An Expensive Useless Toy: Seven Popular Misconceptions About Robot Vacuums

The segment of robotic vacuum cleaners is covered with a lot of myths that have come out of the times when on the market

there was only one, in fact, a serious brand that was expensive (iRobot) and a bunch of Chinese misunderstandings that cost much less, but could do nothing.

Since then, a lot of water has flown under the bridge, andmany technologies have fallen in price, and robotic vacuum cleaners have stepped far ahead. There were models with a mobile application, the ability to control using a voice assistant, some robots learned how to wash floors (and some, alas, did not learn, despite the promises of manufacturers), leaders rushed far ahead, and outsiders still continue to spoil the reputation of the entire segment ...

Misconception 1: Robot vacuum cleaners are too expensive

The price tag of 20,000 hryvnia is able to stopanyone who first wondered about buying a robot vacuum cleaner. For most of us, this is too much for a device that we have never used before, therefore, we do not have an understanding of what functions we need, and which we can do without. And even half the amount is above the threshold that we can afford to spend for the sake of such an everyday "experiment".

If we conduct an understandable for our readersanalogy with smartphones, then advanced (that is, having advanced technical characteristics and endowed with innovative functions that drive progress in general and give us new opportunities that were not available before) flagship smartphone models now cost from 25 to 40 thousand hryvnia. That, in general, does not mean that smartphones for 10 or even 5 thousand hryvnia cannot be used. They can perfectly cope with the tasks assigned to them, and bring pleasure from use. With robotic vacuum cleaners - the same movie. Some are designed for the simplest tasks of regular maintenance of cleanliness in the house, others - for consumers with more complex needs: to automatically clean a large area of ​​apartments, to understand that there are zones where they should not enter, and also to have additional functions: for example, automatic cleaning a container or cleaning one specified room.

In fact

Older robot vacuum cleaner models havethe maximum set of technical capabilities, some of which were implemented for the first time. They give more freedom to their customers and are designed to complete more tasks. And, as a rule, they are intended for large apartments and houses of several floors. For most buyers living in 1-2-room apartments, simpler robotic vacuum cleaner models are suitable. Their price starts from 5-6 thousand hryvnia. At the same time, they will also clean the apartment in the same way in automatic mode, they just do it not so quickly and use fewer technologies in their work (simply due to the fact that some of them are important only when cleaning large areas).


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Even simple models of robotic vacuum cleaners are capable of working with different floor coverings, bypassing objects and walking under furniture.

Misconception 2: Robot vacuum cleaners are useless toys

The second misconception is indirectly related to the first. Buyers, willing to risk a small amount, laid out $ 100-200 for a device that can only drive dust around the apartment and disturb the cat. It is not capable of sucking up garbage normally, or mapping the room and cleaning everywhere, or independently crossing thresholds. We had a similar model on review a few years ago. Buyers of such devices are the main source of the misconception that the robot vacuum cleaner is useless, projecting its bad experience onto the entire category of devices.

In fact

When choosing a robot vacuum cleaner, it is truefirst of all, focus not on the price (although there is, of course, a minimum threshold below which it makes no sense to consider the device - on Aliexpress you can find an autonomous electric broom for $ 20, but this is really more a toy), but on the capabilities that are necessary. It is worth remembering that an important component in modern robots is the algorithms of their work, which cannot be touched by hands, but into which the efforts of many years of work have been invested. And the more opportunities a robot vacuum cleaner has, the more complex its algorithms and ability to take into account more of a variety of factors and data obtained from more sensors and, for example, a camera. In this pairing review of the iRobot Roomba S9 and Braava jet m6, you can see what a good modern robot vacuum cleaner is capable of. And these are not electronic toys for children.


Modern robotic vacuum cleaners iRobot Roomba S9 and Braava jet m6 embody the concept of a smart home, being able to work in concert in a pair for dry and wet cleaning of the house.

Misconception 3. Robot vacuum cleaners are all the same

This thesis has both true and false seeds. In fact, the components and sensors in different robotic vacuum cleaners can indeed be used the same (if we are talking about a comparable price category). Here, too, the analogy with smartphones is valid - the same components are available (with rare exceptions) on the free market for all smartphone manufacturers. Quality control at all stages of production and the manufacturer's desire to save money (you can install fewer sensors or reduce the requirements for rejection of components) are important.

But the components are far from everything. The key value of the robot vacuum cleaner, as we have already said, is given by the algorithms of work that are embedded in it. The quality of the algorithms provided for the scenarios of work, the improvement of all indicators directly depends on how much the brand invests in development (for example, the iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners use the proprietary Dirt Detect technology, which allows detecting a high concentration of contamination using acoustic sensors, and making several passes through contaminated area (we have a video where you can see how it works). Robot vacuum cleaners from this manufacturer are able to analyze during navigation up to 230400 points in space. Thus, robots with the same characteristics, but from different brands, or from one, but with a difference of generations will react differently to obstacles and pollution and, as a result, give different results.

Another model of robot vacuum cleaners draw a mappremises and further changes (rearrangement of furniture, for example) must be made in the application. Others are adaptable and constantly update the map. The best algorithms also allow for different interpretations of obstacles. For example, for some, the curtain will be perceived as an insurmountable obstacle, while others will understand that there is a curtain in front of them and will easily pass under it, slightly moving it during the cleaning process, as a person would do.

In fact

Robot vacuum cleaners with the samecharacteristics can react differently to obstacles and pollution, depending on how smart and technological their algorithms of work that control the actions of the robot. Which, of course, affects the results and efficiency of cleaning, and, as a result, on the buyer's experience.


The iRobot Roomba Series is capable of detecting areas of high contamination thanks to proprietary Dirt Detect technology.

Misconception 4. Robot vacuum cleaners are not capable of clean cleaning

Traditional vacuum cleaner manufacturers have taughtconsumers to evaluate the efficiency of their devices in terms of such an indicator as suction power. With robotic vacuum cleaners, things are a little different. We all remember about the race of gigahertz and megapixels, but what matters is not so much the number that is easy to show in advertising and compare with another, as the ability of the device to perform its functions. Remember how smartphones with one camera take better pictures than smartphones with two? It's about the same here. In the context of a robot vacuum cleaner, for example, the design of the brush is important. For example, iRobot Roomba series robotic vacuum cleaners have a double brush, which works on the principle of a broom and a scoop - it collects debris from two sides, directing it towards each other and then sucking it into a container. It is worth paying attention to the materials of the brush. Rubber brushes are better for cleaning pet hair and do better on carpets than traditional bristles. Another misconception concerns the corners of the rooms - they say that round robots cannot handle them. But here the quality of cleaning is influenced by the design of external brush-brooms and the work of algorithms that "see" how much garbage is still left and where. Finally, robotic vacuum cleaners are able to clean on schedule - even every other day, even every day, at least three times a day.

In fact

Robot vacuum cleaners with the samecharacteristics can react differently to obstacles and pollution, depending on how smart and technological their algorithms of work that control the actions of the robot. Which, of course, affects the results and efficiency of cleaning, and, as a result, on the buyer's experience.

The iRobot Roomba series is equipped with a double brush that works like a broom and a scoop.

Misconception 5. Robot vacuum cleaners are difficult to operate

The complexity of the robot vacuum cleaner does not exceed anythe device you brought home, plugged in / charged and sent to do its job with the "on" button. If it seems to you that a robot vacuum cleaner is more complicated than this, then, probably, you have in your hands a too low-quality model, which simply does not cope with its main and only function, cries on the doorstep, is afraid of curtains, throws garbage further around the apartment, and only for this reason you think you are doing something wrong. This is not with you, this is with him.

In fact

As for the care of the robot vacuum cleaner, hereeverything is the same as with the usual one, except that you need to clean the container a little more often. The frequency depends on the cleaning frequency and the robot model. The top ones have a self-cleaning function, which means that you need to clean the tank in the base, which is even larger. But as a rule, this is once every one or several days. In addition, from time to time it is necessary to clean the wheels and brushes from coiled hair, change the HEPA filters according to the instruction manual (about once every six months).


Caring for a robot vacuum cleaner is no more difficult than a regular one: you need to clean the brushes from time to time and you can rinse the trash bin under running water.

Misconception 6: 2-in-1 robots are better than specialized robots

From the buyer's point of view, the desire to buythe universal device is clear - more functions for less money. But this approach has drawbacks. Firstly, universal models, even with wet cleaning, can work according to dry algorithms. For example, use brushes and pull dirt inward. What it is fraught with can be seen in our video below. Secondly, and this may already be more dramatic, if the robot does not have a specialization in the type of cleaning, it can use the same wet rag (and it is one for the whole process, that is, during cleaning it is not very clean by itself). carpet, and it will be much more difficult to remove the consequences of such work later than cereals or sand.

In fact

Versatility in addition to savings whenbuying is always a compromise. In fact, a specialized device will always outperform a universal device in terms of efficiency. For example, the iRobot Braava series floor polishers do not just wipe the floor with a damp cloth, but also spray water in front of them, making cleaning more thorough than their universal counterparts. At the same time, they are able to recognize carpeting and will never stain it in the house.


Braava iRobor robots make wet cleaning more efficient than their versatile cousins

Misconception 7. Mobile applications of all robotic vacuum cleaners are the same

A mobile application is a mandatory attribute of smartrobotic vacuum cleaners starting from the lower bar of the middle segment and up to space itself. The application simplifies interaction with the robot and allows you to automate its work. With its help, you can see the cleaning map: where exactly the robot went and if there are any white spots in its route, start cleaning remotely and according to the schedule, send the robot for spot cleaning, see the state of parts, check the last cleaning, etc. This is ideal. But in practice, as always, there are nuances that you should know before buying.

Is it possible to control the robot remotely... It sounds absurd, but not all manufacturerson the market allow control of the vacuum cleaner outside of a single Wi-Fi network. Some, the most "Chinese" models, in fact, cannot be launched, for example, using mobile communications or Wi-Fi elsewhere.

Does the app support your language... If everything is uncertain about the origin of the robot, you may end up with a Chinese app. Yes, it happens.

Is there support for voice assistants... In our country, voice control is not very popular yet, but if you are already addicted, then know that some robotic vacuum cleaners support it.

For example, before buying a robot vacuum cleaner forof a large apartment or house, ask - can he not just build a map of the premises, but name and recognize each of them separately, at the user's choice? To, for example, send a robot to clean a specific room.


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Does the robot know about the existence of a second floor in your house and the need to keep its map separately? Does the user allow the user to mark zones in the rooms that are forbidden for his movement on the map?


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How flexible can you manage the programcleaning your robot? Is it possible, for example, to choose a thorough cleaning mode when you are not at home, and, conversely, make the robot vacuum cleaner work silently, when it will not interfere with you and your household?


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And even for a function as simple as cleaning byschedule, it is worth clarifying whether it is possible to manage the cleaning schedule for each room separately, because in some rooms it makes sense to clean more often than in others.


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In fact

Mobile app availability becomesa mandatory feature of smart home technology. But the technical capabilities of applications from different manufacturers differ in no less than their robotic vacuum cleaners. Here are some questions to ask before purchasing: Will the app work outside of your home Wi-Fi network? Does he have support for your language? Does it know how to work with independent maps of two floors in a house? Does it allow you to manually change the boundaries of rooms and create zones that are not allowed for the movement of the robot vacuum cleaner? And what options does the application have for the advanced settings of the robot vacuum cleaner?


The iRobot mobile app lets you select individual rooms to clean

In the dry residue

Robot vacuum cleaners are certainly a new class of devices for most of us that can make our lives more comfortable. Editorial staff gg expects that this year tens of thousands of familieswill become the owners of such home robotic gadgets. As with any technical innovation, there are many myths and misconceptions built around robot vacuum cleaners. Now you know how true they are. We are sure this will help you make the right choice when buying.