Ask John Kooter, owner House of Vacuums in Kennett Square about the popular robot vacuum craze, and you’re likely to learn a lot. John knows you have more things to worry about than just cleaning. You need to make sure that your family is healthy, your home is safe and secure, and your appliances are working properly. With all this stress on your plate, a robot vacuum cleaner can seem like the answer to all of your problems. The House of Vacuums staff gets asked all the time, “Can a robot vacuum replace a standard vacuum cleaner or central vacuum system?” While it may be true that robot vacuums save time and energy for busy homeowners, they don’t replace regular deep cleanings at all! In fact, they could even do more harm than good if you’re not careful about how often you use them. Here’s what they mean:

What robot vacuums are good at

Robot vacuums are best suited to light cleaning. They’re ideal for uncluttered spaces, with low-traffic areas that aren’t too large. If you have a small area to clean or are looking for something to do daily in between using a traditional vacuum, then a robot vacuum is the way to go! They’re great at gobbling up dust bunnies and moderate amounts of pet hair in between more thorough cleanings.

Robot vacuums clean surface-level dirt.

Robot vacuums are great at cleaning surface-level dirt. You will still need a deep cleaning vacuum with tools to clean upholstery, carpets, nooks, corners, and crannies that your robot vacuum cannot access.

  • They don’t clean stairs: A robot can only climb so many stair steps before it gives up or falls down the stairs with you in tow. Or maybe you have an especially long staircase? Then you definitely need a good vacuum tool to get into all those corners and crevices on your stairs that your robot totally missed!

They don’t clean underneath furniture: You probably have a bunch of stuff on the floor under your couch, bed, or dresser that you can’t see from above. It might be a box of shoes or a pile of clothes that only you know about! But does your robot vacuum know about it? No! While most people are fine with just having their surface floors cleaned, sometimes it’s also nice to get into those hard-to-reach areas where dirt and dust

Problems with robot vacuums

Even if you have a robot vacuum cleaner, there are some things it cannot do. If you’re unfortunate enough to have pet accidents in your house, then a robot vacuum will definitely not clean up pet messes. In fact, a robot vacuum can accidentally run over the soiled area and spread the mess creating a problem of nightmare proportions. Some newer robot vacuums can detect and avoid pet accidents. If you have pets, you need to check very carefully that the robot vacuum you choose is smart enough to detect and avoid potential hazards like this.

Robot vacuums also don’t offer much suction power compared with traditional upright and canister models, which means they may not be able to pick up heavier debris like dirt or mud on tile floors or deeper embedded dirt in carpets. And because most of these devices are battery-powered, their run times tend to be limited—typically around 30 minutes per charge—so even if your home is small enough that one charge will take care of all its rooms, if there’s any kind of major spill or flood that requires multiple passes over an area then you’ll definitely want something else helping out!

There is no substitution for a regularly scheduled deep cleaning of your home, especially in bedrooms and high-traffic areas.

According to Kooter, “Robot vacuum cleaners are great, but they’re not a substitute for a good traditional vacuum cleaner like the German-made Miele vacuums and other brands available at House of Vacuums”. There is no substitution for a regularly scheduled deep cleaning of your home, especially in bedrooms and high-traffic areas.

Without the deep cleaning of carpeted areas provided by traditional vacuum cleaners with better suction and agitation, your carpets can get matted down, loaded with deep down dirt, and not last as long. With carpets and other flooring surfaces in your home representing a major investment, it’s a good idea to always use a more powerful traditional vacuum to deep clean on a regular basis, in addition to a robot vacuum.


We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that while not all robot vacuum cleaners are created equal, they do offer a valuable service. If your home is mostly empty surfaces, then the little amount of dirt a robot vacuum can pick up might be worth its price. But if you have pets or kids who make messes on the floor regularly (or even just once in a while), it’s best to either stick to a traditional vacuum cleaner or use a robot vacuum in conjunction with a more powerful upright or canister machine. If you have more questions about robot vacuums or the best way to clean anything in your home or business, come see John at House of Vacuums in Kennett Square and serving all of Chester County PA.