Robot vacuum cleaner FAQ
Either you have finally taken the plunge and purchased a robot vacuum cleaner, or you are considering purchasing such a handy cleaning aid. We can imagine that you have quite a few questions about such a device. In many ways, it works slightly differently from a vacuum cleaner that you operate by hand. That is why we have a handy overview here with the most frequently asked questions about robot vacuum cleaners. Quickly check whether your question is also listed!
What are the benefits of a robot vacuum cleaner?
You also thought of the fact that you don’t have to vacuum the floor yourself or much less. It saves time and effort. But because robot vacuum cleaners can work all by themselves, you don’t have to sit on the couch: feel free to leave the house. Or if your automatic vacuum cleaner has WiFi, you can even turn it on at work or on vacation. You can often schedule the cleaning periodically. Another advantage of robot vacuum cleaners is that they get under furniture more easily than when you are cleaning with a vacuum cleaner with a handle . Handy, right?
Does a robot vacuum replace the normal vacuum cleaner?
A powerful robot vacuum cleaner can clean the floor just as well or even better than a regular hand vacuum cleaner. But just think about what you can do with a normal vacuum cleaner that you cannot with a robot vacuum cleaner and you will think twice before you put your regular vacuum cleaner in the garage. For example, vacuuming corners between the wall and ceiling, vacuuming crumbs from the sofa, or removing dust from lampshades. Of course you can also solve this with a combination of handheld vacuum cleaners, dusters and brushes, but it just goes to show that an automatic vacuum cleaner cannot do everything. The regular vacuum cleaner will certainly not become superfluous.
Why are there such large price differences between robot vacuum cleaners?
In fact, the price of robot vacuum cleaners from around a hundred dollars can easily go up to a thousand or more. This is mainly due to three factors: build quality, capabilities and performance. In addition, it also happens that less well-known brands market cheaper models for a low price in order to gain market share. Unfortunately, there is not always a linear relationship between price, quality, performance and possibilities. That’s why you should pay close attention when comparing robot vacuum cleaners. In addition, always pay attention to the warranty period that you get from the manufacturer. It helps if you have a good idea of your needs and your budget.
What are the quality differences between robot vacuum cleaners?
Build quality can vary. This partly determines the lifespan of the device, but also its performance. These achievements also vary: some vacuuming robots are useful for keeping your house that little bit tidier, but you will still have to vacuum by hand. The best robot vacuum cleaners and top models can easily cope with getting the floor so clean that you no longer have to vacuum yourself. But as mentioned, the regular vacuum cleaner or handheld vacuum can still reach many more places than a household robot.
What different options do robot vacuum cleaners have?
All cordless vacuum cleaners can in principle clean a floor all by themselves at the touch of a button. But there is a range of additional options and capabilities and options that different models can be equipped with. Usually the following applies: the more expensive, the more (advanced) options. There are too many possible features to discuss here at once, but many are self-explanatory and others come back as their own FAQs in this list. For example, area demarcation, way of navigation, on-board cameras, automatic charging and resuming, a mopping function and spot clean.
Is a robot vacuum safe for pets?
Even though there are plenty of vacuuming robots that can vacuum pet hair without any problems, you can of course wonder whether you should let your pets walk around while robot vacuums does the cleaning. You may have seen a funny video of a cat driving around on a robot vacuum cleaner. Whether your pet climbs up right away or not, robot vacuum cleaners often go well with pets. After all, it is not a robot lawn mower that has sharp blades. It is best to see how your animal reacts to it the first (few) times, then you know best if you can leave them in a room together.
How does the navigation of a robot vacuum cleaner work?
How does a robot vacuum cleaner know its way around your house? That differs from manufacturer to manufacturer and from model to model. Sometimes the answer to the cheapest models is that the vacuum cleaning robot does not know the way. It just drives around randomly, avoids obstacles and is done after a while. Sometimes it seems random, but it remembers where it has been. Sometimes it works systematically according to a straight-line pattern or a spiral. The robot finds his way by using his collision and distance sensors, and using a special environment scanner (a laser) or filming the ceiling with a camera. And rest assured, hacking a robot vacuum cleaner can be prevented by properly securing your network.
How can I best clean the sensors of the robot vacuum cleaner?
If the optical sensors, such as a ceiling camera on the top or the cliff sensors on the bottom, get dirty, they will no longer be able to see where the cordless vacuum cleaner is and it is more likely to get lost or even damaged. For example, collision sensors also perform better if there is no dirt on them. When cleaning a robot vacuum, make sure to do this with a dry cloth, cotton swab or can of compressed air, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. When using water and / or cleaning agents, you run the risk of damaging the sensor.
How do I know how much area a robot vacuum cleaner can clean?
That mainly depends on the battery life. While many advanced models can clean in stages, it is nice and convenient to keep the floor space below the maximum range of a battery charge. You often see the range of the battery expressed in usage time. That is logical, but remember that this is only an average: a turbo setting and / or dirt detection, for example, costs more energy for a short period of time. Driving around and using the sensors also costs energy.
If you have more obstacles in the house that the robot vacuum cleaner has to go around, or a constantly changing surface – light / dark floor, rugs, thresholds – then that costs more energy. Therefore, the actual range depends on your exact situation. Specified dimensions are always an indication: handy to estimate, but you only really know when you test. When in doubt, it is preferable to use a broader indication, or ask for special advice. This is certainly worth it if you want to purchase a more expensive model of wireless vacuum cleaner.
What if my floor is too big to clean on a single battery charge?
It may be that the battery was not completely full when you turned on the automatic vacuum cleaner, or you have moved to a larger house and the battery can no longer handle the floor size. For whatever reason, the battery runs out before the end of the cleaning program. What now? Many vacuum cleaning robots have a function to recognize when the battery voltage is low. Then they drive back themselves to recharge. Some models also remember how far they were and continue on their own until cleaning is complete. But some models don’t: then you have to start over with the cleaning.
How do I prevent my robot vacuum from getting somewhere I don’t want?
There are several ways to do this. The easiest way, of course, is to just keep the door closed or create other physical barriers, but it can also be more elegant. Many robotic vacuum cleaners listen to a virtual wall: an invisible line that is projected on the ground by a special device. The vacuum cleaner robot knows that it cannot go over it. Optionally, you can combine this virtual wall with a “light house” function, such as Roomba’s have. Then the virtual wall opens after a while and Roomba can move on to the next room.
Some manufacturers, such as Neato , even allow you to control the access of your vacuum cleaning robot in the App. You do this by drawing “No Go” lines there. The navigation and software of the robot vacuum cleaner receive these lines via WiFi and the device knows that it cannot pass them. This is the most beautiful and simplest solution, because you do not need additional, special, physical devices for this.
How long does it take to vacuum with a robot vacuum cleaner?
It depends on what your home looks like. Manual vacuuming is almost always faster, because your experience and spatial awareness mean that you work faster than the robot vacuum cleaner, which always has to navigate and make decisions. The more obstacles, the longer it will take. But if you vacuum yourself, you will lose that time and that was just not the intention. That is why with models that you can program or switch on with WiFi, you can also vacuum remotely (from your work), or at night. This way you will not be bothered when the automatic vacuum cleaner spins in circles.
Can you also operate a robot vacuum cleaner by hand?
Yes and no. Due to its physical properties, you cannot hold a vacuum cleaning robot to operate it by hand. But with a fair number of models, a remote control is included. In this way you control exactly where the robot vacuum cleaner goes. Sometimes such a remote control is missing, but you can control the household robot directly with an app on your smartphone. Both are also possible. You cannot control some models, but they are suitable for performing a spot clean, for example. More and more household appliances are becoming “smart”, such as washing machines, portable air conditioners , refrigerators and dehumidifiers .
What is a spot clean and how do I perform it?
You know what? I just had a nice sandwich, but rather crumbled. Or repot a houseplant and now there is soil on the floor. Instead of grabbing your petty thief, you can often use your robot vacuum cleaner for this. The spot clean function is special to quickly and thoroughly clean a single spot, without having to work through an entire program for the entire room. It depends on your model how you activate the spot clean function. You can send some models to the place yourself with the App. Others you have to lift, put down and then press a special “spot clean” button.
Can I also mop with a robot vacuum cleaner?
Some manufacturers choose to have their robot vacuum cleaners exclusively vacuumed. Neato and iRobot for example. But at iRobot you can purchase a special mopping robot in addition to a Roomba: the Braava. Other manufacturers, such as Philips SmartPro , have a variant with a microfiber cloth behind the suction mouth. These then work as a dry mop. A number of LG vacuum cleaners can also handle a wet mop. So this is a complete cleaning solution. The Xiaomi Roborock S6 also has a mopping function.
What is a HEPA air filter?
The abbreviation HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air, but the A can also stand for “absorbtion” or “arrestance.” HEPA is basically a type of air filter and a standard of air filtration. In general you can assume that a HEPA filter is good enough to use if you have a dust allergy. This is because it very efficiently removes microscopic dust particles, dust mites and other allergens from the air. This is also possible with another named filter, but for extra security it is best to choose a robot vacuum cleaner with a real HEPA filter.
How long does a (HEPA) filter last?
Prolonged use causes dust particles to get stuck in the filtering material of an air filter, HEPA or not. You can clean the filter in various ways, such as beating, brushing or washing if the material is washable. But you never remove all the particles. The result is that you have to replace the filter once in a while. When this is the case, it differs, among other things, on the basis of what and how often you vacuum. You will therefore have to estimate it yourself. The manual always gives instructions, for example once every 2 months for a Roomba.