IFA, the European consumer electronics show, is taking place in Germany from 1-5 September, but as ever some companies have chosen to jump the gun to get some attention. One such company is SwitchBot, purveyors of the Wi-Fi smart lock that I reviewed last year. I’ve also looked at robot cleaners from iRobot and Narwal, so I was intrigued to discover that SwitchBot will be releasing the Floor Cleaning Robot S10, a new machine with a unique feature.
While it’s like the Narwal Freo in that the machine will clean its own mops, what’s new is that the S10 is designed to be hooked up to the home water supply – so that you don’t have to worry about filling up and emptying buckets of water. As I said in my Narwal Freo review (if you will forgive me for quoting myself), “You… have to spend time filling up the clean water tank and emptying the dirty water tank, which I felt I had to do so often I felt like Mickey Mouse from the sorcerer’s apprentice scene in Fantasia.” Yes, it’s a whole thing, so removing that pain point makes sense.
The only question is how easy will it be to integrate one of these? There are many bits and pieces included in the box for attaching to your water system but presumably, this will depend on your confidence doing plumbing. Having it plumbed in is also more of a commitment than other bots might require.
Specs-wise, it offers a high suction power rating of 6,500Pa, which, hopefully, will translate to good vacuuming performance. There is a bin for self-emptying which means you’ll only have to empty the dust bag after 70 days, but owners will presumably need to choose between this and having it plumbed in for self-filling and emptying mopping.
The S10 will navigate via lidar, which means it will map areas fast and be able to work in the dark, should you wish it. SwitchBot says it offers obstacle avoidance and that when it detects carpet, it will lift the mop and stop spraying water, which it says other competitors are wont to do.
Finally, SwitchBot says the S10 will also be able to automatically refill its Humidifier 2 product with water, which is something I thought I needed, but does make sense if you are fully engaged in its ecosystem of products.
Being able to plumb in your automated floor cleaner is an interesting concept if you can make it work, and one I’m surprised hasn’t been tackled before. One would never consider using a washing machine or dishwasher in the home that needed to be manually filled with water, so why not the same for an automated mopping device? It indicates that these devices are now becoming more mainstream – though as you would expect for a first-gen device, it is high-priced – the S10 will launch first on Kickstarter at $1,199.99 in October.