Robot vacuums are a must-have for any home, but some of them do have a dirty secret of not being gentle.
The robot vacuums you get today are far better than the ones we had 10 years ago, but many still are not perfect. You still have some that bump into objects to know when to turn, and some still scuff baseboards.
The good news is that there are solutions to these problems and we’ll talk about them below.
Do Robot Vacuums Damage Floors?
For most floors, a robot vacuum will not damage it, but you need to be cautious of some floors.
If you’re not sure, the best thing to do is to contact the manufacturer who made your floors and ask if rubber wheels, vacuum cleaner beater brushes, or even robot vacuums will damage your floors.
You can get some robot vacuums without beater brushes, but you still have the issue of the rubber wheels. Of course, it’s not always the rubber wheels that are the issue, but something like a rock getting stuck in the wheel and scraping up the floor is.
Will A Robot Vacuum Damage My Furniture?
The older robot vacuums were a lot more aggressive; they navigated by bumping into things and often hit at full speed.
Today, you have robot vacuums that still bump into things to navigate, but many of them have sensors to let them know they’re about to hit something, and they slow down.
You also have some robot vacuums that use LIDAR or cameras and can better detect when they’re about to hit something. Some even have cameras on the front to detect objects like dog poop or other lightweight items.
If you’re concerned about a robot vacuum hitting something, stick to the robot vacuums that use LIDAR and obstacle avoidance systems, as this is the most accurate way to navigate a room.
The video below shows a good robot vacuum that uses LIDAR and a camera to avoid hitting objects in your home.
Many robot vacuums even have no-go areas where you can keep them from going. Using the app and after the robot vacuum has mapped the room, you can mark off areas it should avoid.
How To Keep A Robot Vacuum From Hitting Things?
The best advice I can give you is when you first get the robot vacuum, you need to watch it run.
See where it goes and how it interacts with things and if it’s about to hit something fragile, stop it. Then move that object or make that area a no-go area in the app.
Also, watch out for cords and things that dangle like the pull string for blinds. A robot vacuum is not intelligent enough to know what these are and will suck them up and possibly damage them or the robot vacuum.
Buy Bumper Pads For Your Robot Vacuum
I have a few robot vacuums with “battle scars,” which are white marks that it gets from scraping the baseboards. Unfortunately, the white baseboards now have black scuff marks too, which is super annoying.
The good news is that you can buy soft bumper guards* for your robot vacuum here.
I’ve tried using weather stripping you can get at any local department store, and it works okay too. It did well to protect the robot vacuum but not always the baseboards. The thing about the bumpers mentioned before is that they’re soft and more easily glide off the wall, unlike the hard rubber weather stripping. The weatherstripping had too much grip and would leave even bigger black marks.
Another option is to use the soft side of velcro* since you can get strips of it that will stick to the plastic of the robot vacuum.
No matter what you use, make sure you’re not blocking the sensors of your robot vacuum. The front bumper often has sensors, as shown below.
You Get What You Pay For
What I’ve noticed about robot vacuums hitting things is that it’s more of an issue for the cheaper units.
When you start to spend more on a robot vacuum, they tend to have features like LIDAR or a camera that helps keep it from hitting obstacles.
If you have things in your home that you’re afraid a robot vacuum could damage it you might want to spend the extra and get a robot vacuum that uses LIDAR and can map the room. Or completely block off that room as many robot vacuums have the option to put up virtual walls or no-go areas.
Here lately, I’ve been a fan of the Roborock S6* as it has the LIDAR and no-go zones. It’s also at a reasonable price compared to others with this much tech.