Ever since they invented glass windows, they and dirt have been besties. You don’t know how dirty until you clean them. Enter the Hobot 2S robot window washer. Where have you been all my life?
The Hobot 2S robot window washer is the latest thing in window cleaning. My immediate thought was what sort of witchcraft is a machine that can clean my windows by ‘sucking’ itself onto a window.
Before we get to the review, let’s segue (an uninterrupted transition from one thought to another). In April 2021, GadgetGuy’s Managing Editor reviewed our first robot window washer – the Hobot 388. To do that, we spent quite a lot of time researching what people expected of a Winbot. We developed a comprehensive guide to the same.
We identified two main types
Square style (Hobot 298 and now the 2S) with a microfibre pad that ‘drags’ over the glass (not unlike a flat plate-style robomop).
Round rotating style (Hobot 388) has two microfibre pads that rotate in counter directions (not unlike a dual-head robomop).
I strongly suggest you read the guide first to see if a Winbot can help you. It turns out that both types have advantages for different environments and use scenarios. We will add our experiences with the Hobot 2S to the guide.
Robot My Life is an Australian company based in Victoria with terrific after-sales service and extensive product knowledge
$580, but you can get it now at $499 from Robot My Life
1-year ACL from Robot My Life and its authorised distributors
Hobot (Est 2010) is a Taiwanese company focused on home robot development. It holds patents for the Hobot and several innovations. Designed and made in Taiwan.
You can read more GadgetGuy Hobot news and reviews here
To set the scene, I have upstairs ‘double hung’ windows 9 metres above the ground. Until now, I cleaned with a mix of back-breaking work and variable results with a squeegee on a 15-metre pole. As they are double-hung, it is easy to place the Hobot on the outside of the panes.
This is a square style Winbot. Its USP (unique selling proposition) over the earlier model Hobot 298 is left and right side ultrasonic sprays to clean in each horizontal direction. It also has later AI tech and a sometimes annoying voice prompt that tells you to tie the safety rope and clear space below where it is working – every time you move to a new window (yes, you can turn it off or replace it with any voice).
Otherwise, it shares many familial characteristics like the same safety rope, charger, Bluetooth app, remote control and build quality as the earlier model.
It also came with two different bottles of cleaner – the blue liquid from Hobot and a clear liquid from Robot My Life. More on that later.
Initial results – my 9 metre high windows are now sparkling clean
My wife was so impressed with the initial test results that she asked me to do every window in the house. Grumble under breath – “Yes, dear”. So begins the epic window cleaning journey with ‘Windy’.
Windy does a sterling job cleaning each of my windows. No streaks, no death dives, nadda. But there are a couple of tricks you need to know.
First, do a ‘dry’ run to remove dust that could streak when the cleaning spray is applied. If you use Windy regularly, you may be able to subsequently skip that step – let the final result be your guide.
Second, don’t leave it unattended. When the robot finishes each window, it emits a tone and stops moving. At which time you move it to the next window. I made the mistake of doing other work, so it often sat on the window until I remembered to check. I think that tone needs to be more like a siren!
You can control the Hobot 2S in three ways
Via Bluetooth to an iOS or Android smartphone app. The only real value this adds is to alert you when ‘Windy’ has finished a pane of glass and needs moving. You do need the app occasionally for firmware updates.
The remote control is more convenient as it can initiate cleans, change directions, spot clean, turn off the spray or spray extra cleaner.
Or there is a single start/pause button on the unit that remembers previous settings.
It runs off a DC plug pack with about a 5m reach. It also has a battery to ensure about 20 minutes of power/vacuum if the power goes down.
Make sure you have a 240V power point within reach. The unit is ‘balanced’ to lift the thin safety and DC cables – not a heavy extension cable.
It has a 4.5m safety rope. While it did not take a death dive, please tie it off if working from upper windows.
By default, it rises crablike to the top of the glass pane and then executes a right/left/down one/repeat cleaning pattern followed by an up/down polishing pattern. It is very logical and effectively covers the surface twice.
The dual 15um sprays – more of a fine mist – are for the left/right horizontal movement. They do not spray during the vertical polish. I also found it best to use Windy when there is little or no wind as the mist can be blown away rather than wetting the window.
It comes with three 24 x 24cm washable, reusable cleaning pads (three-pack is $19) that should last for years. But we estimate that each pad needs to be changed about every 15-20m2, so buy a couple of extra packs.
Don’t reuse a dry wipe pad for a wet wipe – it is already dirty. The pads cover right up to the edges.
Hobot claims it cleans at the rate of 1m2 per 2.4 minutes (80 seconds). It actually takes twice as long, but the claim is correct as it needs to do two passes (see cleaning pattern above).
At the end of a clean, the robot returns to its original placement. It then sends a notice via the app as well as a verbal prompt.
You know it is there. We measured 60dB at 1 metre.
The blue is more for a polish, and clear is more for grime cutting. The twin tanks hold about 30ml each and are good for at least 30m2. The vacuum applies the equivalent of 6.5kg downwards force on the glass pane, so it works on all but very thin glass.
Fluid costs $55 for a five-pack of 250ml blue or clear. Use it undiluted or just use water.
We were able to test Windy on larger mirrored cupboards. It performed flawlessly, removing fingerprints and dust. You only need one ‘wet’ pass on these.
We tried on ceramic floor tiles, but the spray was insufficient to wet them properly. However, we sprayed a water mist, and the next round of cleaning was superb.
Hobot provides two replacement ultrasonic spray units and some male Velcro strips should these wear on the base. You don’t have to empty the spray reservoir if you store it flat.
Primarily for city/suburban environments (uses caterpillar tracks for movement). Not for coastal environments or rough or pitted glass (the rotary Hobot 388 handles that best).
It is going to take longer than doing it manually – use the extra time to clean window sills, frames, tracks and flyscreens
Keep your eye on it to minimise move wait times
You must remove flyscreens and check for obstructions like door or windows handles
We did not test on angled glass, but it should handle a few degrees off vertical
The Hobot 2S is a no-brainer to save on effort and produce sparkling windows, especially if you have large or high windows. In fairness, I will probably still do my low windows by hand but no more hanging out of windows or back-breaking extension poles for me.
It’s the second Winbot, so we have a good baseline. It met or exceeded all our test paradigms.
Hobot 2S robot window washer
The Hobot 2S robot window washer is the latest thing in window cleaning. It is so good I have to ask where has it been all my life?
Value for money
Ease of use
Hobot 2S cleans best on relatively good condition glass
Low running cost
Voice prompts, an app and a remote control
Can access hard to reach glass (assuming you have some access to each pane)
It does the hard work for you - probably better as it wants to clean!
It will take longer than manual cleaning
Not for coastal environments – the rotary Hobot 388 is better here