Has a vacuum motor that attaches securely to windows and cleans faster than other models in its class. Does a good job cleaning corners. Has 3 cleaning modes and comes with a remote control. Includes 2 types of microfiber pads for cleaning wet and dry windows.
May leave streaks, especially if windows are extremely dirty. No app feature.
A mid-priced cleaner that can be operated by remote or smartphone via an app. Has 2 cleaning modes and 2 types of cleaning pads (for wet and dry cleaning). Works well for tall/high windows. Cleans corners well.
Although it's touted as a quiet machine, some owners complain that it is noisy. Has the tendency to fall off windows if pad is too wet or too dry. Replacement pads can be hard to find.
Cleans automatically with smart sensors or manually via app or remote. Compatible with all types of surfaces and can reach a height of 20 feet. Includes six extra washable microfiber pads.
Can't go into some corners.
Packs an ultrasonic water sprayer to tackle tough dust, grime, and streaks. Cleans a square meter in less than two and a half minutes. Features a brushless DC motor for longer life and lower noise. Has three automatic cleaning modes as well as remote and app compatibility.
Not rated for use on windows with non-rectangular edges.
Cleans large windows quickly. Equips drop sensors for use on frameless windows and other surfaces. Controls with remote or app.
This unit can be finicky when it comes to cleaning fluid -- too much can hinder movement, but too little can produce squeaking.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Robotics and automation have improved our lives in so many ways that it’s hard to keep track. Smart products are perfect for tackling dull, monotonous tasks for us. Of all the tedious responsibilities in the world, cleaning windows is probably at the top of most people’s list. That’s where robotic window cleaners come in.
Robotic window cleaners attach to your window via vacuum suction or magnets, use tracks to move, and come equipped with microfiber pads or brushes to sanitize surfaces. They’re typically supported by strong tethers if suction fails. Both corded and battery-powered models are available to scrub windows of all sizes, with advanced versions featuring sensors that can detect edges and map out optimal cleaning patterns.
If you’re looking to add some time to your day or simply ax a boring chore from your schedule, read on to learn more about these unique, interesting tools. When you’re ready to buy, take a look at our top picks.
Size and weight should be high on your priority list when shopping for robotic window cleaners, as different units are rated for windows of different sizes and thicknesses. A substantial unit will obviously cover a 48-inch by 48-inch window in fewer passes than a smaller one, but keep in mind that movement speed can vary with motor and track types. A high-level benchmark speed is 4.7 inches per second (1 square meter per 2.4 minutes), but if pace is less important to you, lower speed ratings may save you some money.
Battery-powered electronics offer exceptional convenience, and window-washing robots are no different. There is a tradeoff to battery power, though. These units generally cost more, and they need to hold a charge long enough to completely finish the job. Otherwise, they’ll leave the job half-done, which can result in unsightly marks and streaks on your glass. In some ways, that can be worse than a completely dirty window.
A robotic window washer needs a stable way to attach to its cleaning surface, and there are two main methods on the market today — vacuums and magnets.
In a vacuum model, the device’s motor generates suction that is used to hold the machine in place as it washes the glass. These versions have a stellar convenience factor as you don’t need to access both sides of the window to attach the robot. On the flip side, this connection type is more prone to failing, and that’s why vacuum cleaners typically use a tether or safety cord.
As the name implies, magnetic models use two magnets to cling to windows — one on the underside of the unit and one on the top. Some varieties use a piece of magnetic metal on one side with an array of magnets on the other — but either way, the basic principle is the same.
Much like Roombas and other automated products, entry-level robotic window cleaners aimlessly wander around your window, cleaning as they go until they’re told to stop. High-end versions differentiate themselves with clever sensors that can detect window frames, distinguish the edges of borderless windows, and even map out the surface to find the most optimal cleaning pattern. If you’re looking for a product to clean frameless windows or glass tables, seek out one with a sophisticated sensor system, or else it will almost certainly fall.
Vacuum window cleaners (and some magnetic window cleaners) use tethered safety cords as backups in case adhesion fails. For greater peace of mind, certain models offer additional safety measures. One example is an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which includes a backup battery to prevent power — and suction, consequentially — from failing if the original source fails. Another is an “anti-fall algorithm,” which is essentially a marketing term for mapping sensor software.
Everything has an app nowadays, and window-washing robots are no exception. These apps basically take the place of a remote control, allowing you to start, stop, adjust the speed, select cleaning modes, and manually direct your robot from your mobile. These free programs typically use Bluetooth 4.0 to connect and are available for iOS and Android devices.
Inexpensive: Despite their advanced technology and futuristic looks, you don’t need to empty your bank account to afford a robotic window cleaner. Entry-level machines can be purchased for as little as $50 to $100, but keep in mind these models are relatively basic. Expect to find small, simple magnetic units here without high-end features, like app connectivity and sensors.
Mid-range: For approximately $150 to $200, you’ll make the jump to clever vacuum-powered window cleaners with app connectivity, multiple cleaning modes, UPS backups, and high-quality microfiber pads.
Expensive: At the top of the range, robotic window cleaners can cost between $350 to $400. You certainly get a lot for your money, though, including higher movement speeds, thorough cleaning systems, and sophisticated sensors that pilot the unit in the most efficient cleaning patterns. They can also detect edges on frameless windows and tables. App connectivity is more in-depth here as well, with multiple cleaning-mode options and remote controls.
To prevent streaks and clean thoroughly, you must consistently wash your machine’s microfiber pads or brushes. When reattaching them, be careful not to cover the movement tracks or sensors, as this could result in missed spots or falling.
Window streaks are a result of hard-water stains, residue, and improper drying. To prevent this from happening, make sure your machine’s microfiber pads are clean or use pure white vinegar as a finisher. Another technique is to dry the windows with a squeegee.
Before attaching your robotic window cleaner, you may need to remove the screens. A paint can opener is actually the perfect tool for popping them out without damaging the screen or frame.
When conducting our research, we found many window cleaners worthy of consideration, but only five could make our list. One of those products is the Glider S-1 by Tyroler Bright Tools. This high-value magnetic item is specified for single glazed windows, but it does its job fantastically in its element. It uses a combination of microfiber cloths and rubber squeegees to get results, and it’s fantastic for hard-to-reach windows. Another product that stood out is the Elfbot Robot Window Cleaner, which can clean a square meter in 2.8 minutes with powerful vacuum suction and a multilayered cleaning system. At 60 decibels, it’s also quieter than many of its rivals.
Q. Can robotic cleaners crack windows?
A. This is unlikely but certainly not impossible. Vacuum window cleaners feature strong pumps to maintain suction, and this force can potentially crack your window if it’s extremely thin or previously damaged. For glass thinner than three millimeters, we recommend magnetic versions or manual cleaning.
Q. Do robotic cleaners work well with frameless glass and mirrors?
A. Robotic window cleaners are fully capable of cleaning borderless glass, frameless glass, and even glass coffee tables, but only if they have the proper sensors. Without them, the robot will continue to clean until it makes contact with something, and considering there won’t be anything there, it will likely fall off. If yours doesn’t have these sensors, you can manually direct it with a remote, a smartphone app, or clean it by hand.
Q. Are robotic cleaners loud?
A. Window washers have motors inside to drive movement tracks and cleaning pads, so there will always be some noise. They’re relatively quiet compared to most cleaning products, though, with the majority producing fewer than 65 decibels. For reference, that’s about as loud as a conversation at a restaurant or an air-conditioning unit at 100 feet.