Between work, family and friends it’s to be expected that household chores might fall by the wayside. Valuing a tidy home doesn’t necessarily mean that you have time every day to sweep, vacuum and mop. Especially for households with pets and kids, skipping a few days can lead to exponential growth of dust bunnies collecting in corners and under furniture.
Regardless if you’re too busy to vacuum or just hate the chores, a robot vacuum cleaner can stay busy while you’re devoting your valuable time elsewhere.
Since the birth of the robovac in 2002 with iRobot’s Roomba, other vacuum manufacturers have seized on the popular demand for the product and now there are a variety of brands and styles to choose from to find the best robotic help for your home and lifestyle.
Every robovac comes with a variety of features, and it’s a good idea to know what kind of home environment your robotic domestic help will be operating in. Every vacuum has different sensors that inform of them of obstacles. Bump sensors for running into walls and furniture, cliff sensors for when they reach stairs, dirt sensors to keep cleaning until the job is done and motion sensors to not run into kids and pets.
Some models are self-charging to return “home” when the battery is low, as well as being self-cleaning. They also have different cleaning algorithms to guide their path through rooms like zig-zag, spiral, wall-to-wall, and random. Different models are made for different kinds of flooring, so be aware if you need a vacuum for hardwood, tiling, carpeting or some combination of flooring types.
Top Robotic Hard Floor Cleaner
The Mint Plus Automatic Floor Cleaner from Evolution Robotics is a petite robot, measuring less than a square foot that will both dry sweep and mop hard floors. Environmentally friendly, it uses microfiber cloths that are easy to launder and reuse. It keeps dry-sweeping for up to 4 hours on a single charge, or 2.5 hours wet-mopping.
The Mint Plus uses NorthStar Navigation System 2.0 to guide it in straight lines back and forth across a room, maneuvering around furniture and rugs. It easily keeps track of where it’s already been to guarantee efficient cleaning and will optimize a work area during wet-mop mode to clean while the mopping cloth is still wet.
Reviewers love the overnight charging time, getting a full charge in 7-8 hours. It’s also very quiet, great for homes with pets or young children who may be napping. It also is great for keeping floors free from pet hair and dust once it’s established in a cleaning routine. This model can also be paused and restarted with ease.
Best Floor Mopping Robot
The Braava 320 is from the original robovac manufacturer, iRobot. The Braava uses disposable wet or dry microfiber cloths in either sweeping or mopping mode. Using indoor GPS through NorthStar Navigation, as Braava works it creates a map of the room, marking where walls, furniture and obstacles are in order to clean more efficiently as it learns.
In dry sweeping mode the Braava can cover 800 sq. feet with a single cloth, or 250 sq. ft when wet mopping before the mop cloth dries out. A single charge will last for 3 hours of dry sweeping or 2 hours of wet mopping.
Owners of the Braava 320 rave about how easy it is to select the cleaning mode and then run-it and forget-it. The cleaning cloths pick up dirt that wasn’t even visible, leaving floors cleaner than clean. Reviews advise maintaining a weekly cleaning routine of sweeping or vacuuming and mopping, but letting the Braava work throughout the week to keep things clean effortlessly.
Best Robot Vacuum for the Money
CleanMate QQ-2 BASIC is from Infinuvo and not only vacuums and sweeps but also disinfects. Using a UV light the CleanMate can kill bacteria, allergens and germs. It also performs on a variety of flooring types including hardwood, tile and low-profile carpeting.
The battery fully charges in 3 hours and can clean for up to 80 minutes on a single charge. It comes with 5 pre-programmed patterns designed to provide efficient and effective cleaning for any room. The CleanMate also has a remote to make pause-and-restart and selecting cleaning modes from anywhere in the room easy.
Reviews describe it’s impressive suction power when collecting pet hair and larger objects from the floor. It’s still a quiet model that can operate unheard in the room. Most pets seems to ignore or quickly acclimate to it. The multiple pattern presets can be combined to ensure that it’s covering the entire room. Purchasers frequently mention the decrease in their own vacuuming habits and the disappearance of pet hair from their floors, even with multiple fluffy pets in residence.
Best Robot Vacuum under $200
The Rollibot BL618 from RolliTech sweeps, vacuums, mops and sterilizes with UV technology. It has dual-sweepers that guide pet hair, dust and dirt to a central vacuum. Using multiple sensors around its bumper it efficiently navigates a room using four different cleaning modes.
The Rollibot can be used on a variety of flooring types including hardwood, tile and low profile carpets. When the charge is low on the unit it returns to its home base, and can be programmed for a full week of cleaning.
Use the remote control to spot clean and direct it’s cleaning efforts to bigger messes or spots that may not be covered by navigation presets.
Reviewers love the impressive suction power and mopping attachment. The seven-day pre-program also makes it truly a set it and forget it addition to a home cleaning regimen. Getting replacement and spare parts is also easy. The dust and HEPA filter keep debris inside the vacuum compartment, which is easy to empty and clean.
Once you find the right robovac for your home, you can enjoy having the tidy home you adore without having to invest time and energy into getting it that way.