That's $17 under our Black Friday mention and the lowest price we could find by $54. Buy Now at eBay
- Sold by iRobot via eBay.
- mops and sweeps hard floors
- includes one reusable microfiber dry sweeping cloth, one reusable microfiber damp mopping cloth, multi-purpose cleaning pad, Pro-Clean reservoir pad
- Model: 380t
How to Shop and Save on Robot Vacuums
Most people agree that vacuuming is a mundane task, so the idea of a robot taking over this chore is appealing. Because we all have less time for cleaning, and smart home products are on trend, it’s no surprise the robotic vacuum market is expected to grow 17.7% annually and reach 9.4 billion by 2027.
When you’re shopping for a robotic vacuum cleaner, there are a lot of models to choose from. The variety of features and price points can be overwhelming for first-time buyers. This guide narrows down the features and brands, and offers tips to find the best deal on a robot vacuum.
Robotic Vacuum Brands
These are some of the major brands of robotic vacuum cleaners:
When contemplating brands, check review sites like Consumer Reports , PCMag, and Business Insider for their top picks. This can help you home in on some brands to shop for, but keep in mind there are a lot of smaller brands out there; they may also be worth considering. You’ll want to take your research a little further by searching for reviews on specific models to get a better idea of how these machines perform.
Robotic Vacuum Features
At a basic level, robotic vacuum cleaners have a motor and sensors that allow them to move around the home independently picking up dirt and debris. How well they carry out this task depends on the specific features included. Here are the some of the main ones to consider:
Your home may be mostly carpet, all hard floors, or a mix of both. Many robot vacs can handle hard and soft surfaces, but some are better than others at switching between them. Others may only be designed for one type of flooring.
Types of Cleaning
Cleaning robots are mostly associated with vacuuming, but some mop instead, and others can do both. Think about what the machine will be picking up in your home. If you have pets, for example, you may need a model specifically designed to handle shedding.
Suction and Brushes
When reviewing the specs for robot vacs, you may see a listing for suction power measured in Pa, or Pascal Pressure Unit. Higher numbers indicate a greater ability to lift and loosen dirt, hair, and debris. Vacs that feature side brushes, which can pick up things out of the main brush’s reach, may also provide a more thorough clean.
Dimensions and Shape
Robot cleaners have the advantage of fitting in tight spaces that are difficult to clean with a traditional upright vacuum. For instance, many can go under a couch or bed. However, the height and width of these units can vary. If you have tight spaces you need vacuumed, measure the space under your furniture and across any narrow pathways to ensure the robot you want to buy will work for these areas.
When it comes to shape, many robotic vacuums are round. Others are D-shaped, a design that makes the unit more effective at getting close to walls and into corners. Since debris can land or get pushed to these areas, these can be a good option for getting a more complete cleaning.
Sensors and Mapping
Robot vacuums have drop-off sensors that detect stairs or other steep drops to avoid falls. Sensors also help the unit avoid obstacles in its path, or detect walls to follow. More advanced sensors will identify areas that have concentrated dirt and need extra attention, or adjust suction power when transitioning between hard and soft surfaces. Others assist with navigation, tracking how far the bot has traveled and the turns it has made.
Rather than just relying on sensors for navigation — which tend to take the machine on random paths around the room — higher-end vacuum bots use mapping technology. Cameras or lasers collect measurements and data points to make a layout of the rooms the vacuum works in. This allows more precise, efficient cleaning. This means the vacuum can work in straight lines without missing any part of the room, or going over the same spot repeatedly. It can also pick up exactly where it left off if it needs to take a break to charge.
Mapping will allow for creating restricted areas you don’t want vacuumed, although some models without this feature include virtual barriers (a small device that prevents the bot from entering a certain area) or you can use magnetic strips or other physical barriers, like simply shutting a door to a room you don’t want entered.
A smart robot vacuum can be controlled through an app, which can allow for starting or stopping cleaning from anywhere, creating a cleaning schedule, setting preferences, and more features. This also typically allows for voice control through Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Samsung Bixby.
Battery Life and Self-Charging
Robot vacuums run on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. When comparing models, check for the battery size (larger sizes usually mean longer run times)