What is a robot vacuum anyway?
This little electronic device is designed to automate vacuuming your house, so that you can spend that valuable time at the gym, with your dog or even at work.
Robot vacuums will take care of everyday dirt in your home.
For some models, this includes pet hair.
How cool is that?
It’s best to use these machines after you took care of the basics, like picking up the shoes, clothes and chew toys from the floor.
Most robot vacuums also can’t handle water, so don’t expect it to mop up when Lassie up-ended the water bowl again.
Usually, they’re easy to set up, almost plug-and-play.
If the robot vacuum battery is charged, you can take it out of the box, put it on the floor and press the button.
As simple as that.
Most models have a self-charging function, so when the battery is low, the vacuum will return to the charging station (wherever you put it) to fill up again.
These units navigate your home using a combination of infrared and indoor GPS technology, depending on the model.
This allows it to move around a single level of your home, mapping where it’s been and avoiding obstacles along the way.
Who are the ideal buyers?
It’s been a long day at work, dealing with customers, managers and goodness knows how much office politics.
You can’t wait to get home, kick off your shoes and spend some time with Fido.
Maybe you’ll go for a walk in the park.
If you time it right, you might run into that cute girl with the Labrador?
You open the door, Fido explodes with joy and you take in the scene.
How could he possibly cover your hardwood floor with that much hair?
Now you have to spend the precious little time you have vacuuming.
The vacuum cleaner can’t get into the tight corners and under the furniture.
What a mission!
It’s time to by a robot vacuum cleaner.
It will clean your house while you’re at work or asleep, so you can spend to precious hours with your pooch, not with the vacuum cleaner.
Advantages and Disadvantages
How do robot vacuum cleaners measure up to traditional vacuum cleaners? Let’s take a look.
- Robot vacuums clean under furniture, where traditional ones can’t always reach.
No more shifting that heavy couch, provided it’s not too low from the floor.
- Reachable area not limited to cord length.
Robot vacuums are battery operated, so can reach as far from the home base as they need to without having to unplug anything.
- Autonomous cleaning saves time.
You don’t have to babysit this device; it will finish the job you gave it, all on its own, while you’re away or doing something else.
- Control it from anywhere.
Most models can connect to apps or other smart devices, such as Amazon Alexa, Bixby and Google Home. You don’t have to be home to get the cleaning started.
- Discreet and small. Not only do you hardly notice the robot vacuum while it’s working, but you also won’t need a ton of storage space for it.
- Robot vacuums cannot replace the traditional vacuum cleaner completely (yet) since it only takes care of everyday dirt.
- For now, it will help you use the traditional vacuum cleaner less often, but you will still have to bust it out every now and again.
- Robot vacuums can’t climb stairs as yet. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll have to carry it to each level of your home for it to clean in that area. If you have many levels in your home (if it’s that big, we’re jealous), this might be cumbersome.
- Empty the bin manually. If the bin gets full while you’re away, cleaning will have to wait until after you get back and had time to empty the bin.
- Only suitable for specific types of floors. Most models excel on hard floors and some will get stuck on high-pile rugs and carpets.
- Suction power often less than high-end traditional vacuums. This means that it sometimes lifts less pet hair from your rugs.
- Can get stuck under furniture. If the model is a bit higher than the clearance under your bed, you might have to crawl in after it to carry out a rescue mission.
- Can get tangled up in cables and other loose items. If the robot vacuum cleans under your desk and your cables are a mess, you may need to program it to stay away from there.
Features of the “perfect” robotic vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair
Here are some features that we believe are indispensable in a robot vacuum:
Long battery life
The longer the battery lasts, the greater area your nifty little soldier will clean before having to recharge.
If you have a home with large floorspace, it may not get the job done in time if it has to recharge every 30 minutes.
Fast charging times
The shorter the time needed to recharge, the quicker the robot vacuum gets back to work.
It’s all about efficiency.
Check out the specs on the model you’re interested in to be sure it can do what you need it to do.
The whole aim of getting a robot vacuum is to have it clean your house while you’re doing other stuff.
Why should you have to manually plug it into a charger every hour in order for it to finish the job?
Most models have a charging unit included in the purchase or sold separately.
The robot vacuum will “see” the unit, usually using infrared technology and know to return to it before the battery runs out.
Here, it will fully recharge before returning to work.
Edge or wall cleaning
Corners and edges are pet hair magnets. Seriously!
The ideal unit should make mincemeat of corners, cleaning them like a boss.
Check out those specific features on the model you’re considering.
It should have either a rubber brush, squeaking up on the edges to get them sparkly, or a configuration of rotating bristles angled in such a way that hair would be swept away from the corners.
Some models are extremely good at getting into the corners and are usually marketed as such.
Let’s be honest, pet hair is one of the greatest enemies of most vacuum cleaners.
If the robot vacuum’s brushes aren’t designed to detangle pet hair while it works, you might have to rescue to poor thing every few minutes, defeating the whole purpose of buying it in the first place.
Large bin capacity
Bigger bins take more rubbish, allowing for longer cleaning time before you have to intervene to empty it out.
Need I say more? Most models have a bin capacity of 0.6L, which is reasonably sized.
If yours has a larger bin, it’s a bonus.
Cleaning map & report
Where did the robot vacuum clean already?
How long did it take?
Should you be amending the cleaning schedule?
All these questions and maybe a few more will be answered if your robot vacuum tracks and reports its movements.
These maps can usually be accessed on the app linked to your device.
Strong suction power
Pet hair is notorious for getting stuck to any surface, even hardwood floors.
Strong suction power combined with the right brushes are guaranteed to get it off the floor and into the bin.
To properly compare models when you shop, look at the suction power rating in Pa (Pascal).
Best Robot Vacuum for Hardwood Floors and Pet Hair
iRobot Roomba 890
Tired of pet hair getting tangled in your vacuum cleaner?
The Roomba 890’s tangle free brushes sweep up even clumps of hair without getting stuck.
Combined with the high efficiency filter, which captures 99% of allergens, it will whiz across your hardwood floor, sucking up clumps of cat hair like it hasn’t been fed for days.
The Roomba 890 is a sleek black and gray disk, able to get into tight corners and clean under furniture.
It’s pretty simple to use, having only one button on the device itself.
For those who like pressing buttons, the others are hidden on the Home app.
Tangle free brushes work with the 3-stage cleaning system to get your floors squeaky clean, even picking up large debris, like dog pellets.
Using the iRobot Home app, you can schedule and customize cleaning while walking Fido in the park.
You can even tell Alexa to order the Roomba around, since they’re compatible.
Dirt Detect technology will “see” that spot where kitty knocked the packet of pretzels off the table, spending extra time to get it shiny again.
The edge sweeping brush will clean those hard-to-reach places.
Cliff detection prevents the Roomba from taking a tumble down the stairs.
The Roomba 890 will even clean your rugs nicely, having flexible rubber brushes able to stay in contact with uneven floor surfaces.
90 minutes of cleaning is all you get per charge, which is a bit less than other products on the market.
This little one self-charges, so you don’t have to babysit it.
The iRobot Roomba 890 is ideal for the busy pet owner who needs a no-nonsense gadget to clean up after the four-footed furry kids.
Samsung POWERbot r7070
Even your Persian cat’s hair doesn’t stand a chance against the Samsung POWERbot r7070’s Self Clean Brush.
This nifty little vacuum will make a clean sweep of even the hard-to-reach edges and corners, leaving your floors wonderfully clean.
e a clean sweep of even the hard-to-reach edges and corners, leaving your floors wonderfully clean.
Unlike the traditional circular vacuum robot, this floor cleaning wizard has a wide, squared brush in the front, which allows it to cover a greater area in one sweep.
The sleek design comes in a variety of colors, so it will blend nicely with your new hardwood floors.
With greater suction power than its predecessors, it will definitely pick up the pet hair, even from the rug on your floor.
The POWERbot r7070 avoids the doggy bed using its onboard camera and sensors, calculating the optimal cleaning route.
It also maps where it’s been, so you can see what’s been done. Using Wi-Fi, you can connect your new electronic pet to your smartphone, Alexa, Bixby or Google Assistant.
When it gets to a rug, the POWERbot r7070 easily crosses over with its EasyPass wheels and even ramps up the suction power to gobble up all the pesky pet hair stuck to the fibers.
Cyclone power helps the POWERbot r7070 suck up more dirt without getting clogged while maintaining constant suction power.
If your long-haired pet sheds a lot and loves getting the hair into those tight corners, the Samsung POWERbot r7070 is the gadget for you.
Oh my goodness, this one does it all! The ProScenic 790T sweeps, vacuums and mops, all in one go.
This cool cat can suck op pet hair while shining your hardwood floor.
Talk about multi-tasking!
The modern black and gold design will fit into any trendy living space.
On the top surface, icons light up, indicating which mode is active and how much time until the end of the cleaning session.
The self-charging dock is small and sleek, so you’ll hardly notice it standing against the wall.
The ProScenic 790T can be bossed around by Alexa or your smartphone, or you just press its buttons yourself.
It’s a smart little device, planning a logical cleaning pattern, marching along to cover every inch of the floor.
This one is specifically designed for hard floors, cleaning pet hair and dirt with ease.
The 790T has powerful suction, picking up even tiny pieces of dirt with ease.
Cleaning under beds and sofas is not a problem for the 790T, since it easily navigates all of this with its smart sensors.
It’s also too smart to take a tumble down the stairs, collide with obstacles or get tangled in your computer cables.
Made a mess in the corner?
You can choose from a variety of cleaning modes to meet your specific needs.
The 790T even has two interchangeable brush sets, one for cleaning up general dust and hair, the other for larger stuff.
Only problem is, you have to change these ones manually before the start of the cleaning session.
If you want one device to take care of all your floor-cleaning needs in one go, pick the ProScenic 790T, but not if you have thick rugs on your hardwood floor.
Did the cat knock your Skittles off the table again?
Did the dog bump the potted plant, covering the floor in potting soil?
The Deebot N79 can gobble up all of it, provided it didn’t land on a thick rug.
This little robot vacuum has a dark brown wooden-looking finish, perfectly blending into an upmarket home.
It’s definitely the sleekest product mentioned in this review.
Table and chairs in the way? No problem!
The N79 navigates around obstacles easily and also has anti-drop detection, so it won’t fall down the stairs.
If Lassie decides to use the N79 as a chew toy, it would probably survive, being protected by an anti-scratch finish.
It even allows you to double the cleaning power via the app or using the remote control, if you need it.
The N79 is compatible with Alexa and Google Home, so you can tell it to clean only a single room or spot, or to go on autopilot, from anywhere in the world.
Battery life of about 120 minutes is on par with similar devices.
When this little trouper needs some juice, it will automatically return to the charging port to get fired up again.
The Deebot N79 is not meant for thick carpets and rugs.
Specifications doesn’t say anything about pet hair, so we’re not sure how it would cope with your Bearded Collie in shedding season.
The Deebot N79 makes mincemeat of bigger messes, so you can do life while it does the chores.
The futuristic design of the super slim eufy 15C is packed with a whole bunch of upgrades.
Stuff just got real with increased suction power, putting an end to dirt on your floor.
Suction power can be ramped up even further if needed, all in the space of 1.5 seconds.
Take that, industrial vacuum cleaners!
This little one doesn’t have the endurance of some other models, only offering a 100 minutes of vacuuming per charge.
It is capable of self-charging, so the job will get done, even if it has to take a breather in the middle of a session.
Suction power will remain constant for an entire cleaning session.
This one is smart, having sensors to prevent it falling down the stairs and avoiding that boot the dog found in your closet.
The Eufy 15C also comes with a whole bunch of extras, like remote control, AC power adapter, cleaning tool, extra set of filters, extra brushes and cable ties.
These guys really thought of everything – the cable ties are to help you tidy up the cables once you’ve set up the charging base.
Just like when your cat climbs the tree and doesn’t know how to get down, eufy 15C will call for help when it gets stuck under the couch.
This probably won’t happen though, since it definitely went on a diet, it’s so slim.
Seriously, can we have some of that?
You can also ask Alexa or the app where your eufy 15C is hiding if you can’t find it.
WiFi connectivity is standard, so you can ask Alexa to tell your eufy 15C to start cleaning.
When you know the kids are having a messy play date, you can schedule a cleaning session for straight after.
This little robot can pick up quite a bit of dirt.
The bin on this one is 600mL, which is big enough to get a decent amount of cleaning done.
With multiple cleaning modes available, you can also customize the eufy 15C to suit your specific needs.
This one is not suitable for high-pile carpets. Sorry, Aladdin!
Unfortunately, the specifications are unclear regarding its performance on pet hair.
Guess we’ll have to find that out for ourselves?
The eufy 15C has powerful, customizable suction power, ideal for those unforeseen messes.
This little smarty pants sweeps and mops your floor, cleaning dirt and pet hair quick and easy.
It works on hard-surface floors, like tiles and hardwood, leaving it sparkly clean.
Who wouldn’t want a gleaming floor when they get up in the mornings?
Whisper quiet, this one can take the night shift.
Rectangular and shiny black, it looks like it means business.
This one will definitely impress your mother when she comes to visit.
The Braava 380T won’t randomly wander around, looking for pet hair to snack on.
It uses the North Star Navigation (indoor GPS device) to track its movements so it knows exactly where to go next, unlike the border collie, still spinning around trying to find that ball.
When sweeping, the 380T covers a larger surface area per charge than when it’s mopping.
This makes sense, since it sweeps up dirt and hair in straight lines, while it mops in a to-and-fro pattern.
There will be no muddy paw prints when this one rules the roost!
Stubborn dirt patches (like the one left by the unidentified object the cat dragged in) should probably be cleaned up with something else, though.
At the start of each cleaning session, you choose whether it should damp mop or dry sweep by pressing a button on the device.
A single charge will get you 210 minutes of sweeping or 150 minutes of mopping.
Talk about endurance!
This one outlasts its competitors, no sweat.
With fast charging capabilities, the 380T will quickly enter the ring again, fresh and ready to fight dirt.
At only 3.1” tall, it can even clean under your furniture.
Mopping can be done with either reusable microfiber cloths or disposable Swiffer pads.
Either of these are super easy to attach using the magnetic cleaning pads.
You can use straight water or a special cleaning liquid to get your floors squeaky clean.
Your house will definitely be cleaner after a damp mop compared to just a plain dry sweep, which is nice.
If you want an all-in-one gadget to sweep and mop your floors and you don’t have area rugs in the way, the iRobot Braava 380T is the gadget for you.