We all want clean homes but none of us are exactly thrilled about having to clean them on a regular basis. That goes double for floors and carpets, especially for those with children or pets or both. The daily grind of cleaning up food spills, tracked in dirt and pet hair can be downright exhausting.
In the endless pursuit of more free time, many consumers are looking for automated ways to keep their homes clean and healthy. If we can make our homes smarter, we should be able to find a product smart enough to keep it clean.
To help you win the battle between cleaning your floors and your quest for free time, here are three robotic vacuums that may be the solution you are looking for. The Roomba, Bobsweep and bObi lines of robotic vacuums have a lot of cleaning power to offer the consumer that is tired of cleaning floors day after day. Read on to discover just what these space aged cleaning units can do and the best ways to determine which one is right for you.
The Quick and Dirty of Robotic Vacuums
Before we get down in the weeds on what each of these robotic vacuum brands has to offer, let's cut to the chase on why you might purchase each one of these options just in case you are ready to buy one right now.
Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi
bObsweep Pet Hair Plus Robotic Vacuum Cleaner and Mop
bObi Pet Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Overview of Roomba Vacuums
Roomba is a line of vacuuming robots from the company iRobot. Founded in 1990 by some MIT roboticists, iRobot is a company that specializes in consumer robot products. They released the first Roomba robotic vacuum back in 2002 and have continued to advance its technology ever since. These powerful cleaners combine a 3 step cleaning system with state of the art navigational controls that enable the robot to work its way throughout your home while you focus on other priorities.
The three-stage cleaning system is one aspect that sets the Roomba apart from its competitors. The first stage is where the robot moves along the edge of your room. Using a specially engineered edge brush, it sweeps dirt out of corners and away from baseboards.
During the second stage, the Roomba uses two powerful brushes that rotate towards each other to lift and grab dirt away from your floors. The third and final stage of the cleaning process makes use of powerful suction motors to pull the dirt into the dustbin.
Dirt and other debris are then filtered from the air that is now released back into the room. The Roomba is touted to eliminate up to 99% of dust mites and other allergen particles.
The Roomba is capable of navigating smoothly throughout your house with the use of an advanced set of smart sensors.
These sensors allow the Roomba to sense objects, furniture, walls and ledges such as stairs. As a result, the Roomba can avoid objects in the floor, such as toys, and even navigate under furniture to make sure every part of your floor gets clean.
Dirt sensing technology is another key feature of the Roomba family of robot vacuums. This technology senses larger messes such as food spills or high traffic areas and directs the vacuum to make multiple passes to make sure the entire mess is taken care of.
Perhaps the unique part of the Roomba series is its integration with other smart home technologies. The intuitive iRobot HOME app allows you to control the vacuum remotely in addition to scheduling cleaning times. You can even use your Amazon Alexa to control your Roomba robot.
Overview of bObSweep Vacuums
When it comes to the bObSweep line of robotic vacuums it is all about the convenience. The Canadian company that makes the bObsweep product prides itself on delivering environmentally safe products that can safely handle mundane everyday tasks.
In addition to the convenience of handling everyday tasks, the bObsweep vacuums are designed to allow customers to easily maintain and repair their vacuum. As part of their commitment to reducing waste, bObsweep believes in making a high-quality product that can last you a very long time and not soon end up in a landfill.
Another environmentally safe characteristic is that the bObsweep does not contain certain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials. This is part of their commitment to adhere to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RHoS) directive.
Overview of bObi Vacuums
The bObi line of robotic vacuums can be viewed as the younger sibling of the bObsweep. The compact bObi has all the convenience and environmentally friendly aspects of its older brother wrapped up in a smaller footprint.
The bObi is the next generation of the bObsweep line of robotic vacuums that looks to move beyond the focus of convenience and reliability to add the latest in technological advancements.
Key Features - Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi
Now let’s take a look in more detail at the Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum that features Wi-Fi connectivity. We will start with the most important aspect of the robotic vacuums and that is its ability to clean.
Like all of the Roomba series of vacuums, the 690 model uses the three-stage cleaning process that involves cleaning the edges, brushing the floor surface and sucking it through the powerful motor.
This is a cornerstone of the Roomba technology and the 690 does not disappoint here.
Going a little deeper down the cleaning path, you will discover that the Roomba 690 also features the Dirt Detect sensors that tell the robot vacuum to focus in on bigger messes and high traffic areas. This feature along with the three-stage cleaning process allows this vacuum to pick up both large and small debris with relative ease. The Edge Sweeping Brush is also a nice feature that helps to pull dust and debris out of corners and away from walls. It is specifically angled at 27 degrees to give the optimal sweeping motion to capture the most debris.
While its ability to clean is certainly impressive, it's the Roomba's ability to navigate and integrate into your home that truly sets it apart. Taking advantage of its Wi-Fi capabilities, you can connect your Roomba directly to your home network. This allows you to control the vacuum with a number of options. iRobot offers an intuitive HOME app that allows you to control and schedule the cleaning of your home at any time and from any location. Connect in from work to make sure you come home to a clean house or log in from your favorite vacation spot to ensure your vacation bliss is not cut short by a messy home.
If you are part of the new age trend of making your home smarter, the Roomba will fit right in. It is capable of integrating with a number of smart home components such as Amazon Alexa.
This gives you the convenience of voice control to tell your Roomba to clean the room or go dock itself on the charger. Imagine having a lazy Saturday where you don’t even have to get up to start the cleaning process.
The Roomba is also very skilled at making its way around your home. Using a number of smart sensors, this vacuum cleaner can make a whopping 60 decisions per second. These sensors allow the Roomba to detect objects and safely navigate around them. You don’t have to worry about the Roomba aggressively bumping into walls or banging into furniture. The unit is equipped with bumpers to protect the vacuum and your furniture in the event of a minor collision.
Speaking of furniture, the Roomba can navigate under furniture assuming, of course, your furniture sits up high enough. The vacuum requires about a 4-inch clearance to safely go under couches, chairs and other furniture. When it comes to table legs, the Roomba can simply circle tightly around them and get back on its cleaning path. Falling down stairs or off of other ledges is also not a concern. The use of edge sensors allows the 690 model to avoid such pitfalls.
You can use the Roomba to vacuum all types of surfaces including carpet, hardwood, and tile. The two brushes on the bottom of the vacuum work in conjunction to loosen and then lift dirt and debris away from flooring. While not specifically designed for pet hair, the 690 model does an adequate job of picking up after Fido. Its infrared sensors also seem to be able to handle navigating on dark colored carpets and tiles surfaces.
The battery on this unit is a lithium-ion battery that gives about 60 minutes of life before needing 2 to 3 hours to recharge. It should last you for about 2 to 3 years depending on how often you use it. The HEPA filter will need to be replaced about every two months. The Roomba unit is durable although the brushes will likely need to be replaced annually.
Key Features - bObsweep PetHair Plus Robotic Vacuum Cleaner and Mop
The bObsweep is certainly a capable vacuum in its own right but it also has the ability to mop floors as well.
As its name suggests, the bObsweep Pet Hair Plus does an excellent job of handling unsightly pet hair that can accumulate on your floors.
It also comes with all the environmentally focused innovations that the bObsweep brand has become famous for.
To clean, the bObsweep uses a spinner brush to reach deep into corners and along baseboards.
This side brush works along with a rolling brush that is located in the bottom center of the unit. The two brushing devices work nicely together to handle pet hair as well as the usual food spill from your child. Cereal and other food items can be picked up fairly easily by the powerful suction motor.
This vacuum is capable of handling all flooring surfaces such as high and low pile carpet as well as hardwoods and tile. The mopping cloth is made of microfiber. It can be dampened to be used as a wet mop or let dry to be used as a polisher. In general, the bObsweep performs better on hard surfaces as compared to carpet. High and low pile carpets can present a challenge with smaller substances, especially when dealing with things like sugar or kitty litter.
To improve cleaning on various surfaces, the bObsweep has multiple cleaning modes and speeds. On thicker carpets, the unit will move slower to allow the brush to loosen up dirt trapped deep down. When mopping or vacuuming on harder surfaces, the unit can move at a quicker pace to complete the task quicker. Another useful feature is that the bObSweep can automatically detect when it moves from one surface type to another.
The bObsweep comes with a remote control that can be used from up to 10 feet away. With the remote, you can start and stop the vacuum, control its direction, or tell the bObsweep to start a pre-scheduled cleaning cycle. This unit does not have Wi-Fi connectivity and therefore cannot be used remotely with a smartphone app. It also cannot be integrated with Amazon Alexa or other smart home components.
The pre-programmed cycles are mopping, sweeping, and vacuuming. There are buttons for these on the remote control. If you are mopping and want to put down a spray cleaner or polish you can simply spray it on the floor and allow the bObsweep to run over it with the mopping attachment. The remote control also comes with directional steering buttons just in case you feel like driving our robot around the house.
The battery on the bObsweep can give you as much as 90 minutes of run time on a single charge. The small drawback is that the recharge can take about 6 hours. This unit also comes with an auto recharge feature. When the vacuum senses that battery power is below 15% it will automatically return to the charging station.
The 2200 m/Ah battery should last about two years before needing to be replaced. Other maintenance is fairly simple thanks to an onboard diagnostics system that assists users with repairs and replacements. The main rolling brush can last for about two years while the smaller edge brush will need to be replaced about every 6 months. The mop attachments will need to be replaced as needed based on usage. They are usually sold in packs of 5 for your convenience.
This robotic vacuum is capable of making 360 degree turns and is fairly maneuverable. Its larger size can make it more challenging to get into certain areas or underneath some furniture. It is just less than 14 inches in diameter and 3.9 inches high. The unit can safely navigate around edges and stairs through the use of special sensors.
Key Features - bObi Pet Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
The bObi Pet is your classic tale of big things coming in smaller packages. The unit is over an inch smaller in diameter and a half inch shorter than its cousin, the bObsweep.
Made by the same Canadian company, the bObi gets all the quality and environmentally friendly features that come with all the bObsweep products.
The smaller bObi comes with a more powerful suction engine that is surprisingly quieter than other vacuums from bObsweep. This unit uses a side brush to get to the corners and edges of the wall.
Underneath the circular body, there are both rubber and bristled brushes that are seated parallel to each other. These three brushes work together to pick up pet hair and scrub away paw prints from your floors.
Speaking of cleaning, this unit has the most cleaning modes of the three. In addition to sweeping, vacuuming and mopping, the bObi also has a UV sanitizing light that will disinfect your floors. The air that passes through the unit during the vacuum suction is processed through a HEPA filter that eliminates nearly all airborne allergens.
While the bObi does not have Wi-Fi capabilities and does not integrate with other smart home components like Amazon Alexa, it does have two ways that it can be controlled. On the unit itself, there are three pre-programmed modes. You can activate any one of those modes with the touch of a button. The three modes are Go, Waffle and Juice.
The Go mode is about as simple as it gets. When you push this button, you activate all 5 of bObi’s cleaning capabilities to simultaneously sweep, vacuum, mop, sanitize and HEPA filtrate your floors. To make sure you are ready for those unexpected spills, the Waffle mode is designed to focus on small areas or tiny hard to reach spaces. Finally, like the name suggests, the Juice mode instructs the bObi to return to the docking station to recharge the battery.
Speaking of the battery, you can expect a healthy 90 minutes on a single charge. The auto recharge feature will ensure your unit does not run out of battery in the middle of the floor. The unit will automatically return to the charger when the battery starts to get low. The unit is durable and keeps the high-quality features of the bObsweep line of products. The side brush will need more frequent replacement than the rolling brushes and the battery but the life expectancy of all three are consistent with other models on the list.
To navigate, the bObi uses more than 80 sensors that are located on the front sides and bottom. These assist in navigating walls, furniture and ledges. The bObi can detect stairs and should not fall down them. The smaller size allows the vacuum to navigate under furniture and into tiny spaces. This can be especially helpful in keeping pet hair from accumulating under the sofa or beds.
The bObi also gets high marks for its design. Its smaller stature gives it a more streamlined feel while its glossy finish gives it a space aged look. You certainly don’t get the impression that this is some clunky appliance just lying around your house. Its style fits the modern smart home attitude.
The only drawback that comes with the smaller size of the bObi is the smaller dustbin. Pet hair can quickly accumulate in the smaller receptacle requiring you to empty it more often. It may be a small trade-off in exchange for the more powerful suction but if you have multiple pets or a heavy shedding dog then you will need to pay attention to the dustbin. Otherwise, you could end up with clumps of hair on our floors.
And the winner is…
Choosing a winner here can be a bit of a challenge since all three units have some distinct cleaning features. The bObi can do the most types of cleaning with its added UV sanitization and HEPA filtration. The Roomba on the other hand only handles sweeping and vacuuming. Both vacuums from bObsweep are focused on pet hair while the Roomba is better at general purpose cleaning like cereal spills from your children. Given that the prices are relatively equal, you really can’t go wrong with any of these options.
That being said, the Roomba 690 with Wi-Fi is still our choice for the robot vacuum that gives you the most bang for the buck. The key differentiator is its ability to integrate with your other smart home components like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. The intuitive HOME app that allows you to control the vacuum from home or on the road is another part of the Wi-Fi experience that makes the Roomba a truly smart home robot vacuum cleaner.
The Dirt Detection ability is another feature that really puts the Roomba into the next generation of robotic cleaning devices. The bObi can be told to clean up a localized spill but the Roomba can detect it on its own which means you can spend less time worrying about cleaning and more time enjoying life.