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4 robotic cleaners take to the floor

Robotic vacuums and hard-floor scrubbers underfoot at CES 2014

Published: January 13, 2014 04:45 PM

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Robots were buzzing all over the 2014 International CES, especially in the diminutive form of robotic vacuums, new hard-floor scrubbers, and models that can handle both tasks. All work similarly in that they run on battery power, do their jobs, and return to the charger when almost out of power. Here’s a roundup of models we saw:


iRobot Scooba 450
As the Roomba 760 we tested is intended for carpets and bare floors, the iRobot Scooba 450 (above) dives into hard floors—specifically ones with stains you’d otherwise handle with a wet mop. It holds iRobot Scooba Hard Floor Cleaner in an internal tank. Its software is nearly the same as for the Roomba line, and the underside sports a revolving brush and a squeegee. The $599 price includes a 4-ounce bottle of cleaner that’s good for eight uses. A 16-ounce bottle, available at the iRobot store now and later elsewhere, costs $12.99 and is good for 32 uses.

The Ecovacs Deebot D93.

Ecovacs Deebot D93
The Ecovacs Deebot D93 is the only app-controllable robotic vacuum of the bunch. It can pick up dust (no scrubbing) from carpets or bare floors and comes with a washable dry pad for bare floors. The smart phone app (on the iPad in photo), for iOS or Android devices, lets you see how and where the unit is cleaning. Slated for a September launch, the Deebot D93 is expected to be sold at Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon.com. The pricing is three-level. For $499, you get no Wi-Fi for connection with the app. Wi-fi costs an additional $100. And for $799, the charger that comes with all versions includes an extra component that will empty the Deebot’s bin. The same component can detach for use as a corded hand vac with a case of tools.

The Moneual Rydis H68 Pro.

Moneual Rydis H68 Pro
This robotic cleaner can do it all—carpets and wet or dry bare floors. It can vacuum your carpet only, turning around when it senses bare floor. But in hybrid mode it will adjust to do either as it goes along. The Rydis H68 Pro comes with disposable wet or dry pads, but there’s also a spacious mop pad that’s machine-washable. Unlike the iRobot Scooba’s tank, this one holds water or your floor-cleaning product of choice. The machine can do back-and-forth sweeps or a curlicue pattern. It should be available by April and is expected to cost $499 at Best Buy, Sears, HomeDepot.com, Amazon.com, and other sellers. Another product, the $199 Moneual Robospin, has no vacuum and is intended for bare floors only. There’s no tank, but you can wet the two pads it uses at a time. It should ship by year’s end.

The Neato XV Essential.

Neato XV Essential
This latest robotic vacuum is a lower-cost offering than the $400 Neato XV-21 we recently tested but is also intended for dry floors, whether carpeted or not. It uses the same software for guidance as the company’s other models. What you give up for the lesser price is the pleated filter (the Essential’s is flat) and the second, “combo” brush, which includes bristles for carpet. The new model’s rubber blade brush seems better suited for debris on hard floors. It’s expected to sell for about $379 by the end of March, initially at Walmart.com alone.

Thinking for a new vacuum? Be sure to read our buying guide for vacuums, including robotic models, before seeing our Ratings.

—Ed Perratore

   

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