The Evolution of Robot Vacuums

Once a idealistic but cumbersome technology mostly out of reach for the everyday consumer, the robot vacuum has come a long way in advancement and accessibility.
Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Charging Battery Smart Cleaning Technology. Modern smart electronic housekeeping technology

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Over the past decade, robot vacuums have become increasingly popular household appliances. They are designed to save time and effort while providing a thorough cleaning of floors. The rapid evolution of these vacuums means new features and technologies are added every year to better fill consumer needs. This year is no exception, with key advancements made to navigation, self-emptying bins, object recognition, mopping and self-cleaning. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show hosted the exciting changes to a wide audience.

Advanced Navigation

One of the biggest improvements in robot vacuums is advanced navigation. Early robot vacuums like the original Roomba from iRobot used bumpers that often led to the vacuum responding with random and inefficient cleaning patterns. Sometimes, homeowners would come home to a vacuum stuck in a corner. That’s not the case today. Modern vacuums use advanced navigation systems such as lidar that senses the layout of the room and maps out cleaning routes. This results in a more thorough and efficient cleaning. If you’re considering purchasing a robot vacuum, this is a must-have feature.

Self-Emptying Bins

Another convenience feature that has become popular in recent years is the self-emptying bin. As the name suggests, the vacuum automatically empties its dirt bin into a larger container so users don't have to worry about constantly cleaning it out. This feature makes robot vacuums even more hands-free and convenient. Most of the popular robot vacuum manufacturers, such as iRobot, Roborock and Eufy, now offer this option for their midrange models, which consumers will appreciate since that feature previously was available only on premium versions.

Object Recognition

Another exciting new feature is object recognition, which detects movable objects like shoes, toys or charging cables and routes around them. This not only ensures a safer cleaning experience but also helps prevent damage to the vacuum and objects in the home. Roborock has led the way in object recognition.

Mopping & Self-Cleaning

Having the floors vacuumed with minimal effort is great, but the addition of mopping was a game changer. Some of the latest robot vacuums now mop while they vacuum, making it even more convenient and time-saving. Roborock’s vacuums include vibrating mop pads which use “sonic technology to scrub floors up to 3,000 times per minute,” according to the company’s website. What’s more, the S7 & S8 line have docking stations that can wash the mop pad and refill the robot with fresh water. Narwal has taken a similar approach, but its robots feature circular rotating mop pads. Its new Freo model has been working great in our basement on the luxury vinyl tile.

Noesis recently announced its Florio model, due this spring, with a docking station that replaces the disposable mop pad as needed. The company says users will be able to define when the pads are swapped out.

Advanced navigation, self-emptying bins, object recognition, mopping and self-cleaning are just a few of the key advancements that have made robot vacuums even more convenient and efficient. Accessibility has also improved, making what was once a luxury product for high-end homeowners more affordable to midrange consumers with more features included.