The test of robot vacuum cleaners: it is not a toy – do not sit and ride!

The instruction to one of the robot vacuum cleaners says: “This is not a toy, you can’t sit on it or ride around on it”!”.

A very good reminder, because it is simply impossible to beat the desire to play and even talk with these creatures! We couldn’t resist launching them in a race.


The people competing in the race are..

RobZone Roomy Gold, LG VR5901LVM Hom-Bot and iRobot Roomba 581 models at the start of the test.

We have only three contestants because the robot vacuum cleaner market is not very developed yet, and we focused on robots in the medium price range: it makes no sense to compare a robot for 6000 Dollars with a robot for 60 000.

It is interesting that RobZone and iRobot specialize exclusively in the development and production of robot vacuum cleaners, while LG is one of the leaders in the production of household and not only equipment in the world.

What does a robot need a robot for and other FAQ?

The right thing to ask is: “and to whom?”. Sometimes the dream to buy a robot is lazy, dreaming that the problem with cleaning will be solved once and for all, and the usual vacuum cleaner with its hoses, nozzles, bags and eternal pulling back and forth will be a thing of the past.

But in reality the picture will be a little different. Let’s try to figure out whether or not it makes sense to buy a robot vacuum cleaner by answering the frequently asked questions. Having tested three models, we can do it almost like experts.

Dedicated to the lazy

Question: does he do everything himself, and I sit on the couch and look into the “box?

The answer is yes, but only partly.

Home Appliances

First. It will vacuum and sweep it has brushes on the bottom , but if you’ve left things on the floor, or cords like an extension cord , if you haven’t lifted the chairs or left the bedspread hanging down with long tassels, etc. d., then the cleaning will be difficult for the robot.

At best, it will get entangled in the wires or will not be able to get out of the trap of a four-legged chair and stop, and at worst – will wind your wife’s favorite silk stockings on the brush and will be thrown out the window.

Second. You can watch TV in another room or in headphones: robots are pretty decent noisy, and not hum, but roar, the quietest model in the test – from LG.

Moral: a robot will teach you order and organization of everyday life and rational arrangement of furniture, teach you to get rid of the habit of scattering things around the apartment and make you hammer a nail – at least in the plinth to fix the wires. And in order to do that you have to get off the couch.

Q: I need a vacuum cleaner, I want to buy a robot. It can completely replace a standard vacuum cleaner?

Answer: no, it can’t. The main problem with robots is that they can only clean and do it pretty well the space they can drive into. Corners, crevices, under furniture less than 10-12 cm in height, small spaces between and behind furniture, unfortunately, remain unattended by a robot.

In addition, it works only on the floor, and with a regular vacuum cleaner you can clean upholstered furniture, books, curtains, toys, radiators, furniture tops, carpets with long pile and much more.

Conclusion: A robot vacuum cleaner is for daily hygiene and house cleaning, not for regular vacuuming. But if a robot vacuums every day and picks up the dust and small debris that builds up all the time, then you’ll need to use a regular vacuum far less often – for instance, once a month.

Question: Is it true that a robot doesn’t require any consumables or maintenance?

Robot vacuum cleaners

The answer: the visual sensor and sensor systems in the models we tested are responsible for orientation in space, and measure the size and configuration of the room and the items in it.

If you let the robot figure these parameters out for itself, don’t move it from place to place, and don’t move furniture and objects around while it is working, it will act according to the mode and capabilities of its artificial intelligence.

Robots can have trouble navigating on clear glass or very dark colored floors. The trajectory of the robots depends on the specific model and preset programs, but can also be adjusted manually using the remote control.

Moral: do no harm and do not interfere, and the rumors are clearly exaggerated.

Question: is it true that the robot sees the dirt, drives up to it and cleans it up?

Answer: the units being tested, according to the manufacturers, have contamination detection sensors. But none of them were observed to “hit” the dirt point by point they saw – and fell , although during the test they deliberately threw clumps of dust, spilled soil from a flower pot and flour, and as a dirt “bomb” was used the contents of the dust canister of the model that has already passed the test.

No, the dirt, of course, was cleaned, but somehow in the course of general cleaning. Although when the robots hit a “bomb,” their high-pollution indicators start working, and the robot circles around the heavily soiled area.

Moral: Don’t expect a robot to attack the dirt like a kite to a mouse. Be patient, he will see everything and gradually clean it up.

Question: is it true that the robot can talk?

Answer: only LG and iRobot were talking. The first gave instructions in American “don’t forget to clean the dust bag” etc. . d. and reported his actions “cleaning begins”, “charging begins”, “charging is over” , the second did not report, but only instructed “error two: open the brush block and clean the brushes” .

The RobZone model can’t talk, but it can display error codes so you can diagnose the problem yourself.

All audio and light signals are indicators of errors, battery level, program in progress, etc. . d. , it is described in great detail in the device manual.

Conclusion: keep the manual close at least for the first time, you won’t get anywhere without it.

Question: Is it true that the robot can be prevented from entering certain territory?


Answer: A device called a “virtual wall” is used to restrict a robot’s entry to a room: it is placed near a doorway or just at the beginning of a restricted area and blocks the entry to the room or a part of it by means of an infrared signal.

In our test RobZone has one such limiter, iRobot has three, and if you want to stop LG robot anywhere, you should just close the door, because there is no “virtual wall” in its configuration.

The model from iRobot motion coordinators can work in a “virtual wall” and the beacon, helping to navigate the robot, directing it to the charging base and making sure that the robot went to a new room, only after it is completely finished in the previous one.

Moral: A motion limiter is especially useful in a studio apartment with few doors, but you can do without one in a regular apartment.

Question: is it true that robots don’t fall down stairs?

Answer: all models are equipped with height difference sensors. These are the ones that are responsible for stopping the robot at the stairs useful for a country house, where you usually have two or more floors .

The height difference is considered by the robot as an obstacle: for example if you put the robot on the table as an experiment it will not fall, it will only ride on the table.

The moral: with this height sensing ability, the robot can “live” in a country house with stairs even a model without a “virtual wall” included .

Question: Can I program the robot to clean in my absence??

Answer: all models can be programmed, cheap robots may not have this function it all depends on the model . The devices from RobZone and iRobot have a function to program the cleaning schedule for a week in advance, LG has a delayed start timer from 1 to 12 hours.

Moral: the function is convenient and useful if you are sure that the robot will not get into ambush of wires and scattered things without you. Nothing terrible will happen, just cleaning may not take place.

Question: The robot stops when approaching an obstacle?

Answer: robots usually have spring-loaded front bumpers that have sensors built into them. When approaching obstacles, robots slow down, touch them easily and change their direction.

In the test, not a single piece of furniture was damaged, and it was interesting to see how baseboards and the bottom edges of bookshelves on the floor were not seen as obstacles: it was as if the robots knew they had to “walk” over these parts iRobot .

Moral: Fear not, your antiques will not suffer.

“I walk the carpet, you walk while you lie…”

Question: How does the robot handle carpets?


Answer: We did not do the test with carpets, because we could not find a carpet with a very short pile in the apartment or cottage where we did the test, and robots are not friendly with long piles RobZone and iRobot recommended pile height not more than 1.5 cm, for LG – not more than 0.8 cm .

Just from observations it can be said that cleaning carpets – not the strongest side of robots probably not enough suction power . True, they’re not bad at picking up hair and fur from carpets thanks to the brushes. As for small mats by the bed, in the bathroom , the robots just move them.

Moral: Not Chekhovian characters!

Question: can a robot help fight dust mites?

Answer: dust mites live wherever there is dust, but they especially love beds, upholstered furniture and carpets. For the first two of their “homes” robot is useless, but with carpets can help model from RobZone with a UV lamp, which disinfects surfaces and kills microorganisms.

After such disinfection, it is a good idea to vacuum with a very powerful vacuum cleaner. But then again, the level of general hygiene in the house when using a robot increases.

Moral: if you’re worried about mites – look for the UV lamp!

♪ Charge up ♪!

Question: is it true that robots often can not find the charging base?


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