Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Review

Review of Robotic Vacuum Cleaners

I admit that I love gadgets. If someone can come up with a gadget solution to solve a problem for me, I’m all for it!

You can imagine how I giggled with delight when they started talking about robotic vacuum cleaners. I pictured myself out by the pool (no, I don’t have a pool, but it’s my fantasy), sipping some kind of drink with an umbrella as the robotic vacuum cleaner was inside doing its job.

Then I read the independent testing of robotic vacuum cleaners. My gadget fantasy is still just a fantasy.

Inventors of robot vacuum cleaners get my complete respect – it’s a great idea. It’s just that the technology isn’t there yet. I hold out hope that one day these little machines will work perfectly. Until then, here’s the dirt (pun intended) on robotic vacuum cleaners.

The Main Problems

Like most cordless vacuum cleaners, robotic vacuums aren’t as powerful as traditional upright or canister corded vacuum cleaners. Their suction ability and brush ability (for carpets) isn’t good enough for general cleaning. Consider that beyond the actually vacuuming, these machines have to “think” as well off the same battery charge.

The Technology

Being able to “think” is the next problem. You have to go to a lot of effort to set up most of the robotic vacuum cleaners before you can actually vacuum. Yes, you only have to do it once (unless you program it to clean when you’re not home later), but if you’re not gadget-savvy, it will take you a while and probably the help of someone who has experience in things like programming the clock on a VCR.

The Sensors

The sensors are still lacking. Some of the more expensive models actually use ultrasound technology, which is amazing, but not much better than the much cheaper robotic vacuum cleaners that simply ran into something to figure out it was there. With all of the models, you basically need a huge empty room not to have any problems. They avoid corners and spaces against walls. They have problems on door jambs, with electrical cords, and coming up against furniture legs. You have to “rescue” them when they get stuck under beds or under other furniture. They also tend to shut doors and lock themselves into rooms.

Collection Containers

Their collection containers aren’t very big. It’s usually not a problem because being cordless vacuums, they don’t suck up as much as regular vacuums, but it depends on the amount of dust and dirt you have in your home. If they pick up something like dirt from an overturned plant, they are likely to be full very quickly. Some models stop or have nice, annoying alarms when the container is full. Others are “stupid” and keep going, or simply have a light that indicates the container is full.

The time it takes for a robotic vacuum cleaner to do its job is staggering. In one test, the robotic took almost two hours while it took a person less than ten minutes with a traditional vacuum. Of course, that is 10 minutes you could be out sipping your drink by the pool, but it’s still a bit ridiculous.

Who Should Get a Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

If you’re the type of person who loves gadgets so much you have to have everything while it’s still a novelty, you probably want a robotic vacuum cleaner. If you bought a VCR back when they were $2000 and like to show off your new toys to your friends and family, go for the robotic vacuum now.

If you have a child who isn’t interested in your vacuum enough (or strong enough) to actually vacuum but will be delighted with babysitting the robot that locks itself in rooms and gets stuck under the bed, you might love a robot vacuum cleaner. It actually does a decent job between regular vacuuming. It does get the parts that everyone sees and high traffic areas. It would be perfect to do double duty cleaning and entertaining your child and your child’s friends (not to mention pets).

If you’re a neat freak who wants everything as clean as possible when you get home from work, you will probably love the robotic vacuum cleaners. They can be programmed to start at certain times when you’re not even home. By the time you walk in the door, the footprints and dirt from last night will be gone, and you won’t have lifted a finger. Be sure to test it at least once before you use the programming option, especially if you have a china cabinet that might have breakable items if a robotic vacuum bumps into the leg. Better safe than sorry!

As for me, I will wait until the robotic vacuum cleaners come a little bit closer to my pool fantasy. Maybe my husband can join me when the robotic lawn mowers get better as well!