Rollibot BL618 robotic vacuum cleaner review
The Rollibot BL618 robotic vacuum cleaner is something different in the mopping robot market, in fact, it doesn’t mop in the traditional sense at all! This unique sterilizing floor cleaning robot relies on vacuuming and UV light to do most of the cleaning instead. How does this machine measure up to the competition? Not too badly…but not well enough.
The Rollibot BL618 falls somewhere in the middle of the price range for typical floor mopping robots. At a mid-range price, it has many more features than the cheaper O-Cedar O-Duster but lacks the automated mopping feature of some of the more expensive units.
Let’s talk for a moment about what the Rollibot BL618 has to offer. This 6lb robot mop and vacuum is designed specifically for hardwood, tile, and laminate surfaces. Unlike other similar machines, the Rollibot cannot tackle carpeting very well at all and if you have more than Berber or low pile carpeting, this isn’t the right choice for you. The design of this four in one unit is primarily that of a sweeper with a vacuum function, however, it is also capable of “mopping” (read: dragging around a wet cloth) and “sterilizing” with UV light as well.
The Nitty Gritty
The cost of the Rollibot BL618 may not seem too exorbitant if you consider the features it advertises, but if you actually know what you are getting (we’ll get to this in a minute), it comes out at the higher priced end of the spectrum. At $180 with reusable cleaning pads, this robot mop and vacuum system doesn’t measure up to the similarly priced Braava Jet 240, but still outweighs the bargain O-Cedar.
So, what did we mean when we referred to what you are actually getting? Let’s take a closer look at what the Rollibot BL618 offers versus what it is advertised as offering.
One of the big selling points of the Rollibot BL618 is that it is “quiet”. Surprisingly, the machine lives up to this claim, running at around 55db – the same as the ILIVE V5 and 15db quieter than the Braava Jet 240.
The Rollibot BL618 comes with four cleaning mode options which dictate its navigation pattern. There is the auto-cleaning mode which uses the system’s navigation system to find its way around the room and clean as it goes. There is the spot cleaning mode which focuses on cleaning in a spiral pattern to take care of the spill or stain. There’s the edge cleaning mode which navigates using the edges of the room and obstacles so that it only cleans around the edged path. Then there is the zig-zag cleaning mode which uses a zig-zag pattern to clean large open areas. Each of these cleaning cycles can be programmed for daily schedules and when the scheduled cleaning is finished, the floor cleaning robot heads back to its charging station (a definite plus!)
The navigation system of the Rollibot BL618 seems to be much more practical than that of the cheaper O-Cedar robot mop. Not only does the Rollibot BL618 feature various cleaning patterns and know how to edge a room and return to its charging station after completion of a cleaning cycle, but it also understands the concept of stairs. Once you’ve retrieved a poorly navigated robot mop from the bottom of your stairs more than a handful of times, you will realize how much of a Godsend this feature actually is.
How does the Rollibot BL618 stand up to obstacles, though? Well, it does and it doesn’t. As we mentioned above, it does a fabulous job of not falling down the stairs, but it doesn’t do so great when it comes to navigating high pile carpet. Flat Berber type carpet seems to pose no problem at all, but throw in a plush carpet or God forbid, a decorative runner, and you’re going to have issues. Ah, but how does it fair with actual obstacles, I hear you ask? The answer is….eh…The Rollibot BL618 is rather hit or miss when it comes to complications such as floor vents, tightly navigated spaces, or raised doorway joins. Overall, this is a simple machine that prefers simple, flat floors to navigate.
The somewhat shaky navigational properties of the Rollibot BL618 robot floor cleaner seem to be overlooked by many for the variety of cleaning cycles it offers. The options to vacuum, “mop”, and “sterilize” floors seems like a good enough reason to let a somewhat tipsy robot clean your floors…doesn’t it? Well,…it’s not.
The vacuum ability of the Rollibot BL618 is perhaps the best thing it has going for it. The incorporation of HEPA filters helps to cut down allergens as the vacuum stirs up dust and dirt. Additionally, the high level of suction on this robot mopping machine and the ample dustbin are definite plusses if you regularly need to vacuum between vacuuming.
How about the “mopping” feature, you ask? Well, here is the thing, this isn’t a mopping robot at all. It may be advertised as being a robot mop, but what it actually is, is a moving vehicle for a damp cloth that you attach to the bottom of the unit. As if this wasn’t enough of an insult to robot moppers everywhere, the Rollibot BL618 generally can’t mop a full room without the attached cloth needing to be rinsed and re-wetted. So, if you’re looking for anything that slightly resembles a mop, you’d be best served to avoid the Rollibot BL618.
But what about the “sterilizing” UV light?! That’s the best feature…isn’t it? It seems that a lot of people (ourselves included) are a little too excited about killing off all those nasty germs that live on our floors. In our excitement, we buy into fads and gimmicks and don’t actually stop to research whether the fad or gimmick does what it is supposed to do. So in an attempt to justify our excitement, we went on an information hunt to see if the Rollibot BL618 really was sterilizing our floor as it cleaned…
The Rollibot BL618 uses a UV light at 253.7nm which they claim will kill germs and bacteria on contact. Does UV light kill bacteria? Yes. According to Scientific American, UV light kills bacteria by damaging its DNA. But does the Rollibot BL618 UV light kill bacteria? It could if the light was concentrated on a single area for two minutes or more. Considering, however, that your Rollibot BL618 is moving around the floor and not concentrating on a single area, it is not going to achieve full bacterial eradication. Don’t believe us? Check out this pretty simple California State Science Fair project from 2004. What does it all mean? In short, your Rollibot BL618 is slightly disabling bacteria on your floors, but not so much that they can’t repair the damage done to their DNA. (If you ask us, this is the plot of a horror movie in the making…)
Is the Rollibot BL618 Robotic Floor Cleaner Worth It?
So, after reading this article, you probably already know the answer to the question – is the Rollibot BL618 robotic floor cleaner worth it? Simply put, no. It’s biggest selling point – UV sanitation – is a lie, and its best function is the same as any other robotic vacuum cleaner. As for being a robot mop? The Rollibot BL618 is no more a mop than I am. Do yourself a favor and stick with the Braava Jet 240.