Robot Vacuum Cleaners, extravagance or everyday life?April 15, 2020
The world is accelerating and we are meeting new developments in science at every step. Progress does not bypass our homes. Everything around becomes intelligent: we can talk to the phone, create our own programs for the washing machine, turn off the light with a voice. Modern technologies squeeze into every corner of our lives. However, cleaning robots are among the most-developed home appliances, which are gaining recognition around the world.
Robot or machine?
Robotization has already established itself in large-scale productions. At the production lines, which until recently stood people, now stand robots that perform the work faster and more accurately. Until recently, ordinary machines that could not operate without a human gained some level of consciousness. So what is the difference between a machine and a robot? In a nutshell, the robot knows its task and is able to control its work while the machine is operated and controlled by a human.
This is the main difference between a traditional vacuum cleaner and a cleaning robot.
Can a robot replace a traditional vacuum cleaner then?
The answer is clear. No. Even the best cleaning robot will not (yet) replace a traditional vacuum cleaner. Robots available on the market are not intelligent enough to reach into the nooks under the wardrobe or vacuum the plinths. They will not move furniture for us and they are not able to enter everywhere. However, with an ever faster pace of life they can significantly simplify daily cleaning for us.
What do we have now on the market?
Before we decide to buy a cleaning robot, it is worth taking a closer look at the possibilities that we have on the market. We currently have several options available in the cleaning robots category:
- Vacuuming robots,
- Mopping Robots,
- Robots with both functions above.
Of course, this is not the end of the scope of housework, in which robots can replace us, but today we will focus on the floors of our homes.
When it comes to choice, it’s best to be guided by the activities that we do every day. However, it should be remembered that we are not talking about thorough cleaning before Christmas, but about daily routine.
If returning from work in the first place you grab a brush to sweep the sand brought home, your robot should have the function of vacuuming and be equipped with good sweeping brushes, but if you are most disturbed by dried stains and wet dirt, when buying a robot follow its washing options . Of course, there are robots on the market that have both of these functions, but then you have to reckon with a much higher price, and functionality can leave a lot to be desired.
It should be taken into account that the robot will travel over the entire surface of the apartment, and wet cleaning of carpets is not a good option on a daily basis.
Placing the surfaces on which we do not want the robot to enter is missing the sense of shopping itself. In the end, the robot is to do the work for us, not provide us with a new one.
How does the cleaning robot work?
Vacuum cleaning robots are devices much smaller than the average vacuum cleaner which, when turned on, move around the apartment and clean the dirt.
Depending on the selected model, they can move chaotically around the apartment according to a programmed algorithm, or “learn” the map of the apartment.
They have software and sensors that allow them to orientate in space, plan a path along which they will move and avoid objects standing in their way. They are powered by a battery that needs to be charged from time to time, so there is no problem with tangled cables.
How to choose a cleaning robot?
When choosing a model for our apartment, we must take into account the conditions in which our robot will work. To make the purchase best suited to our needs, pay attention to such parameters as:
- battery capacity,
- waste container capacity,
- engine power,
- motion sensors.
Battery capacity in the cleaning robot
As always in such cases. The more the better. The battery must have the largest possible capacity, however, it is worth paying attention to energy consumption. It may happen that a robot with a very capacious battery will consume energy so quickly that it is enough for it for half an hour of work. Therefore, a significant parameter will be the time of work on one charge. It is worth considering models which working time on one charge is more than 60 minutes.
We should also check the battery charging time. It all depends on whether we want the vacuum cleaner to always be ready for work or whether it is enough for us to clean the surfaces once a day.
Waste container capacity
Cleaning robots are quite small devices, so naturally the container also has little space. Tanks below half a liter may not be sufficient even for the needs of small apartments. The 0.7 liter tank is definitely better. It is enough for a few cycles of vacuuming.
Cleaning robot engine power
Now it’s time to look at the power of our cleaning robot engine. This parameter primarily decides how fast and with what accuracy it will clean our carpets with its brushes. It also affects the suction power. The engine power is expressed in watts. If it’s about 35 W, this is a good result. The robot will work quickly and efficiently.
Robot motion sensors – how do they work?
The cleaning robot moves efficiently around the house thanks to a whole system of sensors allowing it to orientate in space. Sensors replace human senses such as eyesight, touch and hearing. During the purchase, we should carefully look at the senses in which our robot is equipped.
It is a must have. Proximity sensors are very important. Without them, the robot will wrap our furniture and equipment standing in its way. Properly working proximity sensors will cause the robot to stop and change its route before it encounters an obstacle.
Ground fault sensors
If there are stairs in our house, then it is worth our robot to have a land fault sensor. The fall of a robot from a height will damage both: the stairs and the robot itself. This sensor will allow us to work or relax while our robot will clean the bedrooms on the upper floor.
Special dirt – dust sensor
In this case, I can honestly say that I have mixed feelings. It is not necessary for the proper operation of the device, but it significantly affects the accuracy of the work. The dust sensor, as you can guess, points the robot to particularly dirty areas. Then he can stay longer in such an area, making cleaning more efficient. Unfortunately, it is not possible to adjust the accuracy with which the dust sensor will examine the surface being cleaned.
- Vileda VR 201£179.99
- iRobot Roomba 606£207.99
- Neato Botvac D7 Connected£37.99
- iRobot Roomba 696£303.99
- Electrolux Pure i9 PI91-5SSM£592.99
- Ecovacs Deebot Slim 2£120.99
- Dyson 360 Eye£695.99
- Neato Botvac Connected£416.99
- Sencor SVC 7020BK£93.99
- Eufy RoboVac 25C£199.99
- iRobot Roomba I7 + I7556£651.99
- iRobot Roomba e5 e5158£286.99
Robot programming – what does it involve?
We do not need to set control algorithms to enjoy a clean floor, but it is worth being able to program the robot to clean on selected days and hours. Our robot should have the option of planning his work, so we will not have to spend time setting it up every day, and he will deserve his name. It’s a robot after all.
Increasingly, we can find models controlled by a remote control or smartphone, but it does not matter so much and you can equally well program the robot using the LCD panel. A more important element is flexibility, i.e. the ability to program it for different days and different times, depending on your needs. Then we can only remember to empty the waste container.
What about allergy sufferers? A few words about HEPA filters.
If we want our robot to effectively filter the blown air while vacuuming, we must ensure it already at the purchase stage, choosing a model with a HEPA filter.
These filters are usually made of a special type of sintered glass. They are so effective in retaining pollution that they are also used even in various industrial plants. They have different effectiveness depending on the construction. For ease of use, they are marked from 10 (standard filtration level) to 13 (highest level).
Automatic cleaning robots equipped with microfilters are also available on the market. These filters are cheaper and thinner. However, their effectiveness has not been well tested, so they can raise doubts. For allergy sufferers it’s better to bet on a guaranteed solution.