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Robot Vacuum Cleaners

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Home Page ~ The myths & the facts
the myths and the facts


You have probably heard different or even contradictory things about robot vacuum cleaners. Manufacturers, sales websites, dealers, customers, tech savvy people, and others each bring their own experience and biases to the table. This might make things confusing for somebody who is looking to get more accurate information about robotic vacuums. In this page we have explained some of the myths and facts of automatic cleaners while trying to be as unbiased and informative as possible.


Robot vacuum cleaners can forever replace your regular vacuum cleaners


The truth is: NO! at least not yet. There are many different models and brands of robotic cleaners in the market today. But as of yet, none of them has the capability to forever rid you of the hassle of vacuuming. That being said, many of the higher-end brands do a pretty good job of cleaning and can significantly reduce the frequency you need to clean your floors. This makes robot vacuum cleaners a very appealing product for people who prefer to vacuum as little as possible. One good advantage of robotic vacuums is that they keep your house or office clean on a daily basis. So even if you don't decrease your vacuuming frequency (which is unlikely), you will still maintain a much cleaner house or office during the gap between each vacuuming.



Robotic floor cleaners are just toys


This is at best a biased judgment. While there are some cheaper robots in the market that don’t really do much, many robotic cleaners are truly designed to get their job done at a satisfactory level. We say “satisfactory” because the truth is that none of the current models that we know of really does what it claims to do. Nevertheless, robot cleaners do make a difference and in case of more advanced models, the difference is significant. Many consumers find life without their robot vacuum cleaners impossible after they use them for a while. Let's face it: who will go back to vacuuming manually once a robot does it even if it doesn't do a perfect job of it?!



The robot will automatically find its docking station for charge-up


First of all NOT all robotic vacuum cleaners have this capacity. However, many advanced vacuum robots come with the feature of self-charging, meaning that the robot can automatically find its charging station and go there to charge up when its battery runs out. While many vendors boast this convenient feature, the truth is that none of the existing models is capable of always finding its station. What most sellers hide from you is that your robot vacuum cleaner, as intelligent as it is, can still be pretty dumb. For smarter ones you can count on your machine to find its station between 30%-75% of the time, which is still not too bad if you think about it. This percentage doesn’t only depend on your robot’s model however; it also depends in the environment in which it is used. For example, if have a maze-like apartment with multiple rooms and a bunch of furniture and stuff blocking the path, don’t expect your robot to maneuver around everything for 50 feet and get itself back to the charging station! But if you are going to use your robot to vacuum a couple of rooms without a lot of stuff lying on the floor, you are probably fine.


Robotic cleaners are very quiet


This is both true and false. Compared to a regular vacuum cleaner, this is definitely true. However, most people will probably be unable to fall sleep in the same room where their automatic cleaner is working. Aside from the noise of the machine, most robots keep bumping into the walls and furniture regularly and create an annoying collision sound. While more advanced models such as Neato or Bobsweep use their laser and infrared respectively to avoid bumping into things, they are not 100% successful. Almost all Roomba models use collision sensors, which makes them incapable of detecting an object unless they bump into it. Taking all this into account, robot vacuum cleaners are still more silent that a regular vacuum or your laundry machine.


All I need to do is to hit a button


Not always; your robot can get stuck at times and you will have to untangle it and set it back on. This is more frequent with less advanced models, so don’t expect to bring home a genius robot for $200. Again, how often your robot gets stuck depends on how many obstacles you place in front of it and how smart your robot is. Leaving loose items on the floor (like cords, socks, large napkin, etc) is not a good idea if you have a robotic vacuum cleaner. Your robot can also get stuck in a loop and keep going in circles, not knowing how to free itself. This is because all robots follow some kind of algorithm that might not always work with the lay out of your furniture. However, the good news is that you will soon notice whether the furniture in your office or home creates a specific maze for your robot. Then, you can usually fix the problem with a very slight adjustment in the position (and without the need for the relocation) of your furniture.


The robot will make the floors spotless


Short answer: clean yes; spotless no. Robot vacuum cleaners are definitely useful and convenient but if you are a clean freak who mops and wipes every day, you might not be 100% satisfied with your robotic cleaner. Although the degree of efficiency depends on how advanced your machine is and what features it includes (i.e. sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, UV light, HEPA filter, etc.), you might still have to vacuum or mop once a week if you want shiny floors. For some people, what their robot does is quite sufficient while for others it might only decrease the frequency they need to do the hard work themselves. Almost all robots miss a few spots here and there, so if you are not OK with that, chances are you won't be satisfied with your robot. It is important to be aware of the marketing techniques that sellers use with respect to the area that the robot can "cover". Covering and cleaning are two different things! The truth is that you can use most robots in places of any size with any number of rooms, the robot won't stop working to complain that the area is too big. Roomba for example advertises that it can cover up to four rooms in one full charge; this is nothing but a feel-good statistic. This really depends on the size of the rooms and what degree of cleaning you expect. Furthermore, neither Roomba nor any other robot knows to "complete" one room before moving on to the next so it might spend more time in one room and less in another. In general, the smaller the area and the fewer the number of rooms, the better the cleaning result, but everything you read about the "number of rooms" a robot can cover is useless advertising technique.


My robot vacuum can clean hard-to-reach areas


This is true in many ways and is an awesome advantage. The fact is that most robots, due to their small size, can clean the parts of the room you usually can’t reach, like under the beds, under the cabinets, under the TV set, etc. This can become really handy. However, if your robot gets stuck, (let’s say under a king bed that is next to the wall), you will have some serious issue to deal with. This is when robots with remote control become really handy as you can guide your robot out of the trap without having to physically reach it.