Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Remember the droids from Star Wars? Some flew planes others could hold a gun and understood war strategies. Well that future may not be far away but for now we have to suffice with robots that can clean the floor without ever once fumbling along the way.

These robotic gizmos are capable of cleaning an entire house operating on rechargeable batteries but they are nowhere close to replacing regular vacuum cleaners. At the moment robotic vacs are more of a convenience than a necessity. To start with these beauties are expensive and need regular maintenance. You may even need to initially setup your home so that your robot can walk through the house without bumping into walls. This usually involves setting up barriers with infrared and magnetic strips. Furthermore, their small size translates to a tiny dirt cup that probably fills up faster than your mailbox does in a day.

Buyer’s Guide Table of Contents:

Step 1 – Understand The Limitations

  • Under Furniture Cleaning: While robovacs are great at accessing hard to reach areas, cleaning under furniture is one of their drawbacks. Not all robotic vacuums can access under furniture area, especially if the ground clearance doesn’t allow them comfortable access. They tend to get stuck underneath even with the slightest of obstructions.
  • Replacement Parts Are Expensive: The warranty on the parts of a robotic vacuum cleaner can vary from company to company. Typically, the warranty doesn’t cover parts that go bad due to normal wear and tear. In fact, just replacing the rechargeable battery can be costly.
  • Need Maintenance: A robovac can’t empty its bin and won’t understand the difference between different obstacles unless you help it out. You have to mark out territories that it can’t visit such as steps and stairs, cabled areas and such. Finally, you need to empty its bin on a daily basis.
  • Recharging Is A Pain: Some do come with automatic recharging using a pod fixed to a particular part of any room in the house, where the robovac rests when it is low in charge but this feature is mighty expensive.
  • Scheduling Features Are A Bother: While expensive robovacs can be scheduled in advance, not all offer elaborate scheduling features. So if you truly want automatic vacs then get ready to shelf out more cash.

One of the biggest hassles of using a robotic vacuum is setting up virtual walls using stripes made of infrared material or magnetic fabric. You obviously don’t want it wandering through your bathroom clogging up on hair and what not; neither do you want it stuck in a heap of cables. Some manufacturers use plastic towers with infrared signals that act as lighthouses while others use strips or bumper bars to detect obstacles. Unfortunately, all these preparations force a robovac to pass over any particular spot in the house at last thrice in a single cycle.

Step 2 – What Kind Of A Schedule Do You Want

All robovacs come with some sort of scheduling feature. Advanced models with intricate schedules cost more but are actually more effective in cleaning your home while you are away. You can set timings on a daily basis for up to seven days of the week but before you do this, take a day off and observe how well your robotic friend navigates through the clutter of your home. The last thing you want is to come back home only to find your robo-friend tired out on the precipice of the first floor stairs.

Step 3 – What Do You Need

Do you want only hard floor cleaning or carpet cleaning as well? Want dirt sensors to pick up dirt more efficiently or the ability to do a lot in a small price tag? Decide on the features and price range. Once you have outlined the scheduling requirement and understood the limitations you have to deal with, it is only a question of what you can live with and what you will get annoyed by.

Step 4 – Power And Performance

Some models take longer to charge but also work for longer. Moreover, greater the power and more the capabilities the less you have to look after the robovac. In fact, some new models come with automatic de-tangling abilities to help free up the beater head or the brush attachment from pet hair or carpet strands.

Step 5 – Extra Features

Do you want your robovac to have stair detection and transitioning abilities? Are you more interested in a single room cleaner or a full house solution? Dirt detection is a new phenomenon available in robotic vacuums. Using simple detection algorithms, these machines can find problem areas and devote more time to these spots helping clear up dirty patches quicker.

Step 6 – Bin Size

Depending on the size of the robovac, the bin size can vary. A Larger bin obviously increases the robot’s size and eats a lot of battery power. However, it also helps you truly automate the cleaning process.