Robot vacuums have been improving at same pace as cell phones these days. Innovations in recent years have propelled automated cleaners out of the novelty category into the useful one. Better suction, more intuitive smart features, and lower prices means anyone looking to keep their floors clean should consider buying a robot vacuum.
You might be wondering why "Should I get a robot vacuum?” is even a question. But before you drop the cash on a self-aware sweeper, be sure to ask yourself the following crucial questions:
1. Are you physically unable to vacuum your home?
For those with disabilities or those who are too frail to operate an upright or canister vacuum, a robot vacuum could be a real godsend. With minimal effort on the part of the occupant, robot vacuums can help keep dust and dirt in check and provide a greater level of independence in the home. Smart robot vacuums like the LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ have speclized features like onboard cameras that stream to your phone. Beside helping to clean your floors, robot vacuums can be your eyes in other parts of your house.
2. Do you have wooden floors or low carpets?
Our tests have shown that robot vacuums work best on hard surfaces and shorter carpet lengths—anything less than an inch thick. Robot vacuums perform their best in rooms with the furniture on the side. When we tested the Neato D3, we observed that it made perfect rows back and forth. It can cover every inch of the floor but only when unobstructed.
3. Do you need to “maintain”?
Robot vacuums have really come into their own as maintenance appliances. Think of them as support troops in the war on filth.
You can program your robot vacuum to give your floors a once-over every day makes a proper cleaning on the weekend that much easier. In fact, the simple truth of the matter is that robot vacuums are designed with this use in mind. If you have trouble spots, like the carpet near the front door, Ecovacs and iRobot both make robot vacuums that can be commanded to focus on a certain spot in your home.
4. Do you have a small apartment or studio?
Robot vacuums aren’t really built to handle large homes multi-story houses are a no-go. But if you live in a studio or a one-bedroom apartment, a robot vacuum can be a great way to keep your living space tidy.
Once you start adding additional rooms into the mix, the cost of running a robot vacuum begins to skyrocket. With the exception of the priciest Roombas, most robot vacuums can only effectively clean a single room. A Roomba can be set to clean additional rooms through the use of an iRobot Lighthouse (sold separately), which acts as a homing beacon, but the majority of robot vacs will get lost if they stray too far from home.
5. Do you have pets?
If you have cats or dogs, you already know how much of a hassle it can be to keep their hair under control. A robot vacuum will definitely save you a lot of time in this department—time you will now be able to spend recording and posting adorable “pets riding on Roombas” videos to YouTube.
Still, robot vacs have small dirt receptacles and can get clogged easily if your Great Pyrenees likes to bed down on the carpet.
6. Do you love robots?
If you like robots—and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?—you could probably find something to love with even the most basic robot vacuum. However, if you’re hoping for a faithful companion that puts Wall-E to shame, prepare for disappointment.
Right now, robot vacuums are all about business. Maybe someday we'll get one the personality of Rosie.
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions we heartily recommend a robot vacuum. It won’t change your life, but it will make cleaning your home a little easier.