In the ‘60s the Jetsons© had a plethora of labour-saving robots who’d spring to life and at the push of a button do everything around the house for George, Jane and family.
Today, what was once fantasy is reality thanks to companies such as Neato Robotics (Newark, California) and iRobot (Bedford, Massachusetts), and, Mr. Dyson of Great Britain.
This bot’s for you
So, whether you’re chasing dust bunnies through the wine cellar or tribbles through your spaceship, prepare for a “life transformed” with today’s latest vacuum cleaners!
Neato’s Botvac D7 Connected and iRobot’s Roomba 980 connect to Wi-Fi and go where no vacuum has gone before. But are these compact auto-vacs and their handheld rival, the Dyson Cyclone, the labour-saving heroes they claim to be?
Homefront decided to test drive a few.
Sucking it up
Set up is easy for both of the bots, software upgrades arrive automatically and, when I need help, the support-line humans are on the job.
Both bots connect easily, navigate along walls and around obstacles, and are clever enough to avoid stairs as they clean. The Botvac will even give you a cleaning and coverage summary for its last 20 runs. Program them to work in the dark and schedule them ahead of time and they’ll get going all on their own.
Their seamless movement from hardwood floor to area rug and in and out of closets without getting lost or stuck is fun to watch for the first few days, especially for my dog. Whatever gets in the path of these robots is an obstacle to be avoided, so if you live life from the floor rather than out of a drawer, trust me, they’ll steer clear.
The Botvac gets thorough coverage with its LaserSmart mapping and navigation software. I simply set no-go lines around the places I actually want it to avoid. The Roomba uses the AeroForce Cleaning System with PowerBoost for when it meets carpets and it gets the job done well.
While the “O” shape of the Roomba and the “D” shape of the Botvac were probably born out of a desire to avoid copyright infringement, size and shape don’t affect performance in most cases. However, Botvac’s corner-clever technology and larger brush is logically better at those hard-to-get corners.
Each robot gracefully returns home to its dock when the job is done, without as much as a whimper.
The amount of dog fur captured by the Botvac’s dirt bin and its painless emptying system get full marks. The Roomba has a buzz that’s a little louder than that of the Botvac but it’s not a problem. Both bots seem to have a battery life that lasts close to an hour. Time enough to get the job done as far as I’m concerned. And I can set either of these bots to vacuum every day and never have to break a sweat.
Lean and mean
The Dyson cordless Cyclone V10, on the other hand, lets nothing stand in its way in its quest towards a hassle-free clean. With power to spare and a decent 60 minutes run time, the V10 is easy to handle on stairs, in the back of cars, and in nooks and crannies. Navigating is easy without the usual canister weight and, of course, I love its cool colour, cordless-ness and stand-up storage.
Oh, did I mention? It’s good-bye vacuum bags, and hello to a 40 per cent bigger, easy-to-dump-out bin. Nicely done, Dyson.