Is Buying A Robot Vacuums Worth It?
We owned a Roomba robot vacuum almost a decade ago because it sounded so good in theory. Something that does the vacuuming for you while you sit on the couch? Sign me up. But in reality, we had SO MANY ISSUES with it. It was extremely loud, frequently got stuck, and didn’t cover many areas before the battery died. Did I mention it always got stuck? It felt like babysitting someone who was poorly vacuuming to the point that our time was better spent actually doing the vacuuming. We finally ended up selling it on Craigslist.
So imagine our surprise to now be declaring that we actually LOVE having a robot vacuum and the technology has come SO FAR. It feels lightyears ahead of the one we owned before – and it was much less expensive! In fact, we’ve owned our new robot vacuum for 8 glorious months, and it’s probably our favorite purchase of the year.
NOTE: We’re saying this as two people who bought it with our own money and love it. This isn’t a sponsored post & Eufy doesn’t know us from Adam.
So today we’re breaking down a ton of information for you, like:
- What exact robot vacuum do we own?
- How much does it cost?
- How it works & what features we love most
- Helpful tips for getting the most out of it
- What other people love about it
What Is Our Favorite Robot Vacuum?
Earlier this year we purchased a Eufy RoboVac 11S after Sherry’s best friend waxed poetic about hers. We said “no we hate robot vacuums.” But she was unrelenting in how much better her experience with her newer robot vacuum has been, and, well, she wore us down. So we decided to click “order” because it was on sale for $159 and fully returnable. That was 8 months ago and spoiler, it definitely didn’t get returned.
We run our Eufy EVERY SINGLE DAY. There’s a super convenient schedule you can set so it’s autopilot, and it has become an essential part of our house cleaning routine (that’s done by someone, er, something other than us). It’s probably a bit of a stretch to call it “a member of the family,” but even the kids address her by name (“Is Eufy in your room?” “Yeah, she’s cleaning under my desk.”).
We tried a more creative name – the kids called her Cheerio for a little while – but Eufy just stuck. Sherry highly enjoys hearing all the clever names that people have come up with for theirs on Instagram though. Some favs include: Meryl Sweep, Dustin Bieber, Sir Sux A Lot, and Optimus Clean.
How Much Does It Cost?
The other thing that makes having this particular robot vacuum “worth it” is the cost! Our Eufy RoboVac 11S retails for $199.99 but the price is often discounted (at the moment there’s a $60 off coupon on Amazon). This makes it one of the most affordable robotic vacuums on the market.
It’s essentially the cost of one or two professional house cleanings, yet it’s here every single day, working away for hours while we sit on our butts – and it comes back full each time. Many other models can be hundreds of dollars more (some well over $1,000!) and even the most affordable Roombas (made by iRobot, the “big name” in robotic vacuums) are more expensive than the one we have and love.
Obviously, the more expensive the model is, the more features it’s likely to have. Pricier vacuums may come with wifi connectivity, voice control, phone apps, or even self-emptying dust collection stations. But we’ve been beyond happy with our entry-level Eufy.
So if you’re worried about not getting your money’s worth out of buying a robot vacuum, our advice is not to fret about splurging on bells and whistles. Our Eufy was half the cost of the standard upright vacuum we own, and these days we rely on our robot vacuum waaaaay more (it does about 95% of the vacuuming in our house). And the best part is that our house has never felt this clean!
How Our Robot Vacuum Works & What We Love Most
A robotic vacuum automates the vacuuming chore in your house by wirelessly traveling around your home, vacuuming as it goes, and then it parks itself back on its charging base when it’s done. Our Eufy 11S model is delightfully uncomplicated, but it still has the essential features you’d want in a robot vacuum – which we’ll get into below. But first, here’s a quick video where we show exactly how it works and how we use it in our home (psst- if you worry about a dog-poop-smearing incident, we address that in the video below):
Now on to what we love about it…
It Runs On An Automatic Daily Schedule
Using the included remote, we set up our robot vacuum to begin vacuuming at a designated time every morning. So without any effort on our end, Eufy “wakes up” (she beeps from her charging base as a warning) and then emerges & does a 90-ish-minute cleaning of our first floor every single day. We can also manually start or stop it at any time with the remote or the button on the vacuum itself, but it’s largely a “set and forget” type of routine.
I know we talk a lot about the remote in the video, but honestly, we RARELY use it. Once we programmed our daily start time, it became very autopilot. We use the button on top to pause or restart it, if needed, so our remote usually just lives in a nearby drawer.
It Navigates Around Obstacles Gently & Doesn’t Bang
Sensors on the vacuum help it gently move around objects like chair legs, cabinet bases, and any other obstructions. Sherry has been asked if she moves the kitchen chairs for example or does anything to “set up” the house before it vacuums every day. Other than calling out “Eufy’s starting, pick up any charging cords that might be on the floor!” to our kids, we do nothing (remember: Eufy beeps before emerging, which is a really nice warning).
Sherry used to do a lap around the house to make sure nothing was going to catch Eufy up, but we’ll share later how we stopped needing to do that. Anyway, it vacuums everything – including under tables, desks, and chairs… even when we’re still in them!
Our Eufy feels much smarter than our old Roomba vacuum (which used to bang around a lot more) and it never leaves scuffs or scrapes on walls, baseboards, cabinets, furniture, or appliances. It deftly maneuvers over ridges like thick carpet edges and never falls down the stairs when running on our second level. Truly, it’s a fully different experience than our old Roomba from 9 years ago.
It’s Much Quieter Than Our Old Robot Vacuum
We used to feel like we couldn’t hear ourselves think when our first robot vacuum was running back in our second house – but thankfully the newer models are much less noisy across the board. We have zero issues working or chatting while it’s running, and our dog Penny is completely unbothered as well.
It Reaches Spots That We Can’t (Daily!)
The S in RoboVac 11S stands for Slim, meaning this particular model – coming in at 2.85″ – is a lower profile than many others, which are often 3.5″ or 4″ inches. While that may seem like a negligible distinction, that inch or so can make a big difference in what furniture it can squeeze under. In fact, one of the biggest selling features for us has been how Eufy can easily get under things we couldn’t very easily vacuum otherwise – like under our bed, our loveseat, and the vanity in our bathroom.
We might have attempted to clean those areas during an occasional deep clean, but they definitely weren’t spots we were getting regularly, and certainly not every day.
If you think about how much extra dust and dirt it eliminates from your home by being slim enough to pass under things like that, it’s kind of mind-blowing. It’s especially helpful if anyone in your house has dust or seasonal allergies, because it’s getting rid of built-up dust and dirt that have probably been hiding for years AND keeping it from coming back.
Its “Whiskers” Get Into Tight Spots
Even when our Eufy can’t go under something, like the stove or the fridge, the little whisker arms that poke out from each side of it reach beyond the footprint of the vacuum itself. This means it can grab things that are hiding under the small cracks below appliances (I love that it cleans beyond its footprint, which a regular vacuum cleaner doesn’t do). It sounds weird to put so much stock into those extending whiskers, but they just leave things so clean that they deserve a shout-out.
Works In Big & Small Houses Alike
We definitely live in a much smaller home than when we had our old Roomba (in our last house), but Sherry’s best friend who recommended the exact model that we have has a very large two-story house. She carries it up and down the stairs occasionally, just like we do. However, we both find that we have to clean the upstairs less frequently since a clean first floor means a lot less gets tracked upstairs in the first place. In short: you certainly don’t need a small house for this to work for you.
That being said, if you live in a large house with two levels and don’t want to bring it upstairs, you can always get a second Eufy for the second floor. This isn’t your cue to order multiple Eufys right off the bat, but keep it in mind as a solution if you find that a second one might be helpful down the road.
It Transitions Over Different Terrain
Sherry gets questions about how it navigates going up onto a thick rug or over a small wood threshold in a doorway, and it’s definitely made for multiple surfaces like rugs, carpet, wood, tile, etc. So you shouldn’t really have any issues with it hopping up and down over small things like that. If you do have a large threshold that you worry about, you can just let it do one section of the house and then carry it over the threshold to do that other area. Truly, it’s really easy to figure small things like that out. Don’t fret.
It Doesn’t Fall Down The Stairs Or Off Ledges
I’ve said It already, but I felt like this needed its own heading too. Eufy has sensors to keep it from falling down the stairs, so we’ve never had any issues with that. We not only have a front part of our upstairs steps where she tests this parameter, but we also have a straight drop from the side, and she never, ever has any issues with either of these. 100% success rate of sensing a drop, turning around, and continuing to clean the rest of the area.
It Automatically Returns To Its Charging Base
When our Eufy has completed its daily routine, it automatically navigates back to its base to recharge its battery and await its next daily cleaning. Our base is plugged in under the loveseat in our downstairs sitting room, so our Eufy stays completely out of sight when it’s not in use. And since that spot is centrally located, it’s nice and easy for Eufy to find. We just grab it from under the sofa to empty it daily – or use the remote to call it out so we can pick it up and empty it when it rolls out.
It Comes Back Full (So You Know It’s Working!)
Ours always comes back to the charging base with a belly full of dirt and dust. Every day. People sometimes say to Sherry, “it seems to be running on such a random pattern – how do I know it’s working?” and for us, the visual proof is that our floors look extremely clean AND it comes back full of dust each time.
Someone who used to work for a vacuum company actually DMed Sherry on Instagram and said: “normal vacuums are meant to go over the same spot four times for it to be considered clean.” When you manually vacuum you’re rarely hitting the same spot four times from four different angles, so that’s why it might seem to you like Eufy is doing one area too much at such a random zig-zag pattern, but it’s just hitting things multiple times to suck up lots of dust & dirt. There’s a method to its madness after all.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Robot Vacuum
Here are some tips & tricks to get the most out of your Eufy without having to worry about it daily. Autopilot cleaning that’s done by a robot instead of you really is a life hack… but it may take a little bit of prep up front. I promise you it’s worth it! When you sit on the couch while Eufy cleans for an hour and a half EVERY SINGLE DAY, well, it feels great.
Pick Your Charging Spot Wisely
If you put your Eufy in the best spot, you’re going to love it a LOT. For us, it was important to find a spot that was:
- Totally hidden
- Centrally located
- Easy to access (for both us and the vacuum)
- Near an outlet
Larger homes might have an obvious spot in a laundry room/mudroom/bathroom, but in our small home, we didn’t want to dedicate visible floor space to an ugly charger. Luckily this spot under the loveseat checked all of the boxes! I scooted the couch out so you can see what the charging base looks like:
Secure Your Charging Base
We found that Eufy can occasionally push the base around a little bit when it parks itself to charge. Sometimes it would become skewed and it could no longer align itself with the charger as easily. So we used a 3M Command Strip to stick it directly to the floor, ensuring that it would stay in place. Zero issues since then.
Wrangle Your Loose Cords
If a nemesis for Eufy exists, it’s wires – especially the loose end of a phone charging cord. She may try to suck them up or even pull them out of the wall (at which point she usually beeps and stops, and her cleaning cycle isn’t completed until you restart her). So when we got Eufy, we took about a half hour to corral all of our cords off of the floor, especially under beds and furniture. This meant tying some up in a bundle with zip ties (they include 5 in the box!) and putting others into low baskets like this, which we then shove under the bed. Voila: the entire bin of wires is hidden, but Eufy can’t get tangled anymore.
Even with that done, we still remind our kids (and each other!) to make sure their iPad chargers are off the floor. Thanks to that beep before it starts, nobody really forgets anymore, and it’s a nice way to encourage a little daily tidying to make sure things aren’t all over the floor.
Do (Or Don’t Do) A Little Daily Prep
You don’t have to prep for Eufy every day, but you can develop some routines to make sure your house is ready for her daily vacuuming. Like we said above, we just remind the kids to pick up their charging cords when Eufy sounds that starting beep. But here are some other things you could do (emphasis on COULD):
- Do a quick loop to pick up clothes, blankets, or towels on the floor in any bedrooms/bathrooms
- Pick up small toys, like tiny Lego pieces or dolls with hair that might easily get sucked up
- Close the door to any rooms you don’t want it entering (like if your kid’s bedroom floor is a disaster that morning)
- Move lightweight furniture, even just slightly, to let Eufy hit a spot she couldn’t get to the day before. Occasionally we roll a plant out of a corner to give her better access.
- Sherry’s best friend occasionally puts her dining chairs on the table so Eufy can clean faster. We never move ours, it just takes Eufy more time to bounce around ’em, but she gets it done.
Again, these things are absolutely optional but they may save Eufy from getting stuck trying to eat a cord. It’s not a big deal if that happens, it just interrupts an otherwise automatic cycle. For us, having Eufy run every day has been a great checkpoint to make sure we’ve picked up around the house a little bit each morning. It only takes a minute and sometimes it’s as simple as the kids just tossing things on their beds instead of the floor.
Have Backup Accessories on Hand
Like with traditional vacuums, Eufy uses small filters and stuff that will need occasional cleaning or replacing. We bought this $16 pack of replacement parts to have on hand in case something breaks, wears out, or goes missing. It has already come in handy after one of the whisker attachments came off under a rug and wasn’t found for a few days. Luckily we could just pop on a spare so Eufy didn’t miss a day.
SPEAKING OF THE WHISKERS: when you get your Eufy you need to snap those suckers on firmly. If you don’t hear the snap they’re likely not all the way on and you’ll run it and be like “why the @%#&$ do these keep falling off?!” So snap them on firmly and they’ll stay put for the long haul.
Understand That It Doesn’t Clean Every Spot, Every Day
Since this entry-level model doesn’t have any fancy digital mapping or programable guide, Eufy sort of just charts a new random path each morning. Some days she spends more time under the bed, and on other days she does one pass around the bathroom instead of ten. But over the course of the week, she will still make it to every spot many many times. In eight months we have never come across a single spot that she can access that’s been missed.
I can’t express to you how much cleaner our house looks and feels thanks to running Eufy every day on such an easy autopilot schedule. We even find that we have to do less dusting because when Eufy is running daily to eliminate dirt and particles on the floor, they have less of a chance of building up and floating up onto tables or shelves or window ledges.
Know That You’ll Still Need To Vacuum Sometimes
Don’t throw out your regular vacuum just because you’ve purchased a robotic one. For instance, we keep this one in our utility closet. For one, Eufy can’t do stairs, so we still vacuum those manually once a week. She also can’t move furniture, so there are definitely some corners she can’t get (like behind a plant stand or trash can unless we move them before she runs). So those are areas we just tackle ourselves when we do the stairs.
Also, if you spill something like dirt from a pot, Eufy does have a “spot clean” mode on the remote, but we find it’s not the most efficient way to clean up after a big mess. We usually just sweep things up or grab our small handheld vacuum to tackle that kind of task.
Empty It Daily
The built-in dust canister on our Eufy is typically completely full after every cleaning. At first, I thought we were just exceptionally dirty (how is there THAT MUCH dust EVERY DAY?!) but we’ve heard lots of others report the same thing. Now I’ve decided to be glad those piles of dust make their way into the trash and aren’t still on our floors.
Our Eufy doesn’t have an automatic self-emptying feature (they call it dust-collection and some fancier models transfer it into their charging base, like the Roomba i3+ EVO or Eufy RoboVac L35 Hybrid+, both $550). Those still have to be emptied eventually, and we don’t mind the daily routine of just manually emptying ours so it’s ready to fill up again the next day. We recommend setting an alarm on your phone if you find that you forget, or group this action with something else you do every day (like when you take your vitamins, for example).
It’s quick & easy to empty – the compartment just pops out of the bottom. So we usually just reach under the loveseat and pull it off its charging station for a quick empty. You can also pick it up when it begins vacuuming to empty it from the day before (it automatically pauses when lifted off the ground). Then just put it back down and press the button on the top & it’ll pick up where it left off.
What Other People Think About It
We thought it would be helpful to hear from other Eufy owners as well (perhaps with bigger, hairier dogs), and thanks to the good people of Instagram, Sherry has heard from a lot of other Eufy owners. You can read more in the archived circle on Instagram under our bio called Robot Vac, but here’s a sampling below:
“Between our old doggies and sandy soil this has been the best purchase I have ever made.”
“My life is changed. We have 3 dogs (!!!) and 3 children and I was vacuuming every day. Now Eufy does it every evening for me. I don’t know how, but it’s better than my Dyson. Is it just that I don’t have to do it? Maybe, but I’m here for it.”
My husband was adamant that we would never have a robot vacuum. Bought the one you recommended and ran it right after the cleaning lady left. It was completely full after running on our main level (not even under the couch or on the rug) just basically all open spaces that had just been cleaned. Husband has been converted and now appreciates the robot vacuum.”
“Last week while watching your stories, I thought if I got that, it’s possible that it could take away a huge stressor for me. I bought it that day (which I never do) and have LOVED it every day since! It vacuums my kitchen while I’m cooking dinner, provides entertainment to my two littles, and cleans up whatever dirt my boys always manage to bring in. I just didn’t think it was possible for something to bring such relief!”
“I brought it to my parents’ house while visiting them for the weekend. They had vacuumed in preparation for my visit, and we were all SHOCKED at how much it still picked up!”
“Got a robot vacuum almost immediately after your story last week… ten days later and I’m living a whole new life. And here’s the best part: it only runs on our main level, but I haven’t needed to clean upstairs because there is no debris to track up!”
It is LIFE CHANGING! We got a new dog that sheds everywhere and I was ready to lose my mind. Our loving and ever-so-hard-working Eufy has made the dog hair a non-issue. And now my mom and sisters have bought one!
“We had our house professionally cleaned, got a Eufy the next day, and have run him 3X a day for the last 3 days. Our house looks spotless and without a crumb, but somehow he comes up with a full dustbin every time! Game changer. Best money we have spent in a long time.”
And so ends this lovefest for an item we had literally sworn off almost a decade ago. Hooray for smarter robots that can clean your house but will hopefully never take over the world someday.
Oh and if you want to see some other ways we automate and simplify our home, these posts might interest you:
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