For a select few, domestic chores are an absolute joy. For the other 99.9% of the population, they’re laborious and best-avoided where possible. Hence, in an ideal world, we’d be able to turn to technology to take care of things on our behalf.
Precisely where the potential benefits of robot vacuum cleaners come into the picture.
But given how robotic appliance technology is at a relatively early stage, is now the time to invest in a robot vacuum? Have we yet reached a stage where a generic robot vacuum (or even a specialist robot vacuum for pets) can competently replace your main vacuum cleaner?
Robot Vacuum Cleaner Basics
If you’re unfamiliar with how the whole thing works, robot vacuum cleaners are essentially automated ‘vehicles’ that combine a cleaning system with an intelligent 360-degree sensor array. This enables the device to navigate its way around your home – in some instances ‘mapping’ its layout for future reference for a more efficient clean.
When the job is done or the battery is low on juice, the cleaner automatically returns to its docking station to charge. All that needs to be done on the part of the owner is to empty the dirt collection chamber when prompted.
How Much Do Robot Vacuum Cleaners Cost?
Prices vary wildly from one product to the next, starting from around £100 and far exceeding £1,000 for the most advanced models on the market.
Do Robot Vacuum Cleaners Do a Good Job?
The short answer is yes, but at the same time you need to have realistic expectations. Due to the small size and stature of a robot vacuum cleaner, it’s never going to deliver the same raw power and performance as an enormous upright device connected directly to the mains.
That said, a quality robot vacuum cleaner can do a surprisingly good job keeping your home clean and fresh on a daily basis. Hard floors in particular are ideal for robot vacuum cleaners, which can be thoroughly and consistently cleaned all the way to the edges.
The idea being that with a robot vacuum making regular runs around the home, your floors are never given the chance to get particularly dirty or difficult to clean.
How About Carpet Cleaning?
It depends entirely on the depth of the pile and the type of carpet you’re looking to clean. Low-pile carpets and rugs are perfectly compatible with robot vacuum cleaners, which in the case of more sophisticated devices can do an excellent job. Robot vacs are designed to get to grips with carpets and can pull even embedded dirt and pet hair out of the pile.
That said, even the most sophisticated robot vacuums on the market right now cannot clean super-thick and luxurious carpets. They’re simply not designed to cope with the complications of carpets with long fibres. Though instead of wandering onto them and getting tangled, they’re programmed to avoid them automatically.
Can a Robot Vacuum Pick Up Pet Hair?
Again, the answer depends on the device you’re using and the types of floor coverings you have at home. That said, there are many high-end robot vacuums available right now that are specifically designed with pet-friendly households in mind. Pick up one of these and you may be pleasantly surprised just how efficient they are at dealing with problematic pet hair.
Though if the manufacturer doesn’t specifically state it’s designed to deal with pet hair, it probably isn’t.
Do Robot Vacuum Cleaners Get Stuck?
Different robot vacuum cleaners cope in different ways with obstacles around the home. Some are sophisticated enough to avoid pretty much anything that could prove problematic, whereas others may get stick when encountering things like cables.
This is something that will be indicated by the manufacturer, so it’s simply a case of consulting the guidelines and planning ahead accordingly.
Is It Worth Buying a Low-Cost Robot Vacuum?
Buying a robot vacuum should always be about value for money, rather than the specific price paid. If the vacuum lightens the load for you at home and gets the job done with no real drama, it doesn’t matter how much you pay. Likewise, you may not need all the advanced features and functionalities of a top-shelf cleaner, if simply looking to keep a small apartment clean and fresh.
However, opting for a bargain-basement cleaner only on the basis of price is inadvisable. Consult as many customer reviews and recommendations as necessary before buying, in order to ensure it’s up to the job.