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How Does a Self-Emptying Base on a Robot Vacuum Work?

Robot vacuum cleaners are great, but they’re not self-sufficient, at least in the way we first hoped. However, thanks to the relatively new self-emptying technology found in leading robot vacuum models users very rarely have to lay hands or even eyes on their robots to make certain they’re doing their jobs correctly.

While self-emptying bases aren’t all that new, many people have no clue what they are and how they work. Worry not, friends, for we’ve come up with a short guide that’ll cover every point you should know before purchasing or ignoring robot vacuum cleaners that come with self-emptying bases.

Self-Empty Base


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What Is a Self-Emptying Base?

A self-emptying base, also known as a Clean Base or Self-Emptying Bin, is a vacuum cleaner that vacuums your robot vacuum cleaner. Confused yet?

The base is actually the robot’s charging station. It comes with a built-in motor that sucks the debris out of a compatible robot’s dustbin, leaving the bin free of debris and your robot ready for subsequent vacuuming chores.

Such systems are available with the Roomba j7+, Shark AI, or even in low-cost models like the Neabot N1 Plus and the Uoni V980Plus.

Shark AV911S EZ Robot Vacuum with Self-Empty Base, Bagless, 30-Day Capacity, Row-by-Row Cleaning, Perfect for Pet Hair, Works with Alexa, Wi-Fi Connected, Gray
Shark AV911S EZ with Self-Empty Base

Self-emptying bases exist for one reason and one reason only: to make your life easier. Oftentimes, users find themselves emptying out the dustbins of their robots once or even multiple times a day, depending on how many furry four-legged friends you have around.

A self-emptying base eliminates the need to check up on your robot every day—instead, it collects all of the debris from multiple vacuuming sessions for later disposal. Self-emptying bases have a storage capacity of between one and two months’ worth of debris.

yeedi Vac Station Robot Vacuum and Mop
Yeedi Vac Station

Different Names for Self-Empty Bases

  • Shark: Self-Empty Base
  • iRobot Roomba: Automatic Dirt Disposal / Clean Base
  • Roborock: Auto-Empty Dock
  • Ecovacs: Self Empty Station

Roomba’s Automatic Dirt Disposal Explained in a Video

Lesser known brands

  • Arnagar: Self-Emptying Dustbin
  • Neabot: Self-Emptying Dustbin
  • Yeedi: Vac Station
  • Uoni: Self-Emptying Dustbin
  • Ultenic: Self Emptying Station
  • Proscenic: Intelligent Dust Collector
iRobot Roomba j7+
iRobot Roomba j7+ with Self-Empty Base

So, How It Work?

The way a self-emptying base works is simple enough. Whenever your robot vacuum returns to its charging dock—whether it needs to refuel before resuming work or it has completed its vacuuming task—the base’s motor will automatically kick it into high gear.

A series of hoses and pipes connect to the robot and its dustbin, suctioning out all of the collected debris in mere seconds. When the robot’s dustbin is completely void of hair, cereal, and whatever else it managed to picked up, the self-emptying base’s motor will automatically shut off.

iRobot Roomba i3+ (3550) Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba i3+ with Self-Empty Base

Now, when the self-emptying base has reached its max capacity, your docked robot won’t prompt the base’s motor to switch on. Instead, the robot will send an alert via its smartphone app, informing you that you need to empty out the base’s bin. It’s as simple as that!

Are Self-Emptying Bases Worth the Added Cost?

We’ll be blunt with you. Self-emptying bases sometimes cost half or even as much as the cost of the actual robot vacuum unit.

Coredy L900X with Self-Empty Base

However, the only thing you need to ask yourself is this: do you really want to spend your precious downtime tending to your robot, which you initially purchased to make your life easier?

If so, by all means, the Roomba j7 will offer all of the amazing features the iRobot Roomba j7+ does, minus the convenience of semi-self-sufficiency.

However, if you’re like us and become annoyed when your robot vacuum constantly cries out that its dustbin is full, do your sanity a favor and find a robot vacuum that comes with a self-emptying base.

Shark IQ AV1002AE with Self-Empty Base

Recommended Robot Vacuums

Affordable Option The iRobot Roomba 694 is a basic robot vacuum. It feels well-built, offers fantastic battery performance, and can adjust its suction power and brushroll height automatically depending on the surface that it's on.

Best of the Best The Roborock S7+ can vacuum and mop, and does an excellent job at both. It's also the company's most powerful vacuum yet, with 2,500Pa of suction.

Popular Option The Shark AV911S EZ is one of the least expensive robot vacuum with self-empty base. The bagless, self-emptying base holds up to 30 days of dirt and debris.

Check Latest Price >



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About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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