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Bosch Serie 4 WAN28201GB review: A brilliant budget washing machine

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £399
inc VAT

Superb wash performance at an affordable price – the Bosch WAN28201GB is a bargain Best Buy


  • Superb washing machine
  • Affordable price
  • Easy to get to grips with


  • Uses a sealed tank, ruling out bearing replacements
  • Temperature setting isn’t printed on the dial
  • Filter cover falls off too easily and is fiddly

Whether you’re upgrading an old model, or replacing a broken one, buying a washing machine is an expense no-one relishes. Bosch’s Serie 4 family aims to make that process less painful, by delivering dependable, energy-efficient washing performance for sensible money. With a street price of around £400, the WAN28201GB could be the reliable budget option you’ve been searching for.

Bosch WAN28201GB review: What you need to know

The WAN28201GB sits at the top of Bosch’s affordably priced Serie 4 range of washing machines. It has an 8kg capacity, a top spin speed of 1,380rpm and an A+++ energy rating.

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Bosch WAN28201GB review: Price and competition

This isn’t the cheapest machine in Bosch’s line-up – models in the Serie 2 range are cheaper still – but it sits in that almost-perfect budget sweet spot. It’s a quality machine from a big, well-known brand and, despite its £549 starting price, it’s currently retailing for around £399.

There are plenty of rivals at this price but we’ve not yet found anything that equals its all-round quality for the money. We’ve run the same suite of tests across a range of current washing machines from the major brands and the Bosch performs as well as and, in some cases, better than more expensive models.

Bosch WAN28201GB review: Features and design

The WAN28201GB boasts a variety of snazzy-sounding features. The first of these is “EcoSilence Drive”, which refers to the fact that Bosch has employed a brushless motor. “VarioPerfect” allows you to prioritise either energy-efficiency or time taken for each programme. The “ActiveWater” feature optimises the amount of electricity and water used for each wash.

That might all sound like the usual marketing hype but the Bosch lives up to expectations. The brushless motor means that the WAN28201GB runs much more quietly than many machines we’ve come across. The measured sound-pressure figures suggest it’s only a tiny bit quieter than its rivals but it’s the tone of the sound that has the biggest impact: the brushless motor does away with the annoying whine you get from motors with brushes.

It might not be on everyone’s shopping list but also, we love the fact that the Bosch’s filter is easy to get to – you’ll be glad of this when it inevitably gets clogged up with hair and items you accidentally left in your trouser pockets. There’s also an emergency drain down hose, so kudos to Bosch for nailing the essentials.

The only minor moan is that the filter cover falls off rather too easily and it’s equally fiddly to clip it back on.

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Bosch WAN28201GB review: Ease of use

The machine is generally easy to get to grips with. Clear labelling on the dial and various buttons makes it easy to navigate and the bright-red display clearly displays the current settings and the time remaining for the current programme.

The only mild annoyance is the temperature setting isn’t printed on the dial – you need to tap the button alongside it to select the correct temperature after you’ve selected a wash programme.

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Bosch WAN28201GB 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.

Our testing suggests that Bosch’s focus is clearly on meeting the energy-saving requirements. We couldn’t get the machine to reach the indicated temperatures. The WAN28201GB is by no means alone in this regard, though. This a recurring theme on most modern machines: 60˚C simply does not always mean 60˚C.

That said, if you’re expecting inferior performance because of this, or the Bosch’s price, then prepare to be pleasantly surprised. It’s a superb washing machine that, in testing, beat machines at more than twice the price and, in some cases, one that cost quite a bit more than that.

You can see from our test swatches that the Bosch machine performed very well on the 40˚C and 60˚C cycles. Especially so compared with other machines currently in our testing lab.

The fast 30-minute wash still doesn’t deliver the kind of results you would see from a proper full wash programme, but it’s better than some we’ve seen – it makes a dent on some of the stains on our test strip where other machines don’t. Still, we wouldn’t recommend the quick wash for regular, everyday use. It’s a setting to be used for refreshing items that have been sitting in a cupboard for months rather than worn items.

The only other moan is that it’s not always the fastest machine on the block. The 40˚C Cottons wash took 1 hour 44 minutes which is very respectable, but the 60˚C Cottons wash took 2 hours 51 minutes. By comparison, we’ve seen the very quickest performers (note: those with similar stain-tackling performance) slash around 30-40 minutes off this time, although it’s worth bearing in mind that these do tend to also cost quite a bit more.

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Bosch WAN28201GB review: Repairability and service life

The addition of a brushless motor is a good decision by Bosch. Brushless motors require zero maintenance and tend to last many years before failing.

After peeling back the WAN28201GB’s gloss-white fascia and taking a closer look at the components and build, we reckon that this machine is rated for somewhere between 2,500 and 5,000 cycles. That would equate to around four to eight years of average use.

One thing we were disappointed to find is that Bosch has used a sealed tank, which rules out bearing replacements, and so puts a clock on the life of this machine.

From a servicing perspective, though, there’s not really much else of note. The inside of this machine is pretty simple; not a bad thing, as it means there is less to go wrong. The downside is that if something other than a pump, door seal or similarly minor item fails, then realistically you’ll be looking for a new machine.

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Bosch WAN28201GB review: Verdict

It might lack the fancy bells and whistles of pricier machines, but this Bosch Serie 4 focuses on delivering effective washing performance for sensible money – and it certainly delivers.

If you’re looking for a capable washing machine, the Bosch WAN28201GB offers a great all-round package. In our book, it’s an instant Best Buy.

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