|Counter-Size Robotic Vacuum: $10-$20||Small Robotic Vacuum: $30-$100||Standard-Size Robotic Vacuum: $200-$500|
A robotic vacuum -- or a robovac -- offers intelligent programming and guided vacuuming abilities. Robovacs use brushes and suction to clean tile and wood floors in addition to carpets. The models come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
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- A small countertop robotic vacuum -- with minimal dust-busting abilities -- costs $10-$20. Amazon sells tabletop vacuums such as the Hog Wild Robo Vacuum , which costs $15.
- Small robotic vacuums, weighing less than 5 pounds, cost $30-$100. Sears, for example, sells the P3 International robotic vaccum for $33. The smaller robotic vacuums tend to hold a charge for significantly less time than their larger counterparts and need to be emptied more frequently.
- Standard-size robotic vacuums cost $200-$500. The larger models generally clean carpets and hardwood and tile floors. There are dozens of manufacturers of robotic vacuums; popular models include iRobot's Roomba series , which costs $250-$600; iTouchless Automatic Intelligent Robotic Vacuum , which costs $250; and Neato Robotics' Vacuum Cleaning Robot, which costs $400.
What should be included:|
- Each model robotic vacuum is different, but all should come with a light-weight cleaning device with a range of brushes. The vacuums "see" the house and avoid obstacles such as stairs and sleeping pets. Most standard-size vacuums hold a charge for two-three hours; smaller devices generally run out of steam in less than an hour.
- Optional features include a charging station, a remote control device, filters, bumpers for room installation so the vacuum avoids certain areas, and cleaning tools.
- Robotic vacuums come with a wide range of accessories and replacement parts that can add to the cost of purchasing and maintaining one of the devices.
- Replacement batteries for robotic vacuums cost $20-$90. GoVacuum.com sells a battery for $36 that fits in several models.
- Power supplies and charging stations for robotic vacuums cost $20-$60. Some models, like the Roomba series, can use upgraded chargers that recharge the device faster. The iRobot Advanced Power System , for several Roomba models, costs $42 on Amazon.
- Replacement filters for robotic vacuums cost about $15-$20 and generally come in multi-packs. Neato replacement filters cost $19 for a four-pack. Some models use HEPA filters , which cost about $25.
- Some robotic vacuums require bumpers strategically placed around a room to help the device recognize obstacles. The bumpers also help prevent scuffing. Bumpers and protective strips cost $10-$20. GoVacuum sells furniture bumpers for $10.
- There are accessories available for robotic vacuums that allow other features. For tech-savvy users, hacking tools are available at Robot Shop for $10-$100. The RoboDynamics RooTooth BlueTooth Roomba Interface Module , for example, costs $100 each and allows the Roomba to communicate with any BlueTooth-enabled device such as a laptop or cell phone. Roombas also can be hacked to play music, function as a mouse or to add a camera. Hacking Roomba lists several Roomba projects. Customers should note hacking a robotic vacuum voids its warranty.
Shopping for a robotic vacuum:
- Refurbished robotic vacuums are available at some retailers. Amazon sells refurbished models .
- Roomba maker iRobot has an outlet store that has discounted prices on robotic vacuums and accessories.
- Warehouse stores like Costco and BJs Warehouse frequently have discounted prices on home electronics and appliances.
- The Vacuum Dealers Trade Association has tips on purchasing a vacuum cleaner.
- Robot Advice offers a comparison guide on some basic robotic vacuum models.
- Robot Shop offers tips on picking the right robotic vacuum.
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