What Is A Robotic Vacuum? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Buying A Robotic Vacuum Cleaner? A Step by Step Guide

Do you dread the never-endless chore of vacuuming? Has vacuuming become increasingly hard to do – maybe hurting your back? Do you wish there was a way you could have a cleaner floor without the manual labor? Well, there is. Robot vacuum cleaners are here to vacuum anytime you want to. However, before clicking that buy now button, there are options you’ll want to consider. In What Is A Robotic Vacuum? Here’s Everything You Need To Know, I point out, explore, and explain some of those options. You’ll become a better-informed consumer and be knowledgeable about what the best robot vacuum cleaner is for you.

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Buying A Robotic Vacuum Cleaner?

Robotic vacuum cleaners are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. They are not only effective at cleaning up dirt and dust, but they are also incredibly efficient.

Their slimline design makes them perfect for getting around and under some furniture. Most robot vacuums are circular, 3-4 inches high, and about 12 inches in diameter. They also have sensors that allow them to avoid obstacles, and their design makes them perfect for getting around and under some furniture (depending on its height).

Another great benefit of robotic vacuums is that they are often able to schedule cleaning sessions based on your specific needs. This means that you don’t have to worry about cleaning the house only when you’re home.

Robotic vacuums are great for those of you looking for ways to make cleaning your home easier and more efficient.

How Does a Robotic Vacuum Work?

Without getting too technical, robot or robotic vacuums are usually circular. As they make their way around your home or office, they use sensors, cameras, and possibly lasers to navigate the area. These sensors allow them to perceive obstacles, such as furniture and walls and then turn in a different direction.

With something called mapping (see more information below), the robot uses these sensors, cameras, and lasers to remember the path for future jobs. When it’s done with its cleaning cycle or when it runs low on its battery charge, it will return to its charging station.

What are Some Options and Features You’ll Want to Consider?


If you suffer from allergies or have someone in the household with respiratory issues, then you’ll want to consider an anti-allergen vacuum – one with a HEPA filter or allergen bags. The HEPA filter will help capture dust mites, pollen, and mold, contributing to many people’s allergies.

Boundary Strips

Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide - Boundary Strip

Boundary strips can be laid down to prevent your robot from going to an area you don’t want it to go to. Let’s say you have pets, and you don’t want the vacuum hitting their water bowl – you can put a boundary strip down, and it will let the vacuum know not to go into that area. Maybe there is a play area with small toys scattered, and if you want the vacuum to avoid that area, you can with boundary strips. Not all vacuums come with boundary strips.

Boost Technology

Boost Technology will automatically increase the suction power within 1.5 seconds when extra vacuuming strength is needed to get the best clean.

Charging Station

Charging Stations, aka charging docks, is where your vacuum will recharge to get ready for more use. There are two types of charging stations; manual and automatic.

With the manual type, when the vacuum loses its charge or is done cleaning, you take it to the docking station to charge.

As like you might expect, with automatic charging docks, the vacuum knows the battery charge is low and automatically returns to the charging station on its own to charge. When it is done charging, it resumes where it left off in its cleaning job.

Charging Time

How long does it take to charge your vacuum? If time is not of the essence and say you have overnight to charge it, this might not be an issue for you.

However, if you want a quicker turnaround charge time, then look at the charging time. Charging times can vary by model, but generally, it takes 2-3 hours for a complete charge.

Run Time

How long will the battery charge last? Some robotic vacuums are suitable for a small home, apartment, or townhouse, coming with a shorter charge time. These, however, may be impractical for a larger home.

If you have a larger home having a vacuum that holds a charge longer would be something you want to look at. If you start your vacuum, do you want it to finish the job in one charge? Then you want a longer run time.

If you use your vacuum when you’re away from home, the amount of time it needs to recharge might not matter. For the most part, robotic vacuums will hold their charge from an hour up to 120 minutes.

Climbing Threshold

Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide - Threshold

The climbing threshold is the height of a threshold that the vacuum can transition over.

To find out just how much of a climbing ability you’ll want your vacuum to have, it’s as simple as just measuring the height of all the thresholds in your home to ensure your vacuum can accommodate them.

If the vacuum doesn’t have enough climbing ability, the robotic vacuum will stop and turn and go in another direction if the threshold is too high.


Navigation is one of the main features that consumers look for in robot vacuums.

You may have heard of the term mapping. What is mapping? Mapping is the ability of the vacuum to learn a home’s floor plan. This will allow the vacuum to clean your home the most efficiently.

Robotic vacuums come with and without smart mapping features.

Mapping tends to do a better job of cleaning areas, and it allows the vacuum to know where it has already cleaned so it doesn’t repeat itself if it should it need to recharge in the middle of cleaning – once it recharges, it will start where it left off.

Self Emptying Robot Vacuum

Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide - Automatic Emptying

As your vacuum makes its way through cleaning your floors, it will pick up debris, much like upright vacuums or canister traditional vacuums. Your vacuum will come with a bin that collects the debris.

Do you mind emptying it yourself, or prefer your vacuum to have an automatic disposal function, allowing for virtually hands-off vacuuming?

Self-emptying models are usually more expensive. A well-known, trusted brand, iRobot, which has this as a feature, is the iRobot Roomba i7.

Some robot vacuums have a bagless self emptying base, while others use bags. Having to purchase bags will be an added expense you might want to consider in your purchasing options.

Suction Power

Suction Power is the amount of pull the vacuum has. The higher the power, the more it will be able to suction or suck in.

This becomes important, especially if you have a heavy traffic area to clean and need a heavy-duty vacuum. Do you have pets that shed, children, or grandchildren that seem to have dirt follow them?

For pet owners, keeping up with a shedding dog or cat and keeping your home free of pet hair can be a challenge. In cases like this owning the right vacuum can save a lot of time. If you have any of these conditions, you will want to look at a higher more powerful suction capacity than maybe someone who lives alone.

Without getting too technical, the suction power is listed as the number of PA or KPA – the higher the number, the higher the suction power.

Type of Flooring

Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide - Flooring Types

Do you have hardwood floors, carpet, tile floors, or a combination? For convenience, if you have a mix, you will want to look for a robotic vacuum that will transition between them.

If you have only hardwood floors, then there won’t be a need for your robot to have the ability to do carpet. If you have a high pile carpet, but you chose a vacuum that does only hardwood floors, tile, and laminate flooring, you will surely be disappointed.

Do be aware that robotic vacuums cannot go up and down stairs as of the writing of this article. If you have stairs in your home, you will need to find another way to clean them.

Combination Vacuum/Mop

Yes, there are even robotic models that have a combination of a vacuum and a mop. An example of this is the Roborock S5 Max.

If you have tile floors that you mop, this might be a viable option you find attractive.

Most of the combination models will vacuum and mop simultaneously – taking care of two tasks that will allow you more free time.

After the vacuum has done its job, you won’t have to finish up with mopping – getting a combination vacuum/mop does it all for you.

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Is WiFi required to run a robotic vacuum?

Most vacuums do not require a WiFi connection. Most will allow you to push the clean button to start the cleaning process, and it will return to its charger/dock when it is done or low on charge.

However, if you want to take advantage of features such as scheduling, cleaning preferences, mapping, the ability to control the vacuum from a smartphone while away from home, and other features, WiFi is a must in these instances.

If you decide on purchasing a robotic vacuum without WiFi capability, some benefits will not work, so be sure to research what ones do and do not need a WiFi connection.

App Control / Alexa and Echo

Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide - Schedule

Some vacuums can connect with Alexa or Echo, which allows you to control them using voice commands. Also, by using Alexa/Echo, you can ask them to have your vacuum perform such tasks as start cleaning, return to the dock, or even schedule a cleaning.


One of the features I find helpful is scheduling cleanings. I can program my vacuum to clean on certain days, and it will automatically do so on that day and time—effortless cleaning at its best.

Replacement Parts

Are replacement parts readily available? Can you buy them at a local store, or do you need to order them from the manufacturer?

This might not seem too important, well, until you have company coming over this weekend, and your vacuum needs a particular part, and you need it now. No time to wait for parts that take three weeks to arrive. Just something to keep in mind.


A warranty or guarantee is something you’ll want to look into. Though most products today offer this type of service, there are still some that do not.

A couple of items to consider – how long is the warranty for? Is there a money-back guarantee, and if so, how soon do you need to return the vacuum to qualify. Are there specific conditions you need to meet, and what are the conditions that can terminate your warranty/guarantee? Who’s responsible for shipping costs?

Though your machine is new, you never know when you might need to use a warranty, and you will be glad you have one if you do.


The price of a robot vacuum cleaner will depend on the features that you are looking for and the brand. However, the starting price point of a budget robot vacuum is around $100, and then they go up in price from there.

Additionally, be sure to factor in the price of filters and replacement parts, as these will become essential over time. What can happen over time with figuring in for filters and other replacement parts what was once your affordable robot vacuum is costing you more than you figured.

Robot vacs are more costly than an ordinary vacuum cleaner, making them a significant purchase in your cleaning program, so you want to be sure to get the most bang for your buck.

Are more affordable robot vacuums as good as one that costs more – at times? Do the more expensive models offer you more features? – many times.

One way to help you decide on what you want in your purchase is to make a list of options available with robotic vacuums. Then think about which options you can live without and which are most important to you. This will give you a starting point as to which vacuum is the right choice for you.

Where Should You Buy A Robotic Vacuum?

Nowadays, robot vacuums can be found in many stores, from online to brick-and-mortar. Shop around. There is nothing wrong with looking for an affordable robot vacuum that fits your needs.

Also, look for ads and deals. Many times Amazon has prime deals, and you can find a robot vacuum for a good price. When I bought mine, it was about $300 off its regular price.

Many times stores have sales, so keep an eye out for those as well.

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A Few Final Words

What Is A Robotic Vacuum? Here’s Everything You Need To Know explored different options available when it comes to buying a robotic vacuum cleaner. As robot vacuums are becoming more popular, the question on many minds is – should I buy one? I hope in reading this post, you found it helpful in your quest in understanding the workings and options available with robot vacuums. Then if and when the time comes being able to find the best robot vacuum cleaner that fits your needs.

Do you have a robotic vacuum cleaner? What are your thoughts on it? Please leave a comment and share your experience with us. We would love to hear from you!

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