Robot vacuums have been around for awhile, but it took me a really long time to try one. After using it for awhile, I’m sharing my experience, and answer to the question…Should you buy a robot vacuum? All the pros and cons below!
I’ll just start by saying I’ve always been pretty particular about my floors, and having them really clean. Sweeping at least 5 times a day has been my habit as long as I can remember. Mopping too…usually every day, but definitely every other day has always been a part of my daily routine. I do like a clean home, because it’s just easier for me to function and keep everything else in my life organized. I’ve got six kids, five of them within six years, and a daily maintenance of my home has saved me! You’d think I would be the first to sign up for a robot vacuum, to save me time, but I was hesitant for a very long time. I wasn’t sure it would do a good enough job, and afraid that I’d just have to do it over again anyway. Maybe the middle of the floor would look good, but the edges? The corners? And I can sweep my floors in less than 5 minutes…if it took a long time for the vacuum to do it, was I really saving any time? Plus…they were expensive.
This post contains affiliate links of products I use and love. Please see my full disclosure.
Robot Vacuums…the scoop!
With all those things in mind, despite many friends of mine having them and loving them, it wasn’t until a few months ago when I was at perhaps by busiest time in life that I decided to give it a try. I still didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but one of my friends told me she got one that she loved for much less than some of the bigger brand names. After searching Amazon, I found one with really great reviews for around $200, and finally clicked “buy”.
A robot vacuum that would both sweep and mop was important to me. I was not especially concerned with how it did on carpet, since a large percentage of my home is hardwood floors. (It can go on the carpet, I just don’t use it that way. When I first sent it on its way along the floors, I wasn’t what to expect, although I don’t think my expectations were very high. But the first time I emptied the canister and saw how much “stuff” came off of the floors, I was shocked….and so happy!
Mopping was next. It took me a bit longer to really appreciate how well it worked, because my success had a lot to do with how wet the mopping pad was. A little trial and error, and I got it the point that it was just wet enough, but not too wet. But I have to do that with a regular mop too, so not too different!
Now it’s a member our family. My kids joke that it’s the only pet they’ll ever have, lol. They even named her “Pepper” (Old Salt Farm, get it?!), and sometimes it’s even “Pep”. Stuffies have been known to get rides all around the house, and she even gets a few conversations.
Are robot vacuums worth it?
My answer is yes! I know they’re not all the same, but if you can find a good one, they’ll be worth their weight in gold. Over Thanksgiving I was at my sister’s house, and I set up her new robot vacuum. She had purchased after I recommended it, but hadn’t opened it yet. She had just moved into a home with all hardwood floors on the main floor, and it was taking a lot of time to keep them swept and clean. I set it to sweep, then mop, and she was convinced. They named it “Cinderella”, and she has now since proclaimed her life has forever changed. I have friends that have them and love them–they’re all on differing planes when it comes to how much usually clean. I’ve learned that it works for all of us in the way that we need it to. I like mine as a supplement. Others use there’s 99% of the time.
I will say that I have not used it on carpet, because we don’t have much of it. The second reason is that the rooms we do have carpet, like the bedrooms, there is just too much I’d have to move first (cords, rugs, curtains, bedskirts, etc.). It’s more time consuming than just running the vacuum! But I have friends that use it on the carpet and love it–I just don’t have personal experience with it.
Here’s how it all shakes out:
- Does a great job at sweeping, even better than a broom: A broom can still hold onto a lot of dust, hair, etc. I always felt like sweeping with a broom did a great job, and I still use one quite often. But the robot vacuum really picks up so much extra dirt, dust, hair, etc., that a broom just can’t. The version that I have does the sweeping in the main areas of the floor, then goes back around all the edges. I was really surprised at how well it got under the cabinets and into the corners. It has these little brushes that reach out past the edge of the vacuum, and rotate very quickly to grab into harder-to-get-to areas.
- Mopping feature: I still think that mopping is a pro, and I would definitely suggest getting a robot vacuum that mops. It does a good job, but it can’t handle heavy scrubbing or spots that need some elbow grease. For a regular, every day clean up, it’s perfect. I still mop a couple of times a week on my own so I can really scrub where it needs to be done. I also have a bunch of people in my house. Depending on your foot traffic, you can change this as needed. There is some trial and error with the mopping pad. After a few tries I learned what worked best.
- Saves so much time: One of my favorite things about it is that it saves me so much time. I like to set it to sweep in the morning after the kids go to school, and then mop right as we’re going to bed, or finishing up after dinner. It does take longer than it would take me to do it, but it means I can do other things–and just let it go and do it’s thing!
- Easy to use: Both the sweep and mop functions have separate canisters to insert. The vacuum recognizes which one has been inserted, and knows just what to do. You either fill the mopping canister with water and place the mopping pad on the velcro (get it wet first), or make sure the sweeping canister is empty and snap it into place. So fast and easy. There is an app you can download to your phone for additional control and access, as well an included remote. (With the version I bought–double check any other you’re looking at.) I can set it to run at the same time each day, have it do just one particular room, and a myriad of other features.
- Blocking things off first: While the vacuum is really easy to use, there is some prep that needs to happen first. It doesn’t take long, but if you don’t want your vacuum to get stuck, then it’s a must. Rugs have to come up off the floor. If you want certain spaces not get touched, then you need to shut doors or block entrances. For example, our master bedroom is on the main floor. I don’t want it in the there, so I close the door. We have a couple of thresholds into other rooms that the vacuum can’t get over, so we shut the barn doors. If there are any curtains that brush the ground, those need to be lifted up. Cords of any kind (lamps, tv, etc.) also have to be moved. We have a fluffy rug in the family room too thick for the vacuum, so we have to block off that room. If you mop, then you have to block off any areas with carpet. I have the whole system down now, so it just takes a minute, but it’s still a process. And if I forget, the vacuum gets stuck and starts beeping.
- Some rooms are too hard/time consuming (too much in the way). Our room has hardwood floors, and I’d love for the vacuum to come in there, but there’s just too much that has to be moved or picked up first. We have a large jute rug, and it’s just too high for the vacuum to go over. Our bed has a bedskirt that hangs just to the ground, and it gets sucked up in the vacuum. It will go under the bed, which is awesome, but I don’t always want to take the time to tuck everything up and out of the way. It’s honestly just faster for me to sweep in that room most of the time! This may not be an issue for you if you don’t have much to move, but I wanted to mention it just in case you do!
- It doesn’t completely take the need away for a broom or mop. Especially when it comes to mopping, I’ve found that this works great for a lot of the time, but not all the time. I still need to do a heavy duty mop/scrub at least once a week (I usually do it twice). Sweeping I still do during the day at least once, but for me that’s a huge difference! It does a great job, but I’m still sweeping stairs, getting into the pantry corners where it can’t reach, and under furniture.
Overall? Hands down, I’d buy it again. It has saved me a lot of time and energy. I love being able to just turn it on to sweep or mop while I work on other things. It’s become part of our after dinner routine, and whomever is assigned to dishes now turns on Pepper!
If you have any questions, please let me know–I’ll answer the best I can!