Robotic Window CleanersGadgets & Gizmos
Robotic Window Cleaners Exist?
Robotic window cleaners have been the next logical step since the Electrolux brought their Robotic Trilobite to the market in 1997. Today, prices have dropped substantially, and you can get a low-end robotic vacuum cleaner for under $200. Now, robotic window cleaners are hitting the market left and right, and some are already in the multiple generations.
How Do Robotic Window Cleaners Work?
Robotic Window Cleaners use either magnets or motor generated suction to stay on windows. Most have backups in case the first suction option gives out. While technically this works, sometimes they do fall off, which means that you want to use a safety line with most windows, especially if you are in an apartment building or on an upper floor. The newer models fall less than older models, but might not always stick.
Depending on the individual robotic window cleaner, it may use either pads or brushes, or a series of both plus a squeegee to wash and dry the window. Different models have different processes with a two to four pass process being the norm. Most require you to change out the pads periodically as they get dirty, and some replacement pads are quite expensive.
Sensors on the robots track the window, sense edges and frames, and allow it to cover the full length of the glass. Some multi-functional robots like the Hobot clean different types of surfaces in addition to windows, while others clean glass and mirrors.
Another thing to consider is that most window cleaning robots are battery powered, which allows them to wash inside and outside, but usually only for 11 to 15 minutes. Others require an outlet, and feature extensions that allow them to clean high windows.
Robot Window Cleaners on the Market
There are only three functional window cleaning robots on the market. These include the Winbot, Hobot and Windoro.
Winbot – The Winbot is the strongest offering in terms of cleaning power, technology and ability to stay on the glass. The Winbot W930 is the latest addition to the family, and is the fourth in the series. The Japanese company behind WinBot has a number of other friendly household robots including a social media bot and a self emptying vacuum as well as a air purifier that follows you around.
Hobot – Hobot is a German cleaning bot that works on multiple surfaces. With two brushes and a remote control, it is a lot of fun if you hate to clean.
Windoro – The Windoro is actually really iffy and not worth a purchase unless you’re wealthy and don’t care. The model costs more than either of the others, and shows significantly lower performance.
What’s the verdict?
While robotic window cleaners definitely have a wow factor and might be extremely convenient if you have windows that are hard or impossible to reach to clean on your own, they’re not a perfect technology. Right now, the prices for the latest model are hanging right around $300 and up, and you will get a flawed product. Because this technology is relatively new, you’re probably better off waiting a few years for better technology and cheaper prices. If you must have an automatic window cleaner, the Winbot 930 is the best one on the market.