robotic vacuums guide

How to Set Up Custom Cleaning Boundaries for Your Robot Vacuum Cleaner? (For Owners of Roomba, Neato and LG)

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robotic vacuums guide

Robotic vacuums are nifty little cleaners but can cause a mess if they encounter your pet’s feeding bowl or the cables under your work desk. In this 3-minute robotic vacuums guide we show you how to set up custom boundaries for your robotic vacuum cleaner to prevent it from reaching where you don’t want it go.

It applies to Neato, Roomba and LG robotic vacuum cleaners.

Roomba Vacuum Cleaners

When you buy a Roomba vacuum cleaner, it will come with one of three types of barriers: a Virtual Wall, a Dual Mode Virtual Wall or a Virtual Wall Lighthouse.

What the difference between these three?

Virtual Wall

Roomba virtual wall

The Virtual Wall is the most basic. You can use it to confine Roomba to a specific room or area. For instance, you can prevent it from getting too close to some vases or the pet feeding area. You can also use it to block doorways and openings up to 7 feet wide.

Note that the Virtual Wall emits infrared waves in the shape of a cone. It gets wider the farther away it is. So to block an opening, you should place the Virtual Wall at one end of the opening rather than at the center.

You can set the Virtual Wall to auto mode where it stays on all the time or activate the manual mode at the beginning of a cleaning session. In manual mode, it will switch off automatically after 135 minutes.

Dual Mode Virtual Wall

Dual mode virtual wall

The Dual Mode Virtual Wall has two working modes: a Virtual Wall mode and a Halo mode.

In the first mode, it functions like a Virtual Wall. It blocks doorways and openings up to 10 feet wide.

In the second mode, it emits an infrared Halo expending up to 24 inches around itself. This mode is handy when you want to block off a particular section like the pet feeding area or a planter.

You just place the device at the center of the area you want to block and the vacuum won’t venture inside that section.

Like the Virtual Wall, you can leave it in auto mode where it stays on all the time or activate it manually every time Roomba starts cleaning.

Virtual Wall Lighthouse

Virtual Wall Lighthouse

The Virtual Wall Lighthouse has two modes as well.

The Virtual Wall Mode acts as an ordinary Virtual Wall, blocking the vacuum from areas you don’t want it to go.

The Lighthouse Mode guides the Roomba in cleaning the house.

It opens a doorway to let in Roomba to clean and closes after the vacuum is done with that room. It then guides Roomba to the next room where another Virtual Wall Lighthouse lets the Roomba through.

The Lighthouse Mode is great for multi-room cleaning.

Neato Vacuum Cleaners

Neato robotic vacuum cleaners use Boundary Markers to designate areas where the vacuum cleaner should not cross. These are simply magnetic strips that you can lay across the doorway, at the top of a stair landing, around pet bowls and anywhere else you don’t want the robot to go.

The advantage of Neato’s simple magnetic strips is that they don’t need batteries to work unlike Roomba’s virtual walls. You just lay them down on the floor and that’s it.

On the downside, they don’t always work as well as virtual walls. They also cannot provide the same level of advanced functionality as the Virtual Wall Lighthouse.

LG Hom-Bot Square Vacuum Cleaner

LG’s Home-Bot Square vacuum cleaner has a unique cleaning mode called My Space. In this mode you first map out the border of the area where the robot is going to clean. It will then clean only within that area without straying beyond the set border.

My Space LG Home-bot


There are of course other simpler ways to block a robotic vacuum cleaner. You can close the door to the room until the robot is finished or use a physical barrier.

But these are tedious methods that are only ideal if you buy a cheaper robotic cleaner that doesn’t come with its own barrier.

The above barriers are more effective, easier to use and give you the flexibility to protect almost any area in your home.

About the author

Vicky Nicholls is the Sr. Researcher and Writer for

Vicky is a full-time professional writer who spends most of her time covering the real-world impact of the latest technologies on consumers' lives around the world. She writes full-time for a number of leading review and editorial publications on the web.

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