Robotic vacuums make chores easier for busy families

Oh, sure, you’ve probably heard the hype and you might have even tried one of these convenient cleaning helpers yourself. We’re talking about robots that help clean your floors, and, if you’ve paid attention the past few years, many of your friends and family may be extolling the virtues of these machines.

So is the hype worth the convenience and cost?

Before purchasing a robotic vacuum cleaner, Henderson resident JoAnn Marzolf checked the website bestreviews.com. After comparing the possibilities (and seeing that Amazon Prime had specials at the time), she purchased a Roomba.

“I like that you can have it run while you are out,” she said. “The bad side is that you need to make sure everything is picked up (like long curtains and dog toys) or the Roomba will get stuck.”

One of Marzolf’s friends warned her to keep the dogs out of the room when the robot is cleaning. Apparently, the friend’s dog had an accident on the floor, and the robot proceeded to pick up the waste and fling it all around the room.

Marzolf notes that she and her husband use the Roomba app to schedule cleanings. “However, you need to clean it out after every time as the receptacle is not large.”

Roomba, from the iRobot company, is the most well-known robotic vacuum cleaner. The company launched the first Roomba vacuum in 2002, and, according to the iRobot website, the “award-winning Roomba Vacuuming Robot and the Braava family of mopping robots have been welcomed into millions of homes around the world and are hard at work every day helping people to get more done.”

According to Charlie Vaida, iRobot senior manager of corporate communications, “To date, iRobot has sold more than 20 million robots worldwide. Roomba constitutes the majority of iRobot’s business in the United States and globally. According to iRobot’s 2017 results, iRobot sold almost 3.7 million robots total worldwide in 2017. Of these 3.7 million robots, 3.2 million were Roomba robot vacuums, and 500,000 were Braava robot mops.”

The company’s line of consumer robots can be found at a variety of local retailers.

“Regarding trends, customers are always asking for easier ways to interact with a growing number of products and technologies throughout the home, Vaida said. “Features like Wi-Fi connectivity, app control and compatibility with popular smart home products, like Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, provide Roomba customers with even more convenience and control.

“Customers also want a vacuuming robot that they can count on to complete the job without incident. Improved mapping and navigation capabilities enable some vacuuming robots to clean an entire level of a home, while recharge and resume technology means the robot will continue to work until the job is finished.”

Mike and Jenny McKinzie purchased a Roomba as a Christmas gift for their family. A friend recommended it, and when Mike McKinzie saw one on sale at Costco, he decided to give it a try.

“I thought maybe it was an overpriced novelty, but it does work pretty well,” he said.

The couple’s 11-year-old son is in charge of controlling it from the iPad.

“He has been quite successful doing this on his own,” Jenny McKinzie said. “He’s enjoyed it so much that he has researched all the add-ons and options available and can quote the prices.

“It really does pick up a ton of things I had no idea were on the floor,” she added. “I also like how it goes all the way under the beds with no problem. It rarely gets stuck.”

While all of these robotic vacuums basically do the same chore, there are different ways they can be controlled. Some people simply use the actual vacuum’s buttons, but for those more technologically savvy, an app can integrate with a smart home and the robot can be controlled from afar.

Those thinking about a purchase should also study battery life, especially for a larger home. Some newer models have a battery that allows for a full two hours of cleaning. At the conclusion of cleaning, the robot will automatically return to its charging station to get ready for its next job.

Before purchasing, consumers also will want to see if the vacuum supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Another feature to consider is if the vacuum includes technology to follow a pattern. The Neato Botvac has lidar technology, meaning that it maps out a floor plan and stays on the grid of that plan.

For Lori Turner, that made all the difference in her purchase. “Because it has this technology, it is able to vacuum every inch of dirt. I have allergies and feel that it really helps with controlling them.”

Turner also shared that the Neato Botvac has an app, and she can turn it off from her smartphone if she sees that the machine has gotten stuck.

“However, it does need cleaning of its sensors and brushes after each use,” she said. She added that when their home got a new router, it was challenging to delete and reconnect/reprogram the vacuum.

Robotic vacuums are available in all price ranges — from $200 for a very basic model to upward of $900 for one with more features. However, experts warn that you shouldn’t get rid of your manual vacuum just yet. While smart cleaners are getting more capable every year, there are some things they still can’t do.

As of right now, they work best on hardwood floors and are good at picking up debris and pet hair. Keep in mind that these are machines. They fall down stairs, get caught on area rugs and sometimes even drag objects like lamps and shoes around a room.

They’re not great at cleaning high-pile carpeting (fibers get stuck), and they can’t always get into the nooks and crannies of every room. Also, even if you purchase one that has mapping technology, the machine can get lost within a house and sometimes even trap itself in a closet.

What’s next in the world of robotic household helpers? Other items currently available include mopping robots, robotic lawn mowers, kitty litter robots, pool cleaners and personal dry cleaning machines. Cleaning your home as you know it is rapidly changing and, hopefully, these types of helpers will give us all a little assistance.

Life
MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Army medic’s Afghanistan story told in new book
The graphic novel “Machete Squad” is based on journals written by Las Vegan Brent Dulak.
Las Vegas man talks about losing his wife
Dwayne Murray, 37, lost his wife, LaQuinta while she was at Centennial Hills Hospital. A jury awarded him $43 million last week after it said the hospital failed to perform the standard of care in administering a drug for her sickle cell disease.
Barber sets up shop in grandfather’s old shop
Andres Dominguez’s new barber shop is filled with memories of his grandfather, who ran the El Cortez landmark for more than 30 years. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing