Where to start with robot vacuum cleaners?

So, it’s finally happened. You’re ready to get your Roomba on and invest in a robot vacuum cleaner of your very own. The problem? You don’t quite know where to start. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know before you buy your first robot vacuum cleaner:

What is a robot vacuum cleaner?

A robot vacuum cleaner is a semi-autonomous and often disc-shaped cleaning appliance that’s able to either suck, sweep or mop surfaces without human guidance or involvement. 

The core appeal here is that you’re able to find more free time in the day by spending less of it cleaning up after yourself. Like the best appliances, robo-cleaners are very much a set-and-forget affair. 

The most well-known vacuum robot is iRobot’s Rooma range but there are many others like it. 

Credit: iRobot

In recent years, the technology powering robot vacuum cleaners has advanced significantly with many now using AI and other machine learning techniques to improve efficiency and reliability. Some robot cleaners rely on a dedicated app, others use physical buttons and some support voice commands.

That sounds great! What’s the catch?

Well, aside from the expense, the catch is that robot vacuum cleaners don’t usually apply the same level of rigor that a human would when it comes to cleanliness. 

In addition, some surfaces and homes just might not be suited for such appliances. Even the most expensive robot vacuum cleaners struggle when faced with a set of stairs.

Credit: Ecovacs

Who makes robot vacuum cleaners?

iRobot and Ecovacs are two of the most prominent robot vacuum cleaning brands but mainstays like LG and Samsung have also entered the category in recent years.

Sticking with the former usually gets you a more advanced solution while the latter promise clean integration with other smart and semi-smart appliances from within the same brand. 

How much do robot vacuum cleaners usually cost?

As with drones, the price of entry level robot vacuum cleaners has dropped significantly in recent years. For example, Kogan’s own Easy Clean R10 is priced at $79. However, as with most things, it pays to be patient and do your research before opening your wallet. 

Ecovacs Deebot range is renowned for being a little more reliable at around $1000 and the most expensive options from iRobot themselves go all the way up to around double that.

Are there robot vacuum cleaners that work with Alexa, Siri and the Google Assistant?

Yes! As these smart assistant ecosystems have grown more mature, it’s become more and more common for robot vacuum cleaners to support voice-based shortcuts and integration with go-between services like IFTTT - allowing you to call on them to clean when needed.

Credit: iRobot