Are you looking for the right robot vacuum cleaner for you? We’ll tell you what you should pay attention to.
Nothing can go wrong with our checklist :)
The following criteria are important:
- The most important point of any robot vacuum cleaner is its suction and cleaning performance. It’s got to be good.
- Structured and faultless navigation.
- The sound volume of the robot vacuum.
- The smartphone-app and the possibility to control it via voice commands.
- The quality of the workmanship, the design and the dimensions of the robot vacuum cleaner.
- The price-performance ratio.
Cleaning Performance (powerful suction)
Robot vacuum cleaners with high suction power are always better than robot vacuum cleaners with poor suction power ...
... Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Robot vacuums with strong suction power (or high Pa. metric) do not necessarily have to achieve the best cleaning results.
Muscles alone are not enough ;)
The suction result depends on - apart from the pure suction power - many other factors.
No matter what, we are essentially only interested in one thing: the cleaning result must be good:
- What is the suction result?
- How does the Robot Vacuum Cleaner perform on Hardwood floors (laminate, parquet, tiles)?
- How is the Robot Vacuum Cleaner's suction performance on low / higher carpets?
- How is the Robot Vacuum Cleaner's suction performance with light, heavy, coarse, soft and edgy dirt - on hard floors as well as on carpets?
- How well does the vacuum clean in corners and along edges?
- What is the capacity of the mobile dust container?
- Does the robot vacuum cleaner have a HEPA filter (highly recommended, especially for people with allergies)?
Robot vacuum cleaner with intelligent navigation
Your robot vacuum cleaner should be equipped with intelligent navigation.
Some robot vacuums have a type of navigation which involves randomly bumping into things („chaos navigation“).
It’s pretty obvious, the name says it all.
This type of navigation may be sufficient for a small flat ...
... But we recommend that you only consider robotic vacuum cleaners with intelligent navigation.
You really shouldn't save money here. The differences in the result are gigantic!
Firstly, a robot vacuum cleaner with systematic navigation usually doesn’t miss any rooms.
Secondly, a robot vacuum with structured navigation needs significantly less time for cleaning.
Basically, there are two types of vacuum robots with intelligent navigation:
- Robot vacuum cleaners with laser navigation
- Robot vacuum cleaner with camera-based navigation
Both methods ensure a good cleaning result. From our point of view, laser navigation has a decisive advantage:
Robot vacuum cleaners with laser navigation can also be used in poor lighting conditions.
Whether it’s light or dark, you have full flexibility when you send your little household helper on its journey :) The result is always equally good. It’s really great!
Battery life - The Runtime is Important
Here, too, we’ve spotted some major differences.
The battery life - and thus also the cleaning time at a stretch - varies depending on the model and the selected suction mode.
Our Robot Vacuum Test Winner models can sometimes vacuum your home for several hours at a time. In this time, it covers a cleaning area of 100 - 150 m². Please also note that the cleaning area is usually much smaller than the living area. Living room furniture reduces the suction area enormously (about 50%).
The charging time of the battery should also be taken into account. Here it’s also very important (especially for larger living areas) that the robot vacuum cleaner has a "recharge and resume" function.
This means that the household assistant charges the battery at the charging dock independently without your intervention and then returns to the exact spot where it stopped vacuuming earlier.
In this way, even larger living areas can be cleaned "in one go".
Robot Vacuum Cleaner Volume
We don't have to fool ourselves, you can’t compare the vibrating hum of a vacuum to the chirping of birds in the morning ;)
But there are also big differences in the volumes of the robot vacuum cleaners.
You can select different suction levels with many models. You can choose everything between "Quiet mode" and "maximum suction power".
It’s pretty self-explanatory that the volume of the robot vacuum depends on the selected suction power settings.
If the volume of the robot vacuum cleaner is in the range of 50 - 60 db, it’s a good value. Then you can still have a conversation in the same room.
But let's be honest, the purpose of a robot vacuum cleaner is to keep the flat tidy in our absence. Right?
Therefore, the point "Robot Vacuum Cleaner Volume" is relevant, but didn’t play the biggest role in the overall evaluation of our tests.
Robot vacuum cleaner with mobile phone app (and voice control)
This has become standard these days. In fact, you’ll have a hard time finding a robot vacuum cleaner without a mobile phone app (connectivity with wi-fi needed) on the market.
But even here there are numerous differences. A good robot vacuum cleaner app must have the following features:
It must be clear and easy to use, and at the same time provide numerous useful functions.
"Easy to use" sounds trivial at first, but in practice it’s often difficult to find: Unclear menu navigation, poor translation and bugs are some of the negative side effects.
The wheat is quickly separated from the chaff when it comes to the range of functions.
Some robotic vacuum cleaners with app control offer an almost unmanageable range of features, while others have only a handful of rudimentary functions.
A good balance is crucial at this point.
But some functions are so important that they shouldn’t be missing from any robot vacuum cleaner app.
These are just a few examples:
- Saving and editing of maps
Control of the robot vacuum cleaner via the app while on the move (e.g. start/stop cleaning)
- Setup of no-go zones / virtual walls
- Creating cleaning schedules
- Access to cleaning logs and statistics
Another point that’s always at the top of our personal agenda is voice control.
Usually, Alexa or Google Home Assistant are supported.
A robot vacuum cleaner with voice control simply has a certain charm :)
"Alexa, start the vacuuming" or "Alexa, tell the robot vacuum to vacuum the kitchen".
We also regularly use our Roborock S5 Max with Alexa voice control. You quickly get used to this luxury :)
Robot Vacuum Cleaner: Dimensions and Quality of Workmanship
Does the robot really fit under the couch or bed?
The dimensions of the robot vacuum cleaner (height, length, width) are very important.
It would be more than annoying if the robot vacuum cleaner couldn't get under your bed because of a few centimetres, because that's where a lot of dirt usually hides.
We always recommend measuring the critical areas in your home before buying. Then you can be sure that you won't be in for any nasty surprises.
The workmanship of the robot vacuum cleaner should be of high quality. Nothing should rattle or break quickly. And of course, the little household helper must correspond to your taste visually (shape, design, colour).
Many of the current top models on the market are produced by Chinese manufacturers (e.g. Roborock or Ecovacs). But that shouldn’t be an obstacle for you...
...Quite the opposite. The Chinese models have an extremely high level of quality. With good reason, a couple of Chinese manufacturers made it on our list of top 3 models.
Last but not least, the value for money is also important.
You should ask yourself the following questions: What do I actually get for the money? Is the purchase really worth it for me, or should I go for a cheaper / more expensive model?
Of course, most of us have to keep in mind what the "available budget" is when buying a new robot vacuum cleaner. Nonetheless, the decision is important and must be well thought through...
... Because buying a robot vacuum cleaner is an investment. The little household helper will accompany you for the next few years and will take a LOT of work off your hands.
Therefore, we recommend to take a very close look at the price-performance ratio and to consider the purchase as a worthwhile investment.