Robot vacuums aren’t for everyone. I consider robot vacuums to be a luxury time saving (and back saving) device for homes with a certain type of floor plan and inhabitants with a certain type of lifestyle.
In my opinion, a robot vacuum should not be your ONLY vacuum. Robot vacuums are amazing for an end of the day whole house clean, but when it comes to concentrated messes, baseboards, or stairs you will still need a regular vacuum.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not a robot vacuum is for you, I am breaking down the pros and cons below to help you make an informed decision.
Is a Robot Vacuum Right for You?
Let’s start by determining if you might be a good candidate for a robot vacuum. If you fall into one or more of the categories listed below then a robot vacuum might be a smart investment.
Your Floor Plan Has Little to No Elevation Changes
Robot vacuums work best on flat surfaces with minimal elevation change. So if your home’s layout includes a sunken living room or steps that separate multiple common areas, your robot vacuum won’t be able to travel to those areas on its own.
Speaking of stairs, if you use a robot vacuum on an upper story, you will also need to prevent your robot vacuum from falling down a set of stairs. You can place some sort of barrier at the top of the staircase (we happen to have a baby gate installed), set special limits on your vacuum’s map (if you have a smart robot vacuum), or install floor mounted strips that inform the vacuum of no-go zones (available for select brands/models of robot vacuums).
You Have Low Pile Carpet and Flat Hard Surface Flooring
The suction power and ability to navigate high pile carpets is going to vary from robot vacuum to robot vacuum. Generally, you will see best results when using a robot vacuum on flat, low pile carpets (avoid sheepskin or shag carpets!) and flat, hard surface flooring.
You Live with Minimal Clutter
Robot vacuums are infamous for getting tangled in the clutter left out around the house. Loose cords, purse straps, socks, and small toys are high on my list of items that cause our robot vacuum to pause.
One workaround is to invest in a smart robot vacuum where you can map it to only run in decluttered rooms. Otherwise you’ll have to maintain a clutter-free space or “race the robot” (my strategy) and use it as motivation to pick up and declutter as it roams your home.
You Have a Physical Disability
Besides the time saving benefit, there is also an energy saving benefit to robot vacuums. With a robot vacuum, the only physical requirement is to bend down and empty the canister at the end of a cleaning. This can be game changing for people with chronic fatigue, pain, or other physical limitations.
Robot Vacuum Features to Consider
At this point you may have decided that you’re a good candidate for a robot vacuum. Now it’s time to determine which vacuum is right for you! Let’s start by prioritizing robot vacuum features to help you make the best selection for your home.
Do you have a low sofa, bed, or chairs that you want your robot vacuum to clean underneath? Cleaning under low furniture is one of my favorite perks of using our robot vacuum! Take measurements of the height of your lowest furniture pieces and try to invest in a vacuum that will fit.
If you need a very low profile robot vacuum, I recommend the Eufy Robovac 11S. At only 2.85” high, this is one of the lowest profile (highly rated) robot vacuums on the market.
Are you going to run your robot vacuum at night while you’re watching TV? Some robot vacuums are so noisy that they make it difficult to enjoy TV, music, phone conversations, or other activities where you don’t want background noise. I purchased a Eufy vacuum primarily because I read that it was much quieter than its competitors.
If noise is important to you, consider the Eufy 30C. It’s quiet and compatible with smart home devices like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The Eufy Robovac 11S is not compatible with smart home devices but it’s sold at a slightly lower price point and is also highly reviewed for running quietly.
Map vs General Algorithm
Not all robot vacuums are “smart” vacuums. Some create and save a digital map of your home’s floor plan, while others use a non-personalized algorithm to navigate your floor plan. What I like about a digitized map is the ability to program “no-go” zones.
Say my kids’ play area is a disaster and I don’t have the energy to pick it up before running the vacuum. Instead of my robot vacuum getting stuck on a lego, I can just block that area on the digital map and the vacuum will ignore it.
If you’re on a tight budget but still want the mapping functionality, the Wyze Robot Vacuum is a great option.
- Wyze Robot Vacuum (budget friendly mapping technology) – Amazon
Multiple Floor Plans
Speaking of mapping floor plans, what if you live in a multi-story home? Does that mean you have to invest in a robot vacuum for every story of your house?
Not necessarily! Higher end smart robot vacuums offer the option to map and save multiple floor plans. All you have to do is pick up the vacuum and walk it up and down your stairs then select the correct floor plan in an app. If this is important to you, I recommend the
More basic robot vacuums (non-mapping) you can also just pick up and drop on any floor of your home and let it go to work. Just be careful to block stair access on upper levels – you don’t want your vacuum to crash!
Self Emptying Canister
If you’re the type of person where emptying the canister after every use is enough to prevent you from vacuuming regularly, consider a model with a self emptying canister. These vacuums will charge on a station with a canister that sucks the dust and debris right out of your vacuum.
You will only have to empty the larger canister occasionally, making this chore one less thing to think about before starting your vacuum, saving you even MORE time and energy.
Does your home have mostly carpet/rugs or mostly hard surfaced floors? My home is primarily hard floors so it was worthwhile for me to invest in a robot vacuum that included mopping functionality. It’s honestly game changing!
Don’t expect a deep clean from a robot mop, but my Eufy L70 does a great job. The mop cleans as well (if not better) than a stick mop (like a Swiffer). Plus it’s on the quieter side so it won’t completely disrupt your evening TV time while it runs.
If you want a vacuum mop combination that would work in a multi-story home, the RoboRock S5 would be my pick. It can store up to 4 floor plans and has fantastic reviews on performance.
Lastly, if all you need is a robot mop, then save your money and instead invest in the iRobot Braava Jet 240.
A Word About Pets and Robot Vacuums
If you have pets who occasionally have “accidents” on the floor of your home… beware. Some robot vacuums have sensitive sensors that will prevent it from running right over said “accident” debris but others do not!
As I’m sure you can imagine, this could lead to a SERIOUS mess throughout your home (not to mention ruin your expensive robot vacuum). If you are a pet owner, it might be worth investing in a high quality (more expensive) model like the iRobot j7+.
The iRobot j7+ has a smart sensor that helps the vacuum avoid “obstacles.” It also boasts superior suction to collect unwanted pet hair without getting tangled or clogged. Lastly, this model is self emptying so you can schedule it to run daily without manually emptying the canister for up to 60 days.
How I Use My Vacuum
The Vacuum I Purchased
Months ago I purchased the Eufy L70. It’s a vacuum + mop combo that makes minimal noise and has smart mapping functionality. As far as functionality goes, it does a great job on my floors! My husband and I are always impressed the morning after it finishes cleaning for us.
With that said, we live in a 2 story home and now I’m kicking myself a bit for not researching multi-floor plan compatible models because ours only saves one floor plan at a time. If you’re also in a multi-story home, on a budget, in need of a mop/vacuum combination, I would invest in the RoboRock S5. It has similar performance specs to the Eufy L70 and is sold at a similar price point but can store up to 4 floor plan maps.
Robot Vacuum Routine
I run our vacuum 2-4 times per week. I stay home during the day with two small boys (3 and 1 years old) so plenty of messes are made throughout the day! During the day I’ll spot clean after meals with my beloved Dyson V8 Cordless vacuum.
After putting the kids to bed I’ll play “race the Eufy” and pick everything up off of our floors as fast as I can. I finish washing dishes while it finishes vacuuming my floors.
Once it’s done vacuuming, I’ll empty the canister then fill the mop compartment with water and attach the mop pad. Then it does a round of light mopping while my husband and I enjoy a show or get ready for bed. This routine means I get to wake up and walk downstairs to a completely clean living room, dining room, kitchen, and play room – a HUGE stress relief for me personally.
Do I Recommend a Robot Vacuum?
Short answer: yes. Sure, it’s an investment but as a busy (very tired) mom who thrives in a clean space, it’s BEYOND worth the investment in my opinion.
Plus, our robot vacuum has freed up enough extra time (and energy) for me to clean the rest of our house more regularly. We used to pay close to $300 per month for a bi-weekly cleaning service and now I pay half of that for once a month service. In a few short months these savings alone have justified our purchase.
Even if I wasn’t off-setting the cost of a cleaning service, the peace of mind knowing that my kids are playing on clean floors every day is worth it to me. If you have kids or furry pets I think that a robot vacuum can be absolutely game changing. Two thumbs up, definitely recommend!