Saturday, August 31, 2013

Domestic robots get carpeted in dirt test

Vileda Virobi Robot Mop

On the market: Vileda Virobi Robot sweeper is priced at $49. Photo: Choice

They have cameras to detect dirt, and can find their way back to a charger but robot vacuum cleaners fail at one thing - to efficiently clean.

A report by consumer group Choice has revealed that the innovative spaceship-like appliances cannot generate the suction of a standard vacuum cleaner.

A robotic mop was also found not to work on wet surfaces.

Samsung NaviBot

Robotic cleaner: Samsung NaviBot is priced at $1299. Photo: Supplied

Choice reviewed seven robot vacuums and one robotic mop, including Samsung's NaviBot, LG's Roboking, Hoover and the Airflo Intelligence Robotic Cleaner models, rating them on their suction, dirt removal, noise, and cleaning of corners and edges.

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But not one robot tested, even Samsung's most expensive $1299 NaviBot, could adequately clean a carpet as well as a standard vacuum cleaner, the results showed.

Roomba is one of the most popular robot vacuums on the market, valued at $599.

The makers of the iRobot Roomba 630 claim the vacuum ''gives you clean floors at the push of a button'' on its website.

But Choice found that while the floors may look clean, the iRobot did not have the suction strength of a normal vacuum cleaner.

''While our homes are under attack from robot vacuum cleaners and mops, there's still no substitute for good old-fashioned earthling elbow grease,'' Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.

The cheaper robot sweeper, valued at $49 by Vileda, did little more than pick up pet hair and toast crumbs, the report showed.

The sweeper also failed to operate on wet surfaces.

Choice is not the only group to criticise these cleaning robots.

Sir James Dyson, the British billionaire industrial designer who invented the dual cyclone bag-less vacuum cleaner, said in February the competing vacuums were ''pathetic''.

''When we do one, we want it to clean properly,'' he said.

''The present ones are pathetic with no suction at all - they just sweep with a rather feeble brush and they also don't navigate, they just bounce around,'' he said.


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