Can a Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Replace an Upright Vacuum?

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on March 18, 2019
updated on November 9, 2019

The first thing you’ll learn in today’s update is the major differences and similarities being shared by the two robot vacuum types.

Other than that, you’ll be educated on the prospects and benefits of a smart robotic vacuum cleaner.

One more thing, in the concluding part of this article, I gave a verdict as to whether or not a smart robotic vacuum cleaner can replace an upright vacuum.

Smart robotic vacuum cleaners vs upright vacuum cleaners

The infographics below show the differences between the two robot vacuums.

pros and cons of robotic vacuum cleaners
pros and cons of upright vacuum cleaners

How do robot vacuums work?

A robot vacuum moves around on its wheels.

To aid navigation and avoid injury to the machine, there are attached sensors on different parts of the machine to include for detecting walls, obstacles, and cliffs.

As the robot vacuum is navigating a space, there are side brushes that sweep the mess inward after which the center brush (also known as a roller or extractor) pulls it in.

Having sucked the cruds in, the filter takes over before finally transferring its content to the detachable dustbin.

The above is true of the science behind robot vacuums in general, although some models (Roomba i7+, s9+, and Shark IQ RV1001AE) have additional features (voice control, mapping, auto-empty, etc) that can alter the mode of operation.

Are robotic cleaners any good? Are they worth it?

  • Robot vacuums in the basic category have entry-level functions (random navigation; no auto-recharge, resume or empty; small dustbin; smaller battery life, etc.) and quality. Because a lot of time is wasted in babysitting them. Also, and although the units themselves may be cheaper, maintenance costs quickly accumulate given their inferior built quality that increases the frequency of changing parts. Needless to mention, those products in the basic category, while the most popular, isn’t worth it.
  • Robot vacuums in the intermediate category have upgraded functions (smarter navigation; auto-recharge & resume; larger battery life; bigger dustbin size, etc.) and admirable quality. Items in the intermediate category are worth it considering they’re less hands-on and more efficient.
  • Robot vacuums in the advanced category have premium functions (super smart navigation; mapping; no-go lines; room cleaning; auto-recharge, resume, and empty; larger battery life, etc.) and superior quality. Items in the advanced category while expensive should give you your money’s worth in saved time, convenience, and comfort.

Regardless of the above information, here’s an infographic on the general benefits of a robotic vacuum cleaner:benefits-of-a-robot-vacuum

Robot vacuums for what type of home?

  • Robot vacuums in the basic category often work best in a small space (≤ 800 sq ft), open floor plan, with mostly hard floors (tiles, laminates, woods) and maybe low-pile carpets.
  • Robot vacuums in the intermediate category can handle a medium space (≤ 1500 sq ft), multiple floor plans, with multiple floorings (hard floors, rugs, low- to medium-pile carpets), and long human and dog hair.
  • Robot vacuums in the advanced category, thanks to their intelligent navigation, larger battery capacity, specially designed rollers, auto recharge, resume, and self empty functions–are better able to handle large spaces (≤ 5000 sq ft), hard floors, low- to medium-pile carpets, and pets fur.

Who Needs a Robot Vacuum?

  • Households that attract a lot of foot traffic.
  • Households whose family members may have back pain, lung diseases amongst other health-related conditions.
  • Households or individuals who want to keep up with the long hairs of their partners or mates.
  • Pet owners whose cats, dogs shed hairs like crazy.
  • People with allergies.
  • People who need quick fixes.
  • People who are living in an area where dust traffic in high volume.
  • People who want to cut down on arguments over who’s doing what in the house.
  • People who cannot or are unable to push or pull a manual vacuum (could be that they’re elderly, disabled or even able-bodied persons who simply don’t feel like doing full vacuum).
  • New parents with small kids.
  • Busy professionals who travel a lot/don’t have extra time for vacuuming.
  • Homeowners selling their houses who need to keep it as spotless as possible.
  • Homeowners who are remodeling with new floorings
  • Also, a robot vacuum is an excellent solution for households or anyone at all who wants their floors cleaned regularly.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t buy a robot vacuum?

Robot vacuums may not be suitable for anyone who:
  • Is unwilling to spend serious money (items less than $300 in my experience are expensive toys at best)
  • Has dark patterned rugs or carpets. This will be treated as an edge so the device will avoid cleaning. While specific to some models most notably the Roombas, and this is due to the visual/optical navigation technology.
  • Can’t keep things off the floor
  • Live in an apartment. Most robot vacuums require what’s called ‘line of sight’ which translates loosely to enough allowance around the environment of the charging station for effective docking
  • Prioritizes their privacy. For this one, a robot vacuum with remote control should suffice. Keep in mind though that the remote-controlled floor robots lack the functionalities of the app option. You may be interested in reading this post about privacy concerns as they relate to using the app-controlled robot vacuums.
  • Prioritizes deep or detailed cleaning
  • Want to clean stairs 

Which smart robot vacuum cleaner is best for me? Which should I buy?

  • If you want to keep things looking tidy, have some babysitting time, and don’t mind some inconvenience–check out the post update ‘best budget robot vacuums’ for quality, powerful robovacs.
  • If you want a freshly vacuumed floor but are unwilling or unable to commit plenty of cleaning time and effort–check out the post update ‘best robot vacuums in 2020’.

Final thoughts

The question remains… can a robot vacuum replace an upright vacuum?Not necessarily.

Can a robot vacuum be an alternative to an upright vacuum? Absolutely!

For one, the technology of the robotic cleaner is constantly being improved upon.

Another reason to choose the robot vacuum: 20% of vacuums produced worldwide are robots. Something tells me homeowners and pet owners are deriving serious value from them.

Lastly and most importantly, you should be considering a smart robot vacuum cleaner on the basis that it’s everything the upright vacuum isn’t:

  • A time saver
  • A lifesaver (especially for homeowners with large apartments)
  • A productivity hack
  • A  trusted, hard-working, reliable cleaning assistant
  • A pet-, user-friendly, loyal homeboy

5 Best Selling Robot Vacuums Right Now

On Sale −37%Bestseller No. 1
Robot Vacuum, GOOVI 1600PA Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Self-Charging, 360° Smart Sensor Protectio, Multiple Cleaning Modes Vacuum Best for Pet Hairs, Hard Floor & Medium Carpet
  • POWERFUL SUCTION: 1600Pa of intense suction picks up dust, crumbs, and dirts. Ideal for hard wood floor carpet. Easy operation with remote control, or auto clean all at one touch.
  • EFFICIENT AND INTELLIGENT: GOOVI slim robot vacuum automatically returns to charging base to recharge when in low power, ensuring it's always charged and ready to clean.
  • THOROUGH CLEANING: 2.83" low profile design enables vacuum cleaner glide underneath beds and sofa with ease, cleaning under beds, sofa where dirt hides.
  • WORRY-FREE CLEANING: Large wheels roll over carpets and climb over door ledges to get to the mess. Multiple cleaning modes and a pre-set vacuuming time ensure an effortless clean while you do other things or nothing at all.
  • What You Get: GOOVI Robotic Vacuum, 4x side brushes, 1x extra high efficiency filter, 1x main brush, 1x remote control (2AAA batteries included), 1x cleaning brush, 1x charging dock, 1x adapter, 1-Year Warranty.
On Sale −33%Bestseller No. 2
DEENKEE DK600 Robot Vacuum,1500Pa High Suction,2.8 inch Super-Thin,6 Cleaning Modes,Quiet,Timing Function,Self-Charging Robotic Vacuum Cleaner for Pet Hair,Hard Floor,Carpet
  • 【New Upgrade, DK600】: Increased suction to 1500Pa, making it easy to clean dust, nutshells, dog hair, cat litter, etc; Increased the dust bin capacity to 0.6L; Super-thin body design, 2.8 inch only, making it easier to move and clean under furniture, so that it will not be stuck under the sofa or bed; Used brushless motor, so noise is less than 55dB, providing a quieter environment. Therefore, Cleaning can be done while reading and sleeping.
  • 【4+2 Cleaning Modes】: DK600 has not only 4 market-popular clean modes, it also added two new cleaning modes - max power vacuum mode and timed cleaning mode. In max power vacuum mode, press one button and suction is increased, so as to deeply clean dust residue and pet hair from blankets. In timed cleaning mode, you can start the robot to clean the room according to your schedule。When you get tired from work and get home, the DK600 has already cleaned for you.
  • 【Intelligent Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, DK600】: Built-in multi-function omnidirectional infrared sensor achieves anti-collision and anti-drop functions, protecting your vacuum cleaner at any time during the cleaning process. When the battery is too low, the robot will automatically return to the charging base station for recharging. If any problem occurs during the charging process, please contact DeenKee customer service and we will serve you 24 hours a day.
  • 【3-points cleaning system】: Built-in new three-point cleaning system and intelligent navigation ensure no dead angle cleaning in all directions, dispelling doubts on the cleanability of litter and pet hair left in the corner.
  • 【What You Get】Intelligent robotic vacuum cleaner DK600, 4 side brush, remote control, charging base, power adapter, additional HEPA filter, foam filter, cleaning tool, owner's manual and warranty card. Meanwhile, Deenkee brings you 24-hour after-sales service. You can have a perfect shopping experience.
On Sale −21%Bestseller No. 3
Tesvor Robotic Vacuum, Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum Cleaner with 1400 Pa High Suction, App Control, Mapping, 110mins Battery Life,Good for Hard Floors and Low-Pile Carpets
  • SMART APP & VOICE CONTROLS:Use Alexa or Google Home voice commands to START and STOP cleaning. The smart app allows you to monitor real-time cleaning, customize cleaning mode, schedule cleaning, get access to our online-service whenever you need help.
  • SUPERIOR S-SHAPE ROUTE: Equipped with Smart Mapping System to plan the path for each cleaning and navigate to uncovered areas intelligently, fully covering your home with S-shape routes. Initiates an intelligent back and forth cleaning path when cleaning hard-surface floors, providing efficient and thorough cleaning experience.
  • EFFECTIVE CLEANING SYSTEM: Up to 100 minutes' cleaning on hard floors, the robot vacuum is designed to run with Consistent, High Power Suction, Low Noise, and Comprehensive Cleaning Effects.
  • HASSLE-FREE CLEANING: Never worry about cleaning again. Built with Anti-Drop (Stairs Safety) & anti-collision sensors to protect your furniture and prevent your Tesvor Robot from falling downstairs.
  • WORRY-FREE WARRANTY: We certain that this cleaning robot will solve your smart cleaning needs and that's why Tesvor proudly and confidently offers a 30-day return policy! Contact us in case of any question or queries!
On Sale −33%Bestseller No. 4
Coredy Robot Vacuum Cleaner, 1700Pa Strong Suction, Super Thin Robotic Vacuum, Multiple Cleaning Modes/Automatic Self-Charging Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair, Hard Floor to Medium-Pile Carpets
  • 1700 PA Strong Suction Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair: The slim robot vacuum cleaner(2.7 in) uses 1700PA strong suction, working with dual edge brushes and a rolling brush, which can pick-up almost all kinds of garbage like dust, pet /human hair and daily paper etc. With its excellent off road skills, thin robot vacuum R3500 is perfect for cleaning from hard wood floor to medium pile with 58dB low noise mute
  • Multiple Cleaning Modes and Remote Control: 4 Selective cleaning system-Automatic, Spot, Max Vacuuming and Edge Cleaning Modes will fulfill your different vacuuming needs. Also, the smart vacuum cleaner can be adjusted by the remote control to customize your cleaning time when you are not at home or too busy
  • Superior Battery and Washable HEPA Filte: Adopting 2600mAh li-ion batteries with working time up to 120 minutes when it full charged, meeting a deep cleaning from the kitchen, living room to the bedroom(about 120 square meters) 550ML anti-spill dust box supports longer cleaning sessions. Besides, R3500 automatic robotic vacuum goes with a washable HEPA filter, It is real green one and helps get rid of smaller household dust and allergens, ideal for homes with pets and allergies
  • 360°Smart Sensor Protection & Anti-Drop Technology: Our self cleaning robotic vacuum is smart to clean every corner of the house. Joining 360°anti-collision and anti-drop technology with anti- scratch glass top cover for protection. Guiding the smart vacuum cleaner robot navigate around obstacles and avoid bumping into objects or falling off stairs
  • 1-Year Warranty: 1-Year Warranty, 7/24 Online Customer Service. A coredy robot vacuum cleaner R3500, plus a completely range of robot vacuum accessories: 4x side brushes, 1x extra high efficiency filter, 1x main brush, 1x remote control (2AAA batteries included), 1x cleaning brush, 1x charging dock, 1x adapter
On Sale −58%Bestseller No. 5
Robotic Vacuum Cleaner - 2000Pa Suction Robot Vacuum, Robotic Vacuum for Pet Hair, Hard Floor to Thin Carpets Self-Charging
  • 【Multiple cleaning modes】Not every home or mess is the same. Comes with Smart Motion guided auto-clean mode plus 3 bonus specialized cleaning modes including Spot Mode for targeted cleaning and Edge Mode for corners and edges.
  • 【Large dustbox】A large 0.75L dustbox holds more dirt per clean and reduces the frequency of emptying.
  • 【2000Pa Super Suction】Tangle-free, powerful suction picks up hair, debris and dirt easily and efficiently. Perfect for households with pets.
  • 【HIGH-CAPACITY BATTERY & AUTO CHARGING】The robotic cleaner seeks automatically the charging dock after it is finished or on low battery, built-in rechargeable battery allows for 70-100 minutes of cleaning before auto-returning to the electric charger. Powered by a 2600mAh high-capacity Li-ion battery the vacuum cleaner supports up to 100 minutes powerful suction cleaning.
  • 【1- YEAR WARRANTY】We've got you covered by our 1- Year warranty if anything goes wrong, our fast, friendly and hassle-free customer service team is here for you