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Do you really need to buy a self-vacuuming robot vacuum?

Many robot vacuums are smart enough to clean your home automatically, but most lack the ability to empty trash cans. That means you’ll still be messing around with a sloppy robot vacuum — which kind of defeats the entire purpose. However, if you step up to a premium model like the iRobot Roomba j7+, you’ll benefit from a device that knows how to empty itself when the trash can is full.

The capacity can even be found on some mid-range models, but is a self-emptying robot vacuum necessary? Or should you save the extra cash and opt for a beginner bot that lacks the feature? Here’s a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks associated with self-emptying robot vacuums.

What is a self-discharging system?

When a robot vacuum sweeps, it siphons debris into an internal storage system—usually a relatively small dustbin. Depending on the size of your home and how dirty the floor is, you may have to empty the trash every two or three cleaning cycles.

The self-emptying system provides a dock for the robot vacuum so that it not only charges the device, but also attaches to a series of vacuums that pull dirt and debris from the litter box into a much larger storage bin. Think of it like the bag in a traditional vacuum cleaner. Simply empty the base station every 30 or 60 days instead of every 2 or 3 days.

Benefits of a self-emptying robot vacuum

The convenience of a robot vacuum is that it does the cleaning for you. The more hands off, the better. Imagine a busy parent in the middle of the week. They handle the kids, work, and a host of other household chores. In the middle of it all, they have to stop to empty the void. Not having to vacuum is an advantage, but if you have to stop several times during your day just so the robot can continue its work—especially in a large home—those benefits are somewhat negated.

The self-emptying system also means you can run the robot vacuum more often. If you know you have to step in and empty the trash all day, you may be hesitant to use the broom more than is absolutely necessary. On the other hand, if it empties itself, you can run it more often and keep your house cleaner.

Following the same line of thought, you can make better use of a robot vacuum in larger homes. If you have to empty your vacuum several times at a time, that means you can’t really get the most out of your cleaning schedule. You must be home when the vacuum cleaner is running. With the self-emptying base, even people in larger homes can set their vacuum to turn on and forget it.

Storage bags inside self-emptying systems are designed to contain dirt and debris leaving nothing behind; In other words, even with a bag full of pet hair and dander, you don’t have to worry about allergies from just being near the base station. Plus, the reflex most people have when emptying a robot’s trash is eliminated, so there’s no thin layer of dust on your hands after you’ve emptied it!

Cons of a self-emptying robot vacuum

With robotic vacuums, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives — but there are still things to be aware of.

The first is the size. A robot vacuum requires a certain amount of space on the sides and front of it (usually 1.5 feet and 4.5 feet, respectively), but you can often tuck it under a table or put it out of the way until needed. With the addition of a self-emptying base, it takes up much more space.

The iRobot Roomba i7 Plus Clean Base, for example, measures 19 inches long by 12 inches wide, with a slight slope in front of it on which the Roomba rests. It requires a lot more floor space than a robot vacuum on its own.

Another downside is the noise. While the process of emptying the trash can is short high. While a robot vacuum isn’t quiet—it is a vacuum cleaner, after all—most are quiet enough that they don’t actively disturb you. On average, a robot vacuum is somewhere in the 60 to 70 dB range. The self-discharge operation is easily 10dB louder.

The last downside is the cost. The iRobot Clean Base costs an additional $250, while the dirt storage bags are about $5 each and are offered in packs of three. The same can be said for the Shark IQ’s self-discharge base, which requires the same $250 additional fee. This is not change for the pocket, especially when combined with the cost of the robot vacuum itself.

Is a self-emptying robot vacuum worth it?

A robot vacuum without a self-emptying base is worth it, but it sure is worth it more Worth it with one. The self-emptying base adds a reasonable amount of value and convenience to any compatible robotic vacuum. It is especially valuable if you have individuals in the home who are more sensitive to dust and allergens. You are less likely to re-enter debris if you go with a self-emptying robot.

It is more valuable if you live in a large home with a lot of floor space to cover. The robot vacuum will clean more efficiently, and you won’t have to empty it multiple times at a time.

On the other hand, if you live in a studio apartment, it might be a good idea to just buy a robot vacuum and invest in a self-vacuuming base later. The large size of a base station takes up a decent amount of space and won’t yield many benefits in a smaller area.

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