NO MAID DURING LOCKDOWN AND NOW YOU REALISE HOW TOUGH IT IS TO KEEP YOUR HOME CLEAN ALL BY YOURSELF
Yes it is tough but the way there is a key to every lock – there is a solution to every problem. The solution here is – ROBOT VACUUM CLEANERS. Robot vacuums are the most in-things today —and why not? Keeping the house clean is the most disliked household chores during lockdown (and might be after it also). Yes we can use the normal vacuum cleaners but the tedium of dusting, pushing and dragging a noisy, bulky vacuum is another torture.
Robot vacuums are without any cords or hoses to play around with, and they require minimal effort from the user: they are run from anywhere in your house using a physical remote or a smartphone app. The higher-end models have extra features – they can be programmed to start cleaning without any intervention at all. Robot vacuums easily dispose of the most common household waste—food crumbs, pet hair, dust, etc.—making them ideal for routine and quick cleaning.
Cost & are they worth it?
Robot vacuum cleaners are not cheap. In India they start from INR 20,000 and can go upto INR 1,00,000 (depending on the features you chose to buy). The convenience robot vacuums provide come at a cost. To help you determine which ones are worth the expense, we tested models from some of the most popular brands at home, where the floors are punished daily by kids, and a dog. We tasked each one with vacuuming a 250+ square foot space that includes carpet, laminated flooring, and PVC that was regularly littered with waste like pet hair, dirt, dog saliva, and other debris. This was done keeping the furniture and any other floor clutter as it generally is at home.
First thing first – be assured even the most premium robot vacuum is a supplement, not a substitute, for your stand-up vacuum. Manufacturers might claim anything, most just don’t have the same suction power of a normal vacuum. So, how do they help us? You may think of them as an easy way to maintain your floors in between deeper cleanings.
Robot vacuum features and functions
Fundamentally, the robot vacuums move around our home on wheels suctioning debris from our floors. There are two to four brushes on the bottom (depending on the model)—both rolling-style agitators and spinning side brushes—grab dirt from the floor and wall edges respectively, and direct it straight to a small, filtered dustbin. When cleaning is complete, or their battery is running low, they return themselves to their home – charging dock.
Some basic features and functions are:
All models include an “automatic” mode that requires you to just press a button on a remote, or in an app, or on the vacuum itself to clean a room. This is great for daily cleaning when you are present at home, but most models can also be programmed to clean on a schedule – this is really helpful for those who have a travelling job or have to be out of home majorly for work. Some higher-end models also integrate with Amazon Echo and Google Home, which allows us to control them using voice commands.
Robot vacuum can be adjusted to clean either carpet and hard flooring. Most models feature the ability to change suction and other cleaning functions to adapt to different floor surfaces, either automatically or with input from the user. Some also have a spot mode for more concentrated cleaning on a small area (cleaning up a spill, for example), include options for single- and double-passes of a room, or offer an option to focus just on cleaning along wall skirting.
The real fun of robot vacuums is their ability to complete their task with minimal effort from you. In order to do that, they must be able to navigate a room’s unique layout, move around furniture and other floor clutters, and avoid hazards such as falling down stairs and getting tangled in electrical cords.
Robot vacuums sense through a combination of sensors. Cliff sensors let it know when there is an increase in distance to the floor—e.g., stairs—so it doesn’t tip over the edge. Other sensors tell it when it has bumped into an object, so it can change direction, or is near a wall, so it can follow it. Still other sensors help the robot vacuum track how far it has travelled. Depending on the manufacturer and model, a robot vacuum might also include sensors that determine the amount of dirt present so it can adjust its cleaning mode accordingly.
Manufacturers are increasingly including mapping capabilities in some of their robot vacuums. These models use an onboard camera or laser reflections to produce a 360-degree view of the room. This allows the robot vacuum to create a map of the space and locate itself within that map.
The advantage of mapping is the vacuum will know which areas it has already cleaned and which it is yet to, to avoid going over the same spot unnecessarily. It also lets the vacuum know where to resume cleaning if it must stop and recharge midway through the task. This makes it ideal for larger rooms and—because it’s still something of a premium feature—larger budgets.
The dimensions of a robot vacuum matter for a couple of reasons. First, they will determine how well it can get into tight spots, such as under your low-clearance furniture (couches and recliners). If it’s too tall, it won’t be able reach into these spots, or worse, it will get in and get stuck until you physically pull it out. Second, the bigger the robot vacuum, the larger the dustbin. Robot vacuums don’t use expandable bags like many of their stand-up counterparts do, so when it comes to debris capacity, what you see is what you get.
There is no sweet spot for robot vacuum dimensions that we could determine—it really depends on your particular room layout—but a diameter of 13- to 14 inches and a height of 3.5 to 4 inches are the most common measurements we encountered.
Wi-Fi-enabled robot vacuums allow you to control them with a smartphone app instead of, or in addition to, a physical remote. That convenience alone doesn’t really warrant the extra cost these models command, but some model’s apps also provide other perks, such as detailed cleaning histories and the ability to save and edit floor maps for better navigation. Those models are worth considering if you’re cleaning large, intricate spaces.