My husband recently got me a robotic vacuum for a gift, thinking it would change my life, and I would never have to lift a finger to vacuum again. It was a nice thought, but if you get a robotic vacuum, don’t toss out that regular stand-up vacuum just yet.
While robotic vacuums have some great features, they still cannot replace a regular vacuum. They can’t spot clean, they get stuck on cords and rugs, and they can’t fit into some important spaces to clean.
Robotic vacuums have their downfalls. Figuring out what you want out of a vacuum and your expectations will help you pick the right one for you. We’ve done the research to help you learn how to get your robotic vacuum to be a helpful house-cleaning tool, rather than just an extra machine lying around.
Downfalls of a Robotic Vacuum
The idea of turning on a robotic vacuum and just letting it go sounds great. In reality, though, it will not do everything that you hope it can do. Nor can it do everything your regular vacuum can.
Here are the most significant issues you can expect from a robotic vacuum:
- They are not spot cleaners. If your kids spill a bunch of popcorn on the living room floor, a robotic vacuum will not just go and sweep up that one spot. It will wander around the whole area, and maybe after a few hours, it will clean up the mess. It is much faster for me to get out my regular vacuum to clean up quick localized messes.
- They get stuck on a lot of things. Watch out for those cords and rugs! Robotic vacuums tend to tangle themselves up on things. They move around most big objects but often have a hard time with different textures, especially thicker rugs. They can move right over smaller cords such as cell phone chargers or headphone cords, but that can often lead to those things getting wrapped around their bristles.
- They are not great at getting into corners or edges. Yes, they have little sweeping arms, but those hard-to-reach corners are still too tricky for them. You will still have to use the upright vacuum wand to get to those areas.
- They cannot always fit under chairs and other furniture. They are small, but for many things, they are still too wide or the wrong shape to go under or through and will just go around.
- They do not finish one space then move onto another room. Robotic vacuums have sensors to detect walls and furniture but mostly wander from room to room unless completely enclosed.
- They are small, so that means they can hold less dirt. Robotic vacuums definitely require regular dumping and the cleaning out of brushes more often than your standard vacuum.
- Obviously, they do not vacuum stairs! On the plus side, if they can’t vacuum stairs, they can’t fall down them either.
Using a robotic vacuum as a companion tool with your regular vacuum can be a great way to keep up with your household cleaning. Here are some positives that make your robotic vacuum a complement to your standard vacuum:
Many robotic vacuums have timers that can be set for specific times throughout the day or night. You can set the vacuum to start up every morning when you leave for work and the kids leave for school. This way, while you are all gone, your robot can be cleaning those floors to help you maintain a cleaner environment for you to come home to.
Most robotic vacuums do have sensors, and if a room is enclosed, it will map out the room and vacuum that entire space. Many times, I will have my kids clean their room, and since they are too small to use the regular vacuum, they can just take the robotic one upstairs, put it in their room, close the door, and let it do its job.
The kids love using the robot vacuum, and if that gets them to clean their room, I would definitely call it a win!
- They are great tools for keeping up with daily maintenance. If you have a pet who sheds or someone like me whose hair falls out all over the place, robotic vacuums can be a great aid in keeping that hair at bay and off your floors before it builds up into a hairball.
- They do their job quietly. One great thing is that I can turn it on while my baby is napping and go do other chores while it works, and I do not have to worry about it waking up the baby.
- They can extend the life of your regular vacuum. I have noticed that even though I still have to use my regular vacuum for different jobs around the house, I am putting less wear and tear on it. I also have to clean it out less often.
Hopefully, by pairing the two vacuums together and letting them work in tandem, you can leverage the strengths of each, while extending the life of both.
Choosing the Best Robotic Vacuum for You
If you are in the market for robotic vacuum, make sure to determine what features are important to you:
- Are you more worried about cost or battery life?
- Do you want something that can pair with your Alexa or Google Assistant, so you don’t even have to get up off the couch to get that thing started?
All robotic vacuums are somewhat similar. They all do basically the same thing, but some features do vary from brand to brand. Here are some of the top brands and how their features compare.
|Wi-Fi Connected||Cleans all types of surfaces||Battery Life||Alexa or Google Assistant||Special Features|
|I Robot Roomba 980||Yes||Yes, and Pet Hair||120 minutes||Yes||Automatically recharges|
|Neato Botvac||Yes||Yes, and Pet Pair||90 minutes||Has own app for scheduling||D shape for corners and edges|
|Shark Ion 750||Yes||Yes, with detangling technology for hair and brushes||60 minutes||Yes||Slimmer design to fit under more spaces|
|Ilife A4s Robot Vacuum||No||Yes||120 minutes||No||Budget-friendly and quiet|
|Samsung Powerbot R7070||Yes||Yes||90 minutes||Yes||Flat edge for tight spaces|
Do Your Research and Read the Reviews
There are many brands, and there are many models within those brands, of robotic vacuums. People will have differing opinions on which is the best one, depending on personal preference and expectations.
To find the robotic vacuum that will best work for you, check out all your options, and determine what suits you best. What features are most important to you? Do you care about battery life and Wi-Fi connectivity, or are you simply looking more for a budget-friendly device that just gets the job done?
To help narrow it down, read a few reviews for each device. See what others who have purchased that brand have to say. Does that particular device do all the things it is promised to do? What problems are these people having with their robotic vacuum in that brand?
If you do find the robotic vacuum that works best for you, just remember it isn’t a magic wand and cannot clean everything everywhere. It can, however, be a great companion to your regular vacuum and help keep those floors cleaner.