Robot vacuum cleaner
Robot vacuums are considered autonomous, meaning they self-navigate and, using the data they receive via programming and sensors, can make decisions.
Also known as a ‘robovac’, a robot vacuum is an autonomous smart home vacuum cleaner that cleans your house without more than minimal input from you. Originally invented by Issac M. Dizon, the concept of a robot vacuum cleaner is to have a floor cleaner that was smart enough to do floor cleaning with little governance from a supervising human.
There are many types of robot vacuum cleaners on the market, ranging in a variety of prices anywhere from $50-$1800. The more popular brands fare on the high end of the scale when it comes to price, but with it comes quality and better features. There are more affordable deals for lesser-known vacuums, but when it comes to the best smart home devices, brands like iRobot and Neato are trusted for the best robot vacuums.
How Does it Work?
Robot vacuums are considered autonomous, meaning that they self-navigate and, using the data it receives via programming and its sensors, they make decisions i.e. they self-govern. As futuristic as that sounds, this tech simply has sensors that it uses to map and navigate an area. For example, the iRobot Roomba uses infrared sensors to send frequent signals that bounce back, signaling the floor layout so that the robot can govern its self-navigation.
Just like any other vacuum, a robotic vacuum uses suction to clear the floor of dirt, debris and pet hair, as it self-navigates through your home. It gets its power from utilizing rechargeable batteries, or from parking up in a charging dock when it has done its job or it’s low on battery life. Most modern models of robot vacuum cleaners feature the ability to find its way back “home” to the charger, without your assistance.
Why Would You Want to Buy a Robot Vacuum?
- Small and Compact Size – While most people wouldn’t technically need a robot vacuum cleaner for their home, it might be cool to have one. Robot vacuums tend to be small and compact. That’s because they’re designed to get to snug spaces, like beneath or around your furniture. A robovac can help you clean areas that would be difficult to reach with another vacuum type, like an upright vacuum, for example.
- Spot Cleaning – Not only can a robotic vacuum reach tough spots that other vacs can’t, but they make cleaning up spot messes a stress-free situation as well. You can get your smart robotic vacuum to target your problem area, getting it to do most of the floor cleaning. This is much easier than getting out your normal, bulkier vacuum cleaner to do the job, which only eats your valuable time.
- Autonomous and Smart – Robot vacuum cleaners are made to work without more than your initial input. This is extremely useful to those who need maintenance cleaning but don’t have the time to do it themselves. This smart home piece-of-tech maps your floor, remembers your home layout and moves around completely on its own, without running itself down a flight of stairs or getting crammed against a stationary piece of furniture. Plus, many robovacs have the feature to dump out its own dirt when it’s done cleaning and return back home to its charger to re-up its battery life.
- More Than Just Vacuuming – A lot of modern vacuums now feature more than one type of cleaning function to offer their users. Many vacuums come with a mop function as well, and others come with UV sterilization, offering you the ability of total house cleaning, to an extent.
- They Can Run on Schedule – Being that it is a smart home device, these bad boys can be programmed to run at a specific time or time interval, allowing for a total autonomous cleaning experience. Once you program your schedule into the robovac, there is little left to do to have your floor cleaning done for you.
The Downsides of Using a Robot Cleaner
While these are nifty pieces of tech, there are a few drawbacks to using and owning a robotic vacuum.
- You Still Have to Clean Your Own Floors – This applies in two ways. First, before you let your robot vacuum run wild, you need to clear your home floor. That means you have to make sure that all objects and items, like clothes, books, and accessories, are all off the floor. This is no different from a traditional vacuum cleaner, but you’ll have to do it in advance, rather than while you’re vacuuming as you would traditionally.
Secondly, a robotic vacuum is designed to supplement your daily and weekly cleaning routine, not to replace it. A good robotic vacuum might be great for the weekly maintenance of collecting the bulk of dust and debris, but you have to look elsewhere for deep cleaning – especially for hard-to-remove debris like pet hair woven into your carpet.
- No High Suction Lives Here – Although most vacuum manufacturers will tell you that their robovacs have high suction power, a quick look at product reviews on sites like Amazon Prime will tell you otherwise. When compared to even other conventional vacuum cleaners, like a stick or handheld vac, they don’t stack up too well. This may be due to the fact that a vac-bot relies on its battery life to move around and vacuum at the same time. Given that it has to be charged (anywhere from 3-7 hours) to be used, it makes sense that a robot vacuum has less power for suction.
- No Stairs or Switching Floors – This doesn’t matter as much if you live in an apartment or one-story home. But if you do, it might be useless to own a robotic vacuum that can only clean one floor of your house without your assistance.
- High Maintenance – Although the idea of robot vacuum cleaners sounds like less work, they are extremely high maintenance – even more than other types of vacuum cleaners. Many robot vacuum manufacturers recommend weekly and monthly maintenance routines for their vacuums. Without them, you can expect these smart appliances to encounter problems down the road.