As robotic technology advances, it’s no surprise that robot vacuums are becoming more and more popular. These little machines have the ability to take a couple of big housekeeping tasks off your to-do list: Sweeping and vacuuming your home’s floors, with some even mopping them. Having a robot vacuum on duty means you get more free time to relax, do something you enjoy, or even sleep. But with so many different robot vacuums on the market, how do you know which one is right for you?
Here’s an overview of what robot vacuums can do, answers to common questions, and resources to help you make the best robot vacuum purchase for your home—so you can keep your house tidy, even if you’re away all day.
What Are Robot Vacuums and How Do They Work?
You’ve likely seen an online ad or television commercial advertising popular robot vacuum models. These autonomous devices clean your floors by automatically moving through the rooms of your home. Most models run on a rechargeable battery and operate by utilizing a series of spinning and rolling brushes that work together to pull dirt inwards. The vacuum’s mechanical suction then collects waste within an enclosed waste system or bin within the vacuum until it can be emptied by the user. Some robot vacuums can even empty themselves into a bin in their charging station.
The most significant part of robotic cleaners is their sensors. Equipped with downward-facing sensors that detect common obstacles—such as tables, chairs, and walls—these important features are essential to successful robot vacuum performance. Newer models use artificial intelligence and deep learning for better mapping, object identification, and event-based cleaning.
Battery life for many robot vacuums runs from 90 minutes to three hours before needing recharging (this varies, depending on make and model). Smarter robot vacuums can operate with phone applications and speakers, too. The more advanced ones also come with mopping attachments.
The 5 Best Robot Vacuums for Any Home – Our List
The 10 Pros of Owning a Robot Vacuum
Here are some of the main benefits you can expect from purchasing a robot vacuum cleaner
CLEAN YOUR HOME, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE NOT THERE
After the initial setup of your robot vacuum, the operation is almost entirely hands-off! Program your robot vacuum to clean when it’s convenient for you and enjoy the added help and time during the holidays, when you’re traveling or at work, or whenever you’re away from home for an extended period of time. You’ll always come home to a clean house!
SPEND LESS TIME CLEANING AND MORE TIME DOING WHAT YOU LOVE
One of the most appealing features of robot vacuums is that they save you a significant amount of time because they do the cleaning for you (mostly without supervision). Just turn on the vacuum before you leave the house, and the device will do the work for you while you are out. Some robot vacuums even allow you to turn the power on and off with a smartphone or tablet. When you come home from a hard day’s work, all you have to do is take off your shoes and relax!
SAVE MONEY AND BOOST YOUR BUDGET
Compared to the cost of manual vacuum cleaning, in the long-run, robotic vacuum cleaning can be both efficient and less expensive. Prices and features have improved over the past few years, and many models are affordable for nearly any budget. Expect to pay around $120 for starter models, and as much as $2,000 for high-end robot vacuum models. The one-time investment can save you money that would otherwise have been spent annually on other cleaning products or visits from a professional housekeeper.
NO MORE LIFTING A HEAVY, TRADITIONAL VACUUM
Do you have back problems? If so, vacuuming can be a particularly difficult chore. Lugging an awkward and heavy traditional vacuum around your home or up-and-down stairs becomes a thing of the past when you have a robotic vacuum to do the work for you.
HELPFUL, HANDS-FREE CLEANING
Owning a robot vacuum cleaner can be extremely beneficial for elderly or handicapped consumers. This hands-free cleaning option can be an empowering and money-saving opportunity for people who would otherwise need to enlist a housekeeper to clean their homes. No need for help or support, owners of robot vacuums are able to simply program their devices on their own and keep a clean house without the intervention of anyone else.
ADJUST THE CLEANING SETTINGS TO MATCH YOUR NEEDS
Another advantage of robot vacuum cleaners is the ability to adjust cleaning settings. Many robotic vacuums can detect the amount of dirt in a specific area and conveniently modify their cleaning settings automatically to match the intensity needed to do the job well. Robot vacuums can also detect changes in the floor surface, and automatically adjust their settings to match the needs of your home’s different flooring types, such as long or short pile carpet, hardwood floors, linoleum, and tile.
EASILY CLEAN IN CORNERS AND TIGHT SPACES
It’s difficult for many people to get to those tight and hard-to-reach spots with a conventional vacuum cleaner. But, with the robot cleaner’s auto-features and compact size, it can easily access nooks, crannies, corners—and even get underneath furniture throughout your home.
NO MORE STRUGGLING TO VACUUM YOUR STAIRS!
Stairs are so hard to clean; most homeowners dread dragging a vacuum cleaner up and down steps and trying to get every corner of them clean. Here’s some good news: Most robot vacuums come equipped with a system that allows them to tackle both carpeted and wood stairs for you. All you have to do is program the robot to detect where your stairs are located in your home, and they’ll maneuver and clean accordingly.
ITS PORTABLE, COMPACT, AND SAVES SPACE
Significantly smaller than a conventional vacuum cleaner, robot vacuums are so compact they can get into just about any space. They’re also great if you have limited room for storage, or are looking to minimize or downsize your stuff. Plus, their size allows you to conveniently carry the devices from one location to another.
SYNC WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE OR HOME’S SMART DEVICES
Another benefit of purchasing a robot vacuum is that it can tap into your home’s smart devices or be programmed as a stand-alone appliance. Most robot vacuums can be set to run at specific times of day and within programmed paths or within “virtual walls”—so you can reduce impacts with furniture or real, physical walls.
The 6 Cons of Owning a Robot Vacuum
As you research your robot vacuum options, it’s good to also know what some consumers consider cons for these devices. Here are some common drawbacks cited by robot vacuum purchasers.
This is a big issue for many consumers. With low-end new robot vacuums starting at about $120 and going up from there, they are a more expensive cleaning tool. Although comparable with conventional vacuums, this cost may be a bit out of reach for some budgets.
After your initial investment, you may need to also pay for maintenance costs for your robot vacuum. For example, when we first got our robot vacuum, we noticed that it was constantly getting stuck under our couch and in the corner of one room. After doing some research, we discovered that this is rather common with robot vacuums—but can be corrected with some service work. Although the company provided spare parts to fix our issue, the ultimate repair didn’t come cheap!
Here’s a good tip: If you want to avoid spending money on your robot vacuum after the initial investment, do your homework ahead of your purchase and look for a model with lots of good reviews under its belt.
Much like any smart device, your robot vacuum will require some up-front programming. This can admittedly be a little confusing. We spent quite some time trying to simply figure out how to turn on our robot vacuum. After researching and re-reading our manual, we realized there isn’t even a power button! Instead, we had to download an app and set up log-in information.
Carefully reading your product manual will be essential for getting your robot vacuum successfully programmed and up and running.
Another disadvantage of a robot vacuum can be the noise. A big issue for some people, robot vacuums can be very loud—similar to the sound of a lawnmower or hairdryer. This is because robot vacuums are powered by an electric engine that emits powerful suction.
BATTERIES DON’T LAST FOREVER
Charging your robot vacuum is essential to successful usage. For larger homeowners, this can be a deterrent. Bigger spaces take more time to clean, and some robot vacuums may not have the bandwidth to tackle larger-sized homes. Also, after about six months of use, the battery life of some devices may begin to decrease, necessitating the devices to be charged more and more frequently as they age and the battery continues to deteriorate.
Most companies will not cover any damage caused by the robot vacuum, but they may offer an extended warranty for certain parts. Some warranty periods can last up to two years, while others only cover one year of ownership.
Make sure you know what your warranty includes and the total cost of the robot vacuum before purchasing it!
The 5 Best Robot Vacuums for Any Home – Our Review
Neato is a well-established brand in the robotic vacuum cleaner industry and continues to release new and improved models each year. Neato Robotics is also known for designing very stylish-looking robots, making them a trendy addition to any home.
Currently dominating the robot vacuum cleaner industry, Neato offers a wide range of models—from basic, budget-friendly options to high-tech robots with laser mapping and app control.
The older Neato D5+ model was released in March 2016, and the latest Neato D10 was just recently added to the market. The most recent model cleans great and doesn’t require too much maintenance. The vacuum detects different types of floor and adjusts accordingly.
The compact design allows it to clean under most furniture and get into those hard-to-reach spots. You can also schedule regular cleaning times, so the vacuum will automatically start and stop when you need it to.
The noise isn’t as annoying as other robot vacuum cleaners, and the design is sleek and stylish, too. The Neato D10 can do just as good or better work than its more expensive counterparts, like Samsung or LG.
Neato D10 Intelligent Robot Vacuum Cleaner’s Pros:
- Does a good job vacuuming pet hair.
- Has a short recharge time (about an hour).
- Compared to other vacuum cleaners, it is rather quiet.
- It comes with a one-year warranty.
Neato D10 Intelligent Robot Vacuum Cleaner’s Cons:
- The vacuum doesn’t clean corners as well as other robot vacuums.
- It is more expensive than other robot vacuums.
Buy on Amazon Or Check These Other Vendors:
The ILIFE A4s Pro robot vacuum cleaner is the cheapest option from ILIFE’s Auto Series. This particular option offers great value for the money and has the same power and cleaning abilities as its big brother, the A7.
The ILIFE A4s doesn’t offer smart features, like app control or room mapping. But the compact design is a bonus. Its components are also all packed on one side, including the dust bin and filter. Its special anti-hair fabric cover prevents hair from clogging the brush, too.
The ILIFE A4s Pro is equipped with a strong suction, and a 5mm sweeping brush height–a good option for competitive cleaners. The only downside is that the brush can’t rotate from left to right, and instead operates along a fixed sweeping path. Although this is a restriction, it doesn’t cause any issues; the robot can still easily cover an entire room without missing spots.
ILIFE A4s Pro Robot Vacuum Cleaner’s Pros:
- Includes a variety of helpful features.
- Smart sensors help it avoid knocking into or falling from stairs.
- Strong suction provides concentrated cleaning.
- This model works particularly well on both carpet and hard surfaces.
ILIFE A4s Pro Robot Vacuum Cleaner’s Cons:
- Noisy operation.
- Smaller dust bin.
- It sometimes won’t clean everything on the first pass.
Buy on Amazon Or Check These Other Vendors:
The newer WYZE vacuum cleaner leverages unique, LIDAR mapping technology for accurate cleaning. It rarely misses spots and can move more quickly than other robot vacuums.
The WYZE’s low profile design allows this robot vacuum to clean under furniture and other hard-to-reach places with ease. The LIDAR mapping technology provides more memory for the robot to track previously cleaned areas and identify yet-to-be-vacuumed spots.
To clean a larger area, WYZE allows you to program virtual barriers using your smartphone. When the WYZE hits the barrier, it turns around to avoid repeating areas already covered.
The WYZE robot vacuum is also equipped with a HEPA filter and can hold up to 0.8 liters of dirt. The battery life is around 110 minutes, which should be more than enough for most homes that don’t have large spaces or multiple floors.
WYZE Robot Vacuum with LIDAR Mapping Technology Pros:
- Precision cleaning with LIDAR mapping.
- Smart control features.
- Automatic self-charging and 110 minutes runtime.
WYZE Robot Vacuum with LIDAR Mapping Technology Cons:
- It is expensive.
Buy on Amazon Or Check These Other Vendors:
The Shark IQ Robot Vacuum AV992 Row Cleaning is designed to handle all of your floor-cleaning needs. Advanced technology and innovative design allows for better navigation and effective cleaning of several flooring types, including both carpets and hardwood surfaces. A built-in HEPA filter helps remove allergens and other pathogens from your home.
Able to return to its charging station when it needs a recharge, the Shark IQ robot also has an LCD screen that displays the current battery level and other cleaning status updates.
Shark IQ Robot Vacuum AV992 Row Cleaning Pros :
- Compact, lightweight, and able to move around rooms quickly.
- Multi-surface cleaning capabilities
- Dual-spinning side brushes pull in debris from corners and edges.
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT services.
Shark IQ Robot Vacuum AV992 Row Cleaning Cons :
- Short battery life.
- The mechanical design is not very powerful.
- Not compatible with drop sensors, which can cause problems in homes with stairs and uneven surfaces.
Buy on Amazon Or Check These Other Vendors:
iRobot Roomba is one of the most popular robot vacuum cleaners on the market today, and the new Roomba s9+ is the first higher-end model in years to come with a more powerful motor (called Gen 3) and bristleless, rubber, sweeping brushes (called AeroVac).
The new Roomba s9+ is designed for homes with pets or longer-pile carpets., and stands out from the other “suction only” Roomba vacuums.
With the ability to switch between Carpet boost and Hard floor boost, the Roomba s9+ can adjust suction power on carpets or hard floors for the deepest possible clean. Its AeroVac brush design disposes of dirt and hair in a bin while reducing the need to clean the roller brush frequently (a great feature that translates into better overall product performance). Additionally, iRobot advertises 50% more suction power with AeroVac brushes (vs Roomba 890) and Gen 3 motor (vs Roomba 880).
iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robot Vacuum Cleaner’s Pros:
- User reviews report ths model is more powerful than the original Roomba s9
- Cleans edges and corners well (with side brush).
- Can clean a large room, and then automatically go back to recharge and continue where it left off later.
- App and voice control-options (with Amazon Alexa).
iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robot Vacuum Cleaner’s Cons
- It makes more noise as compared to other brands like Neato.
- More expensive than other brands.
Mop incuded: Buy on Amazon Or Check These Other Vendors:
Vacuum-only: Buy on Amazon Or Check These Other Vendors:
Final Thoughts and Our List Again
As the market for robot vacuums continues to grow, consumers should know what these machines can do and the differences across brands and price ranges. Our team at Coolsmarthometech hopes you enjoyed this article along with the key information to help you identify and purchase the best possible new robot vacuum cleaner, without getting lost in all the marketing hype. And to make your choice easier, here’s our list again of the top 5 best robot vacuums for any home.