The modern world is replete with a variety of smart gadgets that make human work easier. Among the innovative technologies are robot vacuum cleaners that assist in the tedious process of keeping your home clean. Such a device is presented in a wide range. In order not to be mistaken in choosing an expensive assistant, you should study the main characteristics of the unit, consider popular models and read reviews.
What are robot vacuum cleaners: general characteristics of devices
An automatic vacuum cleaner is a household appliance with artificial intelligence, which is designed to perform cleaning in an automatic mode. The first assistants appeared in the early 2000s and were distinguished by simple functionality. Modern household robots boast advanced parameters.
How does a vacuum cleaner work? It is a disc of round or cylindrical shape, 6-15 cm high and 25-40 cm in diameter. There are rectangular and square models with rounded edges. In front of the device there is a special bumper and a contact sensor, thanks to which the device detects a possible collision with an obstacle. Inside the bumper are proximity sensors that monitor the current location of the device.
Important! Round robotic vacuum cleaners leave about 3-4 cm of corner space uncleaned, and corner devices – 1.5-2 cm.
The robot vacuum cleaner independently moves along a given trajectory, collecting debris, dust and even liquid from the surface into a special compartment. There are small brushes at the bottom of the gadget. As the unit operates, they rotate and direct debris to the suction port where the two main brushes are located. It is important that they are directed towards each other during operation, catching the dirt directly under the body and sending it to the dust container. The air that is sucked in by the vacuum cleaner passes through the filter and returns to the room.
Useful advice! The presence of a turbo brush near the suction hole will increase the quality of cleaning.
When meeting an obstacle, the device to overcome it performs one of the action algorithms that are embedded in it. To select a specific option, use special sensors located on the sides of the device. They recognize an obstacle and change their trajectory. The vacuum cleaner is battery operated. Its charge is carried out through the base that comes with the device. It should be located in the center of the room. The vacuum cleaner reciprocates, moving away from it while cleaning and returning to recharge the battery.
Advantages and disadvantages of robotic vacuum cleaners: consumer reviews
Any technically complex device has specific advantages and disadvantages, which should be known in advance – before purchasing a household appliance for cleaning the room. The robot vacuum cleaner has a compact size that allows it to penetrate into hard-to-reach places in the room, such as the space under the bed, nightstand, corners.
Based on the reviews about the robot vacuum cleaner, it should be said that consumers note its silent movement during cleaning, which cannot be said about traditional models. Significant time savings are realized with the ability to customize scheduled cleaning that can be programmed by day of the week and time of day. The cleaning process takes place automatically without direct human participation.
The robot vacuum cleaner requires minimal simple maintenance, which consists in the need to periodically clean the brushes and dust collector from accumulated debris. After a certain time, the batteries will have to be replaced.
All models of robotic vacuum cleaners are equipped with a set of different sensors for orientation in space. Expensive devices are additionally equipped with special sensors for building gadget movement maps, which affects their cost.
Important! It will help in the question of which robot vacuum cleaner to choose, an overview of prices for popular models.
Despite the obvious advantages of the dust-cleaning device, the robot vacuum cleaner has some disadvantages. A smart gadget can only move on a perfectly flat surface. As you can read in the reviews of the robot vacuum cleaner, it will not clean uneven ground and climb stairs. The robot vacuum cleaner very carefully cleans the area from dust and debris, spending quite a lot of time on it. High-quality improved models that are highly efficient, in contrast to traditional vacuum cleaners, are very expensive devices.
Important! An inexpensive robot vacuum cleaner is not able to provide effective and high-quality cleaning of the room surface.
How to choose a robot vacuum cleaner: types of devices
Depending on the method of cleaning, there are models for dry, wet, wet cleaning of surfaces and combined options. The first type of device is designed to remove debris and crumbs from smooth floors or carpets with a pile height of up to 2 cm. This is the most preferred type of robot vacuum cleaner for carpets. In robotic floor polishers for wet cleaning, a wet microfiber cloth is located in the lower part of the case, which removes not only small debris from the floor, but also dust. The napkin must be periodically removed and rinsed by hand.
Important! This event cannot be called a full-fledged surface washing, but robotic vacuum cleaners with wet cleaning are a good option for maintaining an optimal indoor climate, which is especially important for people suffering from bronchial asthma, allergies, for families with small children and animals.
Washing robotic vacuum cleaners are used to thoroughly clean the surface. The devices are equipped with two additional reservoirs for clean and dirty water. The unit sprays liquid in front of it. Then, using a brush, it cleans the damp surface, drawing dirty water back. As the reviews suggest, robot vacuum cleaners are not recommended for cleaning laminate, parquet, porous tiles and carpets.
When deciding which robot vacuum cleaner is better to choose, it is worth paying attention to the combined models that cope with all of the above tasks, depending on the available settings. It is advisable to purchase this option for cleaning large areas with different floor coverings.
Important! There are modern models that are additionally equipped with an ultraviolet lamp, which helps to fight microorganisms and bacteria.
How a robot vacuum cleaner works with obstacles: types of device sensors
Before choosing a robot vacuum cleaner for an apartment, you need to familiarize yourself with the internal equipment of the device, which affects the efficiency of its operation. Any unit has built-in sensors, thanks to which the device is oriented in space. The efficiency of the gadget is influenced by the correct calibration of the sensors and their manufacturing technology. You should pay close attention to these parameters when choosing a robot vacuum cleaner.
The standard device should be equipped with collision, fall and infrared sensors. The bumper of the robot vacuum cleaner is divided into several sections. Under the pressure that occurs at the moment of touching a hard object, they can bend slightly inward. It is here that sensors are hidden that react to obstacles. They give the vacuum cleaner a signal to change the trajectory of movement. The device drives back. It will no longer come into contact with a sofa, nightstand, table, chair, or other object on the floor.
Important! To avoid damage to the device body in a collision with an obstacle, the robot vacuum cleaner is equipped with a soft rubber bumper.
The drop sensor analyzes the drop in height to prevent the device from falling off a ladder or other hill.
When choosing a robot vacuum cleaner, you should pay attention to the presence of an infrared sensor, which, using a beam, determines the distance of the device to furniture or a wall; when approaching it, it can change its route so as not to collide with an obstacle. Such devices have a more complex structure. For efficient operation, they are additionally equipped with a signal sensor and its receiver.
The infrared sensor also prevents the device from falling from a certain height. In this case, the emitter is located under the bottom of the device and gives it a signal that there is no floor under it. At this time, the robot vacuum cleaner turns around and moves in the opposite direction.
Equipping advanced robot vacuum cleaner models with sensors
The best robotic vacuum cleaner models can be equipped with ultrasonic, laser sensors, dirt sensors and surface detection.
With the help of an ultrasonic sensor, which sends high frequency sound waves, capturing them in response, the speed of the device is selected, which allows you to accurately measure the distance to the object. If a piece of furniture, wall or other object is close, the robot vacuum cleaner slows down. In the absence of foreign objects in the field of view, he moves at normal speed.
The presence of ultrasonic sensors ensures high-quality floor cleaning. The robot vacuum cleaner, without risking itself, comes close to walls, skirting boards and other obstacles, cleaning from dust in the most problematic and inaccessible places.
In the best robotic vacuum cleaners, the ultrasonic sensors are synchronized with the pollution sensor and the laser sensor. With such functionality, the device selects the optimal speed and trajectory of movement without compromising the quality of cleaning.
The laser sensor allows you to scan an area using a laser beam in order to build the best route for the device to move.
The contamination sensor analyzes the contamination of the surface in order to determine the movement pattern. This is done using a light signal from the visible spectrum or infrared beam. Depending on the transmitted indicators, entering the on-board computer of the device, the automation of the robot vacuum cleaner changes the power of its operation. This sensor also allows you to avoid wasting battery power.
Thanks to the sensor for detecting the type of surface, the robot vacuum cleaner adjusts its parameters, choosing the best option for a specific floor covering.
Important! Some modern models can be equipped with an idle sensor, which will prevent the robot vacuum cleaner from entangling in wires, shoe laces, allowing you to overcome the most difficult obstacles.
The simplest robotic vacuum cleaners move in a straight line. At the moment of contact with an obstacle, they change their direction to the opposite. Thus, some places are cleared several times, while others remain unused. Sophisticated devices create a movement map, which allows you to effectively clean the surface without missing a single centimeter.
Which robot vacuum cleaner is better: key characteristics of the device
An important parameter when choosing a smart cleaning assistant is the capacity of the dust collector, which is selected based on the area to be cleaned. For apartments up to 50 m² in size, preference should be given to devices with a cassette capacity of 0.3-0.4 liters, 50-80 m² – 0.4-0.5 liters. For very large areas of more than 80 m², it is worth purchasing models with a dust collector volume of 0.8-1 liters.
When comparing robotic vacuum cleaners, you should pay attention to the presence of some models of additional containers located on the docking station. After filling the dust container completely, the device returns to the base, where it transfers all the contents from the container to a larger storage. However, such a system has the disadvantage that the docking station is large in size, for which a convenient place should be allocated. In addition, when unloading garbage, a certain amount of dirt can wake up, which requires manual cleaning.
The presence of a built-in air filter affects the state of the room microclimate during cleaning with a robotic vacuum cleaner. When deciding which robot vacuum cleaner to choose (consumer reviews will help in solving this issue), you should pay attention to the HEPA filter system, which resembles an accordion made of dense material. There are models equipped with an aroma diffuser, which is a special compartment for the aroma mixture coming out of the device along with the air, creating a pleasant fragrance in the room.
Control, noise effect and clearance of the robot vacuum cleaner
Before choosing a robot vacuum cleaner for the home, you should pay attention to the maximum noise effect that the device reproduces during its operation. This is especially important if there is no way to program the device to clean at a certain time in the absence of people in the house.
Important! The permissible noise level for a comfortable stay in the room during the operation of the robot vacuum cleaner is considered to be 50-60 dB.
The next indicator is ground clearance, which determines the distance between the device body and the floor. This affects the ability of the robot vacuum cleaner to move on different types of flooring and overcome obstacles. This indicator should be at least 3 cm.
When comparing robotic vacuum cleaners, you need to pay attention to the operation of the device. For budget models, it is carried out using a display on the unit body. When you press the button, the device starts to work. When the battery is completely discharged, it stops in place. More expensive options have the function of returning to base in case of a low battery. After recharging, the vacuum cleaner returns to the end point where cleaning was stopped.
Advanced models of smart gadgets have the ability to set a cleaning timer for days of the week and specific hours. This can be done using a remote control or a mobile app on your phone.
Important! Devices that can be controlled from a smartphone occupy a leading position in the ranking of the best models of robotic vacuum cleaners in 2018-2019.
There are newfangled models with voice guidance for all actions performed. Such devices can be turned into a jukebox. They are equipped with a slot for a memory card, thanks to which music will be played. If there are pets in the house, in order to exclude their manifestation of aggression towards the device, which will negatively affect its further work, you should pay attention to the models equipped with visual wall sensors. They allow you to limit the area for cleaning.
Types of battery and autonomy of the robot vacuum cleaner
When comparing robotic vacuum cleaners, it is worth paying attention to the type of battery, which can be nickel-metal hydride, lithium polymer or lithium-ion. The first option is typical for inexpensive models. The main disadvantage of such a battery is the memory effect. This is manifested in the fact that a full charge is possible when the battery is completely discharged. If you charge an incompletely dead battery, its capacity will gradually decrease, which will negatively affect the life of the device.
Lithium-ion batteries do not have this disadvantage. Their energy intensity does not decrease over time. They are able to recharge quickly and last longer after a single charge. Lithium polymer batteries are relatively new in use. They are lighter in weight, do not have any negative impact on the environment when disposed of, but cost much more.
Small robotic vacuum cleaners cannot boast of high suction power, which depends on the type of battery and its capacity. This affects the speed of movement of the device and the duration of continuous cleaning. On average, it ranges from 180 to 240 minutes. During this period of time, the classic robot vacuum cleaner can clean up to 50 m² of surface.
Important! This only applies to dry cleaning, since with robotic vacuum cleaners for wet or wet cleaning, this time indicator will be much higher.
It is better to give preference to devices with longer battery life or devices equipped with an automatic recharge function at the base station.
Most robot vacuum cleaner models have a limitation on the maximum surface area that needs to be cleaned. This parameter depends on the capacity of the battery. You should pay attention to this if you need to clean large areas of premises, which is more than 80 m². In the absence of the automatic charging function, the device independently goes to the base for recharging, and then returns back to the uncleaned area.
Important! The optimal battery capacity is considered to be 2500 mAh, and the maximum parameter reaches 7000 mAh.