For the busy homemaker, the robot vacuum cleaner is a convenient device that cleans automatically without supervision.
However, don’t expect it to work as well as a regular vacuum cleaner, as it will not reach every corner of your home. It may not also be smart enough to navigate obstacles in its path or even go over thick carpet or under the sofa. Due to its compact design, the suction power may not be sufficient enough to suck up heavier dirt.
For light cleaning though, using a robot vacuum cleaner means you need only bring out the regular vacuum cleaner occasionally.
HOW IT WORKS
Prices range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand. It depends on whether you’re looking for a lightweight duster type, or a heavy-duty machine. Robot vacuum cleaners come with sensors and cameras that help them “see” where they are going. You can program daily cleaning or control the device remotely via Wi-Fi.
ASK BEFORE YOU BUY
Check what type of surfaces the robot vacuum cleaner is able to cover. Some models have a low profile and can go under sofas, while some cleaners are able to do wet mopping as well. Some cleaners are able to go over carpets.
You should also check the battery life on a single charge and the device’s dustbin capacity. You will probably do better with a stronger suction power if you need to pick food or pet hair off the floor.
LG Hombot Turbo+, $1,599
This robot cleaner is fitted with three cameras and can be remotely controlled anytime, anywhere. It doubles as a surveillance camera so you can use it to keep an eye on your pet, kids or elderly folks while you’re away. The ultrasonic sensors recognize obstacles – even glass– in its proximity and minimise collisions. It can weave its way out of tight spaces, back out from bumps, and detect ledges to prevent falling or getting stuck on door frames.
Samsung Powerbot VR7000, $1,299
The Powerbot VR7000 is designed such that its bristle brush is placed very close to the front of the cleaner so that it can even clean along wall edges. It measures 97mm high and should be able to go under most sofas and beds. Its automatic charge function enables it to return to its charging station when necessary. Once fully charged, it will return to its last location to resume cleaning.
Panasonic MC-RS1A-W, $1,599
The triangular shape of this Panasonic robot vacuum cleaner enables it to clean tricky corners of your room. It measures 92mm high and has a run time of 100 minutes on a full charge. It is equipped with smart obstacle detection and a dust sensor. With its large wheels, this cleaner can climb over thick carpets or uneven floorings up to 20mm difference in height (depending on floor material and shape).
Text MATTHEW CHOK