The 8 Best Robo Mops
The History Of The Robotic Cleaning Machine
While no one really needs a robot to clean their floors, anyone who has ever employed a robotic mop will tell you they probably don't ever want to go back to their technologically less advanced cleaning routine, also known as scrubbing the floors with "elbow grease". Short of hiring a maid or a cleaning service to maintain the floors of your residence for you, the next best thing is to put science to work for you, so to speak, by getting a robotic cleaning assistant.
And while the most expensive floor cleaning robotic mops can cost more than six hundred dollars, many decent robotic mops cost less than two hundred dollars, the price of only two or three professional cleaning sessions at most. Think of your new robotic mop as a investment that will actually save you money -- not to mention lots of time -- in the future. And for the record, robotic mops and vacuum cleaners are the end result of many billions of dollars invested into research and development over the better part of three decades.
The first commercially viable robotic cleaning tool was designed by the Swedish company Electrolux. Their robot vacuum, named the Electrolux Trilobite, was revealed in 1996. It would not become commercially available for several more years, though, finally going on sale in 2001. In that same year, British tech giant Dyson unveiled their own robotic vacuum cleaner system, but their DC06 would never go beyond the prototype phase due to the extremely high cost of production.
During all this time, however, another company had been hard at work developing robots that would, in time, revolutionize the way people's floors were cleaned. iRobot was formed in the year 1990 by a group of MIT graduates who had all worked in that institution's Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Throughout the 1990s, the team from iRobot developed a series of robots capable of partially or fully independent function. Some used crab-like legs for movement, while others used tank-style treads. Soon the company caught the attention of the military, earning a research contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known by its acronym DARPA. The DARPA contract led to the development of several autonomous robotic platforms.
It was in 2002, just a year after the Electrolux Trilobite and Dyson DC06 had been unveiled, that iRobot would reveal their most successful creation yet: the Roomba. Roomba sold more than a million units in just two years, making it far and away the most successful automated floor cleaning machine of its age. (More than ten million units would sell over the next decade.)
Today, iRobot remains at the forefront of robot cleaners. But they have been joined by their share of worthy competitors. If you ever dreamt of owning a robotic mop, you're alive at the right time right now.
Choosing Your Robotic Mop
Budget will do much to inform the robot mop that's right for you. As noted previously, while many models can be had for only around two hundred dollars, others cost three times that figure and beyond, making them simply too expensive for many cost conscious consumers.
Removing budget concerns for the sake of an objective look at features, next consider the room or rooms which your robotic mop will be tasked with cleaning. Not all units are able to clear hurdles such as door sills, so if you have interior space that requires a bit of all terrain travel, make sure you only consider a robot mop that is up to the climb, so to speak. (Note that some robot mops can climb up grades of as much as 25 degrees of tilt, great for residences where someone with mobility issues has had ramps installed.)
Time can also be a factor: the beauty of a robotic cleaning machine is that it's hard at work when you're away from home or asleep. But some models can take as long as two hours to complete a cleaning cycle, so you would have to carefully time the unit's cleaning window to not coincide with your evening or morning routine, or to clutter up your kitchen on a weekend.
And finally consider the types of messes your robot vacuum will encounter. Some units are great at focused scrubbing for special messes; perfect for sticky syrups or juices spilled by kids, while others also have brush and vacuum features; great for lifting cat or dog hair and removing potential allergens from the home.
Tips On Making The Most Of Robot Mops
The best thing you can do to help your robot mop is to handle some of the cleaning yourself. The faster you tackle a spill with some water and paper towels, the less it will dry and adhere to the floor.
Your robotic mop can never replace your own dedicated scrubbing when it comes to deep cleaning a stain or sticky spot, so don't ask it to. Instead treat your robotic helper as a tool to provide a reliable once over to the home -- also called maintenance cleaning -- while your job remains to handle the messier work.
Make sure to keep the area around your robot mops charging dock free of obstacles. Most units will automatically return to their charging base when their batteries run low, and you have to make it easy for them to do as such. Also, the more you can move furniture out of a room during a cleaning cycle, the better the cleaning job the robot mop can do.
Also make sure to clean out and/or fill your unit's reservoirs as needed: they can chart their own course around the room, but they can't drain or fill their own water tanks or add cleaning solution.