Welcome to the robot vacuum cleaner revolution!
If you are reading this, congratulations! You are one step closer to being part of a small technological revolution 😉
Now seriously, if you are considering buying a robot vacuum cleaner you should consider certain considerations to decide which model of vacuum cleaner is most suited to your needs. In the market there are dozens and dozens of models on sale, whose performance and skills should be appropriate for the type of space to be cleaned.
First of all you should know that a few years have passed since the appearance of those first models, whose efficiency was, if not more, questionable. Current models of vacuum cleaners are equipped with advanced technologies that, among other things, detect obstacles with infrared sensors, adapt the intensity of cleaning to the level of dirt or even can disinfect the surfaces through which they pass with ultraviolet light. Their benefits are proportional to their prices, which on the day of today oscillate between $40 and $1000.
While the most basic models do not have navigation systems (ie, they move randomly, without too much order) and have mechanical obstacle detection systems, the most advanced models are able to “know” all the nooks and crannies of your home, to detect obstacles at a distance (vases, animals, stairs, entanglements of cables …), operate autonomously without human intervention and can be easily programmed to behave and clean as you want.
The first thing to keep in mind: The price of your robot vacuum cleaner
It is obvious that your future decision will be mainly conditioned by what you want to spend on your new assistant. However you should keep in mind that the efficiency of your robot suction will be proportional to its price; Well, do not expect amazing results from mediocre models. Before deciding how much you want to spend, we encourage you to consider the following points:
- A mid-range aspirated robot has a lifespan of more than 2 years. What you invest now will have repercussions on the comfort and effectiveness of the coming years.
- There are robots that are automated cleaning machines and there are intelligent and autonomous vacuum cleaner robots. The difference is abysmal.
- As a general rule, buyers are very satisfied after buying a robot vacuum cleaner. Now, your vacuum cleaner robot will only satisfy you if you are aware of the product you are buying and its capabilities.
With that said, let’s see what options you have depending on your budget:
Robot Vacuums for less than $100
Until recently we would have told you that, with such a tight budget, it was best to continue saving to reach higher models. So far, vacuum cleaners that hovered around $100 were inefficient machines with chaotic behaviors.
However a few months ago appeared in the market a Chinese brand that is revolutionizing the world of low cost vacuum cleaners: iLife. These are robots capable of aspirating and scrubbing with wet mop, programmable, with infrared and mechanical sensors, with HEPA filters of high efficiency … And with a rather orderly and methodical behavior.
Basically offer features of mid-range robots at a tremendously competitive price: The best iLife models cost between $120 and $140 with warranty and shipping included.
Other alternatives in this price range are the robots Taurus Mini Striker and the Vileda Cleaning. Although the operation of both is quite acceptable, they are not as efficient and advanced vacuum cleaners as the iLife.
Robot Vacuums for less of $300 A $500
If your budget is in this range your options are expanded considerably. To begin with you have the Roomba 600 series, the most basic of the brand, with the Roomba 650 as one of its star models (it is a real bestseller).
Within this price range, we also find the Roomba 700 series, which includes more advanced models than the previous series.
Finally, in this segment you can also find the LG Hombot Square Series 6+, 7, 8 and 9. These are some quirky suction robots, because they are square and use a camera to map our home. They are especially meticulous robots and very orderly.
Robot Vacuums for more than +$500
In this case you have two main options. On the one hand, the LG Hombot Square Series: You have the Hombot Square Series 11 and the Hombot Square Series 12. Both are very advanced vacuum cleaners, which can be controlled remotely via the app and even offer Video surveillance of the home.
Finally you also have the efficient robots of the series 800 and 900 of Roomba. These are authentic cleaning machines, powerful, intelligent and hardly requiring maintenance – as it should be. When we talk about the Roomba 900 series we can say without fear to be mistaken that they are the best vacuum cleaners in the world.
The essential characteristics to consider
Below we talk about those characteristics that we think you should consult and take into account whatever robot vacuum cleaner you want and your budget. Remember them well and use them to choose your new assistant!
1. The Navigation System (or its absence)
The cleaning pattern described by a robot vacuum cleaner, conditioned by its navigation system
The navigation system of your future robot vacuum cleaner will determine the way in which it moves, orient and clean in your house. For example, to see the differences:
- The most basic model we analyzed, the Vileda Virobi, has no navigation system, simply moves randomly, crashing against everything that is found like a ping-pong ball.
- In the mid-range, we have, for example, the series 600 and 700 of Roomba (remember that you have available the supercomparative of all Roomba), which have an intelligent navigation system. They have mechanical, acoustic and optical sensors and analyze the environment about 50 times per second, creating a “mental” map of the rooms and distribution of the home, remembering every corner and obstacle.
- At the other end, in the high range, we have navigation systems able to detect the dirtiest areas of the house, through acoustic and optical sensors, and to influence them more. They are also able to “learn” to perfection the distribution of our home through cameras or laser sensors that map the spaces. Some examples of models that we can include in this segment are the series 800 and 900 of Roomba, as well as the LG Hombot Square robots.
2. Cleaning System and Aspiration Capacity
There are models that do not even aspire, they just pass the mop. However most robot vacuum cleaner models combine two methods of collecting dust: the brush and the vacuum. Its usual way of working is to collect dust with the side brush (or brushes, on some models) and put it in the optimal place for suctioning. However, each model and brand has its own system. For example, there are some brushed side brushes (number 1 in the image above) and others that only have “roller” brushes (number 2 in the same image).
On the other hand, the suction power is also an important factor to take into account. However, it is not decisive: more suction power does not necessarily determine more efficiency. The efficiency will be determined by a combination of more factors, such as the arrangement of the brushes, the number of them, the navigation system and, in general, how well designed the robot is. By the way (I forgot) power is measured in Wattios (W) and actually expresses the electric consumption of the vacuum cleaner (not its effectiveness!).
3. The Programability
The program … what? Speaking clearly: The ability of your future robot sucker to work autonomously and according to the orders that you give. The most basic models have zero or limited programmability, while “decent” models have highly functional options. For practical purposes this will allow you to tell the robot vacuum cleaner what days and at what time he has to clean. Most models also include “direct” orders. For example, your child has left the living room rug full of cookies crumbs (does anyone sound?) … because you tell your assistant to do a thorough cleaning only of that area (by pressing the button Spot Clean, in the case Of the Roomba).
4. The Autonomy and the Capacity of the Deposit
How big is your home? If the answer is “big” or “very big” you should keep in mind that the more autonomy your future robot has, the better. By autonomy we mean the time the robot can work after a full load, and usually this time is between one hour and one and a half hours. While it is true that almost all robots, as soon as they detect that they have low “batteries” go back to the base alone to charge, the more autonomy more efficiency will have the cleaning system.
On the other hand, you will also have to look at the capacity of the dirt tank. For example, if you have pets (ie dog or cat hair everywhere) choose a model with a good deposit. Some models have a full tank warning; In others you must become accustomed to take an eye to see how full it is. Ah, tank capacity is measured in Liters (L), or sometimes in Centiliters (CL) or Milliliters (ML), and we consider that “decent” tank capacities are those that start at 0.3L.
5. The Noise
Yes, unfortunately your future robot vacuum cleaner is going to make noise. But less (or significantly less, in some cases) than a traditional vacuum cleaner. However this factor should only worry you if you spend the day at home, or you work in your own home. The great advantage of these devices is that they are programmable (even the most “mediocre” models) so you will be able to program it to work while you are not at home. This way, although you may be disturbed by the noise, you will not be there to hear it.
However, if you think that this is going to be an important factor for you, you should know that noise is measured in decibels (dB) and that the standard of a vacuum cleaner robot is between 50 and 80 dB. To give you an idea a normal vacuum cleaner produces about 90 dB, and a hair dryer about 80 dB.
Other features that may matter to you
So far, the most basic and essential. But depending on your case and your needs you may want your future vacuum cleaner to have any of the following characteristics.
Vacuums, all of them, even those of a lifetime, raise dust. When they suck air they also take the dust off the floor. This passes through a circuit and is mostly retained in the corresponding receptacle or bag. However, the air aspirated must re-emerge, and often it is filled with small particles of microscopic dust that have not been able to be retained by their small size. This situation should not bother you too much, unless you or someone in your family is allergic to dust or you want to have a “cleaner” air. In this case it is recommended that your future vacuum cleaner has a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. These filters are capable of capturing particles of 0.3 μm; That is, they purify the air from dust and unwanted particles. If you have a good budget for your robot vacuum cleaner, it is advisable to look for it with HEPA filter.
Schematic of a HEPA filter (source: Wikipedia)
(If you are particularly interested in the subject of HEPA filters you can see what the Wikipedia says about them here).
Of course, this is not an important feature; But you may want a model with a remote control. You should know that not all models have and that you can control basic options such as the program of the robot vacuum or their working hours. However, if you have mobility issues (or you are going to give the robot a vacuum cleaner to someone older in the family, something quite habitual) you may want the future assistant to have a remote control.
Virtual walls?, you must be wondering 🙂 . The virtual walls are accessories that serve to delimit in a “virtual” spaces of the house where we do not want the vacuum cleaner to enter or clean. For example, you can put your assistant to clean the terrace, and delimit the lawn area so that it does not enter into it. Or veto the room of a very small child where it plays on his carpet. Many Roomba models already include virtual walls in their basic pack and you may never get to use it (I’ve never used them, for example, the more rooms I clean my robot, the better!)
SPARE PARTS AVAILABILITY
If you choose one of the well-known and international brands (Roomba of iRobot, LG, Vileda …) this point should not worry you at all. However, if you choose “rare brands” you should keep in mind that it may be very difficult or impossible to find spare parts, should you need them. So it is most advisable to check, before buying the robot vacuum cleaner, if spare parts are available.
Do you have any furniture lower than normal (a bed, a sofa) and want your future assistant to effectively clean under it? If so, you should take into account the height of your robot, and check before you buy if it will be “dwarf” enough to pass under your furniture.
Now that you are already an expert in vacuum robots, we invite you to continue your search with …