If keeping a neat and tidy home is one of your resolutions for 2019 but the reality of the time and effort it actually takes to keep your house clean has set in, you may want to consider investing in a robot vacuum. These smart machines are a great way to streamline your cleaning routine. They offer convenience with minimal effort, so you can get back to the things you really love, like watching Marie Kondo tidy up other people’s homes.
Robot vacuums are fully operational on their own, and you can even set them on a schedule for a truly hands-off cleaning experience. These sleek machines use infrared cameras to take photos of your room to learn exactly where to navigate and suck up the dirt.
If that’s not Jetsons enough for you, some of the latest models offer Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can program them from your smartphone or tablet — even when you’re not home.
To help you navigate the cluttered world of robot vacs, we consulted some experts in the field to share their advice on what to look for when shopping for a robot vacuum and which models are their favorites.
Will a robot vacuum replace a traditional vacuum?
Robot vacuums are ideal for daily maintenance, but won’t completely replace a traditional vacuum for weekly or monthly deep-cleans. “They’re never going to match the performance of a professional upright like those from Shark or Dyson. In such a compact size, it’s impossible to pack in the technology for the robot and enough parts to create a suction on par with a traditional upright,” Jack Prenter, founder of the home cleaning company Chore Bliss in Toronto, Canada, tells SheKnows.
Are there any drawbacks to using a robot vacuum?
The biggest downside comes down to tricky cleaning areas, such as stairs or spot-cleaning jobs for which you would use a hose attachment. Robot vacuums also sometimes get stuck on cords, carpet edges or under the couch. “In some ways, they are better than a traditional vacuum because they are able to get into tougher spaces and under furniture,” Derek Hales, editor-in-chief of the product review site Modern Castle, tells SheKnows. Hales and his team have reviewed and tested virtually every major robot vacuum cleaner on the market.
What are some important features to look for?
Make sure the machine you’re buying has access to affordable replacement parts, like brushes, filters and batteries, advises Hales. “Some robots look like a good deal (especially Chinese robot vacuums), but when you factor in the cost of replacement parts, they quickly spiral into overly expensive and difficult-to-maintain.”
Decide if you want smartphone control and smart home integration — many less expensive models don’t allow you to control them through a smartphone.
“Long run times, recharge and resume — a feature a handful of high-end robots have — are great, especially if you have a larger or more complex floor plan,” Hales says.
So, which one should you buy?
“The Eufy [$224 at Eufy] is a great value for the price tag while the premium iRobot Roomba models [starting at $299.99 at iRobot] have superior tracking and are perfect for larger homes and even professional use,” says Prenter.
Hales likes the Roomba 690 ($247 at Amazon) and says the performance rivals machines that are twice as expensive.
Looking for something super-high-tech? The Roomba i7+ ($1,099 at iRobot), the Rolls Royce of robo vacs, is breaking ground as the first robot vacuum to offer a self-emptying dust bin that empties into the charging dock and can hold up to 30 loads.
For urban apartment dwellers, the iRobot Roomba 675 ($229 at Amazon) is ideal for small spaces, and the Roomba e5 ($399 at iRobot) does a great job of picking up small debris. If you’re looking something under $200, the Roborock C10 ($169 at Amazon) is another good choice for smaller square-footage homeowners looking to dip their toes into the robo vac waters, Hales says.
When we took price and performance into consideration, our overall favorite robotic vacuum is without a doubt the ECOVACS Deebot Ozmo 930 series.
ECOVACS Deebot Ozmo, $549 at Amazon
It’s a hefty investment but still considerably less than the pricey Roomba and cleans just about as well. We love that you can connect it to Alexa and control it through the Amazon Echo.
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