Bosch BGS5SIL2GB GS50 PowerSilence Review

Pros

  • Extremely quiet
  • Exceptional hard floor cleaning
  • Good size bin
  • A-rating for dust filtration

Cons

  • Average carpet cleaning
  • Stiff tool clip mechanism
  • Struggles with pet hair
  • Heavier than average
  • Some tools could cause back pain

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £199.00
  • Ultra quiet
  • 700W bagless cylinder vacuum
  • Lifetime HEPA filter
  • 3-litre dust bin
  • 6.9-metre cable
  • 8.9kg
  • Dedicated stone and tile tool

What is the Bosch GS50 PowerSilence?

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The GS50 is one of the vacuum cleaner models which feature in Bosch’s famous ‘tiger’ adverts, suggesting they are so quiet you won’t even disturb a snoozing big cat. It also boasts an A-rating for noise and dust filtration.

It has a lifetime washable filter made by Gore (of Gore-Tex fame), variable power and a host of tools in the box, including a dedicated SilentClean head. The bagless bin offers 3-litre capacity and this premium model has nice touches, including metal telescopic tubes, storage aids and an ergo-grip handle.

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Bosch GS50 PowerSilence – Accessories

The headline accessory is the dedicated SilentClean Premium hard floor head. This has been designed for deep cleaning hard floors with gaps and crevices, such as tiles, and to be gentle on more delicate surfaces such as soft wood parquet.

This tool has four wheels to ensure it rolls smoothly across any floor, and combines nylon bristles at the front and a rubber sweeper/sealer along the back edge. The neck twists and pivots on a flexible joint making it very easy to manoeuvre. Using a traditional foot switch on the top of the SilentClean head you can drop the nylon bristles and rubber blade into the body, allowing it to be used on carpets as well.

You get five additional tools for tackling different challenges. The standard crevice tool and upholstery brush come supplied with a clip to attach them to the hose, and the soft bristles can be removed from the latter to allow for some ad-hoc carpet cleaning too.

There is a smaller hard/carpet floor tool with drop down front bristles, wheels and pivoting neck, and two further dedicated hard floor tools. One has drop down standard nylon bristles to ensure gentle cleaning of soft floors and a second has silicon rubber blades front and rear – ideal for tiles and laminates that have gaps and cracks. This tool also features rollers to aid cleaning even when the head is trying to suck down to the floor.

The GS50’s filter has been specially designed by Gore and is unusual in that it offers both HEPA-class dust filtration, ideal for allergy sufferers, and is a lifetime item so will not need replacing. Combining a cartridge filter and block filter, both can be washed out by hand and dried, meaning no additional bag or filter costs for the life of the machine.

While strictly not an accessory, mention must be made of Bosch’s SilenceSound system with its QuattroPower air-flow. This combines innovative insulation materials, a suspended motor and an optimised air flow path to keep the noise as low as possible, and tigers asleep.

Bosch GS50 PowerSilence – Carpet & Hard Floor Cleaning

This really is a very quiet vacuum cleaner and comfortably the quietest cleaner we have tested. If you regularly clean in the middle of the night, are in a flat or simply get agitated by noisy cleaners, this Bosch model is something of a revelation. While the EU energy label states just 66dB – a little above conversational speech – on carpet and hard floors we could only measure 64dB in our real world tests.

That is an incredible result – it puts the GS50 around 10 to 12dB quieter than typical vacuum cleaners and more than 20dB quieter than the loudest we’ve tested. For context, it’s about as loud as a normal conversation, whereas many vacuum cleaners nudge closer to standing near a busy road.

This benefit doesn’t result in poor cleaning, either, though the GS50 PowerSilence seems better suited to cleaning hard floors than carpets. None of the supplied floorheads feature a brush bar for agitating dust and dirt in the carpet, for example. Indeed, the provided cleaning heads are a mixed bag overall.

The main SilentClean Premium floor head is an excellent tool for hard floors and its four wheels and flexible neck make it highly manoeuvrable. The smaller mixed floor head is equally efficient at cleaning with its wheels, flexible neck and rubber blade better suited to smaller, tighter areas. Both cleaned fairly close to the edge where our test areas of freshener powder met with the skirting, though some small leftover residue means the GS50 isn’t the best we’ve seen at this price.

The standard hard floor head and the stone cleaning head are a great idea in concept, but let down in by the angle of their fixed heads. We found that the angle of the floorhead to the tube was too shallow, so you have to hold it quite low to get the floorhead to lie flat on the floor as you clean. Even someone around 5ft 9in (175cm) tall would have to hold the tube well below hip level – holding it higher would lift the back edge off the floor, dramatically reducing cleaning efficiency.

On hard floors, with the handle held low, the silicon-bladed head was exceptionally good at pulling dust from grouting and between the parquet blocks. But it doesn’t take long for your back to hurt from holding the tube so low. A flexible or pivoting head would solve this problem, but as it stands it’s a serious black mark against the PowerSilence GS50.

A final problem with the GS50’s range of tools is the way they fit to the tubes. Three of them (crevice, upholstery, small multifloor) simply push on the tube with a friction fit. The other three heads have a plastic clip that proved very tight and a complete pain to unclip every time. This sort of clip will loosen with age, but those without good grip strength will struggle from the outset.

Bosch GS50 PowerSilence – Stair Cleaning

Weighing in at a hefty 6.6kg naked and nearly 9kg with the chunky hose, tubes and the large floor head attached, the GS50 is not a cleaner you want to cart up and down stairs too many times. The telescopic tube and reasonable length hose did get more than half way up our typical domestic stairs, though. This means you can clean a house flight of stairs in two sessions, half from the top and half from the bottom, without having to balance the cleaner on a stair.

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The main SilentClean head would be the tool to choose for stairs, although its size and weight does require quite a physical effort. This is especially true for carpeted stairs where it does tend to stick down with suction on full power. In fact, the smaller multifloor head proved a whole lot easier to use and cleaned well even if doesn’t have quite the flexibility of the larger head. With a handy clip to put the crevice tool and upholstery brush on the handle, you will never be short of a detail cleaning tool half way up the stairs.

The cable measured 0.4m shorter than Bosch’s claimed 7.3m, which was too short to clean the whole floor of the house without a mid-way change of plug socket.

Bosch GS50 PowerSilence – Pet Hair Cleaning

To be fair to the GS50 PowerSilence, it is not made specifically for pet owners, who would be best to look to the GS50 PowerAnimal. That model forgoes the selection of hard floor heads and Hepa filtration in favour of a carpet floor Turbohead. Still, the GS50 has a fair attempt at pet hair, even without any form of Turbobrush head.

The main SilentClean head is the tool of choice for this duty and its stepped front edge floor bristles and rubber blade proved very good at getting pet hairs from hard floors. With the brushes and blades dropped into the body for carpets, however, the head would simply run over dog hairs that were entwined in the carpet. It took a good 28 seconds to clean a patch of pet hair from carpet, and even then it didn’t clean perfectly.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a cat available, big or little, to test the GS50’s ability to pick up feline fur or drift past sleeping tigers without disturbing them.

Should I buy the Bosch GS50 PowerSilence?

The Bosch GS50 PowerSilence lives up to its billing by being incredibly quiet – it’s easily the most discreet, least offensive vacuum cleaner we’ve tested – and the tools clean well on hard floors. If you hate the racket most vacuum cleaners make, the GS50 deserves serious consideration.

But in other ways it’s a let down. It’s rather heavy and clumsy on stairs, while some poorly designed tools could give you a sore back if you use them a lot. Pet owners should probably look elsewhere too, as it lacks a brush head for picking up hair in carpets – there is dedicated pet version as an alternative.

It’s a real mixed bag, then. The GS50 earns great credit for being so quiet – we love that. But unless noise is your number one concern, we’d recommend the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog or Compact C2 Cat & Dog ahead of the Bosch.

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Verdict

An incredibly quiet but imperfect bagless vacuum cleaner with some niggling issues.

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