It seems like now, more than ever, people are opting to replace their traditional tools with a “smart” one.
But when it comes to upright and robotic vacuums, can you really replace the cleaning ability and attachments that a conventional model offers with one that simply rolls from room to room, only being guided by the walls and furniture that it bumps into?
Read on to find out.
Technology Has Changed A Lot…
For years, people have been using upright vacuums to clean their homes, and in many ways, technologically, those vacuums stayed the same.
Over time, brands like Dyson and Hoover would come out with new models with intense cleaning power, but the overall technology and how it actually worked and was maneuvered remained pretty standard.
Then something happened, robot vacuums were developed. New technology took vacuuming from a tedious household chore to one that can mostly be done for you.
Perhaps the most popular robotic vacuum in North America is the Roomba. For many people, this is the standard by which all other robot vacuums are held. For the purpose of this article and understanding the general design and function of a robot vacuum, we will be looking at the base model.
How the Roomba Works
The base model of the Roomba, also known as the Roomba Red, is roughly 13 inches, or 33 cm in diameter and 3.5 inches, 9 cm tall.
Roombas run on a rechargeable battery. The battery pack is rated at three amp-hours, and it takes approximately seven hours to charge fully. Some of the more recently developed models have cut that charge time to about three hours.
A full charge equals nearly two hours of cleaning time. This means that it can generally clean three medium-sized rooms before it needs to recharge.
The mobility system has two tracked wheels that are motor-driven, and it moves by alternating the power supplied to each wheel.
Roomba has several motors:
In terms of cleaning power, iRobot, the company that developed the Roomba claims that the Roomba has “as much suction as a standard upright vacuum.” However, the website fails to provide any specifications as to how this is accomplished.
Many customers had stated that when they used the Roomba Red, it cleaned quite well on linoleum and hardwood floors. It is able to pick up a good amount of dirt and pet hair on low- and medium-pile carpet as well.
It should be noted, however, that according to iRobot, the Roomba Red is not designed or intended for deep-pile carpet cleaning.
When you’re using an upright vacuum, you are up, walking around and pushing a vacuum through your home, while at the same time making decisions. If you see that an area looks especially dirty, or you feel light need some extra attention, you will likely spend more time there.
If you have to transition from one kind of flooring to another, for example, tile in the kitchen to carpet in the living room, you generally have to turn a knob on the vacuum so it can achieve its optimum efficiency for that specific kind of flooring.
In theory, because it is a robot, Roomba should be able to replicate a human’s ability to clean effectively for the most part.
In order to figure out what areas of a room requires additional cleaning, the Roomba Red has two dirt sensors that are located directly above the agitator brush.
Essentially, when the agitator kicks up a large amount of dirt, it causes more vibration on the metal plates of the sensors. Because of the vibration, the sensors detect that there is a bigger mess and tell the Roomba to go over the area again.
To make the transition between various floor types, the Roomba’s cleaning deck, which houses the agitator setup, automatically adjusts its height when it senses a rise of half-an-inch or more in the floor surface.
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Advantages of Robot Vacuums
Right off the bat, the first thing pops up in their mind when people think of a robot vacuum is that you don’t have to lift a finger to make these things work and get clean floors.
Robot vacuums do it all for you; all you have to do is push a button. The newest models are quite powerful and can get most of the dirt and trash off the floors. Whatever type of floor you have, laminate, vinyl, or rug; these impressive robotic marvels will clean them for you.
There is a multitude of models of robotic vacuums on the market today, and they range in price from $100 all the way up to almost $2000. Buyers have so many options even when they are buying on a budget.
Robovacs are also extremely easy to store and some of the latest designs can even plug themselves into their docks to recharge. Thanks to their compact design, robotic vacuum cleaners can be stored in any small unused corner of your home.
Another significant advantage to having a robotic vacuum cleaner is that it requires very little maintenance. In fact, as long as you give it a good clean down, cleaning out any dust particles that may have got caught, most good reputable branded models should last a good few years at the very least.
Some models even have the option to return themselves to their recharge dock after they have finished vacuuming your floor. Meaning that even the primary aspect of remembering to charge your vacuuming bot can be done for you.
Obviously, one of the benefits of a robotic vacuum cleaner is the simple fact that you don’t really have to invest much time or effort in cleaning your floors anymore. Whereas, compared with a manual vacuum cleaner, you would have to do it all yourself.
With a robotic vacuum cleaner, all you have to do is hit the switch, and it’s off. To put it simply, a robot vacuum cleaner is saving you time, energy, and the hassle of having to lug around a heavy upright vacuum from room to room.
Another major benefit of robot vacuums is that it gives you the option to set it to clean when you want it to – regardless of whether you are therefore not.
In other words, you can set the robot to clean when you are away and have it been complete and charged by the time you get back.
This works whether you’re away for a week or at work for the day, you have one less thing to worry about once you get home.
Another fantastic aspect of a robotic vacuum cleaner, like a Roomba, is that it is excellent for those who suffer from mobility issues.
Shortcomings of Robot Vacuums
As previously pointed out in this article, robot vacuums are available for a wide range of prices. While it’s true that you can get average ones for as low as $100, robot vacuums by a reputable brand generally cost around $400-$500.
This is a sizable investment for most households to make, especially on a vacuum that is not ideal for all carpets and rugs.
Like the point above, the battery life is a negative aspect for a robotic vacuum cleaner that some users complain about – but varies depending on the specific model in question.
If you purchase a robot vacuum that has a small battery life, you might find yourself in a position where it fails to finish the job.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important to do your research into its technicalities, and give a lot of thought as to what exactly do you need and expect from your robot cleaner.
Anyone who uses a robot vacuum (myself included, using iRobot Roomba 690) will tell you the old adage, you get what you pay for, rings entirely true when it comes to these products.
Essentially, if you buy a robot vacuum cleaner, then you are bound to get less than stellar cleaning job.
That said, even some of the better models will still not give you that perfect clean that a manual vacuum cleaner will. This is also, in part, because robot vacuums don’t come with the accessories that most traditional upright vacuums do.
As discussed earlier in the article, robot vacuums do have sensors to help them clean messier areas. However, these sensors cannot replace the common sense that a person is controlling a vacuum offers.
A tremendous yet dirty example of this is an incident where a cleaning robot was going on schedule and was unable to realize that the homeowner’s dog had gone to the bathroom in the house.
Where a human would stop and clean up the dog poop, the vacuum kept going, spreading the mess everywhere it went and rubbing it into the rugs and cracks in the floor.
In conclusion, these different types of vacuums seem to be suited for different situations and uses.
Depending on your situation, you could theoretically make a case for either. However, upright vacuums do still offer more additional function and opportunity for a deeper and more controlled clean.