Countertop mini dishwasher offers quick fix for dead appliance in pandemic-mode home

It is only with tongue firmly in cheek and a deep respect for the fact that I have enjoyed a relatively safe, comfortable, and very happy life that I state—cue swell of melodramatic music—the worst possible thing has happened:

My dishwasher died, mid-pandemic!

Red NO symbol crossing out broken stainless steel appliance

My dishwasher died, mid-pandemic!

This feels like a catastrophe because we run that appliance roughly four times most days with everyone working and/or learning remotely from home.

The Bosch dishwasher we got with this house no longer powers on following a few weeks of intermittent-but-increasing button-press failure. Our non-expert analysis of what was under the hood kick-plate didn’t reveal any obvious reset to try on our own. We have ordered a replacement.kickplate removed from stainless steel dishwasher showing hardwiring and soldered copper pipe instead of flexible tubing

For those who don’t already know me well, now is when I confess to being a thoroughly disinterested cook. The one time I directed a full kitchen remodel where my preferences reined over popular opinion, I bought almost literally the cheapest electric coil top! stove from Sears whilst splurging on a high end, German-made Miele dishwasher.

My priorities may not be common, but I’m quite clear on what they are.

The dishwasher is the most used appliance in our home excepting the stalwart, always-on refrigerator. It follows only central heating, running water, and refrigeration in my estimation of the crowning virtues of everyday technology.

Pandemic shortages & risks still affect appliance purchase, delivery & installation

Fortunately, more than half of our household of six is at least partially vaccinated, lessening the risk to us of having a plumber in to install a new machine. Risks to essential workers dealing with the public day in and day out remain much higher than those of their customers.

Since our atypical home includes a kitchen one story above ground level, we will also require delivery well inside the threshold. I imagine dishwasher delivery generally requires more than one single person. The model I chose weighs 107 lbs (48.5 kg.) That’s two more contacts outside our bubble.

Accomplishing this dishwasher replacement will mark the first time any tradesperson—let alone three outsiders—has entered our home since before the first shutdown began.

All of these health-preserving convolutions must also be viewed within the broader context of commerce in 2021. Plumbers were hard to book before COVID; getting one to show up now is beyond difficult.

Supply chains all over the world have been disrupted by the scourge of coronavirus infections. The Miele that I elected to replace my defunct Bosch SHU66C may have benefited in production from its maker’s domestic parts manufacturing, but getting the finished product from Germany to New England remains fraught with delays as of May 2021. The one I wanted due to arrive a few days after I contacted my favorite local appliance store is now back-ordered.

I’m not sure when I will get the new machine I’ve purchased, let alone how soon I can book professional installation by a qualified plumber.

I sought a short-term solution to maintaining household peace—and sanitation!—in the interim. A portable, countertop dishwasher is what I found.Aikoper countertop appliance on kitchen counter

Typical portable dishwasher requires standard faucets to accept adapter

I opted for an Aikoper Compact Portable Dishwasher with 6L Built-in Water Tank & Water Hose Inlet (Model KOP-DW2605A) ordered from Amazon.

Countertop dishwasher manual and warranty card

There were a few “portable” dishwashers available locally, but all were variations on the design I know well from my first apartment: full- or almost-full-size models that roll up to the sink and connect with a special “quick connect” adapter that screws onto a standard faucet. These adapters replace an aerator (i.e., a little mesh screen that twists off easily) and are widely available in hardware stores and online.

The issue with any of those models is that we installed a modern “pull out sprayer” faucet when we moved here.

Pull out spray heads are great for everyday use. I like the option for one fewer hard-to-clean protrusion from the countertop, eliminating the off-to-the-side sprayer I grew up with

Or, as we did in this home, integrating the spray function into the faucet itself frees up that existing counter cut out for installation of a plumbed in, multi-stage water filter. I find the tap water in our community distinctly unpalatable without filtration beyond a carbon block pitcher.

Either way, I didn’t want to change my self-selected faucet to accommodate short-term daily use of the countertop dishwasher.

My purchase of the Aikoper Compact Portable was also influenced by the fact that we have historically hosted at least one very large Thanksgiving banquet each year. I see this little machine as a way to more quickly zip through the multi-day process of cleaning multitudes of party dishes at holidays in the future.

For both cases, I would have to ditch the faucet design I prefer to accommodate use of most portable dishwashers. There’s no way I’m going to swap out my faucet in either scenario.

Tank based, compact dishwasher alternatives exist & solve common issues

On Amazon, I found a different portable dishwasher design.

Tank-based dishwashers like these seem to universally? include the option to connect via the adapter I’ve already described, yet they also incorporate a holding tank for the fresh, clean water that will be used to wash the dishes. A user can fill that tank via a pitcher or my preferred pull-out faucet, pouring water into the vented, screened hole on top after removing the loose-fitting white debris cap.

Once filled, tank-based machines complete their wash cycles without blocking access* to the kitchen sink throughout the run.

The included plastic pitcher and wide, flat funnel aren’t strictly necessary to manually fill the machine, but the funnel (marketed as the “pouring water assistant”) is particularly nice to have. Filling pitcher included with appliance, 1.8 L capacity

Since the pitcher is marked to have a 1.8 L capacity, you might expect that filling it just over three times and emptying into your dishwasher tank might be sufficient to prepare the appliance rated as having 6 L capacity. It seemed to require at least five pitchers-full the first time I ran the machine to test its functionality.

Filling with a pull out faucet sprayer is much more convenient, especially for those of us who lack hand strength and become exhausted easily lifting full pitchers of water. I found it annoying to fill the appliance via a pitcher.Filling funnel included with appliance

With the dishwasher sitting on a kitchen counter, it is a little bit high for me to reach over and fill, so I can’t see exactly where I’m aiming the water. The funnel helps channel every drop right into the receptacle where it belongs.Water flowing from pull out spray head into dishwasher filling hold

A 61 inch long water supply hose was included in the Aikoper box. The water supply hose has a right angle connection on one end which should help with keeping installation very close to a back wall. Remember that you will need a faucet adapter not included to install with this option.

If installing with the water supply hose option, your water pressure must be between 0.04 MPa and 1 MPa, per the Aikoper manual.

Because the water supply inlet and drain pipe outlet are set into an indented area at the back, bottom edge of the dishwasher and the supply hose has a right angle connection, the included hose should not require any additional clearance behind the appliance.

A side benefit of pre-filling the dishwasher with water, then letting it run without any connection to the household water supply, is that it eliminates that chilly scenario when a family member starts a built in model while someone else is showering.

In 2021, no one should live with plumbing that routinely scalds or runs cold, but that kind of annoyance remains common in many older homes.

Draining the used, dirty wastewater is also necessary. Tank-based dishwasher models like my Aikoper Compact Portable allow one to route the drainage hose into an adjacent sink or a large bucket.

The drain hose pictured was included in the Aikoper box. It’s about five feet long.

Because the water supply inlet and drain pipe outlet are set into an indented area at the back, bottom edge of the dishwasher but the drain hose has a straight connection, about one inch of additional clearance may be required behind the appliance if you’re trying to get it as close to a wall as possible. I have found replacement hoses with a right angle connection on Amazon, but I haven’t purchased one to confirm this gap could be eliminated.Ruler and cardboard showing gap between back of appliance and bent drain hose as if pushed back against a wall

A small suction cup on the hose is supposed to keep its end inside your grey water bucket, but mine does not stay fixed to even the smoothest plastic waste container I’ve tried. Happily, the exiting water does not seem to flow with enough force to cause the hose fly around spraying filth, as was my initial fear.

Obviously, if you drain your dishwasher into a bucket, remember that you’ll need to lift the receptacle for emptying. With the machine’s approximately two gallon (6 L) capacity, expect a weight of about 15 lbs (6.8 kg) of grey water to dispose of after running each load of dishes.

Those of us with arthritis or other physical limitations will benefit from emptying the waste bucket midway through a wash cycle. Doing so reduces the effort required vs. lifting a full bucket. I’m careful to keep a second, smaller dish handy to put the wastewater hose into while I do this, however, lest the machine discharge additional grey water at an inconvenient moment and flood my kitchen with filth!

dirty grey water in Rubbermaid Commercial square containerMost people probably have a sturdy office sized trash can, five gallon bucket, or other suitable container for catching wastewater in the quantity required. If looking to purchase a new, highly suitable receptacle, I’d suggest a Rubbermaid Commercial Crystal-Clear Square Storage Container in the 8 quart size which will accommodate more than 7.5 L, large enough to prevent splash-over messes.

The 6 qt size pictured above in the same product line is sufficient to the task, but only just, and mine ended up perilously full when I used it without taking care to empty mid-cycle. You could make this container work for the task if you have one on hand, but I wouldn’t recommend its purchase for this particular job.

A bucket with a handle or handles will be easier to lift and empty.rubber cap stuck on appliance with strapping tape

A small, black rubber cap stoppered the drain port on the back of this dishwasher. In order to avoid losing this small piece, I used the tape that had been employed for security during its shipment to adhere the cap to the back side of my appliance. It will be useful to avoid inconvenient drips when moving the Aikoper immediately after use. Small amounts of water are likely to remain inside the machine for hours or days after the last cycle.

Dishwashers save water vs. hand washing

This seems like the right time to point out an easily overlooked fact: full size, modern (post-1994) dishwashers clean an entire load with about 5 gallons of water. Hand washing a sink full of dishes consumes more than five times as much—up to 27 gallons of fresh, potable water—while not offering any improvement in results.

The mini sized Aikoper Compact Portable uses just 1.6 gallons (6 L) per load though, to be fair, an overflowing double sink full of dirty dishes might take two cycles to get through.compact dishwasher settings shown: Normal, Hygiene 162 F, Fruit

Typically, dish-washing machines increase water temperatures to a sanitizing 140-150 °F, well above suggested water heater settings designed to protect children from scalding while saving energy.

The U.S. EPA recommends setting hot water heaters to 120 °F.

My new Aikoper Compact Portable dishwasher uses 162 °F for its hottest cycle, well above the temperatures at my tap. In 2021, even a little appliance such as this one includes an internal heating element to optimize wash and rinse temperatures and improve hygiene.

Growing up in the American West, I was taught to wash dishes using two basins for soapy and clear water; we never let the faucet run throughout the task! My family appears unable or unwilling to internalize these habits, so my search for a backup dishwasher has an altruistic motive as well as supporting my hatred for manual household chores.

Energy use—according to the Energy Guide yellow card standard with all American appliances for almost as long as I can remember—compares as favorably as one would expect between my broken-down Bosch and my new portable.

The U.S. Government suggests the Aikoper Compact Portable will consume 150 kWh/year of electricity.

Keep in mind that compact and full size dishwashers are not directly comparable using this system. Also, due to the years that passed between issuance of the Bosch label and today’s Aikoper label, average electricity rates grew from 8.28¢/kWh to 13¢/kWh whereas natural gas averages went from 65.6¢/therm to $1.05/therm in the same period.

My broken, full size Bosch was expected to consume 430 kWh/year vs. 150 kWh/year for the much smaller Aikoper. By comparison, the new, full size Miele I’ve ordered is rated at 230 kWh/year according to the manufacturer’s website.

Aikoper Compact Portable: Do dishes come out clean?

More than any other fact or feature about the Aikoper Compact Portable Dishwasher, what most want to know first is, “Will my dishes come out clean?”

I always had to scrub or re-wash the spoons before. That doesn’t seem to be necessary with the new dishwasher.”

Short answer: Yes! I’m quite satisfied with the cleaning performance of my new appliance. It has thoroughly exceeded my expectations… although they admittedly started out pretty low. I would have settled for mediocre washing, but my older child and I both noticed that the Normal cycle leaves our dishes cleaner than we recall them getting at the end of the full size Bosch’s functional life.

It’s entirely possible that the failing Bosch was gradually washing less and less well, but so slowly that we fell victim to the frog in boiling water effect and didn’t notice the scale of the change. I agree with my teen who observed, “I always had to scrub or re-wash the spoons before. That doesn’t seem to be necessary with the new dishwasher.”

Aikoper Compact Portable: Dishwashing cycle descriptions

My longer answer to the cleaning question: Even the shortest cycle on the Aikoper—the 40 minute Rapid wash—leaves well-prepared dishes cleaner than they were when my kids were forced to do the task by hand. Hand washing dishes and the Rapid cycle are highly equivalent assuming firm scrubbing with a scouring pad isn’t involved.

Rapid uses 122 °F wash water followed by two rinses. I presume, due to the lack of a stated temperature in the manual, that the rinse cycles are unheated in Rapid mode. There is no drying cycle for this setting. Dishes washed in Rapid mode require toweling dry before putting them away.

Shiny black touchscreen panel for selecting appliance cycles and other functionsThe standard cycle, Normal, takes over two hours (130 minutes.) Normal uses 140 °F wash water followed by two rinses; the second rinse is at 158 °F. Normal includes a drying cycle and makes use of the Aikoper’s automatic door opening function to release steam for better drying.

Aikoper’s heaviest duty cycle, Hygiene162 °F, takes two hours (120 minutes.) Hygiene162 °F uses 158 °F wash water followed by two rinses; the second rinse is at 162 °F. Hygiene162 °F includes a drying cycle and makes use of the Aikoper’s automatic door opening function to release steam for better drying.

The Glass cycle is designated for delicate items that are still dishwasher safe. Glass uses 122 °F wash water followed by two rinses; the second rinse is at 140 °F.  Glass mode includes a drying cycle and makes use of the Aikoper’s automatic door opening function to release steam for better drying.

The final washing cycle is Fruit mode. I’m wildly curious if this setting is common elsewhere in the world, because I find its inclusion utterly bizarre. Please, readers, tell me if you use your dishwasher to wash fruit!

The Fruit setting uses water at whatever temperature it enters the machine (no heat is applied.) It is a 20 minute cycle with no additional rinse or drying cycle. Per the manual, no detergent should be added on this setting!

A special, dishwasher safe basket for washing fruit was included in the Aikoper box. I haven’t used this yet, but it could also be helpful for corralling tiny items such as baby bottle parts or teething toys during a wash cycle.

Aikoper Compact Portable: Control panel & its features

In addition to selections for the five wash cycles described in the previous section, the other controls on the Aikoper’s touchscreen control panel are Delay Start, Control Lock, Air Refresh, Start/Cancel, and the Power button.

Delay Start allows the user to run the dishwasher later.

Repeatedly pressing this button selects increments from one to eight hours, plus options for 12, 16, 20, or 24 hour delays. Because the machine calls for incoming water between 120 – 149 °F, use of Delay Start would seem better suited for situations employing the water hose input vs. tank operation wherein the water supply would normalize to room temperature.

I have not tried the Delay Start option.

Control Lock is a child safety feature. Pressing and holding it for three seconds should prevent accidental activation of the dishwasher’s sensitive touch screen by children or anyone else. Repeating the three second hold will unlock the controls.

I have not used the Control Lock feature except to confirm that it works as advertised. It could be useful when wiping fingerprints off of the touch-sensitive display. Shiny black plastic highlights greasy fingerprints which are a common side effect of loading a dishwasher.

Air Refresh is an alternative to the Auto-open function—which pops the door ajar upon completion of most cycles—if this button is pressed after wash cycle selection and before Start. Instead of opening the door when that cycle completes, Air Refresh causes fresh air to be circulated inside the dishwasher via its side vent with the door closed.

Perhaps this is a valuable feature for installations inside an RV or trailer where the dishwasher could potentially run while in motion inside a vehicle.

Air Refresh can’t be combined with the Fruit cycle.

Appliance door slightly ajar due to automatic opening to improve drying

Auto Open feature leaves door ajar about 1 cm

Air Refresh can also be selected as a stand alone cycle to force air through the machine’s side vent. Pressing the button when the dishwasher is powered on with no other cycle selected will circulate air inside the machine in this fashion. I haven’t felt the need to run this cycle.

Initiating Air Refresh, it appears to run for two hours. I can hear a slight noise from air movement at the side vent while it is engaged, so I believe it is working as designed.

I haven’t allowed an entire two hour Air Refresh cycle to complete due to my near constant need to wash more dishes with our full size machine out of commission.

Start/Cancel begins whichever cycle is selected on the machine when it is powered on and in standby mode. Pressing the button again cancels the cycle.

The Power button should be self-explanatory. It turns the machine on and off.

Though it isn’t specified on the face of the control panel, according to the manual, pressing and holding Fruit and Rapid simultaneously for three second while in standby mode forces the water tank to drain.

Aikoper Compact Portable: Specifications

Before any other fact, take note that a “compact portable” dishwasher is very small. The Aikoper is much smaller than any dishwasher I’ve seen before, including more traditional portable models. Imagine the dishwasher equivalent of a toaster oven, and you’ll be on the right track.

I can easily imagine this appliance being used in an RV or a tiny studio apartment. It would even appear right at home in a child’s playhouse that had power but no plumbing! It would be perfect in a hotel room or office break room with only wet bar or a Lilliputian kitchenette. Even a compact dishwasher would increase my likelihood of booking an otherwise perfect AirBNB that doesn’t sport this modern convenience.

I’m already imagining bringing the Aikoper with me if we ever book a charming vacation property within driving distance that lacks a dishwasher.

Per the manual, the dishwasher’s power supply matches the U.S. standard 120V AC 60 Hz. It is rated for less than seven amps (motor: 0.85 A, heater: 5.83 A; total: 6.68 A) so a normal 15A household power socket should be sufficient.

It’s a 760 W appliance.

You won’t need a special outlet to plug in the Aikoper Compact Portable dishwasher. Unless your wiring is so old that you don’t have modern three prong, grounded outlets, no electrician required!

Revereware 2 quart saucepan and ruler showing about 15 inches max diagonal space inside appliance

Please note that, because the entire appliance is quite small, the interior space available is equally diminutive. The entire cavity inside measures roughly 12″ x 14″ x 11.5″ high. Some of that space consumed by the spray arms and the pull-out rack that holds the dishes.

Here are the exterior dimensions as provided by the manufacturer confirmed by me in real life: 16.5″ wide, 17″ deep (from wall to the front of the panel on the side where the door opens), and 18.5″ tall.

This dishwasher should fit between counters and upper cabinets with only 19 inches of clearance**. I haven’t noticed any appreciable steam being released excepting a minuscule breath of warm, moist air through the door’s gap with Auto-open engaged in the default setting.

The manual does not specify a need for any additional clearance at either the side or back of the dishwasher for installation or use. Scanned manual page showing my measurements in imperial units

Though the Aikoper Compact Portable has a set of handholds underneath—my teen called them divots—the machine still weighs over 40 lbs. That’s much less than half the heft of a full size machine, but I would “install it” on a rolling cart if I planned to move it around my home with any regularity.Close up of bottom edge of machine where divots make lifting easier

Aikoper Compact Portable: Ease of Installation

Carrying the Aikoper Compact Portable around the house to get it in position is more difficult than setting it up for use.

For me, confirming which was the drainage output port vs. which was the water inlet port was the only mild headache of setup. Aikoper should have affixed labels at each one. I created my own with my cherished Brother P-Touch 1400.

Since this machine will likely be put away seasonally after its period of intense use filling in for the dead Bosch, clear instructions to my future self seem important. The manual notes that the dishwasher should be emptied of water and ideally left with its door ajar for extended storage.Self-printed Output and Input labels for the drain and water inlet port

The inlet and outlet location information is on the first page of the manual, but in a 1″ x 2″ sketch, specifically a part of the drawing that’s only about one quarter of an inch tall or wide.

Quick user guide on first page of appliance manual

Even with arthritis in my hand joints, I was able to insert the drainage hose and tighten its metal clamp to hold it firmly in place. I did have my teen check the connection, but it seemed like a leak-free installation with only my ministrations.Carboard shipping box for compact dishwasher

The dishwasher came well and carefully packed for shipping. There were plastic bands to snip off the exterior carton, large molded Styrofoam pieces inside the box, and various small foam pieces and twist ties used inside to corral small and movable parts. In spite of the highly stable arrangements, there was nothing frustrating in the manner of plastic clam shell packaging to remove.

Aikoper struck exactly the right balance between careful protection and wasteful or annoying piles of plastic.View of interior packed for shipping with all dishwasher accessoriesThere were several pieces of clear protective film to peel off the Aikoper Compact Portable dishwasher before use.

The largest sheet of plastic covering the shiny black control panel touchscreen was very obvious. A large sticker, covering the manual fill valve on top, also proclaimed itself readily. Harder to see were two small clear stickers adhering to the silver rectangular magnets at the top of the door where it shuts.

Once my teen placed the dishwasher on the counter for me, I’d estimate that it was ready to run within five or ten minutes, max. I spent longer carefully reading the manual before use than I did attaching the drainage hose or plugging in the dishwasher.

Please note that all dishwashers are tested in the factory by being run with water, so it is expected for a new appliance to arrive with traces of liquid remaining inside. My child observed that the inside of the shipping carton was a little damp. At first, we thought the box had been carelessly placed in a puddle en route, but the note in the manual explained the residual water in the carton.

In spite of this, there wasn’t even a hint or musty or unpleasant odor to the brand new Aikoper dishwasher. With a manufacturing date of May 2021 stamped on its label, I must have received the machine within days of its being built.

Aikoper Compact Portable: Ease of Use

I’ve confessed to carefully reading the entire manual before running the dishwasher. Being a cautious type—someone who actually worked in Quality Assurance on large government and military contracts—I advise all users to do the same… but you probably don’t really need to in order to make this Aikoper was your dishes.

Initial setup

Here’s what you need to do after opening the box.

Place the machine somewhere stable and fairly level, remove the shipping packaging from inside the cavity and around the surface of the appliance, attach and route the drainage hose to an appropriate receptacle for grey water, and plug it in.

If your dishwasher is sitting on the floor, per page 24 of the manual, it can’t drain to a sink more than 1 meter high due to gravity. That’s pretty close to standard counter height in the U.S. Consider draining to a container if want to keep your appliance at floor level unless it happens to abut an in-floor drain such as a shower pan.

For ease of loading and emptying, the vast majority seem likely to use Aikoper Compact Portable dishwashers above floor level.

Load dishes—or fruit!—into the dishwasher

There are no special tricks to loading the Aikoper Compact Portable. As with all dishwashers, it is important never to block either of the two spray arms with oversized dishes too tall or items hanging below the gridded bottom of the pull out rack too skinny.

Yes, this tiny dishwasher has two spray arms, top and bottom, making it likely to clean better than average machines from the previous century! The top spray arm is really, REALLY small, though. It’s about the size of my hand. The bottom, primary spray arm looks more appropriately sized to the interior of the appliance.

Though petite, the Aikoper includes a roll-out dishwasher rack very similar to those in standard, full size models. The tines that keep dishes separated even fold down to accommodate bulky items, just like those in larger appliances.

Dishes should ideally sit inside the machine on their edges with a bit of an angle. This allows the water to hit the dirtiest interior surfaces then slide down and away to be drained with the waste.

Unlike most full size dishwashers, Aikoper does not include a cutlery basket in this model. Instead, a small removable shelf allows one to place utensils on a flat horizontal rack above other small items. My tea mugs, stemless red wine, and juice glasses all fit in this lower space.

Because I had a cutlery basket on hand from my defunct Bosch, I do tend to use that instead of the flat shelf for silverware. My family is used to slotting their utensils into this basket, so I leave it in the sink to collect dirty pieces throughout the day. This works very well mostly because the Bosch basket I already had splits into two narrow pieces.

An entire cutlery basket from a full sized dishwasher would almost completely fill the Aikoper’s small interior!

There are no other special considerations for loading the Aikoper Compact Portable except that I can say with confidence that baker’s half sheets are way too big to fit. My Nordic Ware Baker’s Quarter Sheet¤ can be accommodated depending upon what else needs to be washed in a given load.

Toaster oven sized bake ware—for example, 1/8 size sheet pans — are ideally sized to use in combination with this smallest size of dishwasher.

Fill the water tank

Possibly the only non-intuitive, important instruction to know that’s particular to the Aikoper Compact Portable dishwasher is the requirement to power on the appliance before filling the water tank. I have an innate instinct to avoid running water onto electrically powered devices!

This is necessary because an electronic sensor beeps to tell you when the water tank reaches its full capacity.

I worried this sound would be subtle and I might miss it or overfill the appliance. In fact, the sound is an obvious trill of multiple beeps but not too obnoxious. Though it takes me a second to turn off the faucet and stop the incoming flow of water after the beeps, I’ve never experienced an overflow, so the sensitivity appears thoughtfully set.

Having used the machine many times a day for the better part of a week, I can also now hear a change in the sound the in-rushing water makes when the tank is almost full. I tend to reduce the water pressure at the tap when I think its near the top, but I’ve seen no evidence that this is a fickle process requiring any excess of care.

In addition to the trill of beeps, a water tap icon on the control panel disappears when sufficient water has been added to the tank. At this point, the machine is ready to run.

Add detergent (except for Fruit cycle)

For any cycle except Fruit, detergent should added in a small depression inside the dishwasher door. The manual calls for 7.9 grams of soap. This receptacle is tiny compared to the one user’s of full size dishwashers will be used to.

A half Tablespoon (½ Tbsp = 7.5 g) scoop is a convenient U.S. household measure that will give you the correct amount. There is a midway line in the Aikoper detergent cup measuring 4 g of detergent, but, oddly, no cycles in the manual call for this lesser amount. 8 g measured detergent on scale in small cup with 0.5 T scoopUsers new to dish-washing appliances should take care to use only detergent designed for use in a machine. Hand wash dish-washing liquid results in a giant mess of bubbles if dispensed into a machine! Yup, it has happened at my house…

Dishwasher tabs are designed for average loads in full size appliances. The brand of detergent pods I had in the house weighs in at 15 g apiece, or double the amount called for by my Compact Portable. For comparison, my broken Bosch called for 15 g of detergent for regular loads, and 25 g for heavy soil.

It’s possible a detergent tab could dissolve fully in the Aikoper machine, especially if you have soft water and run a hotter cycle, but tablets and pods are probably not the best choice for use in any ultra compact dishwasher. At best, you’ll waste half your money by using twice the required amount of soap.

Confirm drain hose is routed appropriately

Unless you love a giant, soapy, greasy mess, I would advise all users to check their drainage hose is correctly routed to a sink or a large, empty bucket before running every dishwasher cycle. I check twice, and I have instructed my kids to do the same before pressing the Start button.

Select cycle

Touch the name of the cycle you’d like to run on the black control panel. If selected, the small oval light above the cycle designation will glow. You can change your mind and press a different cycle.

At this point, select the Air Refresh button as well if you don’t want the dishwasher to automatically pop open during the drying portion of the cycle.

You would also press Delay Start at this time if you want to utilize this feature to postpone the wash cycle.

Press Start to start the dishwasher

To start any cycle, you must press the Start/Cancel button. Feedback should be virtually instantaneous. You will hear the dishwasher get to work washing your dishes.

Notes on the sound of this dishwasher in use

Is the Aikoper Compact Portable dishwasher loud?

If you’ve only known modern, high end dishwasher marketed as ultra quiet, the Aikoper Compact Portable might be a little louder than what you are used to. Being built in to cabinetry does muffle some noise, and my appliance is sitting out on an open countertop and on a kitchen island, no less.

Compared to my recollection of average dishwashers from when I was a kid in the 1980’s, the Aikoper runs quietly.

For a more scientific assessment of its volume (in terms of noisiness), I downloaded the NIOSH Sound Level Meter app. This free app is not as accurate as a proper sound meter device, nor did I have an external microphone or calibrate it, so these are rough measurements. According to the app, my sink running at full volume makes about 50 dB of noise from the rushing water hitting stainless steel. The Aikoper at its normal volume measures closer to 45 dB.

Some phases of the dish-washing cycle are quieter, such as drying. Drying with the door ajar in its Auto Open position measures in the low 30’s dB.

The loudest phase of running the appliance is when water is being discharged into an empty bucket, but that happens too quickly for me to get the Sound Level Meter app open.

Suffice to say, this machine is not as loud as a crowded restaurant or animated conversation. Muttering to myself in a moderate tone as I learned to work the Sound Level Meter app, my own voice registered around 40 dB.

I would rather not sit next to my new portable dishwasher while it is running, but it isn’t loud enough to make me want to leave the room and I am sensitive to sound. I can talk to a family member without feeling a need to raise my voice or strain to be heard while the Aikoper is in use.

I asked my husband for his assessment, too. DH thinks the Aikoper Compact Portable dishwasher a little louder than my description suggests, but it isn’t noisy enough to bother him at all.

TL;DR

If, for whatever reason, you need a dishwasher, but installation poses a problem, the Aikoper Compact Portable is an ideal solution. It will clean normally soiled dishes at least as well as hand washing, possibly providing superior sanitation, and probably using less water.

You don’t need expert help to make it work, or any particular type of faucet or other plumbing to make this dishwasher function, just access to potable water and somewhere hygienic where it can drain.

I paid $339.99 + tax for my little dishwasher in late April, 2021. On the one hand, that’s more than half the price of two out of three of the most popular full size built in models at Home Depot today. Then again, it’s also less than the going rate for installation of even the cheapest new built in dishwasher in my area.

Consider the Aikoper Compact Portable model KOP-DW2605A dishwasher if space considerations or installation issues are your primary concern. It’s cleaning performance won’t let you down if you can make do with its modest capacity.

Lowe’s, for example, also listed some of these countertop portables, but none were available locally or within Amazon’s two day shipping time frame. Also, my quick browse there didn’t obviously reveal any of the less common, tank-based models.

* One of the most common complaints about regular use of portable dishwashers, and an annoyance we well remember from our first home’s c. 1950 kitchen, was the occupation of the sink for the duration. How well I remember the need to fill a pitcher before each cycle in case I wanted a drink of water in the next hour and a half! I believe that was when we started using a Brita pitcher to filter our drinking water since it served the double purpose of making water taste better while also keeping some available and set aside from the only sink on our ground floor.

Another potential benefit of the Aikoper Compact Portable, or any holding tank type dishwasher, is the potential to re-use the resulting grey water. Grey water is waste water from non-contaminated (i.e., not toilet water, a.k.a., black water) sources. Re-using it thus reduces overall water usage.

Our region is experiencing drier than normal conditions as of spring 2021; actual drought is also widespread in much of America and around the world. Just be aware that many detergents will harm plants if you decide to experiment with grey water irrigation. You’ll want to consult someone far more expert on that subject than I am with any further questions on the matter. 🙂

Well-prepared dishes, as I’m calling them, have had all solids scraped into the compost bin, and any particularly thick and sticky residues wiped away with a scrubby sponge. While using the Aikoper as my primary dish-washing appliance, I’ve also adopted the habit of pouring the grey water—collected in a container after one cycle—over the sink-full of dirty dishes inevitably awaiting their turn in the next run. For this reason, the dishes are only lightly (visibly) soiled by the time I run them—much less soiled than they would have been with my normal daily use of a full size, built in machine.

** Without significantly more clearance, however, you will need to attach the water supply directly to the sink using the adapter I described earlier, or pull the machine almost completely out from under the upper cabinetry run to manually fill the tank. The water fill hole is near the back edge of the top of the Aikoper Compact Portable dishwasher. I estimate that the pull-out sprayer from my sink faucet could be used to fill the machine with about 23 inches of vertical clearance, but filling with the included pitcher would take as much as 30 inches as you tip it up to pour the last drops of water out.

Shipping weight is listed as 46.5 lbs. I didn’t make my teen hold it long enough to step on our bathroom scale to confirm this figure. Suffice to say that a healthy, fit teen grunted with the effort of picking it up, but didn’t injure himself bringing it up a flight of stairs or setting it on the kitchen counter. It is not something I would carry by myself with autoimmune arthritis.

¤ Per the manufacturer, for Nordic Ware aluminum sheet pans: “Dishwasher use is not advised, as it will shorten the life of the nonstick on your pan and produce discoloration on exposed aluminum surfaces. However, this discoloration is merely cosmetic and will not affect baking.” Then again, I’ve already discussed my feelings about hand washing dishes…

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