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Robot Vacuum Cleaners Buying Guide

Robot vacuum cleaners are sucking up their fair share of the worldwide market - as much as 20%! When a machine can automatically handle one of the most dreaded household chores, this is hardly surprising. But what should you consider when buying a robot vacuum cleaner? Here are a few key factors:

Suction & surface

The more suction, the more effective your robot vacuum cleaner will be on carpet. So, if the floors of your home are mainly carpeted, suction power is a huge selling point. With this in mind, the iRobot Roomba 980 and 866 models use powerful AeroForce cleaning systems, with the 980 being able to automatically increase suction when it encounters a carpeted section, and decrease again on hard floor surfaces. The Samsung Powerbot is also well regarded in terms of cleaning power.

Will it be your main vacuum cleaner?

No robot vacuum cleaner is as powerful as a stand-up model. But because a robot cleaner is easy to operate, it's likely to be used more often. So while the overall power might be slightly lacking, the increased frequency of your floor cleaning could be a winning pay off. Something to consider if you're looking at a robot vacuum cleaner as your sole floor cleaner. For good all- rounders, the iRobot models are versatile, as is the Miele SJQL0, with sweeping, brushing and vacuuming modes, long battery life and Furniture Protection Technology.

Do you have pets?

Pet hair accumulates quickly, which increases the need to clean floor surfaces. A robot vacuum cleaner is ideal for this all-too-frequent chore, with models such as the Samsung Powerbot VR10J5010UA even boasting patented cleaning systems that effectively pick up pet hair with less risk of the brushes becoming entangled.

Cleaning amongst the clutter

Look for robot cleaners with self-navigation capabilities that allow them to skirt in and out of cluttered areas without knocking things over, and even clean corners. The Visionary Mapping System on the Samsung Powerbot VR10J5010UA, including an onboard digital camera, is typical of the lengths manufacturers will go to to make their cleaners aware of their surroundings.

Hard surface specialist

If carpet is not a consideration, then consider a robot cleaner that is specially made to clean hard floors with a combination of dry and damp mopping. A prime example is the iRobot Braava Mop, which works on all hard surface floors - up to 3.5 hours for dry mop and 2.5 for damp mop.

Dollars and cents

While the big players in the market, such Samsung and iRobot, will provide you with plenty of features, you'll have to pay for the privilege. The good news is, you can still enjoy the convenience of automatic floor cleaning at an affordable price. Models such as Kogan and MyGenie cleaners appeal as low-cost yet still provide you with a modicum of features, including different cleaning modes. What they might lack in suction power and battery life, they make up for in affordability.

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