Are you thinking of buying a robot vacuum? These time-saving home gadgets have become increasingly popular in recent years, but it’s vital to choose the right model for your home and budget.
Let’s start with the basics though.
Robotic vacuum cleaners can do pretty much what regular vacuums do, but in a smart way. They work without requiring your control or input, and they autonomously adapt to the environment. They often come in D or round shapes and have an on-board bin and are battery-powered. The most sophisticated models can recharge themselves, and you can even schedule them to clean when you’re not at home.
As you would imagine, not all robotic vacuum cleaners are equal, so you need to be careful when buying one. You don’t want to spend hundreds (or even thousands) on a model that will only clean a half your house twice and pack up.
With this in mind, here are some of the most important considerations when choosing a robot vacuum cleaner.
Is A Robotic Vacuum Right For You?
Before you start scouting for the best models and the features, you need to decide if a robotic vacuum cleaner is a right solution for you. Most people assume that since robot vacuum cleaners do all the work, they will suit their needs – but that’s not always the case.
Robotic vacuum cleaners have a few limitations that you need to take into account when searching for one. Their major limitation is many of them are not able to operate on slopes exceeding 15 degrees. Additionally, they are not able to ascend stairs –this means you will have to manually move them to different levels of your house.
If your floor has black or dark surfaces, most robot cleaners won’t work properly. This is because black surfaces are difficult to map and robots could miss some spots or even lose the position of their charging dock. They also tend to eat wires, so you might want to declutter a little before releasing them.
If the above limitations aren’t a problem for you, then robotic vacuum cleaners might be a good option for you. There’re many people who have benefited, especially those who work long hours. These smart cleaners are also very helpful for people with chronic pain or limited mobility.
1. Floor Type (Don’t Overlook This)
The first consideration is your floor. If you have a fluffy, carpeted floor, you should consider a model with high suction power. High-pile, fluffy carpets might be better cleaned using a heavy duty manual vacuum.
If your house consists of exclusive hard flooring, you might want to consider robot mops. Mopping robotic vacuum models should be sufficient for uniform hard floors like linoleum, tile or hardwood.
2. How Many Rooms are in Your Home?
Next, you should consider the domain within which your robot will be roaming. Is it a multiple room house? A single room studio? A large room divided by sofas? Or maybe an office floor with several cubicles?
The sensor and navigation system determines how efficient a robot can maneuver around and clean your house. Some models are packaged as multi-room capable, while others are best suited for cleaning a single room. If you’re looking to clean just a small, simple room or if you’re ok with manually moving the robot between rooms, then a mid-range model will be just fine.
If you’re looking for something that can clean multiple rooms or an extremely large room, then you should consider one of the high-end models that can systematically map your home. High-end models do a 360-degree scan of each room, navigate along the perimeter and finish the remaining bulk in a back and forth pattern. They will also keep track of the areas they’ve cleaned, recharge when needed and pick up from where they left.
3. Noise Concerns
It might not seem like an issue at first, but when you get down to business, the noise level is actually a major factor. Generally, the bigger the motor on the robotic vacuum cleaner, the noisier it will be. If the vacuum exceeds 60 DB, don’t plan to schedule it when others are sleeping.
You can get lots of robotic vacuum cleaner models with noise levels below 50 DB and still produce spectacular results. A quiet robot vacuum allows you to focus on other matters while the cleaning is going on. Quiet vacuums often have smaller motors or isolated motor chambers.
4. Other Features
Some other considerations include:
- Brush type: The brush determines your robot’s cleaning efficiency and the ability to reach tight spots. Some models have brush bars with full-width turbo brush while others have spindly brushes for directing dirt into to the vacuum’s path.
- Sensor technology: These are equipped on most robot cleaners to aid with navigation and maneuvering. Most of them use infrared sensors and digital cameras to avoid colliding with furniture or falling off the edges. Advanced models will even have dirt sensors and laser-guided scanners.
- Battery life: As Spotless Vacuum explains, all robot vacuums are cordless – which means they can only clean for a limited time. Make sure to check how long battery lasts and preferably go for models that have docking stations for automatic recharging.
- Remote control: Some models come with a remote control which allows you to control them from your couch while even smarter ones can be controlled using an app on your smartphone. But remember, the fancier the functions, the costlier they will be.
- Dust capacity: Fancy features are great, but you also need a decent dust capacity to avoid emptying your canister too often.
5. Suction Power and Cleaning Performance
Suction power is another primary consideration as it determines the ability of the vacuum to pick up dirt. What you might find confusing here is that different manufacturers tend to use different measurement units. Some will show suction power in Pa while others will show it in CFM or AW.
The most popular unit of measurement, however, is Pa. For robots equipped with a brush-roll, look for a suction power of between 400 and 500 Pa while 600-700 Pa should be enough for models without brush-rolls. It’s, however, a good idea to read reviews and find out more about suction and other performance parameters before buying.
Buying a robot vacuum doesn’t need to be complicated – but it’s important to choose a model that fits your requirements. The right machine can save you hours of cleaning time, but the wrong model may just be an expensive mistake.