Robot mop purchasing advice: how to choose the right product
- What You Need to Know
- Robot mops remove coarse dust, stains and hair from smooth surfaces.
- Depending on the mopping method, different types of dirt can be removed from the floor.
- Combination devices can vacuum as well as mop.
- With sensors, mopping robots analyse a room to create a digital map and proceed particularly efficiently.
- Robot mops automatically return to the charging station when they need to recharge their battery or when they have finished their work.
High-tech household helpers
No matter how often you clean a floor of dust and stains, the first fluff quickly collects again, the next glass of liquid tips over or the pet romps through the room. What remains is dust, water marks and pet hair. So mopping the floor can quickly become a Sisyphean task. Especially if you also run the rest of the household and have to combine this with work and family. In this case, you can get help in the house and set a mopping robot on your floors. The small, round devices patrol your home and get rid of the dirt in the process.
They are suitable for various smooth surfaces such as tiles, PVC floors or laminate and use less water for cleaning than a conventional mop. At the same time, the robots do their work quietly and easily. The intelligent navigation and battery operation allow them to move around the home without drawing attention to themselves or disturbing you in your daily life.
Who is a robot mop suitable for?
Robotic mopping robots are suitable for those who want to take the burden of mopping floors off their shoulders. By damp mopping, the robots remove dust residues or stains that still resist the hoover. Mopping robots are suitable for regular basic cleaning or just occasional mopping. Especially pet owners and allergy sufferers benefit from the devices: Without much effort, you can regularly rid your household of pet hair and other allergy-causing substances on the floor. Depending on the living situation, dry or wet mopping robots are the best choice. The former are perfectly adequate for small households, while the latter are especially useful in large houses where mopping by hand would be particularly tedious.
- Time saving
- Convenient basic cleaning
- Low water consumption
- For various floor surfaces
- Particularly quiet
- Difficulties with greasy or dried stains
- Large dust fluff gets damp and stays put
- Problems with corners, edges and doorsteps
Depending on the mopping technique they use, the handy robots with mopping function can be divided into three subgroups:
Dry mopping robots
This model class completely dispenses with the use of water and is particularly thorough in removing the last dust residues that were skipped during vacuuming. The robots use a dry cloth to pick up loose dirt from the floor surface. These mopping robots are therefore not able to remove liquid dirt, but they can sweep up coarse dirt. With some models it is possible to moisten the cloth by hand beforehand so that the mopping performance is increased.
Wet mopping robot with microfibre cloth
The robots wipe wet, but do not have a water tank that would provide water on a regular basis. Instead, you place a damp cloth under the robot. This allows the device to remove light dirt and also stains. Since the cloth dries out and gets dirty quickly, it must be replaced after each mopping cycle or, if it is reusable, rinsed out.
Wet mopping robot with water tank
Thanks to a built-in fresh water tank, robots are able to moisten the cloth themselves. Some models spray the water directly onto the floor in front of them with spray nozzles. Higher-priced devices can also regulate the addition of cleaning agent to remove heavier soiling as soon as they detect any. However, robot mops use a comparatively large amount of water, so you should pay attention to where and how your robot mops the floor. Sensitive floors such as parquet could possibly be damaged.
What do I need to consider when buying a robotic floor mop?
A mopping technique and performance that suits your floors is crucial when choosing your robotic mop. So pay attention to the mopping base of the device. Some models use a cloth, others sweep the floor with brushes. Also find out about the navigation options of the robot mop. This is where price differences are clearly reflected, as more expensive models are often more intelligent in terms of locomotion. Smart robots do not require you to run after them to control and correct their path of travel. The larger the area to be mopped, the larger the storage capacity of the battery should be. Also, make sure the device is small enough to mop under your furniture and in the nooks and crannies of your home.
Most robotic mopping machines work with cloths. These are used either when dry or when damp. Basically, it is a conventional cleaning cloth attached to a frame on the underside of the robot. Some models have cleaning rollers that specifically match the unit.
Reusable cloths and rolls can be washed by hand or in the washing machine and used several times. After several weeks or wiping cycles, however, you should dispose of the cloths or rolls and buy new ones. Manufacturers usually offer multi-part sets that cost between 10 and 20 euros. If you use the robot mop weekly, you will need about two dozen reusable cloths per year. For the same price, you get around three to four times as many disposable cloths. However, these are less environmentally friendly.
If you choose a machine with a built-in water tank, make sure the tank has enough capacity to wipe the entire room in one go. If the tank is small, you will have to refill it more often and may even have to interrupt the mopping process.
|Water tank size in millilitres||Room size in square metres|
|200||100 – 150|
|300||150 – 200|
|400||200 – 250|
In most cases, the water tank is removable so that you can easily refill it under the tap. In rare cases, the tank is also permanently installed so that you have to bring the water to the robot.
Too much of a good thing
Make sure that a robotic mop with a water tank does not get stuck on corners and edges. This is because even if the robot is stuck, water is regularly applied to the cloth or floor. If you have a delicate floor such as parquet or wooden floorboards, the regular water leakage could damage it.
Simple robotic mopping models work with simple touch mechanics that react as soon as the device bumps into an obstacle. In this case, it moves away at a different angle and continues mopping until it encounters an obstacle again. Premium mopping robots, on the other hand, are equipped with sensors that scan the area. They make a digital map of the premises during the first sweep, so they don’t hit furniture or other possible obstacles and know where doorsteps are. Some models even recognise carpeted floors and save them for the wet mopping process. The robot mop saves the map it makes for the next pass. It is renewed if necessary when you move furniture. Some robotic floor mopers even have multiple floor map storage and make a separate map for each floor in the house. You can give the individual rooms names and send the robot out specifically to remove soiling.
Most robotic mops ride on wheels and drag the cloth across the floor below them. Some models that clean the floor with a brush roll do not have wheels. Instead, they move forward by the rotation of the brush. The cleaning power is achieved by the robots’ own weight, which rests on the roller.
In principle, robotic wipers are easy to operate. In most cases, all you need to do is press a button to send the device on its cleaning tour. Depending on the model, you can even do this by remote control. Many devices can also be controlled via an app. This gives you the option of programming and monitoring the work of your helper. With wet mopping robots, you can set the amount of water to be used per mopping cycle. This is especially useful if your floors are delicate and would be damaged by too much water application. With so-called no-mop zones, you tell the robot which areas it should not mop. This is especially helpful with carpets, if the robot mop does not recognise them on its own.
Some robot mops are equipped with a camera, so you can monitor your helper’s work from a first-person perspective. You have the option to track the robot’s path and check if it is missing spots. With a built-in GPS function, you can also track the robot’s path afterwards and check whether it has mopped the entire room. If you want to turn the physical work of mopping into a little mobile game, you can also control your mopping robot manually via app. This is not only a playful extra, but also a useful function if the device does not sweep certain corners and problematic areas of the living space thoroughly enough. If necessary, you can also send the robot back to the charging station.
The speed of a robot mop differs depending on the model. Although every user would like to have a cleaning job done quickly, it is not always optimal with these robots. Wet mopping robots in particular may travel a little slower for their work in order to deal with more stubborn stains. Dry mopping robots are usually faster, as they tend to “glide” over the floor and collect dirt only superficially.
A long battery life is particularly recommended for robotic mops so that the area to be cleaned can be mopped within one battery charge. Some models will mop an area until the battery is empty, while others will only go as long as it takes to cover the entire room once. If they cannot do this with one charge of the battery, they drive to the charging station in between to recharge the battery.
Not all robotic mops have a charging station. Some models have to be plugged directly into the socket with a cable. However, you can purchase a charging station separately. This has the advantage that your robot mop has a fixed place to be parked and returns to it after its sweep. Make sure that the charging station has a drip tray. When the robot mop is in the station and charging, the wet cloth may drip onto the floor below.
If you want the robot to mop under or behind your furniture as well, you should choose a device that is as small as possible. Most models are between 5 and 10 centimetres high. Doorsteps, however, can be a problem for particularly handy robots; most devices have no difficulty with shallow thresholds of up to 1.5 centimetres.
In contrast to vacuuming robots, mopping robots are very quiet. All you hear is the drive motor and the occasional pumping of the water tank. To avoid annoying banging and knocking noises or even damage to the device or your furniture during the mopping process, you should opt for a robot with environmental sensors. This detects obstacles before it drives against them.
The more functions your robot mop has, the more independently it can help around the house. With time programming, you give your robot mop information about when and where it should mop. With the help of infrared sensors, the device can also do its job in dark rooms. Some models have sensors that detect if spots are still dirty. The robot then moves over the corresponding spot again.
How is it different from a robot vacuum cleaner?
Robot vacuum cleaners take over the step that is done before mopping the floor. They vacuum the floor and pick up dust, hair and coarser dirt such as sand. They can also remove dirt from carpeted floors. Robot vacuum cleaners collect the dirt in a built-in container that you have to empty regularly. Mopping robots, on the other hand, take care of smooth, even surfaces and remove the things that a vacuuming robot has trouble sucking up, such as liquid residue, fine dust or unruly hair. The devices work most effectively in combination: the vacuuming robot does the preliminary work, while the mopping robot takes care of the last remnants and ensures a shine.
What is the advantage of a vacuum/mopping robot?
Because the combination of a vacuuming and mopping robot is so efficient, some manufacturers have vacuum-mopping robots in their range. These combination devices offer the advantage that they work effectively on smooth floor coverings as well as on carpets. Other manufacturers take a different approach and do not combine the suction and the mopping function in one device, but let their separate suction and mopping robots communicate with each other via software updates. For example, you can couple robots from iRobot: as soon as the Roomba vacuuming robot has completed its task, the Braava jet mopping robot starts automatically.
Well maintained is half cleaned
Regular maintenance and cleaning of your robot mop is important to ensure that the device can take care of cleaning your home. Clean the inside of the water tank thoroughly every two months. In addition, you should rinse it out regularly. Wash out the cleaning cloths after each wipe or put them in the washing machine. Disposable cloths can only be used once and then disposed of. To maintain the cleaning power of the brushes and rollers, also regularly remove any hair and dust fluff.
For the good of the home
With a few tricks, you can ensure that your rooms are not damaged.
- Place the charging station on tiles or a water-insensitive surface if it does not have a drip tray. This will prevent the floor from getting wet when the robot mop is charging in the station.
- Do not leave your robotic lawnmower unattended (for too long). If the unit has a malfunction or gets stuck, you can intervene and prevent possible water damage.
- Wipe away sticky stains by hand because robotic wipers usually cannot remove them. In the worst case, the substance sticks to the robot and streaks through the flat.
Some manufacturers have excelled when it comes to household helpers and have developed different types of models.
The models in the MD series from Medion work with both a cleaning roller and a cleaning cloth. The roller collects coarser dirt such as hair and wool mice. The rag behind it removes finer dirt and draws off the water that the robot has previously sprayed onto the floor. The cleaning roller from Medion costs around 15 euros. You can get by with about 4 per year, as a single roll is reusable. All you have to do is regularly remove hair and dust from it. The wipe costs about 20 euros. Since it is only used secondarily when cleaning, one cloth lasts a whole year. You can put it in the washing machine if necessary. The Medion MD does not drive into the charging station by itself; you have to do this task for the robot. Medion has dispensed with a timer setting. You can only start the device manually.
Robot models in the DEEBOT OZMO series from ECOVACS are among the most intelligent of their kind. The robots measure the room it is supposed to clean and creates a map, optionally on several floors. You can precisely define the tasks of the devices via app. For example, you can virtually define rooms that need to be cleaned. As soon as the robots reach the mapped boundary, they change direction. At stairs, they turn around automatically, as a downward-facing sensor detects the difference in height. The practical devices have a particularly compact design so that they can vacuum and mop under larger furniture. DEEBOT OZMO cleans the floor with brushes that you can buy as a set. The ECOVACS vacuuming and mopping robots, which also have a suction function, need a fine dust filter that you should replace at least once a year.
Sichler’s vacuuming and mopping robots are characterised by their compact design and the various cleaning options. The models in the PCR range are equipped with eleven sensors and clean the floor in five cleaning modes, including random, wall-to-wall or S-line mode. The sensors detect surrounding dust so that the robot can suck it up. Optionally, the Sichler robots can be expanded with a water tank and a mopping attachment so that the vacuum robots also function as mopping robots. You can control the Sichler devices with a remote control or programme fixed cleaning times. The special feature of Sichler’s PCR models is the UV lamp on the underside of the robots: the ultraviolet light reduces the density of bacteria on the floor.
With its V5 series robots, formerly known as Beetles, the manufacturer Zaco, formerly iLife, offers models that can be used either as vacuuming or mopping robots. To do this, you remove the dust container and replace it with a water tank. The water is used to moisten the microfibre cloth on the underside. However, the only disadvantage compared to other vacuuming and mopping robots is that the Zaco V5 cannot automatically switch between its cleaning modes; instead, you switch manually between vacuuming and mopping functions. You can conveniently control the robot by remote control and let it do its job: sensors detect surrounding furniture and also stairs. Depending on the type of dirt, you can remove the robot’s brushes. This is particularly useful for coarser dirt that would get caught in the brushes.