Undoubtedly, the robot vacuum is changing how homeowners vacuum their houses. Finally, you can get clean floors without pushing around a machine.
In fact, according to market research firm Statista, the worldwide robotic vacuum cleaner market was valued at 1.84 billion dollars in 2018; by 2025, it is expected to reach 4.98 billion dollars!
So there is no doubt that the popularity of robot vacuums is growing as the best become better and the rest become more affordable. But the big question remains, can a robot vacuum replace a normal vacuum?
Can a robot vacuum replace conventional vacuums?
Not really. Robot vacuums cannot fully replace traditional vacuums as they can’t reach into every corner or handle stairs, so I’d recommend owning a small handheld as well to get the places a robot vacuum cannot touch.
There are many advantages to robotic vacuums, but these devices have limitations. Having the ability to vacuum hands-free is a huge convenience. It is also possible to program robot vacuums using your smartphone. Some like to do this while at work, while others let it run overnight. It is up to you, but you can ensure you will have clean floors when you want them without lifting a finger.
Is a robot vacuum more expensive than a traditional vacuum?
Again it depends. In general, decent robotic vacuum cleaners cost more than normal vacuums, but they provide convenience by eliminating heavy lifting. For the ultimate-automated vacuuming experience, choosing the best robot vacuum to suit your needs is imperative.
When it comes to robot vacuums, I believe there are four price points:
- Cheap and cheerful – these models will generally be below $150. You’ll struggle to find something worthwhile in this price bracket unless it is a sale on a model from a known brand that is a few years old. Most will be poorly built, generic Chinese copies.
- Budget – many robot vacuums fall in this price point between $150 – $350. At this price, you’ll begin to get more reliable machines, especially if you buy models that may be a couple of years old and the manufacturers have modern versions they are focussing on. In addition, you’ll start to have some intelligent mapping features and multiple cleaning modes.
- Mid-range – at the $350 – $600 price point, you’ll begin to find LiDAR navigation, more suction power, and some will even include a self-empty docking station.
- Premium – These will be between $600- $1000 and have all the essential features in a fantastic machine with super strong suction, onboard cameras, and premium mopping features. Examples would be the Roomba J7 Combo or Roborock S7.
- All-in-one super premiums – alright, I know I said four, but a fifth price point has started to become popular, and these are the all-in-one floor washing machines such as the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra or the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni. They will auto-empty the bin and refill the water tank for continuous mopping, which cost more than $1000.
So, what would be considered a mid-range robotic vacuum would be the equivalent price of a top-end conventional vacuum cleaner.
A few more things to know about robot vacuum cleaners
With that said, let’s break down a few things you should know about robot vacuums.
Vacuum cleaners aren’t as smart as they seem and can get stuck
While a robot vacuum cleaner can maneuver around the house, they sometimes get wedged or suck up something they shouldn’t, like a sock or a shoelace and get jammed.
Be wary of dark rugs
Almost all modern robot vacuums have cliff sensors to keep them from falling down stairs. However, this can be an issue with really dark rugs as sometimes they will trick the sensors into being a big hole, and the vacuum will avoid it. Look out for this in reviews if you have dark rugs.
They’re not totally hands-off
There are a number of routine maintenance tasks that you should be aware of. For example, a robot vacuum cleaner’s trash bins must be emptied regularly, sensors being cleansed, and brushes detangled. A build-up of hair can put a strain on your vacuum and shorten its lifespan.
There’s no perfect vacuum for everyone
Do your research and make the right choice when it comes to your model; for example, some vacuums are better for carpets, while others have mops and are great for hardwood. Some are super hi-tech and require apps; others are more simplistic for less technical people.
How To Get The Most Out of Your Robot Vacuum
Almost everything in life has benefits and drawbacks that need to be considered, including robotic vacuum cleaners. A robot vacuum is about autonomy, but your help can make life easier.
Although most robotic vacuums have excellent navigation and the best have onboard cameras for obstacle detection, they still work best when there are no obstacles in the way. Therefore, it is a good idea to get into a routine of removing cables, toys, clothes, and other items that could get in the way with the brush or roller before it is set to start.
I generally do a quick robo-check before leaving the house to ensure no rogue socks will get sucked up and jam the brush. But, even though I do that, it still happens more than it should.
Also, take the time to set up smart maps and no-go zones. For example, if you have pet bowls or don’t want the machine to go around certain rooms, simply make them or shut the doors to those areas. Also, keep an eye out for anything that could tip over on accident, for instance, a top-heavy lamp or vase; the robot could easily bump into these and knock them if not protected.
Finally, consider where you put the dock. Most budget and mid-range robots use infrared or radio waves for navigation. Once the device reaches a certain distance from the dock, there is no way for it to return to the dock.
Who benefits most from a robot vacuum?
- People with busy schedules: Robot vacuum cleaners are ideal for people with limited time. Robot vacuums can be programmed to clean daily or weekly while you’re occupied with other things and don’t have time to reach the regular vacuum cleaner.
- Large families: Family members bringing in dirt and pet hair from outside makes homes dirtier more quickly. Keep up with the constant mess with your robot vacuum’s tireless work.
- Those with mobility concerns: Robot vacuums can be a great relief for those who have trouble operating upright vacuums.
- If you like to keep your home clean at all times, you can clean your floors with a robot vacuum while you are at work or even sleeping, so they never look dirty or unkempt.
Do I need a vacuum if I have a robot vacuum?
Ideally, you should only partially replace your current vacuum since, regardless of the type of flooring, it’s unlikely they’ll be thoroughly cleaned, particularly under narrow furniture. Furthermore, a handheld vacuum can’t be used to clean upholstery or furniture. Instead, purchase a robot vacuum for regular floor cleaning, and use your current vacuum to do deep cleaning, resulting in lovely clean floors.
Does Roomba work as well as a regular vacuum?
Perfect for touch-ups and keeping on top of cleaning. Even though robovacs are not as powerful or thorough as an upright vacuum or canister vacuum, they have enough power to be used in homes. However, they don’t have eyes, so if they don’t pick something up, they won’t know to go back over it and try again, like you would if you were holding a vacuum.
Final thoughts – Can a robotic vacuum replace a traditional vacuum cleaner?
A robot vacuum is one of the best ways to keep your home neat and clean when you lead a busy lifestyle. Despite that, they are not without faults, and due to their weaker strength and limited cleaning ability, they cannot fully replace the traditional vacuum.
Consider using both together instead of replacing standard vacuums. You can use your robotic vacuum for general light cleaning, but you should keep your upright vacuum on hand for touch-ups and tougher messes. As a result, your home will be spotless, something a robotic vacuum cannot do, and you won’t have to spend much time vacuuming.