First there was the broom, then came the Swiffer. Then there was the Swiffer and then came Mint. Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner 4200 is a new robotic sweeper/mop, or what I like to call – a robotic Swiffer machine. First spotted at CES 2010, Mint by Evolution is an adorable bot that purrs like a kitten and will match nicely with your iMac or iPad at the same time. No it doesn’t vacuum and shoot across the room looking to suck everything up in its way. But what it does do is sweep or mop your floors meticulously.
Inside the box you will find the Mint, manuals, a NorthStar Cube, and some machine washable/ reusable microfiber cleaning pads for both dry and wet floors. Lastly there is a power adapter.
The Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner is just so adorable, that you want to carry it around like a purse because it’s so light and portable. The design features a low profile so it can go under furniture easily. Underneath its body is where you would attach a reusable cloth, or a Swiffer dry or wet pad. The very front of the cleaner is the bumper.
On the top of the Mint are three buttons. One for sweeping, mopping, and lastly, the power button. In front of the buttons is the Navigation System Indicator which will blink three blue lights as it makes its way around a room. In the dead center of the machine is a black diamond shape which houses the NorthStar Navigation Sensor.
Overall Mint is a very compact little device that doesn’t look to take up much space at all and actually blends in quite nicely with its white high-gloss aesthetic and in some ways – it is almost toy like.
Mint doesn’t take much brains to get started. Simply put, it’s a cleaning machine that is guided by a navigation system. When you want to clean a specific room – all you have to do is place its little buddy, the NorthStar Cube in a room where the Mint machine is, press power and wait for the blue light on the cube shaped device to become solid. That means the cube has detected the Mint Cleaner and it will work with the machine to make sure it cleans the entire room.
To get the device ready for cleaning was easy. Turn the machine over, pull off the removable hard plastic cleaning pad on the bottom of the device and then slide on to it whatever cloth you plan on using in the grooves to hold it in place. Then you attach the pad back on to the machine and turn it over – done. The machine is either ready to mop or sweep by pressing either corresponding button.
Honestly when I first saw Mint, I really didn’t think I would be all that impressed. Certainly it is not a vacuum and it won’t clean my carpet. So what good is it? Well it turns out that it cleans terrifically on hardwood, linoleum, or vinyl surfaces, and even marble. I mean why do we use a Swiffer? Because we want to keep the floor fresh in between major vacuuming sessions. It’s also great for spot cleaning in a hurry.
The Mint accomplishes this without having to break a sweat. It is methodical when it is in either sweeping or in moping mode – it will go back and forth while mopping or in straight lines when sweeping. It’s also quite rigorous when its mopping – trying to get all the dirt and grime off your floor. The battery lasts a total of 3 hours on a single charge. However it will clean and clean until it completes the room. Once done, it will return to where it started from. There is no charging base for the Mint to return too, but just a AC Adapter that charges it.
You can also have Mint work while you are sleeping because it practically makes no noise! It really makes as much noise you would swiffering around your home. This is a delightful break from all the noisy robotic and regular vacuums alike.
However because it isn’t a vacuum and is just a sweeping machine, after awhile you will see that it just ends up pushing dirt and hair around on the floor because the pad has gotten too dirty to hold anymore. If you are using a reusable cloth, this means picking the dirt off with your fingers, because if you don’t, clumps of hair begin to form on the cloth that just ends up being pushed around on the floor.
Besides for using the included machine washable and reusable microfiber cloths, Mint can also work with Swiffers dry cloths and wet Swiffer pads too – so that means you can just toss these when you are done and replace with a new one. This is probably not the most ecological or economical choice, but hey at-least you aren’t getting a blister pushing the Swiffer stick around.
The Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner is a charming device that isn’t meant for heavy floor cleaning jobs like your Roomba or Neato are, and it certainly won’t scrub the floor like an iRobot Scooba. However, it is able to clean an entire room with the help of its NorthStar Cube companion. It doesn’t get tangled or distracted by furniture or other objects in its way either. And as an extra cherry on top, it goes back and cleans the edges of your walls and furniture before parking itself for the day or night. It also works almost silently, and will most certainly entertain your pet as it makes it away around your hardwood floors.
The Mint’s downfalls are that you can’t program it to clean at specific times or days. If you don’t use reusable cloths, you will be spending money on Swiffer pads on top of what you spent on the machine. Also, if you don’t clean your or replace your cleaning pads often enough, you’ll find that Mint will be pushing dirt around rather than collecting it. That said, Mint is adorable to watch as it makes its way around your home, on top of that it does get the job done well when you need to quickly tidy up your home or apartment and make those hardwood floors sparkle. The best part is you will never have to get your fingers caught in those awful Swiffer stick cloth grabber teeth again! Mint’s suggested retail price is $249.99 but it currently retails for $199 at Bed, Bath & Beyond which is certainly more reasonable.
The Good: Unique design makes it easy to go under furniture and it leaves a small footprint in your home. It does a good job of cleaning a room, getting in and around obstacles. It also sweeps and mops meticulously. Works very quietly.
The Bad: No scheduling function. No base for it to return too. Lots of hair could get pushed around rather than swept up.