Firmly in the Top 10 on various lists of the most wanted and most popular products of 2016, robot vacuum cleaners are not only in fashion but also in a high demand for numerous reasons.
Let’s start with clarifying what a robot vacuum cleaner is and how it works. At this time of the year this is a timely information as one of the best deals in the upcoming Prime Day will be on a iRobot Roomba.
Simply said, robot vacuum cleaners are daily house cleaning supplements. They are meant to pick up dust, hair, fur and crumbs to maintain cleaner floors. Still, you can’t expect them to perform miracles.
Robotic vacuum cleaners have ledge sensors and a spot-cleaning option. A ledge sensor protects it by sensing drop-offs and preventing it from tumbling over a set of stairs. They are built with spot-cleaning solutions that allow you to instruct the robot to perform a quick pickup of one space.
The single most important function of a vacuum cleaner is how well it cleans your floors. Therefore the miniature robotic vacuum cleaners can be tasked with picking up flour, pet fur, human hair, toast crumbs and even thin garlic skins.
The robots can also manage over obstacles, such as fringe on rugs, power cords and furniture. You can expect your robot vacuum to gently bump into a few pieces of furniture or run into walls on occasion.
The best robot vacuum cleaners run for about two hours on a single charge, but most run for at least one hour, depending on the task.
Most of the robotic vacuums are able to navigate door thresholds with little to no difficulty, so you can sit back and not worry about directing your robot vacuum to clean specific areas. Additionally, you can schedule cleaning times and this translates to even less work on your end.
The vacuums can also mop, whether they offer a spot-cleaning option and whether they make multiple passes over floors they’ve already cleaned.
All robot vacuum cleaners require regular cleanings themselves. You may need to empty the dustbin and tap out the filter daily depending on how much it sucks up. You also have to clear tangled hair around the brushes.
Although tiny robot vacuums are considerably quieter than their bigger, more powerful vacuum machines, some of them can be fairly noisy, measuring as high as 78 decibels, the equivalent of a regular vacuum cleaner.
Not all robot vacuums have charging stations, so a light to indicate that the battery is low is important so you can recharge it when necessary. The type of brushes these vacuums use can help enormously in pushing debris toward the underbelly of the robot and then into its bin.
How to Choose a Robot Vacuum
Here is more on choosing a robot vacuum cleaner to meet your needs.
There’s no way around it: You have to do housework. Aside from the regular dishes, laundry and straightening you do, your house needs deeper cleaning, like vacuuming, sweeping and mopping. By the end of the day, there’s little time left to do the things you want to do. You can take back some of your free time by investing in a robot vacuum. These little housecleaning helpers won’t replace your upright vacuum cleaner or mop, but they can help you maintain a cleaner home so you don’t have to do those deep cleans quite so often.
Robot vacuums have been on the market for almost two decades. Early in the millennium, the robovac became more accessible when iRobot launched the Roomba. These small disc-shaped automated vacuum cleaners use a variety of sensors to track dirt, pet hair and other debris on carpeted floors and hard surfaces. They employ different rotating brushes that help pick up bits and pieces along edges of baseboards and rugs. The best robot vacuums use HEPA media filters that can trap allergens, such as pet dander, pollen and dust mites, and mitigate allergies.
A robot vacuum may be sophisticated enough to pick up dirt and debris from your floors and then steer itself back to its charging station, but there are a few things it needs your help with. For example, if you don’t want it going into a certain room, you need to either close the door or use a virtual wall, magnetic boundary or a virtual lighthouse that come with some models. You also need to empty its dustbin and clean its filter regularly or it won’t have room to store all of that dust and hair, and its performance will suffer. Though robot vacuums can sense obstacles to avoid, they may inadvertently snack on thin cables hanging out on the floor or get tangled up in bigger cords.
When you’re ready to start checking off the most important features and options for you in a robot vacuum, you want to be sure it can live up to your expectations. If you have mostly hard floors in your home with area rugs, you want to check the climbing height of a robot vacuum cleaner. Most of the robot cleaners can’t handle thick carpeting, like shag. And some of the robot vacuums you can set it up to vacuum all of your floors one day, and then mop the next.
What Else Is Important in Choosing a Robot Vacuum?
Some robot vacuum manufacturers include fringe benefits to make their appliances even more appealing, but they aren’t completely necessary. Having a solid warranty, however, is vital in case anything goes wrong. Although most robot vacuums are easy to use straight out of the box, instructional videos and a user manual can be helpful.
There are only two robot vacuum cleaners that include a smartphone or tablet app, which allows your robot to connect to your home Wi-Fi. You can then set up schedules and control your robot from your phone or tablet (iOS and Android) – even when you’re not home. This communication can be particularly helpful if, for example, you’re at work and find out you’re going to have some unexpected company that evening. You can “talk” to your little machine and have it perform another pass around your house before you get home.
Several robot vacuums include a remote control, which means not having to chase down your pet vacuum during one of its cleanings if you want to change its schedule or being able to manually control your bot.
Some robot cleaners have magnetic strips that you can place at doorways or areas that you’d rather not have your robot vacuum venture into. Others employ more technology and include virtual walls that you can set up to prevent your robot from traveling to. Virtual lighthouses can force your robot vacuum to finish vacuuming one room before moving on to another.
Warranty & Support
If anything goes wrong with your robotic vacuum, you’re going to be glad that you have a warranty that covers defective parts. All of the robot vacuums include at least a one-year guarantee for the robot itself and a six-month warranty for the battery, while some of the better ones offer two and even five years of protection. An online user manual is helpful if your unit doesn’t come with a physical one. When you have questions that don’t seem to be covered by the manual, having access to a customer support team by phone, email or live chat can be essential.
Robot Vacuum Cleaners Recommendations
Overall, the Neato Botvac Connected is the most impressive with its smart navigation of each room and its easy-to-use smartphone and tablet app. It rarely bumps into obstacles, but it manages to roll right up to walls and other edges to clean better than any other robot vacuum. In its Turbo mode, it sucks up more debris than most of the robots, but it is as loud as a regular vacuum cleaner.
The latest model from iRobot, the Roomba 980, deliversan excellent performance also. The app lets you schedule cleanings and check for details on where your robot has been cleaning and for how long. If you want to locate your Roomba while it’s cleaning, you can play a game of Marco Polo with it through your app.
Samsung’s latest addition to the word of robotic vacuums – the POWERbot – gives a good run, too. Its cleaning performance beat out most of the competition and maintenance for it is faster than any other.
These machines cannot replace the deep clean that you can get from an upright or canister vacuum cleaner, but they definitely kept our floors cleaner than they would have been otherwise.