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ILIFE Shinebot W400 floor washing robot: For everyone who hates washing floors
Oh wow. The ILIFE Shinebot W400 floor washing robot must be the best piece of tech I have ever reviewed -- primarily because I hate washing floors. This robot never made it into the office but has been cleaning all of my hard floors at home every day since I hurriedly unpacked it and set it to work. I love it.
I have reviewed both the V8S 2-in-1 robot cleaner and the A7 robot vacuum from ILIFE and, although the V8S cleaned, I was not too impressed with its mopping functionality. The W400 is in another league when it comes to cleaning.
ILIFE has labelled this range the Shinebot, and the Shinebot W400 certainly delivers what it says on the package. The robot has two tanks: One for clean water, and another separate tank for the dirty water.
The robot has a fibre roller and a rubber squeegee. The water trickles down to holes in the roller which spins, washing the floor as it rotates. The rubber squeegee scrapes up any dirty water residue ensuring the floor is dry enough to walk on straight away.
The robot itself is taller than a floor cleaning vacuum robot, but it still easily goes underneath a plinth in the kitchen so if you have a cupboard door open -- or the dishwasher door -- the robot will still glide underneath. Its dimensions are 11.1 x 11.5 x 4.7 inches and empty it weighs 7.72 pounds.
One thing to note straight away. This is not an automated robot cleaner. You need to lift the robot off its charging station each time you want to use it, fill it with water, and take it to the area you want to have cleaned.
You need to select which mode you want to use: Spot cleaning, perimeter, path mode clean (which goes up and down in parallel stripes), and an area mode (which will clean everything in front of the robot). It has a remote control to operate the cleaner, but I never used this.
I found that it was just as easy to pick up the robot from its charging station, take it to the centre of the room, and set it off manually.
When the robot has finished its clean -- and it maps the clean to make sure it has not missed any areas -- it returns to its original spot and announces that it has finished. You then need to empty both tanks, rinse, and dry the roller brush, and return it to its charging station.
It is really easy to remove the tank section for refilling. Press the button and lift the handle. Reseating the tank is easy and can be done with one hand. The rubber squeegee can only be fitted in one direction and has magnets to make things really simple.
I love the fact that the robot will not venture onto carpet. If you have rugs on your hard floor, you can leave them there and the W400 will nudge the carpet and retreat. I have an ultra thin rubber door mat, and the robot will venture onto that surface, but not onto anything thicker than about 5mm in depth.
The robot will clear a large area and will clean until its clean water tank is empty -- or its dirty tank is full. Like the other ILIFE models I looked at, the W400 has a long battery life. I did get a few alerts with the tanks, as I was too lazy to clean the sponge filter every time I filled the tank. If I did this, the robot worked perfectly.
I was puzzled by the fact that you can only use water in this robot -- not detergent. ILIFE say that it is because harsh detergents will corrode and damage some of the components and the tanks. But if you did try any detergent, this is at your own risk, you would have to use a low foam brand to avoid the W400 stopping and its sensitive voice alert complaining about the tank.
Another slight issue is that the voice commands have a strong Chinese accent, and some of the words are not too clear. iLife should hire a native English speaker for the US / English version of the robot. But this is a tiny irritation that does not impede the function of the robot at all.
This is a superb addition to any home or office with hard flooring -- and if you hate washing floors -- and have $250 to spare, go and buy one of these. You will not be disappointed.
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