As a pet owner, you know that seeing a little shed fur around your house comes with the territory of having a dog or cat. You also know that cleaning up that hair is a tedious chore. If you are constantly in a time crunch, it’s all too easy to neglect detailed household tasks.
However, robot vacuums can help you save time. While these appliances can’t tackle pesky pet fur on your furniture, they can take care of the animal hair on your floors. When we say floors, we don’t just mean hardwoods, tile and linoleum. Many robot vacuums are able to lift pet hair from carpet too.
Are Robot Vacuums as Efficient as Upright Vacuums?
Upright vacuums are the go-to tool for cleaning carpets, and many are well-adept at suctioning debris from hard floors. In most aspects, robo vacuums perform at the same level as upright vacuums, especially robot vacuums that are equipped with a brushroll. Robotic vacuums are also able to reach further under furniture.
However, there are some areas where upright vacuums come out on top. Their motors tend to be stronger due to the size of these appliances. Plus, there is one place uprights can go that are off-limits to robot vacuum cleaners, which is the stairs. If you don’t have a staircase, this is not an issue. If your house does have one, you should keep a lightweight stick vac on hand for stair vacuuming.
How Do Robo Vacs Work?
Basics like the suction, filtration and brushroll all operate similarly regardless of whether the vacuum is an upright, a stick, a handheld or a robot. One of the main differences between traditional vacuums and robotic ones is how the robot navigates.
Since robot vacuums don’t require physical assistance to roll across the floor, they rely solely on a navigation system. Depending on the particular model, the navigation system may consist of infrared sensors, directional lasers or a smart camera.
In robot vacuums with infrared sensors or directional lasers, the robot is able to detect objects like furniture. When they spot an obstacle, these vacuums simply pivot on a caster wheel and travel in a different direction. Those that have a smart camera can do this too, but they also use the camera to scan a room and calculate the best route.
What If I Can’t Be Home to Monitor the Vacuum?
If you’re always on the go, get a robotic vacuum with an on-board camera and Wi-Fi connectivity. These vacuums are able to send a floor map to your smartphone, so you can keep track of where it has cleaned. Through the manufacturer’s app, you can also send it instructions remotely.
What If the Battery Dies When I’m Away From Home?
Robotic vacuums are different from other rechargeable cordless appliances. Almost all robotvacs are able to charge themselves. This means that as soon as the robot senses its battery has a low charge, the vacuum drives itself to the charger where it docks until the battery is replenished. Once it’s recharged, simply press the appropriate button to make the robot continue vacuuming.
Some manufacturers enhance their robot vacuum’s self-docking function by designing the robot to resume cleaning after the battery recharges. Therefore, these robot vacuums will drive off the dock and return to the exact spot where they last vacuumed, making the battery-charge process completely automated.
Is It Safe to Use a Robot Vacuum Around Stairs?
While no technology is perfect, you can let a robot vacuum clean near your stairs with little worry. The same navigation system that finds and avoids objects also identifies drop-offs such as stairs. When a robot vacuum cleaner discovers a drop-off, it will move away from it and vacuum elsewhere.
As a safeguard measure, many manufacturers include a virtual barrier with their robotic vacuums. This barrier may either be a magnetic strip or a tiny tower. If it comes with a boundary strip, you can cut the strip to size and place it in front of a threshold or stair, and the robot will steer clear of it.
If the barrier is a virtual wall, put it in front of the off-limits area and turn on the tower. Once it’s powered on, the tower will create an invisible, straight-line beam that the robot can’t cross. A few virtual walls also create halos that the rob vac can’t penetrate.
All Robotic Vacuums Are Round – How Can They Vacuum Along Edges and Corners?
The majority of robo vacs are circular in shape, but there are a few with two straight sides. These vacuums look like the letter D, and they do an excellent job of cleaning along baseboards and getting into corners.
However, you don’t need to buy a D-shaped robot vacuum to get precision wall-edge cleaning. Robot vacuums are equipped with a special side brush that is positioned under the vacuum. The propellers of the brush extend past the circumference of round robot vacuums, so they can sweep dirt and dust from baseboards, edges and corners. Many robots even come with two spinning brushes, allowing the vacuums to edge clean from both sides.
How Do I Prep My Home for a Robo Vac?
No matter what type of vacuum you use, there is always some work to do before starting a cleaning session. First, make sure the floors are clear of small metal or plastic items like thumbtacks and Lego bricks. Also, keep all cords and wires organized, so the vacuum won’t roll over them or try to pull them into its suction inlet.
If you have tasseled throw rugs in your house, stuff the tassels under the rugs to prevent tangling the robot’s brushroll. Finally, lay the vacuum’s virtual boundaries if it comes with any, so the robot won’t travel to areas you don’t want touched.
Aren’t Robot Vacuums Expensive?
In the early 2000s, robotic vacuums were the most technologically advanced household appliance you could buy, and their price tags reflected these vacuums’ luxury status. Today, you won’t suffer from sticker shock when you open your wallet to purchase one.
You now have more options in terms of brands and models, and the technology is well-established. As a result, the purchase price is much lower than what it once was. Whether your budget is tight or wide open, it’s easy to find an efficient, reliable, affordable robot vacuum. To get a better idea of what options are available, we’ve reviewed several budget-friendly and high-end robot vacuum cleaners.
Top 3 Robot Vacuums for Pet Hair Value Picks
3 Dibea D960 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Review
Do you have a lot of intricate woodwork in your house? If so, you’ll love how the Dibea D960 robot vacuum cleans your baseboards. It’s equipped with two side spinning brushes that whisk away dirt and dust. Since the robot vacuum is D-shaped, it can drive close to edges and corners. As a bonus, Dibea gives you three extra pairs of brushes.
What gives the D960 its impressive lifting power is a motor that produces 1,200 pascals of suction and a brushroll that picks up hair and other stubborn debris from all floor types, including low-pile carpet. Since the motor is brushless, you get super-quiet performance that’s never obtrusive. To keep dust, dander and other particles from escaping, the pull-out, 350-milliliter dust bin contains an H11 HEPA filter.
From the vacuum itself, you can start an auto-clean session or send the robot to its dock. The remote expands on these options by also offering spot mode, zigzag mode, schedule mode and V-line mode. As it zooms through your house on auto mode, the robot vacuum changes its pattern according to the floor it’s vacuuming.
Read our in-depth Dibea D960 Robot Vacuum Cleaner review
With a diameter of 12 inches and a height of 3 inches, the robot vacuum can travel almost anywhere for two hours on a full battery. Responsive sensors and an anti-scratch coating prevent the robot vacuum from becoming damaged while in operation. Once the 2,600 mAh lithium-ion battery gets low, the robot automatically docks to the charger. To protect your investment, Dibea offers a 12-month warranty on the D960.
2 Eufy RoboVac 11+ Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Review
The Eufy 11+ robotic vacuum’s 1,000 pascals of suction are strong enough to remove heavy debris from hard floors and medium-height carpet. When the robot comes across tough messes like a concentrated pile of crumbs or tufts of pet fur, it instantly engages in Power Boost mode. In this mode, the robo vac increases its suction, so it can quickly clear these mini-disasters.
Along with the suction system, the RobVac 11+ has a wide, tangle-reducing brushroll that won’t get hung up on stray strands of hair. In addition, the round robot vacuum has a pair of spinning side brushes to edge clean and move debris toward the suction inlet. Thanks to the triple-layer filter inside of the 0.55-liter, hinged-lid dust bin, airborne contaminants can’t escape.
Using the included remote control, you can select from several cleaning modes. The remote’s digital display makes it a breeze to program a daily cleaning schedule. In any mode, the robo vac’s set of 11 infrared sensors and pressure-sensitive bumper prevent it from falling down the stairs or bashing into furniture. With a scratch-resistant cover made of tempered glass and a pair of heavy-duty wheels that can climb 0.67-inch-tall thresholds, you always get rugged performance from the 11+.
Read our in-depth Eufy RoboVac 11+ Robotic Vacuum review
Inside of the robot vacuum, there is a lithium-ion battery that gives you 60 minutes of run time while in Power Boost mode and 100 minutes of working time in all other cleaning modes. Besides the long run time, you’ll appreciate the robo vac’s auto-dock function. With Eufy’s 1-year warranty, you are covered in the event of a malfunction.
1 Ecovacs Deebot N79 Robotic Vacuum Review
You don’t have to sacrifice Wi-Fi connectivity for a low price when you buy the Deebot N79 by Ecovacs. If you download the Ecovacs smartphone app to your Android or iPhone, you can remotely control and monitor the robo vac while at work or on vacation. With your smartphone, you’re able to set a schedule, track the robot’s movements and receive important performance alerts. Alternatively, you can use the remote for across-the-room convenience.
Whether there is dust on your hardwood floors or hair on your low-pile carpet, the N79 is up for the challenge. Its 500 pascals of quiet, 64-decibel suction can lift large debris with ease, and the robot vacuum’s helix-pattern brushroll is a champ at digging deep into carpet fibers. The robot also has dual nylon brushes on the side for baseboard cleaning.
As the circular robot vacuums your floors in auto, edge, spot or single-room, it sends large debris straight to the 300-milliliter bin while fine particles are captured by the high-efficiency filter. Ecovacs integrated Smart Motion anti-fall and anti-collision sensors into the N79’s design and gave the robot a soft bumper for extra protection. Plus, it can clean underneath furniture with little problem thanks to its 3.1-inch height and a 13-inch diameter.
Read our in-depth Ecovacs Deebot N79 Robotic Vacuum review
Taking a look under the hood, you’ll notice that the N79 robot vacuum contains a 2,600 mAh lithium-ion battery. This battery gives the vacuum enough power to run for up to 100 minutes. After the robo vac automatically lands on the dock, it only takes 3 to 4 hours for the battery to recharge. For peace of mind, Ecovacs offers 1 year’s worth of warranty protection.
Top 3 Robot Vacuums for Pet Hair Best Picks
3 iRobot Roomba 890 Vacuum Cleaning Robot Review
Pet hair doesn’t stand a chance against the Roomba 890. This robo vac boasts two anti-tangle brushrolls that rotate toward each other to maximize the vacuum’s debris-lifting capability. It also has a single side brush that tilts at a 27-degree angle for thorough edge cleaning. As it vacuums, the 890 adjusts its height to match the floor. With sealed suction and a filter that traps 99 percent of 10-micron particles, the suction stays strong from start to finish.
With the iRobot HOME app installed on your smartphone, you can choose a cleaning mode, set a different schedule for each day of the week and receive low battery and full-bin alerts. Alternatively, you can give the robot vac voice commands such as stop, start and pause when using it with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
The multiple sensors integrated into the Roomba 890 allow it travel anywhere in your home without running into objects or falling down drop-offs. It’s even equipped with acoustic and optical sensors that are designed to locate dirt, cleaning messy areas in a back-and-forth motion.
Read our in-depth iRobot Roomba 890 Vacuum Cleaning Robot review
At 3.6 inches tall, the robotic vacuum can clear most furniture, and it’s able to distinguish between soft and hard barriers, allowing it to go under bed skirts and curtains. If you want to restrict access to certain places, use the virtual barrier to create a no-cross straight line or no-enter halo.
If you’re familiar with the older 600 and 700 Roomba models, you may recall that their run time lasted less than an hour. However, iRobot made improvements to the lithium-ion battery on the 890, so this robo vac can clean for approximately 1.5 hours before it auto docks to the charger. Plus, it comes with a 1-year warranty.
2 Neato Botvac Connected Wi-Fi Enabled Robot Vacuum Review
You’ll be impressed by how long this robotic vacuum can run when fully charged. The Botvac Connected’s lithium-ion battery lasts for 3 hours on the ultra-powerful turbo mode, which is the vacuum’s default setting. If you put the robo vac to eco mode, the battery lasts for 6 hours before it auto docks and resumes cleaning. Neato offers a 6-month warranty on the battery as well as a 1-year warranty on all other components.
This robot vacuum is also skilled at lifting pet hair, crumbs and other debris thanks to its spiral brushroll and four-propeller side brush. From the screen on the robot, you can monitor the status of all its functions, like the battery, suction and collection bin. For easy access to the dust bin, all you have to do is lift open the top cover and pull out the bin.
The filter inside of the bin can capture small particles the size of 0.3 microns. For your convenience, Neato throws in an extra filter. Therefore, you won’t have to spend money on a replacement during the first few months after you buy the Botvac Connected.
If you install the Neato app and enable the robo vac’s Wi-Fi, you can use your iPhone or Android smartphone to receive notifications and change settings or your virtual assistant to give the vacuum voice commands. With laser navigation and its Botvision camera, the robot detects dangers and maps each room in your house, cleaning in a logical pattern. If you want to block an area, lay down the included boundary marker.
For hands-on control, you can manually direct the robotic vacuum’s movements via the smartphone app’s directional arrows. No matter how you use this robo vac, its large wheels with tread and two casters keep the 3.9-inch-tall robot stable on the ground. Like all of Neato’s robotic vacuum models, the Botvac Connected is D-shaped for superior edge and corner cleaning.
1 iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum Review
If Wi-Fi-enabled appliances are what you prefer, you’ll love the Roomba 960. Its smartphone app lets you customize how the robot cleans, get push notifications and set a schedule. With an Amazon Echo or Google Home, you can also give the robo vac simple voice commands. As you would expect with a high-quality robotic vacuum, the Roomba 960 comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
iRobot equipped with this model with its proprietary iAdapt 2.0 Navigation and Visual Localization. This state-of-the-art technology allows the robo vacuum to clean an entire floor at once and sends a coverage map to your smartphone. Multiple sensors within the robot help it avoid objects and falls as well as find and thoroughly clean extra-dirty areas. To create a barrier in a straight line or a halo, use the dual-mode virtual wall.
Regardless of where your pet’s shed fur ends up, the robotic vacuum’s pair of brushrolls can swiftly lift that stubborn hair from hard floors and carpets. With enhanced suction, a high-efficiency filter and a capable side brush, your floors and baseboards will be spic and span once the Roomba 960 is done cleaning them. To make sure no debris are left behind, the 3.6-inch-high robot automatically adjusts its head for a close clean.
The lithium-ion battery that powers all the functions on this robo vac also offers an outstanding run time. On a full charge, the battery lasts for 75 minutes. When the battery level is low, the robo vac connects to the charging dock. Once the battery has recharged, the robot drives directly to the last spot it vacuumed and resumes the cleaning path it created for itself.
Guide to Buying a Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair
Cleaning up after your pets is not fun, but a robo vac makes this chore easier. Due to the clingy nature of cat and dog fur, you can’t blindly choose a robotic vacuum and expect it to do a thorough job. To make the best choice, you need to know what features comprise a reliable pet-hair-cleaning robot vacuum. Consult this buyer’s guide when you’re robo vac shopping, so you can find a model with features you need.
One of the first features you should examine is the brush configuration. Pass on those that don’t have a brushroll because they won’t be able to keep up with the demands of animal fur. A wide brushroll that is V-shaped or spiraled will have the deepest reach, making it ideal for carpet vacuuming.
Some robotic vacuums are equipped with two brushrolls to boost their lifting ability. Since every type of flooring is different in terms of height, it’s always a plus if the robot can adjust its height. This automated function allows the robo vacuum’s brushroll to closely touch the floor.
Virtually every robot vacuum has at least one spinning side brush. The inclusion of a side brush helps the robot vac clear dust and dirt from baseboards, wall edges and corners. Plus, this brush sweeps dirt toward the robot’s suction inlet, so the vacuum can remove as many debris as possible in one pass.
As a pet owner, you’ll definitely want the robo vac you choose to have a spinning brush because it catches stray hair that may otherwise float away while the robot is vacuuming. Some robo vacs have one spinning brush on both sides to enhance its dirt-collection capability.
Strong suction is a given when it comes to desirable features. However, a powerful suctioning system is a must-have for lifting pet hair, especially hair that’s on your carpet. Manufacturers often list the suction strength of their vacuums in the product specs. Look for a robotic vacuum that produces at least 500 pascals of suction. As a general rule, the more pascals a robo vac has, the better it can lift all kinds of debris.
The size of the robot vacuum determines how well it can maneuver around all the objects in your home. For a wide cleaning path, get a robo vac that hovers around 12 to 13 inches in width. If you don’t want to manually vacuum under all your furniture, you need a robotic vacuum that is no taller than 4 inches.
Then, there is the shape of the robot to consider. Most robot vacuums are circular while some are D-shaped. If you’re a stickler for freshly cleaned baseboards, you’ll appreciate how close a D-shaped robot can get to walls.
No matter how messy your floors or how large your home, a powerful battery is important. This means you should go with a robo vac that contains a lithium-ion battery, which is the best money can buy in terms of performance.
A robot vacuum with a lithium-ion battery can produce unwavering suction even when its charge is low. It can also clean for 1 hour or more depending on the particular battery and vacuum model. Plus, it usually doesn’t take long to replenish a lithium battery, with 3 to 4 hours being the average recharge time.
Pet hair is a major allergen. Even if you don’t suffer from asthma or allergies, you don’t want the fur the vacuum has suctioned to escape back into the air. Therefore, you need a high-efficiency filter. This type of filter can capture 99 percent or more of allergens such as dust, dander and pollen.
You should also pay attention to the robot vacuum’s dust bin. ideally, the ideal bin should have a large capacity to reduce the number of times you must empty it. It should also be quick and easy to remove from the robot.
A damaged robo vac is of little use to you. The robo vac of your choice needs to have a full suite of sensors that detect drop-offs and obstacles. Some robo vacuums even have an on-board camera to optimize the vacuum’s navigation. Look for other features that help keep a robot vac in one piece, such as a soft bumper and a cover made of anti-scratch material like tempered glass.
The type of control setup you pick is a matter of personal preference. If convenience is your main concern, you can’t go wrong with a Wi-Fi-enabled robo vac. Those with Wi-Fi connectivity allow you to control all of the vacuum’s features via a smartphone app. Some manufacturers also make their robo vacuums compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. If you’d prefer a traditional control method, look for a robo vac that comes with a remote.
|Best of the Best!||Best For Tight Spaces||Budget Pick < $200)|
|Continuous||100 min||110 min|
|12.2 x 12.2 x 3.5 in||17.8 x 13.7 x 4.8 in||33 x 33 x 7.8 in|
|20 pounds||5.73 pounds||7.05 pounds|
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