The bObsweep’s Bobi Pet Robotic Vacuum and Mop is called just Bobi and is one of the latest robotic cleaners to come onto the market. Out of all the bObsweep robotic cleaners this one has the most features with improvements in sensors, cleaning brushes and the algorithm. This Canadian company has developed an effective autonomous cleaner that is not just for vacuuming but can also take care of the mopping and disinfects through its UV sterilization feature. So is the Bobi going to be good enough to worry the market leaders Roomba and Neato?
The Bobi is not the only challenger to take on the Roomba over the last few years but so far none have been able to beat or even meet it when it comes to price and performance. The Neato is the closest but still is lacking in certain areas such as the Roomba’s Virtual Lighthouse feature which makes sure that areas that are off limit are blocked.
The Bobi is aimed specifically at owners of pets. The two bristle brushes that are counter rotating along with the squeegee brush are all designed with collecting pet hair and litter in mind. So lets take a closer look at what can be expected from this pet robotic vacuum and mop.
A closer look at the Bobi
At first the Bobi looks like it has a lot in common with the Roomba 700 series as it is shaped in a similar round way and has the side brush. Then underneath are cleaning brushes too like the Roomba. While some might think that is too many brushes when it comes to performance they do help to agitate the debris that the weaker motor may otherwise struggle with. The Bobi is not effective for heavy duty cleaning jobs for that reason.
There is a remote control shaped like a puck that the users can opt to use to set the schedule and change cleaning modes and so on just like a Roomba. But there are only two cleaning modes to choose from, Go which is the default mode the cleaner is set to, or Waffle mode for spot cleaning that can deal with areas no larger than three square feet. While you are running it Go mode it is recommended that you leave to finish its cycle and not interrupt unless there is an obstacle like a wire that it needs help over. When the battery of the Bobi is at 15% it will return to its charging base.
Some assembly will be needed
Once it arrives there will be some assembly you have to do before it can be charged and used. First thing is to turn it over and remove the battery cover with a screwdriver and put in the NiCad batteries. This may be a small step but it is an extra one that is not needed with either the Neato or Roomba cleaners.
Learning how to use it
One of the quirks of this robotic cleaner is that in order to get the best cleaning from it you will need to prepare the rooms before setting it off to clean. Any long tassels from rugs need to be tucked in, power cords, laces and wires will need to be moved too. If the Bobi hits anything like that it will stop. Make sure you go over the manual that comes with it so that you know exactly what you need to prepare to get the best out of your machine. Another thing to keep in mind is that there will need to be an area of about 10 feet around the charging base that is kept free so that machine can dock successfully when it returns from cleaning. That charging base should also be rested against a strong wall.
Navigation and noise
This is a quieter machine that a regular upright cleaner at just 60 decibels as claimed by Bobsweep themselves. This makes a good option if there are nervous pets or children around or if you live in an apartment where you need to be more considerate of the neighbors. The Roomba and the Neato are not as quiet as this.
The new navigation algorithm is, according to Bobsweep better, making the cleaner need less passes and it has more sensors to navigate the room. There are 80 in total 5 of which are wall sensors so that it does not cause damage to the baseboards and the wallpaper. There is also a sensor called a cliff sensor so that it does not fall down any steps or stairs. While those sensors will help the Bobi avoid most obstacles it does struggle to sense chrome and furniture with a black finish as some consumers have found.
What is not made clear by Bobsweep is if it is capable of doing several rooms as part of one program of cleaning or not. It does comes with a Bobi block, the name they use for something that blocks the path of the robot using a signal that is infrared. This way you can stop it from going where you do not want it though only one Bobi block is included with the robot, others can be bought separately if more are required.
As mentioned after it has performed its program or when the battery reaches 15% the robot will go to dock at the charging base. It needs room to do this though so keep in mind that 10feet in front and at least 2 feet on each side is needed to be kept free.
The Bobi pet robotic vacuum can take care of hard floors very well in two ways, vacuuming and mopping. When it comes to large debris though it can struggle die the motor not being as strong as usually upright vacuum cleaners. The brush may fling those bits away though the squeegee and brushes should help pick up the smaller debris.
You can then switch to a mop function that can clean very well too as long as it is not used on very dirty surfaces or ones that are oil filled. It is best not to use it somewhere damp like the bathroom too. It has a mop holder and microfiber mop to clean surfaces like tile or hardwood. The makers also claim you can also get UV cleaning which will help disinfect the floor too. How effective that really is we do not know and it should be again pointed out that it will not clean a really soiled surface just one that is already mostly clean.
There is no doubt this robotic cleaner works better on carpet, the bristled brushes and squeegee work best on carpet agitating it to work out the debris. But it is not a deep cleaning machine, it picks up the obvious stuff but will not reach deep into plush carpet and it will not get a really dirty carpet super clean. This machine is more designed to keep things clean once they are already clean rather than do any actually hard work! If you are looking for something that keeps things ticking in between your more thorough cleaning though that could be something that works for you. One thing to keep in mind about those brushes is that they will need to be cleaned on a regular basis otherwise dander and hair can build up.
As mentioned it does well on pet hair removal which is good as that is what it is designed for. The bristled brush agitates and then the hair is sucked up. But again it would not get all the pet hair if there were clumps of it, or it had been worked deep into the carpet over days of not cleaning. This too would clog up the filters. If you have a lot of carpeting it is a good idea to have both an upright and a robotic cleaner, the upright would be your deep cleaning or big messes and the Bobi every day cleaning.
While there are some aspects about the Bobi that make it an interesting alternative to the Roomba like the mop for example, considering the cleaning is not as effective as those front runners the price is just too high. Having to remove screws for the battery, having to learn its many quirks and the general design also still need a lot of innovation to make it worth considering. It is also lacking in terms of power and cannot clean multi-rooms though perhaps that could be accepted since its price is lower than them.
Basically the Bobi Pet Robotic Vacuum and Mop performs in an acceptable manner as a spruce up cleaner. It will save you having to that yourself but it will not handle any bigger jobs on the carpet or on hard floors. You are also paying over $800 for a robotic cleaner that does not come with an app or WiFi connectivity something that these days one would expect to have so that you can schedule cleans remotely.