Although “Robotic vacuum cleaner” does not sound as exciting as machines taking control of our future or leading to judgment day, it can save you from one of the most hated household chores “vacuuming” (and thus some positive impact on our daily life without some insidious agenda I hope!). It’s like harry potter movies, getting the chore done without your intervention. You don’t even have to start the unit by yourself as these units are programmable. They will start cleaning and reach the charging station autonomously at a scheduled time.
These next-generation brooms come with rather sophisticated technologies like multiple sensors, navigation systems more advanced than the Apollo 11, laser range finder and sometimes camera. So, they won’t come cheap even some units can be extravagant. Now if it’s not way too heavy on your budget, you should buy one because they will provide next-level cleaning services along with the peace of your mind.
How Do Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Work?
Apart from sophisticated automation technologies, basic vacuuming of robot vacuum cleaner is not that much different from the traditional one. Just like the old one, there is a vacuum pump and dust bin to collect the dirt. As an added feature robot vacuum are fashioned with two or four rolling-style alligators and spinning side brush underneath. These brushes sweep the debris from the floor and guide them into the suction area. This debris then ends up in an easy-to-remove small dustbin which sometimes comes with HEPA filter to prevent allergen from spreading through air. They also have tiny wheels for maneuvering. There are also wet mop vacuum cleaner robots available for liquid spills.
Now the complex part is the automatic mapping and navigation system which allows robot vacuum to avoid obstacles and reach the hard-to-get corners all by itself. Robot vacuum uses multiple onboard cameras or laser range finders or infrared sensors to map the room. After acquiring the map, the unit starts cleaning by following a preprogrammed route until it finds an obstacle. When it bumps into an object its mechanical sensor on the bumper activated and it changes direction. Its pre-set navigational algorithm allows it to complete the cleaning despite different objects blocking its way. It can reach and clean under furniture and multiple rooms separated by a boundary wall.
Are Robotic Vacuums Worth It?
Well, that really depends on your perspective. Although a robot vacuum can significantly contribute to daily household chores, they surely don’t come cheap. In comparison with a traditional vacuum cleaner, they offer several advantages. The robot vacuum can reach under the furniture with low clearance from the ground and most importantly they perform autonomously. You just have to clean the dust collector bin, clear the filter and if damaged, change the brush sometimes. The upright vacuum cleaner is powered by the power cord or large battery and it is difficult to maneuver under the table or other furniture. The robot vacuum can reach there and clean. It never gets bored or procrastinates. It cleans regularly (in fact, every hour if you program to do so) and hence there is little chance of piling up dirt. It’s important for people with allergies. So, if you can afford it, you should try one.
The 12 Best Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Reviews & Comparisons
iRobot Roomba 960 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Roomba has come a long way since its market debut. This particular model incorporates patentediAdapt 2.0 technologies with vSLAM navigation system for better navigation and coverage. Premium 3-stage cleaning system ensures the removal of pet hair and invisible allergen and its high-efficiency filter captures 99% of them. It can effectively operate on a hard surface as well as on carpet.
- Seamless navigation
- Works great on the corner.
- Hi-efficient filter
- Multistage cleaning. It loosens, lifts and sucks up dirt.
- Easy control
- Works on both hardwood and carpet.
- Garbage full notification
- Still has problem tackling long hair and a large piece of paper.
- Don’t return every time for recharge in the middle of the job.
iRobot Roomba 675 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Another Roomba bot with special features. It also has multi-stage cleaning options, specially designed brush to work out the corner and multi-surface brushes to handle large debris. Its dirt detection sensor senses the high concentration of dirt and it works harder on those areas. It can be controlled by voice command via a smart speaker like Alexa or Google assistant. iRobot HOME app helps to schedule and monitor cleaning sessions.
- Special brush for cleaning the corner of the room
- Multi-stage cleaning
- Auto-adjust cleaning head and multi-surface brushes clean effectively both hard floor and carpet.
- Custom app and connectivity with smart speakers help to monitor your bot from anywhere.
- It can get stuck sometimes
- Randomly misses spots
- A little bit noisy
iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
It’s quite a fancy robot item costs over four-figure. This unit can automatically empty its bin and deposit the dirt in a bag on the top of the charging dock. This bag locks the allergen from spreading. Its brushes are 30% wider than its predecessors to clean long hair and fabric without getting tangled up. Its D-shaped body along with its specially designed corner brush allows it to perform greatly deep into the corner. Via Imprint Link technology this unit can work in tandem with Braava jet m6 which is a mop robot cleaner. It’s suitable for a different type of floor and it can adjust suction power depending on the type of floor. Imprint smart mapping enables the unit to map your home and program keep out zone for the bot to avoid going there.
- Works great into a deep corner (D-shape body and special brush)
- Wider brush for long hair
- Advance connectivity technology
- Advanced mapping and navigation
- Despite of wider brush, it needs frequent cleaning during operation.
- Sometimes fails to return to charging dock
Neato Robotics D7 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Equipped with laser mapping and navigation, Neato D7 cleans accurately and covers more area quickly. You can program zone to clean specifically that area or no go zone for the robot to avoid. Turbo mode provides extra suction. The body is D –shape for corners and it can remember multiple floor plans. It can actually see and make a map of the room with its laser so that it can move around the furniture or stop at the edge of the stair. It can also function in dark. Neato Vacuum cleaner equally effective for both carpet and hard floors. The controlling is quite easy, one-button operation.
- LIDAR mapping helps to navigate accurately rather than randomly. So, little chance of missing the spot
- Zone cleaning
- Option for no go zone.
- Functions in dark.
- Fast operation
- Easy to find on the map if it gets stuck.
- Excellent deep cleaning into a corner and other areas
- Great suction power
- User manual is little bit confusing.
- Programming the unit for the first time can be a learning curve.
- Filter in the dustbin is hard to clean
DEENKEE DK600 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
It’s an excellent robot cleaner on a low budget. DK600 unit has a total of six different cleaning modes like spot cleaning, auto cleaning, max vacuum cleaning, edge cleaning, single room cleaning, and scheduled cleaning. It has up to 1500 Pa suction and oversized dustbin. It works well on carpet as well as hard floor. DK600 has an omnidirectional infrared sensor to prevent bumping into furniture and tipping over. Despite its thin body, it has a dustbin of 0.6 liter.
- Slim body
- Big dustbin
- Different cleaning mode
- Powerful suction
- Ultra-quiet. (DB level below 55)
- Cleans both hard floor and carpet
- Since it’s a budget item, it doesn’t come with a fancy app or mapping facility.
- Dedicated remote control. It can’t be controlled via smartphone or smart speaker
Roborock S4 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
This is another great and elegant looking robot vacuum that won’t hurt your pocket much. Roborock S4 features a high precision LIDAR navigation system and a dedicated app for selective cleaning, no-go zones and saving maps. Extra strong suction (about 2000 Pa) and super-sized battery (5200 mah lipo battery) will make sure that no dirt is left behind. It has specially designed brush for tackling pet hair. The main brush can also adjust the height for a different type of floors
- Super strong suction and hence better cleaning
- Extra-long life battery ensures 150 minutes nonstop cleaning
- Great for pet hairs
- Excellent performance on a hard floor and low pile carpet
- Low noise
- Not recommended for high pile carpet
- An error appears occasionally and in that case, you have to select clean again.
- No Wi-Fi or app
eufy by Anker, BoostIQRoboVac 11S
This ultra-slim bot comes with a scratch-proof tempered glass top cover. The BoostIQthechnology automatically amplifies the suction power by 1.5 times when needed. It also has a 3-point cleaning system and a triple-filter system. You will get 100 minutes of quiet cleaning session with 1300 Pa suction power. The operating instructions are easy to follow.
- Excellent maneuvering capability due to the slim body.
- Long battery life
- Very quiet
- Easy operation
- Filter on the dustbin is one time. You have to replace it every two or three months.
- Dark color floor is problematic
- Misses spots and run multiple times on the same spot.
- Spinning brush sometimes spreads the dust instead of sucking it
- No Wi-Fi or app
iRobot Roomba 614 Robot Vacuum
This mini package packs quite a punch. It has 3 stage cleaning system to loosen, lift and suck along with dual multi-surface brushes to clean carpet and hard floor. There is a specially designed brush for cleaning corner. Patented dirt detection technology ensures extra effort on concentrated dirt. The cleaning session is about 60 minutes. Multiple sensors help to navigate the bot around objects and under the furniture where the cliff sensor prevents tipping over.
- Works pretty well on both carpet
- Cleans the corner
- Removes pet hair
- Good battery life
- Dustbin requires extensive cleaning after every run
- Cleaning the brushes is difficult
- Moves randomly and misses spot.
Coredy Robot Vacuum Cleaner (R500+)
This unit incorporates wet-dry mopping function which allows it to mop the hard floor with or without water. Water tank and mop cloth are available. It provides 5 different cleaning modes such as edge cleaning, spot cleaning, single room cleaning, max vacuuming cleaning, and manual cleaning. There are sensors like anti-collision and anti-drop sensors for safe operation. You mark the boundary for the bot by drawing magnetic tape on the floor and dual-hall sensors will pick it up. It runs quietly for 120 minutes with a suction power of 1400 Pa and performs well on the hard floor, low and mid pile carpet.
- Picks finer dust
- Long battery life
- Big dustbin
- Slim and smart look
- Wet mop feature
- Anti-collision and anti-drop sensors
- Low noise level (under 60 dB)
- No smartphone app or Wi-Fi
- No mapping and hence chance of getting lost in a large house
Neato Robotics D4 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
This Neato cleaner bot comes with a 0.7-liter dust container and D shaped body for durable cleaning. For mapping and navigation, it uses laser technology. It works on different surfaces and corners. D4 has an 11-inch combo brush which is 70% bigger than its competitors. It also has a user-friendly interface and all the smart features. You can store maps and draw virtual no go zone
- Smart features like app and Wi-Fi
- Laser-guided navigation and mapping
- The d-shaped body helps to clean corner
- Large dustbin
- Works in the dark
- Dustbin are difficult to clean
- Sometimes behaves erroneously.
ECOVACS DEEBOT 901 Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
It’s an amazing robot cleaner on a low budget which has mapping features. This unit has two spinning edge and one main roller brushes. In the case of hair clumps, the main brush can be replaced by direct suction attachment. It follows a linear path during its run. It’s able to move around the furniture and move through the loose objects on the floor. It has a laser distance sensor mounted on the top
- Good navigation
- Direct suction attachment improves the performance during handling pet hair, bits of paper etc.
- Mapping features
- Overall cleaning is badly affected by direct suction attachment as there is no agitation from the brush.
- Faces difficulty to reach underneath the furniture because of its height (3.3 inches)
Shark ION R87 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
This impressive robot uses advanced technology to provide top cleaning for your house. It has a dual-edge and corner brushes for cleaning corners and multi-surface brush roll which helps to pick up both large and small debris from both carpet and hard floor. It features Wi-Fi voice and app control. Its dustbin has a large volume and it runs quietly. Quick sense navigation assures the smooth navigation.
- Good for a home with pets
- Smart control features
- Big dustbin
- Low noise
- It has difficulties to sense the charging dock from long distance.
- Sometimes it misses spots around furniture.
Robot Vacuums vs. Canister and Upright Vacuums
With today’s existing technology, the robot can’t beat human performance in many cases. But it’s evolving for sure and as the technology is advancing at light speed, that day is not far away. That being said, there are some issues if you want to compare the performance of both vacuum cleaners. Although, the robot vacuum cleaner comes with the star war technology, in some cases it fails to beat the canister vacuum.
For starter, the robot vacuum covers the floor area only once and its navigation system is designed to avoid multiple runs in the same area to save energy (there are few exceptions). This strategy is okay for the average situation. But if you happen to have stubborn dirt, then it will be left behind. Besides, it can’t identify an object and hence, if the size of the debris is bigger than its capability, then it may smear it all over the place! It is also performing poorly in case of deep cleaning. Several tests show that a traditional vacuum (canister or upright) is still the best for the deep cleaning of carpet or rugs.
Another major issue is the navigation of the robot vacuum. It’s been established that existing models are best suited for open space and uncluttered room. None of the available models is able to climb the stair. Fat rugs or carpet is also troublesome for it and spends more energy navigating over the thick carpet. It can’t determine if it has missed a spot during its lap on the floor. So, for now, it is advisable to have both items in your home and if not anything robot vacuum will definitely save a lot of time you have to spend running the traditional vacuum cleaner.
What to Consider When Buying A Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Size matters for the performance of the bot for two reasons. Firstly, if your bot is slim, it can reach difficult places easily and secondly, if the dustbin is of small size, you have to clean it more frequently (even two or three times in the single run). Depending on the size of your room, you have to decide. The diameter and height are important parameters.
As you have to coexist with the robot vacuum, you sure don’t want a loud one buzzing through your living room. Most of the models are quiet in comparison with the traditional vacuum, some are extra quiet. So, look for the dB level in the manufacturer’s literature.
Maintenance is not much of an issue for the existing models. All you have to do is to empty the dustbin regularly. Some high-end models even have self-cleaning dustbin. You may have to check for the filter whether they are jammed. Some filters are washable and some are not. Also, you have to check for damaged brushes. Check the user manual for more specific concerns.
Wi-Fi and App feature
If you have a Wi-Fi enabled robot vacuum, you will be able to control or program it via a smartphone app. Along with the user-friendly interface of an app and the convenience of no extra control device, the smartphone app will save a detail cleaning history and let you edit the floor map for better navigation. It is helpful if you have managed a large intricate space. Wi-Fi bot can be controlled via Alexa or Google Assistant.
If the bot runs out of battery charge in the middle of its cleaning session, it will go back to charging dock and resume cleaning afterward. It increases the chance of missing spots. So, check for battery life according to the size of your room. The large battery is desirable but you have to spend more on it. If you have a small room, you can save money by choosing less battery life.
With the help of an onboard camera and laser reflectors to produce a 360º view of the space and locate itself there. It helps the robot to avoid missing spots and unnecessarily going over the same spot. Besides if it has to halt during cleaning run it knows where to resume if it has mapping options. Models having this feature will cost you extra.
It’s desirable that robot vacuum functions with minimal human interaction. So, an effective navigation algorithm is quite essential for this equipment. Otherwise, it may do a lot of funny things like getting suck on obstacles or getting lost on its way around. Apart from the navigation algorithm, it also has multiple sensors through which it sees the world. It has cliff sensors to detect the edge of a stair or sunken living room to prevent tip over. Other sensors help to calculate the distance it travels. When battery charge drops, it locates the charging dock and returns for charging. These functions are pretty basic. There may be other advanced options for different models.
There are different cleaning modes that exist for a robot vacuum for a different type of floor for functioning effectively and save energy as well. It changes suction and other cleaning features depending on the floor type. You can also program some models for a single or double pass for a single room and spot cleaning for stubborn dirt. There are also options for focused cleaning along baseboard and wall edges. Dirt detection sensors are also available in some models.
Completes cleaning cycle
Usually, there are many things lying on the floor like power cord, toys, etc. apart from actual dart and robot vacuum may get stuck on them. So, if you can get the percentage of time it completes the cleaning and returns to the charging dock without help, you will get a fair idea of how it will perform in your home. There are lots of websites of consumer’s review where you can get such data.
It may sound a bit strange; there might be an area in your room where you don’t want your robot to go. For some models, those areas could be marked by magnetic tape and it will restrict the access of the robot vacuum. Some other models with mapping option, they can be programmed to designate virtual boundaries.
Hardwood or carpet cleaning
Floor types vastly affect the performance of the robot cleaner. Rugged areas are difficult to clean for them and they spend more energy moving through them. Hardwood floor are well suited. Some bots have different cleaning modes for different types of floors.
How big is your house?
Apart from the dimension of the unit itself, the size of the area of coverage is also important because battery life and the dustbin capacity depend on it. So, if you have a large room with a lot of dirt, the has to run multiple times to clean it as the battery will be out of charge and dustbin will be full most likely in the middle of the cleaning session. Some models are tailored for large space where others are good for small space.
Do you have dogs or cats?
Pet’s hair is sometime quite a challenge for the bot to clean as the long hair gets tangled up in the brush. Many existing models can handle the problem better. Besides kitty litter or dog excreta might pose a different challenge for the bot.
Due to the round shape, it is difficult for a robot vacuum to clean the corner of the room. Some models have upgraded the design to tackle this issue. The d-shaped bot is available for efficient corner cleaning. Some versions have an elongated brush.
Robot vacuums offer lots of varieties for a different price ranging from $150 to an astonishing four-figure. And evidently, the higher the price, the higher the number of features. Fortunately, if you are on a budget, you can still manage some good ones if you know exactly what you are looking for. For low or mid-end bots, you have to compromise for Wi-Fi connectivity and advanced navigation. If can spend more than $700, you will get pretty much all the essential staff as well as advanced options like virtual walls for cleaning a specific area. High-end bots often come with options people don’t often use.
The robot vacuum cleaner has got a lot of reviews both good and bad. But one thing for sure, they are here to stay as the fastest growing floor cleaning technology. Future market insight predicted the rise in the annual sale from $1.5 billion in 2016 to $2.5 billion in 2021.
Before buying, you can visit a product site, like Amazon Walmart, there are thousands of reviews of a product. Reviews are words from the users who express their experience in using the product. So, you may look at an honest and exact idea to know the products so effectively. This is worth adding value to life to choose a product.
There is this concern about their privacy as robotic vacuum cleaner actively communicates with their company server and they keep a record of the map created by their product and other data. You can view them on your smartphone via the company’s app. Most of the companies promise to keep them secret from the third party but for some people that is quite an issue. Robot vacuum cleaners may be far from perfect but they are evolving faster. The conveniences they offer are far superior in comparison with the traditional one. Although it may not be wise to get rid of the canister or upright type vacuum occupying your broom closet, the future is unequivocally bright for the robot vacuum.
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