Robotic vacuums are good

Robot hoovers: branded devices comparison 2021

Robots that were used almost exclusively in industry, space travel and the military 15 to 20 years ago can now be found in more and more households in the form of vacuum and floor mopping robots or in the private garden as robotic lawn mowers.

The hard-working robotic helpers support their owners with the daily housework, being perfect work autonomously and keep the apartment clean even when you are absent. They have a lot of technology to do this, which we go into in detail in our product guide.

Current comparison table

Vacuum cleaner robot test / comparison

Table of Contents

Due to the large variety of functions of the devices, our comparison table provides a practical decision support for the purchase of a robot vacuum cleaner. The table contains all relevant performance data in comparison so that you can quickly find the robot vacuum cleaner that is best for you.

The areas of application for a vacuum robot

In an average German household, around 6.2 milligrams of dust per square meter at. The more people (or animals) live in a household, the greater the amount of dust.

Please make yourself clear: the dust on the floor of your apartment does not only consist of normal abrasion such as fibers, rubber or leather particles. It mainly contains organic particles: bread crumbs, dead skin cells, bacteria and fungal spores as well as animal hair.

Microorganisms such as Dust mites and moldsand there is only one thing that can help against these and many other pollutants in dust: cleaning, and as often as possible!

The latter requirement of "as often as possible" can best be achieved with a vacuum robot. He doesn't even complain if he has to go to work 10 times a day.

The devices described by us can be used in the private sector for almost all types of apartments. Using the comparison table, it is easy to determine which robot is suitable for which type of apartment.

That is crucial Soil condition (Hard floors, carpets) and as large, free and even work surface as possible for the robot. Stairs are currently still an obstacle for all robots, but with their Fall sensors can recognize. Bathrooms are only used when their floors are absolutely dry.

You should of course also bear this in mind for all other room types, as robot vacuum cleaners usually work on them dry soils come into use. The exception to this rule is the use of a Vacuum-mopping robot, which then cleans the floor that was previously vacuumed dry using its mopping function - you can find more details on this in the section on the wet mopping function.

Depending on the navigation technology, vacuum cleaner robots can clean up to 80 square meters in one operation, after which they have to be recharged. In principle, the robots presented here can therefore also larger apartments cleaning with 4 or more rooms, even if they are spread over several floors, but the cleaning time is then longer, and the degree of automation is of course also limited here.

However, many of the robots presented are able to clean a 4-room apartment completely autonomously in the absence of the occupants - an advantage that is particularly useful in comparison to devices that still require human support.

Further information on the topic of vacuum robots can be found e.g. on the website of Stiftung Warentest: Vacuum robots in the test.

How a vacuum cleaner robot works

Chassis, sensors and navigation

The presented robot vacuums have the shape of a flat cylinder with a diameter from 30 cm, the height is about 5 cm and more. They have two on the side Drive wheels as well as a Steering wheel at the front.

The suspension of the drive wheels enables the robot to drive over obstacles such as cables, carpet edges and other thresholds.

The iRobot Roomba 782 robot vacuum has a sophisticated cliff-detect system.

In order to reliably detect stairs and abysses, several infrared sensors are built in.

The navigation takes place in different ways: most robot vacuum cleaners determine their way through a room using theAmoeba strategy"by driving straight stretches as long as possible and, in the event of collisions, which are reported to them by their infrared sensors, changing the direction of travel so that the next cleaning route is again as long a straight route as possible.

The Samsung vacuum robots, for example, use a slightly different form of navigation: this is in the form of a on the top built-in camera an additional source of information about their environment.

In this case, both visual and infrared data are included in the program for optimal room coverage.

They are also important for automatic navigation Fall sensors, of which there are different numbers depending on the manufacturer and type. These cause vacuum cleaner robots, as experts put it, "table dance"-capable: You can place such a device on a level table and have it cleaned without the robot falling down.

Robot vacuum cleaners usually have multiple brushes as well as a Suction deviceto divert dirt and dust into the designated container.

A distinction is made between Side brushes, which are used to clean the edges of rooms and furniture, and one or two counter-rotating brush rollers that are attached to the underside of the robotic vacuum cleaner.

It is this combination of two cleaning methods that make the robot vacuum cleaner so extremely effective: first it works on carpets or floors with a brush and can then vacuum the loosened dust.

The best way to see this for yourself is to use your new robot in a room that has been thoroughly vacuumed (with a conventional vacuum cleaner): it still pulls out a lot of dust and dirt.

And not only because the brushes and the suction device work so intensely, but because, unlike humans, he is endowed with infinite patience. Who would like to vacuum for more than an hour at a time?

Navigation aids for the vacuum robot

In terms of navigation, there are some differences between the devices listed. If you have large rooms with free "play areas", we recommend robots that use the Meander strategy navigate: these drive in dead straight lines parallel tracks across the room.

If, on the other hand, chairs, sofas, shelves or table legs make navigation difficult, it is better to use a robot that searches for a Random strategy navigates (one also speaks of Amoeba strategy).

As strange as the sequence of movements of such robots may look, it is sensible and mathematically well thought-out and optimally adapted to the application.

Some robot vacuum cleaners are equipped with so-called virtual lighthouses (virtual lighthouses). These can be used for two different purposes: on the one hand, they serve to show the robot the way, i.e. to guide it from room to room in a larger apartment and to send it back to the charging station after the work is done.

Another purpose is to set up a Virtual Wall, one artificial exclusion zone that is, which prevents the robot from entering certain areas of your home.

You can of course also use these virtual lighthouses in combination, for example by using a lighthouse in front of the second and third room of your apartment as a "post" and another lighthouse in "virtual wall mode" to protect against a play corner.

Lighthouse in use as a "virtual wall": a restricted zone is set up that denies access to the vacuum robot.

Conversely, lighthouses can also be used as signposts: in this mode they show the robot the way to the next room.

HEPA filter for the vacuum robot

When buying a robot vacuum cleaner, make sure that the device high quality filters come into use. It is of no use to you if the robot vacuum catches the dust and then blows the fine dust back into the air.

It is mainly this fine dust - consisting of particles with a diameter of less than 10 micrometers - that poses a health risk and must therefore be captured by special filters.

Most of the presented robots have a so-called. HEPA filterthat meets these requirements.

The control / programming of a vacuum robot

Below you will find an overview of the various options in relation to Control and programming a cleaning robot.

You can see which robot supports which function in our comparison table.

Although most robotic vacuum cleaners nowadays come with an app and in many cases with additional voice control, they can still be controlled using the buttons directly on the device. These then include buttons for cleaning, to the Charge (usually referred to as the "Dock") or to turn on the Spot mode (Sucking in a circle at one point).

With some devices you can also switch on an ECO mode at the touch of a button, and finally a button "Start cleaning" must not be missing on such a button field.

A keypad on the top of the robot vacuum cleaner enables direct programming on the device. No further setup (WiFi, app, etc.) is necessary for this.

However, the trend is increasingly towards app control via smartphone, supplemented by voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

More and more home appliances are being used these days Controlled via smartphone and tablet. So it is no wonder that our vacuum cleaner robots are also caught up in this trend. However, users should meet an important requirement: they need a Internet-enabled device (Smartphone or tablet) and - who would have thought that - a stable WLAN.

Without the latter, it could happen that the robot vacuum cleaner no longer obeys the commands of its owner and possibly does exactly the opposite of what its owner intended to do with it.

For many robot vacuum models, apps provided by the manufacturers can be downloaded free of charge from the Google (Android) and Apple (iOS) app stores.

The apps enable comfortable programming and control of the robot.

So if you have an app-controlled vacuum cleaner robot, you can control and program it from anywhere, provided the WiFi is stable at the place of use of the vacuum robot. Whether from the office or on vacation - the vacuum robot will obey!

There are currently many options for controlling a vacuum robot: you can operate the device in a "classic" way by using the keypad that is located directly on the robot. If you often control the robot remotely (even if only from the corner of the sofa), you will probably use the corresponding app on your smartphone or, if supported by the device, use the infrared remote control.

With all these forms of control of the robotic vacuum cleaner, however, the user must press the correct keys on the corresponding input devices, which results in commands that the robot also understands and can implement into the appropriate actions.

This type of communication can be simplified by using the Amazon Alexa voice control (on some devices also Google Home), which makes it possible to start, stop and recharge the vacuum robot very easily with your own voice.

The networked, intelligent home - also called Smart home designated - is on the rise. The internet giants Amazon with its Alexa voice control and Google with Google Home enable manufacturers to integrate these services into their household appliances.

A large number of robot vacuum models can already be controlled and programmed with your own voice. It is to be expected that this trend will continue to intensify.

Some robot vacuum models are also equipped with an infraredremote control delivered (not to be confused with a smartphone app). This remote control serves - as the name already suggests - to control the device from "remote".

As a rule, however, the person who controls the robot by remote control will not be too far away: it is enough if you can direct the little helper from the terrace or sofa to those areas that need to be cleaned.

Robot vacuum cleaners with remote control can be programmed and controlled conveniently from the sofa.

In addition, you can use the remote control to operate the robot vacuum cleaner start and stop and of course let it return to the charging station. However, if you are lying on the beach in Mallorca, you have a problem with the remote control, because it usually does not extend much further than to the neighboring house. For Mallorca vacationers, the smartphone control is the better choice!

Robot vacuum cleaner with wiping function?

In addition to the pure suction function of a vacuum cleaner robot, more and more devices also have the option of wiping the floor after vacuuming. In order to activate this function, the dust container must - depending on the model - against a Water tank exchanged and the wiper attached to the underside of the robot.

The amount of added water can be set individually for many models, but the preset amount will usually be retained.

The illustration shows the underside of a robot vacuum cleaner with an additional wiping function.

Some vacuum cleaning robots also have one combination from water and dust container. In this case, the container consists of two parts: one to hold dust and one filled with water. The disadvantage of such a combination container, however, is that, due to the generally smaller volume, the dust container has to be emptied more often.

It goes without saying that the wet mopping function is only for Hard floors such as laminate, tiles or parquet is suitable.

Further information on this topic can be found on this page.

Maintenance of a vacuum cleaner robot

The maintenance of a vacuum cleaner robot is also very easy. There is no need to buy dust bags, as the suction containers can be removed from the robot as a whole. Only the brushes as well as the sensors and the filters have to be cleaned with the cleaning tool supplied.

Control by remote control is a pleasant additional function, but not absolutely necessary.

The trend is in the direction of App control via smartphone / tablet supplemented by Voice commands.

You don't have to worry about a ready-to-use battery with the vacuum robots. If the battery runs out, the devices "run" self-employed back to their charging station. There they are supplied with new energy so that they are soon available for the next work assignment.

FAQ: More questions and answers

Comparison 2021 - Choose your individual vacuum cleaner robot test winner favorites:

In the household robot market there are currently two variants for the use of the wiping function: there are vacuum robots that have an additional wiping function that can be switched on and robots that were built exclusively for wiping Robot mop.

Both Vacuum robots with wiping function There are two variants: on the one hand those devices in which (if you want to switch from vacuuming to wiping) the dust container has to be exchanged for a water tank, and on the other hand there are devices that have a combination of water and dust container. With these latter devices, because of the smaller size of the dust container, a somewhat more frequent emptying of this container is of course required.

In addition to this combination of two functions such as vacuuming / wiping in one device, there is also pure mopping robots, which can then be used in addition to a vacuum robot - the company iRobot offers some devices here.

Who on vacation or in the office not only wants to see photos that the vacuum robot takes during its work, but also this device all of its functions want to control, for whom a vacuum robot with an app remote control is exactly the right thing.

In contrast to the classic remote control, which practically every vacuum robot has nowadays, devices with an app remote control are only just emerging.

However, such devices are usually much more versatile than their classic competitors without remote app control. For example, you are able to use a integrated camera with motion sensor to monitor, you can send emails with photos to the owner and look specifically in living rooms to see whether the light (or e.g. the kitchen stove!) is also switched off.