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Robot vacuums revolutionize the way people clean their homes. If you want to keep your room clean without lifting your hand, then you’re one step away from getting a robot vacuum.
While most robot vacuums do the task thoroughly, they are not quite there yet. The process is not fully automated, as you will mostly interact with the robot during the cleaning rounds. Think how inconvenient it would be if you were to follow the robot to empty it midway or come back to a room full of pet’s hair because it had a full bin. Very frustrating.
However, if you’re here looking to buy a new robot vacuum for your house, don’t hesitate, we have good news for you: self-emptying robots.Self-emptying robots can empty their dustbin and resume the cleaning task automatically without you interacting with them. It is an exciting and convenient development that lets you forget about the cleaning chores for weeks and focus on other productivity tasks.
In this article, we’ll review the top robot vacuums with a self-emptying base and why you should get one. We will include the pros and cons and everything you need to know to make the right buying decision.
Self-emptying robot vacuums is a new and still developing technology in robotics. At the moment, there are only three options available with a self-empty base. The dock charges the robot vacuum and automatically sucks the dirt, debris, and pet’s hair out of the bin. Your work will be to empty the base after some time and leave the robot to do the rest.
When you start using a self-empty robot vacuum, you will not settle for anything less. Most reviewers say that you forget that you’re living with a robot. One thing for sure is that you’ll always come back to a clean and tidy home.
What You Need to Know About a Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum
The main difference between these types of robot vacuums from the regular ones is the ability to self-empty itself once it is full. These robots can clean your house for weeks without having you to interfere unless the base is full or it has some mechanical problems.
Not all robot vacuums are the same. While they all achieve the same objective, there are some things to consider before spending on your favorite option:
The most significant feature in robot vacuums is how to traverse across different objects and clean every part of your house. The best robots use smart navigation methods to clean in straight lines while avoiding obstacles along the way. They do this using two mechanisms:
These robot vacuums use top-mounted cameras to map your house and use the map to clean it. Cameras capture many elements in a room, making them the best option to detect obstacles and determine efficient paths.
With the help of sophisticated algorithms, a camera robot can interpret the optical images to determine its position on the map.
Robot vacuums use LDS lidar scanning to realize positioning. The robots fire laser across the room and use the reflection time to judge the distance between itself and different obstacles. Laser powered robot vacuums can achieve high and accurate positioning, even in dark environments.
However, while laser tops in positioning, it still comes second to camera mapping in terms of linear mapping. Laser mapping needs extra hardware, sensors and cameras, for the best room mapping. Also, they suffer a lot in rooms with high reflectivity objects such as mirrors, windows, and vases.
Regardless of the mapping mechanism, robot vacuums also rely on different sensors such as wall sensors and cliff sensors. Wall sensors help the robot detect walls and clean along the edges while identifying doorways for new areas to clean.
Cliff sensors prevent the robots from tripping over stairs to avoid damage. Most vacuums will change its path once it senses a stair in front.
Are you using hardwood or carpets? Most self-empty robot vacuums handle both surfaces. Cleaning hardwood surface is the most straightforward task. Most robots can pick up all the dirt and debris with ease in just a few rounds.
There are some significant differences, however, when it comes to carpets. Cleaning carpets require a lot of suction power. Those with the low suction power struggle in such surfaces, and may even get caught in tassels.
Ensure to go for options with high power if you are using a carpeted floor. Premium robots automatically increase power when it encounters a carpet for the best deep cleaning. These robots are efficient in cleaning both surfaces and large debris; however, they are costly.
Living with Pets?
No matter how exciting living with pets is, it gets annoying when you have to clean the hair and fur regularly. Luckily enough, you can have these self-empty robot vacuums do the work for you. All the robots in this review excel at picking pet’s hair from both hardwood and carpets.If you’re suffering from allergies, there are select options with HEPA filters that lock allergens in the emptying base to avoid contact with the air.
When using a robot vacuum to clean up pets’ hair, you must plan for regular maintenance. Some of the hair strands might get tangled in the roller brushes and cause mechanical problems. Robots, such as the Shark IQ, use self-cleaning brush roll, providing nonstop hair removal.
The battery life isn’t much of an issue unless you have a bigger house. Most robots have enough battery capacity to last for a complete cleaning session. The average battery life in most robot vacuums is around one and a half hours, with premium models lasting longer that.
Mobile App Companion
If you need a mobile application to control and plan your cleaning schedules, these self-empty robot vacuums won’t disappoint. All the robots provide an app with cutting edge features to simplify the vacuuming process. Sit back to watch your favorite TV shows and control everything using the companion app.
Depending on the model, you’ll find features such as voice control using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, maps, scheduling, keep-out zones, and room selection. Room select and keep out zones are exciting features; you can select which rooms to clean and establish boundaries where the robot vacuum should not clean.
Please note that the robot vacuum will have to do several rounds before mapping the whole house. Using the app, you can then plan your schedules and set your boundaries.
Now that you understand everything about self-emptying robot vacuums, here are the reviews of each robot vacuum to help you pick the right one for your home:
At a Glance – Our Top Picks
1. Shark IQ – Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum
Shark IQ is an intelligent robot vacuum with a bagless self-empty base, high suction power, and unbeatable price tag.
It is the cheapest self-empty robot vacuum beating all the Roombas in this review in terms of prices. Shark IQ is the first smart robot vacuum from Shark and the only one to feature a self-emptying base. This robovac is perfect for people living with pets, very busy people, or those looking to implement a real automated cleaning process.
Shark IQ features two side brushes, which are handy in cleaning edges and corners effectively. The two brushes rotate at considerable speeds to prevent scattering debris or dust all over during the cleaning session.
Shark IQ automatically empties its bin into a bagless base. The self-empty base sucks all the dirt and debris from the robot each time it docks. It is a bagless base, meaning you don’t have to exchange vacuum bags now and then.
The beauty of this Shark robovac is that it requires minimal attention. It cleans the room, empties itself, and waits for the next cleaning session. Your only interaction is when the emptying base is full, which might take about a month. The self-empty base can hold up to 30 days’ worth of dirt, depending on the state of your house.Unlike regular robots, which you have to empty the dustbin regularly or change the vacuum bags, Shark IQ is a real robot helper that sweeps the house for you and lets you forget about vacuuming for weeks.
Shark IQ is a camera-based smart navigation robovac. It intelligently cleans the house row by row onto the next room without repeating areas. It has one optical sensor for maneuvering past obstacles and four cliff sensors to avoid falling on the stairs. You don’t have to remove chairs or other barriers during the cleaning sessions; it can intelligently get passed them.
Compared to random navigation, smart navigation has more coverage, efficiency, and does not repeat areas or rooms.
Shark IQ maps your house during the initial rounds and keeps a map so you can use it for scheduling with the app. With the recharge-resume feature, it can automatically dock for charging when the battery is running low and return to pick up from where it left.
Best Suction Power
Shark IQ has the highest suction power compared to the iRobot Roomba s9+ and iRobot Roomba i7+. It can quickly suck all the dirt and hair, leaving your floors perfectly clean. The most exciting feature, however, is the ability to pick up large debris. The massive airflow allows this robovac to pick large and bulky dirt with ease compared to other robot vacuums.
The robot works on both hard floors and carpets. It is easily one of the best in cleaning debris on hardwood surfaces, thanks to its fantastic suction. You can also use this to clean pet hair on carpets and deep cleaning.
Shark Clean Application
The mobile app companion provides extra controls and features to maximize the Shark IQ self-emptying robot vacuum. Download the app from Shark’s website and connect it to the IQ vacuum via Wi-Fi. The Shark Clean app provides the following features:
During the initial rounds, the Shark IQ scans the house and create a map on the application. It will take multiple cleaning sessions to populate a complete map on the app. You can then set room boundaries and name the different rooms; this is vital in scheduling.
The app lets you choose which apps to clean or which rooms the IQ robovac shouldn’t clean. For instance, you can set the Shark IQ to clean only the living room and not touch the kitchen. Set the robovac to vacuum specific rooms or the whole house via the application.
Scheduling is the best feature that comes with the app. Easily create personalized cleaning plans for the Shark IQ and forget about cleaning in a month or more. Schedule the Shark IQ to clean your room daily or clean the kitchen twice a day.
Shark IQ’s self-cleaning ability plus scheduling create a real automated system. You can set up a monthly schedule and intervene only when the self-empty base is full. That’s the beauty of self-emptying robot vacuums.
- High suction power
- Bagless self-empty bin
- Effective home mapping
- Affordable price tag
- Supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- It is loud
- It doesn’t have “no-go zones.”
- Remembers only one-floor plan
2. iRobot Roomba s9+ – Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum with Multi Mapping
iRobot Roomba s9+ is an intelligent self-emptying robot vacuum with an innovative design perfect for edges and deep cleaning.
Roomba robot vacuum has, for a long time, dominated the market. The s9+ is another show why they aren’t stopping any time soon. Launched after the Roomba i7+, this model brings more power, intelligence, and innovative build design. If your house gets messy, care much about carpet deep cleaning, or living with pets, this is a perfect robovac for you.
Roomba s9+ features a rather unusual D shaped design to help it navigate along edges and corners easily. Roomba combines innovative design, PerfectEdge technology with a single side brush to clean dirt and debris from deep corners and walls effectively. It is the only robovac that can leave your corners and edges perfectly clean.
iRobot Roomba s9+ is a self-emptying robovac. It empties its dirt using the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal that can hold debris, dust, and hair. Unlike the Shark IQ, this model uses disposable bags inside the Clean Base to store the dirt. One bag can store up to 30 bins of debris, dirt, or hair.
However, on the bright side, the Clean Base contains filters that capture and trap pollen and mold allergens from the air. So, whether you have allergies or living with pets, the Roomba s9+ will serve you with total satisfaction.
iRobot Roomba s9+ uses an onboard camera for moving around the house while cleaning. It uses vSLAM technology and enhanced sensors to navigate past objects while intelligently mapping the floor plans. The robot then uses the smart maps for positioning, allowing you to schedule and select specific rooms for cleaning.
The s9+ is very intelligent at avoiding obstacles. It can quickly clean up a room full of chairs and tables within no time — using light touch bumper technology to identify the barriers. The robot reduces speed and gently touches the obstacle before deciding to change direction or proceed, as in the case of beds and sofa.
The s9+ has improved suction power compared to the previous models; however, it still drags behind the Shark IQ. The selling point of the s9+ is the automatic power boost and dual multi-surface rubber brushes, making it the best robot vacuum for deep cleaning.
s9+ works well on hard surfaces too, picking fine and large debris in a few rounds. The rubber brushes are tangle-free, making the robovac ideal for shedding pets. Not even a single hair strand remains in the brush rolls when self-emptying at the Clean Base. Once done, the s9+ returns to the dock and empties itself. The robot can also go back to the base when it is running out power, recharge, and resume from where it left. Interact with the s9+ only when replacing the vacuum bags in the Clean Base.
iRobot HOME App
Most of the Roomba s9+ magic happens in the mobile app companion. The iRobot app provides exciting features to set up a real automated cleaning system and give the s9+ more autonomy. Download the mobile app from their official website and transform your experience with the s9+. Here are the features of the iRobot app:
Create boundaries and name all the rooms after the s9+ finishes mapping your house. Using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, issue voice commands to the s9+ to clean your home or specific places. Please note that the Roomba will go several cleaning rounds before getting the whole map of your home.
Keep Out Zones
Keep Out (no-go) zones create virtual boundaries that keep the robot off places you don’t want it to clean. With this, you are sure the robot only cleans where you want it to, and stay away from other places.
No-go zones are handy in robot vacuums as you can be away in the office and set your robovac to clean your house without touching sensitive areas in the house.
Select where and when the s9+ should vacuum the house. Choose either the whole house or specific rooms. With self-emptying and recharge-resume features, you can have a truly autonomous robot helper to do the cleaning work for you; and only interact with it when the Clean Base in full.
- Keep out zones
- Perfect deep cleaning ability
- Remembers up to 10-floor plans
- Cleans effectively
- Suitable for corners and edges
- Excellent mobile app companion
- Works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- Replacing disposable bags is adds an extra cost
3. iRobot Roomba i7+ – Best Value Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum
The first robot vacuum to empty itself still has a lot to offer thanks to its excellent mapping and navigation technology, powerful suction, smart app.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ was the first self-emptying robot vacuum made by Roomba, and the practical one in the market. The Roomba s9+ came later with the new design; however, there is still a lot to admire in the previous i7+ model. You can control the i7+ using the onboard buttons, iRobot app, or voice commands using Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The Roomba i7+ features a single side brush with three arms to direct dirt and debris to the dual brush roles for suction. The exclusive Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes resist pet hair and can adjust their height on different surface floors: hard floors or carpets.
Roomba i7+ uses a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal to empty itself after each cleaning round. The Clean Base has an AllergenLock bag, which can hold up to 60 days of dirt, debris, and hair. The bags need to replaced once full, making the i7+ costly to operate like the s9+.
Roomba i7+ is a smart camera-based robovac, meaning it uses optical images to traverse the house while cleaning and mapping. With iAdapt and vSLAM technologies, the i7+ can intelligently navigate passed obstacles and create smart maps of up to 10 floors.With excellent scheduling, you can have the Roomba i7+ clean the house for a month without having to interfere, and simply replace the disposable bags and forget for another month.
The robot uses visual landmarks for positioning and to identify the places it has cleaned and those yet to. It has the fantastic recharge-recharge feature, which enables it to return to the dock, charge up, and resume from where it left before. It will take around five cleaning rounds for it to adapt to the room and locate the dock and the places efficiently.
The i7+ provides enough suction to lift dirt, debris, and hair on both hard floors and carpets. The robot works flawlessly in deep cleaning with the dual brush rolls lifting heavy debris and hair stuck in the carpets. However, the suction and deep cleaning ability still cannot match the Roomba s9+.
It is an excellent robot helper if you’re living with shedding pets. It picks more pet hair than most robot vacuums in the market. Onboard there are filters to trap mold, pollen, dog, or other allergens to create a healthy environment for allergic people.
iRobot HOME App
The Roomba i7+ uses the iRobot Home App, just like the Roomba s9+. The app provides advanced mapping features and more ways to interact with the i7+. You can create schedules with the app, choose specific rooms to clean or create virtual boundaries using keep-out zones. It is a perfect companion app that lets you achieve a fully automated cleaning schedule.
The Roomba i7+ comes with a lower price tag compared to the s9+. However, it is costly than Shark IQ. The advantages over the Shark IQ included the ability to implement no-go ones in the app and keeping maps of multiple floor levels.
- Hassle-free operation
- Good suction
- Supports Google Assistant and Alexa
- Smart home mapping
- Excellent mobile app companion
- Multistory mapping
- Struggles with large debris
Self-emptying robots are the future of robot vacuums. While there are only three options in the market, we expect to see new models entering the market. A self-emptying robot empties its dustbin in an emptying base. The Shark IQ uses a bagless emptying base while the Roombas use bagged, which calls for replacement when full.
All three options have excellent suction power, but Shark IQ offers the highest suction. The Roomba s9+ excels at deep cleaning and maneuvering around corners and edges. Each robovac is pet-friendly with high-efficiency filters for allergens.
If you’re looking for options with the best app companion, choose no other than the Roombas. The apps provide features such as scheduling room select and the exciting keep-out zones, which isn’t available in the Shark Clean App. However, you can set boundaries using magnetic trips with the Shark IQ robot vacuum.
Select the best option that matches your needs and go-ahead to implement a truly autonomous cleaning robot for your home. Happy vacuuming!