Robot hoovers, robot vacuum cleaners, or ‘robovacs’ as they’re commonly known, have come a long way in recent years. From humble beginnings where they awkwardly operated via remote control, they quickly became automated and nowadays require no human control as they bump and glide their way around furniture and navigate rooms within our homes.
These days, robot hoovers use sophisticated tech such as quad-core processors, artificial intelligence, and deep learning to effortlessly navigate every nook and cranny of your home, all the while cleaning as they go. Some models even mop, sterilize floors, and empty themselves of their hard-earned grit and grime.
Robotic hoovers have seen a surge in popularity mainly due to their affordability which has brought them to even the most humble abode. However, not all people are fans and many still prefer a hands-on approach when it comes to a deep clean.
Research has indicated that robovacs don’t clean as well as traditional vacuum cleaners with humans at the helm. Many will argue they’re an incredible time-saving device that has earned their place right alongside the dishwasher and other convenient must-have home gadgets.
So are robot hoovers any good in 2021?
What robotic vacuums do best
Like any home appliance, robot hoovers are available in a range of brands that are loaded with various features and specifications. The higher the price you pay, the better specifications your robot hoover is likely to have.
So, let’s look at what these nifty little cleaning critters are actually good at and if it’s really worth shelling out for a glorified duster on wheels.
Main benefits to robot vacuum cleaners
- Save you doing it by hand – Ever rushing around during the week, mainly on a morning and you get that nagging feeling that things aren’t looking so clean? Join the club. Robot vacuums take all that away and their main ‘plus point’ is it’s one less job on your already blooming to-do list.
- They do a really good job at hoovering – While it sounds like an obvious statement to make, robot vacuums aren’t a gadget to show off when your friends come around (well, they are that too) but they are seriously good at removing dirt, fluff, hair, grit, dust and getting really up close and personal with your floors.
- Better quality air to breathe – They reduce household dust and improve internal household air quality.
- You won’t have to babysit it too much – Many modern robot vacuum cleaners can now empty themselves of waste. This is a huge time saver and well worth thinking about if you’re buying a new one.
- They eat tough terrain for breakfast. Well, mostly. Robot hoovers are also much better in 2021 at getting around your home, even if it’s not one of those minimalist ones no-one in real life owns. They can happily navigate difficult objects and surfaces, including thick pile rugs or plush pile carpets.
- More than just a vacuum – Many new models can now mop and sterilize floors (using UV treatment). If you’re a clean freak and really want to get your home clean, go for one of these.
- They’re easy to program – They can be scheduled to clean at specific times and with smart tech, there’s nothing geeky to do. You can set your timer for the hoover with a friendly interface, while you put your feet up.
Are They Any Good At Cleaning In Corners?
Yes, despite robot hoovers being built in a circular shape, they’re pretty good at getting into corners these days. However, this wasn’t always the case.
Ask this question 5 years ago to any robot hoover owner and they would have given you a frown in the admission that they’re not great at cleaning corners. Come 2021 and robot hoovers are mostly being built with ingenious flexible brushes, side-mounted bristles, and super powerful vents that suck and brush away all your corner concerns.
Another way that some robot hoovers have been able to clean corners effectively is using a D-shaped design, such as the Neato brand of robovac designs.
Sadly, things start to get messy when acute angles come into play.
Anything less than a 90-degree angle and robotic hoovers will struggle to reach dirt and debris that lurk in these tiniest of corners.
What Things Don’t They Do Well?
It’s worth mentioning that robot hoovers have come leaps and bounds in recent years, but there’s still a long way to go before they’ll replace the white-gloved, apron-wearing approach to cleaning. Let’s blow the dust off a few examples of how robot hoovers still suck at cleaning.
Robot vacuums can get stuck sometimes
It’s a sad and sorry state of affairs to come home from work to find your recently purchased robovac bottomed out on the rug, and even more distressing when you find ol’ faithful robo-hoover frantically stuck and bumping around inside a cupboard or wardrobe. One thing that even the most sophisticated and intelligent hoovers can’t seem to overcome is getting stuck from time to time.
To counter this cleaning conundrum, high-spec robot hoover models will come with programmable options that allow you to map and cordon off trouble areas of your home, keeping your newfound friend elegantly gliding from room to room with no fuss.
They Have Attachment Issues
Anything with a cord, cable, or shoelace is fair game in the eyes of your robotic hoover. In fact, any kind of cabled attachment at all is likely to fall prey to the cleaning prowess of a robot hoover. Most robotic hoovers will hunt down and eat anything that dangles or protrudes, so you’ve been warned!
Keep cables of any kind well-hidden and inaccessible from your robovac, and make sure you keep your shoe closet closed, or else you’ll arrive home to find your shoelaces tied into elegant knots that you’ll need the patience of a saint to untangle.
You have to empty robot vacuums regularly
While there are some models that offer self-emptying capabilities, most makes and models of robot hoovers will require regular cleaning and emptying of the tank that accumulates debris and dirt.
The size of your home, how clean your home is, and whether you have any pet hair that requires cleaning up will all impact how often you’ll need to empty your robot hoover’s tank. If you’ve programmed your robot hoover to roam the house endlessly day-on-day in search of the most minuscule amounts of dust, expect to empty their tank each day at least.
Do They Work On All Kinds Of Floors?
Yes. The newest and most tech-savvy robovacs will clean a wide variety of surfaces with ease. From thick carpets, high pile rugs, to any hard surface imaginable. Robot hoovers are up for the task of cleaning carpet, tile, hardwood floors, concrete, and virtually any other surface that’s dry.
Some can even mop, dry, and UV sterilize hard-surfaced floors!
Introduce your robot hoover to the exciting world of shag pile rugs, however, and you may find it struggles to give it a decent clean. In fact, it’s fair to say that if a rug is thicker than a few inches, it’s really going to suck at cleaning it, and not the way intended.
Oh, and then there are steps. Ingenious as they are, robot hoovers are still one small step away from cleaning anything on multiple levels. If you’re lucky enough to have a home spread out on several levels, invest in a nifty cleaning clan of robovacs and designate one for each level.
Will A Robotic Hoover Actually Save You Time?
Robotic hoovers save a load of time. Especially if you’re one to scour your floors for every speck of dirt at all times of the day and night. Robotic hoovers are excellent at cleaning and maintaining a good standard of cleanliness to your floors, and will save you a truckload of time.
Just keep in mind that these little dust-hungry superheroes need special time too, so be mindful of maintenance and machine care. You’ll still need to commit some time to empty their dust trays and clean their brushes regularly.
The Verdict: Are Robot Vacuums Actually Any Good in 2021?
If you’re looking for a robot vacuum that’s well priced and comes with a load of excellent features that are sure to make your life easier, then 2021 is a great year to buy your first robotic hoover!
As technology advances, robot vacuums are becoming more sophisticated, with many now even offering self-cleaning, mopping, and many other great features that will leave you wondering why you waited so long to buy one.