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What Features to Look For in Robot Vacuum Cleaners?

Gone are the days when keeping your floors clean required vast amounts of time and energy. In the past, vacuuming required heavy, bulky machinery and manual labor, all of which combined to create a task that no one could enjoy. Advances in technology and connectivity, however, have made it easier than ever to complete many tasks, including keeping the floors within your living spaces spotless.

What Features to Look For in Robot Vacuum Cleaners

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Robotic vacuum cleaners are revolutionary items that have provided us with a first look into what a smart home of the future could be capable of. Powerful, compact, and intuitive, they automatically remove dust and debris without any physical activity on the part of the homeowner.

After plenty of years and amazing advancements, these modern devices can now be controlled and monitored wirelessly, allowing you to clean your home without even having to be home.

Before purchasing a robot vacuum cleaner, it is important not only to understand how they operate but also to learn more about their various features. This allows consumers to make more educated choices when deciding which robotic cleaning device is the right fit for their household.

Components of a Robotic Vacuum

Robotic vacuums are intuitive devices that are designed to provide floors with a thorough and comprehensive clean. Typically, automatic vacuums are flat, low profile devices that are specially designed to maneuver under furniture and other hard-to-reach places that traditional vacuums are not able to access. While some are round in shape, others have a special flat side that allows them to clean all the way to the edge of the carpeting.

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Despite being small in stature, these vacuums are still big on cleaning power. Designed to take on both carpeted and hard flooring surfaces, they come equipped with multiple cleaning brushes and multi-stage cleaning systems that loosen set-in dirt and debris so that it can be effectively captured by the device’s powerful suction. Some models include special brushes that are designed specifically for sweeping up pet hair without getting it caught or tangled in the bristles. After the dust, dirt, and other debris has been captured; it is sent to a dustbin, where it remains until the device has been manually emptied by the homeowner.

Scheduled Cleanings

One of the best parts about having a robot vacuum is the ability to set scheduled cleaning times. This allows you to completely customize when your home is cleaned. A daily schedule can be easily set via the included app, allowing you to change the settings at any time.

If you would prefer that the vacuum is running only when you are at work, outside of the house, or asleep, you can easily schedule in a daily cleaning time so that your floors are clean and fresh when you return home or wake up each day.

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WiFi App Control

Nearly every modern robotic vacuum also comes complete with a free, included app that can be easily accessed via your mobile phone, tablet, or another smart device. This allows you the ability to monitor and take control of your vacuum’s overall functioning, even when you are away from home.

While every brand’s app functions in a slightly different manner, there are certain components that they all include. From your Android or iOS smartphone, you can determine where your robotic vacuum has gone, set a schedule, assign virtual boundaries, or power it on, all with the press of a button. Some robot vacuums are also compatible with a separately sold Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device, allowing you to control its functioning with merely the sound of your voice. For the first time ever, you can clean your floors without even having to lift a finger.

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Obstacle Avoidance

Robot vacuum cleaners include a host of internal sensors that ensure the device never collides with furniture, people, or pets within your home. Often, they feature a full suite of sensors that allow them to map your home and keep up with changing environments.

This adaptive response feature is key when it comes to providing your home with a comprehensive clean. In the past, robotic vacuums would frequently run into clutter or get stuck in certain areas. Unique obstacle avoidance features, however, ensure that they navigate your unique space in a smart way, and never run into problems or obstacles along the way.

Special sensors also can detect drop off points. This allows you to use your robot vacuum on a second story space without having to constantly monitor its movements. Because it can detect where the floor ends and where the stairs start, you never have to worry about your device becoming damaged from toppling down a staircase. Internal sensors can detect where the floor ends and adjust the device’s movements accordingly.

HEPA Filter

While also being great cleaning devices, robotic vacuums also include special filters that are designed to maintain the quality of your air during cleaning. The presence of a high-efficiency HEPA filter ensures that dangerous bacteria and allergens are captured rather than being released back into the air. These filters promise to capture more than 99% of all pollens, particles, and debris that are as small as 10 microns in size.

These filters typically last for anywhere from 1-week to 2-months, depending on how frequently you use your robotic cleaning device. Replacement filters can be purchased in convenient multi-packs and can be easily replaced on your device. Replacing the filter at regular intervals is an important step of having a robotic vacuum that consistently works to the best of its abilities.

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Another great feature of robot vacuum cleaners is that you never have to worry about them running out of battery power. Most automatic cleaning devices have a battery life of anywhere from 60 – 120 minutes, allowing it to provide your home with an impressive, continuous clean that can cover multiple rooms or areas in one pass.

Nearly every robotic vacuum cleaner also comes complete with a charging station, which serves as the “home base” for your cleaning device. This charging station plugs into your wall and serves as the place that your automatic vacuum cleaner stars from and returns to. Just like the name suggests, this charging station recharges the battery of your vacuum cleaner until it is back to 100% battery life.

When the cleaning device reaches a low level of battery power, it automatically returns to the location of the charging device. Once it reaches a full battery life, it then resumes cleaning from exactly where it left off. Older units did not include this feature, requiring you to search for your unit when it ran out of batteries and manually plug it back in to recharge. Modern, advanced robotic cleaning devices, however, nearly all include this self-recharging feature as standard and require minimal oversight when in use.

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Virtual Walls

The most advanced robotic cleaning devices also allow you to create invisible boundaries. Through the use of an included app, these boundaries create “virtual walls” within your home that the robotic vacuum cannot cross. This allows you to completely customize and control exactly where your cleaning device is able to go.

This incredibly convenient feature ensures that you never have to worry about a robot vacuum entering an off-limits space. You have the ability to section off bedrooms so that the vacuum focuses on main living spaces only. Or, you can mark off areas that contain potentially messy items, like your pet’s water or food bowls. It also keeps the robotic device away from expensive, breakable, or delicate items.

The best part about these virtual boundaries is that they are completely customizable. You can turn them on or off whenever you need to, giving your home a custom clean every time. While not an included feature on every brand of robotic vacuum, this is a great option if you are looking to section off areas of your home.

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While every brand and system of a robotic vacuum is different, there are certain functions that should be present on every device. Intelligent features like special sensors, virtual boundaries, and cleaning schedules allow you to truly create a custom clean within your home.

Similarly, the ability for your vacuum to wirelessly connect to an included app is an important function that will make cleaning your floors easier than ever. With that said, you should also choose a vacuum that has a proven cleaning and suction power, as that is what will truly provide you with spotless floors and minimal effort.

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.

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If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!

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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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