We looked at 7 factors that will likely influence which robot vacuum you decide to invest in. These areas were Cleaning Ability, Objective Avoidance, Features, Charging/Battery Life, Aesthetics and Price. Each category is scored individually, with the final score reflecting the average of each of the 7 categories.
The bObsweep Pethair bills itself as both a vacuum designed for pet hair, and one that has the capability to mop. As for the mopping function: don’t bother. We find that the mopping function is little better than a Swiffer wet mop (and in most cases, not even nearly as good). Many users have found this to be the case as well. The primary problem with the wet mop is that it does not stay wet long enough to be effective, and it does not apply any pressure. It simply glides along the ground, picking up perhaps any excess dirt. It will not replace all of your mopping needs, so you may not want to rest your hopes in that feature.
The actual cleaning ability of the bObsweep Pethair is mixed at best. Positively, the device does indeed do what it says it will on that end. It cleans up hair and dirt rather nicely, although you will need to clean any longer strands of hair out of the brush regularly. Otherwise, the brush will lock up. The side brush is useful, and attaches well with a screw. It helps reach further than the device’s normal reach, but ultimately the device is limited. The bObsweep pethair will not be able to get close to corners or walls, so these areas will remain untouched.
The device does have a fairly long brush that extends almost the entire diameter. Combine this with the oversized, 1 liter dustbin (that is extremely easy to remove and replace), and you’ll find that it certainly cleans dust and dirt better than even some more expensive robot vacuums. However, it is hard to get around one glaring problem: The cliff sensor. No, your device will not go careening off the edge. However, the cliff sensor will misread dark spots on the floor as an edge. This will result in the device not vacuuming dark carpets, rugs or floors. This is mitigated by using the included blinders which cover the sensors. You can of course see how this might be a mitigation that comes with its own risks. A blind bObsweep is prone to falling down stairs.
The fact that this robot has a rather strong motor (7500 RPMs) and a nifty U.V. light for cleaning bacteria and viruses helps save its rating a bit. But really, to achieve more than just a low score, a robot vacuum has a lot of hurdles to jump. The bObsweep simply doesn’t jump enough of them.
Object avoidance is always a touchy subject for robot vacuums. Almost all robot vacuums are not smart enough to avoid things like rug tassels, small cords and small toys. Some, however, do have the capability of auto-stopping when they’re sucking in something that they shouldn’t. The bObsweep does not appear to have this capability, which certainly hurts its functionality. If it sucks in a loose end of a tablecloth, you can believe it will keep on going, likely pulling everything off the table in the process. This does speak well of its suction power, but negatively of its safety features.
The bObsweep also does not do so wonderfully when it comes to chairs. It will get stuck between the legs, which means it will either keep trying until it does, or until you navigate it out of its sticky situation. It will emit an error message in case it gets stuck. However, if you have it on an automated schedule, you can expect to find a dead, stuck bObsweep when you get home.
The inability to distinguish between dark areas on the floor and cliff edges is perhaps the biggest point of concern. This counts against the bObsweep in both the object avoidance category and the cleaning ability. It should not be avoiding objects that aren’t actually areas of concern. These issues result in a rather low score for the device on this end.
The bObsweep is somewhat limited on features. The U.V. light is extremely interesting, although the jury is out on how effective it is at actually killing bacteria and viruses. The device does come with an air intake that helps clear the air through its 3-layered HEPA filter, which does add a positive benefit for its features.
Perhaps the most interesting (and fun) aspect of the bObsweep Pethair is the remote. While its look and size are a bit ungainly, the bObsweep is one of the few robot vacs out there that is not 100% automatic. If you so choose, you can treat the bObsweep like a radio controlled toy, moving it around wherever you want it to go. This could certainly help with some of its object avoidance and cleaning issues. However, the device is ultimately low on features. While there are different cleaning profiles and settings, these are not the most intuitive to set. And unfortunately, bObsweep may be futuristic mechanically, but its controls are very 1990s.
The bObsweep Pethair is a cheap robot vacuum cleaner. Nowhere is this more evident than in the battery. Batteries can be one of the most expensive pieces of any device. This one certainly cheaps it out perhaps a bit too much. The lithium-ion battery only runs for 1 hour and 15 minutes. This is 45 minutes less than many competitors. Couple this with extremely long charging times, and you can expect that you won’t be doing a lot of regular cleaning with this device. Other robot vacuum companies place separate warranties on the device and the battery. Not so for bObsweep. You can certainly purchase a spare battery from the company, but it won’t help with the long charging times. The overly-powerful motor comes at a cost, and that cost is longevity.
Unfortunately, the bObsweep also has a habit of not returning to its charging port. The ability to return automatically to the charging station is standard among robot vacuums. If this ability fails, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth of any consumer. The bObsweep has a nasty habit of not finding its charging station, or leaving too little time to return to it. A fully dead battery takes even longer to charge, and may need to be charged via the secondary port on the side, and not the charging station.
This device looks both good and bad. Aesthetically, it’s very appealing. The red color gives it an appealing look, and the circular design has the right, futuristic appeal that made the Roomba so popular. However, up close, the device shows its limitations. Its light weight (only 7.7 lbs) is a result of rather cheap materials used on the outer casing. And while you certainly don’t want a device that’s overly heavy, cheap materials certainly mean disaster for a device that needs blinders to get over dark floors.
The accessory situation from bObsweep is one of the most impressive you will see. The company’s online store offers almost everything imaginable. The only thing you can’t buy from them is a motherboard to run the thing. But purchase your own arduino board, and you could easily build your own Bobsweep if you wanted to. The company sells replacement parts for every major component, inside and out. It’s hard not to admire them for that, and impossible to not give them the best possible score on that end as well.
The term “you get what you pay for” applies to the bObsweep. As one of the cheapest robot vacuums on the market, you do indeed get what you pay for. However, its price is just high enough to where you’ll get a workable product, just not the best product you could possibly get. But if you want better, you’re going to have to spend no less than $100 more, which for many consumers may be a bit too much of an asking price. The bObsweep is a good bet for those who are interested in getting in on the robot vacuum craze, without having to spend an arm and a leg to do it.
As far as robot vacuums go, the bObsweep Pethair is neither the best, nor the worst device you can buy. It certainly does come with a few noticeable advantages, most namely the lower price. However, the unique features on this device could also be a significant draw for some people. It’s rare to see a device that takes cleaning so seriously, as is evidenced by the U.V. light for killing bacteria and viruses, and the HEPA filtration system for cleaning the air. And few devices provide a remote control that actually lets you have fun with your device by taking full control of its movements. Most will only allow you to watch in awe, and sometimes shock, as they suck up your power cords and get stuck between chair legs.
The fact that the battery life is so poor, however, is hard to overcome. This alone makes the bObsweep Pethair feel like it’s still stuck in the first generation of robot vacuums. And perhaps it is. Nevertheless, it’s 2016, and the first robot vacuum emerged in 2002 with the Roomba. We can excuse bObsweep a little on this, however. It is clear that this device was made for the masses, with affordability in mind. It’s also one of the most open-ended devices. That bObsweep provides almost every single replacement part conceivable shows they don’t mind a bit of tinkering with the insides. If anything, this device is a great purchase for those who are a fan of robotics and who want to play around with the inside of the device.