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August 15, 2014 4 min read

For some of us, it's difficult to find the time to vacuum and clean our homes. It's only after the build up of dust and stray pet fur that we realize how badly we need to vacuum, so then the next hour (or two) is spent moving furniture out of the way and picking up power cords to make sure we have vacuumed every space in our home. Only to never touch our vacuum cleaners again for the next month or two! Robot vacuums offer a convenient alternative for those who do anything to avoid this household chore.

The Electrolux Trilobite was one of the first robot vacuums to be introduced to the consumer market in 2001. In the video above, you can see one version of this vacuum. However, significant developments and improvements have been achieved in consumer robotics over the past decade. You no longer need to worry about finding your robot vacuum if it gets stuck somewhere in your home during the cleaning cycle. The most recent robot vacuum cleaners are equipped with technology that allows them to map out floors, avoid staircases, clean automatically, and even navigate back to their charging stations when the battery is low. For those of you considering welcoming a vacuum robot in your homes, here is what you need to know to make a well-informed decision:

What is the price range for a vacuum robot? 

The price of a robot vacuum cleaner can start from as low as $130 to as much as $700. Of course, like with any other product, robotic vacuum cleaners offer various features. Lower-end models may not have as many features, but operate well enough to vacuum and clean your floors. Meanwhile, higher-end models may utilize more tech that allows them to automatically empty their dust bins, stay within a virtual fence, or be programmed to operate on a daily schedule without any input.

Do I need to spend that much on a vacuum cleaner?

Of course not! What you spend is entirely up to your individualized budget and needs. Keep in mind however that even traditional vacuum cleaners are sold within the same price range, and... they will require you to hand-operate them!

Can a robot vacuum replace a full-sized vacuum cleaner?

Although some robot vacuum cleaners are able to provide a great amount of cleaning, it is recommended to use your robot vacuum and full-sized vacuum together. A robot vacuum is much more versatile in reaching hard-to-reach spots and operates completely on its own. This makes it the perfect companion to casually clean your home while you cook dinner, watch television, or even leave to go to work for the day. Most robot vacuums are designed to supplement a full-sized vacuum so you don't have to vacuum as frequently and rigorously, but we do not recommend that you throw out your vacuum - especially for those deep stains and big messes.

On what kind of floors can I use them?

Robot vacuums are to tackle various surfaces such as tile, vinyl, laminate, sealed hardwood, and even low-pile carpet. Keep in mind that some robot vacuums have stronger suction power and are better suited for different surfaces.

Is there any setup required in order to use them?

Some robot vacuums have virtual wall technology that allows you to create boundaries for them to clean within, while others have timer schedules that you can program to ensure that they clean on their own. But for the most part, most robot vacuums only require you to install the battery and charge the unit before it is ready to clean on your command.

What kind of maintenance do I need to do for my robot vacuum?

There are a couple of simple yet key steps you can take to ensure that your vacuum will operate at its maximum efficiency.

  • Empty the dust bin often. You might think it is a hassle to clean the robot vacuum that will clean for you, but it is a very simple task that requires little effort. Some robot vacuums are even able to empty their own dust bins.
  • Prep your home. If your floors look like a war zone with cords and papers laying around everywhere, it is best to try to organize them so your robot vacuum will not get stuck on them. Think of how you would normally arrange things if you were using a regular vacuum.
  • Replace brushes and filters. Periodically check your brushes and filters to make sure they are working efficiently. Always replace them when they get worn out - and make sure you have convenient access to purchase these replacement parts.

Are they pet-friendly?

Yes! Robot vacuums are equipped with sensors allowing them to avoid running into any obstacles, whether it is your footstool or your dog. Some pets may even love your robot vacuum and treat it as a toy.

Leave comments below and let us know if you have any other questions we have not answered!

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