Robot vacuum cleaner buying guide
By Midori Kusano 2018-05-18 22311 2
1. What’s a robot vacuum?
A robot vacuum, also briefly called a robovac, is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner that has intelligent programming and a vacuum cleaning system to clean the houses automatically. As most robotic vacuums supposed to do, they can work autonomously without human operation, or we can schedule it to clean every day via APP / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth remote control when we’re working away from home.
2. Why should we buy a robot vacuum?
- Save labour! No more bending for hand-held vacuum cleaning
As smart as a robot, the robot vac can help us to clean all the dirt, dust, debris, hairs produced in daily urban life. We no longer have our backbone bent to clean with a vacuum cleaner. It is easy to be used by even kids and elders, just press a push button and the robot goes to work on its own.
- Save time! Free our hands from household chores
With ultimate built-in motor, the robot can do the job efficiently, we do not have to control itself manually. It means that, we can leave the robot cleaning alone while we are out of home and do what we need to do.
- Clean thoroughly! Easy get into hard-to-reach areas
It’s very troublesome for us to clean the hard-to-reach ares under the furniture with common sweepers and vacuum cleaners, and a robot vac designed in a slim body can easily go to clean the areas beneath the beds, cabinets, sofas, etc..
3. How does it work?
When it comes to the robovac cleaning, we have to have a glance at its structure. Let’s take Xiao Mi Robot Vacuum as an example:
There are three stages of cleaning for most robot vacuums and four stages for specific mopping vacuums. The robot vacuum works in following stages at the same time ( except for the wet mop ).
Stage 1: the dual sweeping side brushes work together to catch dirt, dust, hair, and debris from corners and edges to the center main brush.
Stage 2: the main roller brush grab pet’s hair and debris with its bristles, and remove the dirt, dust, stains with its rubber roller from your floors.
Stage 3: the powerful motor suctions dirt into the filtered dustbin through the air inlet while the HEPA filter removes the tiny dust particles, mites, and allergens from the air.
Stage 4: the water tank dispenses liquid to the microfiber cloth continually, and the robovac uses a damp cloth to mop your floor back-and-forth, easily removing the stubborn dirt, smudges and grime from the floors.
4. What features matter most for robot vacuums?
(1) Navigation algorithms
Compared with traditional semi-random robotic vacuum, the automatic robot vacuums use the advanced navigation technology to map the room into specific cleaning zones, improving the cleaning efficiency.
Guided by the intelligent navigation algorithm, the robot navigates and moves easily around obstacles, changing its route to clean the rooms more thoroughly. You can leave the robot alone to do the job, no need waiting to change into specific modes as the robot has an GPS memory about where have been cleaned or not.
Therefore, even the robot vacuums pause in their mapped cleaning path when they need to recharge, the robot vac will return to the place it left off to continue cleaning after fully recharging from the docking station.
(2) Scheduling cleaning
That the robot vacuums can clean automatically get us out from the household chores, but when and where would the robot vacuum clean? If we still have to get it work with remote controller or a manual push button, it may not be such an intelligent assistant that helps us a lot.
With a preset scheduling function, We can set when the robot starts a cleaning job before we leave for office, so that we can make sure it’s the most convenient cleaning time for our family and pets, it also means the robot can clean autonomously without WiFi connection while we are out of the house.
(3) WiFi App control
A WiFi-enabled robot vacuum can bring more convenience to us. Just install a specific app on our compatible mobile device, we can easily use our smart phone or tablet as a remote control to command the robot. Basically, we can schedule, start, pause, stop, capture photos (with built-in camera) and even receive notifications from the robot vacuum when we are far away from home. Whatever, we can direct the robot to clean the rooms or any exact spot we want it to clean.
(4) Obstacles avoidance
It’s inconvenient for us to empty our house before robot vac starts its job. So it is necessary for the robot to sense and avoid obstacles like edges, stairs, door sills, or other tricky areas with large furniture( such as desks, chairs, sofas ).
Most robot vacuums usually adopt multiple intelligent sensors such as edge sensor, cliff sensor, collision sensor, obstacles sensors, ultrasonic Radar sensor, laser distance sensor, Gyro sensor and so on, so that the robots can move freely around the home and adapts automatically to the surroundings to clean the floors thoroughly.
We do not have to worry about the delicate furniture would be damaged and the robot would also protect itself from bumping and stuck. If your home have many obstacles that will need avoiding, this feature will matter most.
(5) HEPA filter
HEPA filter is fully named of High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter, it is perfect for dealing with pet hairs which produces allergens to the air. With a HEPA filter, the robot vacuum can remove tiny dust particles and allergens from the air.
(6) Self recharging
Compared with the vacuum cleaner, the robot vacuum coming with recharging docks is an outstanding feature. It can go to charge themselves automatically. Select a robot-accessible spot for the charge dock first, and the robot vac will return on its own before it runs out of power.
Not until it has enough energy to return to the place where it left off and continue cleaning dust, will it stay on the dock for juices (power). No longer worrying about the battery and no enough power at remote-control robotic vacuuming.
(7) Visual wall
A visual wall sometimes calls the “invisible wall”. It’s a special feature in the intelligent system for robot vac. We can use this to delimit the cleaning areas to sensitive areas ( such as toilet, kitchen, pet house and kids toy room ), preventing potential threats when we are away from home. Because the robot will work in the safety areas we demand and never get over the visual wall, we can leave our house to the robotic cleaning with an ease.
5. How to identify if a robot vacuum cleans well?
Not all robot vacuums work well at cleaning up, we found that many robot vacuums can not clean up as advertised, they always leave the dirt and dusts on the floor after cleaning up, running here and there like a stupid mobile toy. So before purchasing a new robot vacuum, we had better identify that the robot vacuum is not a stupid robotic toy but a good household cleaning assistant. We can check them out from three points:
(1)High power suction--the higher suction power, the better cleaning performance
Whether a robot vacuum cleans well or not, it depends on the suction power. Generally speaking, the higher suction power it has, the better cleaning performance it does. When it comes to good suction, we should care about its built-in motors. A reliable and powerful motor can drive the main rolling brush to spin at high speed, which can grab the pet’s hair and sweep all the dirt into the dustbin like a powerful hurricane.
If the robot is equipped with a rolling brush, 400-600 Pa is enough because the rolling brush can do half of the suction jobs by grabbing the dirt and delivering it to the air inlet. So when it comes to a robot without rolling brush, the robot may needs to be more powerful at 700-1000 Pa. Nowadays many manufacturers tend to produce powerful robot vacuums like Xiaomi Robot Vacuum at 1800 - 2000 Pa, aiming to provide more powerful suction.
Different from large vacuum cleaner’s power between 1200-1400W or portable vac cleaner between 200-600W, most of robot vacs only feature a power rate below 50W for its wireless design. However, the robot vacuum is mostly designed as a portable and automatic vacuum cleaner for daily urban-house cleaning, such as dirt, dust, small particles, debris or pet’s fur.
(2)Complete cleaning system-- zoning mapped cleaning navigation is the key
Navigation plays a vital role in intelligent cleaning, it optimizes the complete cleaning system. There are three common cleaning path modes for robot vacuums: automatic cleaning, edge cleaning, spot cleaning. And the default cleaning mode is auto cleaning, a robot without navigation, in this mode, will go around on irregular path just like a headless chicken and leave unnecessary repetition or omission cleaning.
But if the robot has a navigation, it can automatically follow the well-planned path based on the intelligent path planning algorithm SLAM. All our rooms are zoned and mapped for cleaning. After mapping out the territories with updated location, ( in auto mode ) it will clean in a zigzag path to ensure no omission, it may start edge cleaning first, and then go zigzag cleaning( top pick ). We can have the floor cleaned thoroughly and worry-freely without unnecessary repetition or omission according to the navigation system.
Automatic Cleaning: the robot moves around your home randomly until it runs out of battery, without planned route it may leave some spaces uncleaned.
Spot Cleaning: the robot spins around the center in spiral or in circular patterns, you can get it to focus on cleaning a particular area with spilled milks or other smudges.
Edge Cleaning: the robot cleans along the wall, it’s perfect for a period of edge cleaning.
Zigzag Cleaning: also called S-shaped cleaning, the most efficient cleaning route, the robot cleans the room more thoroughly in maximum areas.
(3) Slim body
When it comes to a good cleaning effect, we still have to care about the slim robot body. A slim body makes the robot easily get flexibly into the bottom of furniture. If our home have too much furniture, we’d better measure the leg height of the furniture before buying a new a robot. Generally, the height of most robots is ranged from 7 - 12cm.
6. How to choose the right Robot Vacuum for your family?
As it often goes, we tend to buy a robot vacuum with complete functions of the best tech spec. However, sometimes a moderate spec is enough to clean your home perfectly because of your household environments. Hence, you can save money from choosing a reasonable robovac with necessary cleaning features. Here are some questions to consider as you choose which robovac is best for you.
(1) If you have a big house with many rooms:
First of all, you have to consider how big your house is before buying a robotic vacuum cleaner. Some robot vacuums like Xiaomi Mi robotic vacuums are perfect for spaces of up to 250 square meters, while other vacuums work better in small environments like single apartments. Therefore, what robotic vacuums to buy is up to the size of your house to some degree.
And that’s not enough. You still need to confirm how many rooms you have under the furniture for the robot vacuum to pass through. If the robot vacuum have to clean a big house with multiple rooms under the furniture, a vacuum with room-by-room navigation feature, large-capacity battery and slim body is a must-have for you.
(2) If you adopt a cat or dog as your family:
Nowadays most people keeps a pet as their family member, and as we know the pet’s hair is hard to clean up. At this case, a robot vacuum, like iLife V3S designed to collect dog furs, cat hair and eliminate the allergens with HEPA filter, would be the best choice for you.
Keep this in mind: if you have pets or have anyone in your family suffered from allergies, it would better for you to get a robot vacuum with HEPA filter.
(3) If your have carpets in the house:
There are most robot vacuums that can be used to clean multiple types of floor such as carpets, hardwoods and tiles, while some can only work better at cleaning carpet or the hardwood.
When it comes to carpet cleaning, it requires more than the hardwood because the delicate carpets may be ruined by a lower-end vacuum. Obviously, you have to pay more for a higher-end robot vacuum. For this reason, if your floors are hardwoods or tiles, you can save big on buying a robotic vacuum without carpet detection and feel freely for mopping the floor.
If you have carpets, you have to make sure that the robot vacuum is suitable for the carpet floor, and do not use the robot under the mopping mode.
(4) If you are a busier worker:
For a busier worker, the scheduling mode and remote control such as APP control, Bluetooth connection, Wi-Fi control or camera monitor helps a lot in robotic vacuum cleaning. With the scheduling mode, you can set a timer for the robot vacuum to do its daily cleaning job before you go to work. Moreover, you can command the robot working at home even when you are at work thanks to the APP controlling.
Scheduling clean and app control make it convenient for cleaning our home, and a robot vacuum with a built-in camera like XShuai HXS-C3 will help you keep an eye on your house or have a video call with your family at home. What’s more, automatic self-recharging sensor drives your robot go back to the charging dock when in low power. If there is an invisible wall for your robot, you can limit the access to sensitive areas, preventing potential threats when you are away from home.
7. How to maintain a robot vacuum?
There are many accessories for a robot vacuum, such as a rolling brush, side brushes, filter, cleaning pad, and mopping cloth. We have to concern about if they are easy to clean and how long should we replace them with a new one.
Take the Xiaomi robot vacuum as example, we have to replace its rolling brush, side brushes every 6 - 12 month and filter every 3 - 6 months for a healthy cleaning performance. Generally, the HEPA filter is disposable, when it is dirty, we need to use a new one.
Some of the common filter is washable, we can save money on buying the replacement frequently. Speaking of the removable dustbin, we can empty and wash it conveniently by taking it out and rinse under the water.
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