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The Five Best Robot Vacuums 2013

Updated on March 10, 2013

Finding a Good Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Any product that can lighten the housework load has got to be popular, so it is no surprise that there are many different robot vacuum cleaners to choose from. The early models were a bit of a novelty and quite often damaged furniture legs by ramming into them or would get themselves stuck in a corner until the battery ran out. Today's models are sleek and efficient high-powered technologically efficient cleaning machines. They are a boon to anyone with a busy lifestyle and every man should buy one for his lady.

There are lots of choices out there and I have listed my top 5 along with the reasons. These include features, functionality and performance. The newest model is not necessarily the best so I also explain what to look for in a robot vacuum so you can do your own research if you wish to.

Image: iRobot Roomba 780 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies

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What to look for when choosing a robot vacuum

When choosing a robot vacuum you need to consider the features, functionality and performance. In addition you should compare warranties and the support provided by the manufacturer. Whichever model you choose you will love coming home to nicely vacuumed floors.

Features

Robot vacuum cleaners come in different sizes, shapes and colors so make sure you choose something you like the appearance of. Different models and brands can have a full bin indicator which lights up when they need to be emptied. Some have a room memory which means they return to the same spot they left off at when they have recharged. Other have multi-room navigation which means the unit can navigate around the home on its own. Some units even have an ultraviolet light under the vacuum which disinfects the floor it has just vacuumed. More features usually equates with a higher price so choose something that you are comfortable with.

Functionality

All the good robot vacuums have a battery indicator light that indicates when it needs to be recharged, and a soft bumper to protect your furniture and walls from any bumps. Most also have an infrared sensor that aids its cleaning path and stops it running into obstacles. The best models know when their battery is low and take themselves back to their charging base. Many have programmable cleaning times/days. Look for models with acoustic sensors as these can recognize areas that are particularly dirty and spend more time there. A few models have HEPA filters which are great for those with allergies.

Performance

Robot vacuums have no cords or leads and are powered by a rechargeable battery. Some have a longer running time than others and you want one that will run for at least 45 to 50 minutes before it needs to be recharged. The better models will run for twice this long. If you have steps or stairs in your home you need to get a vacuum that has a drop sensor to prevent it from falling down the stairs. Some have a spot cleaning mode which is great for cleaning up spills.

Warranty and Support

A robot vacuum is a reasonable financial investment so you need a model with a warranty. One year warranty seems to be a standard. Because most users aren't used to having a robot vacuum cleaner it is good to have a user manual, instructional DVD or link to an online video tutorial, and phone numbers and email address for inquiries.

My top pick - Roomba 770

iRobot Roomba 770 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
iRobot Roomba 770 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

Approximate run time: 90 minutes

Operating pattern: Back and forth

Height: 3.6 inches

Diameter: 13.9 inches

Weight 8.4 pounds

Has HEPA filters

 

Why the Roomba 770 is a Great Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 770 is my favourite robot vacuum because of its sleek design, functionality and impressive features. It can handle different floor surfaces and clean multiple rooms and specific areas. It has dual HEPA filters that trap allergens as small as 0.03 microns. It can run for about 90 minutes and automatically returns to its charging base when the battery is low or when it has finished cleaning. You can preset cleaning up to 7 times a week at times most convenient to you. It has side brushes that sweep dirt and crumbs under the unit where the powerful vacuum sucks it into the dirt bin.

If you have rooms you don’t want it in, it comes with two “virtual walls” that are invisible barrier beams that it will not cross. It can get under most furniture and has an indicator to tell you when it needs to be emptied. It’s a wonderful labor-saving machine and to make maintenance easy Roomba has made the parts that should be regularly removed and cleaned yellow.

The Roomba 770 is not the latest model. The Roomba 780 has the same size and technical specifications, but has a different color scheme. The 770 has physical button controls on the top while the 780 has new capacitive touch-sensitive controls. I prefer the buttons, and the 770 is also cheaper. The other difference is the 780 has “virtual lighthouses” rather than “virtual walls” which can act to direct the unit to a room as well as to bar it. The Roomba 790 looks like a blue Roomba 770, but comes with a Wireless Command Center that allows you to steer it manually.

Second choice - Neato XV-21

Neato XV-21 Pet & Allergy Automatic Vacuum Cleaner
Neato XV-21 Pet & Allergy Automatic Vacuum Cleaner

Approximate run time: 90 minutes

Operating pattern: Virtual map

Height: 4 inches

Diameter: 13 inches

Weight 8.2 pounds

 

Third choice - Roomba 760

iRobot Roomba 760 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies
iRobot Roomba 760 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies

Approximate run time: 90 minutes

Operating pattern: Random

Height: 3.6 inches

Diameter: 13.9 inches

Weight 8.4 pounds

Has HEPA filters

 

Fourth choice - Neato XV-12

Neato Robotics XV-12 Automatic Vacuum Cleaner
Neato Robotics XV-12 Automatic Vacuum Cleaner

Approximate run time: 90 minutes

Operating pattern: Virtual map

Height: 4 inches

Diameter: 13 inches

Weight 8.2 pounds

 

Fifth choice - Cleanmate QQ-2 Plus

Infinuvo CleanMate QQ-2 PLUS II Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Sonic Wall, Scheduler, Home Charing Base & LED Display
Infinuvo CleanMate QQ-2 PLUS II Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Sonic Wall, Scheduler, Home Charing Base & LED Display

Approximate run time: 70 minutes

Operating pattern: Repetitive

Height: 3.6 inches

Diameter: 14 inches

Weight 8 pounds

 

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Reader feedback - What do you think about robot vacuums? Do you have a favourite?

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    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 4 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      I have the e-vac from Sharper Image. Unfortunately, the movers who helped to relocate us from Denver, CO, to B'ham, AL, lost the charger for it, and Sharper Image no longer carries this on their website. I hate to buy another vacuum, but I may have to. Thanks for all the info.