Quick Buyer’s Guide: Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
It’s a safe assumption that the reason you are reading this is either you are finding a way to getting your hands on the best robotic vacuum cleaner for your needs or you want to know more about it. Nobody really likes doing chores but thankfully, technology has found some ways to tone down the stress and cut down the time you need to clean your home. It’s a dream to have vacuum cleaners that can suck the dust and dirt from sofas, cabinets and drawers, but the current robotic vacuum cleaners can only clean floors and carpets. The main benefit of this is that it allows you to busy yourself with other more important things while getting your floor and carpet cleaned.
What is it?
Robotic vacuum cleaners are commonly known as “robovac”. It is a rechargeable appliance so it has no external cables. It has a charging dock that comes with the vacuum itself. The current models can also mop floors and disinfect floors and carpets. Some have built-in intelligent mapping systems that return back to its original position when it’s low on battery and after it is done vacuuming or mopping your home. They cost around US$140 to US$800.
Here are some things to consider when buying robot vacuum cleaners:
The charging dock typically requires 100-240 Volts and the output voltage would be 24 volts. The robot vacuum cleaner can run for about 2 hours before needing to be recharged for another 4-5 hours. These are just sample figures.
Speed and Noise output
This can be a little hard to sacrifice. Powerful robotic vacuum cleaners are noisy because it needs more electricity but more expensive models are more powerful with less noise. Noise level is measured by decibels (dB). A high decibel means that the sound is louder. Just for reference, a hairdryer is about 60-95 dB, an electric shaver is about 50-80 dB and a car horn is about 110 dB.
Since the release of the first robotic vacuum cleaner from a single manufacturer, a lot of companies have also followed pursuit. Robotic vacuum cleaners today are packed with features. A word of advice: Be prepared to spend more if you opt to have more features installed.
Some robotic vacuum cleaners can clean freely on floors then carpets, some would falsely detect the edge of the carpet as an obstacle therefore it would back off and prevent itself from cleaning the carpet. To get a good robotic vacuum cleaner that can navigate its way through a change in surface level, (around 1-2 centimeters, approximately the thickness of most rugs and carpets), always look for it in the description.
If you plan to purchase your robotic vacuum cleaner from home depots and not online, make sure to have your unit tested. The salesperson should be willing to set up the device, show you how it’s operated and let you test it for your own satisfaction.
Navigation method and programs differ from each manufacturer. Newer models have laser-guided mapping that scans your room, registers where furnitures are placed and stores the information so the next time you decide to use it, simply turn it on and it would know its way around without senselessly bumping over and over against furnitures. Despite of this, it would nevertheless scan its surroundings multiple times per second to avoid moving objects. Make sure that the vacuum can avoid stairs. Most models have an additional “Virtual Wall” device that blocks the vacuum from open doorways. To avail of these features, make sure to read it up on the box or label. It is a selling point so the manufacturer would always emphasize this feature.
Cleaning path width and cleaning method
A robotic vacuum cleaner’s path width can be determined by its diameter. A bigger path width means that it can clean larger surface areas within a shorter time but fail to get into narrower spaces. Measure the spaces between the legs of side tables if necessary. A smaller path width means that it would take longer for the vacuum to finish cleaning but succeed in cleaning narrow spaces.
Most, if not all, robotic vacuum cleaners have side brushes. It means that it can also clean tiny nooks and crannies that the main brush underneath cannot reach. Different types of brushes can pick up different types of dirt. Make sure that the label specifies that the robotic vacuum cleaner can pick up dirt, debris and if you have pets, pet hair.
Robotic vacuum cleaners are “bagless” meaning it uses a filter instead of storing all the dirt and dust in a bag. Cleaning the filter can be a risk for those with dust allergies and asthma. Filter replacements cost around US$8 to US$15 or even higher, depending on the brand.
Newer robotic vacuum cleaners have dirt sensor. It can tell itself on which area of the floor or carpet it has to spend more time cleaning.
Capacity of Filters
Since robotic vacuum cleaners are bagless, they use filters instead. Considering the capacity of the filter is helpful if pets are present or if you or anyone in the family has dust allergies. Small particles are measured using microns. The smaller the micron, the smaller the particle. Allergens and particles are invisible the naked eye and around 0.3 microns big.
Consumers who have bought robotic vacuum cleaners post their ratings online on a 1-5 star basis (5 being the highest) plus their comments on the unit (hard to program, too noisy, can’t clean carpets, etc.)
Bonus Guidelines when using a robotic vacuum cleaner.
For optimal performance, you need to clear the floor of objects lying around so the robotic vacuum cleaner can map its way freely around the floor’s surface area. If possible raise all lying wires and cables of the electric appliances it won’t get stuck.
Robotic vacuum cleaners come with a 1-year warranty. Make sure to keep the receipt and never to open and tinker with the device’s hardware to avail of the warranty.