I talk about plenty of good things when it comes to robot vacuums, but now it’s time to talk about all the negatives.
A robot vacuum is great for many people, but there are a few times when a robot vacuum is not a good fit. So let’s go over all the negatives of a robot vacuum and see if one is still right for you or better understand what it can do.
1. Robot Vacuums Can’t Do Stairs
Probably the biggest pain with robot vacuums for many people is that they don’t clean stairs, and they can’t climb them either.
It might be possible in the future, but as of now no robot vacuum can handle stairs. Though, they’re many companies working on it.
So, you’ll need to get out your regular vacuum cleaner to clean the stairs or put down carpet protectors for the steps.
2. Not Nearly As Powerful
A robot vacuum is not anywhere near as powerful as a full-size vacuum cleaner. This doesn’t mean they don’t do a good job, quite the opposite, but you must understand it’ll never match a full-size vacuum cleaner.
A robot vacuum is not meant to be a replacement for your normal vacuum cleaner, just something to help with the in-between cleanings.
A robot vacuum can get into places you and your normal vacuum cleaner can’t go. They can go under furniture like your bed and couch, which are magnets for dust bunnies.
And robot vacuums tend to clean more random or linear than you do. People tend to clean the same way all the time, while a robot vacuum will clean in a different pattern than you, which helps to keep your floors cleaner.
3. Quieter, But Still Noisy
In my experience, while a robot vacuum is definitely quieter than a traditional vacuum cleaner, it’s not exactly silent.
Sure, a lot of people might not find it bothersome, especially if they let it do its job while they’re out. But for someone like me who works from home, it can be quite distracting.
The noise, which I’d liken to a persistent nat buzzing around, continues for a good hour or more. I’ve even found myself shutting the door just to muffle the sound because it really got on my nerves after a while.
4. The Still Require Maintenance
Not many people realize their robot vacuum still require maintenance and replacement parts.
Shoot, not many people realize their normal vacuum cleaner also requires maintenance and replacement parts too!
The batteries don’t last forever, the brushes need to be cleaned and the contacts for the charger get dirty over time and need to be cleaned. The things that clean will get dirty, so you must clean it too!
5. You Become Attached To Them
You’re allowed to name your robot vacuum, and when that happens, people tend to treat them like family.
No joke, people will even take them on vacation because of how handy robot vacuums can be.
6. You Need To Empty Them More Often
Not a huge problem nowadays with the robot vacuums that self-empty, but the ones you don’t self-empty, you need to empty them more often.
The dustbin on robot vacuums is not that large and can only hold so much dirt. Most of the current robot vacuums will tell you when the dustbin is full or hasn’t been empty lately.
If you have pets or allergies, you should consider emptying the dustbin at least once a week, if not 3 times a week. I find if you have more carpet than hardwood, you’ll be emptying the dustbin more often.
7. Robot Vacuums Can Get Stuck
A robot vacuum is quite smart, but they still do stupid things like getting stuck.
If you have a lot of uneven floors or odd obstacles, your robot vacuum will get stuck.
When you first get your robot vacuum, you’ll need to watch it and see where it gets stuck and make changes to that area. After a few runs, you’ll learn what stops your robot vacuum, and it won’t be much of an issue later.
8. Dog Poop
Dog poop is the enemy of robot vacuums!
You can get a few models that can detect and avoid dog poop, but it’s not on every robot vacuum.
Usually, when a robot vacuum runs over dog poop, it destroys it. The poop gets everywhere, and it’s not always good. So if you have a dog, get a robot vacuum that will avoid dog poop! The Roomba j7+* has pet waste detection.
We have a guide to help you fix your robot vacuum if it ran over dog poop here, but it’s a 50/50 shot it’ll work again without having to replace a few parts.
9. They’re Hackable?
Anything that connects to the internet is “hackable”, but a lot of the “hacks” are overblown, misunderstandings and the users not knowing better.
If you get a robot vacuum with an app, you need to take extra steps to better protect yourself.
One of the things you should do is use a unique and random password for your account. We go over the “hacking” problem, how to better secure yourself, and why most of it is overblown here.
You could also not use the app or connect the robot vacuum to WIFI. Robot vacuums don’t need the internet to work.