Walter Shillington is an avid collector of mechanical timepieces. While he focuses mainly on watches, Walter also reviews household items.
I recently reviewed Vanigo’s A3, a very capable robotic vacuum that is guided by a sophisticated navigational system.
At the other end of the price scale, there are several tiny robotic vacuums that claim to make life easier. They do not replace the traditional vacuum cleaner, but the expectation is that these devices will handle pet hair. This removes the need for cat people, such as me, to vacuum daily.
I checked out Amazon and eBay, looking for the least-expensive robot I could find. That proved to be the Chinese-manufactured Clean Robot, which I acquired for 15 dollars. For that price, I didn’t expect much, but sometimes these purchases can lead to a pleasant surprise.
The Clean Robot arrived packed in a brightly-colored cardboard box and equipped with a USB cord that connects to the unit when its battery is being charged.
This vacuum is quite light, weighing in at about 11 ounces (300 grams). It spans 7.1 inches (18 cm) and is 2.6 inches (6.6 cm) in height.
While my Clean Robot is black with silver trim, a variety of colors are available. When operating, the LED in the front of the vacuum flashes colorfully. A power button and USB connector are located at the unit’s back. The grill on the side is used as an air exhaust.
Beneath the unit are two free-standing plastic wheels, an inlet for suction, and a round plastic cover used to protect the drive assembly during shipping. Under this is a recessed motor flanked by a pair of rubber-coated drive wheels.
The suction inlet is part of a dust bin, which in shape is reminiscent of a Pez container.
This vacuum is equipped with a non-removable 3V lithium-ion battery. It can be charged via a USB connection. During tests, this battery allowed the vacuum to operate for a period of 40 minutes and would recharge within four hours.
I was unable to track down the manufacturer, but this mini robot was designed and built in China. Many devices of this type are manufactured in the province of Guangdong.
Model: Clean Robot
Country of Origin: China
Height: 6.6 cm (2.6 inches)
Circumference: 18cm (7.1 inches)
Weight: 300 grams (10.75 ounces)
Brushes: Not applicable
Vacuum: Unknown but less than 500PA suction
Accessories: USB cable used to recharge battery
Power source: 18650 Li-ion 3V battery rated at 2.4W. Capacity is 1200mAh
Dustbin capacity: Minimal
Working time: 40 minutes
Recharging time: four hours
Features: Light weight and includes rechargeable battery
The Clean Robot is available in a variety of colors, and I found it to be quite appealing. It was fun to watch this tiny vacuum weave around my feet as it noisily sucked up pet hair and debris.
This device appears to be reasonably well constructed when its cost is considered. I view the vacuum motor and wheel assembly as this robot’s weakest points. If used daily, I suspect the Clean Vacuum would continue to operate properly for a period of three to six months. Then, as there are no user-replaceable parts, it would be retired.
This vacuum is propelled by an electric motor with a tiny rubber wheel attached to each side. The wheels continuously turn forward. At the same time, the entire assembly revolves in a clockwise rotation. This system was designed to allow the robot to maneuver within a room.
Another robotic vacuum I tested recently came equipped with a similar system. Maneuverability results were mediocre because some of my floors are not level, and the robot would tend to move to and clean only the lowest section.
With the Clean Robot, this problem is greatly exaggerated. I could not find a room where this device would not creep into a corner and concentrate on a tiny portion of floor. Perhaps if my rooms were perfectly level, maneuverability would improve.
It cannot climb. Because of this, the robot will not become stuck on a mat or entangled within a jumble of power cords. Sadly, it does have just enough power to perch itself helplessly atop the air vents which pierce my floors.
Space between the bottom of the Clean Robot and the floor is extremely limited. It can pass over and vacuum pet hair but anything larger—perhaps a Cheerio dropped from the kitchen table—will not fit.
I was impressed by the suction of this robotic vacuum. While not designed for heavier materials, it handles pet hair quite well.
The dust bin is very small and equipped with a metal screen designed for filtering tiny particles. Dust will pass through, but anything larger will be trapped within the bin.
The Chinese have a knack for re-engineering an expensive gadget and producing a similar device at a reasonable cost. Sometimes, however, they go too far. The maneuverability of the Clean Robot is very limited, and this device must be regarded as a toy.
I am conducting a poll below to determine the minimum requirement of someone considering the purchase of a robotic vacuum cleaner. Please take the time to provide your opinion.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: I purchased one of the CleanRobots, charged it, turned it on but it doesn’t move. Any suggestions?
Answer: It appears, from your description, to be defective. I would contact the vendor and request a refund.
Question: where do I put the battery in the Clean Robot?
Answer: This vacuum is equipped with a non-removable 3V lithium-ion battery. It can be charged via a USB connection.
Question: Bought the Sweep Robot and feel thoroughly and embarrassingly cheated! I ordered as a gift and on arrival, it is as you say a toy!! Took 120 days to get to South africa. I presume I have been conned?
Answer: Sadly, it is nothing but a toy. If you are looking for a decent robotic vacuum, you might order the Amarey A800 or the iMartine Coredy R3500. If you have real money to spend, the Roborock S5 Max is, by far, the best robotic vacuum I have tested.
© 2018 Walter Shillington
Walter Shillington (author) from Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada on April 19, 2019:
The Clean Robot is basically a toy. If it does not work, contact the vendor and try to get your money back. If you look through my articles on Dengarden, you will find several reviews of robotic vacuum cleaners. One of these vacuums will fit your needs far better than the clean robot.
Rosaleen Martin on April 19, 2019:
My clean robot does not work. G
Walter Shillington (author) from Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada on April 12, 2019:
Contact the vendor you purchased it from.
Angie Rawa on April 12, 2019:
I just got my Clean Robot and it doesn't work. Who do in call. No info on the packaging.What should I do?
RTalloni on September 27, 2018:
Thanks for this helpful look at the Clean Robot as we evaluate what's out there.