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Robotic vacuum cleanerRobotic vacuum cleaners, taking away a chore that many people despise and some love to do or at least, that’s what the companies that make them will tell you but is there any truth in the claims?

We’ve tested a few robotic cleaners now, we ignored the first round of them the old Electrolux Trilobite but we did get out hands on an original Roomba from iRobot and we’ve had a couple of version of them now on test.

We’ve also seen the LG and others in action now and should you not want to read any further the bottom line is, they have their place but that place is limited and, it’s expensive to get the limited performnce.

Read on to find out why.


The thing with robotic vacs is that they just cannot compete with a corded vacuum cleaner in performance terms and, we’d argue that all vacs that operate from a battery suffer the same thing some to a lesser or greater degree. So from the outset the results are not going to be as good as you’d get by getting the old fashioned vac out the cupboard, plugging it in and getting busy with it.

What a robotic one will do is clean up light stuff fairly well for the most part and they are pretty good at getting under furniture.

Heavy soiled areas or pet hair etc they start to struggle with.

For a single person or a couple in a home this may not be a big issue and a robot vacuum cleaner whirring away while you’re out just giving the main rooms in your house the once over might be just what your’e looking for and, they are pretty good at that.

There are issues however.

Robotic vacs struggle with corners and getting tight into objects, the don’t have the power to pull the dirt out of those areas as you would have with a normal vac or, you can stick on a crevice tool and get into the areas that way doing it manually. A robot vac cannot do that.

There will always be areas that it can’t reach or, can’t do a satisfactory job on.

For that reason alone, you can’t rely solely on a robotic vacuum cleaner in our view. You will also need a “proper” cleaner to go over the areas it missed on occasion.

You won’t have to vac as much but, you will still need to do it.

Of course every generation of them improves and we have little doubt that over time that the performance will improve if the robotic vac stays with us. However this is likely to be incremental and small improvements and enhancements over time, not a revolution.


Although there’s a number of cheaper options now available, most of which are really not worth bothering with and the main reason we can say that, a halfway decent robotic vacuum cleaner is going to cost you more than a decent Sebo will.

If you were thinking on buying a robot vac and you were done we would advise you to rethink.

It is an expensive add on, it won’t replace a normal vacuum cleaner.

For our money, we would spend on a decent vac in the first instance as that will likely prove a better investment certainly in terms of both performance and value for money.

And whilst robotic vacs do not usually need bags, they will normally have small trays that you can remove to tip out the collected dust etc, they do go through batteries which are not cheap. Normally a replacement batter will cost you anything from £20 to over £50, how often you need one will vary depending on use and so on but count on one every couple of years.

Added to the high initial buy in price and the performance issue this makes a robotic vac hard to recommend to most people and for family use, we would not recommend them.

  Connected Vacuum Cleaners

The trend has been (mainly from the Koreans) to stick on camera, wifi and goodness knows what else so you can remotely control your cleaner.

Like most of these whizz bang features, after you initially set it up and play with it for a while it is very unlikely that you will use it. Or, if you do, you are one of the few that does.

It’s a lot of money for something that is unlikely to be used and, let’s face it, has a limited functionality.

All most people care about is that the floor gets a vac, that’s it. So we would view these kinds of features as being largely of no use an not worth paying for.

Things like remote controls are, well useless really.

  Should You Buy A Robot Vac

Really that’s a question only you will be able to answer for yourself. the cheap ones though are really not worth bothering with, they're pretty rubbish mostly.

If you don’t need or want the performance and the way you live suits that then they will keep the place reasonably tidy for the most part but within the limitations that we talked about.

If you are thinking on this being a replacement for your normal vac so you don’t have ever do it then, no it’s not a solution to that.

In either event it is a lot of outlay for a limited performance and what is essentially a cool toy but, not much more than that.

Don't be surprised if it ends up resigned to a cupboard unused after a while, especially when the second or third battery pack dies.

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