How to Choose the Right Robot Vacuum Cleaner? Compare the 7 The Most Popular Brands of 2018
Apr 24, 2018 10 min read
In this day and age, a robot vacuum cleaner sitting in the corner of a house does not surprise anyone. It might be a challenge, however, to pick the right robot when you decide to get one. That's why we want to talk about the most popular brands on the market and dive deep into each. What is good about the Roomba, Neato, the Xiaomi orthe Samsung? What's wrong with the Dyson 360 Eye? Are ILIFE robots as good as they said? And let's finally talk about the ECOVACS. So let's get started, shall we?
Samsung robovacs claimed to be super powerful machines, maybe the most powerful on the market so far that don’t have an issue with cleaning carpets.
Almost all Samsung robots have a mapping feature. The device creates a map of an interior after which the machine builds the best path that helps it to clean smarter.
The machines from Samsung were designed with a shape good at cleaning corners.
What is wrong with robot cleaners from Samsung?
There are issues with setting the robot up. The app is tricky and there are no instructions that follow you through the process.
Failed Wi-Fi connection: Samsung robots fail Wi-FI connection from time to time.
A slow app is not useful. If you want to use the app, you will be disappointed because it is baggy, slow, and not intuitive.
Because of its height, the robot can’t get under furniture.
The shape of the Samsung gets the robots stuck more than round robot vacuum cleaners.
The iRobot Roomba
iRobot is one of the most popular companies producing Roomba robot vacuums, making it a well-known brand.
Why buy the Roomba?
Since most Roombas were designed to clean carpets, they are really good at it. Also, thanks to the dirt detector, the robots provide more thoughtful cleaning when finding the dirtiest areas.
The iRobot Home app is intuitive and easy to use.
The latest Roomba 980 has a carpet boost function, maximizing suction power once it recognizes carpets or rugs.
If you want to buy a vacuum with a mapping feature - go with the Roomba 960 or 980. You will be able to see a cleaning map the robots creates on your smartphone.
Only the oldest Roombas cannot be controlled by voice commands. Therefore, other machines from iRobot are compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
To know more about the most popular Roomba robovacs, read our model comparison chart of what Roomba to buy in 2018.
Problems the Roomba faces
- Gets stuck in places.
- Harshly bumps into furniture.
- At about 9 cm in height, the Roomba can’t get under some furniture. This is definitely not the highest robovac but not the slimmest either.
- Consumers claim that because the newest models have silicon rollers, the devices are not that good at cleaning carpets compared to the old models with bristle brushes.
Compared to other expensive robotics, the Roomba doesn't have a decent battery life. Only the 980 can run for about 120 minutes. For example, the iLIFE cleaners work 120-150 minutes, costing at least twice less, while the Xiaomi Roborock lasts 150 minutes on one charge with a price tag of around $550.
This is the most popular brand, so do not stick with the name only. Their robots can be overpriced.
Neato uses LIDAR (a much cheaper and less advanced version of the stuff used on autonomous cars) to map out a room and floor plan. This means it can work in absolute darkness with no issues.
It methodically cleans the room while the Roomba's pattern seems more random.
Consumers claim the Neato has a strong suction power that provides deep cleaning on carpets (not the thick ones, though).
Neato robots have a recharge & resume feature that allows them to continue working on a battery fully juiced up.
Take a look at the Neato model comparison chart chart so you are sure of the differences between the vacuums.
What is a "No-No" of Neato robots
Like Samsung robots, the Neato can ge3t stuck in tight places because of its shape. It has issues connecting to Wi-Fi. All the robots from Neato build a map of the interior, but you are not able to see the map on the models that come without the app (like the D80 and D85).
There are only three models on the market from Xiaomi, but owners rated these robovacs highly.
When it comes to value for the money, Xiaomi produces products that are top-level considering their price tag. Both gen (the Mi Robot and Roborock) come with smart navigation and mapping functions. The robots use a laser to create a map so there is no issue with working in the dark. Using the MiJia app, you can see where the robot has been and track its movements in real-time.
Both gens have a recharge & resume feature not found on other robots as cheap as the Mi Robot.
The Xiaomi rarely gets stuck.
With a cost of about $400 (a little bit over the $300 on Gearbest), the first Gen Xiaomi Mi Robot has many functions most robots in this price range don't. It navigates smart, cleans thin carpets with ease, handles pet hair, and performs well on a bare floor.
The Xiaomi Roborock S50 has a $570 price tag (about $500 on Gearbest) and comes with a sweep-and-mop option so it can do both at the same time. It has a high-capacity battery that lasts about 150 minutes (same as the Mi Robot), which sounds crazy since the longest-running robots do about 120 minutes at a higher price. From most parameters, the Roborock S50 beats its competitors for battery life, the ability to mop, and smart navigation based on consumer reviews. They say it is better in some ways than the Roomba or the Neato. The device is good at picking up pet hair, cleaning a bare floor and working on carpets. Although it doesn't have a silicon roller like the latest Roomba or iLIFE robots, its anti-tangle design prevents hair wrapping over the cleaning brush and wheels.
Speaking about the budget version of the Xiaowa Lite, the price would be about $300 once it is available to buy. The model also has a long-lasting battery (about 120 minutes on one charge) and a large 640ml dust box. The strong suction power should be good on carpets and rugs, and the large wheels make the robot climb obstacles up to 20mm. Even though the Xiaowa Lite doesn't have a smart navigation and mapping function, it still worth paying attention to. Here we talk why it is might be the very robot you need.
The MiJia app has had some serious improvements in the latest robovacs. You can now manage the Roborock's movements by tapping on a specific area and the device will go to that point. There is also the ability to create virtual walls by drawing the area you need on your smartphone.
Why the Xiaomi may not be an option for you
Because Xiaomi is a Chinese company, European and US consumers may wait longer for extra accessories compared to local brands such as Roomba or Neato.
US owners have an issue with setting it to Wi-Fi. To make it work, the device can be connected to an European or Chinese server (only for US users).
Unfortunately, only the Roborock has limited Alexa support, while the Mi Robot and the Xiaowa Lite aren't compatible with this voice assistant.
You may not know about this company, so here we go: ILIFE is a Chinese company that's been on the market for about 7 years.
Their robots are super budget and compete with more expensive models in some ways. All the robovacs from iLIFE come with a decent battery that lasts at least 90 minutes, and more, which is the main reason for paying attention to this company. While other robotics last about 70-90 minutes, iLIFE machines can run for 120-150.
Old models like the X5 or the V5S Pro have a strong suction power able to clean thin carpets. The A4S, on the other hand, has a more powerful motor, so it can suck dust and dirt from a carpet better than its older brothers.
Because the newest models, the A6 and A8, are the most powerful from the ILIFE family, they are equipped with rubber brushes good at picking up pet hair. They don't a have a problem with wrapped hair and perform great on bare floors, but some consumers claim they are not that good on carpets. These robots are still good at working on carpets, but apparently bristle brushes are better at this job. The ILIFE A8 has two - the bristle and rubber brushes - so it should be better on carpets than its older brother, the A6.
It is fair to say that the latest Roomba 960 and 980 have similar silicon rollers which result in better cleaning of bare floors than carpets (at least, that what consumers say).
Only some models come with an app - the newest A8 and the old ILIFE V7 (which is super basic however).
If you want to control it via Alexa of Google Home, you will be disappointed because of no single ILIFE robot is compatible with these voice assistants.
When it comes to mapping feature, consider having a look at the ILIFE A8 because it is the only model from the ILIFE family with a mapping function.
If you want a vacuum cleaner that will catch pet hair and clean thin carpets/rugs, then have a look at the A4S, A6, A8 and the newest - the V8S.
Even with “cons”, theiLIFE still can be considered as one of the best budget home robots on the market with a price tag of $300 tops.
The Ecovacs Deebot has already engendered trust among consumers. The company produces robot cleaners with basic functions that are cheap. The prices start from $180 for the most budget model and ends up to a $600 cost.
Most Ecovacs robots last up to 110 minutes and have decent suction for cleaning thin carpets. If you want smart navigation, have a look at the most expensive ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO 930 that costs about $600. Only this model comes with a camera to create a map.
To be fair, the OZMO 930 costs too much for the features it offers. For this money, you can get a Neato, Roomba or Roborock.
The main reason to pay attention to Ecovacs is the fact that their budget robots that have thousands of reviews on Amazon. The ECOVACS Deebot N79, ECOVACS Deebot N79S and the ECOVACS DEEBOT M80 Pro are available to on Amazon for $230-$250. The N79S and M80 are integrated with Alexa which is a good deal considering the price. The Deebot N79 does have an app but cannot be controlled by voice.
Overall, the budget Ecovacs robots are high-rated; owners are in love with their purchases, so if you are not ready to spend some extra money on a robovac, have a look at the models we've talked about here.
The Dyson 360 Eye
Dyson has been a leader of upright vacuums for years, so they decided to produce a robovac as well.
An over than $1000 machine has strong suction power that makes it one of the most powerful on the market; and because of this, the robot is very noisy. However, don't fall in love with this machine since consumers claim that compared to this expensive one, any other top-level vacuum cleaner performs better than the Dyson 360 Eye.
The 360 was one of the first with the Unique 360° Vision System and smart navigation. It creates a map you can see on your phone showing where the robot has been. After the device has created a map, it builds a cleaning pattern by itself.
Finally, the machine is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Why the Dyson 360 Eye is not a robot you want to buy
For one thing, the app is not good and not intuitive compared with other robots. Plus, it is too tall to get under a coach, bed, and other furniture, and it gets stuck a lot. The battery lasts only about 30 minutes. What’s more, it can't get to its dock when dead. Furthermore, it doesn't remember where it left off.
What robot vacuum cleaner to buy?
Before you decide to buy a robovac, consider what you expect from your personal assistant. Is your home mostly covered by carpet or bare floors? Do you have pets? Do you want it to move smartly never missing a spot, or are you okay with random navigation. What kind of house do you own: small, average or large? Do you really need integration with Alexa? Do you want your robot to have access to Wi-Fi, or you are going to turn it on only when home? What budget do you have and what you are ready to spend on your new home assistant?
The most popular brands for sure might have a bigger impact than the lesser known, but don't fall for the name only.
If you don't want to spend extra money on more expensive cleaners, go with iLIFE or Ecovacs. These brands are super popular on Amazon, and most owners are happy with the robots. They generally have a decent battery life, average suction power enough for cleaning thick carpets, and the basic functions you would expect from a robovac with a low price tag (from about $125 to $300). Most of them use anti-allergen HEPA filtration and are able to handle pet hair.
The Xiaomi Mi Robot and the Xiaowa are high-priced devices, nevertheless these are good machines with a cost of about $300-350. The Mi Robot is a smart robovac with a mapping function while the Xiaowa is a powerful device that can clean carpets on the same level as the more expensive models.
When it comes to the most expensive models, there is no right answer as to what robovac to stick with. If you are about to spend $1000 on a vacuum, have a look at the newest Samsung POWERbot R9350, but be ready for some troubles when connecting to Wi-FI and the fact that the app is super confusing. And if your furniture has a small space under it, the Samsung will not fit. Before buying this one, carefully read all the reviews and consider whether you are okay with everything.
For a price of $400-$800, the best route would be to dive deeper into the features of the Roomba, the Neato, and the Xiaomi Roborock.
Mostly, Neato models come with a longer lasting battery than all Roombas except the latest, the Roomba 980. The Neato Botvac Connected and the Neato D7 Connected are the two in their company family that we recommend.
The Xiaomi Roborock works the longest on the list - 150 minutes having the kind of strong suction that cleans carpets and rugs and also performs well on bare floor. The tangle-free design makes the Xiaomi Roborock perfect for pet hair. Along with this, the robot uses HEPA filtration that is ideal for people who suffer from asthma or some kind of allergy. Plus, it costs less than the latest Neato robots and the most popular Roombas.
Lastly, when you have already bought the robot of your dreams, do not forget to look after it. Empty the dust box in time, clean the main brush, and see if there is something hiding on the side brush so you can clean it up. If your robot comes with a washable filter, clean it properly. Do it all and your new helper will be with you longer than you think.
If you have any questions about what robovac to get, or any other information you would like to know before buying, do not hesitate to leave a comment below. Help other people make a choice based on your personal experience.
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