If you don’t have the time, energy and desire to clean, but you want to live clean, a robot vacuum cleaner will come to the rescue. But how to choose the right model when there are so many offers on the market? In today’s article, we tell you what robot vacuum cleaners are and what to look for when choosing them.
What are robot vacuum cleaners
Dry cleaning robots
Designed to collect small debris, dust, animal hair. Powerful devices are able to clean the carpet (but they will not cope with a long pile). Such models are suitable for people with pets, because they perfectly pick up spilled food, scattered filler from the tray and wool.
Robot vacuum cleaners with wet cleaning function
These models are additionally equipped with a water tank and a module with a rag, in addition to collecting dust, they wipe the floor. But before cleaning carpets in such models, you will have to remove the water container.
To solve this problem, Xiaomi has released a Roborock S7 robot vacuum cleaner with VibraRise technology — before entering the carpet, the platform with a wet wipe rises by 5 mm. This model is equipped with an advanced silicone brush that cleans even dried-on stains and winds hair less. Previous models used ordinary fleece, which was difficult to clean.
Robot vacuum cleaners with wet cleaning are suitable for allergy sufferers, the elderly and inactive people, families with children and those who work hard and want to keep the house clean.
However, in terms of the quality of wet cleaning, these vacuum cleaners are inferior to mops or robotic polishers.
Floor polishing robots
These devices belong to a different category of home appliances. They have a different design, thanks to which the load on the rag is distributed evenly.
What to Consider When Choosing a Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Before buying a robot vacuum, make sure it can clean your apartment without recharging. Typically, the manufacturer indicates this information in the characteristics or description of the product. If it is not there, pay attention to the capacity of the battery. A 2500 mAh battery is enough to clean a 70-meter apartment. So, the ILIFE ROBOT A9S robot vacuum cleaner with a 2600 mAh battery is designed to clean rooms with an area of 80 m².
However, the cleaning area depends not only on the battery capacity, the navigation system also affects this indicator. Advanced models are equipped with a lidar (laser range finder) and/or a camera. Thanks to them, the vacuum cleaner builds a more accurate map, does not make unnecessary movements, cleans up faster, which means it will last foraboutmore area.
For example, Xiaomi Roborock S6 MaxV with lidar, camera and 5200 mAh battery is designed to clean rooms up to 250 m².
For robot vacuum cleaners, suction power is not as important as for classic models. Many manufacturers do not even indicate it in the specifications.
Robotic devices have lower suction power than conventional vacuum cleaners. You should not expect that the robot will perfectly clean the carpet (it is not designed at all for cleaning products with a long pile). To maintain cleanliness in the house, models with a capacity of up to 1500 Pa are suitable — they will carefully collect fine dirt on the floor. And more powerful options will clean a carpet with a low pile well and cope with strong pollution (for example, Xiaomi Dreame Bot D9 Max with adjustable suction power up to 4000 Pa).
The volume of the robot cleaner depends on the selected mode. At maximum power (for example, when cleaning a heavily polluted area), it will work quite loudly. The average level is in the range of 54–74 dB. In comparison, a subway train emits 64 dB of noise.
When starting the robot vacuum cleaner at night, consider the SanPiN standards — the noise should not exceed 45 dB. For example, Xiaomi Roborock S6 Pure cannot be turned on from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., since the noise during cleaning is approximately 60 dB (comparable to the atmosphere in an office where office equipment is working and colleagues are talking to each other).
Care and maintenance
During cleaning, the robot wraps hair and animal hair on the brush and wheels, dust settles on the sensors, which makes them less responsive to obstacles. Therefore, it is important to regularly clean the movable and swivel wheels, wipe the sensors, empty the dust container, wash the filter, and so on. When choosing a robot vacuum, make sure that all of these items are easy to reach and put back in.
In addition, the floor cloth, central brush and filter must be changed periodically. Make sure the consumables are on sale and affordable.
In many Xiaomi models, the package includes a special knife with a brush for cleaning the central brush and dust box, the filter status can be tracked in the application, and consumables are sold in sets. For example, a set of 12 pieces (5‑arm side brush x 2, 3‑arm side brush x 3, filter x 3, brush roller x 2, cloth x 2) for Xiaomi Roborock vacuum cleaner S6 / S5, E35 / E2 costs 2,110 rubles (at the time of writing).
The height of the robot is a key parameter if you want the robot vacuum cleaner to clean under the batteries, bed, wardrobe and other furniture. Before buying, measure the height of the niches where it should go.
Models without lidars are usually lower (for example, the height of KITFORT KT-518 is 8 cm).
Typically, robot vacuum cleaners have several modes of operation depending on the suction power (for example, quiet, balanced, turbo, Xiaomi Roborock S5 MAX maximum). In addition, modern models are equipped with features that simplify the cleaning process for the user, make it more convenient. Many have a companion smartphone app (like Mi Home or Roborock for Xiaomi devices) where you can:
— start the robot remotely (you must agree, it’s nice to come to an already cleaned apartment);
— create a cleaning schedule (set the days of the week, time, some models even allow you to select rooms, power mode and the degree of wetting of the rag);
— turn on zone cleaning (for example, to remove dirt at the entrance to the hallway);
— establish restricted areas (for example, in the nursery, where the LEGO constructor crumbled). This function has an analogue — a special magnetic tape that is glued to the floor, but it requires additional expenses and efforts.
Before buying a robot vacuum cleaner, check how high obstacles it can overcome (often this information is not indicated in the specifications). It is inconvenient if you have to carry the gadget from room to room every time because it cannot drive on the threshold or free the stuck robot from the paws of the clothes dryer.
In addition, models with lidar and / or a camera build a map of the apartment more accurately and better avoid obstacles that they cannot pass.
For example, 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner S7 remembers areas that are difficult to overcome and if it gets stuck in the same place 2 or more times, it prompts the user to set a “forbidden sector” there in the mobile application.
When choosing a robot vacuum cleaner for your home, pay attention to the following points:
— Control — push-button, using a remote control, through an application, voice (most often several options are available at once, choose the most convenient for you). For example, Xiaomi Dreame F9 can be turned on manually by pressing a button on the device itself, launched through the Mi Home application, in addition, it interacts with the voice assistant Alice.
— The volume of the dust collector — this parameter determines how often you have to free the gadget from debris during cleaning. If you have a large apartment and have pets, it is better to choose a model with a container of more than 0.3 liters. For example, Kitfort KT-589 has 0.6 liters.
— Price — it will narrow the circle of search. There are robot vacuum cleaners on sale up to 10,000 rubles (for example, Kyvol D2), but they are inferior to more expensive devices in terms of cleaning quality and functions, they often run out faster and work louder. Medium models with smart functions and various sensors for precise movement cost in the range of 17,000–30,000 rubles. The cost of the most advanced models is from 35,000 rubles. For example, Xiaomi Viomi S9 has a self-cleaning base. In every price segment you can find a decent option.