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With home robotics increasingly becoming the norm, no mundane household task is safe! While robot vacuums like the Roomba have virtually outsourced the concept of vacuuming, the WinBot robot window cleaner aims to similarly automate window washing for tech-friendly owners.
Special Holiday Pricing Update: Before going further, I just wanted to let you know that the Winbot lineup is available for over 44% off on Amazon here right now. This is a record discount today and worth checking if you are considering buying.
Designed and produced by Ecovacs, the WinBot promises to automate the tedious and sometimes dangerous task of window washing. For home owners or business owners with high – hard to reach – windows, this is the answer to an obvious problem. Whether you are looking to clean glass surfaces that have not been cleaned in years or looking to save costs on window cleaning, the WinBot offers a compelling case. Similarly, for people with physical limitations, the WinBot is a clear solution.
Yes, the WinBot in theory solves a clearly defined problem, but does the technology live up to the promise? As with any home robotic, the proof is in the execution. In this WinBot review I will be looking at the top features as well as the pros and cons of the current line of WinBot from Ecovacs.
Contents (Jump to)
Top Features of the WinBot
- 3-Stage Cleaning Process: The core of the WinBot is a proprietary 3-stage cleaning process. Essentially replicating the process of window washing by hand, starting with spraying cleaning solution, followed by a squeegee effect, and finally the rear cleaning pad dries the window to remove streaks and lines.
- Advanced Suction: It seems precarious to have an expensive gadget like this only attached to the window pain via suction, but this feature is remarkably impressive. While I didn’t have the stomach to test out the limits of it on my third story apartment, the dual suction rings on the device itself gave to cause to be worried. Furthermore, an additional suction safety “pod” provides another layer of redundancy.
- Automated Cleaning Path: The best part about the WinBot is that it will auto-navigate for the best cleaning path on a specific window pane. Using patented laser technology, the device plots the window and determines the most effective cleaning path based off of this initial mapping. I noticed that once in a while the device would have some difficulty mapping out odd-shaped panes; however, using the manual assist override to re-position the device to a better “vantage” point usually solved this problem.
- Real Time Error Readings: Thankfully, the WinBot displays real-time error messages on the display interface of the device. This safes a lot of hassle troubleshooting and diagnosing problems. A sequence of flashing lights indicate the status of the device. If there is a problem, an alarm will sound and the device will stop in place.
Pros – Things I Liked
1-Touch Cleaning: While not always as simple as set-it and forget it, the WinBot is pretty close to a complete hands-free solution. Especially if you have lots of glass real estate and hard to reach corners, this can be a significant time and cost saver.
Good Safety Precautions: With an investment of this size, the last thing you want is your new gadget falling off the side of your structure. While it seems counter-intuitive, the WinBot’s suction surface and security “leash” are more than enough to secure your investment.
Remote Control Option: If the device gets stuck or needs to clean a particularly dirty spot, you can manually control the WinBot with a remote control that comes included with the device. Because the technology is not always perfect, this is an excellent backup that I found useful, especially for corners of windows that hadn’t been cleaned in a while.
Quiet Operation: I was surprised at how quiet the device was. On the outside of the glass it was virtually imperceptible to my ear on the inside. I was initially worried that it might add to the noise pollution.
Cons – Things I didn’t Like
Buying Direct From Manufacturer: I made the mistake of ordering directly from the manufacturer. Let’s just say that order fulfillment is not their first priority. You also have to pay significantly extra for “shipping and handling” and even reasonable expedited shipping (think 7-10 days). Thankfully, Amazon has started listing the product here.
Price: As with many home robotics, the price can be a turn-off. At around $400 a pop, the WinBot is a pricey investment for automating window cleaning. However, if you are interested in a robotic window cleaner, chances are that you have some hard to reach windows or glass which would not otherwise be cleaned. If so, the WinBot is definitely worth the investment. I would NOT recommend this tool yet for homeowners with windows reachable by hand. UPDATE: You can now find the WinBot 7 for a very affordable price here.
Doesn’t Run in Cold: The WinBot will not run if the outside temperature is below 40 degrees (F), which can be a problem for folks living in regions with colder weather/winter seasons.
Still Working Out the Kinks: The WinBot is about an 80% solution. Like the early Roomba’s, the WinBot keeps improving with each iteration. However, it’s still not perfect. Sometimes it will still leave visible streaks and a few passes are usually necessary, despite the 3-stage cleaning process. Most of the time it does a good job, but it’s not a fool-proof system yet.
WinBot 730 vs 710
Initially I was a bit confused by these two models. The difference is actually quite simple. The WinBot 710 is intended for FRAMED windows exclusively, while the 730 is meant for FRAMELESSS windows exclusively.
The 710 can be viewed below (it features a “bronze” coloring vs the “silver” 730):
In practice, the 710 will anticipate and gently push against the framed edge. In theory, using the 710 on a frame-less window might lead to it going off track, while the 730 might not adequately clean the corners of a framed window.
New WinBot’s – 830 and 930
Ecovacs has updated their lineup with the WinBot 830 and 930. What’s New? Mainly size and pathfinding. The 930 in particular is a bit better at plotting out a course to navigate.
The 830 also has the ability to clean textured glass panels and is only slightly larger than the 700 series (9″ vs 8.5″), while the 930 is a rather hefty 12″.
Some Negatives: In my personal experiments, the 930 WinBot had trouble with streaking and edge cleaning. While the navigation WAS more intelligent on the 930, the size of the device made it less practical for homeowners. While there is no longer a distinction between “framed” vs “frameless” windows, I think this is a bad thing. Overall, the newer devices did a less thorough job cleaning corners than both devices, regardless of frame type.
For now, I’d stick to the 730 or 710 until they can iron out the kinks. At a third of the price, there is really no reason to upgrade from the 700 series right now. If you have textured panes, the WinBot 830 might still make sense.
Where to Buy the WinBot
As discussed above, definitely try and purchase via Amazon for the best customer service and shipping experience. Most orders will qualify for free shipping. Order using our link below to the correct product listing on Amazon.
Further read, Alfawise Magnetic Window Cleaning Robot