8 accessories you need if you just got a robot vacuum
Get the most from your vacuum with these add-ons.
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So you’ve taken the plunge and outsourced vacuuming to a little robot who, unlike you, has nothing better to do with their time. Robot vacuums are popular for about a hundred reasons. They save you from one of the most tedious chores imaginable—and since most of them can automatically sense dirt, they might actually do a better job of keeping your space clean than you. We've tested some of the very best robot vacuums and found that some are surprisingly affordable but still provide excellent suction power.
There are also a few robot vacuum accessories you can get to improve the quality of your 'bot. The accessories will differ depending on the model you’ve chosen and we've rounded up a few based on our favorite ones. While it’s always smart to have a spare battery and vacuum bags on hand, we've rounded up eight less obvious accessories that will guarantee you get the most from your robot vacuum experience.
1. Plenty of boundary tape
Just because you want your robot vacuum to work automatically doesn’t necessarily mean you want it to have free range of the entire house. Maybe you know it gets stuck on your luxurious shag carpet, or you’re trying to keep it away from the Legos scattered all over the playroom. Never fear! Different robot vacuums have different methods of sensing where they should and should not roam. For robot vacuums from Neato and Shark, you’ll want physical boundary tape to mark off the no-go zone. Some tape is often included with your initial purchase, but by getting extra, you’ll have more flexibility to tell your vacuum where you want it to clean.
2. A matching robot that can do the mopping
Your robot vacuum is there to vacuum—but if you’re really digging the automated cleaning life, you might consider a robot that can do the mopping as well. iRobot makes our favorite robot vacuum of all time and also has a series of mopping robots to give you even more hands-off cleaning. As someone who hates mopping about ten times more than I dislike vacuuming, this sounds like a dream. The iRobot Braava Jet M6 has WiFi connectivity and spot cleaning abilities. When we tested it out, we found that it does a great job mopping surfaces, though we recommend using it between deeper cleans.
3. A refill kit that will keep your robot vacuuming for years
This is a standard item, but a necessary one. No matter what vacuum model you opt for, it’s a good idea to have a kit full of spare parts on hand to keep everything in working condition. There’s nothing worse than your vacuum tapping out right when you need it—or don't want to do it yourself. Whether one of the vacuum’s brushes needs to be retired or the filter has gotten full of gunk, a kit like this one will make sure you aren’t left hanging. This one is specifically for the popular iRobot Roomba e and i Series, but you can likely find a cleaning kit for your particular model, as well.
4. A virtual wall for more precise cleaning
If your vacuum uses virtual boundaries, rather than physical ones (like the tape mentioned above), you have a whole new spate of options when it comes to keeping your 'bot contained. Even if you already have a virtual wall, it might be worth buying another. A few additional walls will help ensure the robot only goes where you want and need it, especially in a large home. This model was made for iRobot vacuums, but if you're thinking of buying a few virtual walls, we recommend grabbing them from the same manufacturer that made your vacuum, so you know compatibility won’t be an issue.
5. A dirt disposal station
Got a robot vacuum that also empties itself? Lucky you! Of course, this feature is useless if you don’t have a station where the vacuum can deposit its dirt. Like any other part of the vacuum, these stations might break or get lost over time—but it’s not at all hard to find a replacement. Roomba dirt disposal stations are available, so you don’t have to resort to buying a whole new vacuum if something happens to your first station. An additional clean base is also useful if you want multiple outlets for your precious robot.
6. An adorable vacuum cover
This isn’t the most necessary item on this list, but it’s definitely the cutest. If you’ve got a little robot zipping around your house, wouldn’t you rather it be dressed up like a ladybug? If this isn’t quite your style, this Etsy selling also offers plenty of fun vacuum decals. There’s also nothing wrong with a few good old-fashioned stickers to liven up your little robotic friend.
7. Cleaning solution for a robot mop
If you’ve decided to upgrade to a robot mop along with your vacuum (see No. 2), you’ll be in the market for good cleaning fluid. This should be a high-quality, no-streak solution to keep your floors gleaming. Reviewers say the Braava Jet cleaning solution has a pleasant smell, leaves surfaces looking bright and beautiful, and will work with other robot mops as well. No need to look for anything fancy, this will do the trick.
8. Bumpers for those hard edges
Worried about your robot vacuum crashing? These soft bumpers stick directly to the body of your Roomba or comparable robot vacuum to keep your furniture and walls scratch-free while they move around. This pack includes one set of thin bumpers and one set of thick ones, so you can decide what's right for the speed of your robot. Your couch gets plenty of wear and tear as it is—there's no need to subject it to a little gadget constantly bonking against its legs.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.