How Effective Are Robot Vacuum Cleaners?

Robot vacuum cleaners are music to the ears of many who hate vacuum cleaning or would simply like to spend that time doing something more productive. But how effective are robot vacuum cleaners? It’s a fair question considering the amount of buzz there tends to be around them and also when you see how much they typically tend to cost.

In this article we are going to look at how effective robot vacuum cleaners are by reviewing both sides of the debate, on the one hand we’ll look at some of the reasons why they may be deemed effective whilst on the other we’ll go over why others may disagree. We’ll then wrap up by suggesting some of the most effective robot vacuum cleaners available.

How Effective Are Robot Vacuum Cleaners?

How Effective Are Robot Vacuum Cleaners?
How Effective Are Robot Vacuum Cleaners?

So, how effective are robot vacuum cleaners? We’ll now delve into both sides of the argument.

Robot Vacuum Cleaners Are Very Effective

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why robot vacuum cleaners are deemed effective.

Great For Those With Open Spaces

Based on a lot of user reviews, from what we’ve seen robot vacuum cleaners tend to typically work best for those who have mostly clear floor space that needs to cleaned regularly to keep dust and dirt at bay. If you have a large lounge, hallways and bedrooms with enough space for the robot vacuum to get around without too many obstructions you’re likely to find joy with a robot vacuum at most price points. This is not to say they typically can’t handle floors with lots of furniture etc dotted around but you may need to pay more for robots with more sophisticated mapping and navigation systems to avoid them constantly bumping into things.

They Save Time And Effort

One of the things that make robot vacuums effective at their job is the fact that they free up your time. Instead of you having to make time during your busy week to vacuum the house or flat, the robot vacuum can be programmed to do a regular clean for you. Some models can be automatically set to clean at the same time every day to keep on top of dust build up in the home.

Not only could this save you time but it may also likely mean that your floors are cleaned far more often than you may have been able to. If like a lot of people you cannot fit in vacuuming everyday but would like to, then this is definitely an area where you are likely to see how effective robot vacuum cleaners can be.

With some models you do not even have to be at home for the robot vacuum cleaner to get to work as some can be operated whilst you are outside of the home via smartphone apps.

They Work Great On Hard Floors and Carpets

A lot of robot vacuum cleaners are stated to work on hard floors as well as low to medium pile carpets. From a lot of the user reviews we’ve seen robot vacuums typically tend to be quite effective in these settings and appear to usually operate best on hard floors and smoother carpets. A number of them a designed to switch relatively seamlessly between various floor types.

Indeed there are some that are equipped with technology that allows them to increase their suction levels automatically depending on which type of floor surface they’re on.

Some Work With Voice Activation

With appliances becoming smarter all the time, it’s no surprise that there are some robot vacuums available on the market that can be activated via your voice using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. This adds another great way to control a robot vacuum and means even less effort for the user. It could mean potentially that whilst you sit in front of your tv and notice a spot that needs cleaning, you can direct your robot vacuum to get to work without even needing to move from where you are.

As well as (i) voice activiation robot vacuums can also be controlled (ii) directly from the unit (iii) via a remote control and (iv) smart phone apps over WiFi and mobile data – all dependent on the model.

Robot Vacuum Cleaners Are Not Effective

Let’s now delve into some of the main ways why robot vacuum cleaners may not be deemed effective.


How Effective Are Robot Vacuum Cleaners?

One area that may mean some robot vacuums are not particularly effective, especially when compared to other types, is dust bin capacity. This typically ranges from around 0.4 – 0.7 litre. Many robot vacuum cleaners though come with the recommendation to empty out the dust bin after every clean. For some this may feel tedious especially considering the price they pay for automation. However, for the time being there is mostly no way around this as it helps to maintain the suction and overall performance of the robot vacuum.

However, for those who absolutely can’t stand the though of having to empty out the dust bin so regularly there is always the iRobot Roomba i7+ which will automatically empty itself into a larger dust bin. This means you typically wouldn’t have to worry about emptying out the larger bin for a number of weeks at a time. Though this is one of the most expensive robot vacuums on the market, it does get around the issue of dust bin capacity rather elegantly.

Cleaning Corners

A common drawback you see in many user reviews for robot vacuums is how some struggle to get into corners and clean them effectively. Indeed most robot vacuums are designed to clean corners using side brushes to sweep debris and route it back into their main suction. Depending on how they’re setup and their size relative to the corner some do not always manage to get fully into corners. This sometimes means that some users then need to follow up every so often and manually clean the corners. This can also apply in some instances to cleaning edges (i.e. alongside walls).

Some robot vacuums are deemed better than others when it comes to getting at corners. Indeed there robot vacuum cleaners from Neato which are specifically designed with a ‘D’ shape to specifically tackle corners and edges.

They Can’t Clean Stairs

One area that robot vacuums cannot tackle is the stairs. Due to the way they’re designed, robot vacuum cleaners are currently typically not suitable for cleaning stairs. Indeed they’re usually equipped with anti-drop sensors to ensure that they avoid the stairs to save them toppling down.

Some Argue They Can’t Completely Replace Traditional Vacuums

One of the debates you typically see most often is where robot vacuum cleaners can fully replace traditional vacuums in the home. When you do a like-for-like it is hard to argue that robot vacuums could at present fully replace traditional vacuum cleaners

As discussed already dust bin capacity and corners are some of the areas for example where other types of vacuum cleaners like stick vacuums and uprights would typically offer more than robot vacuum cleaners.

When it comes to the stairs, as mentioned earlier, there is no real competition between robot vacuums and traditional vacuum cleaners.

However, when it comes to robot vacuum cleaners, rather than attempting to completely replace traditional ones most users seem more than happy to have them supplement what they already have. Though it should also be noted that a number of users state that once they start using their robot vacuum they find they’re hardly ever using their traditional counterparts.

Conclusion: How Effective Are Robot Vacuum Cleaners?

So overall, how effective are robot vacuum cleaners? We believe robot vacuum cleaners are very effective for the job that they’re designed for. They may not be able to do everything that traditional vacuum cleaners can however, what they do provide they can do quite well. Above all else, robot vacuum cleaners allow you to spend your valuable time in far more rewarding ways than constanltly cleaning your floors. For many, this is worth living with some of the typical drawbacks they might face.

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