The 7 Best Robotic Window Cleaners
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Joining the ranks of autonomous floor cleaning devices, these window-washing robots can restore clarity and shine to panes of various sizes in almost any location — without the effort or risks usually involved. Whether they're maintaining the gleam on towering skyscrapers or making your Plexiglas shower stall sparkle, the future is here, at least in terms of cleanliness. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 07, 2020:
In our latest update, we removed the Fenrgui R-C901, Ecovacs Winbot W950, Ecovacs Winbot W830, and the Gladwell Gecko due to availability concerns and replaced them with the Galapara 80W, Wexbi M189, Mamibot W120, and the Hobot 388, respectively. For people looking for a multipurpose device, the Hobot 388 is the way to go. It has a powerful vacuum that keeps it attached to various surfaces, even if they’re textured. The Galapara 80W, on the other hand, takes a little longer to clean than some options, but it goes over everything twice to ensure deeply cleaned windows. We also included the Mamibot W120, which has two types of cleaning cloths, one for dry cleaning, and one for wet. This dual action thoroughly cleans glass surfaces in your home.
March 28, 2019:
Cleaning windows by hand can be a hassle, not to mention dangerous if you need to stand on a ladder or step stool. These robotic cleaners handle the dirty work for you to make your life easier and safer. Currently, the best option is the Hobot 298, as it is efficient and packed with the most features, like Bluetooth control and a cleaning solution reservoir and spray nozzle. The designers of the Ecovacs Winbot W850 have smartly wrapped it with a soft bumper to ensure it never damages your window's frame, while the powerful Ecovacs Winbot W830 has no problem adhering to frosted or slightly textured glass. If you are tight on storage space, you'll want to take a look at the Gladwell Gecko, Hobot 198, Fenrgui R-C901. Whichever model you choose, get ready for some sparkling clean windows.
A Brief History Of Robotic Cleaners
It remains to be seen where a robotic cleaner will spring up next, although kitchen robots would likely be in high demand.
Ever since America fell in love with Rosie on The Jetsons, mankind has been fascinated with the idea of a robotic cleaner. The idea that your chores could be done while you sat on the couch watching TV seemed too good to be true, and for awhile it seemed that we were doomed to have to do our own vacuuming and window washing.
The first cleaning robot available for domestic use was the Electrolux Trilobite, which hit the market in 2001. Consisting of a roller and a vacuum, it used infrared sensors to navigate your home, and returned to its charging station after it was done cleaning or if its battery grew too weak. You could even set up magnetic strips to keep it out of rooms you didn't want it going in, so you never had to worry about it catching you sobbing while watching The Bachelor.
The following year, iRobot released the Roomba, which has proven to be the most famous robotic cleaner so far. After some initial glitches, the Roomba proved to be a relatively effective, albeit expensive, vacuum. Most importantly, however, it provided cats with the ability to feel like they were riding in a chariot like the royalty that they assume themselves to be.
The success of the Roomba proved that there was a market for these machines, and manufacturers soon developed other devices to tackle domestic chores. Self-cleaning litter boxes took most of the hassle out of own of the stinkiest aspects of pet ownership, and some security robots can detect and follow intruders while simultaneously filming them.
Window-washing robots weren't far behind, as keeping glass clean and streak-free is one of life's most annoying tasks. It remains to be seen where a robotic cleaner will spring up next, although kitchen robots would likely be in high demand.
Personally, I just want a robot that will watch The Bachelor with me.
Benefits Of A Robotic Window Cleaner
Washing windows is tiring, tedious work, and for some professionals, it can be completely nerve-wracking. Still, nothing can make your home or business look worse than dirty, unkempt glass, so keeping your panes polished is very important.
When you have a robot, you can minimize your exposure to ammonia and other cleaning chemicals.
If you own a business that operates out of a building with lots of windows, having a robotic cleaner on call can mean that you don't have to pay professionals to get the job done — and you don't have to put up with grimy glass while you wait for them to show up. Robots can be safer, as well, as they eliminate the worry that goes with watching someone clean windows on a high-rise. After all, if there's one thing that Blade Runner taught us, it's that no one cares if a robot dies.
Even if you're just looking to get one for home use, they can be fantastic for keeping hard-to-reach windows looking their best. Let's face it: standing on a ladder while cleaning a second-story window is terrifying, and a good way to get seriously hurt. However, now you can just slap a robot on the window and watch it work while you're safely on the ground, hanging out with your robot dog.
Also, most window cleaning solutions are full of ammonia, which is great for preventing streaks, but it can also have a serious impact on your health. The fumes can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and it can do serious damage if you come in contact with it. When you have a robot, you can minimize your exposure to ammonia and other cleaning chemicals.
How Robotic Window Washers Work
There are several different options on the market, and each has a slightly different mechanism of action. All of them have a few basic things in common, however.
Many have several different cleaning modes, starting with spraying cleaner on the glass, then a squeegee action, followed by a drying mechanism.
The first is a motorized suction device that keeps it attached to the window. This offers much more powerful adhesion than the suction cup Garfield you never could get to stay stuck to your car window, so you don't have to worry about your robot falling off and killing someone below. As an added precaution, most come with a backup battery so that the robot won't take a plunge if the main one fails.
Like Roombas, these robots use some sort of scanning mechanism (usually a laser) to determine the size and area of the window. Many have several different cleaning modes, starting with spraying cleaner on the glass, then a squeegee action, followed by a drying mechanism. This is designed to replicate how you would do the job yourself.
The robots are designed to detect spots and streaks, so that they can get any blemishes, and stop once the job is done. Many also come with remotes, however, so you can navigate it anywhere you see fit. They're also designed to work on windows and mirrors both with frames and without, so you should be safe regardless of what type of glass you have in your home.
These little machines are fantastic for ensuring that you have one less chore on your plate, but they're mainly suitable for people with lots of glass or inconveniently-placed windows to look after.