Do you hate vacuuming? Or are you just hoping to save some time and have to vacuum less often? Then a robotic vacuum cleaner might be the answer for you. But before you run out and grab one, check out this summary of its pros and cons to see if it’s really worth the investment.
With the advent of “intelligence” technology and the change to automated operation for many household appliances, it wasn’t long before cleaning gadgets joined the line. And what better tool for automation than the trusty vacuum cleaner, a staple in almost every modern household. What was once thought to be only a toy in a sci-fi fantasy film or a whimsical prototype being tested in laboratories has now become an accepted member of the household cleaning arsenal. Robotic vacuum cleaners can be bought just like ‘regular’ vacuum cleaners – and come in a variety of models too.
The thought of a vacuum cleaner that can clean by itself and all you need to do is occasionally empty the canister is definitely very tempting. But the real question is – can they live up to their promise? Can they really take the place of traditional vacuum cleaners? Will they really relieve you of the tiresome chore of vacuuming? Are they a worthwhile investment?
The Good Points of Robotic Vacuum Cleaners
While they are not cheap, robotic vacuum cleaners are not prohibitively expensive either. In fact, they are on par with the most expensive models of traditional vacuum cleaners, which is not bad considering the advanced technology.
Robotic vacuum cleaners are wonderfully little work. You just have to set it up initially and then you can forget all about it. You can programme a schedule for it to clean certain rooms on certain days or at certain times and there is no need to monitor its operation or worry about pushing the start button or remembering to follow a regular cleaning schedule. This means that it does save you time in the long run. It also means that your house will probably benefit from being cleaner overall because the robotic vacuum cleaner’s automatic operation means that the floors will be cleaned more regularly than if they relied on you getting around to using a traditional vacuum cleaner.
The design of robotic vacuum cleaners means that they are able to easily access and clean the corners of rooms and the small, hard-to-reach spaces along walls and behind and under furniture – which would usually need substantial moving around of furniture with a traditional vacuum cleaner. The robotic vacuum cleaner also picks up dust and dirt very well – in some cases, it can even extract dirt that a traditional vacuum cleaner may miss.
The Bad Points of Robotic Vacuum Cleaners
Robotic vacuum cleaners are definitely at the high end of the market and you’ll be expecting to pay a hefty amount of money for one – which means that it must really provide significant benefits to justify the expense.
Because of the way it operates – often seeming to follow a pattern at random as it negotiates obstacles around a room and re-visiting especially dirty areas – the robotic vacuum cleaner takes much longer to clean the floor of a room than someone operating a regular vacuum. Also, as it is quite small, it will not hold a large amount of dirt. This may not be such a problem if you have small rooms but with larger rooms, you may find yourself having to empty the extracted dirt halfway through.
Similarly, the battery life of the robotic vacuum cleaner is not extensive. It is often around 2 hours per charge – and can take a couple of hours or more to recharge. Therefore, again, this means that if you have large rooms to clean, it may take several hours to completely clean the room as the robotic vacuum cleaner will have to keep stopping mid-clean to recharge before it can continue.
While the robotic vacuum cleaner is specially designed to negotiate around the obstacles in a room, it is not invincible. In fact – just like a regular vacuum cleaner – it can easily be clogged up by objects such as large pieces of paper, string, buttons and other similar items. Therefore, you will need to walk around a room first to pick up any such objects otherwise your robotic vacuum cleaner may jam and then you will have to spend additional time removing the offending object.
The robotic vacuum cleaner can also sometimes get stuck under furniture, requiring your help to find it and rescue it. In particular, it can have trouble with tassles, cords and low-hanging drapes and curtains.
Finally, the robotic vacuum cleaner won’t be able to completely replace traditional vacuum cleaning – for example, you will still need to vacuum any steps with your regular vacuum cleaner – but it will certainly reduce the number of times you will personally need to drag your traditional vacuum cleaner around the floor.
The Question: Is it worth the money?
This very much depends on the type of house you have and what your expectations are. As mentioned above, the robotic vacuum cleaner certain won’t mean that you will never have to personally vacuum a room again but it can still definitely save you time and reduce your cleaning schedule.
If you have a house with large, open-plan floor spaces and/or cluttered areas, then the robotic vacuum cleaner may not be ideal as any time you save may be cancelled out by the need to constantly empty or recharge the cleaner – or constantly rescuing it from jammed items.
However, for many of those who use the robotic vacuum cleaner, they feel that its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks and that the challenges can be easily overcome by a little re-arranging of furniture – a small price to pay for the benefit of only having to do “real” vacuuming once or twice a month!