Smart Robotics Vacuums
Types of Robot Vacuums
There are many ways to categorize robot vacuums, mainly due to the vast diversity of the various products available in the market today. However, even with all the unique features, it all boils down to two distinct group based on its cleaning patterns.
As the name suggests, this type of robot vacuum will clean your household area in a seemingly random pattern.
This type doesn’t have a built-in mapping technology, thus, you will only have a limited control over the cleaning area.
One thing to remember, although this type doesn’t have any mapping technology, all robot vacuums have some form of avoidance technology. We will discuss the different types of avoidance technology further below in the key features section.
One common reason to purchase this type is that it is significantly more affordable. If you will only be using the robot vacuum in a small area, or your house only has a small number of rooms, this type might be a better overall choice.
As we have briefly discussed above, this type of robot vacuum has some form of integrated mapping technology. As a result, this type of robot vacuum cleaners often has better cleaning efficiency. The automation process is also often better, both in the sense of time and placement.
There are many different mapping technologies utilized in robot vacuums today, but commonly it can be divided into two big groups: laser mapping and visual mapping.
Visual mapping technology, commonly utilizing digital cameras, is deemed the superior one, mainly because laser mapping usually has issues with shadows and can falsely recognize obstacles.
The latest visual technology used in robot vacuums is known as Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), where the robot can simultaneously keep track of its position while mapping out new terrain in real-time. As a result, the robot can avoid obstacles much better, while also increase the overall efficiency of the cleaning process.
As the downside, robot vacuums with mapping technology are often more expensive. The better the mapping technology used, the more expensive it will be.
With the wide array of different robot vacuum products available in the market today, it’s hard to keep track and list all the unique features of each product.
However, here are some of the key features you might have to consider before making your purchase.
As mentioned above, not all robot vacuums have their integrated mapping technologies. However, having at least the simplest form of avoidance technology is a necessity for any robot vacuums.
There are many forms of avoidance technology utilized in various robot vacuum products. However, at a bare minimum, a robot vacuum will have cliff sensors to avoid cliff surfaces, such as stairs. Older models often utilize bumpers as the most basic technology to avoid obstacles.
With bumpers, the robot vacuum will recognize after it has hit an object, and then will move to another direction.
Newer models utilize all sorts of different technologies, such as infrared sensors. Some robot vacuums also combine the avoidance technology with their integrated mapping technology, using digital and infrared cameras. Newer high-end robot vacuums even utilize ultrasonic frequency technology.
We have discussed how robot vacuums utilized the mapping technology above, so refer to the Types of Robot Vacuums section.
While the most important feature of any robot vacuums is the ability to move around effectively while avoiding obstacles, the second most important feature is the ability to clean.
As with the avoidance and mapping technologies, there is also a wide array of diversity in robot vaccums’s cleaning technology. Some of the most common ones are:
- Traditional brush – Quite similar to what you usually find in a traditional upright vacuum. Plastic or nylon hairs are utilized to sweep up dirt and dust. Commonly found in most lower end robot vacuum products.
- Bladed Brush – In this type of brush, rubber ‘blades’ are incorporated into the design. These rubber blades are more effective in cleaning up pet hair.
- Combo Brush – While the bladed brush is better in cleaning pet hairs and similar dirt, traditional bristle brush is better in cleaning smaller dust particles. This designed combined the both of them to gain both benefits.
- Brushless – As the name suggests, no brush is utilized by the robot vacuum in its cleaning process. In its basic principle, the brushless robot vacuum will operate like a suction hose. This design is a bit rare and is not as effective on rugs or carpets.
Other factors that might affect the cleaning process are:
- Suction Strength – The strength of the motor and the overall design will affect the overall suction strength. Although on hard surfaces, the difference is minimal, it will be noticeable on carpets, rugs, and similar surfaces where stronger suction is necessary, On the other hand, stronger suction strength might increase the noise level of the robot, which might be disruptive for some. Higher end models usually have several strength settings to tackle this issue.
- Brush Position – There are typically three common positions for the primary brush: front, center, and back. Although the effectiveness of the position will vary depending on the technology used, in general, the front position is the most effective. The key disadvantage of placing the brush in the center or the back is that the dirt material will touch a significant amount of the robot vacuum surface before the brush or suction hole. Thus, the dirt will collect on the underside of the vacuum, and will require regular cleaning and maintenance.
- Dry/Wet Mop – Most of the robot vacuums available nowadays are using dry mop feature, using a microfiber cloth or similar material to collect dust and dirt. Some robot vacuum products are offering the wet mop function, using a moistened cloth designed to clean the area more thoroughly.However, of all the robot vacuum products available today, none are offering a significantly useful wet mop function, mainly because of the lack of downward force necessary for an effective wet mopping.
A relatively new feature found on the newer robot vacuum products is the ability to wirelessly connect to smartphone or tablet, along with the inclusion of the companion app.
This allows a better range of personalized control, such as smart scheduling, monitoring, and remote control. Some robot vacuums even provide live video feed straight to the mobile app.
Lower end robot vacuums often use basic radio frequency connection with a simple remote control. Although not as useful as having a smart app to assist, a remote control will certainly help to avoid having to constantly move the robot around.
Battery Power and Charging Station
Even the best and the most expensive robot vacuum products nowadays can only manage roughly the maximum of 2-hours of active time before it will need to charge itself.
Remember, robot vacuums work much slower than a traditional upright vacuum, and with an average battery power of 1 to 1.5-hours, it might not be enough to clean your whole household.
With that in mind, having an automatic charging function is certainly a plus point.
Some robot vacuums have the ability to return to its charging station on its own and resume its operation once it’s fully charged.
Review blog extract from thehousetechblog
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