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There are a gazillion robot vacuum cleaners ranging from $150 all the way to $1,000 for the much-criticized Dyson 360 Eye (2.7/5 Amazon rating). Choosing the right one that will give you value for your money can be confusing.
Here are the 5 questions you should ask yourself to make sure you buy the best robot vacuum cleaner for your needs.
1. How big is your home?
Consider these two things: how many rooms there are and the average size of each room.
Most budget and mid-price robot vacuum cleaners are designed for smaller homes and apartments. They have just enough battery life to clean up one or two rooms before requiring a recharge.
If you only need to clean 1-3 small to mid-size rooms, you can go for an affordable model like the Roomba 614 or ILIFE A4s. They don’t have a lot of fancy features such as WiFi but will clean any room quickly and efficiently.
If you have a more square footage or a lot of rooms, you might want to consider a more advanced model like the Roomba 960. Look for robot vacuum cleaners labeled as multi-room. They can clean several rooms while recharging in between if the battery goes down.
They’ll also have superior mapping capabilities. They can scan each room as it cleans, keep track of areas it has already cleaned and learn about your home’s layout with time. Over time, it gets faster and better at cleaning.
Basically, if you have a large home you might have to sacrifice affordability for performance.
2. Do you have a carpet?
Manufacturers will often say that their robot vacuum cleaners can clean both hardwood and carpeted floors. But cleaning performance varies between the two areas. Most models struggle when they encounter carpeting especially if it is high pile.
If you have a carpeted floor, get a high-powered model. The shaggier your carpet is, the more powerful the robot vacuum cleaner needs to be. For really shaggy carpets, you might find that using a traditional upright vacuum cleaner is best.
For hardwood flooring, I recommend robotic mops. They help reduce the amount of dust accumulation. If you have a tiled floor, look for a robot mop with a rotating brush to clean in between the tiles.
3. What’s your daily schedule?
Do you spend most of the day away from home?
If so, get a robot vacuum cleaner with an auto-scheduler. This is a really convenient feature that allows you to set a cleaning schedule for when you are not home.
Depending on the model, you can set the vacuum to clean daily, every other day or twice a week. If you buy a WiFi-enabled model, you can easily set the schedule using a mobile app.
If on the other hand you can afford to manually start the robot vacuum, you can save money on a cheaper model without an auto-scheduler. You’ll then have to use a remote control or the unit’s controls to start cleaning.
4. Do you have pets?
Homes with pets take more work to maintain. Even more involving is if you have pets that shed a lot. You’ll find yourself going round with a vacuum cleaner several times a day.
A good vacuum cleaner can save you the trouble. Just make sure it’s designed to handle pet hair.
In our robot vacuum buying guide, we selected the Neato Botvac D80 as the best robot vacuum cleaner for pet owners. It collects a huge amount of pet hair and can fit into tight corners.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your robot vacuum. Without proper maintenance, the pet hair can clog up the insides of your unit and damage it or reduce performance.
5. Does anyone in the house have allergies?
If you or someone in the house has allergies, you need a robot vacuum cleaner that is really good at picking up everything from dust to pet hair. In our buying guide, our pick for the best vacuum cleaner for allergies was the Roomba 890.
It cleans very well and has a HEPA filter to capture even the tiniest of particles.