Written by Nadie

Advice on robot vacuums

Which robot vacuum is most suitable for you depends on how you want to use it. A robot vacuum is primarily an aid in housekeeping; it won't do all of it. In this article, I'll explain what a robot does exactly and what you have to consider if you want to buy 1.

1. Will your regular vacuum be obsolete?

Robot vacuum vs. regular vacuum

Let's get that out of the way: no. A robot vacuum vacuums the floor. However, the light shades, TV cabinet, stairs, and car wil still have to be cleaned by you unfortunately. The use of a robot vacuum basically just means you won't need to use your "regular" vacuum as often. How well the robot vacuum vacuums mainly depends on how advanced it is.

2. Are all robot vacuums the same?

Are all robot vacuums the same

No. There are major differences between robot vacuums. A starter model is what you'd buy if you want to vacuum less often, but still plan to regularly drag the canister vacuum through the house. If you go for one with more suction power, you'll notice you'll really cut down on vacuuming yourself. If you choose the most advanced model you can leave cleaning the floors completely up to the robot vacuum, so you won't have to worry about it anymore.

3. Do you want to delimit the cleaning area?

Virtual walls

You can let the robot vacuum roam freely through your house, but sometimes you want to keep the robot out of certain areas. There are different ways to delimit rooms.

  1. A virtual wall can for instance be placed between the kitchen and the living room. It won't let the robot vacuum leave the kitchen until it's completely clean. When the robot encounters the wall, it just turns around.
  2. A magnetic strip is a flat strip you can for instance attach to the underside of a high-pile rug to keep the robot from getting stuck.
  3. Finally, there are robot vacuums that can use a lighthouse to clean from room to room. More expensive models have sensors to prevent them from bumping into anything. These models don't need area delimitation.

4. How does your robot vacuum navigate your house?

Robot vacuum navigation

Robot vacuums navigate your house in different ways. Starter models generally don't have navigation methods. That means that the robot vacuum roams your house randomly. As a result, there's no guarantee that it will clean every spot. More expensive robots have a navigation system. Most robots 'feel' the room in different ways and map it, so they'll no exactly where they still have to clean. The better the navigation method, the better the robot vacuum will clean the room.

5. Can the robot clean all floor types?

Robot vacuum floor type

All robot vacuums work well on hard and smooth flooring. There are also robot vacuums that clean rugs and carpeting. That depends on the combination of the right brush and high suction power. Some robot vacuums recognize the fringes of rugs and won't get stuck on them. There are also robot vacuums that can detect extra dirty places and make additional passes there. If you have carpeting, it's important that you have a robot vacuum that's suitable for that.

6. Which robot vacuum cleans the largest area?

Robot vacuum surface area

Important for the surface area a robot vacuum will clean is the quality of the battery. The battery in more affordable robot vacuum generally drains quicker than that of a more high-end robot. On top of that, the more expensive robot will return to where it was cleaning when it's done recharging. The type of surface the robot vacuum is cleaning also makes a difference. On carpet, the robot will deal with more resistance and that drains the battery more quickly.

7. Why would you want a SMART robot vacuum?

Smart robot vacuum

We call a robot vacuum "smart" if it has a WiFi connection. That makes it possible to control the robot using your phone. In some cases, you can remotely program the robot vacuum, so it will even do its work when your not at home. Some robot vacuums have cameras. You can watch the images via your smartphone to see what's going on in your house. You won't find these smart functions on a starter model robot vacuum.

8. Setting your own cleaning schedule?

Programmable robot vacuum

Do you want the robot to automatically clean at a specific time? In that case, opt for a programmable robot vacuum. There are robot vacuums that can be programmed for 7 days of the week. That way, you can be sure the floor is cleaned when you want it to be, without having to activate the robot vacuum yourself. More affordable robot vacuums are generally not programmable. You just turn it on when you want it to clean.

9. How do you charge the robot vacuum?

Charging of a robot vacuum

An affordable robot vacuum is charged with a charging cable. You connect it to the cable when the battery is empty. These robots remain where their battery goes empty. More expensive robot vacuums use a charging dock. There are 2 possible options.

  • There are robot vacuums that stop moving when the battery is empty. You have to place it on the charging dock.
  • Other robot vacuums drive back to the charging dock themselves when the battery is getting low.
  • If you choose the most advanced robot, it will drive back to the charging dock and continue cleaning when it's recharged.

10. What should you look for if you suffer from allergies?

Robot vacuum cleaner and allergies

If you suffer from allergies, it's important to have clean air in your house. One of the ways to achieve that is vacuuming your house with a vacuum that has been equipped with a good filter. An HEPA 13 or 14 filter is the most suitable for people with allergies. The filter will catch fine dust particles, pollen, and allergens so they don't end up back in the room.


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