Friday, 21 September 2007

Checked it out Bosch SKT 5102 worktop dishwasher

I have checked it out, the Bosch SKT5102 worktop dishwasher.

A worktop, freestanding dishwasher, with a decent sized wash compartment. Cleans relatively quickly and quietly. Spoilt by a small dishwashing tablet compartment and a strange cutlery holder.

The unit is white, with a dial programme selector, on/off button, door open button and a window to see salt levels. The door is drop down and the washing basket slides easily to the front, giving ample room to wash up 4 place settings with cutlery.

Not being any sort of DIY enthusiast, we called a plumber and it was fitted within about 15 minutes, this included cutting a hole for the water pipes in the kitchen work surface. The machine is cold fill, so there is only one small-bore input and one drain to deal with.

The dishwasher has a one way valve for incoming water and you just need to ensure you have sufficient water pressure to open this valve, which should be the case in most kitchen water supplies, but may be a consideration if you are intending to put this on a high work surface in the utility room.

Inside the machine, the water revolves from the floor, so all cups, glasses etc. need to be face down. The basket has places for 11 plates. But if you are using the cutlery basket this reduces to 9, though you can fit another plate in to a central divide. If set up this way, you also have room for 4-6 glasses.

Additionally there is a small rack which is set high in the dishwasher, which will take long items, such as knives in a horizontal position or can retain thin items with large handles, as the gap is way to large for a knife or similar. Maybe a potato masher, slotted vegetable spoon, or similar.

Inside the machine is the salt dispenser, this is a bit fiddly to get to and extremely frustrating if you fill up the dishwasher and then realise you need to add salt, as the inner basket has to be drawn out to reach the dispenser, which is on the side of the machine and if the basket is laden, you just won't be able to get there. That said, its a minor point. We are in a hard water area and use the dishwasher at least once a day, needing to fill up with salt every couple of weeks.

The real frustration is the small dishwasher tablet compartment, which sits inside the door. It wont take a full tablet. We used to use the three in one tablets, break them in halfish and possibly again, fit as much of the tablet in as possible and throw the rest away. Now use powder, which is far more efficient at cleaning and less wasteful.

The cutlery basket. 'We manage', is the best description. There are a variety of slot sizes in the basket, most of which we find completely useless as they are too thin. Forks have to sit, prongs up and long knives have to sit face up, placed in the larger slots. Teaspoons sit nicely, as do short knives (Butter, and bread) A decent sized dinner knife, won't fit face down, as the handle will catch the roof of the dishwasher, so have to be placed face up. This leaves lots of empty slots, but with many utensils fitting two to a slot to accommodate them.

That said, the machine gets them clean, so it does work well.

There are 4 start settings. Heavy, normal, light, glass. All work as they should and at about an hour for the longest setting, not a bad time.

The drying of items is very good, with the exception of mugs, which we find have water on the base (Bear in mind they are upside down to wash) other than that, the drier is absolutely fine and there is no need to do anything other than put the things away after the wash cycle has completed.

When we first got the machine, we were convinced it had a fault, as part way through the cycle, there was a load bang. It's not a fault, it is the spring door for the dishwasher tablet opening and banging on the side of the machine.... Apart from that extremely load bang, the machine is relatively quiet. You can sometimes hear it filling with water, occasionally jetting water, but not obtrusively, even when standing in the kitchen.

All in all, for a compact dishwasher it is great value for money, very efficient and most importantly does what it says... Washes dishes... Because it is compact, there are bound to be a few space issues, but these are more than made up for in its cleaning ability and for a small family, the interior compartment is perfectly adequate. I wouldn't go back to a full size dishwasher, if for no other reason, than it is so easy to load and unload at waist level, rather than bending under the worktop. We have housed it in a unit and it looks absolutely fine, it has freed up space for more lower shelving and we also have a room for cupboard above it.

What about doing things you shouldn't? I have put roasting pans into it and they have come out clean, so it can handle some real washing. I wouldn't recommend it often, or for a pan needing some real elbow grease, as I can tell the pan was 'quick washed' but its fine if you are cooking and need to use the same pan later in the meal preparation . Usual dishwasher proof applies.

We are happy and would happily buy again, but it would be great if the banging tablet compartment was enlarged and revised.

Ratings time on checked it out.

Reliability - 5 stars, no problems
Noise - 3 stars, it is a bit noisy, but not unbearable.
Washing and drying - 4 stars, some residual water on the cups

If you are after one yourself, here is a place to try (this is the latest model, which has some additional features)

Bosch SKT 5102 EU Dishwasher


Lem said...

Hi, really enjoyed reading your comprehensive review.

I bought and installed the same machine about a year ago for my parents (in their 70's) and my dad who is sometimes not very comfortable with new technology took to it really well. Now he swears by it and says he won't go back to doing the dishes by hand! Time on your hands, not washing-up gloves - how about that!

As for the little rack, we put our tea cups up there - if they're smallish ones, they fit just fine, leaving more space down below. But I must say that the rack is a little bendy and wobbly, so don't put anything too heavy!

You're right about the salt dispenser - just need to check that first, before loading anything in there. Fortunately, the visible window in the front panel of the machine makes it quite easy to check the level anyway.

As for the dishwasher tablets, I believe the instruction books discourage the use of them, as they're designed for regular (10-14) place dishwashers. Those dang tablets are too hard to break! We use 1-2 teaspoons Calgonit/Finish powder and the results are great.

As for the cutlery basket, if yours is the same model, have you tried flipping the "lid" over? The dividing sections are on a hinged lid and you can swing it over and back, so the cutlery can stand higgledy-piggledy in the divided sections of the basket itself. Seems to work fine when we have more to wash.

Another tip for readers: while the cutlery basket can stand anywhere along the front (it has a sloping base), don't put it near the right hand side as cutlery can get tangled up with the detergent dispenser door. Detergent may not be dispensed properly and you risk pitting or staining your cutlery. The area in the front of the dishwasher dispenser door should be kept clear of tall objects - we usually put our mugs, cups and saucers there.

You are absolutely right about the loud banging noise from the dispenser - my dad warns visitors not to stand too near the machine and get startled. Otherwise the wash noise level is fine - we can run it overnight and not disturb anyone.

The machine's filter is also quite easy to access - it doesn't seem to clog up too much. It is easy to remove and reattach, and a quick scrub of the fine filter once a week seems to be all it needs.

All in all, a great little dishwasher. I don't live with my folks, I bought it for my "empty nester" parents and it's perfect for the two of them - they wash up once a day and there's no clutter in the kitchen sink.

Best wishes to everyone reading this post - do go out and get a dishwasher: I've heard that you can gain up to two weeks' free time a year by reducing the effort of washing up.

anarchyintheuk said...

thanks for taking the time to comment and your additional tips are of great value.

Sorry it took a while to reply, but I have been away.

David said...

I agree with the comment about dishwasher tablets. The manual says don't use them. However, has anyone had a problem with the dispenser not opening. A couple of times now I've opened the machine at the end of the cycle to find it still shut with the damp power still inside. The dishes are still clean though, even on the Eco cycle :-)

anarchyintheuk said...

I have now gone back to using Powder David, which I find works extremely well.

I haven't had a problem with the dispenser not opening, so would be interested to hear others on this

David said...

My problem with the dispenser was the same as Lem's above. It hits the cutlery basket if you place the basket on the right hand side of the machine at the front. So always place it on the left.

anarchyintheuk said...

Absolutely right David. As I have never placed the basket anywhere other than the left, I hadn't thought of this issue.

If the question comes up again, can certainly deal with it. Thanks for that

Anonymous said...

Hi. Ive just bought one of these on ebay - seems a great little machine but no manual - done the usual searches but no luck. Anyone know where I might be able to download one? Thanks

Dennis -

anarchyintheuk said...

Sorry, I don't know where you might be able to get hold of a manual.

Granite Worktops said...

I think that this dishwasher is great value for the money spent on it. Thanks for sharing the information.