robot vacuums - donkey m1 floor scrubberBy now, if you haven’t already purchased a robot vacuum, you’ve at least seen or heard about them, and have pondered the idea. They’re hard to resist, with the promise of effortless cleaning of your floors at the touch of a button. Who wouldn’t want one?

I’d be lying if I said there was anyone, in any type of home, that couldn’t benefit from a robot vacuum. But they are typically on the higher end of the pricing scale. Which means you might only want to take the plunge if you’d get the absolute most out of the investment.

That said, there are things to consider when making the decision between a robot vacuum and other options like an upright, stick, or canister model.

robot vacuum - dyson 360 eye carpetSize and layout of your home

Arguably the bigger the home, the more you can benefit from having a robot vacuum. If you live in a small apartment, for example, it won’t take much effort to push an upright vacuum across the floors once every week. And if each room is quite small, with lots of corners and crevices, a robot vacuum might not do a sufficient enough job to satisfy your needs. Many of them are circular in shape and wide, though thin in depth. That means they can easily scoot under furniture, but tight spaces could pose a problem.

That said, if you have a small open concept apartment, a robot vacuum could be ideal in helping you keep the floors clean with little to no effort. Also, if you have a multi-level home with large open spaces, a robot vacuum can save you lots of time, and negates the need to lug a corded vacuum around – especially from floor to floor.

I live in a relatively small-sized home (about 2,000 square-feet, basement included), but I use my robot vacuum at least once a month for a quick clean of the floors on the main robot vacuum - shark robot ion quick cleanuplevel and in each room upstairs.

How frequently does your home get dirty?

If you have lots of kids running in and out, pets, or do a lot of cooking in the kitchen, a robot vacuum can be a major time-saver. Rather than manually vacuuming the dirtiest spots daily, you can set a robot vacuum to run on its own during the day while the house is empty, and return from work to pristine floors and carpets. Then do it again the next day as new spills, dust dirt, and debris finds its way to the floors after the troops arrive back home.

Do you have pets?

Cat videos of the furry friends sitting atop a robot vacuum as it moves aside, robot robot vacuum - roomba i7 petsvacuums are ideal for families with pets. My best friend was thrilled when she bought a robot vacuum and no longer had to spend time every few days vacuuming cat hair out of the carpets and floors. It’s unrealistic to think you can get rid of all pet hair all the time. And a busy family doesn’t have time to vacuum manually every day to at least keep the hair to a minimum. But having a robot vacuum to run daily on its own can help reduce the amount of hair flying about, and prevent it from building up on your carpets and floorboards.

How much time do you have?

Speaking of time, busy professionals find it tough enough to find time to keep a clean house as it is. It’s not uncommon nowadays for families to hire cleaners to help them maintain a clean home. Robot vacuums are huge time-savers, and many can even be set on a schedule to clean on the same day and at the same time every week, so you don’t even need to think about anything but emptying the bin. Not only can they save time for regular maintenance, but also when preparing for guests. Any time we know we’re robot vacuum - irobot rooma 960 familyhaving friends or family over, I take care of cooking and cleaning tasks like dusting and tidying up, and set my robot vacuum to clean each room on the two main levels of the home at the same time. I can bring a stick vacuum into the basement, and get the stairs vacuumed while my robot vacuum is busy upstairs doing a pass over my son’s bedroom floor, the guest bedroom, master bedroom, hallway, and bathroom. They are smart enough that they can sense their location, and won’t go tumbling down stairs. Some even send a clean report to a mobile app so you can double check that no area was missed, then follow up by manually vacuuming baseboards and furniture after.

Last minute guests and entertaining

robot vacuum - shark robot ion vacuum around obstaclesThere have been countless times when my husband has called to say he’s on his way home and so and so is popping by. Of course Murphy’s Law dictates that any time this happens, the house is a total disaster! While I frantically tidy up, a robot vacuum is a handy assistant to do a quick pass of the main level floors, cutting clean time in half.

Smart home owners

If you live in a tech-savvy smart home, a robot vacuum is yet another gadget that you can add to the list of smart devices. Many of the latest ones are app-controlled, or can be controlled by voice using platforms like Amazon’s Alexa. In this sense, you could add a vacuum clean to a scene so the robot starts cleaning your floors every Sunday morning at 8 a.m., at the same time the coffee starts brewing and tunes play throughout the house. There’s no denying the cool factor.

robot vacuum - irobot roomba 960 appBottom line about robot vacuums

Robot vacuums are wondrous inventions that are perfect time-savers for busy families, and a great way to maintain a clean home when it would be difficult to do so with an upright or canister as often as needed, whether that’s due to pets, kids, or everyday dust and debris.

Ideally, I wouldn’t replace a canister or upright vacuum with a robot one, as they aren’t foolproof. Robot vacuums, as noted, can’t get into small crooks and crevices, so you can clean your entire floor, but a dust bunny in the corner of the living room between the couch and the wall would continue to fester without some manual vacuuming TLC. And they can’t hop onto your couch, baseboards, ceiling, lighting fixtures, or over to your blinds to keep those clean. For those jobs, you’ll need an upright or canister. I also use a cordless stick vacuum for daily, quick cleanups of spilled rice and flour on the kitchen floor, and spots like stairs.

Are robot vacuums worth the money? In my experience, absolutely. And that goes for just about anyone. But review the above considerations, and if you find yourself nodding in agreement to many of them, your home is likely a prime candidate for a robot vacuum.

Check out plenty of robot vacuums at Best Buy Online. 

Christine Persaud
With 20+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism, I have covered the tech space since before social media was a "thing" and the smartphone as we know it was even invented. Writing for various technology, lifestyle, and entertainment sites, I have covered and reviewed hundreds of tech products, from home appliances to wearables, fitness tech to headphones, TV entertainment products and services, and more. I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV show fanatic (happy to give what to watch recommendations!), and proud mother to a 12-year-old son.