Window Cleaning Robot Icon The best robotic window cleaners of 2020. All the data and reviews you need.

updated: August 26, 2020
Window Cleaning Robot

No one likes daily chores, so following our guide to the best window cleaning robot should be a major win. Handy machines such as robotic vacuums, mops, and even a newer invention, the automatic windows cleaner, are becoming increasingly popular. We’ve come a long way from the early days of automated housekeeping.

However, despite the surge in interest around robot window cleaning, finding a trustworthy rating or expert reviews can often be a struggle. As such, we crafted this guide to not only answer any questions you may have about the robotic windows cleaner market but also give you our pick for the very best window cleaning robot out there.

No matter if you have hard-to-access windows or simply never want to do that chore again, we’ll get you on the right track to success.

Unlike the very well-known robotic vacuum cleaners, not everyone has heard of the automation of window cleaning. Imagine a Roomba type machine, but built to cling to windows and clean them as they move.

Ecovacs Winbot 880 at work.

These winbots utilize the same basic technology, except with the added magic of sticking to glass. They’ve been a game-changer for those who jumped on board early. Unfortunately, with the massive growth in the market over the last couple of years, it’s become much more challenging to know if you’re getting trustworthy information.

Our comprehensive guide was made to go over everything the average person should know before choosing and purchasing a robot window cleaner of their own. We also provide a breakdown on six of our favorite options on the market today.

We’ve come a long way from the earliest window cleaning robots, which had paltry functionality and features. These days most advanced models can be set on a specific schedule. Just tell it when to work and allow the onboard AI to intelligently choose a route.

So if you’re interested in learning more about the very best window cleaning robot for your specific needs, be sure to read ahead!

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Window Cleaning Robots 2020: Rating and Reviews of the Top Performing Options


1Best List of Features
The current king of automatic window cleaning robots

The Hobot 298 is the premier automated window cleaner in the Hobot line by Home Robot. It has everything you’d expect in a high-end device, including exceptional build quality and advanced technology. The sleek, all-white design fits in well anywhere, while its quiet operation ensures it won’t be a distraction. Your Hobot 298 comes with a remote, three pads, 13ft extension cord, power adapter, and nearly 15ft of safety rope.

ProsThe Good

Despite not being made from cheap plastics, and therefore weighing over two-and-a-half pounds, it adheres remarkably well to all sorts of window surfaces. The all-new centrifugal pump design allows the system to efficiently adjust suction as needed.

Another massive improvement of the 298 over earlier models is its Bluetooth enabled app. Not only does it allow you to start, stop, and select from the preset cleaning modes, but you can also alter the rate and strength of the sprayer, and even control where it goes directly.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Probably the main drawback is the cost. It’s easily one of the most expensive automatic window cleaning robots around. That said, you do get what you pay for, and it’s got the features to back it up.

The included 13ft extension cable is nice, but you’ll still likely need another extension cable unless you want to constantly find a socket. The sprayer location also seems a bit odd, being off-center.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love how quick and easy it is to set up and use, with no assembly needed other than attaching the pad and plugging it in. Many also loved that while it’s designed for use with their formulated cleaning solution, you can also use pure water instead. When tackling tough, built-up grime, many users found spraying before-hand helped the automatic sprayer do its job more effectively. Similarly, some customers have found that without an adequate cleaning solution, it’s possible to leave minor streaks.

Take a Look At These Alternative Models:
  • HOBOT-198 Window Cleaning Automatic Robot
    HOBOT-198
    Price: High

    The Hobot 198 has less functionality than the 298, but it’s still an extremely effective device. For starters, their designs are quite distinct. Instead of a square design powered by tracks, the Hobot 198 uses dual spinning microfiber pads to navigate around the window. This does help ensure a streak-free finish. It also lacks the automated sprayer and cutting-edge AI-controlled routes of the premier model. However, the 198 is still a high-end window cleaning robot and effectively cleans many types of surfaces.

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2Best Bargain Buy
There’s simply no better bargain in the window robot market

The Gladwell Gecko is well known in the automatic window cleaning robot industry as the best bargain option. While it does just about everything you’d expect a good cleaner to do, it’s quite a bit cheaper than the next closest competitor.

The dual spinning pads allow it to move around windows without leaving the track marks sometimes left by others. Each Gladwell Gecko comes standard with a remote and two washable pads.

ProsThe Good

While the price is an obvious upside, it’s far from the only positive. For starters, it’s a fair bit smaller than many competitors, allowing it to fit in smaller windows, while still working on larger ones.

Another significant advantage of the Gecko over similar style machines is the ability to manually control its movement via the app. Alternatively, you can select one of three modes that use AI to track progress.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

As with any dual spinning pad cleaner, it can’t get fully into corners. That said, it does a decent job. One major downside is the noise level. It’s not extremely loud, but it is quite a bit louder than most higher-end models.

The 13ft cord would be better if it were longer, but it’s nothing an extension cord doesn’t fix. It’s also worth mentioning not to use the Gecko on glass thinner than 6mm according to the manual.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love its style and build quality. Others suggested using your cleaning solution sparingly, as too much can impede the robot’s movement. Most people loved the ability to control its direction via the app.

A fair amount of users noted the suction could fail on occasion, making securing the safety rope all the more critical. Overall, the vast majority of customers felt it was a fantastic option for the price.

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3Best Overall Value
An incredible combination of price point and functionality

The Mamibot W120-T is for customers looking for the best value around. While not as inexpensive as some other models, it provides a similar amount of features as automated window cleaners that are over $100 more expensive.

The advanced navigation tech plans routes and tracks progress, as the powerful vacuum keeps everything secure. Your Mamibot W120-T comes with the power supply, an extension cord, durable safety rope, remote, and high-quality microfiber pad.

ProsThe Good

It’s incredibly easy to set up and use, only taking a single button to get started. However, the app provides a surprising amount of responsiveness and control. Not only are there different preset modes, but you can manually control movement.

The suction also works exceptionally well, shown to withstand over 15lbs of vertical weight. But that doesn’t mean it’s overly loud. In fact, it boasts a noise level under 65db.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

While it offers a unique combination of advanced features and mid-tier price, it does lack any of the bells and whistles of more advanced tech. For example, many premier robotic cleaners now come with automatic sprayers.

If you apply too much or too little of your cleaning solution to the window, it can sometimes leave a bit of streaking. That said, this problem resolves itself after a bit of trial and error.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers found it fantastic for larger windows, thanks to the advanced route planning and responsive movement. Some suggested pre-washing windows before running the machine for the first time all season to save a significant amount of life on the microfiber pads.

Others noted further issues with the amount of cleaning solution used. If too much is applied, it can’t move effectively and leaves streaks. If not enough, it won’t clean much and can squeak. However, most were able to find their ideal range.

Take a Look At These Alternative Models:
  • Mamibot W120 Window Vacuum Robot
    Mamibot W120
    Price: Average

    The Mamibot W120 is the immediate step down from the W120-T. As such, it has nearly all the same features but at a lower price. Likely the largest functional difference between the two models is the specialized wet and dry pads on the W120.

    Aside from that, the W120 is much lighter than the newer model. Unfortunately, the Mamibot W120 has been discontinued by the manufacturer, so get them while they last!

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4Best Safety Features
The ideal automated window cleaning robot for those concerned with safety

The Winbot 880 by Ecovacs is a genuine contender for the top window cleaner. With all the features you’d expect and a few you wouldn’t, it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular.

For instance, the incredible four-stage cleaning and implementation of voice reporting are innovative ideas they pioneered. The Winbot 880 includes a remote as well as a super-strong suction cup anchor to protect your device.

ProsThe Good

The incredible four-stage cleaning process makes sure even tough dirt and grime are taken care of. It sprays, spreads solution, squeegees twice, and wipes up the mess, all at the press of a button.

The advanced WIN-SLAM 2.0 navigation system ensures it always takes the most efficient route possible. Another thing setting the 880 apart is the emphasis on safety. For instance, the innovative suction cup anchor alone adds a ton of practical value.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

As with other automated window cleaners, it’s an expensive investment. Another thing holding it back is the lack of any timer or scheduling options.

Ecovacs also warns it may not won’t work in extreme climates. While not a problem for most people, it’s a deal-breaker for those in the right places. It would also be nice if they had app functionality alongside the remote control.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Most customers felt it was the ideal option for tall, massive windows. Not only because of the design, speed, and safety tether but also because it returns to where it started when done.

This means you don’t have to worry about it finishing up in an inaccessible location.

Customers appreciated the 30-day return policy, something that’s increasingly rare. Others noted how maintenance is straightforward, just requiring a wipe down after use.

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Your Comprehensive Guide To Window Cleaning Robots

Just How Well Do Automated Window Robots Work

The Magic of Winbots

Many people are amazed when they see their first window cleaning robot, often known simply as a Winbot. It seems like something straight out of science fiction, a large robot magically floating across the glass.

Robot cleans window.
Robot magically floating across the glass.

Despite their quite magical aura, the science behind how they work is pretty straightforward. These machines are held up one of two ways, either a powerful vacuum creates enough suction to hold the robot to the glass, or a specialized magnet is placed on the opposite side of the glass.

Magnets vs. Suction

While there is the occasional device that utilizes a hybrid of these, for the most part, it’s one or the other. Magnets were far more common than suction-based tech in the early days of Winbots. However, as the efficiency of motors and vacuums has improved, the magnetic connection is becoming less used.

Despite this, one major advantage of magnetic-based models is that you never have to worry about your machine falling due to a loss of suction or disconnecting from the power. That said, a significant reason why they’re becoming less popular is that attaching a magnet on the other side of the glass isn’t always a viable option, making them far less versatile.

Suction-based cleaner concept.

Suction-based cleaners are growing much more common in the last couple of years. It’s not hard to understand why when you see just how powerful this technology has become. They can be used virtually anywhere, with many models even boasting the ability to work on skylights. This does mean that some are quite a bit louder than their magnetic counterparts. However, high-end devices do a fantastic job of mitigating the noise level. Another potential downside is the need to attach a safety rope to ensure no accidents. While for many, this isn’t much of an issue, it’s a definite downside compared to magnetic robots.

These days the vast majority of high-quality window cleaning robots use suction over magnets. Despite the downsides, they tend to be relatively faster moving, leave fewer streaks, and work on a wider variety of surfaces.

Although you should always check the specifications of your specific device before using it on an uneven surface. Additionally, as backup battery technology improves, it has dramatically reduced the risk of vacuum robots falling.

How They Work

Microfiber pads and tracks on the underside of winbot.

Regardless of how they’re attached to the glass, the robots travel using a set of wheels or tracks. Other types of Winbots may move in a circular motion via the spinning of dual microfiber pads. Window cleaning robots are always equipped with microfiber pads to efficiently clean the glass without leaving any streaks.

While higher-end models will sport more advanced features, such as automated sprayers and advanced route planning, all window cleaning robots function by the set of principles. For the most part, how well they work depends on how well you do your research and follow the guidelines when using it.

So if you’ve decided to buy an automated window cleaner, let’s break down the most important things to keep your eyes on!

What Makes A High-Quality Window Robot

What makes a given window cleaning robot good or bad will be greatly dependent on what your needs are. Before making any purchases, you have to ask yourself what sort of windows need to be cleaned, how many there are, and how often they need to be done.

As you can imagine, these answers are going to vary significantly between the average homeowner and a small business owner, for example. As such, what would be considered a good robot for one person may not nearly do the needed job for someone else. Very few window cleaning robots can realistically do it all.

Size, Shape, and Weight

Window cleaning robots of various shapes.

The dimensions of your potential winbot is always an excellent place to start. Its size is going to directly dictate the windows it can clean. If you need a lot of small windows cleaned, it doesn’t make nearly as much sense to get a giant robot as it does for someone with massive windows all around their house.

Instead, those people should opt for a smaller device that can get their needed job done right. The shape of your robot is also critical. For instance, dual spinning models cannot get into corners effectively but are fantastic for circular windows.

Weight is an often overlooked part of the dimensions. After all, if it’s being sold, the suction created can handle the weight. However, if you live in an older house with thin glass, the glass might not! While many newer models don’t have this drawback, it’s always better to check the specifications for a minimum glass thickness before making a huge mistake.

Quality of the Motor

The motor is likely the most impactful part of any automated window cleaner. Not only does the quality directly determine the suction power, but also the speed of movement, and even how loud it is. More suction power and speed are always preferable, especially for those worried about it falling or for those with a lot of windows to clean on a regular basis.

Top-quality machines are capable of providing incredible suction while remaining relatively quiet. That said, mid-tier robots tend to be much louder, which is only a problem if you plan on using it while relaxing.

Attention To Safety

Rope is the mandatory safety accessory.

A window cleaning robot of any level is a hefty investment, which makes the focus on safety all the more critical. As such, most users appreciate brands that implement extra features. For example, the majority of vacuum powered cleaning robots now have a backup battery used to keep the machine attached if the power somehow becomes disconnected.

An often overlooked safety feature is the indicators used to alert people of issues. While the majority of devices still rely on simple beeping and LEDs, some newer models have begun using voice alerts to relay important information. This significantly reduces the chances of a critical failure. Just think of how many times you zoned out and didn’t notice something beeping!

AI Technology

The AI used in any robot window cleaner impacts how well it cleans. Simpler machines will use random routes that, with enough time, clean everything. Most advanced models now use AI-powered routes that use a set of sensors and circuitry to track where it’s been and where it needs to go next. The cutting edge models have begun to build on this AI, crafting multi-step cleaning processes for leaving a sparkling finish. The bottom line is, the better the tech powering your robot, the happier you’ll be with how it works.

Cleaning pattern of the Winbot.
More advanced models clean windows in patterns.

Advanced Features

There’s been a ton of innovation in the window cleaning robot market over the last couple of years. One of the new features becoming increasingly requested is automated sprayers. Instead of needing to pre-spray each window as you go, these robots ensure the right distribution every time. Similarly, apps have become commonplace, offering a greater sense of control over the process.

Other Things To Consider

  • Power cable length – You should always keep in mind how long the cable is and where you’re going to be using it most. Be sure to consider where the outlets are, and if you’re going to want or need an extension cable.
  • Replacement pad costs – While most of the microfiber pads sold with automated window cleaners are machine washable, they won’t last forever. You should compare the price of different brands if you’re stuck between a couple of options. Either way, to extend the life of your pads, wash them after each use.

FAQ

How Useful Are Winbots?

How useful a window cleaning robot is, really comes down to why you need it. For example, any small business with lots of large windows should seriously consider the investment. It’s a small expense to ensure their business is always giving off the best impression possible, without wasting workers time.

By the same token, any homeowner who has a lot of large or inaccessible windows who want them to be clean would also find a cleaning robot to be quite helpful. However, if you only have a few small, reachable windows to do at your house. It may not be an essential purchase.

Winbot at work.
Should I Get One?

As mentioned above, we believe two primary groups of people should strongly consider buying an automated window cleaner:

  • Business owners will get a ton of use out of these incredible devices, helping ensure their reputation is as sparkling as their glass.
  • Homeowners with large windows and a desire to keep things clean will also get a lot of value from their little robot friend.

What’s The Best Window Washer?

While what’s the “best” window washing robot truly depends on your needs, you can’t go wrong getting the Hobot 298. With an incredibly powerful, yet quiet motor, advanced AI, and all the most innovative features around, it’s hard to argue the Hobot 298 is currently the very best window washer you can get.

How Do You Operate One?

The vast majority of these machines are straightforward to set up and use. After reading the manual for any crucial tips and tricks, connect the power and safety cables. Make sure the microfiber pad is adequately attached, pre-spray the window if necessary, hold the bot to your glass, and press power.

From there, many models will run automatically, or you can alter its settings via the remote control or Bluetooth enabled app. The robot will alert you when it’s finished its cycle with a clear indicator, letting you know it’s time to move it to the next location.

What’s The Maintenance Like?

Window cleaning robots may seem very complicated, but properly caring for them doesn’t have to be. Simply follow these simple tips, and you’ll significantly increase the life of your robot and pads:

Wiping the winbot after use.
  • Make sure to wipe down the various parts of your robot after each use.
  • Most winbots won’t work particularly well in extreme temperatures. Always consult the manual if you’re concerned it may be too cold or humid.
  • If you want to keep your microfiber pads fresher for longer, make sure you wash and dry them after every use.
  • Run your cleaning robot once a week to prevent buildup that could cause more wear and tear.

Additional Uses?

Lots of people ask if you can use your winbot for other types of surfaces, such as mirrors, shower-door glass, and even floors. The short answer is, yes. Most winbots are well-equipped to handle each of these tasks, but it’s important to check your manual before doing anything. As for cleaning the floor, it’s definitely possible. That said, it’s worth noting they often don’t work nearly as well as robots designed for automatic wet floor cleaning.

Conclusions

While automatic window washers may not be for everyone, they certainly have a ton of value for some. For them, these robots have been a game-changer. It’s incredible to live in a world where automated machinery has solved so many of our daily problems. From business owners who can improve their appearance while saving manpower to the homeowner who values a tidy appearance, window cleaning robots have been an excellent purchase for many.

Have you ever used a robotic window cleaner? Do you think you would get a lot of value out of getting one? What’s the most important feature you’d like to see in a window cleaning robot? Please leave us a comment below and let us know!

Author
Stephen A. Hancock received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Robotics Track) from University of Utah in 2004. Since then, he’s contributed to numerous articles and has been a consultant for many technical publications and websites.
image description Comments
Casey Nicole Warf
August 30, 2020 at 2:58 am

Our new home has large A frame living room with lots of tall windows. The windows are flat however the tops of those windows are angled. Will any of these winbots work?

Lauree
September 11, 2020 at 10:05 pm

I have the same type of home and am looking to purchase a window cleaner. Which works best for timber house A-frame windows?

Rebecca Demjen
July 20, 2020 at 11:14 pm

I have lots of windows! Perhaps 50% of the 30 are only 35cm x 130cm. Which robot is reccommended for smaller windows? As I have reading, many are only suitable for 50cm. The Hobot 298 is first on my list! Thank you, Rebecca

Lothar Zell
June 4, 2020 at 8:50 pm

I would love to find a robotic window cleaner who can clean my sliding patio doors including the lightly curved top section.

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
June 6, 2020 at 6:23 pm

Hello Lothar, that’s a great question. While most window cleaners only operate on flat windows, top quality models such as the HOBOT 298 are graded to work on slightly curved windows. That said, it still needs to be no more than 2-3mm RA.

Michael
May 14, 2020 at 10:20 am

Good day. Please let me know if the above product can clean outside windows on commercial buildings. 2. If so, please let me know the distant. I would like clean commercial building windows inside and outside. Regards

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
May 18, 2020 at 8:01 am

Hello Michael! All of the robots listed can clean both inside and outside windows on commercial buildings. That said, they typically only work as long as their power cables will allow, as many don’t work with standard extension cords. May we suggest the HOBOT-298. Not only does it have a long 15ft cable, but the massive 10×10 cleaning pad allows it to clean large windows rapidly. Thanks for the question!

Khargra
May 6, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Very useful review and definitely helped my decision. One final thing can all these products be used across different surfaces, like marble walls and shower cubicles. I understand that they are limited to vertical movement but keen to know performance across different surfaces besides window. Which may just justify the price of some.

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