Which robotic vacuum cleaner works the best, and has the most useful features? Find out, as we review three different ones.
PHILIPS SMARTPRO ACTIVE ROBOT VACUUM CLEANER
[Great Find: 8/10]
$899, from major electrical stores
Besides regular cleaning modes, this has a remote control that allows you to guide it from a distance. It also comes with a laser pointer, so you can direct it to specific spots to clean, and click-on pads for dry mopping.
There’s a portable unit as well that creates an invisible barrier to confine the bot to a specific room or area, preventing it from getting too close to electrical or computer cords, delicate objects, and so on.
This had the best battery life, running for nearly two hours before it returned to the docking station. It was also the flattest, so could clean under most of my furniture. However, as it is slightly smaller than the rest, it got stuck in tight spaces.
And, while the remote control and pointer were useful, the machine’s response to them was not as quick as I expected it to be.
A feature-rich robot that cleaned moderately well. The remote control is great in the dining room – especially when you have kids who spill corn flakes or drop food on the floor all the time, and you are unable to see to that yourself.
ECOVACS DEEBOT D63S
[Editor's Rave: 8/10]
$799, from Homefix
Like the Philips Smartpro, it comes with a scheduling function so that you can set the time you want it to start cleaning – even when no one is home.
With its muted humming, this was the least noisy machine, but extremely sensitive. An accidental kick activated the bot, which made me place it in a spot that minimised the chances of that happening again.
Overall, it was the best cleaner, navigating obstacles and drops well. It only got stuck once when it found itself in an awkward position.
It picked up flour quite effectively, but in the case of the cereal, it often made more of a mess before cleaning it up, as the revolving brushes spread the crumbs before picking them up. Nevertheless, it did a thorough job when cleaning in its Random Mode. Didn’t miss a spot.
Equipment-wise, there were quite a few parts that required cleaning. These were easy to remove and put back, and easy to clean – no dirt left over!
A fairly quiet and effective cleaner that does the job well.
NEATO BOTVAC D85
$899, from www.neatorobotics.com.sg
This has two buttons: one for spot cleaning and another for the entire house. Instead of a remote control, it comes with a roll of boundary marker that you can cut to fit doorways, around pet bowls, cords, or anywhere else you want the Neato to avoid.
The most fuss-free to use – but the noisiest of the lot. Instead of going off in random directions, it cleaned floors methodically and systematically, docking itself when it was done. Compared to the others here, it took less time to clean a common floor area, and the floors were very clean. It picked up flour and cereal crumbs most efficiently.
It didn’t have revolving brushes like the other machines did, but it picked up dust quickly instead of pushing it around. Although it did occasionally miss some partially obstructed spots, it rather ingeniously raised itself to mount the base of my standing fan in order to clean the surface.
A no-frills, easy-to-use machine that is powerful to boot.
This article was first published on Simply Her.