These appliances are either 24¾ inches deep or 24 1/2 inches deep without factoring in the handle. For that reason, most kitchen designers prefer dishwashers with a completely flush install, like Bosch dishwashers, for a seamless kitchen design finish.
Pro Tip: Bosch dishwashers are made to fit seamlessly into your cabinets. You can find plenty of design options if you want the front of the dishwasher to match your kitchen cabinets.
Bosch also makes several panel ready dishwashers, like the Benchmark SGV68U53UC, for all price points, unlike KitchenAid which offers only the KDTM704LPA. If you truly want a custom kitchen finish, you’ll have an easier time achieving it with Bosch rather than with KitchenAid.
Special Cases: 18-inch Dishwashers and ADA Height Unlike KitchenAid, Bosch offers 18-inch dishwashers including the 800 Series SPX68U55UC for small apartments and other kitchen uses, like butler pantries. They’re also a great solution for a secondary kitchen in a pool cabana or separate bar area.
Bosch also makes dishwashers that suitable for raised floors and shorter countertop heights. ADA dishwashers have a reduced height of 32 inches as opposed to the standard 33 or 34 inches. The controls and knobs also must be accessed readily with one arm. KitchenAid doesn’t make ADA compliant dishwashers.
Pro Tip: KitchenAid doesn’t make ADA height or 18-inch small dishwashers. Bosch is a category leader for specialty dishwashers.
Interior Design & Flexibility
Winner: There is a tie between Bosch and KitchenAid in this category.
Here, the similarity between the two brands ends with the stainless steel interior and the third rack, which is present in all KitchenAid and most Bosch models. The stainless steel tub is necessary for condensation drying, and it stays looking nicer over time a plastic tub, which can get discolored.
Let’s consider the differences between KitchenAid and Bosch interiors:
Lights High-end Bosch dishwashers have interior lights to light up the dishes inside. There’s also the InfoLight, which projects onto the floor to tell you that the dishwasher is running. Most KitchenAid dishwashers don’t have interior lights, and none have an InfoLight-esque feature.
Third Rack While both KitchenAid and Bosch have a third rack in most of top models, Bosch makes the extra rack function more exciting thanks to the flexible MyWay Rack feature. The particular application, available on high-end Bosch dishwashers, is ideal for cereal bowls, ladles, ramekins, and more. Bosch also places a dedicated nozzle at the top of the tub to clean items on the third rack.
Adjustable Racks and Tines Rack adjustment may not matter much to you until you have to wash a big pot and realize it can’t fit. That’s when you’ll appreciate a dishwasher with a flexible rack system. Bosch dishwashers have one that makes it easy to accommodate large pots and bowls. High-end KitchenAid dishwashers have racks that can be adjusted as well, but they’re not as flexible or easy to use as Bosch’s.
For the tines, KitchenAid dishwashers have a compact tine arrangement that enables you to fit in more plates than Bosch dishwashers. That, and the unusual depth, are responsible for KitchenAid’s high load capacity. Both Bosch and high-end KitchenAid dishwashers have adjustable tine systems that make it easy to fit awkward items onto the racks.
WiFi Connectivity and Smart Features
Winner: Bosch edges KitchenAid in this category.
This is another category that clearly sets Bosch apart from KitchenAid as a dishwasher brand. KitchenAid has no dishwasher with Wi-Fi. Connectivity in KitchenAid home appliances is limited to its ovens and cooktops.
Some high-end (800 series and Benchmark) Bosch dishwashers are Wi-Fi enabled. They have also have a voice control option and are made to connect with the Bosch HomeConnect app, one of the best and most responsive connectivity apps in the home appliances industry.
Our Top Picks for Bosch and KitchenAid Dishwashers
1. Best Performance: Bosch SHPM65Z55N 500 Series
At $800 on average, the SHPM65Z55N—also known as SHP865ZD5N—has fantastic features that rival the most expensive KitchenAid dishwashers.
It comes with a flexible rack system (with EasyGlide) to accommodate large pots and an elegant pocket handle design that blends into any kitchen environment.
To complement the drying system, the SHPM65Z55N has the AutoAir drying option and also sports the InfoLight feature.
2. Best Overall: Bosch SHXM78Z55N 800 Series
The SHXM78Z55N—aka SHX878ZD5N—is the best of the renowned Bosch 800 series and also our top Bosch dishwasher. At 42 dB, it’s very quiet and comes with InfoLight, which lights up when the dishwasher’s in operation.
There’s the flexible rack system (with EasyGlide) and impressive MyWay third rack. The dishwasher also has the zeolite-based CrystalDry option for the best drying performance.
Just like some 300 series dishwashers, the Bosch SHXM78Z55N has variants, including an ADA compliant model and an 18-inch small dishwasher. They all have Wi-Fi connectivity and connect to the Bosch HomeConnect app.
3. Best Luxury: Bosch Benchmark Dishwasher SHV88PZ63N
If you’re looking for the best dishwasher money can buy, then the almost-noiseless SHV88PZ63N is our recommendation.
It’s packed with features including Wi-Fi, Bosch’s exclusive InfoLight and MyWay rack, and extras like a water softener and interior lighting.
The SHV88PZ63N also comes in a panel ready design for a luxurious custom kitchen finish.
4. Best Budget: KitchenAid 47 dB KDFE104KBL
At 47 dB, the KDFE104KBL is quieter than study hall. It has KitchenAid’s ProWash cleaning technology and unique PrintShield fingerprint-proof stainless steel finish. This model may not compare with high-end KitchenAid dishwashers, but its features—especially its low noise level—are quite impressive for the price.
5. Quietest: KitchenAid 39 dB KDFE204KPS
The KitchenAid KDFE204KPS is practically silent. Besides the extremely low noise level, this model has a third rack to accommodate more dishes per load and SatinGlide rails on its top and third racks. A triple filtration system, HeatDry, and Extended HeatDry deliver clean, dry results. It comes in classic or black stainless steel with a PrintShield finish.
6. Best Value: KitchenAid 44 dB KDTM404KPS
The KDTM404KPS may be a smidge louder than some of its lower-priced siblings, but it comes with some worthwhile upgrades. Behind its gleaming PrintShield stainless steel finish, it has a FreeFlex third rack and ProWash system to get all your dishes clean in a single pass. The Advanced Clean Water Wash System is an industry-leading filtration option.
KitchenAid and Bosch dishwashers are both excellent and offer good value for the money. But aside from similarities in the wash cycle options and their stainless steel interiors, Bosch dishwashers edge out KitchenAid in design, functionality, cleaning performance, reliability, and even price.
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