In this Guide
Sunlight and clean windows are essential for human health. Recent studies have shown that light exposure through windows increases well being, productivity and sleep cycle. Houses today are also being designed with more windows to increase natural sunlight, increasing our connection to the outdoors and also decreasing energy bills by up to 10%.
Of course with all these advantages on our wellbeing, there are some disadvantages to having large windows. The main one being the necessity for regular manual cleaning and polishing. In some cases due to the placement of the windows even requiring professional services for hard to reach windows. You can of course manually clean windows, and there are a number of options for applying good old fashioned elbow grease, but the future certainly lies with Robotic Window cleaners, which have finally come of age with a number of new options that really will make a difference in your home.
Robot window cleaners have been around for over 5 years. There are a number of things you should look out for when comparing robotic window cleaners.They generally come in two major designs – either with circular cleaning pads or with square cleaning pads. However, given that the majority of windows are general square the stand out robotic window cleaners are also now generally square. In this space, there are four major companies with robotic window cleaning appliances – ALFAWISE, HOBOT, MAMIBOT or EVOVACS.
1. HOBOT 298
Our top pick for the best robotic window cleaner is the Hobot 298. This is the first in class to finally have a built in cleaning spray to make this the first truly independent robotic window cleaner. The Hobot company was founded n 2010 and has received a number of innovation awards for its products, so it has a great pedigree for quality machines.
The ultrasonic spray with water or detergent takes away the need for you to prespray the glass, which is a huge timesaver. The 40 mL tank gives it an outstanding 40 sqm cleaning capacity. It comes with three different cleaning cloths. It now comes with an improved square cleaning pad and has a highly effective water spray, allowing it rapid cleans which we tested at close to the advertised 2.4 min per square meter. Hobot 298 easily dries water after cleaning using microfiber cloth attached in it. You can control robot by the app that connected with your device via bluetooth and this app also gives you notification when it done his work. It has laser sensors that measure the distance and height so it can work freely on frameless windows.
2. ALFAWISE 660
For square robot cleaners, this a great entry level machine. Once connected, it provides amazing suction that keeps it well and truly attached to the glass – see the video below:
There is a bit of noise at 65 db (roughly the equivalent of background music at a restaurant) but certainly much quieter than a vacuum cleaner. It runs on a dedicated power cord (around 5m or 16 foot). You also don’t need to be concerned if there is a power interruption, as there is a 30 min back up battery that keeps it attached to the glass. However, just in case you forget, or the battery becomes depleted, there is the handy tether rope which can save it crashing to the ground. It will clean at about 1 square meter (10 sq feet) in 2.5 minutes – see below to see the speed of cleaning in action:
While generally it does a great job, we found that it does not always clean to the edge of each window, and if the windows are really dirty, it can struggle a bit and will need to re-clean areas. However, if you have windows that are not easily inspected at close range (e.g. large windows or those that are high up), you are unlikely to notice the patchy areas.
You can start and stop the cleaning process just by pressing the power button on the robot. It comes with an IR remote controller that you can use for manually moving the robot in any direction. There are three cleaning modes which you can choose by pressing buttons on the IR controller:
- Z-pattern (from left to right): perfect for wider windows
- N-pattern (from bottom to top): perfect for taller windows
- Z/N-pattern: in this mode, the robot will use both cleaning patterns.
If you prefer to use a smartphone instead of the remote controller, just install the ‘WinCleaner’ app to your smartphone via Google Play or iTunes, it has the same functions as the IR controller. To connect the app with the robot, press the power button on the device and run the app on your phone, it will be connected via Bluetooth immediately and you are ready to go! Check out the video review below to see unboxing and some of the features:
Like the majority of robot window cleaners, you still need to use your own cleaning spray. This means that if you spray the window before hand, certain areas might dry before the robot gets there.
3. ECOVACS WINBOT W950 and WINBOT X
The company Evovacs has a long standing history in consumer robotics, having been founded over 20 years ago in 1998. They have a strong track record in window cleaning robots, with their first model (the rather underwhelming Winbot 7) released as early as 2013.
Since their first foray into robotic cleaners they have major design changes and improvements culminating in their latest robotic window cleaner, the Winbot 950. This has certainly made a difference in these units ability to clean windows effectively, check it out in action below:
as can be seen here (Winbot 950 – extensive review of window cleaner – large outdoor window: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBYBrOlmLe0. This particular Winbot would be great to clean your apartment windows and was able to clean very dirty windows that had not been cleaned for over two years with a single pass (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scqXKczd0tE. N
This unit still requires tethered power and again has a back up battery to remain on glass for up to 15 minutes should there be a power interruption. This means you have time to plug it back in or rescue it if need be – but probably not long enough to totally leave it for extended periods of time. In a simple yet surprisingly handy feature that the other cleaners lacks, it lets out an alarm once it completes it’s job so you can nswitch it to a new window. Setup is also straightforward and doesn’t require any fiddly attaching of cleaning pads, etc… as other units can sometimes be, see below:
This unit is definitely not silent, but not obnoxiously noisy either, having about the same noise levels as most other models we tested, at 64db. Helpfully, it comes with a 5m (16ft) cord to reach clean even the largest windows and and also finishes where it started. When it was released Winbot 950 received some well-deserved awards, however now in 2019 it is starting to fall behind other similar square cleaners currently on the market in terms of features and price.
They recently responded to this by releasing an updated model, the Winbot-X, in 2018. This new Winbot, while generally an excellent machine an an improvement on the Winbot 950, still suffers as the last model did in being fussy about the amount of cleaning solution to use – too little and it dries up and too much it will slip down the glass. While generally it did a good job of most of the windows we tested it on (even ones that hadn’t been cleaned in more than a year), overall the Alfawise and Hobot did a slightly better job than both the Winbot 950 and Winbot X, relegating these units to 3rd place in our ranking. Others have also noted that it might be closer to a ‘window polisher’ than a ‘window cleaner’. The great thing about the Winbot X however that it was the first to feature wireless control, which means it can go to places inaccessible to tethered models – this is a huge advantage in certain situations where it is not possible to use a tether. This does of course come with certain safety issues, though the software is clever enough to deal with most potential dangerous situations we could come up with. The unit takes about 2 hours to charge and has just under an hour of cleaning time when fully charged.
While overall a solid unit, the problem remains that without a dedicated cleaning solution built in and given the hefty price tag, the results can sometimes be a bit disappointing.
4. BONUS – BEST ENTRY-LEVEL ROBOT WINDOW CLEANER – THE MAMIBOT 120/120-T
While overall the Mamibot 120/120-T ranked just outside our Top 3 picks due to their functionality, we thought we’d give them an honourable mention as they still do a good job and are definitely the best bang for your buck. In this case, while cheaper the Mamibots do not compromise much on their cleaning ability. See it in action below:
They also come with great Apple and Android apps to control the machine. Like most other units except for the Hobot 298, you will need to spray the glass before you place the robot. Interestingly, it also bills itself as a ‘surface cleaning robot’ and has edge detection, meaning it can clean your benches and floors also:
The Mamibot is not wireless and requires a power cable. Both the Mamibot 120 and 120-T generates the same 65 dB noise levels, has multiple cleaning modes again (Z- vs N- travel modes) and returns to its starting position once its job is done. Once plus is that it is a quite fast for a budget unit, able to clean 2.5 square meters in 2.5mins. Like other units it includes a back up battery in case of interrupted power supply to prevent it from falling. Overall, while not quite as able as our Top 3 Robot Window Cleaners, it we thought it was a decent pick for the budget-conscious.