Your Easy Guide To Buying A Robotic Vacuum
So you’ve finally decided to pass the torch of cleaning onto a robot, eh? We don’t blame you. Cleaning your floors can be a pain.
The issue you’ve probably run into, though, is the fact that there are a lot of robotic vacuums on the market. All of them claim to be the best, but they all vary in features and price… so how do you decide which one is best for you?
We’re here to help. We’re going to give you certain questions to ask for every robotic vacuum you consider – some will be vital to you, whereas others won’t. Let’s begin!
The features to look for in any robotic vacuum
What’s the battery life like?
Most (if not all) robotic vacuum cleaners work by having a charging dock. The robot begins to clean, and if it can’t clean your entire house before it runs out of battery, it will return here to charge up, then resume the task where it left off.
The problem is that the charging time is often 2-3x the run time. So if it runs for an hour, it’ll have to charge for 2-3 hours, and then resume at a completely different point in the day.
If you care about getting the job done as fast as possible, you’ll want to get one with a long battery life – 100 minutes or more. If you don’t care when it runs, then you don’t have to worry about battery.
Does it schedule cleans?
This is a pretty standard feature in most robotic vacuum cleaners, but some of the cheaper models don’t offer it.
Basically, you just schedule your unit to run on specific times during specific days of the week, and when that time comes around, it will start cleaning automatically. You don’t even need to be in the house. If you are, you don’t even need to remember to start it… your floors are just always clean.
If you’re organized and don’t mind starting it manually, then you probably don’t need this feature. But it’s very handy – and that’s exactly why the vast majority of robotic vacuum cleaners have it.
Can it navigate multiple rooms?
Believe it or not, even the more expensive robotic vacuums sometimes can’t navigate through multiple rooms. Then, there are companies who release two versions of each new line – one can navigate multiple rooms, whereas others cannot.
Many will come with this included. If a model that doesn’t include this feature catches your eye, just know that you’ll have to manually place it in each new space that you wish to clean.
How loud is it?
Recognize that robotic vacuum cleaners are not (yet) as efficient as humans. Imagine how long it takes you to clean your floors… then double or triple that amount of time for the robot.
If you’re going to be home when your vacuum is running, get a quiet one. If you aren’t going to be home, have a big house, or don’t mind the sound, get a loud one – they are often cheaper and a lot more powerful.
What’s the support like?
Some overseas companies offer no support. Some US companies offer great support. Read the reviews to see if any past customers have contacted support – if someone has, he or she will definitely let you know his or her thoughts on the experience. (They’ll let you know because with robotic vacuum cleaners, support is usually either phenomenal or non-existent.)
What cleaning tools does it have? (brushes/filters/mops)
Most robotic vacuum cleaners are much more than just vacuums – instead of simply providing suction, most aim to actually clean your floor and dislodge debris that regular suction would not reach.
They do this task with brushes. Read customer reviews on the power of the brushes before you buy any cleaner. Some units have exceptionally good brushes, and will dislodge dirt that’s imperceptible to the human eye… whereas others don’t do so much, if anything at all.
If your house gets unusually dirty (kids, pets, etc.), then make sure to get the best brushes, whereas if it’s relatively calm, you can leave them out.
Filters are also important, because the vacuuming job isn’t done when the suction is applied. The debris still has to get caught on a filter. The better the filter, the less dust, hair, and dirt that will be released back into your air.
HEPA filters are the gold standard in robotic vacuum cleaners. Non-HEPA filters are pretty good, but you won’t remove 100% of dust and pet hair with them. So if you have allergies or pets, we recommend getting a HEPA filter.
Finally, some robotic vacuum cleaners are actually robotic moppers, too. They clean, vacuum the dirt, and then run a mop behind the unit so that your hardwood floors shine.
Combination units are usually more expensive, and for those of you with non-hardwood floors, you don’t need the feature. But if you live in a house that has brand-new floors (or just a lot of hardwood floor), it’s definitely something to consider. The mopping makes your house look like a maid just came through.
Overall, the best piece of advice we can give you is this: read the reviews. We ourselves have compiled non-biased reviews for almost every robotic vacuum cleaner on the market, and within each one, we link you to reviews from actual customers who already own each unit.
Do your homework and you’ll be fine. Tonight’s assignment: begin browsing for robotic vacuum cleaners on our site. Good luck!