MOST Robotic Mops are BAD, These Aren’t.

August 21, 2021

Today on the hookup I’m going to show you why traditional mopping robots aren’t worth using, and why these three robotic mop/vacuum combo are different.  We’re also going figure out if any of them are actually worth buying.

This is how traditional robotic vacuums “mop your floor”.  The problem is if YOU were mopping the floor you wouldn’t just drag a wet paper towel on the ground, you get down and you scrub.  About 2 years ago I made a video about must have features in robotic vacuums and I said that the mopping performance of robotic vacuums wasn’t worth the effort required to use them.  However, as is usually the case, technology has made significant advances since that last video and the robotic mops I’m going to show you today don’t just drag a wet towel on the ground anymore, they actually scrub.

First, the Narwal T10+ with auto empty base is a very capable robotic vacuum that comes with a standard not so great mopping attachment.  However, for $100 you can add the OZMO pro mopping attachment which significantly boosts the mopping performance.  The ozmo pro attachment has a built in motor that oscillates rapidly to scrub your floors during mopping runs as well as a pump to precisely dial in the amount of water you want used for your flooring type.  The Narwal T10+ with auto empty base can frequently be found on sale for around $550, so adding in the OZMO pro mopping attachment brings the total cost to around $650.

A similar oscillating mopping technology is used in the Roborock S7.  The S7 is $649 and I also tested it with its auto empty base, which doesn’t have any effect on the mopping capabilities, but in my opinion is an essential aspect of robotic vacuums these days and adds $299 to the price.  Like the Narwal T10+ with OZMO Pro the Roborock S7 mop has a scrubbing action, but unlike the OZMO pro, the scrubbing is more of a vibration than a side to side movement, and even at 240 frames per second I wasn’t able to actually capture the mopping pad moving.  That being said, you can HEAR it vibrating, and as you’ll see later on, whatever it’s doing it’s definitely effective at removing floor stains. The major advantage the Roborock S7 has over the Narwal T10 is that it can also lift the mopping attachment whenever it detects a carpet or a rug, so you don’t have to babysit the Roborock S7 as much as other robotic mops.  As I said, the total price, as tested for the Roborock S7 was around $950, and since the S7 and auto empty base are pretty new to the market, I haven’t seen any significant discounts or sales on them yet.

Last, usually priced just around $1000 is the Narwal T10, and while the Narwal T10+ and Roborock S7 are robotic vacuums that can also mop, the Narwal T10 is a robotic mop that can also vacuum.  Everything about the narwal is designed to be the best robotic mop on the market.  There is no beater brush on the Narwal, so in vacuuming mode you switch out the mopping pads for side brushes and rely on suction alone to pick up dirt and debris which isn’t ideal for carpet, but works just fine for hard flooring.  However, instead of having a single vibrating pad like the other vacuums, in mopping mode the narwal has two spinning mopping pads that apply a fairly significant amount of downforce to clean stains.  Also notably absent on the Narwal T10 compared to the other robots is an on-robot water reservoir, and that’s because the base contains both a clean water and dirty water reservoir, that the narwal periodically returns to the base during its mopping runs to rinse, clean, and re-wet its mopping pads.  As I said, basically everything about the Narwal is designed with the best mopping performance in mind, so lets see if all that extra tech lets it wipe the floor with the competition.

Get it, wipe the floor, because they’re robotic mops…

I’m all about getting to the important stuff first, so let’s talk about how well they clean.  In my house, 3 things end up on the floor on a semi regular basis:  Coffee drips, mud, and in the workout room, sweat… Since the dirt in Florida is significantly more sandy than most other places I mixed in a little bit of clay to make it more muddy, and I used salt water in place of sweat, because gross.

I made 3 separate testing sites with 2mL each of these staining substances on both my laminate flooring and tile flooring, and to make it as difficult as possible I put it right in the middle of a grout line for the tile.  I gave each sample 24 hours to dry before I sent the robots to clean them up.  Since these were extreme stains I selected the most aggressive and wettest mopping option on each robot, and had them each do two total passes on the stains.

All the robots use a similar mopping pattern where they mop the edges, and then compute a path to fill in the area completely.  One notable difference that you can see during the testing is that the Narwal T10+ and Roborock S7 both allow for mopping a custom area, while the Narwal can only mop an entire room, and that meant that I had to block off the other areas to stop the narwal from cleaning the other testing sites.

On the laminate flooring the Narwal T10+ really struggled, and after the first pass basically all the stains were still there and unchanged.  This was especially bad when compared to the Narwal T10 and Roborock S7 single pass performance.  Luckily after a second run the Narwal T10+ did a much better job and removed at least some of each of the stains, however it didn’t perform nearly as well as the Narwall T10, or Roborock S7.  The Roborock S7 ended up winning this competition, not only from a purely visual inspection, but I also cleaned the stains with a single spray of cleaner and a paper towel and after drying you can really see the difference in the amount of coffee that each vacuum was able to clean off the floor.

On the Tile, the Narwal T10 actually performed pretty well and cleaned up the majority of each stain, except what was in grout line.  I had high hopes for the Narwal T10’s brushes to be able to get into the grout, but unfortunately that didn’t happen and again the tile stains cleaned up well but the grout line was still filled with coffee.  The Roborock S7, which did the best on the laminate flooring was a total miss on the tile, and I mean a total miss.  Remember how I said that the S7 could raise its mopping pad when it detected a carpet or rug? Well, something about these stains and grout lines triggered the carpet detection on the first run and while it looked like it was going to make a perfect pass over the stains, at the last moment it raised the mopping pad off the floor before it hit the stains.  For whatever reason it didn’t detect this imaginary carpet on the second pass and still managed to do a decent cleaning of the stains, but not as good as on the laminate, and not as good as the other two robots in this case.

The good news is that if you don’t have carpet in your house you can disable the auto raising of the mop pad, but it seems like a shame to me since it’s such a great feature.

Interestingly the visual stain from the Roborock S7 was definitely the worst, but after manual cleaning the paper towel for the S7 was the cleanest, which could suggest that there was less coffee in the grout line and more on the tile.  The Narwal T10+ performed decently, but was definitely not the best.

Unfortunately, the mopping performance of the Narwal T10+ with OZMO Pro is the best part of it, so lets talk about the real reasons you probably shouldn’t buy it.  First and foremost the T8+ with OZMO pro mop will not navigate over carpet.  If you have two rooms that you want to mop but there isn’t a hard floor path in between them the T8+ will not move between those rooms because it can’t raise its mop and would get your carpet wet, but if it detects carpet you don’t even have the option to override that detection, it just won’t travel through that area when the mop is attached.  Based on a poll of my subscribers that means that roughly 25% of you would already not be able to use this attachment since your hard floor rooms are separated by carpeted spaces.

Second, the OZMO pro attachment for Narwal T10+ needs to be removed and stored separately from the vacuum.  If the vacuum detects that the OZMO Pro mop is attached it will switch to mopping mode and will not travel to carpeted areas.  That means that if you accidentally leave the attachment on, your scheduled vacuuming will fail.  It’s also annoying that you have to find a place to store the attachment, you can’t store it pad side down because it’s wet and dirty from mopping, and if you flip it upside down it will leak water out the top.

Either way, while the Narwal T10+ is one of my favorite robotic vacuums, and the one I use everyday in my house, I can’t recommend the OZMO Pro mopping attachment for it.

So that leaves us with the Roborock S7 and the Narwal T10, which are both very good, from a mopping standpoint the Narwal T10 is a much better cleaner, unfortunately, I think it’s only suitable for a small number of homes, so lets talk about the key differences.

The Roborock S7 does a great job picking stains, but those stains end up right on the pad, and then that same pad gets used to mop the rest of the house.  Between mopping runs you’ll need to put on a new pad and eventually throw them all the washing machine before reusing them.  The Narwal T10 on the other hand cleans its pads regularly during a single cleaning session… Maybe even too much.  The 4L wash water tank is only enough for roughly 200 square meters or 2,150 square feet of mopping, which for a large house with primarily hard floors means that the tanks will need to filled and emptied every mopping session… but it does mean that the dirty water from one room isn’t going to get spread around to the rest of your house by a dirty mopping pad.

There’s also another huge advantage to the Narwal T10’s water tank design:  Cleaning solution.  The Roborock S7 specifically says to only use water in the reservoir, while the Narwal T10 has cleaning solution pads that dissolve and lead to a much more effective cleaning experience.  I re-ran the coffee test using cleaning solution instead of water, and the difference was significant.  I actually had to go back and check the footage to figure out where the stain was in the first place because it was 100% gone. No stain at all, and no residue on the paper towel, awesome right? It depends.

Like I mentioned before, 25% of people responded to my poll saying that in their home, rooms that need to be mopped were separated by carpeted areas or large rugs.  Unlike the Narwal T10+ with OZMO Pro Mop that just refuses to travel over carpet, the Narwal just ignores the carpet altogether and runs it wet brushes just like it would on hard flooring resulting in a very damp path in between rooms.  This also applies on the path back to the base which means every time it returns home to clean it’s pads dirty water will get ground into your carpet.

If you are like the 25% that has a mix of carpet and hard flooring, but HAS is a clear path between all mopping rooms, you can set up no-mop zones in the narwal app, but I did find that they weren’t as precise as the ones in the Roborock S7’s app, and unlike the roborock app there is no visual cue to show you where a rug or carpet might be.  Still, after some trial and error I was able to get the Narwal T10’s no-go lines dialed in which prevented it from pushing around small rugs while it was mopping.

Almost 50% of people responded that their entire home had hard flooring, so Narwal T10 is definitely going to work for them, right?  Well, maybe not.  Mopping is most effective if the floors are relatively clean and free of debris, and for that you need to vacuum first.  The Narwal T10 does have a vacuum attachment which while lacking a beater bar, will do just fine on hard flooring using just suction and side brushes.  Unfortunately, with the Narwal it’s a one or the other situation, so you’ll need to manually switch out the vacuum brushes for the mopping pads every time you use the Narwal.

In addition to that, despite its large base, the Narwal doesn’t have any auto empty capabilities for its dustbin, and its dustbin is also really small compared to similar robotic vacuums on the market.  This means that the Narwal T10 is probably not up to the task if you have shedding pets, and if you do, you should expect to empty the dustbin several times during the vacuuming runs that you should do prior to mopping.  You could solve this issue by purchasing a separate robotic vacuum to run before your Narwal T10 mops, but that of course comes with an added cost, and the annoyance of needing a place to put two large bases.

In contrast the S7 mops and vacuums at the same time.  It runs its beater bar, vacuum, and mopping attachment all at once.  When it’s on hard flooring it runs both the vacuum and the mop, sucking up any debris before it gets to the mopping pad.  Whenever it encounters a rug or carpet it lifts the mopping attachment which not only keeps your carpets and rugs clean and dry, but it means they won’t get pushed around.  The Roborock S7 even has a feature where if it detects a new rug it will stop and map out the entire border of the rug before continuing with the mopping run.  Add to that the fact that the Roborock S7 is also one of the best performing robotic vacuums on the market, and the just released auto empty bin basically means that it is easily the all around best choice for a robotic vacuum or mop as long as the water only mopping and dirty pad issues aren’t a deal breaker for you.

If your home is under 200 square meters of hard flooring with not too many rugs, and you are willing to purchase a separate robotic vacuum to run before you mop, the Narwal T10 is undeniably good at mopping.  The T10 is the first product from Narwal, and I think they are really on to something.  If the next generation of Narwal  could raise its mopping pads, and automatically switch from vacuum to mopping modes it’s going to be a game changer, but for now as I said, I think the Narwal T10 is only suitable for a very specific subset of people.

If you’re one of my normal viewers you’ll be happy to know that the Roborock S7 integrates easily into home assistant without installing any custom firmware and exposes the status of robot and allows you to issue commands like start cleaning and return to base.  More advanced functionality is also available if you’re willing to do a little tinkering like downloading the maps from the robot and cleaning specific rooms.

If you’re not a home assistant user you’ll be happy to know that you can also control the S7 with Amazon Echo and Google Home.

If it hasn’t come across in this video, I’m blown away by the quality and performance of the Roborock S7, and its 100% my recommendation for anyone looking for a high end robotic vacuum and mop.  If the $950 total price tag of the Roborock S7 and auto empty base is too rich for your blood, I can’t blame you, however hopefully combos and sales will eventually make it more affordable.  I do watch for unusually good sales and post them on my twitter account, so follow me there if you’re interested.  Thank you so much to all of my patrons over at patreon for your continued support of my channel, if you’re interested in supporting my channel please check out the links in the description.  If you enjoyed this video please hit that thumbs up button and consider subscribing, and as always, thanks for watching the hookup.

Roborock S7+ (Bot and Base Bundle):
Roborock S7:
Roborock Auto Empty Base:
Narwal T10:
Ecovacs T8:
Roborock S7:
Ecovacs T8:
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