1 robot vacuum for multiple floors or 1 robotic vacuum cleaner per floor?
Robot vacuums can’t climb stairs or fly (yet). You have to make the following decision:
Do you want one robotic vacuum for each floor or one robot vacuum for multiple floors?
Option 1: One robot vacuum cleaner per floor
That’s undoubtedly the most convenient alternative.
For example, if you have a house with 3 floors, you can buy 3 vacuum robots and put them on each floor.
Advantage: They’ll clean the entire house at the same time. You don't have to carry the robot vacuum from floor to floor. This saves effort and time.
Disadvantage: It may be convenient, but it’s quite expensive. You’d have to buy a total of 3 vacuum robots (instead of just one).
Therefore we’d go with option 2 instead.
Option 2: One robotic vacuum cleaner for multiple floors
With this option, you have "only" one robotic vacuum that cleans the entire house.
Your robot vacuum (including the charging station) is therefore only on one floor at a time ("main floor").
If you want it to clean another floor, you have to carry the robotic vacuum to the (second/third) floor and let the little household helper do its work.
As soon as it has completed its tasks, you have to carry it back to the main floor. The charging station will be there, too, and the robot vacuum can recharge its battery.
Advantage: Cost-effective variant.
Disadvantage: You have to carry the robotic vacuum from floor to floor, which takes more time and effort. You can’t clean several floors at the same time.
Robotic vacuum cleaner for multiple floors: What should I consider when buying?
If you live in a house with multiple floors, there are a few things you should keep in mind when buying your robot vacuum.
The following criteria are essential:
- Possibility of saving multiple maps
- Extensive app functions
- It shouldn’t be only suitable for use on several floors, but also an all-round excellent vacuum robot.
- Must have crash sensors
- Good navigation
- Long battery runtime
- With wipe function?
- Individual adjustment of suction power (and water intensity) per floor or room
- Weight of the robot vacuum
- Price-performance ratio
We’ll take a close look at each criterion now.
Basic Requirement no. 1: Smart Mapping Technology. The robot vacuum must be able to save several maps for multiple floors.
If you want to use a robot vacuum in a multi-storey house, the device must be able to create and save several maps for several floors (Multi Floor Mapping technology).
As soon as you place down the robot vacuum on the second floor, it recognises this and automatically pulls up the correct map.
This way, your little household helper doesn't have to reorientate himself whenever he has to vacuum the second floor.
That makes cleaning the second floor much faster, too.
Another advantage: You always have a detailed map (floor plan) of the second floor, which you can edit as you please (set up virtual walls, merge or separate rooms if necessary, etc.).
This way you can personalise the daily floor cleaning according to your wishes.
Basic requirement no. 2: Extensive app functions
The mobile app determines the intelligence of a “smart” robotic vacuum. And
It should provide numerous useful functions that make cleaning several floors easier.
These are the must-have features:
- Define no-go zones / virtual walls (exclude areas from cleaning - e.g. the children's play corner).
- Room separation or merging
- Definition of no-mop zones (e.g. for carpets)
- Schedule cleaning (e.g. setting the start time of the cleaning)
- Setting the order of the rooms that the robot vacuum should clean
- Single room cleaning (send the vacuum to a specific room only)
- Spot Cleaning (Let the vacuum clean a particular spot)
- Choosing suction power and water intensity per room (so it can clean very dirty rooms in a stronger cleaning mode/water intensity than less dirty rooms)
The functions listed above extend the flexibility enormously and make cleaning multiple floors much more manageable.
Basic Requirement no. 3: Your robotic vacuum for several floors should have an all-round good performance
The robotic vacuum cleaner shouldn’t only be suitable for use in a house/flat with several floors. It should have top performance in all other relevant areas, too.
All our top models for multiple floors convinced us in our extensive tests.
In addition to this, the robot vacuums are also particularly suitable for use in homes with multiple floors.
It must have crash sensors
If you have a house/apartment with 2 (or more) floors, there are usually "real abysses".
Therefore, your robotic vacuum should have built-in crash sensors. They are located on the robot vacuum’s bottom side and are a somewhat standard feature of modern models.
It detects precipices in time with these sensors. The robot vacuum will stop immediately and look for another way.
This way, there’ll be no drama - such as your household helper falling down the stairs.
Your robot vacuum has to clean a huge area if you want to use it on several floors.
That quickly adds up to cleaning areas of more than 100 m².
Therefore, you should pay particular attention to navigation.
The prerequisite for good navigation: the robot vacuum should clean your home seamlessly.
Navigation speed is also essential. After all, you don't want the robot vacuums to take forever for cleaning the entire home.
Charging dock and battery: Good battery life is a must
Your robot vacuum for multiple floors should have a long-lasting and powerful battery.
Ideally, the robot vacuum should be able to clean several floors in one go without needing a charge in between.
That’s better because the charging dock may be on a different floor.
Battery runtimes of 90 minutes and more are sufficient. It can usually clean areas of 150 m² to 250 m² during that time.
Furthermore, it’s more convenient if your robot vacuum has a "Recharge & Resume" function.
If the battery runs out during the cleaning, the little household helper returns to the charging station by itself. As soon as the battery is charged, the robotic vacuum continues its cleaning route where it left off.
It’s a great feature that saves a lot of time.
Your advantage: If the battery runs out, the robot vacuum will return to the charging dock by itself and recharge the battery.
The robotic vacuum will continue cleaning at the same spot where it had to stop. It’ll clean your home seamlessly, even if it has to interrupt its trip, thanks to the "Recharge & Resume" function.
Do you want the robot to vacuum AND mop the floors in your home?
Robot vacuum with mop do both (vacuuming and mopping) in one go.
The mopping function can’t replace wiping by hand yet.
Nevertheless, this function ensures that the robot will free your floors from the last traces of dust and dirt. Your home will look even cleaner.
You can find a lot of dirt on an entire floor...
You should rinse the mop thoroughly under running water after each floor.
Or you could also get a separate mop for each floor. Reusable mops are available on Amazon* in the UK at a low price.
Individual setting of suction power (and water intensity) per floor or room
Different floors can have very different levels of soiling.
Different floors can have different floor types (hardwood-floors, low-pile carpet, high-pile carpet).
There may be highly sensitive laminate flooring on the first floor, whereas the basement has robust tiles.
Your robotic vacuum cleaner should be able to cope well with all floor types (and all kinds of dirt).
Modern robot vacuums have a great feature for this:
You can control the suction power and the water intensity (if there is a wiping function) via the app.
This means that you can let the robot vacuum clean the basement with the tiled floor at the highest suction level/highest water intensity. For the living area (sensitive laminate flooring), it’ll use the medium power mode/water intensity.
That increases the flexibility for daily floor cleaning even more.
Weight of the robotic vacuum cleaner
The weight of the robotic vacuum cleaner is also quite important.
If you want that your household helper cleans several floors, you also have to carry it back and forth between the floors.
Thus: the lighter the robot, the better.
Some models (e.g. iRobot Roomba i7+) also have a practical carrying handle.
With this, it’s effortless to carry the robot vacuum from one floor to another.
A somewhat hidden but handy feature!
Budget and Price-Performance
You usually have a limited budget.
Therefore, your new household helper should fit into the budget and offer the best performance/quality possible for the price at the same time.