Are Robot Vacuums Worth It?

I bought a robot vacuum cleaner in February 2020: a Eufy RoboVac 11S Max. I didn’t want to write about my experience with a robot vacuum until I had lived with it and used it for a reasonable amount of time. So here I am, 7 months later, with my thoughts. Are robot vacuums worth it? Read on for my opinion…

Why did I buy a robot vacuum?

I have two kids and a dog (and a husband). The amount of hair, dust and crumbs that we can collectively produce in a day is astounding. Everyone has a chore that they absolutely hate. Well, mine is vacuuming. I had heard of robot vacuum cleaners before but had assumed that they would be prohibitively expensive. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I quick Amazon search showed me that I could get a robot vacuum with excellent customer reviews for around £200. In fact, I ended up paying only £151 for mine as it was an Amazon Warehouse item (one that a customer had returned, but it had never been used).

Why did I choose the robot vacuum that I did?

The Eufy RoboVac 11S Max had excellent reviews – 4.6/5 stars at the time of writing, from 455 reviews.

The reviews also talked about good customer service on the occasions when things went wrong – this was important to me as it’s quite new technology and obviously a fairy large investment. I also liked the price, some brands (e.g. Roomba) were 2 or even 3 times the price of the Eufy but with similar reviews.

Another reason I chose this particular model is that it didn’t have any unnecessary ‘frills’ that I wasn’t interested in. For example, I wasn’t fussed about having an app-controlled robot vaccum. This would allow you to start the vacuum remotely but I knew this would be pointless for us as I am home a lot and also the chance of there not being clothes/toys/wires for the vacuum to get stuck on is very unlikely unless I am around to prepare the rooms for a vacuum.

How has my robot vacuum performed?

In one word: amazingly. It picks up dust, hair, crumbs just as well as my upright Shark does.

What I tend to do is I divide up my house into areas and choose an area for the Eufy to tackle each day. My kitchen is one area, my living room is another, my kids’ bedrooms and the patch of landing outside them is another area, the rest of the landing and our master bedroom is another, etc. I either close the door on the area chosen or I roll up a towel and block off my hallway/landing to stop the Eufy tackling too big an area. I do this because I would rather that each small area gets a really thorough clean rather than a large area getting a superficial clean, if that makes sense?

I put it on the ‘boost’ mode which gives it the maximum amount of suction. On this mode, it vacuums for around 30-40 minutes before trying to head back to its charging station (which works very well if it has a clear path but obviously if doors are in the way you will need to carry it back. The dust tray tends to be pretty much rammed full at this point. If I have the time I find it helpful to empty the dust tray after 10 or so minutes and then restart the vacuum.

One of the features I love is that there is an ‘edge’ mode on the remote control which sends the vacuum around the very edge of the room – this is handy for my hallway which is solid wood flooring – I find dust makes its way to the edge of the room so this solves the problem. Other than that I don’t use the remote control as the ‘boost’ mode which I selected is locked in and it remembers every time my preference. So 99% of the time all I have to do is carry the Eufy to the area I want it to clean, hit the button on the top, and leave it to work its magic.

I love how its low enough to get under furniture that I would never be able to reach with an upright vacuum.

In terms of maintenance, I clean the filter after most cleans (I swish it around in some soapy water, rinse it with clean water and leave it to air dry). I also wash out the dust tray every few cleans and leave that to air dry too (it’s plastic so it doesn’t take long). I also clean the roller brush every couple of cleans – it comes away from the unit so it’s easy to cut away any hair and pull off any stuck fluff. The maintenance is really easy especially when you compare it to maintaining a large upright vacuum cleaner.

Obviously before pressing the button you do need to make sure the floor area is clear. Particularly make sure there are no hanging cables or rug tassles for the vacuum to get caught on. When it encounters this or any other problem, the Eufy is good at letting you know what the issue is via loud beeps and lights – there is a reference guide on the underside which tells you what the beeps/lights mean which is very handy.

I was concerned before I got my Eufy that it might not be good at getting over door thresholds or that it might accidentally throw itself down the stairs – I need not have worried!

It is quite noisy but not as noisy as a traditional vacuum cleaner.

Is there any downside of a robot vacuum vs a traditional vacuum?

Of course! Here are a few downsides that I’ve noticed:

It takes a long time to charge – probably between 4-5 hours for a full charge. So you wouldn’t be able to vacuum your whole house in one day, whereas you definitely would be able to with a traditional plug-in vacuum cleaner.

Because the filter is so small you do need to clean it after most vacuum sessions. The good news however is that the Eufy comes with two filters so there is always one ready to go whilst the other one is drying.

It can’t vacuum areas like stairs and or course unlike a traditional vacuum cleaner it doesn’t have a nozzle attachment to do awkward areas like between sofa cushions.

You are limited as to where you can store it – because the charging dock needs to be plugged in at the mains, you can’t just hide it away in a cupboard.

Do I need to have a traditional vacuum as well as a robot vacuum?

I think if you lived in an apartment or a single-story house then you wouldn’t need a traditional vacuum alongside a robot one. However, if you have stairs, then I would say that you also need a ‘normal’ vacuum too.

Overall, are robot vacuums worth it?

After 7 months of ownership, I couldn’t be without my Eufy. I use it literally every day. I have never experienced any problems whatsoever (apart from occasionally having to rescue a phone charging cable from it, but that’s definitely user error rather than the robot’s fault!). There is nothing like switching it on before going to bed and waking up in the morning to a clean kitchen floor. In an ideal world I would love to have another one that permanently lives upstairs so I could have two on the go simultaneously but I’m not sure I can justify the cost!

In conclusion, the answer to the question ‘are robot vacuums worth it’ is a resounding yes! I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I have ever purchased. I’d love to hear in the comments your thoughts re: are robot vacuums worth it, which model you have, or any questions you have that I haven’t covered.

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