Robot vacuums are enticing because they let you keep your home clean without the work. But these home helpers can be expensive so it’s important to choose the right one since you’re going to be paying for it. There are literally dozens of choices when it comes to robot vacuums, and one of the most familiar vacuum brands has released a new vacuum and mop robot; the Bissell SpinWave R5. In this review, I’ll put the bot to the test in my home to see what it does well and what it struggles with, how well it cleans overall and how easy it is to set up and operate. I’ll wrap things up by letting you know if I think this is a good investment for your home.
Bissell SpinWave R5
If you know what you’re getting with the SpinWave R5 you’re going to like it. It seems to me that it’s more geared towards mopping and keeping dust from accumulating. My recommendation here would be that if you’d be relying on this robot for its mopping capabilities, you’ll be a pretty happy camper. If you also have a need for strong vacuum performance, I’d look into a different robot.
- Mops very well
- Easy set up
- Vacuum and mopping capability together
- Spinning mopping pads are effective
- Vacuum power is lacklustre
- Ineffective on carpets
- Gets stuck a lot
- Room-specific cleaning is buggy
- Need to swap plates for mopping
What is Bissell SpinWave R5?
The rage in robot floor cleaners right now is to have a single device that both vacuums and mops. That’s the promise of the Bissell SpinWave R5. This bot can do both tasks at once and it promises over two hours of run time on a single charge. The SpinWave R5 has dual spinning mopping pads and the ability to add cleanser to the mopping tank, while the vacuum suction is rated at 2,000Pa. I think it’s worth pointing out the 2,000Pa of suction is actually quite low. Many of the newer robot vacuums and even dual vacuum and mop bots are offering five and 6,000Pa of suction which should be particularly effective on carpet and rugs. I will wait for my dedicated carpet testing to judge if Bissell has missed the mark here by not amping up the suction. You can check out all my tests and my personal experience with the Spinwave R5 by watching the video review.
Watch what happens in my hands-on video review
What’s in the box?
There are numerous parts and accessories included in the box. You get the SpinWave robot with the good sized 550ml vacuum dustbin already installed. There is a large, multi prong corner brush, which is unlike any other I have seen, featuring both long and short bristles, which I hope will result in a better ability to feed scattered debris into its vacuum rollers.
A second mopping plate is also included. That houses a 440ml water tank and two round microfibre mopping pads. The charging, cleaning and docking station is made up of the charging base, docking tray (to keep the mopping pad from wetting the floor), and a power adapter. You’ll also get ads and a small bottle of cleaning formula.
To get set up and ready, Place your bot on the charging base to get powered up. Meantime, you’ll need to download and sign into or sign up for the Bissell Connect app. The app will walk you through getting your bot connected to Wi-Fi and that took me just a couple of minutes.
When the Bissell SpinWave is fully charged, press the start button to begin cleaning. When the robot goes out for the first time it will begin to create a map of your home. For me, to create a format, I actually had to send it out twice, but after that, I had an accurate map of my space. Once the space is marked that gives you the ability to use room, specific or zone cleaning.
How to use Bissell SpinWave R5
With this robot, to some extent, you need to choose whether you want to vacuum, or vacuum and mop at once.
If you only want to vacuum, ensure the large dry dustbin is installed in the bottom. The dustbin is a good size and will hold quite a bit of debris. If you want to mop, or vacuum mop together, you need to switch out the dry dustbin for the mopping plate.
If the mopping plate has been installed the dustbin size is cut down drastically. That’s because the space is needed for the water tank for the mopping pads. In my experience with this bot if you have a multiple pet home or things are a bit on the dirty side, it’s a good idea to run the vacuum first and then take care of the mopping. If your home is not as dirty or dusty, you can probably get away with using the marking plate with its smaller dry dustbin.
Vacuum and mop at once
With the mopping plate installed it’s possible to both vacuum and mop at the same time. The capacity of the dry dustbin is quite small, but the trade-off here is you’re getting debris removed and the floors washed at once.
Room & Zone cleaning
I discovered that this robot has limited ability to clean by room. It does not seem to allow you to divide rooms or label them, what it does do is allow you to do what’s called zone cleaning. This requires you drawing a box around the space you wanted to clean and then starting the robot. And I was only able to do this on demand; I was not able to schedule any zone specific cleaning.
When it comes to scheduling, I was able to create daily and weekly schedules for the robot, but the schedule only allowed me to clean the whole house not specific rooms or zones.
Suction power: carpet tests
As I noted earlier, the suction power on this robot is just 2,000Pa. This is significantly lower than some other floor cleaning robots, including the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra I recently reviewed which boasts 6,000Pa of suction power. In my experience, many new bots deliver suction power in the 4 to 6,000Pa range so this seems low. I was very interested in running my carpet cleaning tests to see how the SpinWave would manage. When I test out all my vacuums, I run the same tests in my home. I sprinkle things like finer flour or sugar, mid-sized bits like rice or oatmeal, and larger cracker crumbs on both carpet and hard floors to see how well it cleans.
Unfortunately, the SpinWave seemed to struggle with cleaning carpet. It didn’t have the suction power to lift finer flour from the top of the fibers, it did okay with rice, and was intermittent with larger cracker or chip pieces. I can say it did seem like it could tell when it had encountered a larger area of debris and it would make repeated passes over that area or circle itself around. I’d say it got only about 60 to 75% of the scattered debris I placed for it.
On hard floors, I can say the SpinWave did a bit better. It got closer to 80% of some debris on the floor, but when it was finished, I could still see a substantial amount of flour on the floor and needed to manually clean it up (I guess I could also have run the mop too).
It wasn’t bad at picking up rice, but when it came to larger cracker pieces, the robot’s large corner brush seemed to scatter those over a much wider area and probably was only successful at picking up about 50% of that larger debris.
The bissell SpinWave has a large mopping water tank and two generously sized microfibre pads that spin so you’re getting some scrubbing ability.
In my cleaning tests I sent it to tidy up both a fresh coffee spill, damp coffee grounds, and dried coffee stains. I found it did a very good job at tackling all of it, getting probably about 99% of the floor cleaned.
One final note; you’ll want to regularly clean and wash and dry the mopping pads to keep them from just smearing dirt back across your floors. The pads can go in the washing machine and dryer. Unlike some other vacuum and mopping robots that will both clean their own pads and dry them too (expect to pay $1300-$1500 for this), with this lower cost bot the maintenance is up to you.
You may wonder what happens to a mopping robot when it encounters carpet. Bissell says the SpinWave R5 has carpet avoidance technology. That means it won’t venture onto carpet with the mopping plates installed, and I confirmed that in my testing.
I consider basic hazard and object avoidance to be table stakes when it comes to investing in a robot vacuum. Robot vacuums have been around for long enough where this is a basic feature that should just exist and work well, so I’m always surprised by bots that can’t keep themselves out of trouble.
The SpinWave R5 struggled to recognize and avoid many hazards, including cords and cables, the base of stools, and some fabrics and other dropped items. Quite often during my testing I would hear the bot shut down because it had become tangled on something and I would have to go and untangle and rescue it. Now, in fairness, Bissell does not make any claims that this robot has any hazard avoidance whatsoever, so I might be overstepping and looking for this feature. Even so, since so many other bots can and do avoid tangles, I feel its worth mentioning that this bot is very likely to get caught on things and shut down if you don’t pick up loose items. It even got stuck on rugs a few times too.
From time to time the SpinWave seemed to become lost in my home. Typically this happened after it would get caught on something and I’d need to rescue it. It’s like it lost its place, and I’d need to just pick it up and put it back on its base station.
Battery life & charging
Bissell SpinWave robot R5 has a stated run time of up to 140 minutes, or just over 2 hours. Rather surprisingly, charging time is quite substantial at 5.5 to 6.5 hours. In theory, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern, since, as it always returns to its recharging base, it should always have a full battery. But worth taking into account.
No night time quiet time
The robot will clean your home until it runs out of battery power, then it will return to the base to re-charge enough to complete the clean.
One oddity I did notice in my testing is that because that recharging time is so long, the bot may want to resume its clean when you don’t want it to. Case in point; after I had gone to bed one evening, the robot powered up again late at night to finish a cleaning I had started earlier in the evening. I was able to grab my phone and cancel it, but being able to establish quiet hours for the robot, where it would not venture out again, would be helpful in my opinion.
Overall Bissell Spin Wave r5 review
I think if you know what you’re getting with this Bissell SpinWave robot r5, you’re going to like it. It seems to me that it’s more geared towards mopping and keeping dust from accumulating. It’s not the greatest at picking up substantial floor spills or debris and its carpet cleaning abilities are barely adequate. Fortunately, what it lacks in vacuuming prowess it makes up for in thorough mopping.
On the pro side, the bot is easy to set up and it’s easy to swap the different dust and mopping bins. It was fast at mapping my home and produced an accurate digital version. It mopped extremely well overall and kept my hard floors grit-free.
On the con side, the vacuum power is just okay; not great at carpets but better on floors, and best for mopping. Plus with how often it gets stuck it can be a challenge to finish a clean.
My recommendation here would be that if you’d be relying on this robot for its mopping capabilities, you’ll be a pretty happy camper. If you also have a need for strong vacuum performance, I’d look into a different robot. You can get the SpinWave R5 from Bissell or Amazon.
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