BenchtopPro Parts Washing System Review

by Brian Mullin on January 11, 2014

Bike components get a lot of abuse in a relatively harsh environment, and the small parts are subjected to contaminants ranging from sand, dirt, gravel, mud, snow and rain, all of which put wear and tear on a bike. All components will last longer, run quieter, and perform better when cleaned on occasion.

The BenchtopPRO is a bioremediating parts washer that was designed for the home shop and garage, allowing you to clean bike, vehicle and miscellaneous parts. Bioremediation is a waste management technology that involves the use of microorganisms to remove or neutralize contaminants, which in this case is the removal of dirt, grease, and oils from bike parts. Most local bike stores use the same sort of system on a much grander size and price, while the BenchtopPRO shrinks everything down to a small self-contained benchtop design, that is portable and easy to use. The system uses non-hazardous, non-toxic and non-flammable degreaser with a microbial additive instead of the typical hazardous and flammable solvents for cleaning.

The BenchtopPRO is manufactured by ChemFree Corporation, which was founded in 1993, and is located in Norcross, GA. ChemFree manufactures the large shop sized SmartWasher and SmartBikeWasher system.

The BenchtopPRO kit consists of the roto-molded benchtop unit, a pump with an attached hose and brush, a gallon of the BT5 degreasing solution and four MicroPro microbial packets. With the BenchtopPRO on its back, you open the latch and flip the lid out (the drying/drain rack), and fold down its metal support leg. The inner chamber of the unit contains the pump, hose, brush, washing tub and drain, and the hidden solution reservoir compartment.

The power supply and cord for the 125 hph pump are located under the cover of the pump. The wall adapter connects to an ordinary 120 VAC socket and converts the power down to 12 VAC for the pump’s operation, and the switch is in-line on the cord. The pump has a 2′ long hose with a self-cleaning brush that has an on-off button.

Getting the system ready for cleaning is pretty simple: add 1 gallon of the BT5 degreasing solution, 2 gallons of water and finally one pack of the MicroPro. To begin operation of the unit, pull the power cord and supply from the pump box, and plug it into a power source. Turn on the in-line switch and push the button on the brush, and squirt the solution on the dirty parts while using the brush to scrub off the contaminants, giving some time for the degreaser and microbes to do their work. After you have cleaned off the part and washed it off, place it on the draining and drying rack, and turn the pump off. Once everything has dried, place the power cord and supply back into the pump box, flip the support leg back up, close the lid and latch it shut. The unit can be stored on horizontally or vertically until it’s needed for another round of parts cleaning.

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Impressions

The BenchtopPRO is simple to use, just pop it open, connect the power up and your good to go. The scrub brush has long stiff bristles, which allow it to get deep into the nooks and crannies of parts, helping to remove stubborn stuck-on grit and grime. It does take just a little time for the degreaser and microbes of the solution to do their cleaning work, but it wasn’t that significant. The on-off button worked nicely, allowing one good control of the solution stream, and even though the flow wasn’t substantial, it worked fine and kept things from back splashing.

It did a great job cleaning off nasty cassette and derailleurs, and I even used it to clean off the built-up residue on brakes (minus the pads). Once the parts were cleaned, I placed them up on the drying rack, and let the excess solution roll back down into the tub. A slight amount of fluid that had drained off the parts clung to the drain board and ran back between the lid and the main body. After a decent drying time for the cleaned parts, I put the power cord and adapter back into their compartment, and closed and latched everything up. Even though I cleaned and dried up the tub, there was a minute amount of solution leakage from the bottom when I stood the unit up vertically; perhaps it might be some excess from the hose and brush. There is nice large carry handle for vertical carrying, which is a good thing since it weighs 30 lbs, and contains a bunch of sloshing fluid. Also, there is hand holds at each end of the unit for easy horizontal carrying, which is convenient for moving it around in the shop and on a table. The microbes in the solution keep breaking down the contaminants even after you shut the box, which means you have a cleaner and more efficient washing system. On occasion, you’ll need to replenish the microbes in the solution by adding a new MicroPro pack, and if you use the unit sparingly or not very often, you can hold off the addition until you use it. They sell a resupply kit that has another gallon of the BT5 degreaser and eight MicroPro packs, though, with my occasional usage, I’d like them to sell the microbes packs by themselves.

Bottom Line

The BenchtopPRO parts washing system is an excellent portable home or shop tool that uses bioremediation technology, combining a non-hazardous, non-toxic and non-flammable degreaser and microbial additive to clean dirty bike parts. The self-contained unit pumps the cleaning solution (degreaser and microbes) up through a hose to brush, which you then use to wash and scrub the part to help remove contaminants. The stiff bristles of the brush remove stubborn contaminants, especially if you allow the solution to do its job. The microbes eat the sludge (dirt, grease, wax, etc.self contained) in the solution, and outgas the by-products as COself-containedIts a and self cleaning unit, so the next time you use the system, the solution is clean.

The design of the system is quite functional, consisting of the main unit with its fold-out lid that acts as a drying tray, the wash tub, pump, hose and brush, and the inner solution reservoir. I did notice that on occasion it leaked minutely from the bottom when stored vertically, and some fluid rolled up under the bottom of the drying tray when be used, but both were very minor issues. It would be nice if the pump worked off a vehicle battery or plug, since it would make the unit useful for some road trips.

It comes with a 5 Year Warranty on all parts, including the pump and flow-through brush, and retails for $385.00, though currently they have a special pricing of $299. It’s not the cheapest way to clean parts, but the BenchtopPRO parts wash system is safe to use, self-contained, portable and does an excellent job.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Non-hazardous, non-toxic and non-flammable
  • Portable
  • Self-contained and self cleaning
  • Clean solution – Microbes eat sludge and outgas as a by-product
  • Brush with flow control works well – stiff bristles gets off stubborn contaminants
  • 5-year warranty
Cons
  • Expensive for part time use
  • Requires a 120v power supply
  • Pump can’t operate off a vehicle power plug – needs to be 12 VDC
  • Leaks – small leakage on occasion when stored vertically
  • Requires occasional restocking with the BT5 degreaser and MicroPro microbe packs

For more information visit www.thebenchtoppro.com.

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