Price (RRP): $1199
The LG A9 Ultimate with Power Drive Mop head builds on the hugely successful LG A9 series of cordless handstick vacuum cleaners introduced last year.
Now before you say I like vacuuming and mopping (I do not), the LG A9 Ultimate with Power Drive Mop head actually removes a lot of the drudgery from floor cleaning.
I know you are sniggering at that statement (or as a Yank might say pshaw Shaw), but it is true. The clever industrial design and functionality of two devices – well three or four – in one coupled with dual swappable batteries
The concept is simple. Add a Power Drive Mop head to the LG A9 series and charge a couple of hundred dollars more! I wish they sold it separately as it works on existing A9 vacuums – LG take note!
The Power Mop head comes with the LG A9 Ultimate
Before we get into the Power Drive Mop head review, the A9 series (review here) is the only cordless handstick vacuum cleaner to give Dyson’s V10 and V11 a thorough run for its money. Both brands are well made, very good at sucking, and have a great complement of accessories.
But LG has the advantage of dual swappable fast charge batteries (on some models) that can make it more flexible than a dead Dyson (that takes 5 hours to recharge).
Does the Power Drive Mop head work?
Of course, it works. More importantly, how does it clean various surfaces?
Our test area is 50m2 hard (Bamboo) timber flooring and 20m2 of large ceramic tiles. Neither had seen a mop for some time (my wife and I hate mopping) nor a vacuum for at least two weeks, so there was a reasonable amount of dust and detritus on the floor.
In direct sunlight, we could see all manner of scuffs, dried liquid stains and water/liquid/food splashes around the dishwasher etc. Plus living beside the sea means a fine salt scum leaves the floors a little sticky to bare feet.
No, we are not grubs, but we prefer to live a good life with cursory cleaning that the LG A9 and its fluffy hard floor Power Drive head allows – and perhaps a serious quarterly or half-yearly spring/autumn mopping/cleaning.
So, with the scene set and two batteries fully charged we put the LG A9 Ultimate with Power Drive Mop through its paces.
A little segue. When I was a kid, my dad had a retail shop with a vinyl tiled floor. Every night he (or mum) would run the polisher over it. When I was old enough, it was my ‘job’, and I discovered the joys of rotary polishing. Or rather the pitfalls!
All the rotary polished did was mix a spray of polish with the dust already there. That was fine for a while giving the tiles a nice sheen, but every so often you needed to strip back the ‘grime’ to reveal the true floor colours – no matter how glossy it was you could not eat your dinner off it.
The LG Power Mop Head adds a much-needed vacuum cleaner to that process. The front of the head sucks up dust and debris and the back of the head mops or polishes. Its vacuum function is not as efficient as using a Hard floor Power Drive, but it suffices. We only had the unit to test over Easter so, if we had it longer, we might have vacuumed/mopped on alternate weeks.
It comes with two types of round pads. For want of better words one is soft with frilly edges (let’s call that the standard) and one is slightly smaller and harder without frilly edges (let’s call that scrubby).
- Wet a matching pair, wring out excess water, place/centre on the Velcro mop head rotating disks
- Detach the water container and fill with water – it takes 200ml and appears quite drip proof. BTW – 200 ml last for probably 500+m2.
- Reattach to the mop head
- Attach to the A9 handstick
- Set it for either a 6-or-8-second delay spray (to be clear this adjusts the water volume – 6 seconds is more) or turn it off for a light polish only.
- Adjust the A9 vacuum pipe so for comfort to avoid stooping
- Press power on et voila!
Like a bull in a china shop, I was away. Water on 8 seconds (the least amount as I wanted to be cautious on timber floors) and the standard pads.
In no time flat, I had done the 50m2 timber and the 20m2 tiles and was ready to write up the review. Except that under my wife’s critical eye – closer inspection – I had not achieved the nirvana I was expecting.
Before you say it does not work – it is not LG, it is me!
What I learnt was
- The pads get grimy quickly – and in my case, like dad’s old rotary polisher, once they are dirty, all they do is swirl dirty water.
- You need to rinse the pads probably about every 10-15m2 to stop spreading grime – less as your floors get and stay cleaner
- The standard pads are fine for light work, but the scrubby ones really are better for grimy floors
Using the scrubby pads, water on 6 seconds and rinsing pads every 10-15m2 I eliminated the grime spreading and started to get a truer mop. The scrubby pads, however, are smaller and don’t abut, so it leaves a small centre channel that you need to be careful to clean.
I also found that despite the scrubby pads counter-rotation there was a reasonable torque steer that tries to move the head forward.
And I needed the turbo power on the mid or high setting chewing up battery life prodigiously. I used two batteries for this test!
On closer inspection, I again failed to achieve perfect Johnson Wax floors!
What I learnt was
- You need to polish backwards! With vacuuming, you walk forwards vacuuming in front of you. If you do that with mopping, you track footprints over your pristine work.
- And that it did not remove stubborn scuffs or dried-on food stains.
So, after recharging the two batteries (you can do two at a time – one in the vacuum and one in the stand – allow a couple of hours)…
By then it was evening, and we realised that in the dimmer light we could not see the difference it may make. So, we waited until morning with the beautiful sunshine filling the room. We could see every scuff, food stain and circular grime redistribution pattern from our previous efforts.
First, we prepared the floor using a DishMatic scour pad on a handle and some dishwashing liquid to get rid of the stubborn scuffs. We left some water/food spills to see how effective the scrubby head would be.
Polishing backwards we achieved a pretty good result focusing on two things.
First, where we knew there were dried/stains/splashes, we applied a little extra time and elbow grease to the mop head, and it did remove them.
Second, we took our time and two batteries to methodically clean, completely covering the floor area.
Some extra advice
Battery life on medium power is about 15-20 minutes. That will do 50-70m2 hard floor. If you need maximum settings, it will do half the area. This is by no means an issue – the Power Mop head takes more time to do a good job than the standard powerheads.
The dry polish function is a little better than the hard floor ‘fluffy’ powerhead, but the latter is very convenient.
Comfort wise the torque ‘steering’ does require you use a little extra force to make sure you cover the entire floor – especially with the scrubby pads. It was not exhausting but not as easy as just vacuuming. The Power Mop head adds about 700g to the overall weight.
And do it when you have enough light in the room to see scuffs and when the pads start to leave swirly marks – it is time to rinse.
GadgetGuy’s take – LG A9 Ultimate with Power Drive Mop cleans up
It works with the common-sense caveats above. It is well made and is a useful addition to the LG A9 vacuum system.
I hope LG offer it as a spare part for A9 existing A9 owners.
Would I buy one?
Given that mopping is a real chore – is the Pope a Catholic?
A real mop takes effort and time to mop, rinse, squeeze, repeat, and it does not vacuum at the same time. And after a mop, you usually need to polish to get the best result.
Once you get your hard floors in order, it may add 15 minutes or so every other week, but you will have squeaky clean, rather than just vacuumed floors.
Given its robust design, we wonder if we could not use a very small quantity of dish liquid to help cut grease – our test time was too short do that but if you buy it to see if it helps.