One of the most important house chores and least liked is cleaning up the floor. Especially where ceramic tiles are involved, this requires mopping as well as sweeping. Most households have various types of mops, buckets and sweeping appliances, and in family households, this chore is always delegated.
Well, modern technology has provided a solution for floor cleaning, and that is the robot floor cleaner. This is an RFID operated mopping unit that moves around the house based on various software parameters. The only thing you need to do is fill it up with water and detergent and set it off to the dirty work.
The Robot Mop Test
In general, robot mops have the same design core; they come with a water reservoir, microfilter cloths, and an autonomous navigation system. The differences between each mop we tested show off individual design strengths and weaknesses as well as the capability of the devices hardware and software package to deliver an efficient cleaning operation.
Just as a reference for design, there are two types of robot mops, the hybrid mop and vacuum and the single mop robot. If you have a carpeted house or live in a dusty area, you might consider investing in a hybrid unit, so sometimes you perform only a dust vacuuming. This is obviously a personal choice issue.
In general, hybrid units are more expensive but come with an IoT solution, so you can control them from your smartphone if you feel like managing the cleaning operation.
We used 4 key performance indicators for the test included the following functions:
- Ease of setup and operation
- Autonomous navigation
- Battery life
The first KPI we chose was ease of set up and operation; this means that the device is easy to understand, easy to set up and maintain and easy to operate and control. Essentially you do not want to replace one hard chore with another. The whole point of a robot cleaner is to make life easier. So set-up includes charging batteries, programming the schedules, filling up the reservoir, and maintaining the device between uses.
The next KPI is their autonomous navigation; it is important that the device knows how to cover the entire floor area, we don’t want any gaps. We also want the device to be systematic and work from one starting point all the way to the final finishing point and considering obstacles that include furniture and in the case of messy houses, toys, clothes, and pets that might visit the floor while the robot is operational.
The third KPI is performance; there is no point in replacing a hard yet accomplished chore with an easy yet messy result. The whole purpose of a robot is to replace the human action as well as the human result. In this case, performance is measured in the result, which is an observational one.
After this we check the battery life, the longer the battery operates between charges, the better. It’s a straightforward KPI and is totally measurable to the second. It also indicates how many times you will need to recharge the robot during cleaning operations.
Robot mops do not replace humans, they add to the ease of work, they provide a large surface continuous cleaning option, but currently, do not replace the human touch. Especially when cleaning marble surfaces that require waxing as well as polishing solutions.
The current state of robot mops is a good indicator for what will come; they can clean up immediate spills and will work continuously if the battery supplied energy, so the floor is in a constant mopped state. They will not remove hard or ingrained stains.
A Selection of the Mops Tested
Photo courtesy of PC Magazine
iLife V8s Robot Vacuum Cleaner
On the underside of this device, you find two main wheels and the navigating wheel. The charging contacts and the drop sensors. The units waste bin is in the rear of this unit, and in a circular unit the rear is a relative location, and the water tanks hold 0.3L
This models display is a standard LCD, and it will show you the battery life and current cleaning mode selected. The body is surrounded by a standard bumper unit that houses the IR sensors for autonomous navigation.
Conclusions: This is a budget-friendly device coming in under $300 and is a very basic model that keeps on going. It is a hybrid vacuum and mop unit but does not come with IoT capabilities. he iLife V8s is a capable robot vacuum and mop.
Photo courtesy of PC Magazine
iRobot Braava Jet 240
The 240 model comes with three cleaning modes which are wet mopping, damp sweeping, and dry sweeping. All modes work relatively well but don’t expect this model to clean up tough stains. Also, the cleaning pads are expensive.
Conclusions: This is a small unit is very quiet and will mop and sweep your small space floors. This is an excellent unit for a small apartment or studio sized dwelling.
Photo courtesy of PC Magazine
Ecovacs Deebot R95
This is a more expensive model, but as a hybrid, it provides IoT as well as a larger diameter for bigger jobs. The diameter is 13.9” and its 4” high, so it won’t work in areas with low slung furniture.
This model comes with a relatively small dustbin, so you need to clean it after every use. On the top are four LED’s that indicate Wi-Fi, Scheduling, Spot Cleaning, and Charging. The navigation sensors are around the side.
The underside of this unit houses the mop and two main treads with a navigation wheel. This model makes the mop set-up easy. You also get a charging dock, an extra brush, water cup, a cleaning brush, filter, and an additional mop cloth, with two extra spin brushes.
Set-up and connection to Alexa or other IoT are simple; you just need a smartphone and a 2.4GHz network (it doesn’t support 5GHz).
This model has a nice sized main screen that shows a map of your home; this is obtained through an initial sweep of the home boundaries. You reach this through the diagnostic-clean mode where the device will create “virtual boundaries” You can select and add VB’s as and where you want, so this device will not go into areas you don’t want it to access.
The downsides of this mop are that it doesn’t have a water tank, so you must mop the floor first. This device is also a bit loud when compared to other units. The battery life is standard and will work for 90 minutes between charges.
Conclusions: The IoT comes in place of the water, and the device underperforms. If you took the versatility of the 240 and added the IoT of this unit, you would have a winner.