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Robot vacuums are steadily becoming a favorite smart cleaning device by many households because they are helpful in shortening cleaning time. As robot vacuums are self-automated cleaners, one can tend to other chores as they continue to make a room spotless and free of dust bunnies.
With more people seeing the value of owning a robot vacuum cleaner at home, the question of how long robot vacuums last becomes a hot topic. After all, robot vacuums still have a product lifespan just like any other gadget. The short answer is 4-6 years with proper maintenance based on a survey conducted by the US Consumer Reports in 2018.
However, if we are to break it down and be more in-depth, then the answer can vary depending on a few factors. Let’s find out how long robot vacuums can last and what can be done to get a longer lifespan.
A robot vacuum is a semi-autonomous floor cleaner designed with a powerful suction that can pick up any dirt or pet hair from hardwood floors, tiles, and even carpets. Robot vacuum cleaners are battery-operated and come with a charging station where they can dock themselves back to the base station after cleaning or whenever they need charging.
Unlike a regular vacuum that needs a human to control it, a robot vacuum cleaner runs by itself after its controls are programmed through a smartphone app or from the machine itself. A robot vacuum can also self-navigate the living space it is programmed to clean through mapping, combined technologies, or set boundaries.
Robotic vacuum cleaners have come a long way since their first appearance in 1996. The “Trilobite” was the first ever robot vacuum and it was made by Electrolux. Although it was revolutionary at its time, the Trilobite robotic vacuum cleaner would often collide with objects in the way and could not efficiently clean corners.
A robot vacuum cleaner is programmed to work with little to no human intervention needed. A robot’s entire system can be controlled through a smartphone app or with the push of certain buttons from the machine itself. While most robot vacuums have a built-in navigation system that can help them detect obstacles to avoid any collision or getting stuck between furniture or objects, more advanced models begin their self-navigated cleaning route through cutting-edge mapping technology so they can memorize the layout of the area and be able to go back to the docking station to charge their battery when they are done cleaning.
Most robotic vacuums have a suction power of 1,500 to 2,000 Pa but advanced models can go up to more than 3,000 Pa. The strong suction power and brushes of robotic vacuums allow them to even efficiently pick up dirt and even excess pet hair along the way.
With automation as one of its major selling points, high-end robot vacuum cleaners, such as the iRobot Roomba i3, have a self-emptying dust bin feature. However, robot vacuum cleaners at the lower price range will require a user to manually remove said bin.
After all the cleaning is done, a robot vacuum cleaner will return to its docking station so it can charge its battery and be properly stored.
The expected lifespan of a robotic vacuum cleaner is 4-6 years. However, a few years can either be added or deducted from this number depending on the following factors.
A higher-end robot vacuum cleaner can outperform and outlast a counterpart model in the lower-end range simply because of its build quality, features, and technology. An iRobot Roomba robot vacuum cleaner last 4 more years than the usually expected lifespan of its more affordable counterparts.
Although a Roomba and other robot vacuums within the same range may be expensive, investing in the higher-end models may be more sensible and practical in the long run given how long these robot vacuums last.
Depending on how frequently a robot vacuum cleaner is being used, its daily wear and tear of it can affect its lifespan. Using a robot vacuum and leaving it running for too long can not only shorten the battery life but also dull down the brush.
If your household has pets, especially long-haired pets, then the amount of excess pet hair a robot vacuum picks up can also clog its brushes, filter, and bin. About this, if the area that needs to be cleaned consistently has too much dust, then it can also wear down the filter and robot vacuum itself.
Also, consider how large the living space that is being cleaned is. A robot vacuum cleaner will run more mileage if the area is big compared to its size. This can deplete a battery faster, wear down wheels, and dull down the brush.
Although robot vacuums self-navigate, they can still occasionally bump into objects. If robot vacuums are left alone, then they can keep bumping into an object or furniture which can ultimately cause chipping and denting on both.
If the area to be cleaned is an open space leading to the stairs, then a robot vacuum cleaner may accidentally fall proper proofing or boundary placements are not done. A robot vacuum may survive these lack-of-proofing accidents, but not all may be lucky enough to still run after a fall.
Regular maintenance of your robot vacuum cleaner can help in securing a longer lifespan. Check on the condition of the brushes, filters, battery, and wheels now and then to see if you need to replace any. Regular maintenance is better and more inexpensive than the need to repair. Roomba repairs can cost about $200 to $1000 so it pays to check on your robot vacuum cleaner to save you on bucks and of course, get a longer lifespan.
Even the best models will need to have parts replaced now and then to ensure a long lifespan and quality performance. Replacing parts is a form of maintenance for your robot vacuum cleaner. Below are the parts you will need to do regular condition checking to see if you will need to do any replacing.
Robot vacuum cleaners either run on a Lithium-Ion Battery or Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery. Generally, the battery lifespan of a robot vacuum is 2 years before it needs a battery replacement. However, one may need to replace the battery in use as early as 1 year depending on how frequent and how long a robot vacuum is in use.
If your robot vacuum uses invisible walls for its boundary, then you should also remember to replace its batteries to avoid any accidents from happening.
While brush replacement should typically be done every 6 months, this can be done earlier if the brushes are starting to get dull. This may occur if the robot vacuum is frequently used and hair gets tangled between the bristles often.
Pro-tip: before buying a robot vacuum, check if those models offer replacement brushes. Often the cheaper models do not replace brushes and will require you to purchase a new model entirely.
Filter replacement will vary depending on how much dust it has already accumulated. If you have bad allergies, it is recommended to replace filters every 3 months. Otherwise, a filter can be replaced after 6 months.
Similar to a trash can, it is best to empty the bin after each cleaning session so it does not get full right away. Higher-end models such as the Roomba would even remind you when to do bin replacement.
Aside from replacing parts, there are other maintenance tips you can do and keep in mind to maximize your rob vac and prolong its lifespan.
Find a proper place to store your robo vac and dock its base camp. Ideally, it’s best to keep them away from extreme temperatures, especially areas that can get hot. Look for a place that has proper insulation and will not cause the robot vacuum and its base camp to overheat.
Aside from keeping the robot vacuum clean, make sure to also keep the base camp tidy. A dirty charging station will prevent the robot’s connection from properly charging as grime can accumulate.
Avoid leaving a robotic vacuum cleaner on and running by itself for a long time. It’s best to regulate how frequently it will be used and for how long it can be kept running so as not to deplete the battery too fast, wear down the wheels, and dull down the brush.
Read through the manual instruction properly and do research on the model’s requirements and intended application. Find out the floor plan and type it is designed to clean, the recommended running time, and the warranty.
Although there is a definite answer to the question of how long robot vacuums last, the lifespan duration ultimately boils down to maintenance. The best robot vacuums are those that are properly taken care of. With regular maintenance and responsible usage, robo vacs can keep cleaning as good as they did on the first day you got them.
If you don’t own one yet, then you can check out our guide on the best robot vacuums to find out which model will help clean your living space for you!