Robot Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
The issue you’ve probably run into when trying to decide on which robot vacuum to buy are all the options out there. All of them claim to be the best, but they all vary in features and price.
We’re here to help. We’re going to give you certain questions to ask for every robotic automatic vacuum you consider.
What's your budget?
This might the number one concern you have to narrow down your choices. A few years ago, you would have been limited to a few brands ranging from $400 - $1000 such as iRobot, Neato and Ecovacs. Today, things have changed for the better and the worse.
There are a lot more options now which makes it harder to decide. Besides the brands mentioned above, Bobsweep, Kobot, Infinuvo, iLife, among others, have developed excellent products with wide ranging features and prices.
With significant improvements in robot vacuum technology, the prices have come down. Most vacuums now range from about $150 - $400 and deliver all the key benefits you need to automate your home vacuuming. Essentially, they now almost cost as much as a regular vacuum so it's almost a given you should be considering one. High performing, feature rich vacuums still cost $500 and more.
After you've determined your brand and budget, then it's time to decide which features fit your lifestyle and cleaning needs.
What’s the battery life like?
Most robotic vacuum cleaners work by having a charging dock. The robot begins to clean, and if it can’t clean your entire house before it runs out of battery, it will return here to charge up, then resume the task where it left off.
The problem is that the charging time is often 2-3x the run time. So if it runs for an hour, it’ll have to charge for 2-3 hours, and then resume at a completely different point in the day.
If you care about getting the job done as fast as possible, you’ll want to get one with a long battery life – 100 minutes or more. If you don’t care when it runs, then you don’t have to worry about battery.
Does it schedule cleans?
This is a pretty standard feature in most robotic vacuum cleaners, but some of the basic models don’t offer it.
You can schedule your unit to clean on specific times during specific days of the week, and when that time comes around, it will start cleaning automatically. You don’t even need to be in the house. If you are, you don’t need to remember to start it.
If you’re organized and don’t mind starting it manually, then you probably don’t need this feature. But it’s very handy – and that’s exactly why the vast majority of robotic vacuum cleaners have it, especially if you're not home most of the day or travel a lot for work.
Another feature to keep in mind is remote access from your smartphone. Newer models come with WIFI capability so you can schedule cleanings from your phone, anytime, anyplace. You can also receive alerts for any issues or whenever it completes a cleaning cycle or if it's get stuck somewhere.
Can it navigate multiple rooms?
Even the more expensive robotic vacuums sometimes can’t navigate through multiple rooms. Then, there are companies who release two versions of each new line – one can navigate multiple rooms, whereas others cannot.
Many will come with this included. If a model that doesn’t include this feature catches your eye, just know that you’ll have to manually place it in each new space that you wish to clean.
Another consideration are boundary markers or barriers. This prevents the vacuum from cleaning certain areas, like your kid's toy area. It's not a common feature but helpful if you need specific areas blocked off from vacuuming. Usually these are discreet and don't take up a lot of space, easily placed and removed once the vacuuming is completed.
How loud is it?
Recognize that robotic vacuum cleaners are not (yet) as efficient as humans. Imagine how long it takes you to clean your floor and then double or triple that amount of time for the robot.
If you’re going to be home when your vacuum is running, get a quiet one. If you aren’t going to be home, have a big house, or don’t mind the sound, get a loud one – they are often cheaper and a lot more powerful.
Size and Color?
One of the benefits of the robot vacuum is it should be able to clean beneath your beds, sofas and other hard to reach places that collect dust. Be sure to note the dimensions of any robot vacuum you're considering. Then, look around your home and measure the height of your furniture. If you're hoping to purchase a vacuum that can clean underneath your couch, bed, end tables and more, you won't want a device that is too bulky or has the potential of getting stuck. Most models are about 2 inches tall.
Your vacuum will become a part of your home because it will need to be placed in an open area. This may not matter to most people, but a vacuum that matches or flows with the aesthetic of your home interior will make it a discreet and elegant addition to your home rather than a tacky distraction. Muted colors work best like gray, black and darker shades or whatever color scheme you have.
What’s the support like?
Generally, support is reliable and helpful with the trusted big brands we mentioned earlier. Browse their website and look for customer support options such as a phone number and email. Ideally, they have a phone number so you can talk to a live person for questions and concerns.
Also make sure your robot vacuum comes from an established brand so replacements parts and manufacturer support is always available. Brushes and filters are the most popular replacements so make sure they're available for your unit.
With Robot Cleaner Store, we're an authorized dealer for all our products and therefore you have complete customer support available for you including parts. Also, feel free to contact us if you have any questions in setting up your robot vacuum after you've received it. We're more than happy to help for any technical questions to make your vacuum a welcome addition to your home.
What cleaning tools does it have? (brushes/filters/mops)
Most robotic vacuum cleaners are much more than just vacuums – instead of simply providing suction, most aim to actually clean your floor and dislodge debris that regular suction would not reach.
They do this task with brushes. Read customer reviews on the power of the brushes before you buy any cleaner. Some units have exceptionally good brushes, and will dislodge dirt that’s imperceptible to the human eye, whereas others don’t do so much, if anything at all. If your house gets unusually dirty (kids, pets, etc.), then make sure to get the best brushes, whereas if it’s relatively calm, you can leave them out.
- Filters are also important, because the vacuuming job isn’t done when the suction is applied. The debris still has to get caught on a filter. The better the filter, the less dust, hair, and dirt that will be released back into your air.
- HEPA filters are the gold standard in robotic vacuum cleaners. Non-HEPA filters are pretty good, but you won’t remove 100% of dust and pet hair with them. So if you have allergies or pets, we recommend getting a HEPA filter.
- Finally, some robotic vacuum cleaners are actually robotic moppers, too. They clean, vacuum the dirt, and then run a mop behind the unit so that your hardwood floors shine.
Combination units are usually more expensive, and for those of you with non-hardwood floors, you don’t need the feature. But if you live in a house that has brand-new floors (or just a lot of hardwood floor), it’s definitely something to consider.
Is the robot's dust bin big enough?
Though your new vacuum will do all of the carpet and floor cleaning in your home for you, you'll be the one who will have to clean the robot itself. Consider the size of the robot's dust bin, which could be an indication of how often the device will need to be emptied. Another factor to consider is the size of the space the robot will be working in.
And now that you're ready to get your robot vacuum, take a look at our robot vacuum collection :-) If you have any further questions, feel free to send a message on our Contact Us page or email us at email@example.com.