Calling all inventors
Get your better mousetrap ready now. Established market is ready for you as well as demonstrated revenue generation. Become a multi-millionaire almost overnight. Just make the damn thing able to clean well. Is that too much to ask?
Since the introduction of Hoover?s bag-on-a-stick upright vacuum cleaner in 1919, vacuum cleaners have always had issues with their ability to do what they are supposed to do: clean well.
Manual or robot, there is always room for a better design for a better machine, whether it?s a Dyson rollerball dueling with a Roomba or a Roomba dueling with its own robot competition.
People have tangled with vacuuming up after themselves since Hoover and have had enough with hoses and pipes and finding a place to park the contraption between cleanings.
Enter the opportunity for people to free themselves from cleaning bondage, even if the mechanical servant doesn?t do a good job and even if it costs a bundle of cash.
Winning over the marketplace
With nearly 10 million units sold since its introduction in 2002, the Roomba (Electrolux Trilobite was first with prototype, 1997 and commercial product, 2001) is still the best of an ever-growing bunch of robot vacuum cleaners.
They are, whether manual or robot, all pricey. Consumer Reports says of the manuals: ?We’ve found that high-priced, feature-laden vacuum cleaners don?t necessarily perform better. In fact, you can find a quality vacuum for $400 or less.?
Well, for that kind of money, one can score a quality ?robovac?: iRobot?s Roomba 760, which Consumer Reports calls the best of the robovacs, is $450.
The entry fee to relieve oneself of cleaning chores?and own the better of the robot lot?is $450. Vacuum parity between manual and robovac is here. So the real differentiator is not cleaning pizzazz or cash outlay, it?s the laziness factor, and millions of people have opted for it over the past decade.
Consumer Reports takes a look
Of course, come time for the Christmas shopping season, robovacs will be on lots of gift lists, and come time for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, they will all be vying for consumer and media attention as best-of-show status.
Consumer Reports, however, is out with a pre-Holiday Season/pre-CES preview of its take on the most effective robot cleaners.
After testing the leading robovacs, the lab boys at Consumer Reports concluded: ?The bottom line. No robotic vacuum can match the deep cleaning you?ll get with the best upright and canister vacuums.?
Floors and carpets around the world still await a better mousetrap. A tested market, albeit a highly saturated market, exists with millions of potential customers who?ll gladly ante up $400 to $500 for a robotic vacuum; even it doesn?t clean all that well.
You could be the James Murray Spangler of robovac fame. Spangler?s the guy who invented the Hoover prototype, who then sold it to his cousin?s husband, William “Boss” Hoover, and subsequently lived off the royalties for the rest of his life.
Here?s your competition:
CONSUMER REPORTS?High prices, missed areas, and a tendency to close doors behind them have given robotic vacuums a reputation for being novelties more than necessities. Our tests of three new robotic vacuums show that robovacs are getting better, though one is clearly the best of this trio.
iRobot Roomba 760
The $450 iRobot Roomba 760 is the only model that picked up every piece of paper, all the cereal and sand, and virtually all the rice we laid down on our test carpet. It also found its way out of tight spots and around extension cords.
And like the others, you can program it not to run when guests or children are around. A random pattern with more passes over the same spot helped account for its cleaning, though that also meant the Roomba roved around our 12×16-foot test area four to five times longer than the other two before it returned to its charging base.
LG Hom-Bot Square LRV790R
The LG proved to be the quietest and, at $800, the most expensive by far. Instead of cleaning in a random pattern like the Roomba, the LG Hom-Bot Square LRV790R goes back and forth and typically covers a spot just once.
A ?turbo? mode kicks in on carpets, while a spot-cleaning mode lets the LG circle over a 4- or 5-foot area for several minutes. But it cleaned less thoroughly than the Roomba, picking up most of the rice and sand but simply pushing around some of the cereal.
It couldn?t pick up the paper we dropped on bare floors. And it had trouble sidestepping power cords and narrow objects.
Contrary to its name, the $400 Neato XV-21 left the most litter behind while making the most noise. Its straight-line pattern picked up all the cereal from bare floors?and most of it from our carpet?and got most of the rice and sand.
But the Neato couldn?t pick up paper. It also tended to trap itself between chair legs and could end up stopping short of its charging base as it ran down.
The bottom line. No robotic vacuum can match the deep cleaning you?ll get with the best upright and canister vacuums. We also suggest thinking twice about any robotic vacuum if you have shag carpeting or area rugs.
Otherwise, consider the iRobot Roomba 760 for its less-lavish price. And consider it only for maintenance between primary vacuuming, not as an alternative to an upright or canister.
Now get cracking?and make sure it gets the dog hairs.