Many robot vacuums are smart enough to clean your home automatically, but most don’t have the ability to empty the dustbin. That means you’ll still be busy with a dirty robot vacuum cleaner — which defeats the entire purpose. However, if you go with a premium model like the iRobot Roomba j7+, you’ll benefit from a device that knows how to empty itself when its bin is full.
This capability can even be found in some mid-range models, but is a robot vacuum cleaner necessary? Or should you save the extra money and choose an entry-level robot that doesn’t have those features? Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons associated with self-emptying robot vacuums.
What is meant by self emptying system?
When the robot performs vacuum cleaning, it pulls debris into an interior storage system – usually a relatively small bin. Depending on the size of your home and how dirty the floors are, you may have to empty the dustbin every two or three cleaning cycles.
The auto-emptying system provides a place for the robot vacuum to rest that not only charges the device, but also connects it to a series of vacuum cleaners that pull dirt and debris out of the dustbin and into a much larger storage area. Think of it like the bag on a traditional vacuum cleaner. You simply empty the base station every 30 or 60 days instead of every two or three days.
The convenience of a robot vacuum cleaner is that it does the cleaning for you. The more hands-off, the better. Imagine busy parents in the middle of the week. They juggle kids, work, and a host of other household chores. In the midst of it all, they had to stop to empty the vacuum. Not having to vacuum is a benefit, but if you have to stop several times throughout the day for the robot vacuum to continue its work — especially in a large home — that benefit is lost.
The automatic emptying system also means you can run the robot vacuum more often. If you know you’re going to have to step in and empty your trash can throughout the day, you may be hesitant to use the vacuum cleaner more than absolutely necessary. On the other hand, if the machine is empty, you can run it more often and keep your home cleaner.
Following the same thinking, you can make better use of robot vacuums in larger homes. If you have to empty the vacuum several times each time it runs, it means you can’t use the cleaning schedule. You must be at home when the vacuum cleaner is running. With an auto-emptying base, even people in much larger homes can set their vacuum cleaner to work and forget about it.
The storage bag in an auto-emptying system is designed to contain dirt and debris without releasing anything; in other words, even with a bag full of fur and pet dander, you don’t have to worry about allergies just because you’re near a base station. Plus, the side effects most people experience when emptying their bot bins have been eliminated, so there’s no longer a thin layer of dust on your hands after emptying!
Disadvantages of self-emptying robot vacuums
With robot vacuums, the pros definitely outweigh the cons — but there are still a few things to keep in mind.
The first is the size. Robot vacuums require a certain amount of space on both sides and in front of them (usually 1.5 feet and 4.5 feet respectively), but you can often put them under a desk or out of the way until needed. With the addition of an auto emptying base, more space is required.
For example, The iRobot Roomba i7 Plus Clean Base is 19 inches tall and 12 inches wide, with a slight rise at the front where the Roomba rests. It takes up more space than the robot vacuum cleaner itself.
Another downside is noise. Although short, the process of emptying the trash can is hard. While no robot vacuum can be considered quiet — it is a vacuum cleaner — most are quiet enough that they won’t actively bother you. On average, robot vacuums hover around 60 to 70 decibels. The self-emptying process is easily 10 decibels louder.
The final downside is the cost. The iRobot Clean Base costs an additional $250, while the dirt storage bags cost $5 each and are offered in a pack of three. The same can be said of the Shark IQ’s auto-emptying base, which costs the same $250 extra. That’s not pocket change, especially when combined with the cost of the robot vacuum cleaner itself.
How about a robot mop that can clean itself?
Many manufacturers now offer mopping skills with their robot vacuums. These products make it easy to keep your carpets and hard floors clean – and many of them are now self-cleaning.
For example, The Ecovacs Deebot T20 Omni features a dock that uses hot water and hot air to rinse and dry the mop after each cleaning cycle. This means you don’t have to get your hands dirty to keep the floor clean. When combined with a self-emptying dustbin, all your floor cleaning tasks are completely automated. This makes the combination robot vacuum cleaner and mop very popular.
However, these systems often cost up to $1,000 – making them prohibitively expensive for most households. But if you’re looking for truly automated cleaning (and your home consists mostly of hard floors), this system may be more beneficial than a standalone robot vacuum with a self-emptying dustbin.
Cleaning the trash can can be a hassle, but it usually only takes a few seconds. However, rinsing the mop thoroughly and letting it dry can take hours. With a self-cleaning and drying robot mop, that’s one headache you can cross off your checklist.
A robot vacuum cleaner without an auto-emptying base is worth it, but that’s for sure Again equivalent to one. The auto-emptying base adds value and convenience to any compatible robot vacuum. This is especially useful if you have people in the house who are more sensitive to dust and allergens. It’s less likely that you’ll put the trash back in if you use an auto-emptying bot.
It’s even more valuable if you live in a large house with lots of space to cover. A robot vacuum will clean more efficiently, and you won’t have to empty it multiple times each time it runs.
On the other hand, if you live in a studio apartment, it might be better to just buy a robot vacuum and then invest in one that can empty itself. The large size of the base station will dominate a fairly large space and will not provide much benefit in a smaller area.
If you’re shopping for a robot vacuum and mop combination, you’ll definitely benefit from finding one that has a self-cleaning system. They’re usually not cheap, but if you don’t mind the extra cost, you’ll enjoy a fully automated floor cleaning process.