How to Get the Most Out of Your Robot Vacuum

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Whether you've had a robot vacuum for 10 years or just bought your first one, these tips will help you use it more efficiently.

Robot vacuums have only been around since 2002, but they’ve quickly gained legions of fans. And their popularity continues to grow. A California-based research firm predicts a 17.7 percent compound annual growth rate in robot vacuum market size between now and 2027 as more and more households purchase them.

That’s hardly a surprise when you consider that robot vacuums essentially eliminate vacuuming as a household chore. But while robot vacuums are super low maintenance, it does help to choose the right robot vacuum for your unique needs. The perfect one for your house depends on square footage, flooring types and if you have kids or pets.

No matter which one you choose, there are steps worth taking to ensure they work their best. Here are nine tips to help you get the most out of your robot vacuum.

Set Up a Schedule

Many robot vacuums let you program a cleaning schedule and change it as needed. Set one up from the get-go to make things as effortless as possible.

Is everyone out of the house between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesdays? Schedule your robot vacuum to do its job then. Or if your kitchen and dining area are far enough away from your bedroom, schedule your robot vacuum to take care of last night’s mess after you go to bed, so you wake up to crumb-free floors.

Create a Clutter Zone

Ideally toys, pillows, blankets and anything else littering your floor should put back where it belongs (off the floor) before running your robot vacuum. If you forget to move these items, they can impede your robot vacuum’s ability to clean.

If you’re chronically short on time, program a boundary line in your vacuum’s app that cordons off an area where you can quickly stash your clutter — a “fling ring,” if you will. It should take no time at all to toss items in that one corner so your vacuum can do its thing. Another option: Use a magnetic boundary strip to create a vacuum no-go zone, if your robot vacuum doesn’t let you program boundary lines.

Whichever you use, you might want to set a reminder on your phone to place clutter in your designated area before your robot vacuum starts its scheduled run.

Get Replacement Parts from the Manufacturer

Like any hardworking household device, your robot vacuum will need replacement parts at some point. You could save money buying replacement parts from a third party, but doing so may void your warranty. What’s more, third-party parts often aren’t as effective or long-lasting. Stick with buying direct from the manufacturer.

Give It Space

The space under dining tables is a magnet for crumbs, but chairs can make it hard for your robot vacuum to sweep them all up. Clear some space for it to clean by leaning chairs against walls or placing them seat-side down on a table.

Other ways to create cleaning space for your robot vacuum include stuffing bed skirts under mattresses, placing trash cans on higher surfaces like counters and wrapping long curtains around curtain holders.

Empty the Bin Often

Robot vacuums have much smaller collection bins than traditional vacuums. Make it a priority to empty yours often. Overfull bins reduce the effectiveness of your robot vacuum and could even cause it to overheat and become damaged. Depending on the size of your house and your pet situation, that might be after every vacuum. Some of today’s models even empty the bins themselves! (Learn how often you should really be vacuuming.)

Test-Drive It On Carpet

Robot vacuums can have trouble on high-pile carpet or when transitioning from smooth floors to carpet. Observe your model on carpet before letting it vacuum beyond your watchful eye. If it struggles or stalls out, it’s best to cordon off those areas and vacuum them with a traditional vacuum instead.

Find the Charging Sweet Spot

Flat surfaces like hardwood or tile floors are the best places for your charging station. That’s because carpet can restrict air flow to the battery and cause things to overheat.

In addition to charging on a non-carpeted surface, make sure your spot is against a wall and not in a busy area. This will help prevent a potentially dangerous (and embarrassing) trip-and-fall. An unused corner or guest bedroom can be good places for the charging station — just be sure the vacuum has an unobstructed path to and from it.

Contain Cords

It’s all too easy for a robot vacuum to entangle itself in electrical or cable cords. This could ruin the cord and make the robot stop working. Go through your home and ensure all cords are neatly tucked away. Cord clips such as EyeIslet Self-Adhesive Cable Clips Organizer can help.

Adjust the Suction Power

Many robot vacuums let you set your desired suction power. Set it for more suction if your floors are smooth, and less suction if you have carpet. If you have carpet and smooth flooring, know that most robot vacuums can seamlessly transition between the two. Check your manual for a suction level recommendation if you have more than one type of flooring.

Amanda Prischak
Amanda Prischak is a freelance writer based in Erie, Pennsylvania.