Why I Don’t Have a Robot Vacuum
You would think I'd be all about a robot vacuum. I love everything clean. I love saving time. And I'm a total tech nerd! However, I don't have one. Watch this video to find out why!
I have watched an embarrassing amount of vacuum reviews on YouTube. I don't know why, but I totally geek out on them– stick vacuums, regular vacuums, robot vacuums– really any vacuums LOL!
When I'm talking about a robot vacuum, I mean the little round vacuums that motor themselves along sucking up dirt while you sleep or do whatever. They sound like such a time-saver. I think they would work great for a lot of people, but here are the three biggest reasons I don't have one:
It won't work for the area where I need it most.
The messiest area in our house is where my kids eat. It's really the only area that absolutely needs vacuumed daily. They drop crumbs and bits of cheese, etc. all over. However, we have bar stools there, and I don't think there's any way a robot vacuum could maneuver around them to effectively suck up what I need it to.
I do think it would work well around our dining room table, but the kids don't eat there as often. So, if I'm still going to have to pull out my stick vacuum to clean up after them, it kind of defeats the purpose for me.
Expense vs. Lifespan
In my whole history of vacuums, from the super cheap one I bought in college to the fancier, expensive canister ones I've bought later, my vacuums all seem to last only about two years.
I think this is mostly because I have super long hair. My daughter does, too. Even though we don't have pets, human hair is just so rough on our vacuums. My poor husband is constantly cutting hair out of the rollers, and it just makes our vacuums work so much harder.
None of the robot vacuums offer the non-tangle feature, so I just think we'd be forever pulling hair off the rollers! The fancier ones are so expensive. It would be heartbreaking to have to replace something so expensive after only two years, which is about as long as I think I could get from one.
You might have to empty the dust bin.
If you buy one of the cheaper ones, you have to empty the dust bin every day. I think this would get irritating to me because the whole purpose is to have it be automated. Emptying the bin would be just one more thing for me to remember.
If I bought one of the fancier ones that docks itself and empties itself into a bag, that would of course save time and effort, but you're looking at a LOT more money. The docking stations are sometimes a couple hundred dollars extra on top of the vacuum. So if you combine that with my history of wearing out a vacuum every two years, then that gets crazy expensive.
If you're not like me in these areas, a robot vacuum might be perfect for you. I know people who absolutely love theirs and couldn't live without it! For some people, a robot vacuum is a HUGE help. Let me know if you have one and what you think about them if you do!
Eva Nance Says
I started with a model that requires me to empty the bin each time I run it so I had a routine where I emptied it each morning real quick and then ran it. BTW I always buy mine on a deep discount like black Friday.
Then, last year I bought one that empties itself when it returns to the base and my son empties that container as needed, which isn’t very often. I have my 2 yr old grandson living with me now so we often have some toys here and there and it will sometimes move them around a bit but still cleans the floor beautifully. We have all tile with an occasional area rug, so will have allot of grit and dust. By running the vacuum daily most of the days of the week, I almost never have to vacuum the floor and we have dogs tracking in dirt as well. I only do the occasional vacuum of window sills and baseboards. I kept the old vacuu, and use it in another room that has a baby gate so I don’t have to ever move either vacuum. Plus it is just one room so that vac doesn’t need emptying daily.
We love our robovacs. We bought our first 9years ago to help with our busy household of 5 and we just got a new one that mops and vacuums this year, as we are now a busy family of 7 people and a dog and our first vac retired. It’s such a blessing as our robo and stick vacs both get a flogging.
Eva Nance Says
In addition to my previous comment –
My original vac is 39 months old now and is currently $140 on Amazon. I highly recommend it and it basically needs to be cleaned out once each use for vacuuming an entire house. It is the eufy by Anker, BoostIQ RoboVac 11S
My new vac that empties itself was $288 on a black Friday sale at walmart. It is the Shark EZ Robot Vacuum with Self-Empty Base
We love our robot vacuum. We’ve named it Astro! We move chairs out of the way when it vacuums the kitchen. But if you don’t think it meets your needs, then there’s no need to buy one.
Hi Laura. I have had my roomba for almost 3 years now. If I could suggest that you give it a try when they go on sale for the holidays. I have an older model i3 that I bought on sale for about $300 during black Friday sale. It has a docking station so it charges itself and sucks the dirt into a bin automatically. I change that bag every 3 months. It has 2 rollers that I take the hair out of about once per month and very easy to do. I use my smart phone to select areas to clean while I’m out. I do walk the areas I’m cleaning before leaving and close closet doors, pick up towels or clothes, etc. I also move the bar stools and chairs like if you were cleaning a restaurant floor. When I get back home it is so satisfying to see all the crumbs, dirt, hair, etc cleaned up and those wonderful straight lines on the carpet that you don’t want to step on and mess up. Lol. Many of the sales during the holidays have extended return policies so if it turns out that you don’t love it as much as I do you can just take it back. I’m sure the newer models are even better than mine. Just a thought 😀
Have you ever seen what a robot vacuum does to poop, be it human or pet? That alone has kept me away from them while I have small children and pets.
Hi Laura! I do have a robot vacuum and I love it! I am not the most diligent with hauling my vacuum up & down our stairs to do the job on a consistent basis. When I was gifted one of these, it lives downstairs & my big “diy” vacuum stays upstairs. This has been an amazing solution! It definitely does save time and energy, too. I most of the time will run it about once a week. So emptying the bin isn’t that pressing. I try to run it when we won’t be in that area of the house, or are out on errands, and it’s amazing to come back in to freshly cleaned floors! I highly recommend it and would have no problem purchasing another one sometime. I’ve looked at the newer models and their mopping cousins admiringly, but you are right, they are very expensive. We think we may be moving in a year or so, so we won’t bother with getting any kind of newer one before then. I still prefer sweeping my hardwood floors to get under everything and in all the nooks and crannies, but the robot can be a huge helps right before and after you have company coming for a quick tidy job. Often we’ll turn our kitchen stools upside down on the table and let the vacuum do her job getting to our worst spot, too. It makes a big difference when we do that for how much cleaner the floors are, comparatively. I also try to take good care of my robot and clean it out all the time. A can of compressed air helps me blow out the filter every time I empty the bin, just to keep it as new as possible for as long as I can. I’ve had it for over a year now and haven’t replaced the filter yet, and it’s still going strong. I hope this helps give you more thoughts on these little helpers!
I understand what you are saying and never thought about those reasons for not getting one. Your blog makes a lot of sense and opened my eyes a whole lot more. Years ago I considered getting one and thought it would be great
Once I stopped using vacuums with bags and switched to canister vacuums, I enjoy vacuuming.
Seriously, I do enjoy vacuuming. It is also another way for me to get a few extra steps in for exercising. Vacuuming helps me exercise my arms by pushing it back and forth. If I ever move into a really big house( a mansion) with lots of carpeted floors, I may decide to get one.
Hi! Good point about the robot vacuum. I dont have one but always wish, however I might have the same problems as you do.
Have you tried dyson vacuums? They are a bit expensive I live in Spain but there are always deals of old models. And they are durable. I have been using them for years and they have a great customer service in case you break it 😃.
My friend had a major issue with her robot vacuum. The dog went #2 in the house but the robot vacuum didn’t notice it and plowed right through.
Instead of cleaning up one pile she was scrubbing everywhere because the robot vacuum had drug throughout the house.
They also had one that was near impossible to get apart to clean so they didn’t continue to smell it. It took way to long and luckily it did go back together, but no thank you!
Jan Stenberg Says
I have one. It does pick up around bar stools and great for going under low furniture. But I don’t use mine a lot because I feel I have to watch it. I have too many cords that it runs over. And I do have the device that is supposed to keep it from crossing into where I don’t want it. That doesn’t work well. I try to get it to just do the dining area, but it takes off and goes into the kitchen where the cat food bowls and water are and makes a mess. I used to have throw rugs and it would suck them up. It does a great job of dusting and makes the wood floors shine, but it takes more of my time babysitting it.
I have a Shark robovac. We’ve had it several years. It’s a cheaper model but has worked satisfactorily for us. I don’t have children so I don’t need it as often as you do. I do have longer hair and I lose a lot of hair daily! I have to detangle the rollers periodically but that is true with any vacuum cleaner! I like the convenience of turning it on and letting it go while I do other things. It satisfies my daily need! However unless I could afford the top of the line model that creates a path and dumps itself, I would not purchase one again!
I have the Roomba i3+ and absolutely LOVE it. It will not tangle with hair – I have 4 girls, and lots of grandchildren over every day. For me, it doesn’t pick up everything, but it picks up 90%. For me that is a huge help as I only have to sweep those areas where it won’t pick up out into the main part of the floor and it takes care of it. These are expensive but I waited until they went on sale so I was able to but it for around $400 which was a steal. This thing really saves me a LOT of time every day!
I get it!
Regarding the stools, you can just move them over in a routine and have the vacuum clean that specific area. Like, each morning after breakfast move the chairs over so the vacuum can get there when he turns on at 9am (or whatever routine you choose).
I have long hair, a self emptying iRobot. Totally worth the docking station and garbage can to make it worth it, but it is so worth it! I’ve had ours 3 years, with no issues!
The hair part is so easy, because an iRobot is designed to be able to fix quickly. You just flip him over, unclick a bar and pull out his rollers. On each end of the rollers, a bit of hair collects and can be plucked out fast. He has a wheel you pop out and remove hair underneath, and you can change his little skinny brush arm where hair might go underneath too.
Quite helpful, once you get used to it and understand how to best build it into your life. I have a large house, and it’s amazing how much it has made things easier on me!
I really loved this article! You have such a well rounded way of looking at it, and graciously accept differing views! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us!
I was hesitant too – and I have the same trouble spot under our bar stools in the kitchen. For me, it doesn’t replace y daily sweeping, but once a week or so, I move the bar stools and let the robot vac come through. It’s annoying to move some furniture so I don’t do it daily, but it does a deeper clean (especially on carpets and under the beds) than my daily pass, and that’s worth it for me. I definitely got the dust bin attachment, and I really don’t think it was that much more expensive.
I have long hair as well, and so far I’ve only had to detangle the brush head once. I’ve been using ours about 6 months, so here’s hoping it keeps up for more than 2 years!
I have a stick vac, a canister vac, and a Roomba. I use them all. Hannah (the Roomba) does need to be emptied every time and there are areas where she cannot go, but she is functional enough for her cost and purpose. I actually have a cheap robot vac (his name is Darkblade) to vacuum in the basement. His main job is dead bug cleanup.
Tara Hines SaysPost author
Your comment made me laugh so hard! I love the names, and now I think I need to use my older model Roomba for dead bug cleanup in the basement and get a newer model that empties itself for the upstairs. I may also name them… 🙂