You might have heard of the Roomba from iRobot or of the term robot vacuum. They’re basically very clever robots that act like dust eating sheep. They live in your house and roam your carpets gobbling up dust and crumbs. Once they’re done they travel back to their little dock to recharge and maybe put their wheels up. Sometimes they even empty themselves. The Roomba by iRobot is still one of the best brands out there but there are others now like Neato, Deebot, and Roborock to name a few. Here is a look at some of the best sellers and what they offer. If you already own one here are some useful tips on getting the most out of yours.
Roomba robot vacuum cleaner
Let’s look at the Roomba. iRobot has been around for about 30 years since they started in 1990 as experts in AI. A few years later they started making robots for the military such as the PackBot. In 2002 they launched the Roomba which sold over a million units in the first two years. There’s been many iterations over the years and their current best seller is the Roomba 670 series, which is the mid-level model. Here’s an article on the naming conventions and different function sets.
They work by rolling around your carpets and hard floors going from room to room with ease. While they do this they use a combination of cleaning patterns. They use a spiral motion to concentrate on a specific area, follow the wall when it finds obstacles and when cleaning the perimeter, or criss crossing from wall to wall, sometimes going over the same place more than once to get the area dust free. It might take up to 25 minutes to get an average room done.
The cleaner itself uses three different brushes to do it’s work. The edge brush gets into corners and whisks dirt into the path of it’s main brush at the front. Another smaller brush rotates in the opposite direction to enable dirt, dust and debris to be sucked up into its insides to be taken away to the dirt collector. A filter in the dirt collector traps all the dust and smaller particles.
When cleaning upstairs it won’t end up going downstairs with a crash as it has built in cliff detection. If a power lead accidentally gets left in its way then the anti tangle system will allow the Roomba to free itself. You know this is happening when you hear a clicking sound. There are a couple of ways to keep them charged up. One is for it to go back to it’s docking station ‘Home Base’. The other is for plugging in to the mains via it’s power supply. Charging time usually takes about 3 hours. Sometimes if it’s not been charged in a while it will do a ‘refresh charge’ and take up to 16 hours. This will also extend the battery life.
One of iRobot’s best selling competitors is the Neato BotVac range. It boasts a bigger brush to pick up more dust and rubbish that litters your house. It also uses lasers instead of cameras to find its way around. There are 3 main models, which seems a lot simpler than the roomba which has about 5 or 6. They are all shaped like a D, so the larger brush can be at one end so it can fit into corners.
The D4 is the cheaper no frills version, the D6 is better for pet hair with a larger battery, and the D7 is the latest premium version. They all can be controlled by your smartphone, and they all have a docking station. So the ‘BotVac’ can go and charge itself and stay out of the way while it’s not cleaning.
One of the best things about the Neato vacs is their software. You can add virtual barriers and mark out no-go zones in the app, instead of putting down magnetic strips or similar devices to block off areas of your home. The problem with physical barriers is that kids and pets will probably decide to put them somewhere else.
Roborock robot vacuum
So another manufacturer of robot vacuums is the Roborock. They sprang up only about 6 years ago in China. Richard Chang the CEO was working in the US at the time when the robot vacuum came out. He couldn’t seem to find one that he liked, so he thought (much like Sir James Dyson might’ve done), ‘Why not build myself a really good one’. So that’s what he did and started Roborock. Before long they were bought up by the giant Xiaomi corporation, and went on to do pretty well with their first release; the ‘Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner.’ It was actually a huge hit and is still the best selling robot vacuum cleaner in China.
What seemed to strike the right chord was that it wasn’t just a cheap and cheerful design. It was something more rock solid and it did the job it was meant to do. Their most current design is the Roborock S5 Max and it’s considered to be one of the very best robot vacuums out there. It’s got great laser mapping that automatically scans your house, it cleans really well and the scheduler is great. Oh yeah and in case you didn’t know, it can mop the floor as well. It’s a great overall robot vacuumer.
Well that sums up a few of the bigger robot vacuum companies and it should inform your choice a little bit if you’re thinking about buying one in the future.