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How to choose the best robot vacuum cleaner

Vacuum Cleaner Robots
© NextPit

Choosing a robot vacuum cleaner is not easy, after all, there are so many brands and specifics that it is difficult to even understand where to start. Therefore, we decided to create an FAQ at NextPit to offer tips and information on how to choose the best robot vacuum cleaner for your home or office.

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First, I would like to explain that although we have not tested many robot vacuum cleaner models, we have based our list of suggestions on the popularity of the models in e-tailers and the tips in this article. So if you are interested in any of the models listed in the comparison table below, before buying the robot vacuum cleaner, check the full review of the chosen device on specialized websites.

  Ultra Premium Premium Midrange option 1 Midrange option 2 Budget option 1 Budget option 2 Vacuum with mop For pet hair For poop-avoiding
Product Samsung Jet Bot AI+ Robot iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO Roborock S7 Roborock S4 Max iRobot Roomba 694 Eufy RoboVac 11S Ecovacs Deebot T8 AIVI Robot Bissell SpinWave Robot iRobot Roomba J7 Plus
Picture Samsung Jet Bot AI plus robot vacuum iRobot Roomba i3 plus robot vacuum Roborock S7 robot vacuum Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum irobot roomba 694 robot vacuum Eufy robovac 11s robot vacuum Ecovacs deebot T8 AIVI robot vacuum Bissell Spinwave robot vacuum irobot roomba J7 Plus robot vacuum
Max. Suction power
  • 30W
  • Not informed
  • 2,500 Pa
  • 2,000 Pa
  • 1,670 Pa
  • 1,300 Pa
  • 1,500 Pa
  • 1,500 Pa
  • Not informed
Dust container capacity
  • 200 ml
  • 2.5L (Station)
  • 500 ml
  • 640 ml
  • 460 ml
  • 380 ml
  • 600 ml
  • 420 ml
  • 380 ml
  • 400 ml
Brush
  • One (High-Efficiency Brush)
  • Two rubber
  • One rubber
  • One rubber
  • One rubber
  • Two rubber
  • Two rubber
  • Two rubber
  • One rubber
Loudness (manufacturer's specification)
  • Not informed
  • 72 dB
  • 67 dB
  • Not informed
  • Not informed
  • 55 dB
  • 67 dB
  • Not informed
  • 68 dB
Overall height (aka "Space under the sofa")
  • ~12 cm
  • ~9 cm
  • ~10 cm
  • ~9 cm
  • ~9 cm
  • ~7 cm
  • ~9 cm
  • ~14 cm
  • ~9 cm
Cleaning levels
  • -
  • 3
  • 4
  • -
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 1
Mapping
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes
Battery runtime
  • 90 minutes
  • 75 minutes
  • 180 minutes
  • 180 minutes
  • 90 minutes
  • 100 minutes
  • 200 minutes
  • 100 minutes
  • 75 minutes
Smart Integration
  • Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / Bixby Compatible
  • Amazon Alexa / Google Home / Siri / IFTTT
  • Amazon Alexa / Google Home / Siri
  • Amazon Alexa / Google Home
  • Amazon Alexa / Google Home / iRobot app
  • No smart integration
  • Google Home / Amazon Alexa / Siri / IFTTT
  • No smart integration
  • Amazon Alexa / Google Home / Siri / IFTTT
Self-emptying feature
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No
  • No
  • No
  • No
  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes
Price
  • $1,299.00
  • $550
  • $649.99
  • $379.99
  • $242.00
  • $199.99
  • $459.99
  • $299.99
  • $799.00
Offers*

Buy

Buy

Buy

Buy

Buy

Buy

Buy

Buy

Buy

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What to look for in a robot vacuum cleaner

Buying a vacuum cleaner with automation functions should be well thought out. The reason for this is that you can end up bringing home a device that may demand much more attention than desired. Worse than that, you may find yourself with a device that does not connect to Wi-Fi or does not effectively clean carpets, for example. That is why I have separated here the main features to look for in a robot vacuum cleaner when buying one.

1. Compatibility

Most smart vacuum cleaners today offer support for both Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems through a dedicated app. In addition, they work via voice commands in conjunction with smart assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa on Google Nest Home and Amazon Echo devices respectively.

Manufacturers like Roborock and Ecovacs also offer support for Siri Shortcuts, allowing you to connect the robot vacuum cleaner with the Siri voice assistant on Apple's HomePod speakers.

And if you are a fan of routine-creating services such as IFTTT, you should know that most of the brands available on the market work in conjunction with this powerful app for Android and iOS.

2. Internet connection

Depending on the model of the robot vacuum cleaner, its internet connection may contain prerequisites that, at the end of the day, will be important for the best experience with the product. Support for 2.4 or 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks is the most well-known, however, certain brands may also require a maximum number of characters in the network login data to perform Wi-Fi pairing.

This was the case with the Lefant F1 model we recently tested, where there is a limit regarding the number of characters in both the SSID and the Wi-Fi password to work. In this case, they must be less than ten characters.

3. Mapping

The system of mapping the area of the house is often one of the most relevant functions of this type of device, as it is through navigation that a robot vacuum cleaner automates the cleaning of each room. Some models use LiDAR sensors built into the device to perform Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (or SLAM).

Also identified as synchronized localization and mapping, SLAM is a mapping technology that also keeps track of the device's location within the mapped area. With this, the robot knows where it has to go. If you purchase extra charging bases, some models thus allow you to map multiple floors.

4. Suction

Robot vacuum cleaners often have up to three suction levels: light, medium, and maximum. However, premium models tend to offer up to four suction levels. The difference here is of course, in the dust suction power, but it can also be in the automatic change of suction level when encountering carpets, for example.

So, when it comes to suction power, some brands present it as Watts and others in Pascal (Pa). The two units are not directly comparable but if you look for suction power, most units today can be found between 2,000 and 2,500 Pa.

In addition, the suction power is directly linked to the price of a robot vacuum cleaner. Another point to consider is that the higher the suction level, the louder the noise of the robot vacuum cleaner.

5. Overcomes obstacles

Through the use of sensors, vacuums understand what objects appear in front of them. Depending on the settings, you will have devices that avoid tables, chair feet, and toys, up to the most advanced ones that understand what socks, cables, bugs, and other objects are in front of them. The more advanced devices understand socks, cables, pets, and even recognize possible feces from pets that have forgotten their area box.

Leaving aside the basic obstacles, given the nature of these automated appliances no robot vacuum cleaner was built to go up and down stairs. However, it must be said that some models do get around obstacles up to 1 cm high. However, over time this going up and down can cause damage to the sensors and decrease the robot vacuum cleaner's usability.

Finally, with regard to carpet recognition, more affordable and intermediate vacuum cleaners can often have difficulty cleaning these surfaces, as they have lower suction power. This can be clearly seen in the test of the $300 or so Yeedi 2 Hybrid conducted here on the channel. Therefore, for the specific use of robot vacuum cleaners on carpets, I recommend using traditional devices or really premium models.

Robot Vacuums vs. Canister vs. Upright Vacuums: What are the differences?

The big difference between a robot vacuum and the other options available on the market is the fact that the former performs the cleaning itself, based on a navigation map and bypassing possible obstacles. However, upright vacuums tend to clean carpets more thoroughly, while canister vacuums offer more flexibility and a wider cleaning range.

Also, given the nature of upright and canister vacuums, the chances of accidentally vacuuming socks and other objects are less, since one person is in charge of the action. Also the risk of running over a lazy pet is reduced.

However, in addition to being time-consuming to perform the task, better-performing conventional models tend to be heavier and sometimes make more noise - especially the Upright model. You also have to consider that canister-type purifiers require more space because they are bulky.

Handheld vacuum cleaners are also great options for use in conjunction with robot vacuum cleaners, since they can clean in places where robots cannot usually reach, such as the corners of the room, baseboards, and the ceiling. You can also use this type of device to clean furniture such as sofas and even the inside of cars.

Finally, there is still a differentiation within the universe of robot vacuum cleaners, since we have models that not only suck up dust but also wipe. The so-called vacuum combo robots, these models offer a water reservoir and a mop or disposable floor cloths to vacuum and wipe at the same time.

How do robot vacuums work and how to use them?

Robot vacuum cleaners are built to perform automatic house cleaning. Therefore, these devices can be activated manually, or on-demand through specific programming, and can perform their tasks even when you are not at home.

All models offer a charging dock, so you don't have to worry about charging them. In addition, top-of-the-line models have docking stations that are even capable of self-cleaning, emptying the dust container from time to time.

NextPit Lefant F1 8
The charging dock allows your robot vacuum cleaner to be always charged and ready for use / © NextPit

Regarding efficiency, there are a few factors to consider in this area: type of floors, amount of obstacles, charging cables, toys, shoes, and dropped clothing can stop the robots during the cleaning process. The cleaner the space, the more effective the cleaning will be. Also, as mentioned earlier, some models of robot vacuums clean carpets, tiles, wood floors, and different types of floors better than others.

How do you clean a robot vac?

As a robot vac user, I can assure you: these devices make life too easy, but you will have to do your part within that partnership. Emptying the dustbin is the most basic function of caring for a robot vacuum cleaner. If the device offers a water reservoir for wiping the floor, you will have to rinse it every time the function is activated, as well as change the cloth every time the process starts and ends.

Of course, nowadays some brands offer disposable cloths for purchase, however, this is not a really sustainable option.

In addition, you may have to remove parts of the inner box for a deeper cleaning, especially if you have pets at home, such as dogs and cats. The brushes may also require special attention from time to time, as well as cleaning the drop sensor.

NextPit Yeedi Vacuum Robot 9
Cleaning a robot vacuum requires removing more than just the dustbin and the brushes. Removing the different modules for cleaning helps to keep the device longer / © NextPit

However, it is clear that by investing in more expensive products, features like self-cleaning are included. Now, if investing more than $1000 in a robot vac is out of the question, then paying attention to the size of the dustbin will be an important factor. So the bigger the dustbin, the less often you will have to empty it.

What about self-emptying and/or self-cleaning robots?

Yes, it is already possible to find robots with an automated cleaning function. And the latest invention in this area is the self-cleaning docks, which are not only capable of emptying the dust bin, but also of filling the water tank and even washing the floor and other parts of the robot vac.

To do this, companies like Ecovacs use the robot's charging base as a stand-alone cleaning station, so you don't have to remove the dirt from the robot for weeks. In the video below we see the Ecovacs cleaning station in action:

How long do robot vacuums last?

Honestly, there are many variables that allow you to use your robot vacuum cleaner longer or shorter, but you can pick out a few factors that can make a difference in the long run. Unlike ordinary vacuum cleaners, models that automate house cleaning are modular and offer a certain flexibility when it comes to changing parts.

However, we need to consider that if a sensor is damaged, you may have to replace the entire device. The good news is that most companies offer a six to twelve-month warranty. This may include both parts and labor.

However, this robot vacuuming time will directly depend on the maintenance of these devices, so keep in mind that your attention will be required more frequently than that demanded by traditional vacuum cleaners.

NextPit Lefant F1 4
Despite automating the cleaning of the house, robot vacuums demand your attention when it comes to dustbin cleaning / © NextPit

Are robot vacuums worth it?

Robot vacuums are a fairly simple option for automating house cleaning. Extremely modular, it is possible to maintain these devices for a long time depending on the care and maintenance devoted to such devices. However, not all models offer the same level of cleanliness and efficiency.

Considering that the price of these robotic vacuum cleaners ranges from $200 to over $1000, one must be aware that the quality of the service is directly linked to the amount invested. In addition, specific models may be necessary if your home has a lot of carpets or you have pets.

Finally, a robot vacuum cleaner today can hardly suffice for the complete cleaning of the floor. Therefore, I recommend the purchase of a smaller model or canister to remove dust from the corners of the house, the baseboards, the ceiling, and, of course, the places where the vacuum cleaner cannot reach, such as behind large pieces of furniture.

Finally, with the busy day-to-day routine, many people will benefit from automating household chores. And one way to gain more time for other activities is to purchase products such as robot vacuum cleaners. But remember: these products do not replace 100% of the human touch in cleaning... yet!

So, do you already have a robot vacuum cleaner? Would you recommend buying the model with the mopping function? Which is your favorite brand? Share your opinion on the topic in the comments below.

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
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2 comments

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  • storm 6 months ago Link to comment

    You really need to include privacy and security section for iot device content.


    • Camila Rinaldi
      • Admin
      • Staff
      5 months ago Link to comment

      It will be a nice addition, thanks!