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Before You Buy a Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

We can all use some help with cleaning, but a robot?

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iRobot 760 Robotic Vacuum

Photo Courtesy PriceGrabber

Housewares  >>  Vacuums & Floor Care  >>  Robot Vacuums >>

So you're considering buying a robotic vacuum to free up your time and help with the chores. While that's a great idea, there are a few choices of models, a wide range of prices from $100 to well over $1,000, and special features to consider. Learning more about robot vacuums and understanding their limitations and capabilities will help you to make a wise purchase. Also keep in mind that technologies are constantly changing and newer models will have advanced features compared with older robot vacuums.

What Do You Need?

First of all, you need to decide whether you're looking for a simple, lower priced robot to clean-dust all your hard flooring, or whether a higher priced unit with scheduler, memory, sensors to detect dirt, and better transitioning abilities from floor to carpet, is what would better suit your home. A lower priced unit may be sufficient for your needs. Decide on a price range, keeping in mind that special features do influence the price.

Power & Performance

Models differ in time they need to charge and how long they can clean when fully charged. Just how much power these robots have is not usually stated, so check the unit over to ensure it is quality built and that you're satisfied with the charging capacity. Units generally come with a 'home' base, however, a self-charging base is often an optional accessory - a very convenient one. Many models now have de-tangling abilities which can save run time. This is a very handy feature to have in a robot vacuum.

Transitioning & Stair Detection Abilities

Robotic vacuums work best on hard flooring. But some models have transitioning capability and have no problem going from floor to low-level carpeting. They may work well on a thicker carpet, but will not be able to transition well from floor to plush carpet. Another sensor can detect if they've come to the edge of stairs, and they'll turn around at that point.

    Cleaning Coverage & Dirt Detection

    Will the model randomly clean an area, and assume it's done, or does it have the 'intelligence' to know there's a corner it missed, and continue until full area cleaning is achieved?
    Some models are even able to detect that the floor is very dirty, and they'll linger longer on that spot.

      Dust Bin Size

      Not all dust bins are the same size, and it's more convenient to have a robot with a larger bin. Check how well it removes from the unit, as it will have to be emptied often for optimum performance, if not every time the robot works.

        Special Convenience Features Available

        • Scheduler - so it can work while you're away
        • Remote - so no bending required
        • Virtual walls - models usually come with at least one, but you may want to bar more than one doorway
        • Wall mount or bracket for storage
        • Self-charging base
        • Dirt detector or sensor

        Maintenance & Replacement Parts

        Maintenance is simple, empty bin, check for debris that can clog the brushes, replace brushes and filter when needed.
        Ensure you have a source for replacement brushes and filters, and consider purchasing your first set right away. Maintenance is definitely the key to keeping this unit performing well. Always compare service and warranties.

        Get The Home Ready to Receive Its First Robot

        You've decided to purchase one of these little wonders, now it's time to clear the pathway.

        • Remove newspapers, small toys, strings, and other small articles lying around on the floor.
        • Ensure no drapery hems or blind pull cords are laying on the floor/carpet
        • Remember to follow manual instructions for time required for that first important charge.

        Compare Prices

        Housewares  >>  Vacuums & Floor Care  >>  Robot Vacuums >>

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