Automated ways are quickly replacing traditional ways of doing things. Robotic vacuum cleaners are taking the center stage and soon canister upright vacuums will be something of the past. Broom has been used for years in our homes for regular floor cleaning until it was discovered that vacuums can do better. Sweeping simply pushes and blows dust around that somehow settles back on surface or household items. Dust can also lead to allergic reactions.
Hardwood floor is a precious thing to have in a home although cleaning and maintaining it is not easy. You need to be professional in a way. While vacuuming is an effective way of dealing with pet hair, dust and fine debris, it is no longer fashionable pushing the machine around. With robotic cleaners you can do it at the comfort of your office chair or while sleeping.
Robotic vacuums have shown to be efficient and effective thanks to the technological innovations. Most people are preferring them over traditions vacuums mainly due to convenience they offer. Operating them while away is a big plus. You could be away from home and through a phone app, some cleaning is taking place at home. The big question is, which robot vacuum is best for hardwood floors?
To get a good robot cleaner for your home, consider features such as sanction power, battery life, navigation and controls. Ease of use, maintenance and price also essential factors.
What Features to look in a Robot Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
There are various types of robot vacuums on the market and price mainly depend on the key features that include the following:
Battery life: The device working time before running out of power is an important aspect to look at. Most robotic vacuums operate between 60 and 120 minutes before recharging. A big home will automatically require a bot that has long battery life. Some robots automatically dock when out of juice and resume from where they left off after complete recharge.
Suction Power: The rate of sucking dust and debris matters a lot. Some robot vacuums have the ability to suck dust, pet hair and debris at a higher speed than others. Higher suction power implies that the vacuum is effective on any surface including the area rugs such as thick pile carpet. With less suction power, more time will be used only to clean a small area.
Navigation: Robotic cleaners use laser sensors, infrared or cameras to detect objects and comfortably navigate the room. They also have a movement pattern. Random movements often consumes more time for less work as compared to a straight pattern movements. With smart mappings and navigations, modern robots are taking less time to cover large areas of cleaning. Sensors also help in directing the bot on movements around the room. They also help in locating dirt and also preventing the robot from tumbling.
Control and use: Robot vacuums that have smart and intelligent control features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, remote control, Bluetooth and mobile app control are basically the best to work with. Intelligent features gives you a leeway of controlling while you are away from your home and you are able to schedule a cleaning day or time.
Durability: This is an important feature to consider especially when you are going for a heavy duty device. It is good for your robot to clean without breakdown. A robotic vacuum should also come with a warranty so that the manufacturers are liable for mechanical and electrical damages.
Nature of your floor: Various vacuum cleaners are designed for specific types of floor. Hardwood floor is the most delicate and therefore requires a cleaner that will not cause damages like scratches. Traditional Vacuums with beater bar and those with unpadded tires should not be used on a hardwood floor. The texture and size of the brushes is also something to consider. For a hardwood floor, they should be soft and gentle.
Noise: Some vacuums can produce unbearable noise. This is something to consider especially I you have kids and pets in your home. A good bot should have a moderate noise or quiet when working. Sometimes you may want to schedule cleaning at night while people are sleep.
Affordability: Price varies based on features. Vacuum cleaners with sophisticated features such as the iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot that retails above $1000 but has a lot of luxury. Basic single room cleaners such as Roomba 690 goes for less than $300. Nevertheless, you can still find a nice bot at a budget price.
What is the difference between a Robot Vacuum and the rest?
There is a big difference between a robotic vacuum and traditional canister stick vacuum. Robotic vacuums are automatic and intelligent. They are equipped with sensors and sophisticated control features that makes them clean on their own without or with least physical interaction with the operator. Traditional stick vacuums need to be manually operated and be pushed around physically.
Unlike Corded and cordless stick vacuum, most robot vacuums come with charging docks and can recharge themselves when run out of battery power right before resuming their work. Corded vacuums need to be connected to power source with a power cable. Cordless stick vacuums use recharged batteries that need to be recharged or replaced when expired.
Robotic vacuums use an easy to remove dustbin for the collected dust, debris and hair and will alert you when filled up so that you can eject and empty into a garbage. Advanced ones such as iRobot Roomba i7+ are self-emptying. Stick vacuums have a bag or canister that you need to be monitories when full and be emptied.
Robot cleaners are designed to access underneath areas such as under the furniture and under bed and under the couch comfortably due to their flat design. Upright vacuums may be hard to reach such areas and you may need to remove the furniture before you continue cleaning. Robot vacuums are also small and compact and hence takes less storage space unlike upright vacuums that are large and bulky.
Robot vacuums and most cordless vacuums for hardwood floors comes with HEPA filters that prevents allergens from spreading through the air. The filters trap allergy causing particles and lock them in the bin.
Some robot vacuums are equipped with different modes of power based on the nature of the surface. Latest developments have led to a robotic vacuum mop cleaner that can also automatically mop the floor after vacuuming and can replace its own dirty water. Example is the world’s first self-cleaning robot mop and vacuum by Narwal Robotics.
Self-emptying robot vacuums are also taking the center stage. That means everything is done without you moving a finger. With ability to dock and recharge when out of power and resumes cleaning from where they left off, they are just excellent.
What are the advantages of robot vacuums?
- They can be operated remotely using a smart phone app or Bluetooth hence a lot of convenience
- Most have memory banks and can remember what to do
- The design favors them to operate in tight areas like under the couch
- Small and compact thus easy to transport and store
- They have sensors and cameras that makes them to navigate with ease.
- Can be adjusted to different modes depending with the nature of the floor
- They can dock and recharge when out of power
- Easy to operate through smart control features.
Robotic Vacuum Maintenance Tips
Good care and proper maintenance of your vacuum ensures perfect cleaning and long years of service.
- While the robot has sensors for navigation, it is good to clear the room and remove objects that can tangle the robot. They include things like toys, wires, threads, papers and many more
- Empty the dustbin when filled up to prevent overflowing. Although some sophisticated robot vacuums are self-empting.
- Regularly check undercarriage to make sure the wheels and brushes are no tangled or jammed by strings or threads.
- Replace the worn out parts such as the brush rolls, filters and battery.
What are the Best Budget Robotic Vacuums for Hardwood Floors – Reviews
Here are the best world’s budget vacuum bots:
1. iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum
This is an affordable version of the Roomba 980 that retails at around $600 which is about $200 cheaper than the iRobot Roomba 980 model. With much similarities in key features, there are only few differences. The iRobot Roomba 960 is lighter compared to the 980 due to different motor types used. The 980 version has a longer battery life of around 90 minutes unlike the 960 that works up to around 75 minutes. If you have a larger area to be cleaned or a thicker pile carpet iRobot Roomba 980 is the right option.
The iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum supports an app based Clean Map feature where you can control and track the cleaning process. The iAdapt 2.0 feature utilizes sensors and top mounted camera for effective navigation. Presence of acoustic and optical sensors makes it effectively detect dirty areas. The robot vacuum is also equipped with cliff sensors that prevents it falling from high levels such as stairs. The Virtual wall uses infra-red signal to block the robot from areas you don’t want it go.
Roomba 960 docks to recharge and goes back to where it left off and continues with the cleaning. It efficiently suck dust, small debris and pet hair as it moves in a predictable pattern. In the process, the high efficiency filters traps 99% of allergens from the air. When the dustbin is full, it alerts you so that you can empty it.
The iRoomba Home App that connects through internet to your robot gives you the advantage of controlling it while you are not around. Through the app you can schedule time and the day cleaning will commencing. The app notifies when there is an issue such as a mechanical problem or when the dust bin is full. The app has a log that can give you statistics on the area covered and time taken.
When we tested the iRobot Roomba 960 robot, it effectively sucked dust, debris and pet hair. The 980 was effective also and did a splendid work carpet as compared to the 960 which is much effective on a bare floor surface and low pile carpets.
A simple regular maintenance is good. Replace the worn out sensors, side brush and filters. It is also good to check undercarriage to ensure that the robot is not tangled with hair and threads. The robotic vacuum comes with a 1 year warranty.
Downside and Concerns
Less efficient on thick pile carpet due to use of older motor type found in the 700 and 800 Roomba series. This limit the carpet boost functionality that is found in 980. The battery life is short especially if you have a multiple floors to be cleaned. But the 75 minutes run time will be enough if you have a medium sized home or dealing with one room at ago.
If you are looking for a budget friendly versatile robot vacuums for your bare floor or low pile carpet, it is worth going for iRobot Roomba 960 Robot. With the same app based control and navigation system as the famous iRobot Roomba 980 you can prevent dust and debris from piling up in your house.
2. SHARK ION Robot Vacuum R85
This is another intuitive and efficient robot vacuum by Shark Ninja that is technologically advanced. With Wi-Fi connectivity it is easier to control while you are away from your home thanks to Shark ION Robot app. It comes with a remote control, it is possible to control when there is no internet connection.
We found Shark ION Robot Vacuum to be one of the best budget robot vacuums for hardwood floors retailing under $300.
Here are the Key features:
This is a key feature that enables you to operate the robot through voice commands facilitated by Google and Amazon Alexa. You can also instruct when and where to clean while you are away as long as you have internet connection. Everything is done through the Shark ION Robot app that is installed in your smart phone.
This model has adjustable modes of suction based on your desires or the type of floor you are cleaning. For regular everyday cleaning, the normal mode is the best. You can set to a quiet mode when you want minimum noise. This mode is suitable for bare floors. The max mode is set when you want to clean thick pile carpet. SHARK ION Robot Vacuum R85 has a higher sucking power compared to Shark ION R75 robot vacuum.
SHARK ION Robot Vacuum R85 has Self-cleaning Brush Roll that makes it easy to maintain. Equipped with tough bristles strategically positioned on the brush roll, the robot effectively lift hair and dirt without being tangled. It is the best for pet owners. The two side brushes that are well-adept to collect dust and debris from baseboards and wall edges.
Due to normal wear and tear, replacing filters and side brushes is easily. Clean down side of sensors once in a while to make it more effective. Also check undercarriage to ensure that everything is intact and the brush rolls and wheels are not tangled with threads. The robot has a shock absorbing bumper protection that offers cushion when it accidentally bump into furniture or hard obstacles.
Most robotic vacuum cleaners are not self-emptying. That means you should be ready to empty the collect dust, debris and hair into a garbage. However, with this model, it takes longer before the dust bin is filled up due to its large capacity.
The bin is also easy to remove and fix it back after emptying. The underside of the bin is transparent and also has a fill line. That makes it convenient to know when it is filled. Despite the large dirt bin that makes the robot to appear tall, still it can comfortably maneuver under the furniture such as couch and bed.
With Shark Smart Sensor, SHARK ION Robot Vacuum R85 navigates the room effectively as it avoids objects. Also has cliff sensor that makes it to avoid areas like stairs. There are other sensors that also dictate how the robot moves. Example us when it is out of power, it effectively goes to the base for charging without any problem.
The bot comes with passive magnetic strips that are used as virtual walls. They are used to create boundaries to limit areas where you want the robot to operate from.
Excellent Battery Life
Most robotic vacuums have a run time of between 60 and 90 minutes. Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 has 1 hour working time on a fully charged battery. That is enough time to complete cleaning a standard home. The robot dock when it has run out of power and recharging the battery takes 3 to 4hours.
Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 comes with the following
- the vacuum (Shark ION robot body)
- 2 side brushes
- 1 HEPA filter
- the charging dock
- BotBoundary strips
- a remote control with batteries
- the product manual
- 1 year warranty
The robotic vacuum is not self-empting and you have to manually empty the dirt bin when it’s full. The battery life is low especially when you are cleaning an entire home.
There is still room for improvement but the Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 is excellent for cleaning your home when you are around or away. It is budged friendly compared to its versatility. Under $300 with such advanced control features, it is worth having it.
3. Neato Botvac D5 Connected
Neato Botvac D5 Connected Laser Guided Robot Vacuum is a budget vacuum or hardwood floor under $600 that has intelligent control and navigation features. With strong suction power and long battery life, the robot qualifies as one of the best on the shelves. In terms of performance and key features, this robot has a lot similarities with it Neato Botvac D7 or D6 Connected that costs around $200 more.
- Naeto Botvac D5 utilizes LaserSmart Technology that makes it intelligently navigate and map your home creating a floor plan for easier cleaning
- It moves in straight line therefore covers large cleaning area within less time. With laser it is also able to clean in the darkness.
- D-shaped design makes it to access tight areas such as the corners and under the furniture without difficulty.
- Equipped with large core brush and side brush that easily collects dust, debris and pet hair perfectly.
- The ultra-performance filters effectively traps 99% of allergens, dust mites and small unsighted particles.
- It has long battery life of 90 minutes and thus suitable for cleaning entire home or large surface areas without recharging.
- The robot docks to recharge when out of power and goes back to clean from where it left off.
- Neato Botvac D5 Connected use the Naeto app and therefore it can be operated while you are away. It can also be scheduled on when to automatically start working in terms of days and time. The app also shows settings, bot information and schedule and activity log.
- Can be control easily using a phone by a voice command through Google or Alexa.
- Can be used on carpet, tile and hardwood
- Solid and compact
- Effective for cleaning edges and underneath furniture
- Long battery life
- Strong suction power
- Easy to use and control through app
- Automatically docks without any problem.
- Small dust bin
- Not self-emptying
- Slightly noisy
Neato Botvac D5 Connected is an impeccable robot vacuum that clean effectively, has app control and has excellent battery life. Under $600 this robot outsmarts the many others within the same price range. We therefore find it worth having it in your home for regular cleaning.
ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
This is a budget robot that comes with cool features found in pricey brands such as self-charging, quiet, Google or Alexa voice command. With maximum suction power and 120 min runtime, this is the best robotic vacuum for your hard floors and carpets.
ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S Robotic Vacuum Cleaner has the following key features:
- Excellent Controls: The robot has Alexa and Google assistant voice commands that make it possible to schedule and trigger cleaning while you are away from the house using your smart phone. The ECOVACS Smart App has edge cutting features such as direct control, status updates, accessories and cleaning modes among others.
- Thorough Cleaning: It is equipped with two side brushes and main brush that lift and vacuum debris from the floor and corners as well. With increased suction power of up to 2X it handles tough mess. Has different cleaning modes such as Auto mode for entire floor, Spot mode for small area and Edge mode for edge of the floor.
- Long Battery Life: With up to 120 minute runtime, this robot can clean your entire home without stopping. It also dock to recharge when out of juice and return to clean from where it left off.
- Has filters that collects allergens and other small particles
- Equipped with sensors that makes it navigate well around obstacles. Cliff sensors prevent it from stumbling over objects and stairs.
- Can access underneath areas such us under the furniture
- Good cleaning
- Not pricey thus budget friendly
- Great controls through app
- Long battery life
- Not sharp in sensing objects ahead
- Does not empty itself
Considering the price, this is a nice robot for cleaning your home. It might not have smart navigation features found in high end robots but it will serve you. It is therefore worth having it if you are budget-minded.
4. iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum
Roomba is an impeccable trademark in robot vacuums. The release of iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum has justified their incorporating of technology in vacuum cleaners. The i7+ is an intelligent robotic vacuum has made cleaning to be easy. There is no more worry about the dust and pet hair you always find all over the floor when you return home from job so tired and exhausted.
The self-emptying vacuum does everything while you are away or sleeping. The automated sophisticated features of the i7+ Roomba robots are so amazing. The Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal that can hold up to 30 bins can have an entire home cleaned without you moving a finger. The robot will dock to empty its own dustbin when full or recharge when run out of power before it returns back to clean. That means that you can go weeks without supervising the cleaning process.
Although retailing at $1,099, it has the most cutting-edge features that has revolutionized everything about vacuuming bots. The Wi-Fi connected iRobot Roomba i7+ can clean specific rooms based on voice command executed through the Alexa or Google assistant.
The user friendly iRobot app has a smart mapping that can map and adapt your house as it cleans. That gives you the power to label and mark the areas where you want the robot to clean on any specific day or time that you set. The app also keeps a log of every activity, therefore you can track how everything was done and the amount of time spent.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum produces less noise and therefore not scaring to children and pets. When we tested, it did excellent job in collecting dust and pet hair on both hardwood floor and carpet. The corners were almost completely reached with only 1 inch to the corner left.
Navigation was also perfect as the sensors detected objects very well. The vacuum cleaner did not get tangled with fibrous debris but we were just cautious and removed all the threats and small pieces of cloths from the room. The i7+ can comfortably fit under the couches and furniture due to its flat and compact design. The clean base is slightly tall but that is a non-issue since it can be stationed anywhere comfortably.
Maintenance is of the i7+ is much easy thanks to the iRobot store. Worn out filters, side brushes and rubber brushes can be replaced by simply visiting the iRobot store through the app. It is also easy to clean the robot through the step by step instructions provided by the app. This is after the app has alerted you on when to clean the core elements such the dustbin, filters and rushes.
The Roomba i7+ comes with the following
- The vacuum
- Clean Base system
- 2 Dirt disposal bags
- Virtual wall barrier
- Extra high-efficiency filter
- Extra side brush
Downside and Concerns
Sometimes there is miscommunication between the robot and the Clean Base system. The app may alert you on the clog in the Clean Base system and after checking you may find none. There was also an alert on bumper being stuck and we had to fix before the robot docks to empty itself. But since then it is one and a half month now and the robot is cleaning perfectly. I like the fact that, when there is any problem, you will be notified through the app and be given instructions on how to solve it.
Although this model is pricey the model has the most luxurious features that you cannot found in any other robotic vacuums cleaner. The sophisticated features gives you the comfort and if all goes well you will not think about the much you spent to have the iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum.
It is understood that good things are pricey and if you have the power to afford this bot then why not. Nevertheless, if you are budget minded, you can still have a robot vacuum cleaner under $1000 that has cool features that are found in high end bots.
Robotic vacuums with smart control and navigation features are convenient to have in homes. While some are pricey, others are pocket friendly and you but can still serve you better and with convenience. It is also good to look at other key features such as battery life and suction power before settling on a bot. It good to know that pricing is not much against the quality of a product or a service. And sometime cheaper is expensive.