The first rule of being untidy is: keep everything off the floor
Robot vacuum cleaners are becoming increasingly popular, with a few companies joining Roomba in the market over the last couple of years. Neato is the latest to offer a product in the UK, with the XV-15 which boasts laser mapping, and a powerful vacuum – some of the other models are careful to describe themselves as cleaners …
...but in practice, these robotic vacuum cleaners don't really work that well. I have a Roomba and in my experience;
1) Perhaps it's because I'm particularly slovenly or because of my two cats but you have to empty it a lot. I dunno, but having to keep a watchful eye on the little machine to make sure it hasn't filled up seems a little beside the point to me.
2) It's good for a quick sweep around but doesn't have a particularly powerful vacuum so you need to vacuum properly now and then.
3) Because of 2), and the fact that the Roomba can't do stairs, you need another vacuum cleaner. I have one of those little Dysons, initially for doing the bits the Roomba couldn't but recently I just do the lot.
4) Occasionally cat hair gets in the little cogs and you have to do a full disassembly, clean, oil and rebuild job. iRobot make it quite easy but still, I've never had to disassemble any other hoovers I've owned.
5) My Roomba lacks the LCD screen that the Neato product has, which alas means you have to look up a lot of the little warning beeps and boops it makes when things go wrong.
6) Alluded to in this article, the Roomba sometimes fails to navigate properly back to the charging point or doesn't quite sit on it right when it gets there, meaning it dies and looks a little pathetic.
7) You have to keep your place relatively tidy, as alas it lacks a human's "hoovering around crap" skills and can easily get stuck on random objects.
Because of all this I've basically stopped using the Roomba and just use my little Dyson.
I really hope the technology moves on and one day there is a robotic cleaning machine that just gets on with it. Unfortunately we're not there yet.
sucks... but in a good way.
As for robotic appliances, well I just cannot trust any untethered device to "go it alone" no matter how well it supposedly works.
Plus, pushing a good old upright vacuum cleaner around makes for a good workout, I mean I can't get the missus to go to gym or ride her beloved mountain bike, so the Dyson certainly has a dual role...
Having a couple of Roombas, I wouldn't buy another. The battery life is short and the latest one requires removing half the case screws to replace the mounted inside battery. The external battery chargers for the removable battery version seem IME to die like flies. The later version IMO is very poorly designed with the IR sensors losing most of the signal in refractions. I now use a £25 Gtech ($29 Shark in the US). much lighter, works well and only takes a few minutes to do a good touch up cleaning job. I can put up with the slow recharge time and at 1/10 of the cost it's cheaper to buy 2 new ones rather than replacing a Roomba battery! Interesting toys.
If those behind-the-sofa pics are typical, it's clearly not worth buying. You would only have to get your hoover out to finish the job, and end up hoovering the whole lot by hand. I hope these robots improve eventually. I hate vacuuming and would pay $$$ for an effective robot pal.
- needs side brushes
- needs an extra narrow nozzle for some areas, so more intelligence
- needs to know the plan of the whole house. I'm not messing around with magnetic strips
- and much more, as Clarkson would say, "Power!"
1. ewww. If you have more dust bunnies than in the Ventblockers series here in El Reg, or an Western movie, cleaning bots clogging up are the least of your concerns. I see them as means to delay cleaning, not solving it permanently.
2. I got rid of persistent rhinitis by getting rid of rugs. carpet, and curtains. Solid shades are ok, easy to mop. Not much furniture to avoid too. The cleaning bot would be happy in my room, I guess.
3. If positive pressure (cases) work great for PCs avoiding dust, it should work for your living room too. If you are lucky to be in a controlled ventilation floor plan... but I digress, since most dust in a home is said to come from... us.
The coat is for cleaning purposes. Hazmat suit would be even better.
... I'd get one of my upright DC models, and attach some sort of robotic cleaner to it.
Maybe modify the cylinder so the pipe attachment is a 360-swivel thing on the top.
Would need a sensor to help it get over the power cable.
Then I would have a mains-powered robotic cleaner that had the dust capacity of a proper vacuum cleaner. smaller and lighter becuase no need for batteries or a dust receptacle.
1. It needs to charge itself, but it will only go 'back to base' if it can, if it's upstairs, it won't - so I need to take it back down to charge.
2. It doesn't empty itself and has very little capacity - so I have to empty it 5x more than a conventional vacuum
3. It doesn't do corners, so, I have to use a conventional vacuum to do those ... erm ... back to that in a minute
4. It gets blocked up easily, so I have to unclog it often.
This all sounds like a massive FAIL to me.
Point 3 is the kicker. If still have to vacuum the corners and edges of a room - arguably the most tedious part of vacuuming, exactly how taxing is it going to be to just vacuum the rest of the room manually? It's a 2 minute job to do that part.
Does it handle mats, will it lift the covers on the couches and vacuum under them? - nope.
In short, a useless gimmick. The amount of time spent 'looking after' it and having to manually vacuum the bits it can't do, makes the job of vacuuming a house even more tedious!
We were promised Jet Packs dammit, and robots - and all we get are poxy second-rate vacuum cleaners that suck.
Unlike any other posters, I actually do own the XV-15.
In my flat Neato works rather well, wife runs it about daily - That's the big advantage of a cleaning bot, you can let it do it's stuff while you're getting groceries or whatever and it doesn't mind doing it every day. Cleaning result is adequate meaning it does pick off a lot of gunk. Corners are not handled and you still have to clean up manually occasionally. Much less often than otherwise, tho. Emptying the dust bin is hardly a big deal considering it's designed to be easily detached.
I got two cats and pretty easy apartment with no rugs. Most setup needed was to place some plastic strip under certain furniture Neato would get stuck on / waste lot of time navigating - There's a problem with furniture that has just enough gap under it that the laser doesn't see it but the top of the robot will get caught..
Otherwise the navigation works quite well, neato will steer around obstacles like your feet when you're sitting on the couch. With latest firmware it seems the thing gets confused less often, previously it'd sometimes eg. give up trying to find a way out from under baby crib too easily.
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