Is a Robot Vacuum Right for Me?
Robotic vacuum cleaners sound like something out of The Jetsons, but they’re quickly becoming a standard in American homes. If you’re on the fence about jumping on the robot vacuum cleaner trend, the questions below can help you decide if it’s time to go shopping. Best of all, your answers will make it easy to find the robot vacuum that’s a perfect match for your home and lifestyle.
What Is a Robot Vacuum?
A robot vacuum cleaner is an automatic vacuum device that is programmed to clean floors all by itself. Robot vacuums don’t require human assistance to operate and can get the job done while you’re at work or running errands.
Robotic vacuums have come a long way since they hit the market in 1996. Today’s robot vacuum cleaners automatically return to their charging stations when their battery is low and most of them can pick up right where they left off once the battery is full. They can be programmed to clean on a specific schedule, and some models map your home as they work to make future cleaning more efficient. Many robot vacuums are designed to supplement a standard, upright vacuum cleaner, being used mostly for touch-ups in between regular vacuuming sessions.
How Big Is Your House?
Consider how much area you want the vacuum to cover. Some robot vacuums work best in smaller spaces, like an apartment. Others can sweep up areas as big as 2,000 square feet. Robot vacuums with smaller capabilities can work in bigger spaces, but it takes longer to finish because they need to recharge a time or two. If you don’t mind how long it takes a robot vacuum to get the job done, then you could get away with one that has more-limited cleaning capacity.
Another thing to consider is how much clearance you have under furniture. You want to make sure the robot vacuum can fit under tables and chairs to get dirt and other detritus that’s lurking underneath. Robot vacuums tend to be around three or four inches tall, so pay attention to those specs when you’re shopping.
Do You Have Pets?
Staying on top of dog fur and cat hair can feel like a losing battle. How many times have you tracked down every last bit of fluff and fur only to find a brand new hairy gift left behind by your beloved pet? With a robot vacuum, you can wave goodbye to those frustrating discoveries. A robot vacuum can make new deposits of fur and hair disappear—and you won’t have to lift a finger.
Look for a robot vacuum that is designed to tackle things like pet hair and cat litter. You want super suction and a good filter. Features like non-tangle brushes are another perk to watch for. One note—you’ll have to pay extra attention to maintenance (cleaning out the bin, brushes, etc.) to keep your robot vacuum in top form if its main job is cleaning up after pets.
What Types of Flooring Are in Your House?
Not all robot vacuums are equipped for every kind of flooring. While most should be able to handle both hard, bare floors (wood, vinyl, tile) and carpet, some do better on one or the other. Another thing to consider in regard to flooring is how well the robot vacuum transitions from one type of floor to another. Some are better at moving from hardwood to carpet or navigating throw rugs successfully.
Most robot vacuums work on low pile carpets, but shag carpet can be a problem. Rugs with tassels or fringe can also be tricky for a robot vacuum. Most manufacturers clearly indicate what types of floors their robot vacuums clean best, but we recommend either trying one out or reading customer reviews to make sure the vacuum you choose will be able to tackle the floors in your home.
How Much Do You Want to Spend?
Robot vacuums range from around $200 to as much as $1,000, but there are good ones at every price. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect based on cost.
- $200–$300: In this range, you’ll get a basic robot vacuum with good battery life and decent suction. The main features missing here are Wi-Fi connectivity, mapping, and smart home integration.
- $300–$700: At this price point, you can expect mapping, mobile apps, self-cleaning brushes, Wi-Fi connectivity, and smart home capabilities.
- $700 and higher: The extras offered in this price bracket are the latest tech advances, which typically appeal to early adopters and folks who love having the latest and greatest. But overall functionality won’t be drastically better than that found in less expensive robot vacuums.
Do You Want Smart Home Integration?
If you’re interested in a robot vacuum, then you may be ready to get into other smart gadgets. Robot vacuums can become part of your overall home automation configuration. Vacuums that come with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity can be synced with a smart home hub or a voice-controlled speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home.
The main advantage of integrating a robot vacuum with other smart home products is ease and convenience. For example, you might be able to use one app to control all of your smart appliances, rather than having to go into multiple apps or programs. Voice control is also a major perk. If your robot vacuum works with Alexa, for example, you can tell the vacuum to start cleaning without having to leave the sofa or reach for your phone to access an app.