8 Reasons Not To Buy A Cheap Robot Vacuum Cleaner

2023-09-19

couple playing jenga in their living room while an ecovacs t9+ robot vacuum intelligently navigates around them

So, you’re in the market for a smart cleaning vacuum. Budget vacuum robots are tempting, and there are certainly products in lower cost brackets that deliver on cleaning performance. However, cheap robotic vacuum cleaners’ attractive price tags can be deceptive, requiring more repair and breaking down earlier than quality devices. The world of robot vacuums has developed to a point where there’s so much more on offer than just making regular vacuuming hands-free. These technical differences, with innovative features and cutting-edge technology, explain the cost difference.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the limitations of low-cost robot vacuums and how opting for a premium one could be the more cost-effective and better overall cleaning solution in the long run.
 

Limited Cleaning


Generally, budget robot vacuums rely on the “bump and run” approach . This doesn’t require any specialised sensors or software because the machine essentially goes in a random direction until it bumps into something, turns, and heads in another random direction. The goal is that after running the vacuum for a long enough time, it will have covered the entire living area.

The disadvantages of this approach are that the amount of time you need to let the vacuum run is basically guesswork and isn’t as effective in large homes . As the robot’s path is random, it may spend a lot of charge time going over the same areas in order to finish vacuuming the whole floor. And even then, there’s a chance it may have missed some spots.

ecovacs deebot t9+ using smart navigation technology to map the furniture and boundaries of an open concept living room

Quality robot vacuum cleaners employ more sophisticated technologies, including lasers and 3D cameras, to map a room and methodically plot an efficient path optimised for maximum cleanliness.
 

Inadequate Suction Power And Brush Sizes


The next weakness of cheaper vacuum robot models is that they sometimes have low suction power, making them less effective at sucking up larger debris and dirt. Insufficient suction can also make it hard to really lift dust, hair and crumbs off surfaces that aren’t flat, such as carpets.

view from underneath the ground showing the bottom brushes of an ecovacs deebot t10 vacuum robot sucking up dust and debris

Brush configuration also plays a part. Some robot floor cleaners only suck, while others use brushes to sweep debris off the surface and suck it into the machine (which is especially useful for homes with kids or pets where the ground can get sticky or wet).
 

Limited Battery Life And Charging Capabilities


One of the biggest complaints associated with many popular cheap robot vacuums is poor battery life. Many models run for just one to two hours before needing to recharge for two hours. It can be annoying to have to wait the same amount of time for the robot to charge as it runs for.

Many affordable vacuum robots also require manual docking and undocking from the charge base. Meanwhile, all ECOVACS DEEBOT smart vacuums are capable of independently navigating into their base station to charge, and furthermore, they have a smart function called ‘Continuous Clean’. When DEEBOT registers that it’s low on battery, it automatically returns to its station to charge until it has enough power to complete the assigned clean cycle, requiring zero intervention from the user.
 

Lack Of Advanced Features And Smart Technology


3d map of a home hovering above the ecovacs home app on a smartphone

Budget smart vacuum cleaners typically have few or no advanced features to keep costs low. If you’re just looking for a device that will do the bare minimum to clean up visible dust, pet hair or dry spills, then a budget option is completely fine. (In fact, ECOVACS offers robotic vacuums at various price points to meet the needs of all households.)

But high-end automated cleaners have a whole wealth of smart technologies that not only make cleaning more convenient, but have arguably revolutionised the home cleaning experience. Let’s talk about a few of these technologies:

Mopping

Some quality robot vacuums have combined vacuuming and wet mopping into an all-in-one vacuum mop. As the first in the industry to implement mopping functions into a robotic vacuum cleaner, ECOVACS leads the pack in vacuum mop capabilities. In the latest generations of DEEBOTs, the mops are auto-cleaned in the station, making a truly hands-free cleaning experience.

Object And Carpet Detection

Premium automatic vacuums are better at object recognition to avoid collisions and hoovering up undesired household objects. Some robots are even capable of recognising when there’s carpet below them, and acting accordingly to smoothly adjust to the height difference or lift up mop pads.

Advanced Navigation

One of the most important features for an intelligent vacuum to have is smart navigation. If the robot is able to create a map of the home, it can figure out the fastest way and most effective way to navigate around furniture and through rooms, and create a cleaning path.

Voice Control

More recently, newly released robot vacuums have become compatible with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Some smart vacuums can even be controlled with their own, patented AI voice assistants, so you don’t even have to press a button. For example, ECOVACS’ DEEBOTs can be operated by voice through the YIKO voice assistant.

Self-cleaning

Another advanced technology available in some premium smart vacuums is the ability to auto-empty dust and auto-refill water (in those models that offer a mopping function) in the base station. Thus, the user can go weeks and weeks without having to even touch the vacuum as it takes care of its own daily maintenance.
 

Build Quality And Component Durability


It’s not always true that more expensive parts and more time spent on manufacturing equal a better product. However, it is true that more affordable robot vacuums are often made with cheaper components and manufactured with shortcuts that can affect the device’s durability in the long-term. This is all done in the name of shaving dollars off the retail price.

In the short-term, you spend less money on a cheap robot vacuum, but in the long-term you can end up spending more on buying new parts or even replacement because the robot has broken down prematurely.
 

Higher Maintenance And Replacement Costs


In a similar vein, you can rack up greater maintenance and part replacement costs with a budget-friendly robot vacuum cleaner. For instance, vacuum brushes made with cheap plastic bristles or small dust bags may need to be replaced more frequently.

On the other end of the spectrum, high-end robot floor cleaners generally have brush rolls made with better-quality rubber that can last months before needing replacement. Almost all DEEBOT vacuum stations have large, hypoallergenic 3.2L dust bags that can go without replacement for a maximum of 60 days.

deebot x1 omni smart vacuum cleaner from ecovacs in a box with its brushes and mop pads beside it
 

Limited Warranty And Customer Support


Another common feature of affordable robot vacuums has to do with customer experience, specifically short warranties and poor customer support. In the case of malfunctions or the need for major repairs (which, as discussed, can happen more frequently with budget-friendly vacuum robots), the capability with which customer service reps help resolve the problem can either make you more confident about the product’s integrity or leave a bad taste in your mouth. Therefore, it’s important to examine the product warranty and do your research about how existing customers have fared when reaching out to the robot vacuum company’s customer support.
 

Lack Of Software Updates, Compatibility And Security Concerns


Smart home technology is evolving quickly, and it’s important that devices are able to last the test of time. Relevant and regular software updates are part of this. Cheap robot vacuum mops can receive limited or even no software updates , which can result in compatibility issues with new technologies and reduced lifespan. For example, a user may get a new smartphone and render the app used to control the cheap robot useless because it’s too outdated for the phone model.

There are also security and hacking concerns. For instance, some cheap robot vacuums have cameras or voice calling capabilities that can be exploited by a hacker to see inside the home. With low-quality software in an inexpensive robotic vacuum, this can result in serious safety or privacy issues.
 

The Benefits Of Investing In A High-Quality Robot Vacuum Cleaner


Robot vacuum cleaners on the premium end all offer different features, but in general, they offer state-of-the-art features like strong cleaning capabilities, enhanced suction power, systemic navigation, voice control, zone cleaning, are made with longer-lasting components, and have extended battery lives. In short, these factors all contribute to making premium robotic vacuums more reliable and giving them a longer lifespan, saving you money you would otherwise spend on restoring a low-quality appliance.

Check out our recommendations for DEEBOT robot floor cleaners which are more affordable long-term because they focus on high-quality materials and maintaining durable components over single-use cleaning components. It helps that these robots deliver superior cleaning performance compared to other similarly priced devices on the market.

DEEBOT X1 OMNI


deebot x1 omni robotic vacuum from ecocvacs in its omni base station

DEEBOT X1 OMNI is a highly autonomous vacuum equipped with the latest smart domestic robot features, such as YIKO voice assistant which understands natural language commands . The price tag reflects this, as the highest-priced option on this list. It is housed in the OMNI station, which auto-empties dust, removes dirty water, refills clean water, and even washes and dries its own mopping pads. This robot can vacuum for up to 195 minutes on a single charge, requiring less frequent charging which is easier on the battery.

DEEBOT T10 PLUS


deebot t10 plus vacuum from ecovacs in omni station

The mid-priced auto vacuum cleaner option, the DEEBOT T10 PLUS, is another virtually hands-free auto vacuum mop. It comes with an Auto-Empty station that empties dust into a 3.2L dust bag and can also vacuum for 195 minutes with just one charge (or vacuum and mop continuously for 180 minutes). The T10 PLUS model features reusable mop pads which oscillate to shake debris that has dried and stuck to the floor free.

DEEBOT N10 PLUS


deebot n10 plus robot vacuum from ecovacs in auto empty base station

DEEBOT N10 PLUS is the most budget-friendly self-cleaning vacuum option, which is ideal for customers who want a high-quality robotic vacuum cleaner with spending too much. Also coming with an Auto-Empty station to automatically remove the debris from the automatic vacuum cleaner, this model uses LiDAR navigation system and can vacuum for a whopping 300 minutes on a full charge. The N10 PLUS auto-detects carpet and avoids it, giving a completely stress-free experience even if you have delicate rugs or carpets.
 

FAQ

What are characteristics of cheap robot vacuums?

Budget-friendly robot vacuums can have many downfalls, including inadequate cleaning ability, weak suction, limited lasting power on a single charge, a lack of smart features, limited product warranty, and substandard build quality resulting in a defective automatic vacuum cleaner well before you’ve got sufficient use out of it.

Why is it more cost-effective in the long-term to avoid buying cheap robot vacuums?

It’s possible for purchasing a premium robot vacuum to be more budget-friendly in the long run because you could end up spending less money on replacement parts, maintenance or premature replacement.

What features do high-quality robot vacuums have that budget robot vacuums don’t have?

Higher-end smart vacuum cleaners have cutting-edge features such as AI voice operation, auto-cleaning and auto-water refill capabilities, advanced mapping technology, intelligent charging, efficient navigation, and the ability to clean the home by zone for a highly personalised cleaning schedule.

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