Three categories of internal/external home cleaning robots were researched for this article and include robotic or self-directed pool cleaners, lawnmowers, and vacuum cleaners that were available for sale in or outside the USA during May 2010. Minimal commentary is included since links to manufacturer sites is provided to web pages containing more detail than can be presented in this article.
Self-Directed Pool cleaners
The range of robotic pool cleaners range from tethered to untethered roaming ones (note: tethering refers to the hose that supplies the suction, and not referring to a power cable). An example of the tethered is the Hayward Pool Vac XL Pool Cleaner. It is equipped to follow a pre-programmed steering pattern to completely cover the pool underwater surface. It is powered by the suction hose that connects to the pool’s existing in-ground filtration system. It moves over the pool surface by its built-in turbine technology without any noise.
An example of a untethered roaming one is the updated Aquaproducts Aquabot T4 Pool Cleaner. This particular robot has a short cleaning cycle, aims a water jet to gently power wash the pool surface that lifts debris from tight spaces corners or cracks, and cleans stairs and love seats. It functions separately from the main pool filtration system. It cleans automatically for up to two hours after pressing its start button. It comes with a remote control to allow manually clean a particular spot in the pool. To clean the pool, it comes with a reusable filter bag and power-driven scrubbing brushes. It will filters up to 4000 gallons of water per hour while removing large debris (ranging in size of acorns, leaves and twigs) and as small as 2-microns (including sand, silt, hair, metal particles, bacteria and most algae).
A competitor to the Aquabot T4, manufactured by iRobot — who just started selling a pool cleaner — is called the Verro™ 300 HydroJet Pool Cleaning Robot. Both the Aquabot and the Verro are similar in design but the Verro filters about 800 more gallons of pool water per hour than the Aquabot.
Also called robotic mowers. An example of a decent robotic mower is the Zucchetti Ambrogio Evolution lawnbott. One thing that separates this robotic mower from the others is its ability to learn the growth rate of your lawn. It can automatically figure out the frequency of mowing needed to keep the desired lawn height while also reducing its operating time when less mowing is required. This robotic mower only weighs 22 pounds and can mow up to 33,000 square feet on its primary battery (and larger lawns with a second battery installed). The batteries are light and small lithium-ion batteries with an estimated life of five years.
It can cut grass up on slopes up to 27 degrees and its wheels are spiked for extra traction. It can mow up to three separate areas by mowing the first, then recharging itself, mowing the next, etc. – restarting each new area from where it left off with any human intervention. To define its mowing area, perimeter needs to be marked off by nailing down the included wire around the lawn, flowerbeds, and bushes. Its “adaptive random cutting system” uses different rotation angles and optimizes its cut with the patented Smart Spiral if it senses taller grass (up to max. 3 inches tall). When the blade gets dull on one side, it can be reversed to extend the cutting blade life. If the mowing is done frequently then the blade usually needs to be replaced only every other year. For more information on this robotic mower then check out robotadvice.com which provides more details and compares it to other robotic mowers.
Automatic Floor Washers
Self-Directed Vacuum Cleaners
Before purchasing a house vacuuming robot, check out robotmatrix.org, IEEE Technical Committee on Service Robots’ list of Cleaning and Housekeeping Robot manufacturing companies or robotreviews.com to first to educate yourself on the variety available at this time. Note: most of the vacuum cleaners presented on these site’s web pages are not for sale in the USA but provides samples for what’s available.
These automated self-moving house vacuum robots come in three types: floor washing, indoor house carpet and indoor shop floor vacuuming robots. Since approximately 2006, there is one predominant manufacturer of vacuum robots. This manufacturer, iRobot Corp., sells many robotic models to fit everyone’s budget. It builds several floor washing robots that are priced between $299.99 and $499.99, where the top of the line is the iRobot Scooba 380. They also build several indoor house carpet vacuuming robots that are priced between $159.99 to $599.99, where the top of the line is the iRobot Roomba 610 Professional Series Vacuuming Cleaning Robot. They also build an indoor garage/shop vacuuming robot that is priced between $179.99 called the iRobot Dirt Dog Shop Sweeping Robot. For more information on these iRobot robotic vacuum cleaners, select the link in this paragraph.
Amazing, the only other comparable vacuum cleaning robot sold in the USA is the P3 International’s P4920 Robotic Vacuum. This robotic vacuum is a bit odd shaped compared to its disc-shaped competitor but it has some advantages which make it worth a review.
Many previous popular robotic vacuum cleaners found on the Internet only a short time ago, are either for use only outside the USA or are not manufactured anymore. These include:
- Dyson DC06 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner that was manufactured but never sold – is seen here in this YouTube video.
- Electrolux Trilobite EL520a Vacuum Cleaner is no longer produced by the manufacturer.
- Karcher’s RoboCleaner RC3000 is unavailable for use in the USA.
- Samsung NaviBot Vacuum Cleaner which has a few distinct features in its current non-USA model, the VCR8855L3B/XFA when compared to its iRobot counterparts. These features include its Visionary Mapping™ System through the use of an onboard camera that creates a map of your living space, two onboard CPUs which chart the best possible cleaning path in real time, an innovative power brush and rotating side brushes that effectively pickup pet hair pickup, its 0.6L dust capacity bin (that accepts particles filtered out through a washable HEPA 11 filter that traps particles that trigger allergy and asthma symptoms). Great for pet owners. Similar to the iRobot, it has several cleaning modes to remove different levels of debris: the Auto, Max, Manual, Spot and Edge cleaning.
- Sharper Image eVac Cleaner is no longer produced by the manufacturer.
A possible advancement in the iRobot-like disc-shaped robotic vacuum cleaners is now available in the Chinese Chinavision G182 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner as noted by Robotreviews.com. This robotic vacuum cleaner has a WiFi-enabled webcam attached to its flat top. So, if this vacuum cleaner travels in an area with a wireless router connected to the Internet, then it can be controlled from anywhere in the world.
Over the last 3 to 5 years, the house cleaning robot industry has seen a real decrease in the number of manufacturers that produce these house cleaning robots. Also the manufacturers that are still in business now offer fewer robotic pool cleaners, lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners due to previous poor design flaws or lack of interest by the marketplace. The only exception to this trend is the iRobot Corp.that continues to improve their robotic models and release new models, while they retire their older ones — as improvements are made in their units’ robotic sensory and control technology. Which is also the reason they dominate in selling the most of these three particular types of service robot.