*Last Updated 7/23/2015
Choosing the best robot vacuum can be a daunting task, but we are here to help! On this page, we’re going to break down everything you need to know before purchasing your very own robot helper.
Ok, let’s get started and show you which product wins the Best Robot Vacuum 2015 Award:
First of all, what is a Robot Vacuum?
A robotic vacuum cleaner, often called a robovac, is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner. Some designs use spinning brushes to reach tight corners. Others combine a number of cleaning features (mopping, UV sterilization, etc.) simultaneous to vacuuming, thus rendering the machine into more than just a robot “vacuum” cleaner.
The design for a robot vacuum has been around since the late 1990’s, but we didn’t really see the launch of American households robot vacuums until 2002, when iRobot launched the Roomba floor vacuuming robot. The Roomba immediately became a huge success because who doesn’t want a robot cleaning for them? By the first Christmas season, iRobot produced 50,000 units to meet the holiday demand. Since 2002, new variations of robotic vacuum cleaners have appeared in the market, and this is has made the decision on which to purchase a bit more difficult.
What are the differences between the various Robot Vacuums?
Like I said before, each model comes with a unique set of features and capabilities. In our experience, it is best to choose a robot based on the FLOORS IN YOUR HOME! Completely cleared out hardwood floors are the easiest to vacuum, but many robots can handle your 70’s shag carpets too. However, if you have pets and carpet or complicated floor plans, you will probably want to go with the more expensive robots that can handle your home with ease.
To rate the best robotic cleaners, we looked at performance, features, dimensions, and also customer support.
So who wins the Best Robot Vacuum 2015 Award???
- First of all, this robot vacuum works wonderfully on mixed surfaces! Hardwood, tile, and even carpet present no challenges for the Roomba 880.
- This product will MASSIVELY reduce the amount of dust in your home, perfect for anyone who suffers from allergies.
- Easy to Use! Cleaning the filter takes a minute or so, and this robot can be left unattended to clean while you are away.
- Very Quiet. This model is much quieter than your standard vacuum.
- Pretty good battery life. Expect about 3 and a half hours of use between charges.
There really isn’t too much lacking with this device, but I will point out a few things that could be better…
- If you are cleaning a narrow hallway, do not put the home base on one of the long walls, as the robot may get confused and stay down one end of the hall for much of the cleaning cycle.
- Some room preparation should be conducted to make the vacuum robot function properly. Watch out for cables and thin wires that could be sucked up by the robot. And be a bit careful with light furniture that be knocked over by the power of the robot.
iRobot Roomba 880 Overall Score: A+
That’s our pick for the year, but it’s always nice to have some options, so here are some alternatives that may be appropriate for your home:
- Good vacuum strength and cleans well
- Does a good job around bigger furniture.
- Covers a large area,
- Requires very little attention.
- Gets stuck on many things! You might have a hard time unless your floor is clutter free
- A little noisy.
- Takes more time to vacuum than many other models (~15 minutes for a larger room)
Neato XV Signature Overall Score: B
- Laser mapping works wells
- Carefully maneuvers around furniture
- Good with pet hair and dirt
- Ok with hardwood and rugs
- Small dust bin
- Can sometimes have trouble crossing between hardwood to rugs
- Small cleaning range (~ 1500 sq feet)
Neato Botvac 80 Overall Grade: B+
iRobot has a range of Roomba’s to choose from, but I just chose to review the 880 and the 650 because I feel these are representative of the 2 price levels from which you can buy. The 880 is the best on the market, but the 650 would be good if you are on a tighter budget, but still want a reliable robot vacuum for your home.
- Relatively quiet
- Does a good job with pet fur
- Robust build
- The Series 1 dirt detect system is not as good as the Roomba 880 series 2, so some dirt may remain after a vacuuming session.
- This product requires more maintenance, which slightly defeats the purpose of a robot vacuum
- No remote control is included with the Roomba 650. The remote control can be fun to use with the 880. Give it to the kids, and they’ll clean the whole house!
iRobot Roomba 650 Overall Grade: B
If you are trying to decide between the Neato XV (up above) and this Roomba, I would say that Roomba 650 is better in open floors, but the XV seems to maneuver a bit better in more cluttered rooms. I would make the decision based on your specific house layout.
Ok, well that’s about it for this year’s rankings. I hope you found some useful information. In the end, the old adage holds true: you get what you pay for, and the same proves correct in the robot vacuum world. Feel free to comment below if you have any comments or suggestions. Even nominate your own machine for the Best Robot Vacuum 2015 award, if you feel so inclined.