robot cleaner?The Limitations Of Automatic Cleaning Devices For Your Home

An honest look at the advantages and drawbacks of the innovative robot vacuum cleaner – are they really worth such a heavy investment?

With the rapid advancement of technology, it seems that new machines are being launched constantly to help or even eradicate the need for us to carry out various daily errands. From self-ordering fridges that assess your stock of fresh food, to automatic lawn mowers that cut your grass on command, technology is certainly replacing some of the more mundane aspects of everyday living. However, in the case of robotic vacuum cleaners, we question how effective they are in comparison to a person operating a hoover in a traditional fashion.

Advantages Of Robot Vacuum Cleaners

It’s easy to understand what the appeal of a robot vacuum cleaner is. With some models you can automate the schedule of the device to switch on every day at a specific time and run across your floors gathering dust, dirt and debris as it goes. Various types of robot cleaner will even return themselves to the charging station afterwards to plug back in. The robots will run underneath bookcases and sofas that if you’re honest, you don’t normally touch each and every time you get the upright hoover out. So, essentially your room could be getting cleaner with zero effort required from you. Sounds good so far?

Substantial Outlay

Affordable robotic vacuum cleaners such as those by Vileda are on the market from as little as £72. However, the model that dominates most automatic cleaning discussions in terms of effectiveness is the iRobot Roomba 650 which is priced at around £330. At either end of the price scale, anyone wanting to invest a significant amount of money in a robotic vacuum cleaner needs to be aware of its limitations.

Stairs

Unfortunately, unlike Daleks, these clever devices haven’t as yet found a way to go up staircases, so you’ll still need to be prepared to drag out your handheld hoover anyway to freshen up your steps.

Emptying

Robot cleaners are also much smaller than your average hoover, so you’ll also need to be on hand to change the bin and empty it of debris, sometimes halfway through a cleaning cycle. This isn’t so much of a problem if you live in a small area such as a studio flat, but if you have large rooms in a family home, then dirt can build up quite quickly.

Negotiating Obstacles

Put simply, robotic vacuum cleaners are not for the untidy. You’ll need to keep your floors clear of household items such as toys and shoes or else your robot will be unable to do its job to the best of its ability. However, aside from the fact that your cleaner might not be able to gain access to certain areas if there are things in the way, more worryingly it may also get caught up in things like shoe laces or computer cables. You’ll also need to avoid or remove delicate rugs with tassels or floor-length curtains that it could become tangled in. It would be much wiser to lift up your curtains out of harm’s way and to have your rug cleaning done professionally by hand.

Pattern Of Movement

When the robot begins its cleaning session, it appears to go off in a random pattern and then hovers and concentrates on a specific spot when it comes across a particularly dirty area. Due to the lack of method and the slow speed at which it moves, the robot almost certainly takes longer to clean a room than a person with a hoover would.

Ultimately, with the amount of tidying, emptying and checking you’ll have to do anyway with a robot vacuum cleaner, you may as well just get the hoover out and do it yourself.