Busting the Myth: Do Robot Vacuums Work?

If vacuuming is one of your least favorite cleaning chores, you may be wondering if you should get a robot vacuum. Ever since iRobot introduced its Roomba model in 2002, the technology behind robot vacuums has been steadily improving. Today, 20% of all vacuum cleaners made worldwide are robot vacuums.

But do robot vacuums work? Are they really worth it? Read on to learn about their pros, cons, and common features.

How Robot Vacuums Differ From Traditional Vacuums

Robot vacuums were designed to offer convenience to consumers and remove some of the drudgeries of cleaning. Compared to traditional vacuums, they’re small, lightweight, and usually round. They’re designed to automatically move around a room or specific area of a home without the need of someone physically pushing them.

They can also be much more expensive than an upright vacuum depending upon their technology and features.

That means they definitely come with their own set of pros and cons. First, here’s a list of the benefits you can expect from most models of robot vacuums.

They Save Time

Robot vacuums help free up some of the time you’d normally spend vacuuming and sweeping for leisure activities or working on other home projects such as landscaping your yard. You just turn them on and let them do their thing. Many models are also now programmable which allows you to schedule them to clean certain rooms on specific days of the week.

They also save you a little bit of physical labor in that they do the work for you. They make a great household addition for a person who has limited mobility whether due to age or a health condition.

And when their cleaning job is through, most models are designed to return to their docking station where they can recharge their batteries.

They’re Compact

The smaller size of robot vacuums means they take up much less space than a regular vacuum, even when they’re recharging in their dock. They weigh must less than upright vacuums, making them easy to carry to other parts of a home.

They’re Quieter Than Traditional Vacuums

Most regular vacuum cleaners register near 80 decibels and can be disruptive to pets and sleeping babies. Many robot vacuums, on the other hand, register between 53 and 60 decibels. This is the equivalent of normal conversation or background music in a public place.

Their Technology is Improving

Today’s latest robot vacuums come with a slew of features that their predecessors never had. These include floor mapping and the ability to distinguish different rooms in a home, connectivity with a mobile device to program the cleaning, and brushes that pick up pet hair.

There’s also now an iRobot model-the Roomba i7-that can empty the debris it picked up into its own disposal bin. Some models are now gaining the ability to do double-duty as a mop on floor surfaces.

One feature that nearly all robot vacuums share is “cliff detection” which means they won’t take a tumble down a flight of stairs or off a ledge.

Disadvantages of Robot Vacuums

These features are all helpful and can certainly benefit the homeowner who hates to vacuum. But unfortunately, these devices are not perfect and come with their own limitations. Here’s a few of them to keep in mind if deciding to get a robot vacuum.

They Can’t Reach Every Part of a Room

Robot vacuums can’t completely take the place of a traditional vacuum since they can’t reach every corner like a vacuum with an attachment can. They can’t clean your drapes or make their way up and down stairs.

In fact, even if you own one you’ll still need to hold onto your traditional vacuum cleaner to make sure you can reach the ceiling, room corners, and areas behind furniture where dust bunnies may hide.

They Can Be Expensive

Depending upon the features and technology offered, even the lowest priced robot vacuums tend to be more expensive than traditional upright vacuums.

What’s also confusing is that very often, vacuum robot models will be very close in price even though they offer different features. A good example of this is theĀ Neato Botvac D7 vs iRobot Roomba 980 comparison.

Some are lower than others to fit more easily under furniture while others can be programmed to clean your home at a designated time. This is why it’s important to do your research and get an idea of the various models of robot vacuums, what each offers, and which features matter most to you. Doing the research now will save time and money and prevent you from having to return a vacuum you’re not crazy about.

They Need to Be Emptied More Often and Cleaned

These devices have smaller dust collection bins compared to regular vacuum cleaners which means they need to be emptied more often. This may also limit how much space they can clean at once before the bin gets full.

And although many are now designed to suck up animal hair, human hair can still get tangled around the rollers and brushes. Your robot vacuum will need to be checked and cleaned regularly of any hair that accumulates around the moving parts.

Their batteries also come with various lifespans. They can usually for about 90 minutes or so before needing a recharge.

They Can Get Stuck

A robot vacuum is wonderful for cleaning underneath furniture unless the clearance isn’t high enough for it. Then it will get stuck and alert you to come to rescue it. Their whirling brushes can also do damage to door surfaces or wooden furniture if they bump into it often enough.

Do Robot Vacuums Work? Yes, But They’re Not Perfect

The answer to the question “Do robot vacuums work?” is yes, but they do have their limitations. While they will not take the place of your regular vacuum cleaner, they do offer a convenient way to keep floors and carpeting tidy in between heavy duty vacuuming.

We have plenty of advice on keeping your home clean and posts about the latest home cleaning technology. If you enjoyed this article, please read our other home advice posts for making the most of and enjoying your living space!