Can a Robot Vacuum Work in the Dark?

Can a robot vacuum work in the dark?

It depends.

While most robot vacuums can work in complete darkness, there are a few that need light so the camera can see where to go. For the robot vacuums without cameras, some have issues with getting too much light from the Sun and it could confuse their sensors.

What Robot Vacuums Need Light?

Roomba 900 Series like the 960


Trifo Ironpie m6


Dyson 360 Eye

Dyson 360 Heurist – Does have built-in light to navigate dark rooms but it doesn’t hurt to give it more light.

Robot Vacuum Not Cleaning the Entire House?

If you have any of the robot vacuums listed above and it’s not cleaning the entire home, it could be due to the amount of light in your home.

If there is not enough light, these robot vacuums can not work correctly. These robot vacuums use a camera to see the home as you would, and if the room is too dark, they can’t clean.

It’s best to leave a lamp on or some kind of light source so they can see.

Another issue could be too much light. If the room gets too much natural light the infrared from the Sun could confuse its sensors as it uses infrared on beacons. Beacons are the tower things that run on batteries that tell the robot vacuum to keep away.

How Much Light Does a Robot Vacuum Need?

A few auto-on LED night lights like these* will fit most everyone’s needs. Night lights come on when it gets dark and stay on through the night. It’s a constant source of light that matters the most for robot vacuums and not the brightness.

Too Much Sunlight

If you have the windows open to let in natural light you could be making your robot vacuum work harder than it needs to.

Not only does this affect the robot vacuums with a camera but also the ones that use infrared. Most of the robot vacuums you get use invisible walls to tell the robot to not go into a room, and those beacons use infrared. The Sun gives off a lot of infrared light, and this could confuse the robot vacuum. You may even find your robot vacuum not wanting to clean around the sun rays on your floor because of this.

The best thing to do is to allow the robot vacuum to clean in a room with no windows open or when the Sun is not out.

A sudden change in the light like the Sun setting or turning on an overhead light could freak a robot vacuum out, especially if it uses a camera. Allow the little guy to work constantly in the same amount of light, and you’ll be fine.

Remember – Your robot vacuum is looking at the walls and not the floor when it cleans. If the walls are not lit enough, they can’t determine where they are or where they’ve been.

Can You Get a Robot Vacuum That Works in the Dark?

Yes, many of the more affordable robot vacuums don’t have these cameras and don’t need any light at all.

The downside is that the robot vacuums with a camera do a more thorough job of cleaning.

For me personally, I use a Roomba 690, and it works just fine without any light. Here is my review on the Roomba 690. I do keep the windows and blinds closed when it runs, so that sunlight doesn’t affect its IR sensors.

Can Robot Vacuums Clean Dark Floors?

Another question I get but decided to group in this because it often gets asked at the same timeā€¦ can a robot vacuum clean dark floors?

The answer is yes; robot vacuums can clean dark floors. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dark hardwood floor or dark carpet.

The robot vacuum doesn’t look at the floors when they clean. If they do look, it’s only at the walls to see where they have been. The other way it looks around is with either a laser or using the bumper to let it know it’s about to hit something.

Your floors could be dark or super bright; it doesn’t matter because a robot vacuum will clean them.

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