P&G would have you believe that the Swiffer is the only tool on the proverbial block that can keep your hardwood, or anything but carpet (read: shiny floors) clean and dust free. And while that product does work marginally well, you’ll not only need to purchase the company’s propriety pads as they soak up grim and muck, but you’ll have to physically make yourself available for what is surely the most boring household task (aside from folding laundry).
And while the O-Duster from O-Cedar still requires you to invest in proprietary pads, it does however negate the need for your humanly presence.
In essence, the O-Duster is the ultra poorman’s version of the Roomba. It lack the vacuum parts, the spinning bristles, the intelligent walls, and really all the things that make it a smart cleaning system. But with that comes a price tag that is a fraction of the cost of a Roomba; $40-50. Heck, even the box feels a bit cheap, though despite this O-Cedar still includes 3 cleaning pads – you can buy a 20 count for 10, so you’re getting $1.50 worth of free product.
Also included in the box is a DC charger. Once the O-Duster is fully charged the only LED light will change from red to green. That said, I got about 40 minutes of cleaning time (20 minutes each cleaning occasion) on a charge before having to plug it back in.
Using the O-Duster is pretty self-explanatory; once it’s charged you simply need to adhere one of the cleaning pads to the mesh base that has been adorned with a velcroesque surface. The pads won’t feel as though they’re going to stick in place, and while it’s far from perfect, trust me, it works.
There are two buttons, or as O-Cedar likes to call them, cleaning programs available: short (30 minutes) and long (120 minutes). Regardless which program you choose, the O-Duster will spin, drive, and bump into your home’s objects. Unlike a Roomba, it won’t keep track of what area it’s already cleaned, so it will cover the same area again and again. Worse, it can easily get stuck when presented with nooks, such as between the wall and the sofa, as was my experience. Occasionally it could eventually find its way out simply by the very luck of bumping on and off things, but more than half the time I had to help it out.
Because there are no virtual walls, you’ll want to setup barriers to prevent the O-Duster from driving off a cliff, or in my case the stairs leading to my ground floor. Fortunate for me, the O-Duster survived this fall relatively unblemished, which I was both surprised and happy to find.
After one cleaning of my living room, which measures about 20 x 15-feet, the O-Duster had collected a considerable amount of dust and dog hair off the floor. Each pad lasted me two cleaning cycles and then I had to apply a new one.
So there is no disputing that is can be effective, especially when it comes to reaching places that you wouldn’t otherwise touch unless you got on your hands and knees. That said, the O-Duster is more stupid than it is intelligent. Its behavior is more akin to brute force, as it drives into objects until it can no longer move forward, where upon it rotates and switch directions. The problem is that in small areas this causes it to get stuck – I can’t help but think of Austin Powers when he tries to complete a three-point turn in a small highway.