Good wash performance and time-saving features make for a tempting package – but you do pay the premium
- Good wash performance
- i-Dos feature is a genuine time-saver
- Wi-Fi remote control not just a gimmick
- Premium features bump up the cost
- Cheaper machines clean just as well
Send a time traveller from a high-end kitchen of the 1950s to a smart kitchen of today, and they’d probably be pretty impressed. We’ve got voice assistants on our worktops, touchscreens on our coffee machines and all manner of smart gadgetry – even washing machines with apps and Wi-Fi connectivity are a standard sight.
Now, Bosch has added another Wi-Fi-connected model to its washing-machine family. The Serie 8 partners time-saving features and noise-deadening design with a smartphone app for remote control. Welcome to the future of laundry.
Bosch Serie 8 WAWH8660GB review: What you need to know
As a member of Bosch’s top-of-the-line Serie 8 family, the Serie 6 WAWH8660GB is a machine to be reckoned with. The top-line specifications include a 1,400rpm spin, 9kg load capacity and A+++ energy-efficiency and there are plenty of bonus features, too.
Naturally, at this price, you get Wi-Fi connectivity. That means you can use an app on your phone to help choose the correct wash settings or start and stop programmes remotely.
Physical differences to the cheaper models include a drum design that claims to be gentler on your clothes, an automatic liquid detergent and softener dosing function so you don’t need to add it before every wash, and the improved noise-deadening sidewalls result in noticeably quieter operation.
Bosch Serie 8 WAWH8660GB review: Price and competition
The list price of £979 is liable to cause a sharp intake of breath for most buyers. Thankfully, the current street price at the time of writing is around £799. That’s nowhere near the price of some top-of-the-range models, but it is twice the price of our current budget Best Buy, the Bosch Serie 4 WAN28201GB.
If it’s merely wash performance you care about and you can live with the Serie 4’s lower 8kg capacity, I’d advise you save your money and opt for the cheaper model. If, on the other hand, you like the idea of chucking clothes in the machine as you run out the door to work, and without having to grab detergent and softener from the cupboard every single time, then the Bosch Serie 8’s i-Dos feature and Wi-Fi remote control may come in rather handy.
Bosch Serie 6 WAWH8660GB review: Features and design
The Serie 8 range is a fairly comprehensive upgrade over the lower series models. It’s easy to get distracted by headline features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, but it’s reassuring to see most of the features are intended to improve wash performance or optimise energy efficiency and water consumption.
Some features are familiar from the lower-end Bosch models. For instance, the VarioPerfect function allows you to either minimise energy consumption with the EcoPerfect mode or prioritise quick results by selecting SpeedPerfect.
The contoured AntiVibration sidewalls make another appearance, too, but with one crucial difference: the quoted noise levels are substantially lower than the cheaper models in Bosch’s ranges, and our testing showed that it lived up to those claims.
Compared to the cheaper Serie 4 model, the Serie 8 is roughly three-quarters as loud in both its washing programmes (47db vs 55db) and spin cycles (71db vs 76db).
The most headline-grabbing feature is the machine’s Wi-Fi connectivity. This allows the Serie 8 to communicate directly with the Home Connect app on your phone (available on both iOS and Android).
The app provides notifications on your phone when a wash is finished and lets you check current progress if it hasn’t. You can even go back and change wash settings after you’ve left the house – if, say, you’ve hopped on the train to work and just remembered you’ve put your cashmere sweater on a hot wash by mistake.
Bosch’s Reload feature is pretty handy, too. This allows you to add or remove clothes mid-cycle and without having to start the program from scratch. If you’ve accidentally popped a colour item in a whites wash, or vice versa, you can tap the reload button and the machine drains the water before opening the door.
Bosch’s i-Dos feature – short for Intelligent Dosing – is rather ingenious. The detergent drawer holds up to 1.3 litres of liquid detergent and half a litre of softener, so you don’t need to add them before every single wash. You can literally fling clothes in the drum, shut the door and set a wash going.
If you’re really pressed for time, it’s also possible to set the wash going from the Home Connect app, so all you have to do is chuck the clothes in and set it going remotely. The only downside? The i-Dos system only works with liquid detergent. We’ll explain why that’s a bad thing in the washing performance selection below.
Bosch Serie 8 WAWH8660GB review: Ease of use
Even without the app, the Serie 8 is very easy to use. The clearly labelled dial selects the various programs, and you select temperature and further options with the buttons above and below the large LCD display.
That display looks a bit like it’s been borrowed from a 1980s VCR but it’s bright and easy to understand. It clearly displays all the key information you’d expect – temperature, spin speed, time remaining – and details the options you’ve selected.
If you’d prefer, though, you can use Bosch’s Home Connect app to help you pick the correct program. The on-screen wizard quizzes you about the colour, material type and how dirty the clothes are and helps decide on the best option for that particular wash.
Bosch Serie 8 WAWH8660GB review: Washing performance
Every machine we review is tested with industry-standard cotton test swatches that are impregnated with nine key stains: grass/mud, mustard, carrot baby food, tea, cooked beef fat, red wine, tomato puree, sheep’s blood and coffee.
We run 40˚C and 60˚C cotton washes and also test any machine’s quick-wash programme, too. Many manufacturers claim to give good results from their 15- and 30-minute wash cycles, so we put those claims to the test, too.
It’s fair to say that the Serie 8 delivers very good results on its longer programs. That said, the Serie 8 is not night and day better than the £399 Serie 4 model: it too almost completely removes most of the stains and does a great job of fading the nasty grass/mud and tea marks, but the differences are too close to call.
Where the Serie 8 steals a march, however, is in the time it takes to achieve these results. It’s no quicker in the 60°C Cottons wash – this took 2hrs 4mins, which is 20 minutes slower than the cheaper Serie 4 – but it took just 1hr 42m for a 40°C Cottons wash which is over an hour quicker than its cheaper stablemate.
Considering that the Serie 8 cuts an hour off the overall time and achieves almost identical, and perhaps very slightly better results, that’s pretty impressive.
If you’re tempted to use the SuperQuick 15 wash to save time, though, then we’d advise against it. It might do a reasonable job of freshening clothes which have been languishing at the back of a cupboard, but it won’t tackle stains – our test swatch looked as if had been dipped in water and little more than that.
However, a further word of warning: do not expect to get the best wash performance from the Bosch using the i-Dos feature. Our test results are based on using a top-quality powder, as powder formulations give dramatically improved cleaning and stain-removal performance compared with liquid detergents. Unlike powders, liquid detergents can’t contain bleach (it separates and sinks to the bottom of the bottle), so they simply don’t tackle dirt as effectively.
That’s not to say that the i-Dos feature won’t come in handy for all the reasons we’ve previously mentioned. For washing loads with light or almost non-existent soiling, you can just sling a load in and set the machine going without a second thought. The convenience of that cannot be understated.
The detergent and softener tank will last for a week or two of use depending on how often you use it, too, so it’ll save precious seconds in busier households. Our advice is to use it judiciously alongside more effective powder washes.
Bosch Serie 8 WAWH8660GB review: Repairability and service life
The Serie 8 should provide reliable service for a good few years. The brushless motor is a welcome sight for one thing, as it’s both quieter in operation and longer-lasting than brush-based motors.
Peel back the white and silver fascia, though, and the Bosch presents some familiar problems for servicing. The sealed drum and a sealed door unit mean that no cheap and easy repairs are possible. You can’t replace the bearings, either.
In fairness, you can split the tank as it’s one as we’ve seen before with lugs you can break off. But even here there’s one insurmountable hurdle: Bosch only sells a full tank for it.
Whatever you do, make sure to register for the full five years of warranty included as standard with the machine.
We appreciate the Serie 8’s DrumClean feature, too. After 20 washes at 40°C or below, the machine prompts you to run a cleaning cycle to clean out any bacteria with an ultra hot wash. This is basic good practice, and a welcome reminder: it’s one of those things that’s easy to forget to do on a regular basis, and not doing so can result in a serious build-up of nasty mould and bacteria which is very difficult to remove.
Bosch Serie 8 WAWH8660GB review: Verdict
The burning question is whether or not the Serie 8 WAWH8660GB justifies the extra outlay and the answer is simple. If you’re not going to use the extra features such as i-Dos and the Home Connect app, then save money by opting for the cheaper Serie 4 WAN28201GB24 model.
If you can afford it, though, the Serie 8’s dependable wash performance, ingenious i-Dos feature and Wi-Fi remote control make for a very tempting package. For busy households dealing with ever-increasing piles of laundry, being able to sling a wash in the machine without scrabbling for detergent and softener every single time will be a time-saver.
If that sounds like the helping hand you need, then the Bosch Serie 8 WAWH8660GB is worth paying a premium for.