Top Inexpensive Robot Vacuums under $200
Robot vacuums are definitely the way to go for the modern home owner. The robot vacuum can undertake a cleaning of your home in sections while you are away from it so that it is completely spotless when you return at the end of a busy day. You do not have to vacuum anything yourself or exert any energy. What you get is to come home to a nice clean house and it can be that way each and every day. Here are some of the best models you can get for under $200.
1. ILIFE by PureClean Model PUCRC90 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
This unit costs around $150. This is the best robot vacuum under $200 if you’re looking for a basic low cost unit. It has wheels rugged enough not to get caught on a tile to carpet transition and smart enough not to be confused by a transition from a throw rug to a low pile rug unless it is a sharp, dark color contrast. The latter is a problem even for a Roomba, such as refusing to travel on black tiles because it thinks it is a hole.
It has a HEPA grade filter to help prevent leaving a trail of dander behind it as it cleans. It doesn’t clog on pet hair, though it cannot handle pet messes.
It has a docking station it can usually find on its own. It can get stuck on a wrinkle in a rug or low book case shelf, and in these cases, it continues running without a warning noise until the battery is dead.
You can schedule its cleanings so it works when you’re at work. Or pull out the remote to tell it where to spot clean. You can adjust the schedule through the remote, as well.
It can’t do really thick carpets like shag. It is safe for hardwood floors, though you’ll want to use a dry mop attachment sold separately to get the smudges up off the floor.
The dust bin in the vacuum is easy to clean.
One of the weaknesses of this product is its support or lack thereof. If you get a bad battery or weird error codes, you may not be able to get a hold of tech support for help or service to get it repaired for days. Battery life is half an hour on thick carpets, two hours if cleaning hard, flat floors like tile. Replacement batteries and spare parts from the manufacturer are almost impossible to get.
2. ILIFE Model A4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
It can clean both hard floors like laminate and low carpet. It can’t clean thick carpets.
The battery lasts longer than the cheaper PureClean, so it can clean more of the house off a single charge before needing to recharge.
It can automatically return to the charging station. It can be programmed with a schedule.
One of the iLife vacuum’s strengths is the availability of replacement parts like side bristles and air filters. You can actually get replacement brushes for it if the thing clogs or hits a mass of dog poop. You can replace the air filters entirely instead of trying to wash them by hand. The fact the robot vacuum has side bristles is another plus and makes it a good choice for those who want the robot vacuum to clean the sideboards and not just the floor.
Customer service for repairs is a challenge, though it is less of an issue since you can get replacement parts from the manufacturer for it.
The unit is described as not getting stuck, but it can get stuck under low rise furniture and lacks the sense to shut off, burning out motors at worst and running the battery down at best. The smaller profile than a Roomba, though, means it can fit places the larger rival can’t.
It is best for large open rooms, not living areas full of furniture.
3. ECOVACS Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Model N78
This robot vacuum cleaner costs around $330 at full price but is often found on sale for $180 or even less. This is a case of the high price tag with a deep discount making it rival cheaper models while making the sale price cause people to reflexively want to get it while it is on sale.
One of the points in favor of this model is that it has a mop and water tank – it is one of the few robot vacuums that can clean both the smudges on your tile floor and your low rise carpets. Replacement mop pads are ten to twenty dollars per pair. They can be used whether you want it to rub black shoe scuff marks on the linoleum and spilled juice off the tile.
This vacuum does a better job of not getting stuck as the iLife A4 and Pureclean sometimes do. It handles pet hair better.
The unit is better at not falling down stairs than some of its rivals. It has side cleaning brushes like the iLife. It is a little weaker on scheduling; you can schedule daily but not weekly, so you can set it to run mid-day when you’re usually at work but not tell it to clean in the morning on weekends instead.
One of its selling points is the variety of “modes”. You can tell it to just clean the edges of a room, such as after you’ve vacuumed the middle of the room yourself. You can tell it to spot clean, and after it cleans that spot for five minutes, it starts to circle around that spot. In auto cleaning mode, it is rather random.
This is the best robotic vacuum under $200 if you need a wet/dry robot vacuum, since so few do a decent job in either mode.