Adopting a new technology is always somewhat intimidating, especially when it’s a new technology that most people you know don’t own or haven’t even considered yet. That’s what you’re probably dealing with if you’re considering the purchase of a robotic vacuum. Trusting your cleaning duties to a machine is not something to be considered lightly, but the technology is getting better and better all the time and now is probably the right time to start seriously considering such a purchase. There are a lot of different options out there, and on this site we look at some of the more popular choices in the robot vacuum cleaner product category and how they might benefit you.
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Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners
- Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners
- Our Top 5 Robotic Vacuum Cleaners
- 5 ILIFE V3s Pro Robotic Vacuum
- iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum
- eufy Boost IQ RoboVac 11S (Slim)
- EcoVacs Deebot N79S Robot Vacuum
- eufy Boost IQ RoboVac 30C
- Reviews Methodology
- Available Programming Options
- Making the Right Choice for Your Floors
- Robot Vacuum Cleaning Options
- The Importance of a Filter on a Robot Vacuum
- Choosing a Vacuum with Intelligent Mapping Technology
- Choosing a Vacuum with Good Detection Technology
- Robot Vacuum Charging Options
- Do You Need a Robot Vacuum with a Remote?
- Robot Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
While we haven’t just stuck to reviewing the best products on the market there are certainly some models that we think are better than others. We thought it would be worthwhile for me to introduce you to the site by starting with my top picks in the category. In the following few paragraphs I discuss my top picks and why we think they stand out.
Our Top 5 Robotic Vacuum Cleaners
5 ILIFE V3s Pro Robotic Vacuum
There are quite capable robot vacuum cleaners that can do the task for a small fraction of the cost of their higher-end competitors. The iLife V3s Pro starts at $150, which would make it seem like an appealing consideration for anyone searching for a deal on this line of robot vacuums.
But after taking some time with this vacuum-and-mop combo device, I was reminded precisely why spending the extra money often gives me better results. The Pro may run on the same hardware as the Eufy RoboVac 11, but it is barely as good at getting the cleaning task done done.
The main pro to the ILIFE V3s Pro is likely its low price and ILIFE’s power to fit in many features of vacuum cleaners costing up to twice its price. Its battery lasts for 1,5 hours cleaning hardwood floors, and along with it, you will get a remote control.
The V3s has a 12 inch cleaning radius, weighs 4.5 pounds, and is 3 inches tall.
The ILIFE V3s Pro shows that an appropriate robot vacuum can be bought for this price. However, the ILIFE Robotic Vacuum Cleaner isn’t the best vacuum cleaner around, but it does a solid job on hardwood, tile, laminate and short pile carpet.
iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum
The iRobot Roomba 690 is the midrange model in the Roomba line. While the 980 is our favorite robot vacuum, its price puts it out of range for most people. This unit offers much of the same time-tested iRobot technology, but at a much lower cost.
Round in shape, the Roomba 690 has a black-and-silver body that measures 13 inches wide and almost 4 inches tall.
As a robotic vacuum, the 690 cleans by driving around, spotting dirt/debris through its dirt detection system, and cleaning it up. Built with a bumper ring that gives, the vacuum can run into walls and bounce right back off, change its path, and continue working.
iRobot has always been secretive about the suction figures of their products. What is known about the unit is that it has a 3-stage cleaning system. A side brush drags dust from corners and edges while the suction and rotating main brush devour everything.
You can buy replacement bristles for about $12 (in a kit that includes three more filters, so that’s nice), so in the event, your bristle wheel gets gunked up to the point of being impossible to clean, it’s relatively cheap to replace.
The bottom line in this Roomba 690 review is that the Roomba 690 offers excellent value for the money. For an entry-level robotic vacuum cleaner, it offers features you would usually find on more expensive models. These features include the ability to run the Roomba from your smartphone app, and an advanced virtual wall beacon. It is an excellent machine at an affordable price.
eufy Boost IQ RoboVac 11S (Slim)
Installing the Eufy vacuum could not have been easier. You snap in its brushes, and you’re ready to go. You do, however, need to find an outlet with 6 feet of wall space that’s clear around it. Eufy is smart enough to see its way back to the charger when it’s running low on juice. The problem is, like a child learning to walk, Eufy needs a wide berth to get home. Without enough unblocked space, the robot will beep and need help reconnecting.
Slim and sleek, the Eufy Robovac 11S doesn’t look the part of a bottom-dollar tech value. That’s mostly thanks to the elegant and straightforward tempered-glass upper deck, which covers plastic finished like brushed aluminum. The design is interrupted only by a chrome power button and the Eufy logo. It’s a stark contrast from Roomba, Samsung, Neato, and other brands, most of which have a more industrial and practical look.
RoboVac 11S sucks up dirt and dust with 1300Pa of suction for a spotless clean you can see and feel. Multiple cleaning modes and a pre-set vacuuming time ensure an effortless, thorough clean while you do other things or nothing at all.
The Eufy RoboVac 11s is an affordable, frills-free robot vacuum that’s small enough to clean under even the lowest furniture.
EcoVacs Deebot N79S Robot Vacuum
At first glance, the Deebot N79S doesn’t look all that special, especially if you’re used to seeing gleaming, futuristic-looking robotic vacuums. That’s not to say it’s ugly it’s pretty sleek. It’s just not what we think most people picture when they hear the words robot vacuum cleaner.
The Deebot N79S has three brushes, two rubberized wheels, a charging dock, a wireless remote control, app-enabled control, and connectivity with Amazon Echo. It sells on Amazon for about $250 and can be remote-controlled via your house Wi-Fi or the Alexa app from just about anywhere.
Just like the original N79, the N79S sports a sleek, low-profile design. It can get under furniture that offers at least 8cm (3 inches) of clearance, and it packs an array of sensors and a bumper guard that read the room and prevent it falling down the stairs.
The Deebot N79S has made it easier to keep our floors clean, and I feel its fair to say that the floors get vacuumed more often now thanks to the convenience of using the Deebot. The tradeoff is that to use the Deebot N79S on a schedule or when your out of the house requires vacuum-proofing your floors to make it as easy as possible for the little bot to do its job without getting hung up somewhere or damaging the brushes.
The Ecovacs Deebot N79S robot vacuum offers powerful cleaning, app control, and Alexa voice command support for an unbeatable price.
eufy Boost IQ RoboVac 30C
The 2.85 inches thin Eufy RoboVac 30C that cleans with 1500Pa suction power and links to your Wi-Fi for excellent efficiency. The EufyHome smartphone app allows you to alt your cleaning desires from your smartphone.
Three brushes and strong suction power effectively loosen, extract, and vacuum dirt to give a superior clean. RoboVac cleans up to 100 mins* per charge, so you get to enjoy a spotless home from a single charge.
The Eufy RoboVac 30C robot vacuum uses drop-sensing technology to avoid falling down stairs and off of ledges. Specialized dual-Hall Sensors detect Boundary Strips to ensure RoboVac only cleans the areas you want.
It’s one thing to get a feel for which products might be the best choice for your home, but if you’re like me you’re probably not satisfied unless you know how something works. Along with some great reviews of robot vacuum cleaners we’ve also included some helpful information articles that describe how robot vacuums go about their business. If you’ve got a particular price point in mind you may want to note that in each review we discuss the price in the first couple of paragraphs, so if you notice one that’s not in the price range you’re looking for you can simply move onto the next one. There’s a lot of information to soak in here, but hopefully it helps you in making your decision.
Finding The Perfect Robot Assistant
If there’s one thing that gets on my nerves a little bit when I read online reviews, it’s how one-sided they are. If you’re going to make an informed decision when you’re buying a product you’ll want to know all the good things and bad things about it. That’s what we’ve tried to do here; our reviews are honest opinions on how well a machine works and what you might not like about it. If we don’t think it’s worth wasting your money on, we’ll tell you.
The information articles also include a buying guide which you can use as a table of contents so that you can quickly jump around and find the information you’re looking for. There’s no need to read them in any particular order as they are all independently-contained articles. How you use the information on this site is entirely up to you.
A Brave New Cleaning World
There are a lot of great vacuum cleaners to choose from on this site and there are probably a lot more that we haven’t included, so your decision isn’t an easy one. But the one thing you can be sure of is that robot vacuum cleaners have come of age. If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money you can now get one that’s almost as good as the traditional vacuum cleaner that’s in your home now. When you consider the fact that the robotic vacuums will free up a lot more family time for you, it’s well worth the investment.
Available Programming Options
If you do most of the vacuuming in your home, you more than likely have a scheduled day of the week that you’d like to clean – perhaps on the weekends, when you have a little more time. The great thing about robot vacuum cleaners is that you don’t have to worry about how much time you have to clean as they do the whole job for you. But some can make your life even easier as they are fully programmable.
This isn’t an option on all models, so if this is important to you you’ll need to take a careful look at the machine’s description before making a purchase. For some great options with programmable scheduling, feel free to take a look at the reviews on this site. Even among robot vacuum cleaners that are programmable there are distinct differences. Some offer a lot more choice than others; that’s another thing you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re shopping for the right vacuum. If you want a lot of versatility in your machine you can expect to pay a fair bit more and that’s probably not surprising to anyone.
The Limitations of Basic Models
The most basic robot vacuum cleaners aren’t really programmable at all, but even some advanced models fail to offer scheduled-cleaning options, so you really need to read the fine print. Models that don’t offer programming normally have a simple one touch button on the top of the unit that you can press to begin cleaning – they’ll continue to clean until they run out of juice or until you physically stop the machine. These machines are fine, but they do require you to do a little bit of work, so they are not really completely independent operators.
Once you get into robot vacuum cleaners in the $100 to $200 range you generally have access to a few more options. These types of models often have built-in preset programming for different applications, such as a quick powerful clean versus a longer and deeper clean.
In many cases you can even choose from different floor patterns as well. For example, if you want the machine to concentrate on the corners of your home some machines have settings for that. The only major issue with these types of vacuum cleaners is that you’re limited by the programming options that the manufacture has selected for you – you don’t get to choose them yourself.
Time of Day Scheduling
Robot vacuum cleaners in the mid-price range start to offer you a lot more choice when it comes to programming. Models such as the iTouchless Robotic Intelligent Vacuum Cleaner Pro are great examples of machines that offer you a lot more choice. These types of robot vacuum cleaners will actually let you schedule the time of day that you want to clean, and in many cases they’ll even let you schedule more than one day a week for cleaning. Again, you need to take a close look at the fine print to determine how user-friendly the model you’re considering really is, but there are a lot of great choices on the market today.
The Top of the Heap
If you’re willing to spend something in the thousand dollar range for a robot vacuum cleaner, your choices really open up. These models essentially let you program every aspect of how the machine cleans, such as when it cleans, how often it cleans, and how powerful the suction it will use. If you want to take full control of your robot vacuum cleaner’s cleaning schedule and be able to make adjustments whenever you want, I strongly suggest considering a model such as the Neato Botvac Wi-Fi Enabled Robot Vacuum – it offers one of the most complete range of choices when it comes to programming of any robot vacuum cleaner available today.
A Budget Versus a Feature Decision
It often will come down to what you’re willing to spend, as you can find a robot vacuum cleaner with as much versatility as you like as long as you are willing to pay for it. If you’re quite content with starting the vacuum cleaner yourself whenever you need to, then you may not feel you have a need for any kind of programming options.
If that’s the case, I wouldn’t waste too much money on one of the more expensive models. If, on the other hand, you’re really enamored with the idea of setting up your robot vacuum cleaner to clean when you’re not home, you’ll definitely need to consider one of the more expensive models that offer some kind of programming options.
Making the Right Choice for Your Floors
Most homes feature a variety of floor types on the different levels of the home and that’s why it’s important to be careful when purchasing a robot vacuum cleaner – some models are simply not designed to work on carpets. I would say homes can be divided into five different floor types: hardwood, tile, linoleum, low pile carpet, and shag or thick carpet. The type of flooring that predominates in your home should give you a good idea of what type of vacuum cleaner you should be looking for.
In my family’s home there’s a good mixture of all four different types, so purchasing the right vacuum cleaner becomes an even tougher proposition. One thing I’d like to suggest is that you may want to consider having two separate vacuums – a conventional vacuum for thick or shag carpet and a robot vacuum for low pile carpets and hard floor surfaces.
Linoleum and Tile
For the most part all robot vacuum cleaners will work pretty well on linoleum and tile floors. These types of surfaces have relatively small gaps with the only interruption in the smooth surface being the separation between tiles or linoleum pieces.
Even the least expensive model of robot vacuum cleaner will do a pretty good job on this type of surface, but you may want to be careful on expensive tile floors with intricate patterns, as robot vacuum cleaners have been known to scratch this type of surface.
Low Pile Carpet
The cheapest robot vacuum cleaners are very limited in the applications in which they can be used; most of them won’t work on any type of carpet at all, not even low pile carpet. More expensive models, though, will work just fine on low pile carpets and the throw rugs you might have in your living room. Like anything else, it’s always best to do some research on the model you’re considering buying, regardless of the floor type in your home. But as a general rule, most robot vacuum models in excess of a couple hundred dollars will work just fine on low pile carpets.
Thick or Shag Carpet
When you get into thicker or shag carpet you’re a lot more limited in the robot vacuum cleaners that are available to you. Expect to spend at least a few hundred dollars on the models with the type of power needed to move independently over this type of flooring, as they are invariably quite expensive. Roomba and Neato are a couple of manufacturers that do make higher-end models that will work just fine on thicker carpet, as they have more powerful engines and greater suction power.
Another thing you should consider when purchasing a robot vacuum cleaner are the types of room transitions that separate each of the rooms in your home. If you have large lips in between your rooms that are used to hide the seams between changes in flooring types, these can cause a problem for robot vacuum cleaners.
If a model doesn’t have enough juice it can easily get stuck on these types of room transitions; you’ll be constantly chasing after it to give it a little push to keep it going. This might not be a huge issue, but it is a bit of a pain as a robot vacuum cleaner is supposed to do all of the work for you.
One for Them All
So what’s the best choice for a robot vacuum cleaner? Well, if you can afford it I strongly suggest choosing a model that will work on all of these floor types. The Neato Botvac or iRobot Roomba 980 are highly versatile all-purpose units that will work quite well on just about any surface, although they will cost you a little bit more. The great thing about these models is that they also feature excellent remote control options as well, so if your vacuum has become stuck unexpectedly, chances are you can work it loose without having to get up and physically move the machine. Of course, if your home is covered in nothing but hardwood floors there may be no need to spend a lot of money on an expensive robot vacuum cleaner; just about any model will do the job. It really all depends upon your own unique situation.
Robot Vacuum Cleaning Options
If you’re considering the purchase of a robot vacuum cleaner, you may be surprised to know that there are quite a few models on the market that not only do a great job of vacuuming your home, but also they give you other cleaning options. I think most of us would agree that it’s nice to have options, and if you’re going to get your home as clean as possible you need to do more than just vacuum; some of the better models on the market are actually designed to do just that.
Personally, I was actually surprised to find out that there are robot vacuum cleaners that do more than just vacuum. In fact, I probably never gave it too much though until now. That doesn’t mean I don’t think extra features are useful though, as at one point in my life I didn’t see the need for a smart phone but now I couldn’t imagine living without one.
One reason you need to be really careful and read the fine print if you think you’ve found the perfect deal on a robot vacuum cleaner is because not all of them actually vacuum. There are robot cleaners out there that simply dust your floor, and while that may keep your floors looking cleaner in between vacuuming sessions it will never truly replace your vacuum cleaner.
If you’re going to remove dust particles, dirt, allergens, and other germs from your environment you need something with a little suction power that will physically remove these particulates. Personally, I don’t really see much point in purchasing a robot cleaner that’s limited to dusting duties.
The type of machine you should really be looking for are ones that can actually vacuum your floors and remove particulates from your environment. How they go about this varies, as some use a traditional rotating brush that pushes dirt into the suction hole on your vacuum and others simply avoid the brush altogether and go right to the suctioning. The point is, no matter which type of robot vacuum cleaner you have it’s important to make sure that they do actually have the suctioning capability that will remove dirt.
Where things really get interesting is when you find robot vacuum cleaners that come with a mopping attachment. There are a couple of different variations of this type of product; some actually have a water holding tank for distributing liquid cleaner as the robot moves around the floor, and others simply have a mop attachment that you have to physically apply liquid to yourself. The first option is definitely the way to go if you can afford it, as it will provide you with one autonomous little robot that can both vacuum and mop your floors for you.
The robot vacuum cleaner product category is one I intend to keep a close eye on over the next few years, as I can foresee continuous advancements in this type of technology. They’re bound to get a little more powerful and provide you with a lot more cleaning options. It would be nice to see a model in the future that can automatically detect whether it should be dusting, mopping, or vacuuming and make the adjustment itself, but that type of advancement is probably at least a few years off yet.
The Best Option Now
While robot vacuum cleaners might not be entirely autonomous in the sense that they can replace all of the cleaning duties you’re currently doing now, they’re getting better all the time. There’s no doubt that the vacuums that include the ability to mop your floors as well as vacuum them are the best solutions currently on the market, but even these have a long way to go. This is an exciting product category that’s certain to see a lot of improvement in the coming years. I’m still holding out for my own personal robot butler that can do the dishes and polish the furniture as well. Hey, it’s okay to dream, right?
The Importance of a Filter on a Robot Vacuum
Having been a dog owner I’m well aware of what a problem pet dander and pet hair can be for a home – especially if you have small children or an elderly parent living with you. The problem is that the accumulation of pet hair and various other germs pets can carry into your home is virtually inevitable, so you need to be prepared to deal with it. One of the best ways you can do this is by making sure you have a vacuum cleaner with a good filter that’s capable of taking care of most of the germs left behind by pets.
Almost all vacuum cleaners have some kind of filter but, depending on the type of filter they use, you may or may not be getting the best protection for your home and family. The best vacuums now include something called a HEPA filter, which is capable of filtering out a lot more of the germs and allergens than conventional filters can.
Unfortunately, some basic robot vacuums don’t have any type of filter at all – in fact they often have no suction process whatsoever. These types of basic cleaners rely on an electrostatic cloth that attaches to the bottom of the machine to collect dust, making them little more than a glorified broom. They may serve as a decent alternative for keeping your floors looking respectable on days when you’re not up to vacuuming, but they will not do anything for you at all in terms of removing germs and allergens left behind on your floors by pets.
Traditional vacuum cleaner filters do a pretty decent job of removing dust, dirt, and allergens from the air of your home, but they are far from perfect. Most filters on traditional vacuum cleaners (if they include one at all) will only remove between 90 and 95% of the allergens in your air. That’s not bad, but it could certainly be better. Keep in mind that a vacuum with any kind of filter is better than one without one, as it will improve the air quality in your home.
A Strange Argument for No Filter
Believe it or not there are some experts that actually argue that vacuum cleaners actually release dirt and allergens into your environment even if they have a filter. This is largely due to a vacuum cleaner’s tendency to agitate the dirt on your carpet or floors, releasing it into the environment. But a good vacuum quickly captures everything that it’s released. In fact, some of the top-quality robot vacuum cleaners actually operate with a three-step cleaning process that includes agitation, brushing, and suction. Essentially, the vacuum cleaner is designed to agitate the dirt to make it easier to capture; it then brushes the dirt and germs into the machine, and finishes the process by sucking them into the dustbin. So to say that a vacuum cleaner can actually do more harm than good seems like a bit of an erroneous statement and one I’d take with a grain of salt.
Why Choose a HEPA Filter?
The best type of filter available in vacuum cleaners today is something called a HEPA filter – which stands for high efficiency particulate air. These types of filters will remove at least 99.7% of dust, dirt, allergens, and other germs from your environment. If a vacuum cleaner includes a filter that they describe as being a HEPA filter it has to meet these minimum requirements, or the manufacturer is not permitted to label it as such.
You might think that you have to spend a lot of money to find a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, but they’re becoming more and more common in models in every price range. In fact, we’ve reviewed one affordable model on this site called the Haier SWR-T321 that retails for less than $200 and comes equipped with a HEPA filter – you don’t have to break the bank to keep your family safe from germs.
Another feature that’s becoming more common on robot vacuum cleaners is the inclusion of a UV light. This light actually kills most of the germs it comes across by attacking them right down at their DNA level. They aren’t technically filters in the truest sense, but I thought it was appropriate to include them in this article as they do accomplish essentially the same thing as a filter.
A Filter Is a Good Idea
In a perfect world everybody should have a vacuum cleaner that includes both a HEPA filter and UV light features – at the very least you should look for a vacuum cleaner with at least one of these options. In the long run, your family’s health will benefit a great deal by filtering out as much of the dust and allergens in your environment as possible.
Choosing a Vacuum with Intelligent Mapping Technology
When I started looking into robot vacuum cleaners as an alternative method for cleaning our home I soon figured out that some of them simply aren’t worth the bother. There are several different models with horrible reviews that seem to wander aimlessly without ever really making a dent in your cleaning – you’re probably better off doing the cleaning yourself than using one of these models. Fortunately, there are also a lot of great robot vacuum cleaners that are very efficient at cleaning your floors.
How well a robot vacuum cleaner does with your floors is largely dependent on the type of advanced algorithms that were used to program its logic. Some models operate using very basic traditional patterns that are pre-programmed and don’t really adjust to the layout of your home, but others are very adaptable and can adjust to multiple different layouts. If you aren’t the type of person that’s satisfied with mediocrity, you should be looking for a robot vacuum cleaner that will adjust based on any change you throw at it.
The most basic type of robot vacuum cleaner can be a little frustrating so you may not want to waste your money on one of these models. Essentially, these cheap robot vacuum cleaners seem to clean in no discernible pattern whatsoever and simply wander aimlessly around your rooms. They don’t do very well with any type of object in the way and most of the time they get stuck very easily. Chances are you’ll become very frustrated very quickly with one of these models and you’ll quickly go back to your old traditional vacuum cleaner – what a waste of money!
When you step up to the next level of robot vacuum cleaner you’ll find models that are a lot less frustrating. These types of robot vacuum cleaners that do include pre-installed programming work on set patterns. For example, they may approach the cleaning of your rooms by gradually working their way out in a spiral pattern from the center to the edges.
In many cases they will also have an option that allows you to program the machine to tackle the edges of your rooms exclusively and some also allow you to program your machine to concentrate on a specific area for intensive cleaning. These types of pre-programmed vacuum cleaners don’t really think independently, but they’re a big step up from the random wanderers we mentioned above.
The Independent Thinker
The next class of robot vacuum cleaners are what I like to think of as independent thinkers. These vacuums actually include infrared sensors which map your room the first few times they clean it and they actually learn how your rooms are set up so that they can adjust and create the most efficient cleaning schedule possible. They will be a little bit more expensive, but there definitely worth it. The only thing to really worry about with this type of vacuum cleaner is that if you introduce changes to your rooms as after a certain period of adjustment they tend to operate on memory and may not handle new obstacles very well.
When you get into the most expensive models of robot vacuum cleaners you’ll find these units really are what you’d call intelligent robots. They don’t truly think on their own, but their decision-making process, based on their advanced algorithms, will make you think they are. They not only map out your rooms the first few times you use them, but they continuously adjust to any changes in their environment. That’s why I referred to them as the graduate as they really do learn to think independently and they’ll do a great job in almost any situation. Be prepared to spend a little money though, as you should expect to pay in the range of $1000 for this type of model.
The Right Choice
While it’s always nice to have the best of the best it may not be necessary in your own personal situation. If you live in a bachelor apartment that’s pretty much just one room and your floors are quite spartan you may not have any real need for an expensive robot vacuum cleaner that relies on complicated algorithms.
In this type of situation I still recommend looking for a machine that uses preset patterns, but you probably don’t need the independent thinker that adjusts to anything new placed in its way. As always, it’s best to look at your own situation and make an educated purchase.
Choosing a Vacuum with Good Detection Technology
One of my biggest concerns in making the decision whether to switch to a robot vacuum cleaner or not is how well such devices can handle stairs, ledges, and lips that pose potential hazards for the machine. I have no interest in spending my hard-earned money on a product that’s going to be unusable within a month. When you use a traditional vacuum cleaner you have full control over how you handle stairs and ledges so there’s really nothing to be concerned about, but it’s a different thing altogether with an autonomous robot that has to navigate such challenges itself.
There are essentially three types of obstacles that can cause problems for a robot vacuum cleaner and these are stairs, ledges or drops in the floor, and lips between rooms. In general, the stairs are probably the biggest hazard, but all three of these types of obstructions can cause you problems. The best robot vacuum cleaners handle all of these hazards without any problem at all.
Those Pesky Lips
Some of the least worrying rises and falls that a robot vacuum cleaner will have to deal with are the room dividers or the lips that divide doorways. In most cases these are no more than an inch or two tall and shouldn’t pose a problem for a good robot vacuum cleaner – if the model you’re considering purchasing can’t even handle this type of obstacle you should probably walk away and keep looking for a better model. Unfortunately, there are quite a few robot vacuum cleaners that can’t handle such a basic obstacle. These types of vacuum cleaners are usually very inexpensive and only work on flat, hard floors.
If you’ve ever seen a room with a sunken living room or if you’ve lived in a house with one, then you are well aware that the drop from one level to the other can be fairly substantial. These types of rooms may be the centerpiece of your home and add a great deal of value, but they’re quite a challenge for a robot vacuum cleaner. This is where many robot vacuum cleaners can run into some problems. In order to navigate this type of obstacle the robot needs to have good sensor technology that can detect the danger that’s in front of it. Most robot vacuum cleaners do handle this type of obstacle pretty well, but not all of them.
Recognizing the Stairs
For a robot vacuum cleaner, detecting stairs is very similar to detecting the type of drop we described above in our sunken living room example. Robot vacuum cleaners have a series of sensors including an infrared beam and a photocell sensor that alerts the machine to the dangers ahead of it. When it sends outs its sensor signal and detects no solid floor in front of its path, it recognizes that there must be a stair or ledge in the way and will turn away from the danger. Again, all robot vacuum cleaners are designed to handle this type of hazard, but some of the less expensive models have been known to simply stop rather than turning around to continue with the cleaning duties. It’s nice to save a few bucks, but if the machine is not going to work properly it will probably just become another forgotten device in your closet in no time.
Do Yourself a Favor
When you’re checking out robot vacuum cleaners you should strongly consider what type of sensor technology they employ. This is one area where you simply don’t want to cut any corners, as you want a machine that will handle stairs just as well as you can when you’re using a traditional vacuum cleaner. One piece of advice I would offer is that if you cannot find any type of information on how the robot vacuum cleaner you’re considering handles the detection of stairs and other obstacles, then you should keep on searching.
Robot Vacuum Charging Options
When rechargeable batteries started to replace traditional batteries our technological equipment got a lot more versatile. These days almost any technological product that requires batteries utilizes rechargeable battery technology. The obvious benefit of this type of setup is that once you buy the product, all you need is a wall outlet to boost your product up to full power. It’s a simple solution to a long-standing problem.
Robot vacuum cleaners are fine examples of pieces of technology that rely heavily on rechargeable batteries to maintain their function. It’s certainly one big advantage they have over traditional vacuum cleaners that normally have a cord that you need to plug in. These traditional vacuums may be quite a bit more powerful and work just fine, but with that cord almost constantly in your way it can definitely be a bit annoying.
All robot vacuum cleaners may be cordless and rechargeable, but there are noticeable differences between how the less expensive models recharge and how the higher-end products accomplish this. For the most part, the cheaper robot vacuum cleaners recharge with a little bit of help from you. Normally, they come with a cord that plugs into your robot vacuum cleaner via USB for charging; when you’re running low on juice you will have to manually plug it in yourself to start the recharging. If you’re looking for a truly independent machine that will work without you then you’ll want to avoid this type of model, but if you’re more focused on an autonomous vacuum that can take care of the actual cleaning for you, these models will save you a little money and generally do the job just fine.
Self Docking Stations
The better robot vacuum cleaners are not only rechargeable, but they can also start the charging process themselves. These models have a rechargeable base which you plug in and place on the floor for the robot vacuum cleaner to find; normally they will look to return to their base once their power levels are less than 15% to 20%.
This is definitely an improvement on the models we mentioned above that require you to plug them in, but they’re not perfect by any means. Most robot vacuum cleaners will return to their base when the charge runs low even if they’re not finished with the cleaning process, and they won’t resume cleaning once they’re fully charged. You will have to set the robot in motion again by hitting its start button, or wait for the next scheduled clean. If you have a large home this can be a little frustrating, with a job that’s left half done.
Self Docking and Resume
The higher-end robot vacuum cleaners take the recharging process to the next level – they not only return to their base when they’re running low on juice, they can also resume cleaning once they’re fully recharged. That means it won’t really matter if they didn’t complete the job originally as they will get there in the end without your help. These are the truly autonomous machines that do all of the work for you and allow you to go about your other daily tasks that are more pressing on your time.
Charging Times May Vary
How long your robot vacuum cleaner will maintain its charge really depends on the individual model and, in some cases, which setting you have it on. As a general rule, the more expensive models will hold their charge a little longer – normally somewhere in the 90 minute to 120 minute range. Even the least expensive robot vacuum cleaner will normally hold a charge for about an hour, which is enough time in most situations.
At a minimum I’d strongly recommend that you at least go with a model that has the ability to recharge on a base to which it can return itself – having to plug the cord in every time is simply a bit of a pain. With the exception of those models priced under $50, any robot vacuum cleaner you can buy should at least return to its base for recharging – the idea of one that can resume after charging is a nice idea, but not entirely necessary.
Do You Need a Robot Vacuum with a Remote?
I’m not going to lie – I love remote controls and I think a lot of people share this type of obsession. Personally, I have remote controls for pretty much anything remotely technological in my life. I have a remote control for my Bluetooth speaker, I have remote controls for all of my TVs, I have a remote starter for my car, and I can even control my home’s thermostat using a remote app on my iPhone. The funny thing is, I don’t think I’m the exception to the rule – in fact, I think a lot of people have become quite dependent on their remotes just like I have.
The reason we like remotes is because they make our lives a lot easier. If we forget to record our favorite program we can simply access our programming guide remotely so that it’s ready for us when we get home. With all of the remote technology available to us, our lives have become a lot less frustrating. Now we can even find robot vacuum cleaners that come with remotes as well. There are a variety of different types of remotes included with robot vacuum cleaners and in this article we take a closer look at your options.
A Basic Remote
Many entry-level robot vacuum cleaners come with remotes that include very basic functionality. These types of remotes will allow you to start your machine in motion and very little else. They only work when you are in close proximity to the machine so you can’t program them from work or anything, but at the very least they will allow you to start the cleaning process while sitting on your couch. While this is a nice basic feature to have, personally I’m looking for something a little more aggressive.
Take the Vacuum by the Horns
Okay, the term really is to take the bull by the horns, but you get the idea. More advanced remote controls actually let you take the reins. I think of that remote control car you had as a kid – you were able to move the car forward, backward, and even side to side. I had quite a few of these as a kid and they were some of my favorite toys. Essentially, these more advanced robot vacuum cleaners allow you to control the movement of your handy little machine. Just like with those remote control cars when you were a kid, you can move them in any direction you like. This is particularly useful when your robot vacuum cleaner becomes stuck, or if it just seems to be missing one particular spot on your floor that you’d like to address.
Full-Functioning Remote Controls
The best remote controls for robot vacuum cleaners have a full range of functions. These types of remotes often allow you to choose from a select group of predetermined cleaning patterns as well as to create your own. With these advanced remotes you can also schedule your cleaning for whenever you want, whether it’s once a week or three times a week. The remote control essentially becomes an extension of your own person and is actually quite useful.
There Is an App for That
Perhaps the best types of remote controls that are now included with robot vacuum cleaners aren’t really actual remote controls at all. Instead, they are remote control apps that offer the same functionality as the better remote controls, as well as letting you truly control your device remotely.
In the example above I talked about being able to access my TV from work to set up a program to tape that I’d forgotten; with these same types of remote control apps you have access to your robot vacuum cleaner. That means if you’re at work and you forgot to set a cleaning schedule for your robot you can simply tap into your remote app and tell the robot vacuum cleaner to begin cleaning before you get home. These types of apps are generally only compatible with higher-end models, but they’re certainly a nice feature.
More Features Are Normally Better
I think any type of remote control is a great thing, but there’s no doubt that the remote control apps available on some higher-end robot vacuum cleaners are the best way to go. If you’ve got your heart set on a model like this, be prepared to pay upwards of $1000 and maybe even a little more. It all depends on what you’re looking for, but personally I’d consider saving up for a model that has this type of functionality as it really does increase your cleaning options and make your life a lot easier.
Robot Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
It’s not easy, making the decision to give up on something you’ve used for years like a traditional vacuum cleaner, but making the change to a robot vacuum cleaner is a decision more and more people are making each day. This new category of vacuum cleaner really does have the potential to change your life and, if you buy the right one, make it a lot easier. I first heard about these a couple of years ago, but at the time I thought they were nothing more than a novelty – these days they’re a lot more than that. Like any other product category there are a lot of different choices available to you and that’s why I’ve put together this buying guide to help you decide what the right model is for you.
Surprisingly, there is a lot of variety in this product category and, depending on your needs, you may pay as little as $40 for a basic cleaner or as much as $1000 for one of the more advanced models on the market. When you’re trying to decide which model’s right for your family you’ll want to consider how large your home is and what type of flooring you have, as not all models are appropriate in every situation. In this guide I go over some of the key features that robot vacuum cleaners may include and how they may benefit you, depending upon your situation. If you want to find out a little more about any particular topic simply follow the link to find out more.
What Surfaces Will It Work On?
You should be very careful about running out and buying the first robot vacuum cleaner you come across, as there really are a lot of variations between different models. There are models that will work exclusively on hard floor surfaces; if you have a home that’s fully carpeted you’ll want to avoid this type of model. There also models that can work on some carpeting, but not all of them. It’s important to know what you’re buying, and if you follow this link we’ll explain the differences in more depth.
Is It Programmable?
Some robot vacuum cleaners are very basic – they have a button on the top that you push to start the cleaning process and that’s about it. There are others that are quite complex and these may allow you to create detailed schedules of when you want the robot to clean and how often you’d like it to clean. There are also a whole host of choices in between; we explain them all here.
Protecting against Allergies
If you live in a home with pets you’re bound to be exposed to a fair number of allergens on a daily basis. This can be a problem for both you and your children, but with the right vacuum cleaner you can reduce the risk of pet dander and other associated germs. In fact, there are several robot vacuum cleaner models that include special filters for handling allergens and other microscopic germs. In this article we explain how this type of technology works.
Control from a Distance
It’s pretty awe-inspiring to realize that you can now buy a product that will clean your home for you, but many models also include remote control technology that allow you to take some control of the process without getting off the couch. Depending upon the model you’re looking at, these remotes can be very basic or quite complex. We take a closer look at the different type of options available in this article.
How It Maps Your Rooms
The way that a robot vacuum cleaner handles the cleaning chores in your home can be very different depending upon which model you’re considering. Some simply have a basic algorithm they use to clean in a certain pattern and others can actually take a look at your room and decide the best way to approach the cleaning. How a robot vacuum cleaner maps a room before it cleans it will determine how good of a job it does at removing dirt from your floors. Here you’ll find a guide of the different options out there.
How Do You Recharge?
All recharge methods are not created equal. If you don’t mind doing a little work you can probably save a little money by buying a robot vacuum cleaner that doesn’t use a recharging base, but if you’re willing to spend a little extra, a model with a recharging base is probably better. We look at the different choices available to you here.
It’s Cleaning Options
There are robot vacuum cleaners that are very limited in what they can do and others that can completely replace your current cleaning options. If your home is covered exclusively with hard floors you may be content with a model that simply dusts them for you. Essentially, there are three distinct cleaning duties that a robot vacuum cleaner can fulfill: vacuuming, dusting, and mopping. If you click here you’ll find our take on the advantages and disadvantages of models that are limited to one type of cleaning or another.
Can it Detect Stairs and Ledges?
The last concept I’d like to look at is what happens when you come to the top of stairs. With a conventional vacuum you simply pull back on your vacuum cleaner – there’s no risk of it falling off the stairs. However, that is a concern with robot vacuum cleaners, so the best ones have advance stair detection technology that assists them in avoiding potential tragedies. In this article we take a look at how different robot vacuum cleaners handle obstacles in their way.
Our Recommended Robot Vacuums
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