The robot vacuum has been around since the mid-1990s but didn’t become a big deal until the launch of the Roomba by iRobot in 2002.
Robot vacuums are autonomous robots that clean floors using spinning brushes and intelligent programming. Usually these vacuums have limited capabilities but enhanced models can avoid walls, reach tight corners or combine other cleaning features such as ultraviolet sterilization.
According to market research firm Future Market Insights, the robot vacuum market reached nearly $1.5 billion in 2016, up from about $1.3 billion in 2015. The rise in these vacuums is the result of rising urbanization with consumers having less time to do household chores with a busy lifestyle, Future Market Insights notes.
But what are the benefits to owning a robot vacuum and why should you be interested in buying one? Here are a few reasons.
1) Scheduled Cleaning
Nearly every robot vacuum features the ability to set a specific day or time to clean the floor. Scheduled cleaning meaning you can just set it and forget it without any human interaction at all. Set it during the night while you sleep or are away at work. But the bot can also be used to clean on a moment’s notice if a mess gets out of hand.
2) Hard-to-Reach Areas
Because of their small stature, robot vacuums have the ability to clean under furniture and other tough-to-reach spots that generally do not get vacuumed. The Neato Botvac D80 even has a side brush so it can reach even smaller areas. Children have a nasty habit of sticking stuff in the cracks of everywhere and you don’t find it until much later. Robot vacuums help with the mess.
3) Adjusts to Different Surfaces
A robot vacuum can configure its brushes to whatever surface it is on, meaning if it moves from a carpet to a hardwood floor it will adjust the brushes to match the surface. This comes in handy if you have a home with more than one type of surface.
Some robot vacuums, such as the Braava Jet or iLIFE V5S, double as an automated robot mop that can cleanup spot spills or a mess in a particular area. While many of these mop bots have proven to be mediocre at the task, it beats just leaving the mess.
Like most robots, vacuums run on a portable power source, typically lithium-ion or nickel metal hydride batteries. The robot can operate for up to two hours between recharges. Luckily, the intelligent programming tells the robot to go to a docking station to recharge automatically when it is out of juice.
6) Low Upkeep
In traditional vacuums, things can go wrong in one operation. A string can get tangled or the motor can blow. Generally, robot vacuums tend to be low maintenance and are built of quality materials that allow for years of operation. This is also why these devices are typically higher in cost. An owner must simply change the bag or empty a container on occasion.
7) Smart Home Connectivity
Some of the more advanced robot vacuums, such as the Roomba 980, are compatible with smart home hubs and can be controlled via voice activation. The Roomba 980 works with Amazon Alexa so control is as easy as saying “Alexa, vacuum my floors.”
8) Boundary Setting
Got an area off-limits to the vacuum because it's too cluttered or dangerous? Robot vacuums have the ability to establish boundaries and automatically avoid restricted areas.
9) Saves Your Time
Everyone is busy and overextended. Taking time to vacuum floors is a task that can get overlooked. These robots allow tasks to get done while you attend your kid’s soccer match or hit the gym.
10) Improved Health
If you suffer from allergies or can’t stand having a bunch of dust around, robot vacuums can help in a big way to make the air more breathable and clean. A bot such as Samsung’s POWERbot can be automatically set up and helps keeping a home hypoallergenic.