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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Vacuum Robot Reviews

Looking to buy your first vacuum robot? Recently I did as well, and I spent a lot of time researching for which vacuum robot to get. If you want to read my advice, take a look around my site, and you will get a lot information about my decision and how it's handling up after some use. I will keep updating the site.

But I'm not gonna tell you which one to get. The best advice is to read around on some of the following sites, which gives a lot of useful information about a lot of automatic robot vacuum cleaners, and make up your own opinion.

I've made a collection of my favorite sites with a lot of vacuum robot reviews which come in handy when taking the final step to buy one of these precious helpers.

How to vacuum cleaners operate (good way to make up an opinion about how smart they are):
First you should take a look at this site. It's in german, but their illustrations tell you the most. On this page they have tested a lot of different robot vacuum cleaners with reviews, and have videos showing each robots path in the same environment with obstacles. Take a look.
24 robots:
The Vorwerk Kobold vr100:
Just click around on the site and you will find a lot more information.

Forum with a lot of information:
On this forum you will find a lot of information from experiences useres, as well as you can ask questions and get feedback. Click around and you will learn a lot.

Webpage with reviews dedicated to vacuum robot reviews:
This page is dedicated for you.. Doesn't need any more of a presentation.

Some youtube videos:
Neato vs irobot roomba speed test:

Neato vs Roomba suction/dirt collection ability:

Vorwerk VR100 (remember this vacuum cleaner has improved a lot with newers firmwares):
Neato XV 11/15:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vorwerk Kobold VR100 or Neato XV 11/XV 15/XV 21?

What's the difference?
The Vorwerk Kobold VR100 is a german version of the american Neato. What the germans have done with this device is really "tasty" for anyone wanting a quality automatic vacuum cleaner. They added a better battery, with the Vorwerk Kobold VR100 the device now has a lithium battery. This makes it last a lot longer without having to replace the battery. They also added a new brush which compared to the XV11 which is supposed to be better at picking up dust from rugs and other fiber materials. Next they added a better filter which makes a better airflow and a less noisy device. In the end, this is the best part in my opinion; they added a spinning sidebrush.

The only problem is getting the Vorwerk. In germany and the uk it is readily available to order. If you live in the rest of europe or the US, it's quite a bit harder to get, plus handling any guarantee claims can be quite a pain.

My point and advise?
If you are on a budget or located outside Germany/UK, pick the Neato Robotics XV11 or XV15. It does a great job compared to all other robots on the market. But, if you are willing to spend some extra bucks, go for the Vorwerk Kobold VR100. It's a MUCH better choice then the Neato XV21 or XV25.

Does the sidebrush really make a difference?
Yes it does. It makes the device a lot better at picking up dust and dirt along walls and other edges. Take a look around the room you are (hopefully) sitting in right now. Where does all the dirt and dust end up? It's mainly alongside the walls, and that's also where most automatic vacuum cleaners end up missing the spots.

Here's a video to prove my point:

What about updates?
The Kobold Vorwerk VR100 also seems to be more aggressive on pushing out updates. I.e. lately they came with version 3.1 of the firmware. This makes a hughe improvement on the vacuum cleaners ability to clean edges. Take a look at the following video which shows the difference between the firmware revisions:

What's the pricetag?
The VR100 is about 650EUR on germany, or 600GBP in the uk from retailers. But if you buy it from ebay you can get it under 600EUR, and this way international buyers can also get a hold of this device. But be handling guarantee claims can be a problem. Ordering from germany is no problem via ebay.

Where can I get it if I'm not in the uk or germany?
Read the previous answer please.

Where should I buy a Neato?
You can buy it most places, but ordering online is probably the easiest way. If you want to give me a "tip" as well, please consider using my link to order the Neato XV-11 from Amazon. It won't make it any more expensive for you, but it will help me out a bit.

Avoid Kobold Vorwerk VR100/Neato getting stuck underneath furniture

If you have a Neato Robotics XV 21, XV 15, XV 11 or a Kobold Vorwerk VR100 you might know the following problem. While the automatic robot vacuumer tries to go underneath some piece of furniture, either it be a sofa, tv bench or a bed, it slips underneath and end up getting stuck because it's laser don't spot it due to the laser being positioned some mm lower then the actual heighth of the device

If you got wooden floors without rugs or other tidy places to hide the magnetic strips it can be somewhat hard to either lower or heighten the furniture. But I found a solution, and I am very happy with it.

I went to the hardware store and bought something named "multipurpose adhesive gasket", made by GEKO. It's somewhat a multipurpose list with with adhesive on it, so it's ready to mount just about anywhere. With this you can add the missing mm's missing underneath your furniture to make the Neato or Kobold Vorwerk understand that it should try to go underneath. The one I bought adds additional 17mm to the furniture.

What also is nice is that the material is really soft and a swamp-like dark-grey material. This way it's hard to spot underneath your furniture and if you try to go underneath it's so soft it wont hurt the robot. Having completely black material isn't good as it's harder to spot for the laser.

Currently it's working great. But on certain material's it wont stick that good. Make sure to not stretch it while sticking it to textile-materials (some sofas). A tip can be to add just a tad of a strong glue with like 15cm spacing on hard to stick materials.