Review: Switchbot K10+ Mini Robot Vacuum Cleaner – A gadget worth getting swept away with

So Small, It Can Clean Any Corner

I’ve reviewed some Switchbot products before and I am familiar with the Eco System that all of their products are integrated with. So, I lept for joy when I got to review their K10+ Mini robot vacuum cleaner.

When I was growing up, there was a sitcom on TV called Metal Mickey which was all about the hi-jinks of a domestic robot living with an ordinary family. I remember finding it amusing to think that robots could one day, enter our homes and become a part of our lives in such an intimate way. Of course, we are still far away from realising this fictional concept but it seems like the zeitgeist is steadily creeping towards it.

A Robot Vacuum Cleaner! What’s not to like about something that will clean up after us without seeking reward, recompense or even gratitude? It’s a No Brainer! Isn’t it?

First Impressions

Inside the box, you will find the K10+, the Auto-Empty Station and some other accessories. The handy User Manual gives thorough information while the Quick Start Guide tells you what you need to get your K10+ quickly up & running (or should I say Charged Up and Whirring!) The front of the K10+ has a bumper which it uses to detect objects and obstacles. The dimensions of the K10+ are conveniently compact enough to get into places other robot vacuum cleaners just can’t.

Setting up

There is minimal, physical set-up involved when you take it out of the box. The instructions require you to remove any foam padding that has been stuffed into gaps and crevices.  It’s a good idea to position the unit near an electrical mains socket although the power cable is of a decent length if this isn’t possible. Good WiFi coverage is also required as the K10+ needs to be linked to the Switchbot app.

Under the faceplate, there is an On/Off switch which needs to be flicked on in preparation of the K10+ coming to life.

At the rear of the Bot are two metal charging contacts that should align with the metal contacts of the Auto-Empty Station/ docking station. This is where the K10 is based and where it charges itself. The light ring on top of the robot switches on along with a “Welcome” sound. This is when the user is required to continue the set-up process on the app.

The App

If this is your first Switchbot product, you need to carefully follow the instructions to set up login credentials and then link your product(s) to the app. This is where I hit a stumbling block. The K10+ requires 2.4 GHz WiFi. 5Ghz IS NOT supported. I got myself into a panic at this stage. I’ve been having WiFi issues lately and after many angry exchanges with my broadband provider, they eventually offered an upgrade to an Amazon Eero which is 5Ghz. I was beginning to feel sheepish at the prospect of going back to my provider to ask to be switched back to 2.4 GHz. However, after some Googling, I learned that it was possible to temporarily switch to a 2.4 GHz connection with the Amazon Eero app, right on my phone. I was so relieved! Anyway, it took a couple of attempts but my patience was eventually rewarded when I was finally able to establish a connection. As well as manual operation, it is also possible to set a Vacuuming Schedule with the help of the app so it can get to work at preset times throughout the day or night.

It’s Alive!

The K10+ needed to be charged before use. This is a simple process guided by instructions in the app. The app will let you know once it’s charged.

The K10+ uses its sensors to scan the room to detect boundaries and provides visual feedback on the phone. At this point, you can add no-go zones by dragging blocks around the plan to clearly define where the Bot is not to attempt to vacuum. Once this is done, the K10+ springs into action. The Edge-Sweeping brush begins to rotate and the Bot diligently sweeps across the floor collecting any debris in its path. I should mention that any moveable objects should be cleared away beforehand. The Bot won’t appreciate stray shoes and socks or toys strewn over the floor. It does do a good job with managing to sweep around chair and table legs. Uneven floor surfaces caused by rugs and mats appeared to be of no consequence to the K10+. The position of the Bot is plotted live on the app screen as it paces across the floor.

The noise the Bot makes in its default setting, I found to be acceptable although I did feel the suction power didn’t match my regular vacuum cleaner. The K10+ addresses this by offering a choice of four settings that will increase suction power however, this does result in a louder noise and less battery range.

Once the vacuuming is done, the K10+ is able to return to its starting position, docked in the Auto-Empty Station. Here it empties the rubbish into the collection bag nestled inside the unit and automatically begins to charge itself.

It Mops too!

I’m not a pet owner but watching the Bot disappear out of sight under a sofa or table is how I imagine pets behave, except the K10+ won’t leave little “messages” on the floor for you to clean up. The K10+ is also equipped with a mopping function (of sorts). Under the lid of the Auto-Empty Station there is a mopping pad plate. The user can then attach a suitably sized mopping cloth to the plate which is attached to the underside of the K10+, covering the Multi-Surface Brush. A simple tap on the app or the Clean button on top of the Bot will prompt it to begin mopping. Now, it’s best not to get your hopes up at this stage as I wouldn’t say the mopping function isn’t as efficient as a good old traditional mop. It does, however do a good job of mopping up minor leaks & spillages. I think the K10+ stands out most with its vacuuming function.

What do I really think?

The Switchbot K10+ Mini Robot Vacuum Cleaner is ideal for modern homes that are generally clutter-free and where the flooring is hard and not carpeted. It doesn’t vacuum stairs although it can detect when the floor disappears and will avoid falling down stairs. It will easily handle debris like grit, sand, fluff, hair and the like… but the Multi-Surface Brush may occasionally need to be manually detangled of hairs that have become wrapped around it. This Bot is a handy, little workhorse if cleanliness is of paramount importance in your home.

To learn more or get your hands on a Switchbot K10+ Robot Vacuum Cleaner, head on over to www.switch-bot.com/products/switchbot-mini-robot-vacuum-k10

About Author
Chetan is a London-based designer by profession. He is passionate about the role design plays in everyday life whether it's graphic, digital, fashion, product or environmental design. Motivated by aesthetic design, function and the User Experience of emerging and new technologies, products and platforms, he is ever keen to learn, discover and innovate. Although he doesn't consider himself a nerd or a geek, he is a big movie fan and lists Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Shawshank Redemption and… Brewsters Millions among his favourites! Chetan is also an aspiring author and is currently working on his first novel.