With the first day of Spring behind us, it's time for some start thinking about ways to refresh their homes for the new season. These 5 tech gagdets aim to help with the process and minimize the amount of elbow grease needed to get your space in its best shape. Like my product reviews of the past, I tested each item in my own home. Keep in mind that my experience is based on a "cleaning-for-one" basis, and that I used these items for less than 2 months. Other peoples' experiences may vary.
1. iRobot Braava jet 240 Mopping Robot
The iRobot Braava jet 240 Mopping Robot tackles dirt and stains in hard-to-reach places, like under kitchen cabinets and around toilets. Just attach a Braava jet Cleaning Pad (refills are $7.99 for 10) and the robot automatically selects wet mopping, damp sweeping, or dry sweeping, based on the chosen pad. Braava jet is designed to clean hard floors only, and is not meant to clean set-in scuff & stains. Motion sensor technology and a gyroscope enable the robot to 'sens' the size of the room and actually build a map.
Pros: This gadget is incredibily intuitive, and can clean floors in a matter of minutes--depending on the size of the room. What I appreciated was the fact that once it was done wet mopping, the floor was 97 percent dry, and I did not have to avoid stepping into the room, which I find with traditional wet mopping. At $199 for the robot, and $7.99 for a pack of 10 refill pads, the price is another pro.
Cons: This is definitely a luxury product, and might not be effective for an oversized house or room unless you run the robot several times.
2. Neato Botvac Connected
The Neato Botvac Connected is just one of Neato's many robotic vacuums. This particular model is unique because it allows the user to communicate through an app to tell the robot when and how to clean the space remotely via Wi-Fi.
Pros: This robot vacuum is unlike any others I've seen because it can actually "lift" itself out of difficult or tight situations and does not require a lot of attention during the cleaning cycle. Its unique SpinFlow technology uses potent suction and precision brushes which left my floors remarkably clean. I spot cleaned during the week and then used the Neato Botvac at the end of the week and was shocked at how much it was able to still pick up. I was also impressed by the amount of hair and debris that the machine could handle. Even with a short haircut and no pets, one can still accumulate large amounts of fallen hair and debris.
Cons: There are very few cons to report with this product, but I would say that you get what you pay for. This vacuum is on the higher end of the spectrum, but the results match the price.
3. Lilumia Makeup Brush Cleaner
As someone who wears liquid or powder makeup and uses a brush to apply it, one might know the familiar hassle of cleaning your brushes regularly -- if they clean them! The suggested cleaning schedule is once a week to prevent buildup, and since the brushes touch your face, the cleaner the better. This machine actually rotates brushes in a back-and-forth motion and can clean up to 12 brushes at a time.
Pros: My favorite feature of this machine was the "set it and forget it" style motor. I loaded my brushes, added the Lilumia brush cleanser and water, pressed the button, and walked away. It makes multitasking a breeze. In the past I would have to stand at the sink and scrub for 10 minutes per brush and they didn't always come clean.
Cons: I will admit, I do not always clean my brushes once a week, and I use them daily, so the buildup is sometimes immense. The machine delivers the best results after 1 round if the brushes are not overly soiled. If the user tends not to clean their brushes often, a second cycle might be necessary.
4. Dyson Pure Cool purifier fan
Spring cleaning can also mean cleaner air, and finding ways to help the people in your home breath fresher air. The Dyson Pure Cool air purifier fan has many helpful features, including its ability to eliminate potentially toxic fumes and odors. It purifies all year round, and keeps you cool in the summer as a fan as well.
Pros: My main critique of other air purifiers I have used was their noise level. They are sometimes loud or have a white noise feature. This purifier is quiet, but not silent, and it has a built-in sleep timer that can be set for up to 9 hours, which is helpful if using while you sleep. I also enjoyed the device's easy maintenance. There is no need for monthly filter maintenance and takes less than a minute to replace the filter, and only every 6 months. It is also safe for children because it is a bladeless fan.
Cons: Although the machine has a small footprint at 7.72 inches, and weighs 7.72 pounds, it is a tall machine, with a height of 40 inches. This could be an issue for someone who needs to set it on a table.
5. PhoneSoap 2.0
Lets face it, people constantly touch dirty things and then grab their phone, transferring that bacteria to the device. We may wash our hands, but how often do we clean our phone? Have you ever used your phone in the bathroom? (Don't worry, we all have.) Then it shouldn't surprise you that 1 in 6 cell phones have fecal matter on them! Not okay. There is a solution that is basically a sanitizing tanning bed for your phone. PhoneSoap is easy to use, and you just place the cell phone into the case, close the lid, and the PhoneSoap Charger uses UV light to sanitize and clean the cell phone.
Pros: There may not be enough time in the day to sanitize the cell phone, but a helpful feature is that the PhoneSoap lets you plug in the USB end of your specific charger. Then thread the charging end through the "secret passage way" and plug straight into the device while it is sanitizing. This can easily be done at night.
Cons: This device is a one-trick pony, so there are not really any cons, but a helpful tool would be for the PhoneSoap to audibly beep or sound when the 5 minute cycle is complete, in addition to its already built-in feature of the blue lights going out when the cycle is finished.