A robotic vacuum would seem to be a dream come true for anyone who hates having to clean the home on the weekend and doesn’t want to hire a maid.

They come not as these Japanese-inspired standing robots with a broom in their robotic hand, but as a circular disc that is capable of moving around the home under its steam. Steam does not power them – they’re not a boat – they get their power from a rechargeable battery. Owners don’t always have to remember to plug in the robotic cleaner for charging overnight along with their cell phone because several of the models on the market are capable of remembering to drive themselves over to the charging port to get an energy top up.

It is possible to create a cleaning schedule for your pet cleaning robot to ensure that it makes the best use of the free time during the day when you’re at the office. Doing so avoids a sudden surprise when the robot seems to run amok cleaning on its own time and avoids the feeling creeping in that there’s a ghost in the machine. In fact, a simple cleaning program is set by the robot’s owner or they can just lean down to press a button on the unit to get it to start cleaning.

Each robot uses its set of sensors to follow a pre-determined course around the floor or carpeted area. The device maps each room, and this allows it to avoid known obstacles. Rugs get handled by an elevation feature that some robots possess where they can raise their edge to lift over the rug and push forward onto it so that the rug is vacuumed too. Ingenious.

Sensors don’t just look at the floor. They’re also often capable of looking upwards to see the objects above the floor level to get a better map of each room.

Some robots are careful of their surroundings, slowing down near the edge of the room to avoid impacting the skirting along the wall. When getting near to the edge of the carpet, they can choose to change direction.

The cleaning process includes brushes, a suction ability, and an agitator that combined help to sweep up, suck up and move around stubborn bits of debris on the carpet that resist removal.

The robots handle different floor surfaces with aplomb. The surfaces they can include hardwood, tiled (like in bathrooms), laminated (like in kitchens), and carpeted floors. Just remember to leave the interior doors open so that the cleaning robot can move around freely doing its duty.

Unusual items like pet hair are also cleaned well, though pulling up pet hair from the sofa is probably still a task that needs performing manually.

Wireless connectivity is not a high point with these types of cleaners, so they often lack Bluetooth and other types of connectivity. It depends on the make and model, though because the more expensive robotic vacuums have full mobile app connectivity and control options from iPhone and Android devices.

What’s Included with The Best Robotic Vacuum

The robotic vacuum comes with its cleaning device and a built-in Lithium-ion battery usually in the 2,000-3,000mAh range which powers a cleaning cycle around 90-120 minutes on many units. To fully charge the unit, 3-4 hours is required.

A digital keypad on an LCD is usually offered on the top of the robot to make it easier to program. A separate remote control is often included in the package, but batteries may not be.

The weight of a robot is around 3-5 pounds, so it is possible to pick it up, yet they are not light.

A mop cloth, cleaning cloth, and HEPA filter usually is included to provide a sanitary cleaning service.

For charging, an AC adapter and a charging dock are provided. Depending on the model, the robot vacuum may be able to self-dock for charging when it realizes it needs to top up its power.

What to Know Before Making a Purchase

There will likely still be areas of the home that the robot cleaner cannot touch, like the sofa, tables, chairs, and any other raised surfaces. Dusting the home isn’t something that these cleaners are equipped to do either, so cleaning is not ruled out entirely post-purchase.

Other Considerations

The better models come with larger rechargeable batteries. With the bigger battery, the robot can clean for longer periods between charges, but will take more time to recharge again.

Best Brands

iRobot innovative iAdapt technology helps their robotic products move around the home or office unobstructed.

Anker makes many electronics products that extend the usefulness of the existing items people already own. Their products include a best-selling USB charger, batteries, connectivity tools, and other appliances.

ILife is the company behind their circular robot gadget that is attracting attention and whispers in growing number.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Cats: Some pets will want to ride around on the robot or just find it curious. Other pets are a little bit wary of these robot vacuums just like they are with a regular vacuum; usually, this is because of the sound they make when cleaning.

Dark detection: Robotic cleaners usually stop moving forward when they detect a black or dark surface. The reason for this is that space appears to the sensors like the edge of a staircase or a cliff-top fall, and the safety mechanism takes effect. For this reason, sometimes robot vacuums will not work well on dark carpeting.

Opening doors: Some robot cleaners are capable of opening doors to gain access to a bathroom or bedroom to clean it.

Cleaning under objects: Getting under beds and tables is something that these tools can do well. It depends on what the clearance level is with each object in the home whether the robot cleaner will be able to get under it or not.