SwitchBot, the robotics company, has officially launched its latest invention, the S10 robot vacuum and mop at IFA 2023 in Berlin. Priced at $1,199.99, the robot aims to revolutionize the cleaning industry with its automatic water refill station that eliminates the need for bulky water tanks found in other floor cleaners. Unlike its competitors, such as Roborock and Ecovacs, which use docks to clean and dry their mops, the SwitchBot S10 employs an internal roller brush mop that is cleaned using a squeegee method as it vacuums. This innovative approach ensures there is no standing water or dirty mop left to cause odor.
One common complaint among robot vacuum owners is the need for regular cleaning and maintenance. The large auto-empty docks used by other brands can quickly become dirty and unpleasant. SwitchBot claims that its S10 solves this issue by effectively keeping all the water and mess out of sight and smell. Moreover, at $1,200, the S10 is approximately $400 cheaper than similar offerings from its competitors. However, as the company’s first foray into robot vacuum cleaners, it remains to be seen whether the S10 will live up to expectations.
The S10 features a removable and replaceable roller mop that simultaneously scrubs and washes, performing a self-clean 300 times per minute. I had the opportunity to witness the S10 in action at the IFA show in Berlin. The auto-empty dock, which charges the robot and empties the bin, appeared familiar. However, it differed from other docks by incorporating two dryer vents that blow hot air on the S10’s mop while charging.
SwitchBot has opted for a separate water station instead of traditional water tanks. This compact battery-powered pump draws water from the pipes into the robot, while dirty water is drained into the sewer. The station uses a small amount of battery power to operate and can also be reverse-charged by the robot.
During the demonstration, Sean Tan of SwitchBot showcased the S10’s ability to suction up oatmeal and deposit it in the auto-empty bin. The robot then utilized the separate water station to refill itself and drain the dirty water from the mop. The process, though simulated with water bottles due to the trade show environment, was smooth and efficient. Adding colored liquid to the removable mop simulated dirt, and the robot successfully cleaned the mop and drained the dirty water into a separate bottle.
However, there are some concerns regarding the effectiveness of the mop itself. While plush and spongey, it has a limited surface area touching the floor and lacks oscillating action, which raises doubts about its ability to scrub effectively. Additionally, the robot is notably large and heavy, weighing approximately twice as much as competitors like the Roomba j7 Plus. It may be challenging to maneuver and transport due to its size and weight. The significant battery on board contributes to the weight and is integral to the S10’s ability to refill a new humidifier and potentially drain a forthcoming dehumidifier.
The concept of a mobile robot with a large battery and water on board to aid with household tasks is intriguing. However, SwitchBot must first successfully release the S10, which is set to launch on Kickstarter on October 13th. In the coming months, I will conduct a thorough review of the product to assess its performance and capabilities.
In conclusion, SwitchBot has introduced the S10 robot vacuum and mop, featuring an automatic water refill station that eliminates the need for bulky water tanks. The company aims to solve the common problem of dirty mops and unpleasant cleaning docks faced by robot vacuum owners. Priced competitively and equipped with advanced features, such as lidar navigation and AI-powered obstacle avoidance, the S10 has the potential to be a game-changer in the industry. However, its effectiveness and performance must be tested and evaluated before drawing any concrete conclusions.