With a robot vacuum, you can kick your feet up and relax while it patrols your floors and picks up after you. However, one thing many people overlook when discussing robot vacuums is their filter. You’re probably aware of how upright and canister vacuum cleaners use HEPA filters, so is it a deal-breaker if your robot vacuum doesn’t come with one?
What Is a HEPA Filter?
Many of you might not know what a HEPA filter is, but don’t worry—we’ll settle any misconception you might have.
A HEPA filter, or a high-efficiency particular air [filter], is a type of filter that’s designed to capture ultra-fine particles, preventing them from going airborne. HEPA filters can trap up to 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size, which is much smaller fine dust, sawdust, dust mites, pollen, dander, and other common allergens.
To put this in perspective, a standard foam filter typically has an efficiency rating of around 99% for particles sized 10 microns and up.
Do Robot Vacuums Come with a HEPA Filter?
Not really. For the most part, you won’t come across a robot vacuum that comes with a HEPA filter mainly since HEPA filters can actually inhibit airflow. Robots typically vacuum at a rate of 2500 Pa, which might not be enough to optimally push air through the fine-mesh filter.
We know what you’re thinking—“What about Roombas?” Well, the fact of the matter is that even high-end Roombas don’t’ come with a True HEPA Filter. However, what you will find is a HEPA-style or HEPA-grade filter.
HEPA-Style/HEPA-Grade Filters ≠ True HEPA Filter
While examining different robot vacuums, you might come across certain models that have HEPA-style or HEPA-grade filters. In no way are these filters anywhere near as efficient as True HEPA Filters.
We’ve inspected HEPA-style and HEPA-grade filters closely, and what we’ve found is that they’re pretty much glorified standard foam filters. These terms are simply marketing ploys that convince unknowing users into spending more on inferior filters.
Do Self-Cleaning Bases Come with HEPA Filters?
The greatest feature known to robot-vacuum-kind is a self-emptying base. In a nutshell, a self-emptying base is a vacuum cleaner for your vacuum robot. It automatically suctions debris out of the robot’s dirt tank, leaving it completely empty and ready for subsequent vacuuming sessions.
Since they’re technically vacuum cleaners, they come with a filter to prevent debris from leaking out and contaminating your floors. However, the filter for a self-emptying base, at least as of right now, is a high-efficiency filter with a 99% efficiency rating—similar to that of a standard robot vacuum filter.
Do I Absolutely Need a HEPA Filter in My Robot Vacuum?
So, with everything in mind, do you need a robot that has a HEPA filter? Not at all. The fact of the matter is that robot vacuums with HEPA filters have yet to hit the market. And on a practical level, their low-level suction, at least by upright vacuum standards, doesn’t make them compatible with HEPA filters.
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