How Do Robot Vacuums Work?

The concept of a robot vacuum is just revolutionary. What better way to clean your house without actually having to do it yourself? A robot vacuum can navigate its way throughout your home and pick up dust, dirt, and other debris in its path without you having to get up. All you have to do is control it from an app, which will enable you to set the times you want the robot to clean, where you want it to clean, and so much more.

But how do these revolutionary tools work? Will robot vacuums work without Wi-Fi? How well do robot vacuums work on carpet or hardwood floors? We will answer all of these questions and more about the operation of robot vacuums in this article.

How Robot Vacuums Operate

Robot Vacuum

Some of us clean on a daily basis, whereas others clean only when the in-laws decide to come for a visit. A robot vacuum will help you even if you’re someone who’s barely home due to a demanding schedule or career- and even if you’re someone who simply hates cleaning.

Robot vacuums have a unique design and set-up that enables them to clean your house without you needing to lift a finger. They have two spinning brushes and either one or two rolling brushes. These brushes all work together to gather debris and collect it in the robot vacuum’s dust bin. Much like a regular vacuum, you will need to empty this out when it’s full.

But how is the vacuum able to operate on its own? The answer is through the use of sensors. Robot vacuums come with several types of sensors.

  • Wall sensors: Robot vacuums have wall sensors via infrared lights that help them to detect where the walls are. This will allow the robot vacuum to clean along the edges, which is where lots of dirt and crumbs tend to accumulate. The sensors also enable the vacuum to do this without causing a lot of damage to your walls. Some robot vacuums have mapping abilities, and with these, the vacuum can move through doorways and along walls to detect where to clean.
  • Wheel sensors: With the use of light sensors, robot vacuums can also determine wheel rotation, which will enable the vacuum to estimate the distance at which it has traveled.
  • Cliff sensors: This is especially important if you live in a multiple-story home. You probably have wondered how your robot vacuum would be able to survive in a home with stairs because one wrong turn could mean the end for the device. Luckily, they have cliff sensors, which send infrared signals to see how much distance there is left for that part of the floor. If the device does not receive any signals in return, it will automatically change position to avoid taking a fatal fall.
  • Obstacle sensors: Lastly, they have obstacle sensors, which helps to prevent the device from bumping into all your furniture. The sensors detect when something is in the vacuum’s path, which allows it to turn to a position where the path will be clear. Some of the newer models will gently brush up against the obstacle so that it still can clean the debris near chair legs, furniture, etc. but without ruining the device.

Many of the newer models of robot vacuums also have mapping technology. This works with an internal digital camera to take pictures of the layout of your home- walls, floors, furniture, and more.

The first time you use the robot vacuum, it will gather these pictures of the rooms in your house and, along with the information gathered from the sensors, the vacuum will orchestrate a map of your home. It will then follow this map for future cleanings. They also may use a laser range finder in order to measure the distances between obstacles in the path of the vacuum.

It is worth getting a robot vacuum that has the technology to do this because they are able to move much straighter than those that don’t, which means that they are able to follow the most efficient paths possible. In addition to that, when mapping vacuums need to be charged, they will go back to the dock and return to where they left off.

Of course, this technology isn’t completely flawless, and some people have found that they’ve needed to salvage cords and other obstacles before the robot vacuum picked them up. Many people also believe that robot vacuums won’t be able to replace a regular vacuum for deeper cleans. But this innovative technology will allow you to maintain the cleanliness of your home even when you’re not physically there.

Read More: iRobot Roomba Vacuum Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions about Robot Vacuums

Robot vacuum under sofa

Q: Will robot vacuums work without Wi-Fi?

Yes! You absolutely can use the robot vacuum without an internet connection. There will usually be a button on the vacuum for you to push for it to start. With the Roomba, for example, simply push the CLEAN button to start, SPOT CLEAN for it to clean a certain area, and HOME if you want the vacuum to return to its dock.

However, if you want to be able to control the vacuum using its compatible app- no matter what brand it is- you will need to have a WiFi connection and Bluetooth.

Q: Do robot vacuums work well on hardwood floors?

Yes, many robot vacuums will work well on hardwood floors. In fact, they are especially recommended for people with hard floors because of the upkeep that is required, which might not work well with everyone’s schedule. All robot vacuums on the market have been designed to work on hard floors, but there are some with all the bells and whistles that will give your floors a much more thorough clean. Some function as mops, adjust to floor types, have angled brushes to get into corners, and more.

Read article: Vacuum & Mop at the Same Time!

Q: Will a robot vacuum scratch wood floors?

Some people worry about the possibility of robot vacuums scratching their hardwood floors. As we said earlier, they are designed to be used on hard floors, so this is not an issue that you should be worried about. The design of the wheels is meant to enable the device to move gently across your floors. Robot vacuums also have brushes that will not scratch your floors either.

However, it is important to maintain your robot vacuum. If the wheels get stuck or if bits of sand and other debris get stuck in the wheels, then it is possible for the device to scratch your floors. So, you will want to make sure that you maintain your robot vacuum just as well as you would any other vacuum.

Q: How well do robot vacuums work on carpet?

If you decide to get a robot vacuum, you will want to make sure to read the description carefully to make sure that it works well on carpets. Many of the modern models do, and they are especially meant for low to medium-pile carpets. These models have sensors that are able to detect the difference in the floors, which enables them to work differently to get deeper into carpets and get out all the hair, dirt, and grime.

The brushes will loosen debris that is embedded in your carpets for the vacuum to clean. Many people are pleased with the way robot vacuums maintain the appearance of their carpets. However, some with lots of pets and kids say that they aren’t quite the best for carpets. Keep this in mind especially if you have thicker carpets.

Q: How well do robot vacuums work?

This question gets asked all the time and the answer is pretty difficult. The best we can say is “it depends.” What are you expecting out of your vacuum? These aren’t meant to replace your regular vacuums for deep cleans. In addition, robot vacuums can’t work on stairs, so you will need to get a separate device for that. They work well if you want to clean up debris from your floors, and especially if you want to maintain your floors’ cleanliness on a regular basis.

Robot vacuums are a great way to take that load off your shoulders because they don’t require much from you. However, understand that a robot vacuum isn’t meant for heavy-duty tasks. Many people appreciate the convenience of these vacuums between when deep cleans are necessary.

You Might Also Like: Pros and Cons of a Roomba Vacuum

Conclusion

The technology included with robot vacuums is a major convenience to many people. You don’t even have to worry about them when you’re at work. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these shouldn’t replace your regular vacuum, but the fact that you don’t have to even lift a finger makes robot vacuums a great tool to have at home.

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