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10 Tips on How to Choose a Robot Vacuum

If you’re new to the robot vacuum world and you’re not sure where to start we thought we would share with you our 10 tips on how to choose a robot vacuum to give you a guideline of where to start.

You have to be aware that a robot vacuum can’t deep clean like some normal vacuums. They do run close to the floor and get up a lot of dirt without much intervention from you, and that is the benefit of these little wonders. You can remove a chore from your list and you only need to empty it.

If you find that vacuuming the floor is the last thing you have time to do, then a robot vacuum can be such a help. With the timing function you can set it to clean automatically, daily if you need to. All you have to do is to keep your floor tidy so it can get around without getting stuck on toys or trailing cables.

It won’t be able to get everywhere. It doesn’t do stairs and there will be areas in your rooms that don’t have enough space to let the robot into. In my house, it’s behind the tv stand and around some bits of furniture. I have a small house with a lot of furniture crammed in. It does clean well though and I just have to get my standard vacuum out occasionally to get those bits.

If you’re ready to jump in and buy one then check out these tips first so you know what you need to consider.

#1 Floor type

This might seem an obvious point but it can make a difference to what type of robot vacuum will be better for you. If you have the majority of your home covered in hardwood, laminate, vinyl or tile you will want the best vacuum for hardwood floors. You will find that quite a few of the cheaper versions of robot vacuum can deal with hard floors absolutely fine. If you have a mix of flooring or the majority is carpeted then you will be looking for the best robot vacuum for carpets. It will need good suction to get between the pile of the carpet and be able to move easily on that surface.

#2 The Price

Your budget will determine the next things you will need to check for, there is a wide price range in robot vacuums from under $200 to over $900. If you know the ceiling of what you’re prepared to pay you can rule out certain machines at the outset. If you are on a tight budget you need to look for a cheap robot vacuum that can work on your floor type.

#3 Mapping Function

What we mean by this is the way in which the robot vacuum cleans the floor. With a standard vacuum cleaner this isn’t an issue as you will be in control, moving around the room in the most efficient manner. The mapping function on a robot is how it moves around the room and if it does it efficiently. You will find on the cheaper models that the vacuums will clean in a random pattern. They will set off and then change direction when they encounter an object or a wall and criss cross around the room till it has cleaned it all. This isn’t the most efficient way to clean and probably not the most thorough but it will still clean the room well.

robot vacuum floor map

In the more recent and more expensive versions the programming is getting better and they clean in a more linear fashion. They usually have camera sensors or laser and it captures the size and shape of the room it’s cleaning. Any furniture is identified and a map is created for the vacuum to follow. This means they move efficiently without going over things twice unless you program it to and that means it can clean an area quicker without missing spots.

#4 Pets

If you have pets that shed a lot of hair then you need to make sure that you are getting a robot vacuum that can deal with pet hair and also deal with your floor type. A lot of the newer versions of robot vacuums are using more well designed brushes on the underneath. These can pick up pet hair easily but don’t get the hair tangling up around the brush stopping the robot from picking up dust and debris as well as it should. It could be made of bristles which you may have to de-hair occasionally or the newer rubber type which stay cleaner.

#5 Filtration

Whether you use a normal vacuum cleaner or a robot vacuum it can stir up dust and pollen that is sitting on the floor. If you have pets their hair and dander can get onto the floor too. So to make sure that it all gets into the dust bin on your machines a good filtration system is needed. Most vacuums have more than one filter situated in the dust bin but many of them now install hepa or high performance filters which can filter smaller particles and make the air and floor cleaner making it more beneficial for anyone with allergies.

#6 Controls

You need to know if you will want your robot vacuum to clean when you are out of the house. A lot of robot vacuums have a scheduling feature, but some don’t so you need to know if it can clean without you being there.

phone screen showing scheduling In some vacuums you get more input into the number of passes it makes in a room, whether it can run with a turbo boost, especially good if you have carpets, some have an edge-clean function so you can get it to concentrate on the edges. It’s worth checking what options there are unless you just want something basic that can run around while you’re there and get itself back to re-charge, which most vacuums can do.

#7 Running and Charging time

Why is this important, well if you have a large floor space to clean it is more important than if you only have a small home. The reason being if your vacuum can run for 1 hour and it can fully clean your floor in that time, then most cheaper vacuums should manage that. If it can’t clean your floor in that time and has to go back to be charged, that is a different matter. Robot vacuums without mapping can’t remember where they have cleaned and just return to the dock to recharge. If you send them to clean again to finish the room they could just start again from scratch and cover what has already been done.

A robot vacuum that can run longer can cover more space in its run time. If it has room mapping and the cleaning is done in a linear mode rather than random it will clean in a quicker time. This gives the vacuum the ability to have more chance of finishing the job in a larger cleaning space. These machines tend to have the capability of being able to resume where they finished too. Charging times tend to be 4 or 5 hours so that limits the amount of cycles it can go through in a day so you don’t want to run it twice unless you have to.

#8 Remote Control

A lot of robot vacuums use a remote control to move the robot or set the cleaning schedule. Some of the older models have the controls on the machine itself. If you prefer a remote control to make things easier for you then check it has that option. Some of the newer models don’t use a remote they control the machines via an app using a phone.

#9 Apps and Voice Control

More of the newer versions of robot vacuums are being controlled with your phone using an app which you will have to download. The benefit of this is that you can check the progress of cleaning while you’re away from home. You can get reminders for maintenance and for when the bin is full.

You can also set your cleaning schedule, start your machine manually or send it back to dock. As the software and programming have progressed, the ability to sync your phones and controls with voice control units are becoming standard. If that is something you would like to use, check if that option is available on your preferred robot vacuum. There is nothing more satisfying than telling your robot to go clean and it does without argument.

#10 Virtual Walls

Some people have items in their home which would be easy to knock over or disturb, like your pet’s food on the floor. To stop this from being an issue some robot vacuums come with a virtual wall or magnetic strips that can be used to stop the vacuum from coming close to the items. This is another optional item that could be very useful in your home. I like to set mine so that it doesn’t climb onto the hearth and get stuck under the wood burner. It’s easy to set up on your phone and you can stop your robot vacuum from going near areas it might get stuck.


Ok, now you have an idea of what features are available you will know how to choose a robot vacuum that’s suitable for your requirements and your budget. These gadgets used to be too expensive for most family homes but not any more. There are quite a few in the cheaper price bracket that can clean all floor types, have app and voice control and include scheduled cleaning like the Roomba 690. If you want all the bells and whistles available and price is no object check out the Roomba S9+ which includes automatic emptying.

Good luck in your search and let me know which robot vacuum you decided to buy.

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