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Robot vacuums are a fantastic invention, and if you have any ambitions to make your home as smart as possible, they?re well worth the investment. We spend a lot of time talking about what to buy and where in this category here at Robode, but you can get that info in plenty of places. For the record, my current favourite as we head into 2020 is the Eufy RoboVac 15C MAX.

Rather than bang on about which one you should use ? hint, as long as you?ve spent over ?100/$100, it will get the job done ? I?m going to cover four essential ways to get the most out of the device.

1. Don?t Leave the Robot Vacuum Unsupervised Early

The skills and navigational abilities of any given robot vacuum vary depending on the model. Some using mapping, you can direct some manually through the app, and others leave it up to chance. One thing you don?t want to do if you’re going to get the most out of a robot vacuum is to let it roam free as soon as you take it out of the box.

That mistake was made this Christmas by a family in North Carolina, although they at least had the excuse that it wasn?t them that turned it on. Their brand new robot vacuum turned itself on in the middle of the night, got stuck in the hallway and banged on the walls repeatedly. Unfamiliar with their device?s movement patterns and robovacs in general, the couple assumed it was an intruder and the police were called. You can read more about this story on CNN by following the link.

You should take the time to understand how your robovac moves when you get it. Learn the tips and tricks, check out barriers and virtual walls if compatible and keep an eye on potential pitfalls. If you leave phone chargers dangling and your pets? water bowls unprotected, you might end up with more mess than when you started.

2. You?ll Get the Most Out of a Robot Vacuum with the Lights On

Some robot vacuums are very quiet, and it can be tempting to schedule them to run while you sleep. However, you probably want the lights off overnight, even if the robovac is on. While these machines cannot see as such ? although some have cameras ? they do use sensors for navigation that work best in the light.

It is worth taking the time to keep those sensors clean for the same reasons. If your robovac can?t tell how far it’s gone or where it?s going next, it?ll make for an inefficient clean at best and a potential accident at worst.

3. Don?t Ditch Your Upright Vacuum Just Yet

I?m a big robot vacuum fan as you know, but we?re not yet at a point where you can get rid of the trusty hoover just yet. For one thing, who?d do the stairs? That?s not the only issue either, as I don?t feel that even the most potent robot vacuums can quite do the deep clean that a decent upright is capable of.

If your floors get particularly messy, you?ll find yourself emptying the robot vacuum more often than you?d like. When used regularly, a robovac should have enough capacity for an entire home. However, if the bin fills up and you don?t notice, you?ll end up with a little machine dragging dirt around the floor rather than picking it up.

4. Remember to Check the Floors Before Each Clean

You should give every surface the visual once over before you start up the robot vacuum. If you use a schedule that sees it cleaning while you?re not at home, check what?s on the floor when you go out. If you have kids, pets or anyone else that isn?t a frequent cleaner in the home, then you never know what might get in your robot vacuum?s way.

In most cases, if your robovac can?t pick something up, it won?t, and that?s the end of it. However, you?d be surprised how easily they can get confused if you don?t take the proper precautions. Mine likes to get itself stuck on the clothes airer when it?s folded up and leaning against the wall. I?ve never seen it happen, so I have no idea how it manages it, but the notification on my phone that it?s got an issue is enough to know that something went wrong!

If you spot a potential obstacle, just more it for the time being and the robot vacuum will do the job you always hoped it would.

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