Betta Buying Guide: Robot Vacuums

Buying Guide: Robotic Vacuum Cleaners        

The future is here: ovens can clean themselves and robots can clean your floors!

Well, not robots exactly, but robotic vacuum cleaners. These intelligent, autonomous vacuums use cameras and sensors to navigate themselves around a room and clean as much of the floor as they can.

The first robotic vacuum cleaner was introduced by Electrolux in 1997 and we’ve come a long way since then. The models on the market today are smarter and actually do what they’re supposed to i.e. require less manual effort of you. So, if you need some help in the vacuuming department, read on for our ‘robovac’ buying guide.

What you need to know

Robotic vacuums are not as powerful as traditional vacuum cleaners, and they’re not meant to be.  A robotic vacuum should supplement your traditional one. For example, perhaps you currently vacuum with an upright cleaner once a week.  If you had a robotic cleaner, you could alternate between it and the upright, meaning 50% less vacuuming for you!

Particularly if you have hard floors and no pets, a robotic vacuum cleaner can do the majority of the hard work and you can just follow up with a vacuum on occasion. But you will still need to get into corners and hard-to-reach areas yourself, unless you get a square cleaner with side brushes like the LG Roboking.

Features to look for

Run time

You want to get the most cleaning time out of one charge. The average run time for a robotic vacuum is 90 – 100 minutes after a 3-hour charge. In this time, it should be able to clean around 4 rooms.  

Navigation precision

The whole point of a robotic vacuum is that it navigates itself. If it doesn’t do this precisely it will continue to get stuck behind furniture and other obstacles, requiring you to constantly get up and reset its path. The more advanced the navigation system, the more precise and thorough the cleaning.

Dirt detection

Roomba’s Dirt Detect technology comprises acoustic and sometimes optical sensors which detect small particles and makes the robovac concentrates its cleaning effort on stubborn built-up areas.  


If you’re in the house while the robotic vacuum is doing its thing, you want it to be quiet enough so you can go about your business.

Programmable Cleaning

Some robotic vacuums allow you to program them to run at a specific time. This is convenient if you like the idea of coming home from work to a vacuumed house!


A slim design means the robot will be able to manoeuvre under the sofa and other small spaces where dust likes to hide.


Some newer models have a nifty self-cleaning feature. When the dustbin is full, the vacuum returns to its dock and empties its dust into the receptacle!