3 smart vacuums you can control from your iPhone

Technology continues to evolve, as this image of a very early vacuum cleaner helps prove. This image c/o Mike Tungate on Flickr

Smarter homes are coming, and smart vacuum cleaners seem to be emerging as popular devices for your intelligent cribs – after all, who doesn’t come home and wish they’d taken a moment to vacuum now and then? Why not get a robot to do this for you?

What is a smart vacuum?

Smart vacuums area class of generally round robots that merrily hoover your floor, avoiding obstacles and hoovering up anything they happen to find.

They aren’t clever enough to know they’ve just swallowed any stray dollars, house keys, your favorite stick insect or any other small object you leave on the floor. They are also not yet consistently good at manoeuvring around rugs and small items of furniture, in my opinion.

I’m a little concerned about the security of these things – in part that’s because I’ve not been able to find a model that carries the gold standard for smart home security that is a ‘Made for HomeKit’ logo.

You can set them up using the ‘bridge’ device most of these gadgets support, but given how much data about your home these devices can gather (maps, activity, occupancy) I confess I do worry about how you can keep their information secure. Once set up, you can control them using an app on your smartphone, or (if you use it, given its big security problems) Alexa.

With that said, here are what I think are the top three smart vacuum cleaners you can get hold of right now, in no particular order.

iRobot Roomba 980

www.irobot.com

The Roomba series are certainly the most well-established brand in this series of devices. This model is packed with features and uses cameras and other sensors to work its way around your home. It’s nice and low so it can get to those bits under your furniture only your strict auntie can see, and it has long range brushes to reach those harder to get to corners. It’s also smart enough to increase or decrease suction power when it determines it is on a smooth or carpeted floor and will take itself back to base to charge its batteries when it knows it needs to.

Key specifications

  • Battery life: 60-minutes
  • Capacity: 0.6-litres
  • Price: $799

Neato Botvac Connected D7

www.neatorobotics.com

All the reviews I’ve read suggest this is a pretty good system. It’s equipped with a top-mounted laser that it uses to create location maps and can easily be trained to handle complex places, including support for no-go areas, such as that place where the dog’s water bowls are, or were (on some other systems).

It stands a little higher than some smart vacuums, which means it can handle a wider range of surfaces effectively and won’t get marooned on the deep, thick carpet by the open fire in your bedroom. (Everyone has a dream).

Key specifications

  • Battery life: 120-minutes
  • Capacity: 0.7-litres
  • Price: c.$620

Eufy RoboVac 30C

www.eufylife.com

In a completely different price bracket, the RoboVac isn’t as ‘sophisticated’as the other two in this short list, but it’s a good little system despite that. Features include the capacity to increase suction when the system recognises it is covering a tough bit. Like all three systems in this selection it fits under most furniture and can spot the difference between carpet and a hard floor.

  • Battery life: 100-minutes
  • Capacity: 0.5-litres
  • Price: c.$300

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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