LG Hom-Bot Square vacuum cleaner review

After launching the previous generation in a few select countries, the latest version of the Hom-Bot line is becoming available in more and more markets. It is time for our very detailed review.

In practice

Regarding the good experiences before and the known changes compared to the previous model I started to use this robot with big expectations. The large number of accessories and the hidden user interface can be scary at first, but once we go through the manuals the basic functions can be easy to learn.

The robot announces the start and finish of most operations on a lady's voice with a nice British accent. It is way better than the previous robot which spoke only Korean. Furthermore the voice can also be turned off if it bothers somebody.

Speed wise LG Hom-Bot Square is an average robot. It runs quickly but wisely. When approaching an obstacle the machine slows down visibly and it rarely clashes with the objects. The narrow chair legs, especially if they get between the two ultrasonic sensors, are invisible to the robot. In this case the collision is unavoidable. Otherwise the model bypasses everything nicely. Comparing to the other Korean brand it is a huge difference that the LG is able to follow the line of the curved walls or furniture. It presumes a really precise knowledge of the surroundings.

The shiny cover looks really nice. However the flying dust can easily pile up on the robot and on the glossy surface the dirt can be very visible. Of course the shiny red color is not as bad as the shiny black but when we empty the dust container we also have to calculate with a wipe off.

This robot, with its 8.9 cm height, is a borderline among my test models. Under the closed baby gate the robot is able to slip through however under an open, slightly sagging door it gets stuck. This robot is not the shortest model but it belongs to the shorter types.

It is a really important and special innovation at this robot that after I release it from the trap it is able to continue cleaning where it stopped before. Samsung robots are not able to do that (they start cleaning every time from the beginning and Neato, in most cases, cannot continue the work either because it is not able to locate its position. However the positioning algorithm of Hom-Bot was mostly able to identify (probably thank to the ceiling checking camera) the place without a problem and it could start the cleaning over where it stuck before. Regarding the manuals Hom-Bot robot is capable of identifying its position in a 1 meter circle.

The exceptional feature at LG robots is the very quiet operation. The main reason for that is obviously the not especially strong suction motor (compared to the motors of Neato robots), most of the cleaning and the dusting fall on the brushes. According to my measurements if LG Hom-Bot runs in a normal mode the noise level is on 59 dB and if it operates in Turbo mode the noise level increases to 62 dB. In Turbo mode the robot operates with bigger efficiency.

The panel on the top of robot is used for starting and stopping the machine, for choosing the cleaning mode, for turning the Turbo mode on and off, and for sending the robot back to the docking station. All the other settings can be managed with the remote control.

  • Four-way control button: manual control
  • Middle of the four-way control button (Stop, OK): stopping or setting approval
  • Start: starting
  • Home: sending back to the docking station
  • Turbo: turning on and off the Turbo mode
  • Repeat: repeating the currently used mode till the battery goes dead
  • My Space: cleaning the manually outlined area
  • Mute: turning voice messages on and off
  • Diagnosis: starting the robot’s own diagnosis (only from docking station)
  • Timing (no sign): controlling the set time of the start
  • Clock (no sign): setting the time

In my opinion the biggest disadvantage of LG Hom-Bot is that it offers too many possibilities to the user. Pressing the Mode button repeatedly we can choose from 5 modes which can be combined with the Turbo mode and with the repetition. If this wouldn’t be enough then all of these options can also be modified by the additional dust cloth. The possibility for geeks like me, that everything can be controlled, is awesome but most of the users only want to press the button. This is what iRobot and Neato have recognized very well and this is how a big Clean or Start buttons got to the top of the American robots.

Cleaning modes:

  • Zigzag:
    The robot cleans the room by moving along parallel lanes. The machine runs from wall to wall while it bypasses the obstacles.
  • Cell:
    The robot divides the room into a grid of 3×3 meter squares in which the machine runs in parallel lanes. If the robot finishes with a square it moves on to the next one. Depending on the furniture in the room the area doesn’t actually have to be a square.
  • My Space:
    By using the remote, the vacuum can be steered along the boundaries of the area that needs to be cleaned. After this the robot systematically goes along the marked area, first broad wise then lengthwise (ergo it runs twice everywhere so it is really thorough).
  • Manual:
    The robot can be controlled with four-way control buttons on the remote.
  • Spot:
    The robot moves in an approximately 1,5 meter circle in spiral shape. The vacuum easily bypasses the obstacles in this mode too however this may distort the form of the cleaned area.

Turning on the repeat mode we can increase the effectiveness of cleaning smaller rooms since the machine goes along each area twice or three times. In this way we can avoid the problem when the systemically cleaning robots leave some of the dust between the already cleaned lanes if the lanes don’t overlap each other properly. Regarding our experiences this mode is quite unnecessary since the robot works nicely without this as well.
In learning mode, first of all, the machine goes along the room and explores the area then it cleans the room accordingly. This mode only can be chosen with a docking station start however in this way I was not able to start the robot at all and the manuals didn’t help either.

The brushes, that have increased from 5.5 cm to 7 cm in length and are better situated, can reach the corners visibly better. Among the vacuums, that I have tested already, Hom-Bot Square is the robot which can sweep out almost all the dust from the corners. As we can see on the picture that however the brushes don’t get all the way to the end it is still enough for the dust not to pile up. To avoid bump the robot stops a few millimeters away from the wall.

The strange thing is that if we lock the vacuum cleaner into a room, after finishing cleaning it keeps looking for the docking station till the battery goes dead. It should know already that the docking station is not available in the reachable area, so it should stop looking for it.

Timing can be set in two ways on LG Hom-Bot Square. We can set a onetime start to a certain time or we can also give a time when the robot starts to work every day. Unfortunately we are not able to set different times to each day of the week or to skip certain days so the robot will start to run in the chosen time every day.

On hard floor and a little carpet the vacuum has run 90-100 minutes with one charge which was more than enough to go through the whole cleanable surface of a 150 m2 house. The totally dead battery can be charged in approximately 3 hours. The docking station uses 22-23 W while it charges the battery however approaching the full charge this rate decreases. At fully charged battery the docking station uses only 2.6 W and when the robot works the consumption of the station is so low that I could no measure it with my tools.

I cannot complain about the cleaning quality of LG Hom-Bot Square. It was working nicely although I mostly used it in turbo mode. The excellent job was noticeable not only on the clean floor but also on the full dust container. The disadvantage of robots with ultrasonic sensors is that they avoid bumps therefore they don’t go behind curtains or sofa skirts. In places like these the vacuum often leaves the dust behind. In return we don’t have to listen to the noise when the robot bumps into furniture or the wall. Good news is that this time the machine is able to go through the shorter obstacles (like door sills) and it doesn’t get stuck most of the time. In our house LG Hom-Bot Square mostly did a good job however there was this one day when during the three hour cleaning session it stuck three or four times and I had to release it from the trap. It hasn’t done such a thing before and after that occasion.

At one of these first occasions, for example, the robot gone over the power cable of an adapter and started to pull it along. The robot had recognized the problem early and it started to work on the escape in time. I wouldn’t have bet that it would succeed but after a few tries it has left the heavy load behind.

Regarding the dust cloth the situation is different. When we put the plastic frame on, the robot states that it won’t go through any thresholds. In reality it didn’t care much about threshold between different floor types and it just crossed from one area to the other one. It is, of course, not a problem but it can occur that it passes over some places but it skips others.

The maintenance need of the robot is average. The dust container is relatively easy to clean but hair can quickly build up on the roller brush. The suction power is just not strong enough to prevent this. The end of the axis seems to be well insulated so probably we won’t have any problem with that later.

Some of the latest LG products offer a clever diagnosis mode. Hom-Bot also has this feature. In this case the robot starts (from the docking station) to check its sensors and motors. If any of these have a problem the robot says it out loud. Pressing the Home button again the message can be listened to again. If any of the sensors has a problem the robot doesn’t return to the docking station so the sensors can be cleaned out.

The review is not over yet!

Next page: Conclusion

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