Most Popular Robotic Vacuums
Roomba 635 - Reviews, Prices, Specs and Alternatives
Some robotic vacuums can be controlled by your smartphone through a mobile app, which is essentially a more advanced remote control. You are typically able to start/stop the vacuum’s cleaning, control movements, set schedules, and even run diagnostics to see which parts need to be replaced. The more integrated the app, the more hands-off your experience can be. Having the ability to turn on and control the vacuum while you’re out of the house is the major convenience of app-directed cleaning.Hide
Remote controls typically enable you to start and stop the cleaning process and/or direct the vacuum’s movements to specific areas in the home. A remote control is an added convenience for those who wish to avoid manually powering on/off or moving the vacuum. An alternative to the remote would be a smartphone app that also controls the vacuums power and movements, which could be even more useful if you tend to lose remotes, but app control typically comes at a premium price point.Hide
Auto scheduling allows you to program the vacuum to a cleaning schedule (daily, every other day, weekly, etc.), where it turns on and cleans automatically at a set time. Otherwise, you have to manually turn it on and off. If you want the vacuum to run when you’re not home—so you won’t have to worry about it getting in your way—this feature is a must. Setting a schedule also guarantees that you’ll get the most use out of your vacuum. With manual use, you might never get around to actually turning it on if you’re busy. Considering that robotic vacuums are designed for regular maintenance cleaning, having an automatic schedule for your vacuum makes this maintenance as hands-off and easy as possible.Hide
Battery life indicates the maximum amount of time a vacuum can run on one charge. On average, robot vacuum batteries last around 1.5 hours, with higher end options getting up to two hours on a full charge. The size of your home is one of the main determinants of how much battery life you need. The bigger your home, the longer you’ll want battery to last, so that it can clean everything in one go without having to charge halfway through. So have your square footage handy when shopping for vacuums.
Keep in mind that some robot vacuums also come with the ability to detect low battery and automatically return to the base to recharge. The right balance of battery life and recharging features may be more important than just getting the longest battery life. For example, you might choose a vacuum with a lower total battery life if it will return to the base to recharge automatically, and then restart cleaning where it left off. This could be more advantageous than a longer battery life where the vacuum simply dies and requires you to hunt it down and manually return it to the base to recharge. It is recommended that you weigh your battery life options in accordance with this other feature.Hide
When a vacuum’s battery dies, one of two things can happen: 1) the vacuum starts over cleaning without any memory of what it cleaned before the battery died, or 2) the vacuum will resume cleaning from the point where it left off when the battery died. The second scenario is more convenient and less work for you, but typically comes at a premium price. If the vacuum does not resume where it left off, you may need to manually direct it to places that did not get cleaned before the battery died.Hide
Regardless of the price of your vacuum, the dustbin still needs to be emptied manually. The more your vacuum is used, the more often you will need to change your dustbin. If you have a large home, the more you would benefit from a bigger bin capacity, so that you don’t have to empty the bin before the entire job is done. Also, if you have pets, kids, or just happen to have floors that get dirty quickly, you may want to consider a larger bin capacity to avoid changing the dustbin too often. In contrast, smaller homes, apartments, or homes that stay relatively clean between vacuuming don’t need the biggest bin capacity on the market.Hide
Different robot vacuums are made for different floor types based on the cleaning mechanism within the device, which can include a brush, a mop, or both. Robot vacuums with large brushes are best for carpets and rugs. If the vacuum has a dry or wet mop, you’ll get a more thorough clean on hard surfaces, such as hardwood or tile. Dry mops are dry cloths, usually microfiber, that pick up extra debris that the brush might miss. Wet mops are a moistened version of the dry mop, though the technology has not advanced enough to be as efficient as a real mop. Some vacuums struggle over high-pile carpets or fluffy rugs, and might get stuck. Take note of the floor types in your home so you purchase a robot vacuum that is equipped to clean everywhere that you need it to.Hide
- Thin carpet
- Thick carpet
Most robotic vacuums come with an auto-clean mode (meant for maintenance cleaning over a large area) but some more sophisticated models will come with different cleaning modes, such as spot mode or scheduled clean, to allow for more customization. Spot mode is a useful setting because it allows you to choose a particularly dirty area and the robot vacuum will focus on that spot by running over it multiple times (in a spiral pattern, for example) for maximum cleanliness. You may also be able to set the vacuum on timed mode, so it cleans for exactly a set amount of time (for example, if you wanted to tidy up before an event at your house).Hide
Most vacuums use brushes to pick up debris, since suction alone isn’t usually enough to effectively clean (especially on rough surfaces like carpet). These brush rolls can have different brush types, including traditional brushes, bladed brushes or a combination of the two. Traditional brushes are similar to what you’d find in a regular vacuum—a roll with bristles stuck into it rotates and brushes debris into the vacuum’s dustbin. Bladed brushes are built the same, but have rubber blades that spin instead of bristles and are especially effective at picking up pet hair. Finally, combination brushes have both bristles and blades.
Some vacuums do not have brush rolls and rely solely on suction to clean. However, this method is not nearly as effective, particularly on carpet and rugs. If your home only has hardwood and tile floors, a suction-only vacuum may suffice for surface-level cleaning, if you’re looking for the cheapest option.
In addition to brush rolls, a new practice in robot vacuums is to include edge or side brushes. These small brushes sit on the front and side of the vacuum and brush debris into the brush roll area to be vacuumed up. With an extra set of brushes loosening up dirt and debris, cleaning becomes much more effective. Also, these front and side brushes sweep along baseboards and corners. Considering that the inability to effectively clean corners is a common complaint in robotic and handheld vacuums, these brushes are invaluable to those who want a thorouhgly clean household.Hide
HEPA filters help limit the allergens that get into the air when you vacuum. If you suffer from allergies, choosing a vacuum with a HEPA filter is a must. Note that HEPA filters do wear down over time and will need to be replaced to ensure efficient filtering of allergens. Still, it’s worth it to avoid aggravating your allergies.Hide
The ability to pick up pet hair is a feature that will be explicitly noted in the vacuum’s specifications. If you have pets, it’s imperative that you choose a vacuum that’s equipped for picking up pet hair, especially if your pets are prone to heavy shedding. Models without this feature will get clogged easily and break down, requiring replacement parts more often. This will often cost you more money in the long run.Hide
When it comes to size for robot vacuums, pay particular attention to the height measurement. If the device is too tall, it won’t fit under beds, dressers, couches, and other furniture to clean in the deepest corners of your home. Measure the smallest opening underneath your furniture and compare against the height of the vacuum to ensure the vacuum can get into all those hard to reach places.Hide
- Home base charging station
- Extra AeroVac filter
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