The Right Robot Cleaner for Your Home

Paromik Chakraborty is a technical journalist at EFY

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Domestic robots are a great option to perform boring house-cleaning tasks like vacuum cleaning and mopping. These are available in many different configurations. So you can select one that best fits your needs. This article guides you to make the best selection based on a number of factors and specifications.

Your housing setup

Size of your premises

Assess the area that the robot has to clean. Robots map and plan their navigation route within the area before starting to clean. Moreover, robots have a specified threshold for area coverage on a single battery charge. For homes under 140sq.m (1500sq.ft) in size, low-end robot cleaners costing up to ₹ 15,000 will do fine. Bigger apartments require robots with a longer coverage range, better mapping capability and longer battery life. Naturally, these robots are costlier too.

Flooring and carpets

Floor type determines the kind of cleaning required for effective results. Robot cleaners perform well on most types of hard floors. However, if a household has carpeting on the floor, feature requirements for the robot go up. Transitioning logic helps the robot to adjust its position and cleaning style. Additionally, vacuum cleaning of the carpets requires a higher suction power. Some carpet types like plush carpets and high-pile sag carpets are better cleaned manually.

Staircase and obstacles

Does your house have obstacles like small objects/structures and staircases that the robot will need to manoeuvre around while cleaning? Height of floors throughout your home and clearance area under furniture are the other factors to consider. If you want the robot to clean under your bed and other furniture, you need to tally its height against the clearance area below the furniture to ensure that the robot can go underneath the furniture.

Features to look for

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The best bet is a robot that can do both dry cleaning as well as wet cleaning-dirt and dust collection, as well as water-mopping. Here are the specifications you should closely pay attention to before making the purchase:

Power consumption

Power consumption in watts indicates the robot cleaner’s suction and cleaning power. Devices drawing higher power have stronger suction capability. However, higher power consumption will increase your electricity bill too. While robots consume 20-24 watts on an average, those with higher cleaning capacity can consume up to 40 watts of power.

Trash collection bin and water tank size

To cover your entire area in one go, ensure that your robot does not run out of space for collecting the dirt or carrying enough water. The dustbin size ranges between 200ml and one litre. Go for a bigger size within this range. The recommended dustbin volume for big premises is at least 500ml. The average size of the water tank is 250ml.

Floor mapping and safety sensors

Good-quality robots have sensors and programmed controllers for all kinds of functions including floor mapping and coverage, dirt detection, pace control, corner cleaning and stair detection. Floor mapping logic enables the robot to calculate the quickest route to cover the complete floor without leaving any corner untouched. Dirt sensors direct the robot towards dirtier areas and increase the power proportionately to enable complete cleaning. Accelerometer and gyrometer help the robot to maintain its speed and direction. Stair detector keeps the robot safe from staircases. Charge sensor indicates dying battery, so the robot returns to the charging station to get charged.

Battery life and coverage capacity

Battery capacity determines the robot’s caliber to cover a given area on a single charge. Larger premises (over 280sq.m) may require battery capacity of 2200mAh or above to cover the complete floor. Lower battery life will drain out the robot in the middle of the cleaning process. For smaller areas, a smaller battery capacity will suffice. Battery runtime is often indicated on the box and should preferably be 120 minutes or more. The coverage capacity of the robots is also marked separately. Tally the marked coverage with the extent of area you want to clean.

Mobile app or remote controlled

This feature lets you control your robot anytime, from anywhere. So you can start the robot to do cleaning and pause it as well. Mobile-/remote-controlled robot cleaners can be run on preset schedules. You can also run your robot while you are in office, if you have forgotten to schedule it in the first place.

Good-to-have features

Below-mentioned features will help your robot to serve you better.

Virtual device

If you want to keep your robot from getting stuck under a bed or hitting your pet’s food bowl, or you want to add extra protection from staircases, a virtual device can be very handy. It is a separate accessory that creates a virtual barrier wherever placed, beyond which the robot will not travel.

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