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When you think robot vacuums, the name that usually comes to mind is Roomba, or maybe Ecovacs and Roborock. These brands are focused solely on robot vacuums, but I’m never surprised to learn that a smart tech brand that specializes in say, lightbulbs, also has a robot vaccuum. So when Switchbot offered me a chance to test out its mini robot vacuum, the K10+ ($499), I didn’t expect I’d think much of it. But I’m happy to say this device never disappoints—I absolutely love it as a mid-priced, easy to use robot vacuum for homes with a lot of tight spaces to navigate.
Small but mighty
The first thing to know about the K10 is that it’s tiny and adorable, like all Switchbot devices. It’s sold as a “mini” robot—9.5 inches in diameter, with a low profile and a sturdy build. The diminutive size allows it to carve into smaller spaces like corners and under toe kicks.
Like a lot of newer bots, the K10+ alleviates the pain of emptying your robot vac all the time by pairing it with a self-emptying tower. As the entire device is smaller than most traditional robots, this tower will tuck into small spaces and can be easily hidden away. (I put mine under the bathroom sink.)
Technically, the K10+ is a vacuum and a mop, but you’ll be more satisfied if you let go of the mopping function, which seems like a poorly executed afterthought.
A better app UI experience than competitors
The Switchbot pairs easily with the app, and in six weeks of service, it hasn’t gone offline once. I’ve been impressed with the simplicity of the app features and the cleanliness of the UI for other Switchbot products like the Bot and curtain swags, but I was curious how they’d scale to include vacuum functionality.
In short, I’m impressed. The mapping functionality is easier to use than Roomba, and certainly less temperamental. On its very first run through, I let it roam through my bathroom, kitchen, hallway, and dining room, which total about 600 square feet. It produced an accurate map in a short time, with the app showing the path the bot took a it moved through each space. The app allows you to marry spaces, break them apart and name them, and create “no-go zones”. You can vacuum by room by naming the rooms, or by area by creating them in the tabs.
Companies like iRobot have invested an enormous amount of time and research into creating elaborate feature sets in their apps, but I never missed them. The Switchbot is so easy to use, I never needed more.
Better at vacuuming and navigating than a lot of other bots
My house is littered with obstacles to confuse any robot vacuum—my dining room is loaded with chairs around the table, shipping boxes I haven’t unpacked yet, and hard-to-navigate items like dog dishes. My hallway is irregular, with lots of niches, and my bathroom is small with multiple rugs. Every robot has struggled with these spaces, and ended up stuck.
The Switchbot K10+ avoided getting stuck the vast majority of the time, only tripping up on a rubber mat once or twice. It also managed to get more of the floor clean than other bots did, thanks to its small size. It can maneuver through chair legs without getting stuck, for example. While it is small, it handled the larger space without issue, and didn’t seem to need recharging before it was done. You can set different levels of dirt extraction, from quiet to MAX (and they’re not kidding with the caps, it was powerful), and create schedules so the bot will clean without prompting. And as you tell the robot to pass into a space, whether a room or zone, you can even decide what order it does so, a feature I had not seen elsewhere before.
Additional features add utility
Switchbot works with voice assistants, so you can also call it to your service when you need to. It provides a cleaning report once done, which is cute but inessential.
One of the newer features I’m seeing on robots these days is the RC mode, which is basically a joystick mode. If your robot vacuum gets stuck, say, under the couch, you can use a digital joystick to send or rescue your bot. The K10+ has one, but this bot did not need much rescuing.
Another useful feature: the Switchbot keeps track of all of its parts, and tells you precisely when to replace, clean, or empty every one. Since I spend a lot of money replacing Roomba parts, I always check the price for replacement parts. For the K10+, a year’s worth of replacement (bags, rollers, sweeps, etc.) come as one kit, for $60.
The mopping function is best forgotten
The K10+ is so delightfully efficient as a vacuum you forget it is also a mopping robot. Sadly, it’s not a good mopping robot. Unlike the vacuum capability, with its self emptying bin, the robot can basically act like a Swiffer. You bolt on a plastic clip with a disposable wet pad (the K10+ comes with a package of the wet wipes) and then send it on it’s way. It won’t act like a vacuum while in “mop” mode, and of course, all this wet wipe does is smear stuff across the floor. It’s all manual, so once it’s done “mopping” you need to take the plastic clip and the wipe off. Compare this to the Roborock s8 or Narwhal, which mop from a water reservoir in the base, empty themselves, and wash the mophead. Sure, those bots are about twice the price, but illustrate how relatively useless the K10+’s mop feature is. If you’re doing that much work, you might as well actually push the Swiffer around yourself.
Bottom line: Switchbot impresses with this mid tier offering
If it included a water reservoir and self-maintaining mop, the K10+ would be a game changer, but even still, it illustrated to me that when it comes to robot vacuums, bigger isn’t always better. The next iteration of the Switchbot, the S10, promises all of that and more, with a self emptying mop that you can actually tie into your house’s water line. Unfortunately, it reverts to a more standard 14-inch size. For now, with a $500 price tag, the K10+ is a little vacuuming gem, and earns a solid recommendation.