Effective and thorough sweeping abilities are the next most important feature of automatic carpet sweepers where most companies put all their features and money in.
It’s obviously the feature that generates most attention in marketing campaigns as it’s what consumers are most concerned about. Here are the common features you can find in robotic vacs:
- Bristle brushes
Most units have brushes similar to the brushes you find in traditional machines. They have a central dowel with plastic or nylon hairs which sweep dust, dirt and loose material into its basin.
- Bladed brush
These blades are meant for removing pet hair as pet hair tends to get stuck in bristles but do not get stuck in rubber blade brushes. So naturally a robot vacuum for pet hair like ilife is one that has bladed brushes.
- Combination brush
This brush has the best of rubber bladed and traditional bristle designs and is much better at sweeping in small dust and dirt particles.
Brushless automatic vacs are rare but follow an interesting principal. They don’t have a main brush but a suction area with a small hole which usually has side whiskers. The side whiskers serve at helping move material towards the hole. The problem with this design is that it doesn’t work well on rugs and carpets as it doesn’t have a main brush’s agitation.
- Brush location
While this is an often overlooked aspect of robot floor cleaners, a brush’s location can make a lot of difference to the unit’s overall performance. While the brush may be located in the front, middle or back of the robovac, it’s most commonly found in the front. There are some robots with brush and suction area in the center while a few models have the brush on the back.
The main disadvantage of placing the brush in the center or back is that it sucks debris in only after rolling over a significant amount of debris. There is thus a chance of dust and other material accumulating on the underside which has to be frequently removed. This accumulated dust and debris may also block the sensors located on the bottom and lead to an operation malfunction.
- Strength of suction
The automatic carpet sweeper’s motor strength and air chamber and fan design determines its suction strength. The cheap robot vacuums usually have smaller, cheaper and low-powered motors which may pass on hard surfaces but don’t sweep carpets and rugs well as they require stronger suction. They may also need to make multiple passes to collect dirt and debris.
The stronger devices are rather loud and disruptive in action but usually have various strength settings for you to choose from so that you can decide how much air the motor pulls in.
- Dry and wet functions
Most units have a ‘dry mop’ which usually is a microfiber cloth attached on its back, but is also attached in front or center of machines with a back suction area. The function of the dry mop is to collect all the loose dirt and dust the suction misses. Some also have a ‘wet mop’ which is a moistened dry mop which gives a more thorough mopping.
There are now many robovacs which offer maximum performance which not only sweeps floors, but also pre-soaks, scrubs and squeegees floors. There are also iRobots which can be used to sweep dirt and spills from kitchens, bathrooms and hardwood floors.