I approached this trial with a healthy dose of skepticism. As someone who has witnessed the struggles of past robotic cleaning devices attempting to navigate friends’ homes, I had my reservations. And I’m not alone, according to Karen Powell, ANZ Regional Director for Ecovacs Robotics.
“When robotic vacuums first launched, they garnered a bit of a negative reputation for circular machines that would bump around your home, damaging furniture, and just generally not being that effective. Furthermore, the necessary slim design of the robots presented multiple challenges when it came to vacuum suction power and what was possible at the time,” she says, going on to explain that today’s robot vacuums have the ability to compete with traditional vacuums in terms of suction power.
“They’re also able to move around the house thanks to proprietary AI obstacle detection technology, can both mop and vacuum in a single pass, and know their way around your home. You can now set schedules remotely and essentially leave it to its own devices as it cleans autonomously when, where and how exactly you want your home cleaned. It’s been a big feat, but I genuinely believe Australians are responding to this and realizing the huge benefits such products can bring to their day-to-day lives.”
After hearing that, I couldn’t wait to put these babies to the test.
Upon unpacking the DEEBOT X1 OMNI and its docking station, I realise that this robot is bigger than the others I’ve seen. This is for good reason – the docking station has a larger water supply and dust bin, so the self-cleaning OMNI only needs me to change the water around once a month – and the dust bag even less!
We nickname our vacuum Bot-Bot as a joke, but the name sticks. He’s just so cute and round, it suits him somehow. Luckily we have a little nook in the kitchen behind the bin where Bot-Bot can live, and while he may be on the slightly larger side he’s certainly not ugly. The sleek gunmetal grey or white DEEBOT design comes care of Jacob Jensen, the prestigious Danish design house responsible for premium Bang and Olufsen products.
I can barely contain my excitement as I fire up Bot-Bot and call the kids to watch. We have the most painful white painted floorboards that are quite porous and every speck and food dropping from the kids shows up and leaches into the surface. Maintaining a clean home often feels like an uphill battle. But straight away, Bot-Bot zipped around effortlessly, mapping the house and navigating furniture and carpets with ease. When he comes to a rug, he just mounts it and changes modes.
With his powerful suction and advanced cleaning modes, he tackles everything from pet hair to crumbs. You can do a regular vacuum, or apply the mop pads, which switches him into vacuum and mop mode: a game changer for my white floors. With the addition of the floor cleaning fluid, it’s even more effective. I now pick up the chairs and small kitchen rugs every couple of days and set Bot-Bot going when I leave the house. I can barely contain my excitement at coming home to pristine floors. It’s as if the cleaner has been!
There’s even an AI voice command function called Yiko, that I’ve used with varying degrees of success (she responds better if you put on an American accent!) but the phone app is very thorough and you can change settings easily from there.
Next up to test was the WINBOT W1 PRO (let’s call her Winnie). Similarly aesthetically pleasing, Winnie comes in her own little grey briefcase for storage and has a sleek modern design reminiscent of a Bang and Olufsen speaker. So does she actually deliver on her promises?
The answer is a resounding yes. As I sat back and watched Winnie work her magic, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe. With 2800Pa suction power and industry-leading anti-slip driving system, she effortlessly glides along the windows, leaving them spotless and gleaming. No more tedious hours spent wiping away streaks and smudges.. The Dual Direction Cross Auto-spray technology ensures a wide spray angle, resulting in efficient window coverage and a quicker, higher-quality performance.
It’s actually mesmerising to watch Winnie work as with her WIN-SLAM 3.0 Path Planning technology, she follows a systematic back and forth cleaning pattern, just like Bot-Bot. It’s as if she has a mind of her own, leaving no corner untouched.
And let’s not forget about safety. Winnie boasts intelligent Edge-Detection Technology, meaning she can adapt to various surfaces and environments, making her great for both indoor and outdoor use.
As for safety? Winnie has insurance! The WINBOT W1 PRO boasts an industry-leading anti-slip driving system for smooth movement, a safety harness and power outage protection, so you can bid farewell to any worries while your windows shine with delight. Perfect for large hard-to-reach windows or even pool fences, Winnie just takes the headache out of window cleaning.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: the cost. At $799 Winnie’s not cheap but I would pay that in a heartbeat to never have to balance on a ladder or roof and risk my life in pursuit of a crystal clear view. At $2,499, the DEEBOT X1 OMNI may seem like a splurge. But I always justify a product with CPU (Cost Per Use) If you use it four times a week for a year, the cost per day is a mere $6.79. That’s barely more than a gourmet cup of coffee and a small price to pay for the luxury of a sparkling clean home at your command.
Bot-bot and Winnie have truly revolutionized my cleaning habits. They’ve given me back time that I used to spend, literally, on my hands and knees scrubbing dried Weetbix off the floor. I’m not exaggerating when I say they’ve stolen my heart. These sleek little robots have become my secret weapons, silently working their magic while I get to focus on what truly matters.