Thread Number: 38181  /  Tag: Brand New Vacuum Cleaners
Robot Vacuum Debate
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Post# 406604   3/12/2019 at 22:17 (391 days old) by vacmaster (Southern California)        

Hey guys, I'm about to discuss what seems to be a touchy topic here for whatever reason. I feel like a bit of a black sheep saying that I actually enjoy and collect robot vacuums and think that they can replace full size vacuums in some situations, mostly where hard flooring is the only flooring type present, and I have some compelling reasons why they can also severy mitigate the usage of a full size on carpet. The only robots currently worthwhile are flagship models like Roomba 900 or i series and the Neato Botvac D Series connected models, and that is because these models come from robot manufacturers, not vacuum manufacturers. iRobot produced robots for many years before releasing the first Roomba, meaning that they were able to make the Roomba an exceptional robot before making it a high performance vacuum. People expected the Roomba to be a perfect vacuum very early on, when I'm going to assume a great number of you had your first (and last) robot experience that may have left a sour taste in some of your mouths. With the release of the 500 series robots in 2007, iRobot now had an easily modifiable platform that could accept new parts and new internals with minimal modification, and that is why 500 series Roombas actually share many key parts with new models. This standardization of their lineups layout allowed them to focus on making their robots clean better, something that their robots struggled with in the past. The reason they are able to do this is because the bin and CHM (cleaning head module) which are the most integral parts to the cleaning system generally follow the same design parameters, allowing iRobot to focus on improving internals such as motors, and brushes. Compared to their old brush based robots, their AeroForce system picks up at least 30% more debris per run in my experience because the rubber rollers focus an impressive 17 cfm (for a robot at least) into the exact spot where carpet fibers are being spread out and agitated, and this leads to the robot extracting impressive amounts of fine dirt from carpets. Having owned 19 robot vacuums, I can say for a fact that new robots, while closely resembling their predecessors in appearance, are actually anything but similar to them. My iRobot Roomba 985 is currently my favorite because for only $580, you are getting a lot of robot vacuum for the money. The robot routinely fills its bin with fine dust, and this wasn't the case even with my 500 or 600 series models. Old Roombas and even current base models from their lineup pick up surface dirt almost exclusively because they have weak suction that is not properly routed to the floor and inefficient brushes that do little to agitate carpet. When I say the new Roombas "agitate" I do not mean that they will do what something like a Riccar or a Convertible will do to sand in a carpet, because that is an unreasonable standard to set for a battery operated device, however I will agree that robots will need to come closer to such performance to be considered as a replacement for a full sized vacuum, especially on carpets. I have noticed that most of the negative reviews for these robots are generated either by user error or from people expecting to much from a base model, which I think is why most of you dislike these robots that you may have had poor experiences with in the past is because too much was expected of the new product. I can't really comment on the expectations there were for these robots at the time because I am only 14, however having dedicated hundreds of hours to researching, using, monitoring and thousands of dollars purchasing and maintaining these robots, I do believe that I am qualified to give a respectable and persuasive opinion and point of view on my side of the Robot vs. Full Size debate. I know most of your opinions are set in stone, however I hope I am able to convince you to possibly reconsider and re visit some of these exciting new robots considering that recent advancements in technology have been able to push them further than they have ever been before. Please reply with your opinion and what side of debate you fall on. I would love to hear about your experiences as well as what you think robot vacuums need to be able to accomplish to become competent cleaning machines.

Post# 406606 , Reply# 1   3/12/2019 at 23:03 (391 days old) by vexorgtr (Sheffield, Ohio)        
Robot vacs don't work for me

I had one....someone gave it to me. It was a fun thing to watch run around, but there's no way I could actually expect it to get the job done. It did get some dirt.

1. Stairs
2. Medium to deep carpets
3. Kids toys on the floor
4. Wires...
5. It only does floors
6. I have a central vacuum.... I can efficiently clean floor to ceiling with ease.

For a good laugh, check out the Roomba dog poop story. It's funny and awful.

Post# 406620 , Reply# 2   3/13/2019 at 08:19 (390 days old) by Kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        
If you view them for what they are:

kirbysthebest's profile picture

A light maintenance surface cleaner for low pile carpet or bare floors.  You will be ok with it.  If your expectations are a deep cleaning "Never Vacuum Again" cleaner to use on your Frizzes, shag or plush carpet; you will experience disappointment.


I had one for about four days.  It was fun to watch bump around, and chase the dog; it picked up less than what I could do with a Hokey push sweeper.


I gifted it to my brother and sister in law, who have a great deal of bare floors, they are happy with "Dory's" performance.

Post# 406621 , Reply# 3   3/13/2019 at 08:33 (390 days old) by dysonman1 (Rolla, MO)        
worthless toys

dysonman1's profile picture
I meet thousands of people every year. For the most part, especially when they see the Electrolux Trilobite, they ask about "robot" vacuum cleaners. The very first thing I tell them is "it's not a vacuum cleaner". It's a carpet sweeper. Like the ones from 100 years ago.

To be efficient, a vacuum cleaner must be pulled backwards. The brush is running in a forward direction, so to raise the nap and sweep efficiently, the machine must be pulled backwards. Robots cannot do that.

There's no way that there is enough battery power to power both wheel motors, the brush motor, a suction motor (10 to 12 amps), and the computer, not to mention an 'eye' so the machine can 'see' where to go and where it's been.

That being said, I do believe the day will come when robots also include a hose and small attachments for 'non robot' mode.

Currently there is only one robot that even comes close, the Dyson Eye 360. And it's still light years away from the efficiency of a $47 Bissell from Wal-Mart.

Post# 406623 , Reply# 4   3/13/2019 at 09:12 (390 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
My aunt has a Roomba that scurries around the house and sucks up dust bunnies. They're more like robotic stick vacuums, they're good for a quick everyday touch up, but every few days you still need to go over the floor with a full size vacuum. Also, if you have dogs, accidents can happen, and then Roomba tries to clean up the mess. You can guess what happens next!

Post# 406624 , Reply# 5   3/13/2019 at 09:13 (390 days old) by vexorgtr (Sheffield, Ohio)        

My general feeling is that my central vac can accomplish more in once a week use than a robot vac could every day running.... with our carpets.

Besides, there's a good number of us that LIKE vacuuming with a good machine. Pre-central vac, I wasn't as jazzed about it, because of noise and smells... but CV eliminates that... I just get efficient dirt pick-up.

Post# 406647 , Reply# 6   3/13/2019 at 18:14 (390 days old) by vacmaster (Southern California)        

You make good points and I believe that the argument you make from the opposite side of the debate is a compelling one, however I feel there are a few things you may not realize about the Roomba model I was referring to. There are two "extractors" (image attached) with opposing treads that rotate in opposite directions, that simulate the forward and back stroke to an extent, and the higher airflow produced by the robot comes closer to a real vacuum than the Neato models because it is focused in a smaller area. Also, the battery usage issue is addressed by iRobot implementing a power management system into 800 series models and up, and that combined with recharge and resume functionality allows the battery usage of the robot to become less of an issue. While I too love the idea of tool functionality on a robot, it would just never work because for the tools to be effective, the robot would have to be much to large, which is part of why the DC06 was never sold. Large robots cannot clean under furniture and are more prone to getting stuck. For those of you saying that you would rather manually vacuum or that you enjoy vacuuming (which don't get me wrong, so do I) this product isn't exactly meant for enthusiasts to enjoy using. This is meant for those who simply don't have time to vacuum i.e. busy families. In my experience, these eliminate the need for a vacuum on hard floors, and I say that because I clean my tile floors with robots exclusively. However on carpets, they keep surface dirt and dirt that may be lightly pressed into the pile under control for weeks on end. I only vacuum carpets manually about once every two to three weeks, and even when I do I pick up very little. This is in a 2500 sq. ft. house, mix of carpet and tile in Southern California. There is a considerable amount of sand that enters my home on a daily basis, and the robots for the most part keep it under control. I wear socks around the house always and they look like they were just washed by the end of the day, thanks to my robots that run daily. What I'm trying to say here is that they are more than carpet sweepers, and that they are a legitimate replacement for regular vacuuming when used habitually, however they are not a full replacement for vacuuming on carpets of any sort.

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Post# 406653 , Reply# 7   3/14/2019 at 00:00 (389 days old) by myles_v (Fredericksburg, VA)        

myles_v's profile picture
I'm also a fan of robot vacuums. I have a dog and two cats, I just don't have enough time to vacuum my house daily. My Samsung Powerbot does a decent job and very rarely gets stuck on anything. I've also owned a few Roombas which all had issues getting stuck, but my favorite robot vac has been a Neato that I had a few years ago. It did a good job of cleaning and the navigation was excellent. My Samsung uses a camera pointed at the ceiling for navigation and it requires the lights to be on in the room in which it's cleaning, but the Neato uses a laser which doesn't require any light to work.

I don't know that I would say they could replace a regular vac though, unless you have exclusively hard flooring but even then I'd expect you'd at least need a hand vac for furniture.

Post# 406665 , Reply# 8   3/14/2019 at 12:35 (389 days old) by vacmaster (Southern California)        

Which POWERbot model do you have? I have the R7040 and I have been less than impressed with the navigation. It ends up going in crooked lines and not finishing a job before the battery runs out. I can't help but agree with the statement that the LIDAR navigation bots are more efficient. My two Neato Botvac D3s are excellent cleaners. I use my gray one everyday, and my white one stays in the box for future display.

Post# 406671 , Reply# 9   3/14/2019 at 14:18 (389 days old) by compactc9guy (Bathurst NB)        

compactc9guy's profile picture
Call me old fashion but i like the feel of the vacuum hose in my hand picking up the dirt and seeing the bag get full .I am not a fan of robot vacuum BUT,if my main vacuum was down and i needed a quick touch up before the guest arrive i could see the benefits .To me its more of a toy , i prefer my big, bulky, loud, machine. Haha i must be odd but, i prefer to vacuum my self .And see the machine pick up the dust and look inside the bag i pick that up my self .

Post# 406673 , Reply# 10   3/14/2019 at 14:28 (389 days old) by SubieGuy (Alabama)        

Robots have their place in a household.

I have a Roomba i7+ with automatic clean base downstairs which consists of almost all hardwoods and a few rugs. It leaves the floor spotless, and I am able to run it 1 or 2 times a day to remove grass tracked in by the dogs and pet hair. It's extremely convenient because it empties itself. The floors stay much cleaner than if I were to manually vacuum because I don't have the time nor energy to vacuum the entire downstairs every day..

I also have a Neato D7 upstairs which is all carpet. I run that unit once a day and it picks up a lot of stuff. I do a deep cleaning once a week with my Shark APEX M and that seems to be enough.

I also have a Shark Ion P50 cordless HEPA vacuum on each floor to use for quick pickups when I don't want the robot to run, such as before company.

An important thing to note is that both my robots are "smart navigation" units that are able to map out the floor plan and even clean only a specific room.

When I see most people downing robots, they are basing their opinions on antiquated "random navigation" robots with 2-5CFMs of airflow. Those literally cannot be compared to new smart nav units with 17-20CFMs of airflow. There is just no comparison with the cleaning abilities..

Post# 406722 , Reply# 11   3/15/2019 at 18:27 (388 days old) by myles_v (Fredericksburg, VA)        

myles_v's profile picture
I have the same model as you. I have not been impressed with its navigation, it seems a bit random at times, but I have been very impressed with its ability to not get stuck like Roombas that I've owned in the past have. I have the same issue as you with it going in crooked lines sometimes, but I haven't had many problems with it skipping areas at least. The cleaning performance is decent for what it is, but dog hair tends to block the first half of the container and never make it to the back of the container, essentially doubling the frequency that it needs to be emptied.

Post# 406733 , Reply# 12   3/16/2019 at 01:38 (387 days old) by dartman (Portland OR)        

We just recently got a Debot N78 basic robot vacuum. Found it on Woot for 90 shipped so figured it was worth a gamble even though we have low nap carpet throughout most of the house. Accidently figured out how to get it to automatically run everyday at a certain start time. It only has the rotating brushes but will run almost a hour even on our carpet. It gets hung up on wires and area rugs but it just beeps and waits to be rescued and turns itself off if nobody helps it. It doesn't deep clean but it does great on tbe vynil floor areas and the carpet is way cleaner than it would be when I generally do a big cleaning once a week and get the problem spots as they get dirty with the easier to use machines like my Compact C9 or my cordless stick vac. It wanders around aimlessly bumping into some things, and avoiding with its infrared sensors other large objects. If it makes a complete run without getting stuck or hung up the carpet is cleaner and it goes home to recharge. It was worth it for 90 bucks and now I'll wait for a deal on a better version with a beater bar and proper room mapping. If I'd paid the retail price I'd probably return it but it does better then I expected. I'll probably break out the Royal 5700 upright and do a deep cleaning on the weekends or when it gets gnarly but carpet looks a lot better now with no real effort from me.

Post# 407106 , Reply# 13   3/23/2019 at 17:15 (380 days old) by dartman (Portland OR)        
yet another robot...

Well Woot did it again and had a robot with a brush roll and higher suction for 100 bucks so I got that one too. It cleans faster and get most of the crumbs off our carpet in one pass. It also tends to go in straight lines till it finds or hits something and turn till clear and continues. Dust bin is bigger too and carpet looks even better with no effort on anyone's part. Still a dumb machine but it cleans a lot better with the carpet brush roll. Guess next would be a good machine with room mapping if they get one in for a similar deal as mapping would be ideal, both tend to find something to get stuck on. Guess mom probably gets the Debot.

Post# 407107 , Reply# 14   3/23/2019 at 17:29 (380 days old) by vexorgtr (Sheffield, Ohio)        
At least you didn't get one of these

I whole bunch of people fell for an advert on facebook for the best deal ever on a robot vacuum... Check out what they got!


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