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Do Robot Vacuums Break Easily?

Robotic vacuums have become a trusty sidekick in the battle against dust and pet hair. But just how reliable are they?
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Robot vacuums have become all the rage in recent years. After all, who wouldn’t want a helpful little gizmo zooming around your home, cleaning up messes left and right with minimum supervision? But before you sink hundreds of dollars into a quality robot vacuum, it’s worth figuring out just how long these kinds of gadgets last. They may not be as durable as traditional vacuums, but are they as pretty as some people say?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the durability of robot vacuums in general, some of their downsides, and the factors that could affect their lifespan.

Battery Shelf Life

All robot vacuums are battery-power, that much is a given since they’re designed to roam around your home and clean with minimal invasiveness. The thing is, their batteries are usually built into the vacuum itself and are often irreplaceable. That being said, the device’s operational duration will steadily decline as time goes on.

It is believed that the batteries in a robot vacuum cleaner will effectively last around three to five years and this could be higher or lower depending on how well battery health is maintained. Excessive usage will lead to more charging cycles which, in turn, will result in a shortened lifespan. And once the batteries are shot, your vacuum will probably end up dying repeatedly in the middle of its cleaning sessions, rendering it all but useless.

Brand Importance

While it’s not exactly a given, the general rule of thumb is that robotic vacuums from reputable brands last significantly longer and are generally more durable than ones from obscure brands. The main reason is that bigger brands are more likely to use premium materials that have a longer lifespan and are less likely to break from everyday wear and tear.

Renowned companies are also more inclined to do deeper research and adhere to stricter standards, resulting in a tougher and more long-lasting product. Moreover, they usually come with a warranty that can serve as a sort of indication regarding how long the machine is expected to last without issue. That and the company will help you fix certain types of damage, which is always a plus.

If you’re interested in buying a robotic vacuum then make sure to read our guide

General Maintenance

Another thing that significantly factors into a robotic vacuum’s durability and how easily it might break down is how often you perform maintenance on it. Properly caring for your vacuum can greatly increase its life span and reduce the chances of some of its parts breaking. Cleaning it once a month would be the bare minimum and you should make sure to do so meticulously.

Also, if you find that the device is acting or sounding strange, you should get it looked at right away and not just wait for it to break down. If you hear it making odd noises, for example, then that’s a good sign that there’s something up with the vacuum, and leaving it be could lead to broken parts or permanent damage. Here are some regular maintenance tips:

  • Cleaning out the filters often because the more clogged they are, the less effective they will be.
  • Empty out the dust bin/bag as often as you can since letting it fill up can clog the machine and cause some major damage.
  • Take good care of the motorized brushes on the device. They’re responsible for picking up all the dirt, human and pet hair, and other messes, making it a vital part of the device. Grime and other nasties often get trapped in the brush, which you should clean out routinely so the vacuum cleans as it should and to avoid the brushes being damaged.

How You Use The Robot Vacuum

As with most machines, the more you use a robot vacuum, the lower its lifespan will be and the more likely it is that some of its parts run into trouble. This effect is amplified by the level of dirt that generally accumulates in your home and whether or not you have things like carpets that your robot vacuum will have to work harder to clean. Having to brush and vacuum carpets and rugs on a routine basis can quickly wear out some of the robot’s parts and may end up breaking more easily.

You should also consider the model you have and the job you’re asking it to do. Certain robot vacuums allow for height adjustment in order to accommodate a high-pile carpet. Not adjusting this properly could hurt your device in the long run. Also, robotic vacuums were never meant for heavy messes and forcing them to try to clean these types of clutter can be very detrimental to the device’s longevity.

Here are some more things you should keep in mind when it comes to using your robot vacuum:

Don’t leave power cords lying around

The motorized brushes on your robotic vacuum could strip away the protective covering on a power cord over time, leaving them dangerously exposed. Further brushing of these cords could cause serious damage to your little gizmo.

Take care of spills

A lot of robot vacuums aren’t equipped to handle liquids, so it’s best if you mop up any spills that might be in the device’s way before it starts cleaning. A robot vacuum taking in liquids could wreak havoc on its parts and may lead to irreparable damage and the voiding of your warranty.

Do some tidying beforehand

Robot vacuums were designed primarily for a very light cleaning cycle and the general upkeep of floors, so it’s good practice to clean up larger messes and stray materials, like toys, loose change, nails, glass shards, etc. Leaving these just lying around will likely lead to your robot vacuum attempting to suck them up. Doing so has a high chance of broken parts as a result.


Robot vacuums may not be as tough as their upright vacuums, but they can last a decent length of time assuming you avoid certain pitfalls and take proper care of the device. Getting one from a solid brand can also help quite a bit, despite the often steeper price range. Treat them right and a robot vacuum can be quite the asset in keeping cleaner floors and a spotless home.


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