Robotic vacuum cleaners have been around for quite some time. Being easier to use as in almost a set and forget solution for daily cleaning activities, robotic vacuum cleaners have become a preferred choice among vacuum cleaner users.
There are a few companies offering robotic vacuum cleaners for household usage. Most of them are quite similar in functionality and power.
With time, robotic cleaners are becoming more sophisticated and intelligent, incorporating quite a number of useful features which make human interference minimal.
There are a few companies offering these for sale, though most of the market goes to iRobot’s “Roomba”. The small points mentioned below will help most users to know their robotic cleaners better in terms of what features are available and how to use them properly.
How robotic vacuum cleaners operate?
Robotic vacuum cleaners are a lot smaller than their other manually operated cousins like: upright cleaners and canister vacuums. Thus, they have smaller parts and overall less cleaning activities can be carried out at a time.
These cleaners operate via rechargeable battery. Some parts can be easily accessible by the owner such as dirt bin and cleaning brushes which can be maintained easily.
These vacuums have a lot of sensors which helps them navigate, understand and perform cleaning activities, even recharging themselves occasionally when needed.
They are a very good option for people leaving on vacations and staying out of their home most of the time. Manual cleaning cannot be replaced by these entirely, but overall cleanliness of an area is definitely improved.
Some features of a robotic vacuum cleaner
Navigation: Robotic vacuum cleaners use a variety of technologies to navigate themselves in indoors environment. Not going into the details.
These technologies help these robots to build up a map of their environment and perform cleaning activities in an optimized way. They can understand blockages, obstructions, falls and can also find their way underneath furniture.
Cliff sensing technology: This technology allows a robotic vacuum cleaner to sense a fall off like: stairs etc; thus, holding itself back with a feedback system. Whenever they sense a cliff with their infrared sensors located at the base, they change direction and goes about cleaning on the same “plane”.
Wall edge cleaning: Small rotating brushes are located on the sides which help in cleaning the wall edges successfully. This is aided by wall sensing technology, which helps the robotic vacuum cleaners to understand walls and clean the edges accordingly.
Cleaning dirty areas: Cleaning areas which have more dirt needs repeated cleaning. A person would normally go over the area more than once to ensure successful cleaning.
Some robotic vacuum cleaners such as iRobot Roomba 770, uses “Dirt Detect” technology which helps in detecting these areas and repeatedly cleaning them until they are clean, a very human-like approach indeed.
Virtual walls: Virtual walls are supplied as an add-on to the functionality of these robotic vacuum cleaners. They can be defined just as the name suggests.
These parts are generally attached to entry or exit of a room where one wants the robot to work without leaving them. These infrared lights help the cleaner understand that it should not cross the light and thus creating a “virtual wall” for the robot.
Self charging: A very important technology when it comes to “hands-free” solutions. A vacuum robot having this technology comes with its own charging station knows as “charging dock”. When low in battery, the robots can make its way and dock themselves to their charging stations.
After getting fully charged, they can then resume their activities accordingly. Most users find that if they leave their robots wandering across rooms, they cannot find their way back to the charger. This is because, this technology allows the robot to find its way if it is present in the same room.
Though iRobot’s higher end model the iRobot 980 can overcome this problem. This model in particular is built to navigate through multiple rooms and map them properly thus, finding its way back to its dock is not much of a problem.
Carpet cleaning: Carpet cleaning activities are better left to humans for now. Though this does not mean the robots cannot clean the carpets. They do and do it nicely enough.
This depends a lot on the height of the carpets. If the carpets are very high like more than an inch or so, some cleaners might not clean them at all. But Roomba 980 does clean some if not all.
Scheduling: This is the one of the primary features of almost all robotic cleaners. One can schedule their bots for cleaning in various methods. This means, when the time schedule is reached, the robot itself will get activated and start a cleaning routine and end it when finished.
These can be set to a specific time of a day, a week, a few weeks or a month as needed. High end cleaners offer more options than the lower end ones.
Maintenance for robotic vacuum cleaners
This part is by far the most important part when it comes to robotic vacuum cleaners. Some points are mentioned below, but still always refer to the manufacturer site and manual to have a clear idea of what to do and what not to do.
Empty the dirt bin frequently: Robotic vacuum cleaners are very low profile, compact and do not have a very large bin. So, dirt accumulated can take a toll on its cleaning power if not emptied frequently.
It is always good to check on your robots after it finishes a routine cleaning. Cleaning out the dirt chamber frequently will help get a better cleaning.
Checking parts: Checking for wear tear and damages of moving brushes and other movable parts should be done regularly to ensure that things are working out smoothly. Sometimes hair or strings may get attached to the brushes in which case they should be carefully untangled.
Also, cleaning the dusts from reachable areas underneath the cleaner is a good idea. Checking the charging docks and any add-on accessories also will help to keep the robot in good condition.
A perfect addition if somebody prefers to take their hands off the cleaning duties for some time. These robotic vacuum cleaners have been in the market for quite a while and have only increased in popularity.
Though it may fail to do certain tasks such as cleaning stairs, carpets or walls, they do an excellent job in keeping other floor surfaces clean without any human interference.
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