Only a few short years ago, the words “robot vacuum” would have sounded like something out of the Jetsons! But here we are, living in the age of actual robots that actually vacuum our homes. And they seem to have arrived just in time. But are they actually any good? In this post we plan to answer that burning question “Should I Get A Robot Vacuum?”
Today’s families have full schedules that don’t allow for as much family time as we’d all like. Taking care of household chores can eat into what little time we do have, making automated cleaning sound like a dream come true. But what are the trade-offs? Will you get the same level of cleaning you’d get if you vacuumed or swept by hand? Are those fancy robot vacuums worth the admittedly-somewhat- steep price tag? And of course, possibly most important of all, what should I name it?
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So . . . Should I Get A Robot Vacuum?
The answer is, in a word, yes! Robot vacuums are a huge time saver and they are especially helpful if you have pets or children, as well all know the havoc that one dog or one child can wreak on floors. While older styles of automated vacuums were substantially less sophisticated, newer models are becoming sleeker and smarter.
The choices in models and features available today are staggering. There truly is a robot vacuum to suit every lifestyle, budget, and type of home.
OK, you have my attention, tell me more . . .
Robot vacuums don’t only save time, they also save space. A robot vacuum requires nothing more than a small spot on the floor and a power outlet to plug the base into for charging.
Compare that to the substantially larger footprint of a huge manual vacuum and various types of brooms, dustpans or dry floor-dusting systems.
Another advantage of robot vacuums is that it can clean while you are engaged in other tasks, whether you’re at home or not. Via smartphone/computer/tablet apps, robot vacuums such as Roomba, Neato or Dyson can be set to run from a remote location.
You can actually vacuum your home while you’re still at work and come home to clean floors!
OK, I’ll buy a robot vacuum, but which one?
So once you’re sold on it, how do you go about finding the right robot vacuum? Research, research, research. Finding the right robot vacuum for your household is paramount to your satisfaction with it.
There are a number of different models and features and it truly does come down to a matter of personal choice. A few of the factors to consider:
Prices vary wildly by brand and features. You can expect to spend anywhere from just under $200 to upwards of $900, depending on exactly what you are looking for.
Do you have hardwoods, carpet, rugs or a combination of any of the above? While robot vacuums are designed to handle multiple types of floor surfaces, it’s a good idea to look for a vacuum that lists that particular floor type.
Do you have pets? Hair from pets is one of the top reasons that people purchase robot vacuums. Look for a design that incorporates features that are designed to pick up pet hair, which can be quite tricky to pick up.
There are several models of vacuum that feature a soft roller design (rather than a traditional brush) to attract pet hair while discouraging tangling.
Depending on your budget, the sky is the limit as far as robot vacuum features are concerned.
The lower-end models, while basic, do a good job of basic cleaning for a small to medium-sized home on one battery charge but may require additional charging to complete larger homes.
Basic models do not map out a home; rather, they follow a vague pattern that bounces them around from room to room until they have covered all of the space.
Upper-end models, such as the Coredy L900, feature mapping technology that actually lays out the dimensions of each room in your house and creates a pattern that will hit every square inch of it consistently. More expensive models may also feature self-emptying technology.
Of course, no matter what model you get, if you have a cat, they will appreciate it too.
What are the pros and cons of a robot vacuum?
We’re glad you asked. Let us break down some points for you to consider.
- It’s a huge time-saver. There’s not much that is more satisfying than watching your vacuum run around the house unattended while you take care of other matters. There’s no questioning that this is the number one reason for getting a robot vacuum.
- They cut down on pet dander and dust: Let’s face it. No matter how much hand vacuuming or sweeping you do, there is always going to be a lost tumbleweed of pet hair rolling across the floor. Robot vacuums make it easy to vacuum more regularly and they get under surfaces such as couches and chairs. Cutting down on dust and pet dander can decrease asthma and allergy symptoms and improve overall air quality.
- They’re great for individuals with disabilities or physical limitations. Robot vacuums are simple to operate and do not require the body strength or flexibility that is needed to hand-vacuum or sweep. Because they are lightweight, they are also quite easy to empty out.
- They integrate with other smart home features. If you’re putting together a smart home, a robot vacuum will fit right in. Vacuums can be controlled by pushing buttons on the base or robot, as well as through apps or remotes, depending upon the model.
- They’ve got long lifespans! The newer generations of robot vacuums are designed to last. Most manufacturers offer inexpensive kits to replace rollers or other pieces that naturally wear out over time. Because they are a big investment, manufacturer warranties are typically quite good. (Of course, it pays to check this out when you are shopping around!)
- They can clean all types of floors. Whatever combination of types of flooring you have in your home, your robot can clean them all. While certain higher- priced models offer different cleaning modes, even the standard models are safe and effective on various floors.
- All you need to operate your robot vacuum is one power outlet. That means, no more dragging cords from room to room trying to figure out where to plug in your vacuum. Robot vacuums are always ready, as they charge on a base when not in use and travel free of cords.
- Prices are steadily dropping, while the variety of features is rising. The newest batch of robot vacuums is much more affordable – and efficient – than its ancestors. If you’ve been holding off and hoping for a reasonably-priced model, now might be the right time to buy!
- They operate more quietly than traditional upright vacuums. While most robot vacuums cannot be called quiet, they are not nearly as distractingly loud as most upright vacuum systems, which can make your house sound like a jet runway.
- There are no cords to get tangled up in! This speaks for itself.
- The initial cost is high. As stated above, you’ll spend quite a bit on a good robot vacuum. However, if you’ve bought an expensive manual vacuum in the past, the cost may not seem so steep! And, as mentioned above, the prices are slowly leveling out and there are bargains to be found. Don’t forget to take into account the cost of upkeep for your vacuum, which will likely include brushes, replacement wheels or brushless rollers.
- You’ll still have to sweep occasionally. A robot vacuum can’t get around big objects and, although they can reach close to walls, there will be some corners that your robot can’t quite clean out well. Which means that you shouldn’t get rid of your broom altogether.
- Items can get caught in your robot. You need to make sure that your floor is free of any items that could potentially get caught in rollers, such as strings, rubber bands or long strands of hair. If these items get caught in your robot, it will stop running. If you’ve synced it up with an app, you will receive a notification. Unfortunately, the robot will not be able to run again until you can get to it and pull the item causing the problem free. Robot vacuums can also get caught up in larger items, such as sheets, curtains or bedspreads/bed skirts that touch the ground. Again, these items will have to be removed or kept “out of reach” while the vacuum is running.
- Battery life can vary. If you have a large home, you may not be able to get the entire house vacuumed on one charging session. This means that your robot will have to return to its base and re-charge before it finishes its job. If you are running it while you are not home, you may be able to re-set it and start it again after it is charged. That way, you can still come home to a clean house!
Final thoughts on Should I get a robot vacuum?
All in all, a robot vacuum is an excellent investment for a busy household and can save you untold hours on cleaning. With so many companies now competing to create the best and most affordable models, we can expect to see improvements in efficiency, more options and a wider range of price points in robot vacuums.
If you are considering getting a robot vacuum for your household, the key is to spend your time doing the research to determine which model is right for your home, your lifestyle and your budget. Happy cleaning!
Matt is the founder of the Little Robot Shop, who has spent much of the last decade hacking home cleaning with various robots and devices to make keeping his home clean as easy as possible. Not an easy task with two young children.
When not working on the Little Robot Shop website or YouTube channel, he works as technical support and product specialist for a fast-growing digital company. He does his best to get his younglings to code, which will be an essential skill in the future.
So what do you think now? Should you get a robot vacuum?