What to Know About Robot Vacuums

Take a look at what to consider before buying a robot vacuum.

iRobotvia Amazon

Robot vacuums are perfect for anyone who wants to spend less time vacuuming, which is basically everyone, right?

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The first robot vacuums came on the scene in the mid 1990s. However, they never took off thanks to high costs and poor functionality.

Everything changed in 2002 with the debut of Roomba by iRobot. In addition to featuring a spinning brush and vacuum canister, Roomba came with sensors and an infrared beam that relayed information about a room. This ensured it wouldn’t collide with walls and furniture. Roomba also detected dirty spots and when a room was fully clean. Today, these features are standard in all robot vacuums.

What to Consider Before Buying a Robot Vacuum

There are hundreds of robot vacuum models on the market. Consider the following when deciding which one to buy:

  • The size of your home: If you have a lot of ground to cover, consider a robot vacuum with a long battery life, such as iLife A4S—it works for two hours on a fully charged battery.
  • Your flooring surfaces: Most robot vacuums can handle both carpet and hard surfaces, but some are better at one surface than the other. Models like Roomba i7 deftly handle both by quickly adjusting power settings when there’s a change in surface.
  • Your pet situation: Pet owners should opt for robot vacuums that specifically mention pet hair cleanup. These models tend to have strong suction and brushes that can get into tight spots.
  • Your budget and desired features: A robot vacuum can cost anywhere from about $50 to well over $1,000. The price largely depends on its features. A few popular features include Wi-Fi connectivity with Alexa and/or Google Assistant integration, app pairing, a self-emptying dustbin, the ability to schedule cleanings, a spot-cleaning feature and a mopping feature.

Robot Vacuum Pros

  • They’re convenient.
  • They help you save precious time.
  • They can reach hard-to-reach areas, such as under sofas.
  • They’re ideal for quick touch-ups.

Robot Vacuum Cons

  • They can bump into furniture and knock things over.
  • The dust bin needs to be emptied frequently.
  • Many move slowly and can take a long time to vacuum.
  • They can get stuck in tight areas.
  • You still need a traditional vacuum for deep cleans and for cleaning areas the robot vacuum can’t reach.

Plus: Did you know there’s a Roomba for your yard?

Amanda Prischak
Amanda Prischak is a freelance writer based in Erie, Pennsylvania.