This Tiny, Portable Dishwasher Is Built for the Truly Lazy
Bob the Mini Dishwasher is a (maybe too) tiny countertop machine made for small families living in small spaces.

Joe Ray

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    Bob the Mini Dishwasher on countertopPhotograph: Daan Tech
    £300 at Daan Tech

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    6/10

    WIREDPut a cute, tiny dishwasher in your studio apartment, camper van, or other small space where you've always wished you had one. A clever “cassette” option contains 30 loads' worth of detergent. Cleans like a full-size dishwasher.TIREDToo small to be useful? It takes 90 seconds to fill the tank with water, and there's just not much space inside. In the time it takes to pour in the water and load the dishes, you could have just washed them. Underdone instructions led to a minor test-kitchen catastrophe.

    A quick show of hands: Who's lazy out there? OK, now keep those hands up if you're really lazy. Now, among that group, please choose the two or three laziest among yourselves, the ones who will put more effort into avoiding a job than it would take to actually do the job. For those select few, boy do I have the thing for you.

    Meet Bob, the French-made, self-proclaimed “world's smallest dishwasher.” At about 19 inches high, 19 inches deep, and 13 inches wide, it's such an impressive job of miniaturization that you might end up wishing your dishes shrank too. Available in your choice of 12 cheery door colors and two body colors, Bob is super cute—in part because everything is tiny: the little porthole in the door so you can watch your dishes get a bath, the basket (a tray-drawer), the little removable racks for plates and glasses, and the tiny spinning spray arm.

    The dishwasher is only available in some European countries right now, but Bobby-daddy Daan Tech says the machine will become available in the US this fall.

    Bob and I got off to a rough start. It's marketed toward people living in small spaces where they wish they had dishwashers, like city apartments and camper vans. It can be hardwired into your plumbing—something I doubt most people will do—or you can fill it with a pitcher and have it drain through a hose into your sink or into a bucket. In the user guide, the whole drain-hose-attachment step reads, “Plug the water drain hose into the back of Bob. Warning: To prevent leaks, please use a screwdriver to fix the water outlet.” That's it. Nowhere does it mention the words “hose clamp,” or that this is where you use the one that comes in the box.

    The Bob's printed user guide advises you to secure the drain hose with a screwdriver.

    Close inspection of this step in the manual reveals a gray-on-gray illustration of the hose clamp in position, but frankly, you need to know what you're looking for. (This is slightly clearer if you find Bob's online “quick guide,” but it's also weird that the instructions on the web are different than the instructions in the printed user guide.)

    The online “quick guide” tells you to secure the hose with the provided hose clamp.

    Daan Tech Bob the Mini Dishwasher

    Daan Tech Bob the Mini Dishwasher

    Rating: 6/10

    If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

    You know where this is heading. About 10 minutes before the end of the first cycle I ran, I heard a gurgle then a splash were there wasn't supposed to be a splash, and I found a few cups of hot water and a couple bloated coriander seeds and grains of rice streaming onto the counter and down onto the wood floor. It left a foot-wide water stain on the nice wood siding on my kitchen island. I will not be the only person something like this happens to.

    Hose clamp clamped, I tested in earnest. I quickly came to like their “cassette,” a sort of eight-track-shaped cartridge that plugs into Bob's base and has enough detergent for 30 loads, an idea I'd love to see in full-size dishwashers. You can also use tablets or regular dishwasher detergent, but the cassette was so convenient that it was all I used during testing, though I did just wish I could pour detergent into the cassette instead of needing the whole returnable plastic cartridge. I put in two plates, a half-liter pitcher, a 3.5-cup container and its lid, along with a mug and a couple of utensils. That loaded Bob full to the gills.

    Pouring water into the tank seemed to take a while, but I was paying attention to other stuff and still crossing my fingers that I wasn't going to have another hot-water blowout. My early impression was how much like a regular dishwasher it was. Tiny, yes, but the same sounds—about as loud as a built-in—same overall feeling and timing on the different cycles, including a quick 20-minute cycle that I used most of the time.

    It worked well enough that I didn't notice much difference in the quality of cleaning between Bob and my own dishwasher. When I threw something harder at it, like the insert from an 8-quart Instant Pot in which I had just cooked up a ton of ragù, it took up the whole basket, but it came out clean. The thing I was struggling with was how, in the time it took to fill Bob with water and put the dishes in the little basket, I could have just washed them by hand. Just pouring the water in as fast as Bob could take it (I’m not sure where the bottleneck is, but it was surprisingly not that fast), including refilling my 2-liter pitcher in the nearby sink, took a good 90 seconds.

    I was more aware of this when I ran another little load: the top and bottom of my French press (salut, Bob!), the top of a mini-chopper, a drinking glass, a tiny Tupperware, a little colander, and one of those silicone garlic peelers. I could have washed all of that in 90 seconds and not had Bob hogging my countertop space. Tiny though it is, it's still a big thing to have in the middle of your kitchen. The company makes the point that Bob uses five times less water than hand-washing, and that might be true for the (lazy?) folks who run water the whole time they're washing, but not for the rest of us.

    Bob the Mini Dishwasher cleans your dishes about as well as a full-size machine.

    I'm sure there are some people out there who could take advantage of Bob. Perhaps it would be a little more practical if you actually ran the plumbing for both filling and draining. (You might want a plumber for this—it wouldn't have been a small project to plumb it into my sink, and it would be an eyesore.) And perhaps if you consistently had specific stuff, like just glasses or just plates, that you could cram in there efficiently.

    I also feel like Bob’s drainage needs—next to the sink or above a bucket in the middle of your kitchen floor—will dampen some Gallic dishwasher enthusiasm. A built-in tank that could be slid out and emptied might have been a better option than a sink or a bucket with a hose running into it. When it came time to send Bob back to France, I ran the special draining cycle to purge the water from its innards, but after it ran, I was surprised to shake out a good half cup or more still in there, which could be problematic for storage or shipping.

    Something didn't quite add up right with Bob, and after the initial crush wears off, I think a lot of tiny-apartment dwellers are going to realize the machine doesn't merit the amount of space it occupies and the time it takes up. There are a few people—including the incredibly lazy—who will love Bob and not find its small size a turnoff, and I think those folks could be very happy with it. As long as they remember to properly attach the hose clamp.

    Daan Tech Bob the Mini Dishwasher

    Daan Tech Bob the Mini Dishwasher

    Rating: 6/10

    If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

    https://www.wired.com/review/daan-tech-bob-the-mini-dishwasher/

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