So, you’re wondering what is a robot vacuum?

And more importantly, what can a robot vacuum do?

If so, you’ve come to the right place.

As your trusty companion, I’ll explain everything you need to know about robot vacuums so you can easily decide if you should get one for your home or not.

Robot vacuums offer a lot of value and perks for any homeowner or renter and this guide will help you understand what a robot vacuum is capable of doing.

Let’s get started!

What is a Robot Vacuum?

A robot vacuum is an automated device that cleans your floors. It doesn’t require any assistance or input from an operator to vacuum a room.

Robot vacuums operate on rechargeable batteries and move around the floor picking up dust, dirt, and debris and storing it in a collection canister. When the canister is full or the battery runs down, the robot vacuum alerts the owner or returns to a base charging station.

People buy robot vacuums because they save time and energy on a routine cleaning task. Most robot vacuums can be set to run on a schedule each day or week to keep one or more rooms clean at all times.

Robot vacuums come in a variety of types. Some devices can only clean hardwood floors and low pile carpet while others can get up onto thick rugs without any problems. To find the right robot vacuum for your needs, check out my best inexpensive robot vacuum page. It shows you the top five robot vacuums you can buy for the cheapest prices.

A robot vacuum is a great tool to have in your cleaning kit; however, it doesn’t fully replace an upright vacuum cleaner. There are times when spot cleaning or emergency cleaning will need to be done and a robot vacuum is not the best device for these circumstances.

But, the time devoted to routine vacuuming activities will be reduced by owning a robot vacuum.

Common Robot Vacuum Features

Now that you know what is a robot vacuum, we can move on to explaining some of the top features you’ll find on these machines.

Every robot model is different, so you may find one or all of the features mentioned below included with the device.

Multiple Cleaning Modes

There are four common cleaning modes (or paths) for robot vacuums. Each robot vacuum is different and may include all or only a few of these modes.

  • Automatic — The robot vacuum moves all around the room to clean it in its entirety. It might move in a random pattern or follow a strategic path.
  • Edge — The robot vacuum works to find the edges of the room so it can focus on cleaning the perimeter.
  • Spot — The robot vacuum moves back and forth in a small location so it can fully clean a particular area (or spot) in a room.
  • Spiral — The robot vacuum moves out from a starting point and travels in a circle, expanding the radius as it cleans. This provides more accurate coverage than a random pattern in automatic mode.

Automatic Recharging

Robot vacuums use rechargeable batteries and some devices have the capability to return to the charging station to recharge without an operator’s help.

Wet Mopping

Some robot vacuums offer wet mopping in addition to dry vacuuming. Wet mopping is a good feature to have if you want to clean hardwood or tile floors with the robot vacuum.

Wi-Fi App Control

Most robot vacuums these days have Wi-Fi app control. This means you can control every aspect of the machine from a mobile device. It also allows the ability to set up cleaning schedules and check the status of your robot vacuum’s battery.

Room Mapping

What is a robot vacuum like the iRobot Roomba most famous for?

Room mapping.

What this feature does is maps the areas that the robot vacuum has cleaned inside a room (or house) so the machine doesn’t waste time going over the same spots again. It also allows the robot vacuum to pick up where it left off when the device has to go back to the charging station to recharge.


Many robot vacuums offer a scheduling function that lets you set up certain days and times of the week for the machine to automatically clean. This frees you up from having to manually set the robot vacuum off on a cleaning task.

Virtual Wall

What if there’s an area of a room that you don’t want a robot vacuum to clean? How to do you stop it from roving over there?

The answer is a virtual wall.

Some robot vacuums can be paired with a virtual wall device that sits on the ground and emits a beam of light. This light acts as a wall (or fence) that prevents the robot vacuum from crossing it.

Using a virtual wall is a great way to keep the robot vacuum out of certain rooms in your home or away from objects you don’t want knocked, like a pet food bowl or fragile piece of furniture.

Popular Robot Vacuum Brands

Robot vacuums are popping up everywhere and many brands now exist for these cleaning machines. However, not all brands are high-quality machines.

The list below includes the most popular—and most trusted—robot vacuum brands available today.

  • Asurion
  • Bissell
  • Dyson
  • Ecovacs
  • Eufy
  • iRobot (Roomba)
  • iTouchless
  • Neato
  • Pure Clean
  • Samsung
  • Shark

Want to Learn More About Robot Vacuums?

The purpose of this guide was to answer the question, “What is a robot vacuum?”

I hope you found the basic information here useful.

To find out more about robot vacuums, including how they work and the top products you can buy today for the lowest price, check out my best inexpensive robot vacuum page. You’ll find the best robot vacuums for the cheapest prices as well as the top features to look for in a high-quality device.

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Joe Castro

Joe Castro is the Director of Trusty Joe. Under the guidance of his father, a general contractor, Joe has been involved with a lot of handyman projects from a very young age. He combined this love for building with another passion of his, creative writing. Trusty Joe allows him to merge these two interests and offer the best of both worlds.