November 27, 2014

Shhh ! We’re hunting for a quiet washing machine

Many people will find this hard to believe, but my last washing machine lasted almost twenty years. When it finally needed a new transmission, (who knew washers had transmissions?) I shopped around for the quietest washing machine I could get.

The two features that mattered most to me were capacity and quietness. The Kenmore that we were retiring had served us well, so after some comparison shopping, we bought a top loader from Sears that we were told would be quiet. Boy were they wrong! The machine could be heard throughout my house. Sears was very nice about exchanging it for another model. We chose the newest design Sears has called the Oasis. I thought it sounded like a nice compromise between a top and a front loader. Theses are a few of the facts I learned about washers while I waited for the second machine to arrive.

The agitator (that large corkscrew in the center of the tub) is the source of the noise.

Every manufacturer has it’s own definition of noise insulation. There is one manufacturer, Bosch, that measures the noise of it’s machines (and not just it’s washers) in decibelsbosch nexxt washing machine

There is really no way of knowing how loud the machine will be until you use it at home. Some stores will plug in a machine and run it for you, but without laundry and your home environment, anything you hear will still be an approximation..

The Oasis technology was only six months old when I ordered my new washer and there was very little information about how well these new agitatorless toploaders worked. There was certainly nothing about their durability. Maytag had tried a toploading agitatorless machine with dismal results. I started getting nervous about my decision; we were about to spend close to $1000 on an appliance we knew nothing about. I spent more time researching quiet washers.

I had heard that Miele made some quiet machines but that they had smaller capacities, were costly and I could not be assured of a low noise level. My Aunt has a newer Fisher-Paykel, which she likes but both local salespeople and the company customer service representative agreed that the spin cycle sounds like a jet airplane taking off. I learned that Bosch makes what is likely the quietest washer on the market. As I noted earlier, they measure the sound level in decibels and all of the Nexxt models ranged from 54dB to 58dB. Some quick research revealed that 30 decibels is equivalent to a soft whisper, 50 to rainfall and 60 to normal conversation. I was convinced.

Sears was wonderful about everything. I had no problem canceling the Oasis order and they even let me postpone the pick up of the noisy Kenmore until the delivery of my new Bosch.

The Bosch washing machine is QUIET! We can stand directly in front of it and barely hear the swoosh and flop of the clothes. Often we don’t even realize it is running until we notice the movement through the window. (Watching the laundry through the window entertained us all for the first few days.) One of my concerns with a front loading machine was that I wouldn’t be able to add an item once the cycle had started. (There always seems to be a stray sock that tries to escape.) This is not a problem at all. There is a pause button that unlocks the door and the cycle continues. (Sometimes it adds a few minutes to the total cycle time.) The washer uses so little water that my visions of flooding were instantly disproved. Not only that but the capacity is unbelievable and the clothes come out very clean.

As with the first machine I purchased, some things only become apparent once the appliance is set up in the laundry room. This Bosch (and I have since learned this is true in other Bosch owning households) is loud during the spin cycle and rocks itself out of place if the machine is very full. The Bosch repairman changed the feet to ones that are meant for soft floors (I have a laminate floor) and that has helped a bit. I was amazed to find that Bosch plans for the differences in floors and will make this change without charge. The other factor that adds to the noise, which I cannot change, is that my laundry room is not on the ground floor. Most problems with noise seem to come from the instability and reverberation of a second floor location.

So far the Bosch is cleaning beautifully and has fit our needs quite well. It was easy to understand all the cycles and how to use them (Although it chooses the water level and that was different.) It uses only about two tablespoons of high efficiency detergent so the cost per bottle of HE detergent and regular detergent is about equal. The cycles run longer than my old machine, but the extremely fast spin cycle removes so much water that drying time is literally cut in half. (I can dry a load of jeans in about 35 minutes.) Overall, I am very pleased with my new Bosch Nexxt washer and plan to purchase the matching dryer when my twenty year old Kenmore wears out.

Comments

  1. I am the new owner of a Bosch 300 series Nexxt. It is very quiet–except for the end of cycle beep beep. I don’t want that. The manual said to press any 2 option keys to deactivate it. I tried that and it didn’t work, but maybe I need to do it after selecting a wash cycle, which wasn’t how I did it. I’ll try again– do you know? (Why not have a cycle end signal switch?) Once I turn it off does it stay turned off until and unless I turn it on? I want it permanently off.

    Also there is no short cycle. Sometimes I have only a few items but want them washed right way. I suppose the choice is the Delicate cycle, but that cycle is over 40 minutes. Is there any way to do a regular strength 20-30 minute quick wash?

    Thanks to anyone who can help.

  2. Nightowl says:

    Irene, I hope you find a solution to the beep signal. I haven’t tried turning it off because I want to be alerted as soon as the wash cycle ends. What bothers me is that it will continue to beep until you turn it off or open the door. I do believe it will stay turned off once you have programmed it to do so.

    As far as the short cycle goes- I have a setting called speed wash that runs for 30 minutes, uses warm water, and (I think) a high speed spin. I also choose the hand wash cycle – it is also shorter.

    I suggest you call Bosch’s 800 number if you can’t figure things out. Maybe they can talk you through the cycle set up.

    Good luck.

  3. Hi, we have a Miele dryer which is great except the end of cycle beeping every 5 minutes is driving me crazy!! Does anyone know how to switch it off?

  4. Nightowl says:

    TammyB,
    If you go to http://www.miele.com, they have a section where you can download instuction manuals for their appliances. You might be able to find your answer there. You can also try calling the store where you purchased the machine or calling the toll free customer service number that should also be listed on the website. Good luck getting some peace and quiet.

  5. InMarket4Washer says:

    Does Sear’s sell the Bosch brand washers ? Couldn’t find any on their website. Can you recommend stores available ? Thanks!

    BTW. I find your review to be extremely useful.

  6. Nightowl says:

    In Market…
    Thank you for the feedback, it’s nice to know we’re being helpful – that’s our goal.

    To the best of my knowledge, Sears does not sell Bosch appliances. They are available at Lowes, but I don’t believe Lowes carries the complete line. Bosch has a website at http://www.boschappliances.com. The site has a tab at the top for retail outlets. Bosch appliances are generally sold at higher end independent dealers rather than in larger chain stores. I found http://www.froogle.com to be helpful when I was pricing my washer.

    I hope you find what you’re looking for.

  7. I have had my Bosch for I believe two years now love it would recommend to anyone looking for a great quality machine.The dryer works great as well but of course the washing machine sending my clothes around like a it’s training them to go into outer space helps. The washing machine has just recently became loud on spin cycle and it sits on a hard tile floor in the basement of my house so there is no give in the floor, could anyone give me some insight on what it could be?

  8. well nevermind about why my Bosch machine became loud. I took the top off which isn’t hard just a about 6 star bit screws to loosen it up, then lift up on the back of the lid to get it off.(typing this just in case you want to check yours too)Once I got it open I ran it on spin cycle and found that a bolt holding on the right cement weight was very loose, tightened up and sounds like brand new.I hope that it doesn’t come loose again but who knows, at least I know it was an easy fix.

  9. John,
    Thanks posting your tip. I’ve already mentioned your fix to my husband (I’m not so handy with tools.) and maybe we can tone down the shaking during the spin cycle. That is the only concern I have about the Bosch Nexxt washer.

  10. I have a Kenmore 800 Series Washing Machine. I live in a small 2 bedroom house (900 sq. ft.) The washing machine is inside the house about 20 ft. from the living room. With the television on, you cannot hear it running at all. You can hear the buttons on shirts or pants hitting the drum inside of the dryer, but the washing machine is truly quiet, to the point I have had to get up and go check to see if I started it, or not.

  11. Haha ^^ nice, is there a section to follow the RSS feed

  12. Donna Thorburn says:

    What front load washing machine would you buy. I’m looking for a very very quiet machine that will fit into my laundry closet. Thanks.

  13. Frustrated with noise of a new machine! says:

    Nightowl,
    Is your Bosh on a pedestal? We just bought a Frigidaire set and the spin cycle is just too loud and vibrates too much for me. The dealer is telling me that it will do this if mounted on a pedestal. I just don’t believe that. I’m curious if you are on one and still have such a quiet machine.
    Thank you for your posting!

  14. I hate my Bosch washer dryer and dishwashers (I have 2). They are driving me crazy with the beeping. I am angry with the agency that sold them to me, no help. So much for high end. I’ll get maytag next time.