Are you shopping for a Bosch dishwasher but aren’t sure whether to buy a 300 series model or a 500 series model?
How do they differ? Which series is better? Is the 500 series worth the higher price?
In this comparison of Bosch 300 vs. 500 series dishwashers, you’ll learn how they differ in price, capacity, handle design, finishes, drying options, and much more.
I also reveal what appliance experts say about both options.
Use the links below to navigate the comparison:
- Bosch 300 vs. 500 Series: Comparison Chart
- Similarities Between Bosch 300 and 500 Dishwashers
- Difference 1: Number of Models
- Difference 2: Capacity
- Difference 3: Finishes
- Difference 4: Handle Design
- Difference 5: Top vs. Front Control
- Difference 6: Adjustable 3rd Rack
- Difference 7: FlexSpace Tines
- Difference 8: EasyGlide Racks
- Difference 9: Drying Options
- Difference 10: Water Softener
- Difference 11: Connectivity
- Difference 12: Price
- What Appliance Experts Say
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy a Bosch 300 or 500 Series Dishwasher?
The chart below provides a quick side-by-side comparison of Bosch 300 vs. 500 series dishwashers.
|Bosch 300 Series||Bosch 500 Series|
|Number of Models||17||5|
|Capacity||10-16 place settings||15-16 place settings|
|Finishes||Stainless, black, white, or panel-ready||Stainless, black, or white|
|Handles||Recessed or scoop handle, towel bar, or panel-ready||Pocket handle or towel bar|
|Flexspace Tines||More flex tines||Fewer flex tines|
|EasyGlide Racks||Bottom only||Top and bottom|
|Drying Options||Standard||Standard and AutoAir|
|Price*||$850 to $1,100||$1,110 to $1,150|
Before I explain the differences between Bosch 300 and 500 series dishwashers, let’s quickly review the similarities:
Both series feature the Speed60 option — a 60-minute quick wash setting.
Unlike many dishwasher brands, Bosch’s drying system does not use a heating element (so your plastics are safe on the bottom rack).
Instead, they use extremely hot water for the final rinse. When moist air contacts the cool stainless steel walls, it creates condensation, dripping down to the dishwasher’s bottom. This drying method is safer and more energy efficient than using a heating element.
Bosch’s lower-end dishwasher models, like the Ascenta series, have a plastic bottom with stainless steel walls.
However, 300 and 500 series dishwashers feature an all-stainless interior tub that’s much more durable than plastic.
Bosch’s AquaStop leak system provides outstanding leak protection — the water level in the dishwasher is detected by a float sensor at the bottom of the appliance. If the water level gets too high, it stops the water intake and starts draining.
The average dishwasher produces about 70-80 decibels of noise while running. However, the Bosch 300 and 500 series only reach about 44 decibels.
While researching for my guide to the most reliable dishwasher brands, I interviewed 15 appliance repair companies. Of the 15 experts I connected with, 11 said Bosch is the most reliable dishwasher brand (across all series).
Synergy Appliances in Wyoming, Michigan, said, “Bosch makes really solid units. Bosch is known for its outstanding dishwasher engineering.”
AM Appliance Repair, an appliance repair company in Fitchburg, WI, said, “Bosch is the best brand. Its better models cost around $1000, but they’re almost always worth it.”
In addition to interviewing appliance repair companies, I also analyzed Yale Appliance’s annual reliability reports from the past six years.
In 2023, Bosch came in second with a service rate (service calls divided by units sold) of 5.1%. In other words, 95 out of 100 Bosch dishwashers don’t need service within the first year.
The point is that Bosch is one of the most trusted dishwasher brands, and 300 and 500 series models are equally reliable.
Now that you know the similarities between 300 and 500 series dishwashers, let’s get into the differences.
The first difference you’ll notice when shopping for Bosch dishwashers is that the 300 series is much more extensive than the 500 series.
In other words, the 300 series offers many more sizes, colors, and styles.
There are only five models in the 500 series. In comparison, there are 17 in the 300 series.
The standard size of a dishwasher is 24 inches wide by 35 inches high by 24 inches deep.
Bosch’s 500 series only comes in a 24” size but the 300 series comes in 24″ and 17 ¾” sizes.
For context, 24″ dishwashers have enough room for 16 place settings, and 17″ models can fit 10.
If you have a smaller space, like a compact kitchen in a studio or 1-bedroom apartment, you might need a 300 series dishwasher. Before you start shopping, measure your current dishwasher.
All 500 series dishwashers come in a stainless steel finish, but a few are available in white or black.
300 series dishwashers are also available in stainless (pictured below), black, and white. But if you want your dishwasher to blend in with your cabinets, there are a few panel-ready options.
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There are three handle design options in the 300 series:
- Recessed or Scoop Handle: This style is sleek because the handle doesn’t protrude.
- Towel Bar: The handle sticks out but provides a larger area to grip and allows you to hang hand towels.
- Panel-Ready: Seamlessly integrate your dishwasher into your kitchen with a matching panel and hardware.
Dishwashers in the 500 series come with either a recessed pocket or bar handle — and each model only offers one of these options.
Difference 5: Top vs. Front Control
There are two types of control panels within dishwashers: front and top.
Front control dishwashers have the control panel (i.e., buttons to select the cycle, start, and stop) on the front of the door. You can see and access the buttons with the dishwasher door closed.
With front-control dishwashers, you get easy access to the control panel and can see the status of each cycle without opening the door. But the appearance is less seamless and young kids can press the buttons.
Top control dishwashers are sleeker and more modern. Instead of the control panel being positioned on the front of the door, it’s hidden on the top and only visible when the door is open.
Bosch 300 series dishwashers are available with front or top control panels. The 500 series only comes with the top-control design.
Both series offer a 3rd rack option, but only 500 dishwashers have an adjustable 3rd rack. This allows you to raise or lower the 3rd rack to accommodate small cups, silverware, and cooking utensils.
Since the 3rd rack in 300 series dishwashers isn’t adjustable, there’s only enough room for silverware.
Tines are the small protrusions on your dishwasher’s lower and upper racks that help separate and sort your dishes. They’re the small “spikes” that help your plates stay upright.
FlexSpace tines allow you to customize your dishwasher interior to accommodate larger items like serving platters or frying pans. The tines can flip down or up to change the available space on the dishwasher rack easily.
The added flexibility allows you to accommodate any dish, regardless of size or shape. It’s handy for large casserole dishes, soup pots, or mixing bowls.
Both series offer FlexSpace tines, but the 500 series has more adjustable tines than the 300 series, allowing for more versatility when loading your dishwasher.
The EasyGlide Rack provides a smooth loading experience. It features ball bearings rather than a traditional wheel system. Ball bearings require less force and offer a smoother glide.
If you often wash large and heavy dishes like casserole dishes or soup pots, the EasyGlide rack is a convenient option that will allow you to load more weight at once
The 500 series models come with EasyGlide systems on both racks. The 300 series has EasyGlide for the bottom rack but not the upper.
The 300 series drying system relies on a standard condensation process — the final rinse uses hot water, which evaporates off the dishes as the stainless steel interior cools. The water then condenses onto the cool stainless steel walls and drains down through the bottom.
The 500 series also uses this method to dry dishes but also features an optional AutoAir function.
The AutoAir feature pops the door open slightly at the end of the cycle to release moisture and speed up the drying time. If you prefer a shorter wash and dry cycle and want your dishes cleaned quickly, consider a 500 series model.
Some 300 series models come with a built-in water softener, but 500 series models do not.
Hard water can leave spots, clouding, and streaks on dishes. It can also stain the interior of the dishwasher.
If you live in an area with hard water, a 300 series dishwasher with a built-in water softener is a great option.
Some 300 series models have WiFi connectivity, which lets you control dishwasher functions through the Home Connect app. 500 series dishwashers don’t have this option.
With the Home Connect app, your dishwasher can automatically monitor how many detergent tabs you have left and reorder them through Amazon when you run low. The app also notifies you when the wash cycle is complete or if it detects a leak.
The 500 series is one step up in terms of features; therefore, it’s also a step up in price.
Before you buy, compare prices at several retailers, including Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, and local dealers. Some models are also available on Amazon.
I contacted two companies that have been selling Bosch dishwashers for decades to get a broader perspective on this topic.
First, I spoke to a product specialist at Jarvis Appliance in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
He said, “Bosch 300 and 500 series dishwashers both have all welded steel tubs, and there’s no major difference mechanically. The three main differences come down to features. Number one, 500 series dishwashers are quieter. Number two, 500 models have a flexible upper cutlery rack. And third, the door on 500 series dishwashers pops open at the end of the cycle to release moisture and dry faster.”
He also mentioned, “300 series dishwashers are difficult to find right now. Since the 500 and 800 series models are the most popular, Bosch isn’t making as many 300 series models. Currently, we don’t have any 300 series dishwashers in stock.”
I also spoke to a product expert at Yale Appliance in Boston, Massachusetts. When I asked about the differences between Bosch 300 and 500 series dishwashers, he said, “500 series dishwashers are quieter, more adjustable, and offer more cycle options.”
He also called out that 300 series dishwashers are challenging to find. He said, “Bosch has had a ton of issues with lead times. We haven’t had 300 series models in stock in the last two years. The 500 series has also been difficult because we only get a handful of units each month.”
Now that you know the differences between Bosch 300 and 500 series dishwashers, it’s time to decide which is right for your kitchen.
Before I give my recommendation, let’s quickly recap.
- Bosch’s 300 series features 17 dishwasher models, while the 500 series only has five.
- All 500 series dishwashers are 24 inches wide; the 300 series includes compact models.
- Some 300 series models are panel-ready; 500 series models are not.
- The 300 series offers top and front control panels; top control is the only option in the 500 series.
- The 500 series features an AutoAir option to dry dishes faster.
- Only 500 series dishwashers come with an adjustable 3rd rack.
- 500 series dishwashers feature EasyGlide systems on both racks. It’s only available on the bottom racks of 300 series models.
- Some 300 series models feature a built-in water softener; the 500 series does not offer this feature.
- Some 300 series models offer WiFi connectivity. The 500 series does not have this option.
- The 300 series is less expensive than the 500 series.
Bottom Line — Bosch 500 series dishwashers cost more, but you get the AutoAir quick drying feature, adjustable 3rd racks, and a smoother gliding upper rack. And since the 500 series is more popular than the 300, it’s more likely to be in stock at your local retailer.
That said, the 300 series includes more size and design options and costs $200 less on average.
If you value the extra features of a 500 series dishwasher, the high price is worth it. But if you’re looking for a reliable dishwasher at the best value, go with the 300 series.
In my opinion, it’s worth spending a little more for a 500 series dishwasher. Since Bosch dishwashers are known for their reliability, you’ll enjoy those extra features for a long time.
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