EDITOR’S NOTE: this is the review of the Easy Home Robotic Floor Duster. If you’re looking for the Easy Home Robotic Vacuum, you can find our review of that here.
UPDATE (1/6/18): corrected the piece to reflect how to order replacement pads.
Robot vacuums are all the rage right now. Robot dusters? Not so much.
Aldi has tried its own version of robotic vacuums in recent years, and if our site traffic is any indication, you’re as curious about them as we’ve been. Aldi recently sold a fairly robust vacuum for $100, but that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about a $20 duster that operates more like a Swiffer than a vacuum.
So is it still worth buying? Let’s take a look.
In case we didn’t make it clear already, let’s do that now: this is not a vacuum. It doesn’t contain any suction and isn’t going to be much help on a rug. Instead, it’s a duster: it is designed to roam around hardwood floors, laminate, and other smooth-surface areas sweeping up dust, hair, and other bits that like to make a home on a smooth-surface floor. It automates what a Swiffer does manually.
As comparisons go, this is a whole lot like the Vileda Virobi Robotic Mop, which currently runs about $70 in a limited number of outlets, or the O-Cedar O-Duster, which looks identical to the Virobi and ran for about $25 on a few major sites but is currently listed as out of stock.
The Easy Home Robotic Floor Duster comes with the following:
- The robotic floor duster
- 20 disposable pads (one of them comes pre-installed)
- A wall adapter
- A manual
The floor duster is backed by a 3-year warranty.
The instructions advise charging the duster for 10 hours prior to first use. Once it’s ready, the red charging light will turn off and you’re ready to go. The first cleaning pad comes pre-installed, but attaching the pads isn’t hard: the pad rings fix to the duster by way of a velcro ring that lines the outer edge of the duster.
Removing the pads is just as easy. We do advise — as does the manual — cleaning the underside of the duster, including the wheels, with a paper towel or damp cloth to prevent residue buildup. (Whatever you do, don’t submerge it in water.)
The duster comes with 20 pads. In addition, the manual has a form for ordering more: it’s in the very back of the manual, after the Spanish-language section. Replacement pads come in packs of 20 for $9, including shipping, if ordered before December 2020. We also assume that pads from the Virobi and O-Duster models probably also fit this model.
The manual advises placing the duster in the center of the room when you begin. The duster is activated by pressing the desired time frame — 30 minutes or 120 minutes — whereupon it starts cruising around the room. As it moves it also rotates on its axis, which not only gets the cleaning pad moving in a circular motion but also makes the duster look a lot like some sort of red UFO cruising around your kitchen.
We thought it did a pretty decent job of doing what it’s designed to do. It moves around, for the most part, well enough, and is smart enough to change course after it hits an obstacle. It also does its job without making an excessive amount of noise. We also liked how, as long as it was on a flat surface, it managed to move around without getting stuck. In a couple of instances, like under our fridge, this little device even managed to avoid getting stuck where the Aldi robot vacuum was less lucky.
Aside from the obvious it’s-not-for-rugs issue, it’s got a couple of other limitations that potential users should be aware of. One is that it doesn’t handle differences in floor level very well. In our house, a small metal lip separates the kitchen from the dining room, and the duster simply can’t handle it going in either direction. It always gets stuck. A little nudge fixes that, but it’s a limitation.
A second limitation (which, to be fair, the manual points out) is that the duster does not have any fall sensors. That means that if the duster hits a stoop or drop, it’s going to pitch right over it. If you’ve got such drops, you’re going to have to block them off before you turn this little robot loose.
We also noticed that, sometimes, scraping things on the floor can partially dislodge parts of the pad from the velcro. This isn’t a major deal, but you’ll probably want to check on it from time to time, especially if you’ve left anything on the floor.
None of these limitations, we should add, are problems with the Aldi robotic vacuum. Granted, there’s an $80 difference between the two, but this is still one of those cases where you’re getting what you pay for.
If you’re looking for a full-featured robot vacuum, this isn’t it. It doesn’t handle rugs or carpet, and it’s not equipped for short ledges or large drops, either: it will get stuck on the first one and fall over the second. If you prefer something more full featured, you’ll want an actual robotic vacuum.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a $20 device that functions as a basic robotic dry mop, this might be up your alley. Don’t expect a lot more, but we can at least say that it works as advertised.