Hobot is one of the leading brands of window cleaning robot producers and has an impressive line-up of products. Two of the stand out models are the Hobot 388 and Hobot 298. Both would easily stake a claim as the best robotic window cleaner on the market.
But you will certainly not purchase both, so the question is which of these two leading window cleaning robots will give you more value for your money?
In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look at the two machines, see what is good and maybe not so good about them, and take a look at a few of the nuances that could make you decide to buy one over the other.
So let’s get going.
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Hobot 388 vs 298 – the quick answer
These two robots are the most current window cleaner models from Hobot, and they are almost evenly matched with very similar features. However, the squarish Hobot 298 is slightly ahead because it cleans faster, has a higher tank capacity, lower power consumption and lower noise level. Performance-wise, they are almost equal but Hobot 298 will clean the same window much faster than Hobot 388.
Hobot 298 is also better suited for cleaning corners and edges due to its squarish design, and it can be used on both framed and frameless windows while Hobot 388 works on only framed surfaces.
The Hobot 298 also costs a little more than the 388, but this isn’t a dealbreaker because the price difference is only $20.
So let’s take a closer look at each model individually before comparing them side by side.
Hobot 388 Overview
The Hobot 388 is a premium window cleaning robot designed to polish off dust and clean large rectangular windows. Using a suction force it vertically attaches itself to a window-pane while a forceful vacuum motor sucks off dust particles and the soft synthetic fibers of the cleaning cloths thoroughly wipe the windows clean.
Two cleaning wheels help the robot complete cleaning tasks, it will work its way from left to right and around the window glass, these wheels are wrapped with microfiber cloths to prevent the robot from leaving tracks and marks as it moves around the window-pane.
With a water tank and an ultrasonic water spray nozzle, it evenly wets the window for the cleaning pads to smoothly glide over leaving a spotless glass, and it can be controlled remotely on a smartphone app via WiFi connectivity.
If you want more in-depth information, be sure to read our full Hobot 388 review.
How the HOBOT-388 Window Cleaning Robot Works
When connected to a power supply and placed on a window, the energy-efficient brushless DC motor powers up to deliver enough suction to enable the device to maintain a powerful grip on the surface, while the cloth-wrapped cleaning wheels simultaneously rotate in different directions which propels the robot in a slow zigzag cleaning pattern.
While the Hobot 388 moves horizontally across each glass pane, it wipes off dust and grime on its path.
This robot is designed such that the suction is strong enough to overcome small leaks and hold on to both very smooth and slightly rough surfaces such as glasses, wall tiles, granite or marble, etc. It can either dry-clean a surface or wet clean with water or a special Hobot cleaning solution.
During the wet cleaning process, it automatically wets the surface by spraying liquid in the water tank through a unique ultrasonic water spray which turns fluid particles into a dense mist so the robot cleans without leaving marks.
An embedded uninterrupted power system (UPS) acts as a backup battery and provides extra power for up to 20 minutes while a long safety rope keeps it from hitting the floor in case of an accidental fall. After every cleaning, the robot drives back to its starting position so it can be easily picked up.
Cleaning Performance of the HOBOT-388
Hobot 388 does an excellent automatic cleaning job, it removes dust, grime, and soft dirt stains, but it will not remove very tough stains that have dried up on a glass pane, and you may have to manually scrub off tough stains like dried bird dropping.
This window cleaning robot cleans without leaving smears and will leave your glasses shiny and beautiful, especially large windows, it’s recommended that you always run a first cleaning cycle with dry pads before the second with wet pads. And since it has circular cleaning wheels, it does not perfectly clean out edges next to window frames.
It cleans well on bright sunny or low humidity days but not on rainy days or before or after it rains else it will leave visible streaks. When using this robot an area other than glass, like bathroom wall tiles, ensure that the surface is dry so the robot can move smoothly without slipping.
Maintaining the Hobot-388 Robotic Window Cleaner
Caring for this machine is easy, first, you have to change the microfiber cloths after each use, and they should be washed and dried for the next use.
Do not bleach, dry-clean, tumble dry or iron the cleaning pads.
If you used the window detergent for cleaning, it’s important to empty the tank by transferring the remaining cleaning solution to the detergent bottle. Then fill the tank with water and use the remote or app to spray water through the nozzle, this cleans out the nozzle and prevents it from getting clogged.
If the water spray nozzle gets clogged then it should be changed or the entire tank can be replaced.
- Very easy to use
- Properly cleans different surface types
- Good safety features
- Intuitive remote control
- User-friendly mobile app
- Can be noisy
- Doesn’t clean frameless windows
- HOBOT is Hi-Tech Product. Please Watch Video Manual and read Manual before use! You can use link on video tutorial on box. House Cleaning Robot works with power cord ONLY. Embedded UPS (Un-interrupted...
- Do NOT use on frames with non-rectangular (rounded) edges. Minimum surface size - 13х13 inch. For any glass thickness (3 mm or more).
Last update on 2022-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Hobot 298 Overview
This window cleaning robot is one of the most advanced models from Hobot, it sports some of the most advanced designs found in similar gadgets in its class.
Hobot 298 has the same basic designs as most other robots, however, it has an advanced artificial intelligence technology version S 1.0 and laser sensors to ensure faster and better cleaning.
Just like the Hobot 388, it also features the patented ultrasonic water spray that nebulizes water particles to 15 micrometer, so it looks like mists or human exhales of glass so there are no smears left. Its brushless DC motor boosts a powerful suction force which keeps it firmly attached to the cleaning area.
Cleaning Performance of the HOBOT-298
The Hobot 298 window cleaning robot works great, it cleans both the exterior and interior much the same way. It cleans best if the mess on the surface are dust particles and soft stains.
Using it to clean your windows with caked mess or stupid stains may not yield great results, and you may have to run several cycles.
For cleaning tough stains or very dirty glass, run at least two cleaning cycles with dry cleaning pad before proceeding to apply a little amount of cleaning liquid on the window and on the microfiber cloth, and make sure you change the pads to run them after each clean to ensure there are no smears or streaks.
Maintaining the Hobot-298 Window Cleaning Robot
Taking care of your hobot window cleaning robot will ensure you have clean windows at all times and thankfully this is a low maintenance device.
You need to always change the cleaning pad after each cleaning, and they should be washed and dried before the next use, especially if they were used for cleaning very dirty window panes.
The microfiber cloth should not bleach. Also, its replaceable water tank will need to be changed if the ultrasonic spray nozzle becomes clogged.
Finally, the robot needs to be cleaned before each use with a dry and soft piece of cloth and special attention should be given to the laser sensors and caterpillar treads.
- Efficient at cleaning windows
- Easy to set up and operate
- Compact and lightweight
- Excellent artificial intelligence
- Impressive safety features
- It can be noisy
- It’s a bit pricey
- Please read Manual before use! We created video manual for you. You can use link on Video tutorial on the box. House Cleaning Robot works with power cord ONLY. Embedded UPS (Un-interrupted Power...
Last update on 2022-08-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
388 vs 298 Window Cleaning Robots: Side by side comparison
Design and weight
Hobot window cleaning robots are usually either square or round-shaped. Hobot 298 has a white and squarish design which makes it ideal for cleaning corners of rectangular windows.
It has a sturdy handle and weighs about 2.65 pounds. Hobot 388 is black and round-shaped with two rotating cleaning wheels wrapped with blue-violet cleaning pads, and it weighs just 2 pounds.
The two robotic window cleaners both have an input voltage of 100-240V, working at 50/60Hz, but the power consumption differs slightly; 90W for Hobot 388 and 72 W for the 298.
Also, they both have embedded UPS (Uninterrupted Power System) and a secure screw-in DC power jack design prevents disconnection.
To prevent the window cleaning robot from falling off a window mid-clean, each one of them has a suite of sensors and an anti-fall algorithm for automatically detecting frames and obstacles. And when there’s an outage, the in-built UPS keeps them in place for at least 20 minutes.
Controlling these home robots can either be via smartphone or the included remote control. The remote has auto cleaning buttons, buttons for spraying cleaning solution on the glass, and directional buttons for changing the direction of the robot. The mobile app connects to the robot via Bluetooth, and it’s just as intuitive and easy to use and the remote control.
The maximum working height of each of these robots is 6 meters and the width is 5 meters. This is because they both have a 5-meter long power cord plus an extension cord and a 4.5-meter long safety rope.
With Hobot 298 comes an adapter, an AC power cord, a DC extension cord, a remote control, one window detergent, 3 microfiber polishing cloths, a safety rope and a user manual.
For Hobot 388, included in the box are; an adapter, microfiber cloth × 14, AC power cord, a safety rope, a DC extension cord, an adapter, one ultrasonic nozzle, a remote control, a user manual, 4 cleaning rings.
Hobot 298 vs 388: Key Differences
Both robots follow smart controlled routes and return to their starting point after cleaning, however, there are each equipped with a different AI technology.
The Hobot 388 sports Thanks AI Technology V4.0 for smart window cleaning and zigzags its way horizontally across the surface. While Hobot 298 is fitted with AI Technology S2.1 moves in straight-lines horizontally from one edge to another.
Hobot 298 is the bigger robot, it’s almost twice the size of Hobot 388 which means it covers more area, so it’s no surprise that it cleans faster. It cleans at a speed of 2.4 min/m2 while Hobot 388 has a speed of 4 min/m2.
The slower speed of the Hobot 388 can be attributed to both its smaller size and slower zigzag movement.
Framed or frameless windows
Both devices are designed to work on panes of any glass thickness. But Hobot 388 can only be used on framed windows while Hobot 298 can clean both framed and frameless glass because it has laser sensors that detect the end of a windowpane and will change direction when they encounter an edge.
Water tank capacity
To provide deep cleaning of glass surfaces, each robot first cleans with dry cleaning cloths before wetting the surface with some cleaning solution from the tank.
They both have the ultrasonic spray system which nebulizes the fluid particle size to 15 μm so it cleans without leaving streaks on window surfaces. However, the tank capacity of the 298 is almost twice that of Hobot 388. Hobot 298 has a 40ml replaceable tank while the tank on Hobot 388 is 25 ml.
With a level of 64 dB, Hobot 298 may come across as noisy to some, but it’s one of the quietest window robots out there. Hobot 388 is a bit louder than this and has a working volume of 70 dB, and you may need some ear muffs to cope with the noise.
How well do Hobot window cleaners work on dusty windows?
For very dusty windows, it’s best to first run the cleaner with only dry microfiber cloths to dust off some of the dirt on the surface. Then change to neat pads and run another cleaning cycle with the cleaning fluid. Doing this way produces a beautiful result without smears or streaks.
Some of my windows are triangular, will any of these robots work?
Sorry, they won’t. These gadgets are designed for only rectangular windows.
Will it move across the dividers to each pane?
No, they will not. Window cleaning robots usually do not climb over muntins and mullions or any window dividers. They are laser sensors for detecting the frame or edges and will change direction when they encounter an obstacle. After cleaning a particular glass pane you will have to manually over the robot to another pane for it to be cleaned.
Can I use Hobot for my curved windows?
The Hobot window cleaning robot needs to maintain pressure in order to remain attached to a surface while cleaning, therefore if the curves on your windows are too deep as to interfere with this pressure then neither of these devices will efficiently clean your window. However, it will work of slightly curved windows which can still preserve pressure.
Do they also clean shower doors or tile walls?
Yes, they work great on tiled bathroom walls, polished granite or marble, textured glass and shower surround. These devices are designed to overcome small leaks therefore they work well on surfaces with a small degree of roughness.
Do they also work on glass solarium and overhead glass ceiling?
Yes, they can. Hobot window cleaning robots have enough suction and long power cable to clean overhead glass windows without falling off provides the windows are smooth and continuous.
Does the battery require charging?
Not if the Hobot is constantly used, but if it isn’t then the built-in rechargeable battery will need to be charged every 4 to 6 months and the robot stored in a dry and safe place. Charging the battery should take no more than a few hours.
Apparently, these two Hobot window cleaners are built for achieving the same purpose, but the Hobot 298 is undoubtedly the most advanced of the two with slightly better features and performance.
Based on design features and performance alone, deciding which to buy is pretty easy since the gadgets have much the same price; the 298 costs only $20 more Hobot 388.
But if you find the round-shaped design of the Hobot 388 more attractive than the square shape of the 298, that’s okay because you still have a great window cleaner.
Matt is the founder of the Little Robot Shop, who has spent much of the last decade hacking home cleaning with various robots and devices to make keeping his home clean as easy as possible. Not an easy task with two young children.
When not working on the Little Robot Shop website or YouTube channel, he works as technical support and product specialist for a fast-growing digital company. He does his best to get his younglings to code, which will be an essential skill in the future.