Of all the smart appliances you could have in your smart home, the most convenient has to be the robot vacuum cleaner.
If you're like me, you probably hate cleaning. It's time consuming and it needs to be kept up with ALL THE TIME! Seriously, it's the worst. Fortunately, a robot vacuum helps solve the bane of cleaning and in turn makes having an automated home that much more convenient!
What to Look for in a Robot Vacuum
When you’re looking to buy a robotic vacuum cleaner, it's important to look at battery life, how it cleans various surfaces, how it handles obstacles, the size and profile of the body, as well as the power in the motor.
In addition to that, you'll also want to look at customer reviews to make sure the product lives up to the manufacturer's promises. Sound like a lot? Well don’t worry, we’re experts when it comes to robot vacuums, so all you need to do is read on to learn which is the best robot vacuum for your home!
How Do Robot Vacuum Cleaners Work?
To put it simply, there are two parts: you’ve got the robot part of the machine and the vacuum part. That being said, let's break it down further.
The vacuum part is much like a traditional vacuum cleaner, as it features brushes to sweep up dirt and suction power to get the dirt off the floor. Many robot vacuums are round, so they will often have a side-mounted brush to sweep dirt into the path of the suction area. In addition to those side brushes, many also have a roller brush that sweeps up harder to clean dirt, such as pet hair. Also like a traditional vacuum, they have a reservoir for dirt, that needs to be emptied daily, and a filter, that must be changed regularly.
The robot part of the vacuum is the high tech part, obviously, that controls virtually everything. It's similar to a Z-Wave hub in that sense.
The best robot vacuums have state of the art sensors to detect obstacles, such as stairs. These sensors act as the eyes and ears of the vacuum. They generally use infrared light to find walls, stairs, chair legs, and other items. Touch sensors, on the other hand, are used to let the vacuum know when it’s hit something, and some models have sensors that tell it where a room ends.
When these sensors are processing information, they send that info to a state of the art circuit board “brain” to process them. Once they are processed, the circuit board sends a signal to the wheels indicating where the robot vacuum should move next. Most wheels turn independently so that the machine can spin around easily.
The onboard computer also monitors internal states like battery life and room in the bin for dirt, and it even sends the robot vacuum back to its charging station to “sleep.”
Here’s a great video that explains how a robotic vacuum works.
Robovac: A Brief History
Since the early 2000s, many technology and appliance companies have been manufacturing robot vacuums, as they are "the future."
Early vacuum models were super popular, but had a mess of problems: like running into furniture, getting stuck on, or under, things, needing regular maintenance, running out of battery life, and ultimately not cleaning very well.
Over the years, robotics has improved, and manufacturers are creating more efficient, rechargeable, and easier to use robot vacuum cleaners at more reasonable price points. With the launch of the Roomba from iRobot, robot vacuums sales have skyrocketed and now no smart home is complete without the best robot vacuum money can buy!
Modern robot vacuums have mapping technology that lets them learn the rooms in your house, and many of them can even be controlled with your smartphone or hub.
The Best Robot Vacuums
Modern robotic vacuums have come a long way in features, design, durability, and more. That being said, prices can be somewhat daunting, but they’re well worth it when you realize just how useful they can be!
Here are the best robot vacuums available!
The Best Robot Vacuum Comparison Table
70 minutes (est)
90 minutes (est)
Dirt Bin Size
Recharge & Resume
*Neato mentions on their product page that they hold .7 liters, which is more than a round vacuum can hold.
iRobot Roomba Vacuums
iRobot Roomba 650
iRobot is a leading name in robot vacuum cleaners, as they’ve been making them longer than anyone else. This model is by far one of the best robot vacuums on the market because it is reliable, self-charging, and can be programmed to clean when you need it. It's also very affordable!
The Roomba 650 is small and sleek, which means it can fit under couches, beds, and other furniture to get every last speck of dirt. The special 3 stage cleaning system also ensures that it picks up larger debris, dust, dirt, and pet hair.
The iAdapt navigation system allows it to figure out your home and clean around whatever you have on your floor, and you can even program in virtual walls to keep it out of certain spaces and rooms. There's no doubt that this is the best bang for your buck robot vacuum out there!
iRobot Roomba 960
The Roomba 960 is the top of the line Roomba and it features some pretty significant upgrades to the Roomba 650, but it costs over twice as much.
This model features wifi connectivity, so you can access it with their app and then control your Roomba from anywhere. It also features iAdapt 2.0 which improves on the original iAdapt and ensures that Roomba can navigate through a whole level of your home. In addition to all that, it also features 75 minutes of runtime!
Now, if you absolutely have to have the best robot vacuum at any price, then by all means, go for it. The problem with the latest model of anything is that there simply aren’t enough users yet to get a good average review, so you’re never quite sure of what you’re getting. That being said, the reviews that have been released are fantastic, so people do love this vacuum!
Neato Botvac D80 Robot Vacuum for Pets
The first thing you'll likely notice about the Neato Botvac D80 is that it’s D shaped instead of round. This is Neato's signature look to help the vacuum better fit in corners, according to the manufacturer. However, some users say it can be clunky and gets stuck on furniture.
The D80 has an auto-charge and resume feature where it goes to it's base to charge when it runs out of battery, then resumes where it left off once the battery is charged, so your room is always completely cleaned. It also features special brushes and better suction specifically for pets.
The unique thing about Neato in general, is that it learns your room a bit differently than Roomba does. Instead of cleaning the room in anyway the vacuum sees fit, it vacuums in perfect lines. So for example, a Roomba will go left, right, forward, backward, turn around, forward, etc. Whereas a Neato will go forward until it hits a wall, then it will turn around and go backward until it hits the other wall and so on.
Neato basically plots the most efficient path to clean, then it returns to its base when it’s done with that room. Both Neato and Roomba are fantastic robotic vacuums, so you can't go wrong with either one. It's important to note that Neato vacuums are usually cheaper than Roomba vacuums.
ILIFE A4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
The iLIFE A4 is, by far, the cheapest robot vacuum you can get. It's usually under $200 and for the money it's a solid vacuum!
The A4 is billed as one of the best robot vacuums for carpets, especially for the price, but the higher end Roombas and Neatos definitely have it beat on motor and suction power.
The main complaint from users is the lack of support from ILIFE and that it also has a tendency to get stuck in corners and on rugs. And once it is stuck, the poor little robot vacuum cleaner has trouble getting itself out of the jam.
For the price, however, this is a great entry level robot vacuum that can vacuum for up to 150 minutes!
Our Pick: The Best Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
For the money, the Roomba 650 really is the best robot vacuum out there. It may not have all the bells and whistles that the Roomba 960 has, but it is a workhorse that will keep your floors - carpet and hardwood - sparkling clean day by day.
What's nice about the 650, is that it can also easily back out of tight spots and doesn’t get stuck on obstacles as easily as other models. This particular model is also made specifically for pet hair, and it works like a charm getting it up. The large bin holds all the hair it can pick up in one session, and it’s easily cleaned out to be ready for the next clean. You simply won't be disappointed with this robotic vacuum cleaner!
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