Best Robot Vacuum for Hardwood floors
In the past, cleaning a hardwood floor daily as recommended was overwhelming but now, with robot hoovers, it is a buzz. But then, if you go to the market, you will find hundreds of models that will definitely confuse you.
Fortunately, we are here for your rescue with this review that will help you find the best robot vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors.
I know you might be asking, why can’t you save yourself the trouble and buy just any other robot cleaner?
This is in light of the fact that regular hoovers will vacuum everything; no exceptions. The truth of the matter is that with robot vacuums, the technology has gone beyond to offer practical solutions to the daily cleaning needs we encounter.
Different models are designed to offer specialized cleaning need and that’s why it’s common to hear about robot cleaners for carpets, others for pet hair, large apartments, and so on. But today, we are focusing on hardwood floors so without wasting time, here are our top picks.
|Deebot N78||Vacuum, Mop||HEPA||110 min||Check Price|
|Roomba 960||Vacuum||HEPA||75 min||Check Price|
|Braava 380t||Mop||150 min||Check Price|
|iLIFE V5s Pro||Vacuum, Mop||HEPA style||110 min||Check Price|
|CleanMate CM3||Vacuum, Mop, UV||HEPA style||80 min||Check Price|
|Connected D5||Vacuum||HEPA||90 min||Check Price|
|Xiaomi Mi||Vacuum||HEPA||150 min||Check Price|
|Deebot N79s||Vacuum||HEPA||100 min||Check Price|
#1.ECOVACS Deebot N78 good decision for cleaning dog hair
If you are on a budget and you want an all in one cleaner, then get the Deebot N78. I have used it on my hardwood floor and though its vacuuming is not in the same level like the industry leading models, the mopping function saves you the budget you’d have spent on a robot mop.
The icing on the cake is the price tag. You will get the N78 with less than $200 which is very cheap considering expensive models like Roomba 890 and even the 980 itself don’t have mopping function.
My only concern was that you have to sacrifice your Smart needs as this model doesn’t come with Wi-Fi. But the N79 does but then, it lacks mop function but will still vacuum hardwood floors. Also, it is not best for high traffic rooms; it constantly gets stuck.
#2.iRobot Roomba 960 best Roomba for Hardwood Floors and Tile
When I was shopping for a Roomba for my floor and pet hair, I realized that the only noteworthy extras that make the 980 more expensive are Carpet Boost mode and a more powerful battery.
Otherwise, all other features are intact including the new VSLAM navigation. If you have high traffic rooms, then this is one vac you don’t want to miss out on. For those with large apartments, it will also be a great purchase as it can self-recharge and resume cleaning automatically.
So, in as much as it may be criticized for having a short runtime, you don’t have to worry about incomplete cleaning because your vac went to recharge and forget about cleaning. This is considering you are buying a $500 cleaner that only vacuums yet your hardwood floor also needs mopping.
#3.iRobot Braava 380t best robot mop
This is among the two robot mops that are offered by iRobot, Roomba’s manufacturer. Just like the Roombas, Braavas also do their job exceptionally well.
I like the 380t because it will clean hardwood floors without using too much water. It also scrubs stains and grimes which greatly damage hardwood floors. It is also able to navigate precisely and will cover every inch of your house.
#4.iLIFE V5s Pro mop cleaner with water tank
This is the ceiling model in the V5s Series and features in this list because of the cleaning versatility. It will sweep, vacuum and mop and the price is still affordable.
But what’s unique?
iLIFE understands the impact of excess water on hardwood so they designed i-dropping; a feature that ensures water is released when the cloth is dry.
At the end of the day, you use water efficiently and above all, your hardwood floor is not exposed to too much moisture which can damage it. The large wheels will also ensure it maneuvers even on those floors with dents.
But again here, the action on carpets and pet hair is not impressive.
It also lacks Wi-Fi but for the price, you don’t need to complain; you get what you pay for. If you have a hardwood floor, this one will work perfectly.
#5.CleanMate CM3 with UV cleaning mode
I like the way these small brands blend the latest innovations and one of them is the CM3 from Clean Mate. It has been built with the industry’s leading technologies including boundary marking and UV cleaning.
It does a great job on carpets as well as hardwood but when it comes to pet hair, it is not a good choice. But the best thing about it remains the price; $200 for a robot vacuum with boundary marking and UV cleaning is a great deal.
Unfortunately, there are a few shortcomings you have to note. First, this model is not Smart ready meaning it doesn’t have Wi-Fi. Another thing, the runtime is very short; 80 minutes wouldn’t be ideal for a large apartment and worse enough, it doesn’t resume cleaning after recharge.
#6.Neato Botvac Connected D5 good for cleaning pet hair
Together with the Deebot R95, the Botvac Connected D5 are major competitors of the Roomba 980. This robot in particular counters almost every feature the Roomba 980 boasts of.
It will work well on hardwood and all other surfaces including carpets.
If you deal with large debris like cereals, Cheerios, and the likes, the high suction power will ensure they are all picked. I also like the fact that this cleaner has Wi-Fi, boundary marking and so on.
The best part is the price; at least it’s cheaper than the Roomba 960 and still delivers! Unfortunately for this high-end vacuum, it lacks resume capability but then, its battery life will guarantee entire level cleaning in a two bedroom apartment.
Also, its performance in high traffic rooms can’t be compared to the Roomba 960 or 980.
#7.Xiaomi Mi 372010 with LDS With Laser Guidance System
Being among the hi-tech gadgets manufacturers in the world, Xiaomi also left a mark in the robots vacuums market with this revolutionary and exceptionally good-looking vacuums. Generally, I wouldn’t compare it with the industry leaders but as a mid-range robot cleaner, its performance is incredible. Three things to highlight; strong suction, accurate navigation, and extended battery life.
Compared to the Roomba 890, Xiaomi Mi has higher suction and the LDS navigation is far much better than iAdapt 1,0. The price is also affordable; $400 is not that bad for a top brand like Xiaomi.
But on the downside, connecting it to the Smartphone App was a problem for me. Xiaomi’s default language is Mandarin so I fumbled for a while. Otherwise, I can’t complain about its performance; perfect value for money!
#8.ECOVACS Deebot N79s with Max Power Suction and Alexa Connectivity
If you are familiar with the Deebot Series, you understand that the N79 was the Smart option ECOVACS brought to address the lack of Smart features in the older N78.
But then, the N79 greatly disappointed on carpets and again, it wasn’t compatible with Alexa. But the all-new Deebot N79s is Smart, works with Alexa and has a dedicated mode for carpets.
On the hardwood, its performance is also excellent.
But then, I would rather settle for the lesser N78 over this one because it lacks mopping function.
This is in light of the fact that our priority is hardwood floors and mopping would greatly reduce staining.
SHOPPING GUIDE: How to choose the Best Robot Vacuum for Hardwood Floors?
We understand that the market dynamics are unpredictable and we may not guarantee that the above cleaners will be the best tomorrow.
This is bearing in mind these robot vacuum brands are busy in research and development so what is hot today may not be hot tomorrow. That said, it is wise to know the ropes when shopping for a robot cleaner. That said, we are going to focus on several important aspects that you should be aware of when in the market for a wood floor robot cleaner.
To start, I think it’s important we understand why you should consider upgrading from your regular vacuum to a robot vacuum.
Why Buy a Robot Vacuum Cleaner for your Hardwood Floor?
The main reason you need to consider a robot cleaner for your hardwood floor is the convenience they offer. Remember, to keep your hardwood floor in good condition, you need to sweep and vacuum it regularly to prevent scratches on the finish.
While dirt may not be a bother on tile or linoleum, it should get you worried when it’s on your hardwood floor; it causes scratches when stepped on and may stain the floor. But then, how will you manage cleaning the floor all the time? This is where a robot vacuum comes in. It can be scheduled to work autonomously unlike handheld vacuums. So, even with a tight schedule, your hardwood floor will always be free from all dirt and debris.
Is a Robot Mop a Worthy Investment?
I understand that nothing is as important as the surfaces a robot vacuum is able to clean. But now that we have settled on hardwood, here’s something no one will tell you; sweeping and vacuuming only isn’t enough for hardwood floors.
After vacuuming, mopping is necessary to wipe out the remaining dirt failure to which will stain your hardwood floor. That said, you need to consider getting a robot mop for the job and one thing I know you are asking is, why can’t you just mop the traditional way with a cloth and a bucket of water?
First, you will agree with me that robot cleaners are very convenient because there are no hassles of bending your back and more so, it is faster and more efficient. Besides, a robot will save you time because it can be quite overwhelming to mop your floor daily by yourself.
Perhaps the number one reason why you should get a robot mop is that it will help you reduce the amount of water that gets into contact with your precious hardwood floor.
It is common knowledge that water and moisture is a hardwood floor’s enemy number 1. I used to mop mine with a sponge and just a bucket of water and in less than 3 years, I was budgeting for a replacement. It’s then that I bought the Deebot N78 and I liked how it mopped the floor. Though it wasn’t able to scrub the toughest stains and grime, it used minimal water, something I was very keen on this time around – once bitten, twice shy.
I couldn’t risk exposing my hardwood floor to water and moisture unnecessarily again. Actually right now, some models like the V5s Pro have special features to ensure there is minimal contact between your floor and water and a good example is i-dropping technology.
That said, it will be a wise idea for you to buy a robot mop or clever enough, a robot vacuum with mop. As competition grew, some brands decided to integrate the mopping function in robot cleaners and today, we have the likes of the Deebot N78, iLIFE V5s Pro and several; other models that combine sweeping, vacuuming and mopping. But then, it is imperative that you know the kind of mopping a cleaner offers. I am saying this in light of the fact that some robot cleaners with mop come with dry mopping only whereas others come with both dry and wet mopping.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A ROBOT VACUUM CLEANER FOR HARDWOOD FLOORS
This is the backbone of this buying guide and it focuses on the important factors that need to be considered when buying wood vacuum cleaners. There are several aspects that you need to address and be sure of to get value for your money. So, when shopping for a hardwood floor robot vacuum cleaners, what exactly should you look out for?
1. DESIGN & AESTHETICS
In as much as design is all about aesthetics, the design of a robot vacuum greatly contributes to its general cleaning performance. Besides the physical appeal of a robot vacuum, there are two other important aspects of design that you should be very keen on. The first is its height and then, the shape.
When it comes to height, a good robot cleaner for wood floors should have a low profile design. This is to say, it should be the shortest to allow it to fit under most household furniture and fittings. Here, I like the fact that most brands offer vacuums under 3.1 inches but for the record, Roomba and Dyson are not on the list. Roombas stand at 3.6 inches while cheaper vacuums are 3 inches high.
Another important aspect is the shape of the cleaner. Here, it’s normally a conversation between round vs square. The Botvac Connected D5 leads the pack here with the D-shape design with CornerClever.
The square shape allows the robot to fit in corners so you are guaranteed thorough cleaning on corners. The magic here is the 50% larger brush that keeps the cleaner in closer contact with the wall. The Botvac Connected D5 is 14mm closer to the wall while your average round robot will be 98mm far.
On the other hand, round vacuums, the likes of Roomba 960, ILIFE V5s Pro and the rest have round shapes and will often leave corners untouched.
If you want the best vacuum as far as design is concerned, I recommend you get the Botvac Connected D5. But then, the high price tag may put you off so if you have to settle for a round shaped vacuum, I will go with the iLIFE V5s Pro or even the Deebot N78, at least the spinning side brushes will at least reach the corners, but not as satisfactorily as the Botvac Connected D5.
2. CLEANING PERFORMANCE
I know this is the most important consideration when shopping for a hardwood floor robot cleaner. I know the biggest question here will be whether or not it can clean your hardwood floor. But still, there are several aspects you should also consider.
|Model||Orientation||Suction Boost||Brushes||Filter||Dirt detect||Tank size|
|Deebot N78||Vacuum, mop||No||Wide-reach |
|Roomba 960||Vacuum||Yes||Tangle-free brushes||HEPA||Yes||0.3 L|
|Braava 380t||Mop||No||No||No||No||0.5 L|
|iLIFE V5s Pro||Vacuum, mop||Yes||Side brushes||Hepa style||No||0.3 L|
|CleanMate CM3||Vacuum, mop, UV||No||Side brushes, |
|Hepa style||No||0.3 L|
|Connected D5||Vacuum||Yes||Combo brush||HEPA||No||0.3 L|
|Xiaomi Mi||Vacuum||Yes||Side Brushes||HEPA||No||0.4 L|
|Deebot N79s||Vacuum||Yes||Wide reach |
For example, if you have pets, you still want a cleaner that will pick up the pet hair from the hardwood floor and also, filter out the pet-related allergens. That said, when addressing cleaning performance, there are many areas that one should be really keen on.
So, what features should you look out for?
Robot vacuums are so advanced such that they offer more than just vacuuming. Right now, we have vacuums that can mop and even UV sterilize hardwood floors. That said, you should clearly prioritize your needs and go for a cleaner that will meet all your cleaning needs. For hardwood floors, I would really advise that you vacuum and mop it.
Hardwood floors can stain easily so a mop will remove all the grime and stains. It will also expose the floor to minimal water compared to using a sponge and bucket. That said, you should get a robot vacuum mop or at least, invest in a mop if you already have a vacuum cleaner.
For parents with crawling kids and pets, it would be a great idea to get a cleaner with a mop and UV sterilization.
This is the cornerstone of a robot vacuum as it is the force that picks up dirt from the floor into the bin. Every other feature, from brushes to filters, maybe the best but if the suction is not sufficient, you end up with an average clean, with large debris like cheerios and cereals remaining on the floor. When it comes to hardwood floors, you don’t have to get a cleaner with the highest suction power and that explains why it is the Roomba 960 that made it in our review and not the Roomba 980 that in fact has 10* more power.
But then, that is not to say that vacuuming a hardwood floor doesn’t require high suction – it does, especially when debris like sand and small pebbles get inside the plate gaps or dents.
Though many people ignore the brush system, it is something you don’t want to gamble with if you have a hardwood floor. Remember, the reason regular vacuums are not good for hardwood floors is that of their brushes and bristles.
They are very rough and when used on fragile hardwood floors, they damage it. Also, in robot vacuums, there are some brushes that are best for hardwood floors while others may clean the floor thoroughly but leave them looking faded and old.
Filters (HEPA-style vs true HEPA)
Robot vacuum cleaners come with filters to ensure allergens are filtered out. But then, you should make sure that you get a robot vacuum with the best filter. For starters, there are two types of filters used in robot vacuums; HEPA-style and true HEPA filters.
Cheap vacuum cleaners will most likely come with HEPA style filters.
These are imitations of true HEPA filters and their efficiency is lower. A HEPA-style filter will filter out an average of 90% of allergens. On the other hand, true HEPA filters have an impressive efficiency; 99.97%. One thing to note here, true HEPA vacuums are very expensive but if you have allergies, then break the bank and get a true HEPA robot vacuum from your hardwood floor. Otherwise, if allergens are not your concern, HEPA style filters are still a good choice but don’t expect maximum efficiency.
Dirt bin/water tank capacity
Robot vacuums come with tanks; a tank for robot vacuums and a dirt bin plus water tank for robot vacuum mops. Here, there are a few things I want you to note.
Buying a robot vacuum with a bigger tank capacity is the biggest favor you could do for yourself. While most average vacuum cleaners have 0.3L dirt bins, there are models that go up to 0.5L. With such a robot cleaner, you will be required to empty it less often. This is the same when it comes to water tanks for robot mops; the larger the tank the better.
But in the same token, it is very important to factor in the weight a bigger tank has. It is obvious that the larger the tank, the more dirt it can hold and consequently, the more weight means more power. Again, from another angle, a larger tank doesn’t seem a very serious deal considering one of the best practices of using a robot vacuum is emptying it regularly.
So, what’s the use of a 0.5L dirt bin when each day your vacuum collects less than a tenth of the capacity? That said, the tank capacity should also not be a bother when shopping for a hardwood robot vacuum.
To give you a clear perspective of how these vacuum cleaners perform, we decided to test them with some of the common household dirt. We put sugar, Cheerios, sand, kitty litter, and saw dust. Here is an illustration of the cleaning results. Remember, we did this tests on a hardwood floor.
3. NAVIGATION & MANEUVERABILITY
One of the advantages of a robot vacuum cleaner over something like the handheld vacuum is the automatic operation. You don’t have to push it or guide it where it should go, so, how exactly does this vacuum work? There are several aspects that you should put into consideration to get the best robot for vacuuming your hardwood floor. So what features are you looking out for here?
|Model||Navigation system||Maneuverability||Boundaries||Mapping & scanning|
|Deebot N78||Smart sensors||Wheel||No||No|
|Roomba 960||iAdapt 2.0||Wheel||Wirtual Wall||Yes|
|iLIFE V5s Pro||Smart sensors||Wheel||Height barrier||No|
|CleanMate CM3||Ultrasonic sensors||Wheel||Sonic Wall||No|
|Deebot N79s||Smart sensors||Wheel||No||No|
Wheels vs tracks
If you have shopped around, you will find that there are robot cleaners that come with wheels while a few come with tracks. These two maneuverability options have advantages and disadvantages. Ideally, tracks are better because they have better traction and will move on rough terrain easily than wheels.
But then, what makes wheels popular? When designing robot vacuum cleaners, size and weight is a major consideration for the manufacturer and to maintain a lightweight, tracks are undesirable because they are heavier.
Now, more and more brands are equipping their cleaners with large offroad wheels to ensure they manage through all terrains, including floor transitioning. A good example is the iLIFE V5s Pro that boasts large RoadRover wheels with big treads so it won’t get stuck and will climb over large debris like cheerios, sawdust, sand and so on.
The most important aspect is the technology used in navigation. Robot cleaners will navigate around your house independently. The common technology used is sensors that send lasers to the wall and when the beams are bounced back, the robot is able to know its position in relation to the walls. There are also drop sensors and anti-collision sensors that prevent it from falling off the stairs and hitting obstacles respectively.
You will find such systems in low-end and mid-range robot vacuum cleaners but with high-end models, they combine sensors and cameras for a more precise navigation. Among the models with this kind of navigation include the Roomba 960, Roomba 980, Dyson 360 Eye, and a few others. If you have a large apartment with a lot of furniture, this is what you should look for.
With VSLAM navigation, a good example, Roomba’s iAdapt 2.0, the robot combines the data it has from the sensors plus real-time images of your house. It notes all the landmarks; sofas, TV stands, doorways and so on and uses all this information to find its way around obstacles without getting stuck often.
Mapping & scanning
This is another important aspect and should be a real concern for those with large floors. Mapping is concerned with how the robot visualizes your floor area and how it plans on the best route to take. It is very important to consider the mapping and scanning technology of a robot cleaner as it directly determines the turnaround; how fast or slow the cleaning will be.
Here, I will tell you one thing; the better the navigation system, the better the mapping and scanning. Ideally, a robot with an accurate navigation system is also intelligent enough to plan a methodical and patterned cleaning.
What if there are areas where you don’t want the robot to reach? Or how would you restrict the cleaner to one room until it finishes? You can do all this and so much more with boundary marking. This is a technology that allows homeowners to set boundaries where they don’t want the cleaner to pass.
When it comes to boundary marking, the tussle is between physical vs invisible barriers. There are models that have physical barriers; Neato Robotics is one of them. On the other hand, innovative brands like Roomba have invisible barriers – they use invisible lasers to mark boundaries.
I have used the Neato’s boundary marking and even though it worked just fine, physical boundaries are bulky but then, very easy to set up. On the other hand, invisible barriers are more precise and give users the power to do more.
But on the downside, the markers are expensive and quite hard to set up. For example, one Roomba Virtual Wall will cost you around $60 while a Virtual Wall Lighthouse is around $30. On the other hand, physical barriers like Neato’s costs much less because there are several companies manufacturing them.
When shopping for a hardwood floor vacuum cleaner, it is important to consider the size of your floors and also, the traffic of the entire house. If you have large floors that have a lot of traffic, I wouldn’t recommend any other robot cleaner apart from the Roomba 960. But if you are on a budget, you have very few options because most of the cheap robots use sensors only.
4. BATTERY & POWER MANAGEMENT
As you are all aware, robot cleaners have inbuilt batteries, unlike robotic pool cleaners that are wired to the mains. This is not negotiable anyway because having a cable would end up being a nightmare bearing in mind it goes under and around furniture.
I will tell you for free that it is important to consider the battery performance and power management of your desired cleaner. To help you make the best decision, we are going to discuss three important features to look out for when buying a robot vacuum for your floor.
Li-Ion vs NiMH
There are several different battery technologies and the two most popular technologies used in building robot vacuum cleaner is NiMH and Li-Ion. Each of the two technologies has advantages and disadvantages and to help you settle on the best type, here is how they square out.
Lithium Ion is the latest technology and is loved by many because it addresses the shortcomings of the older Nickel-Metal-Hydride. `The first problem with a NiMH battery is the weight and thanks to Li-Ion technology, we can now have lighter batteries without compromising performance.
Capacity and runtime
The first important thing to look out for is the capacity of the battery, and consequently, its runtime. But before that, what is the size of your floor?
If you have a large apartment, then you need to buy a cleaner that has a large capacity battery to ensure it runs for the longest time. The reason for this is because you don’t want the cleaner to clean your house halfway and go back to recharge for 3 hours or so. If it can do an average of 100 minutes, then that’s a cleaner that deserves to be on your wishlist. For the record, a NiMH battery will hold more power than a Li-Ion battery.
But then, from time to time, you may find your battery fluctuating and in most cases, this has nothing to do with the battery itself. If you find your vacuum cleaner doing a shorter time than normal, there should be something wrong with the cleaner.
Tips to maximize your robot vacuum battery life
To always make sure that the vacuum is working optimally, here are some important battery tips that will help you maximize your battery performance.
- Empty your dirt bin often as the more heavier the vacuum gets, the more power it requires to move around.
- Clean the brushes regularly because when it gets too dirty, the robot works extra hard to push it; that means more power.
- Keep the vacuum always charged. Research shows that vacuums that are often charged have better performance because the battery is healthy.
- Avoid extreme temperatures as it is likely to interfere with the battery cells’ composition; this includes extremely cold and extremely hot environment.
If you follow all these, and your battery still misbehaves, then consider getting a new battery and one thing I want to emphasize here is battery authenticity. You will find that there are many generic battery replacements out there. Though they may be cheaper, these generic batteries are mostly below standards and may be hazardous. That said, don’t feel the pinch when buying original OEM batteries.
What happens when your robot runs out of charge when cleaning the bedroom?
Do you have to take it to the charging base manually or it will do so on its own?
If you did your homework, you understand that robot cleaners will go back to the charging base by themselves when the charge levels go down beyond some preset limit. But then, what happens thereafter?
A lot of robot cleaners will only go to the charging base and recharge but won’t resume cleaning. This is a big problem for those who have large apartments as most times, you will find the house halfway cleaned; a serious embarrassment if you came back with guests. But then, the latest models will recharge and resume cleaning from where they left. This is among the unique features that make the Roomba 960 and Roomba 980 the best Roombas in the market.
Life cycle (durability)
Just like there is some limit in the runtime of batteries, the life cycle of your robot’s battery is also something you should address. Here, I won’t lie to you that there is one brand with a longer lasting battery than the other. The debate here takes a different channel and also escalates to a battle between Li-Ion and NiMH battery technology. NiMH batteries last longer but then, their recharge time is equally longer than that of Li-Ion batteries.
Unfortunately, a lot of people end up with very bad experiences with their batteries. But don’t be afraid, at least they are not safety hazards like the explosions witnessed with scooters and Segways. The problem will be largely on performance, runtime and life cycle.
I won’t lie to you; nothing is as nasty as a faulty vacuum battery. What makes matters worse is that the warranty of batteries is normally shorter, in some brands, 3 months. But then, if you take good care of your vacuum, you should not experience major problems with your vacuum battery.
Buying new vacuum vs. buying a replacement battery?
Definitely, after some time, your battery will become weaker to the point that it can’t hold charge for long. Once it reaches this stage, you will need to buy a new battery. But then, these batteries are not very cheap and in some cases, they cost almost the same price as a new vacuum. For that reason, there has been a controversy between buying a battery replacement and buying a new vacuum.
Personally, I find this debate very subjective and one that doesn’t have a definite conclusion. The main reason I say this debate is subjective is that it disregards the fact that robot vacuums vary greatly in prices.
The truth of the matter is that, if you have a cheap vac, it would be a clever idea to get a new vacuum but if you have something like the Roomba 980, just buy a replacement battery; it would be overly extravagant to buy a $1,000 vacuum cleaner when you could just buy the battery for $100 or so.
5. SMART & CONVENIENCE FEATURES
Though you have set your eyes on getting a reliable hardwood floor robot cleaner, there are several must-have features that you need to consider getting. You want to keep in touch with your Smart Home and also, you need a robot cleaner that will take the burden of floor cleaning from you.
The first important feature you should look out for is scheduling. This is a cleaning mode that allows you to preset preferred cleaning times every day, seven days a week.
I like the fact that almost every other robot cleaner on the shelves has this feature. So far so good, everyone seems to be content with it but then, I find it rather odd that you can only set one cleaning time daily.
What if there’s need to clean twice or even thrice daily?
In this case, your only choice is to initiate the cleaning process manually. That said, you want a cleaner that gives you remote control. There are two ways through which you can control your vacuum cleaner remotely. The first method is via a physical remote control and the other way is on the App via Wi-Fi.
Physical remotes are available in select brands and models only and feature a real remote; like the one a TV uses. Most of the vacuums that come with this feature have a working distance of around 15 ft. Though they were at some point the in-thing, they are mostly useless but still, such a robot may come in handy if you have mobility problems.
At least for those with back problems, you can start cleaning without bending, i.e, if the robot doesn’t have Wi-Fi or your home internet, is not stable.
Smartphone operation (Wi-Fi)
On the other hand, Wi-Fi allows you to connect the robot to a dedicated smartphone App where you can control the cleaner from anywhere as long as it is connected to the internet. This answers the question of whether your Wi-Fi vacuum cleaner will work without internet.
The important thing to note here is that Wi-Fi is only a control media and is not directly connected to the cleaning performance. So, whether you have internet or not, the robot will still clean the floors.
There is also voice control that enables homeowners with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to control their cleaners with their voice. You can literally tell the cleaner to start cleaning and as your maid, it will oblige.
Also, this model is in some select brands and models. When shopping, make sure to confirm that the cleaner is voice control compatible. Don’t just assume that as long as it has Wi-Fi, it can work with Alexa. Though this is the case most of the times, there are models that come with Wi-Fi but lack voice control compatibility. A good example is the Deebot N79; while it is Wi-Fi enabled, it doesn’t work with Alexa or Assistant but fortunately, the upgraded Deebot N79s works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
6. AFTERSALES, WARRANTY & REPLACEMENT PARTS
I always tell people that sopping doesn’t end just when your order has been delivered.
What if the robot is dead on arrival?
What if it ceases working after a month?
Are filters and parts readily available?
All these are issues you need to address before settling on any cleaner.
Perhaps the most important thing is the warranty. Make sure to buy a robot vacuum cleaner with the longest warranty just in case it breaks down, you are eligible for repairs or replacement. But then, it is imperative that you read the warranty’s terms and conditions lest you void it unknowingly.
Some of the key issues you need to be satisfactorily aware of include the warranty duration of the main unit as well as the battery. Also, know the parts that are covered by the warranty. I’m sure most brands won’t cover small parts like filters and brushes.
Above all, the warranty should be genuine as there are some brands that are dishonest and will take you round and round and eventually, they won’t honor the warranty. A good way to spot such a brand is to read customer reviews online.
Another important aspect here is the availability of replacement parts. You will need to be changing the filters, brushes, and other replacement parts. So, make sure the brand you are buying has these parts available and at an affordable cost. But then, you don’t have to worry much here because the common parts are universal. But the problem comes in when you want to replace a damaged component, say the dirt bin, remote, bumper, or something. You have to get the exact part; nothing more, nothing less.
Hardwood Floor Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
Like earlier mentioned, a hardwood floor is damn expensive so you need to take great care of it. Though it is generally believed that taking care of a hardwood floor is very hard, it is a buzz if you do the right thing, the right way.
One thing I want to reiterate is that even though a robot vacuum has been described as the ultimate floor cleaning helper, it is not invincible always and that said, there are several things you can be doing to help it with its work. So, without further ado, here are some important hardwood floor cleaning and maintenance tips.
Adopt a ‘no shoes’ policy
A hardwood floor is just as delicate as a carpet so you don’t want to step on it with all the outdoor dirt. Besides, it is not fair to bring in more dirt in the house; that’s just overwhelming the vacuum cleaner, as well as your wallet.
That said, it is important to adopt, and most importantly, to enforce a strict ‘no shoes’ policy to reduce dirt on your floors. But so far, the worst damage of getting in your house with shoes is the scratches you inflict on the floor. Particularly if you live in sandy environment, the little sand particles that get stuck on your sole will bruise your hardwood floor when walking around.
To make sure your hardwood floor is safe from staining and scratches, make sure you vacuum it regularly. But then, how do you manage to vacuum daily, or even several times a day with a handheld or upright vacuum; you just don’t have the time to do that and that’s where a robot vacuum comes in. It can clean your floors on schedule so you don’t have to be around for it to vacuum the floor.
Use minimal water
You will agree with me that water is the number one enemy of a hardwood floor. Though there are some that are coated to be waterproof, a majority will absorb water leading to cupping and other hardwood floor damages. That said, you should dump the old technique of using a sponge and a bucket of water to mop a hardwood floor. Instead, a robot vacuum mop will mop the floors with very minimal water.
In fact, a robot cleaner like iLIFE V5s Pro has a special feature called i-dropping. This is an intelligent feature that regulates the amount of water that is released on the mopping cloth. Actually, this is among the major reasons why hardwood floor owners should consider buying a robot vacuum mop.
Clean spills immediately
Time and again, you will spill drinks and other liquids on the floor and this is a mess your vacuum won’t manage handling. That said, you have to do it yourself and the best time to do it is, immediately. You want to clear the mess as fast as possible because your hardwood floor will stain if the mess is left on it.
Once your floor is stained, it is likely that your robot vacuum will adjust to Spot mode trying to clear the stains. This leads to intensive brushing and with the high suction, the floor will lose its glossiness and appeal.
Mind about dog paws
For pet owners, dogs can scratch and dent your hardwood floor. These dents become a big problem and will often make your vacuum cleaner to stall especially if they have wheels. Besides, the small dents and scratches become dirt hotspots and if your vacuum cleaner doesn’t have enough suction or the brushes are not making good contact with the floor, the dirt remains there.
For this reason, it is advised that you ensure your dog’s paws are well trimmed because you won’t stop it from the warm hardwood floor. You can also buy dog paw protectors for hardwood floors and forget the worries of your dog scratching the floor.
Honestly speaking, hardwood floor maintenance would be a hassle without robot cleaner. For me, life is very easy as I only need to program my robot and it will handle all my floor cleaning needs throughout the week. Also, the fact that you can get one that integrates a vacuum and mop seems to be enough reason to dump your regular vacuum in the store.
Even though most people think that just any vacuum cleaner will do the job, there are specific cleaners for hardwood floors. It is very important to make sure that you buy a cleaner that has been specially made for hardwood floor lest you end up with an ineffective vacuum cleaner or worse enough, a damaged floor.