The robot vacuum cleaner has become an essential gadget and is gaining some attention among Millennials. This is mainly due to a temporary change in lifestyle the way it has been over the years.
Now, most people would gladly welcome an automated system for floor cleaning and mopping as it does not require much intervention. You neither need a maid nor a keeper to keep your house clean. However, if you are planning to buy a robot vacuum cleaner for your home, keep these features in mind to buy the right smart cleaner without overpaying.
1. Cleaning Area and Power
This should be taken into account so that the vacuum cleaner does not leave half of the room dirty. It is better to take it with a margin since the area in the characteristics is indicated for an empty room, but in reality, the robot will have to air an additional meter due to furniture and other obstacles.
Unlike traditional vacuum cleaners, the power of the robot is very low and ranges from 20 to 120 watts. Due to the lack of a hose and the compact design, this is enough. The indicator of 90 W and above is rare. Most robots have a power of 50-60 W, which is enough for complete cleaning. At the same time, 30-watt models are only suitable for surface cleaning.
2. Dimensions and shape
The quality of cleaning will depend on the design of the robot vacuum cleaner. Round gadgets are less effective at cleaning floors in corners and near baseboards, while square and D-shaped gadgets easily sneak into any corner and go well along walls.
Among dimensions, height is the most important. It should be about 1 cm below the furniture so the cleaner can crawl under the sofa or closet.
Most often, the height of the robot is 7-9 cm, but manufacturers usually indicate it without lidar, camera and other protruding parts. So be careful.
3. Type of brushes
There are three options: Brush, Turbo Brush, and a combination of both. The first is usually equipped with the most budget models, the rest are found in more expensive robots.
Brush-brushes are suitable only for surface cleaning on hard surfaces – they remove only large debris, which is then sucked into the dust collector. When there are two brushes, they spin towards each other and the particles fall inside the vacuum cleaner. A single brush works very poorly and often throws debris around the room.
The Turbo Brush is more effective and is able to clean carpets, rugs and other soft surfaces. It spins fast, picks up lint, and collects not only large debris, but wool, hair, and smaller particles as well.
Some Robot vacuum cleaners have both types at the same time. This combination is more effective, but a turbo brush does a good job of cleaning.
4. The volume of the dust collector
Robots, because of their mobility, tend to have a limited amount of dust collectors. Typically, this depends on the area to be cut and ranges from 0.3 to 1 litre.
The average indicator, which is worth paying attention to, is 0.5 litres. The small dust bin is only suitable for small apartments and will quickly fill up with pet hair. There are also vacuum cleaners with garbage accumulators that are built into the base. The robot unloads the contents of the dust collector there and returns to cleaning. This design is rather cumbersome and expensive.
5. Filter type
Air filters are installed at the vacuum cleaner outlet to trap particles. Often, these are simple fine cleaning ingredients that trap dust particles down to 0.3 microns. This filtering is sufficient for most cases.
But if you have asthma or allergies at home, you need a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. They are much more efficient at cleaning the air and are able to capture 85–99.95% of the smallest particles of 0.06 microns.
It depends on how successfully the robot vacuum cleaner will move around the house. The description only indicates the maximum height of the incoming threshold, which is usually 1-2 cm.
Other obstacles to the cleaner are carpets, wires and objects piled high on the floor. Actual cross-country ability can be judged only by reviews, so be sure to study them before buying.
For orientation in space, budget robots use contact obstacle sensors, which are built into the shock-softening bumper. Encountering an obstacle, the vacuum cleaner spins and continues to move in the other direction according to the algorithm. As a rule, it is riding in a zigzag, in a spiral or along the walls.
More expensive cleaners are equipped with non-contact infrared sensors that allow you to block obstacles a few centimeters. There are also models that can map rooms and plot the best route.
In addition, some robots are equipped with infrared elevation sensors to prevent falls from stairs. They measure the magnitude of the reflected signal and therefore view all black surfaces as an abyss, not allowing the vacuum cleaner to drive there.
For cleaning small rooms, zigzag movements are enough, so the first navigation option is also suitable. But for complex and large apartments, the intellectual type is preferable, otherwise, it will be difficult to achieve good results. Height sensors in a two-story house will not interfere.
8. Management Methods and Schedule
There are three ways to command the robot: using the buttons on the cleaner’s body, the remote control, or a smartphone. In the simplest models, the first two are commonly available, while the latter is found in more expensive cleaners. Management is more convenient through the mobile application, but largely any method is suitable, since the program is configured once, and then the vacuum cleaner simply works.
Most robots have a useful scheduling cleaning feature. Thanks to this, you can configure the vacuum cleaner so that it can be cleaned on a specified number of days. For example, when you are at work. Smartphone support is not required for this – all manipulations are done using buttons or remote control on the body.
9. Autonomy and charging
Almost all modern robotic vacuum cleaners run on lithium-ion batteries, but some still have older nickel-metal hydride batteries. The service life and autonomy of the latter are quite short, so it is better not to buy such models.
The average battery life of a vacuum cleaner is about two hours, which is enough for a standard apartment. Budget models work 40-60 minutes and are able to clean a room without recharging. For a private house, more expensive robots with an autonomy of 2-3 hours are suitable.
Most vacuum cleaners are charged from a docking station, in which they can automatically dock after cleaning or when the battery is low. Most budget models have a regular power supply, the cable of which must be inserted into the connector itself.
10. Not so essential features
There are some not so essential features of Robot Vacuum Cleaner that are selling points for most of the manufactures out there. So, decide about it carefully.
1. UV lamps
Manufacturers of inexpensive vacuum cleaners often include UV lamps in their models and actively promote them as a means of disinfecting floors.
Since the destruction of bacteria requires prolonged exposure to UV rays, and robots are constantly in motion, to put it mildly, this approach is ineffective. In addition, the lamps consume extra energy and the battery will drain faster.
This is another useless feature that comes under the guise of irreplaceable. Monitoring the cleaning process from a smartphone will be boring after the first try, and using the robot as a video surveillance system is inconvenient, no matter what the manufacturers say.
3. Wet cleaning
Even in devices from well-known brands, wet cleaning does not replace a complete washing of the floor – at best, it will be a light wipe. Usually, to switch to the wet cleaning mode, instead of a dust collector, a special water tank is installed or the liquid is poured into the built-in tank. You also need to wash and change microfiber laundry from time to time. All these manipulations quickly get bored.
In fact, any model can be turned into a washcloth by attaching it to a cloth dampened with water. If you really need high-quality wet cleaning, it is better to purchase a special robotic floor polisher.
4. Virtual wall
An additional accessory is designed to restrict the movement of the robot. This is an infrared transmitter that is installed near animal feeds, children’s play areas and other places where cleaners should not enter. Such modules take up space and are not cheap.
A similar function is performed by magnetic tapes that are glued to the floor. They are much more economical and no less effective. In general, you can simply block the path of the vacuum cleaner with a stool on its side.
That’s all folks for now. Did you find it useful in selecting the perfect Robot Vacuum Cleaner in your budget? Do share your thoughts in the comment box below.