Ecovacs are going above and beyond robot vacuums with the Australian release of its new robotic window cleaner, the Winbot W1 Pro. While I have to say I’m not a fan of cleaning in general (who is?!), there is one particular task I look at with venom when the time arises, and that’s cleaning my windows.
The Winbot W1 Pro was introduced after Ecovacs surveyed its customers and found that 53% of Australians spent more time on household chores than they’d like. Unsurprisingly, robot vacuums have contributed greatly in terms of reducing the mental load the average person dedicates towards cleaning, but little has been done in regards to other household chores. (If someone could create a device that will scrub my bathtub for me, I would be most grateful.)
As a result, the Winbot W1 Pro was designed to let its owners “sit back, relax and enjoy the view”. To get the job done, the Ecovacs Winbot features a suctioning power of 2,800Pa, dual direction cross auto-spray, edge detection, a user-friendly app and some built-in safety features to ensure you get those windows squeaky clean.
My windows have never looked better
The Ecovacs Winbot W1 Pro is a square-shaped unit with a faux leather handle located in the centre of its exterior and comes with two detachable microfibre mopping pads. It features a long cord, as well as a safety carabiner that you can secure to a nearby railing to protect it against accidental falls. The box itself also comes with Ecovacs’ window cleaning solution and a measuring cup.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to use it. Once you’ve downloaded the app and created your account, you simply fill the Winbot with water and a proportional amount of cleaning solution before pressing it to your window and turning it on either manually or in-app.
So, how did it go? As someone who stands at about 160cm tall, reaching the higher up corners of my windows is a literal stretch. But, the Winbot W1 Pro takes all the hard work out of window cleaning.
The Winbot W1 Pro uses its 2,800Pa suction to keep itself firmly locked onto the glass. This suctioning power is almost equivalent to a few of Ecovacs’ own robot vacuums. Keep in mind that due to the suctioning, it can be just as loud as any other vacuum cleaner. It then uses its path planning technology to find its bearings, before moving in a systematic cleaning pattern, moving left to right from top to bottom.
You do have the option to choose between three modes: fast, deep or spot clean. Since my windows were quite dirty (I totally did that on purpose for this review), I started with a deep clean to see just how much of the dirt build-up it could remove. The Winbot left me pleasantly surprised, spritzing a tiny bit of its water and erasing any trace of dirt in one swipe. The effect was spotless – I was gobsmacked.
As it finished its path – ultimately it took about five minutes to do a deep clean of my seven foot tall balcony windows – I found that it was able to replicate the same results across my windows, inside and out.
However, given the state that my windows were in, I noticed that when the Winbot finished it left a small imprint of dirty water residue. After examining the cleaning pads, they had managed to absorb a lot of disgusting dirt from the windows, so I had to switch the mopping pad to give it another pass.
While observing the way the Winbot navigates around edges, it does bump into the edges of the window pane to find its way around. However, it doesn’t give as tight of a clean to the edges of the window because it prioritises collision avoidance over hovering for a few extra seconds to get into those tight spots. This may mean you’ll have to take care of the edges yourself if you want it 100% flawlessly clean, but for the most part, it’s very efficient.
With that said, the Winbot does a wonderful job at avoiding any obstacles alongside the edges. For instance, the glass on my internal windows have these little tags around the frame, so the Winbot simply gets as close as it can manage then navigates away from it. A solid tick for obstacle avoidance.
The addition of some side brushes that could also scrub at your window pane as it works would really elevate the efficiency of the Winbot. I know for certain that the edges of my windows could use a little extra love in that department, so it would be great to see Ecovacs implement something like this in future designs.
Unfortunately, it’s not compatible with all forms of windows, or rather glass for that matter. In some houses, glass windows can wrap around corners, but the Winbot will immediately shut down in a panic if it senses any emptiness ahead. This doesn’t bode well for any of you hoping it could also clean your shower glass. I gave it a red hot go and I’m here to tell you now – don’t bother.
Some teething points
Naturally, there are a few areas it could improve on. For starters, you can’t tell whether its water tank is empty simply by eyeballing it, which is quite frustrating since it’ll run out halfway through a cleaning cycle and you’ll have to stop it in the middle of doing its thing. It also needs to be plugged in constantly, so if your windows are far away from a power point, you’ll need to get an extension cord.
In addition, while the process of cleaning your window is essentially hands-free, you do need to linger and wait for it to complete its process. While I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a bad thing (and neither is the act of moving it from the inside of the glass to the outside), it pays to be on standby in case it does run out of water or runs into an error.
Should you buy the Ecovacs Winbot W1 Pro robot window cleaner?
Here’s the thing. I believe that a lot of people would benefit from the Ecovacs Winbot W1 Pro. On the one hand, it’s efficient, easy-to-use and damn good at its job. On the other hand, it is an expensive piece of tech that not many could justify. While I’ll sing its praises to everyone I know, I also understand that many won’t be able to afford this robot window cleaner.
Those who live in properties with very tall windows will get more bang for their buck. Cleaning large windows is no easy task and one that can be a little dangerous when atop a precarious ladder. It may also be of benefit to those with mobility issues that need extra help maintaining their home.
I do feel that a slightly smaller robot window cleaner at a lower price might hold some sway, especially for those who really can’t stand cleaning windows, but don’t need any of such a great scale. But if you do decide to drop the $799 on the Ecovacs Winbot, you truly won’t regret it.
Where to buy
The article has been updated since its first publication.