Robot vacuums came into the market almost two decades ago. At first, they were a great idea that didn't live up to the hype. They were not very effective at cleaning in general and caused more a headache than anything.
Since then, the technology behind them has improved dramatically.
Did you know, at this point, 20% of the vacuums in homes are now robot vacuums? That is a large chunk of the population who have embraced this new effective technology.
bObsweep and Roomba are two of the biggest names in robot vacuums, so you've obviously heard of both of them already to have landed on this article.
Since most robot vacuums look very similar, it can be hard to tell whats what. In this article, we are going to break down the features, pros, and cons of two of the most popular robot vacuums you can buy.
Before we get started, here's a quick preview of everything we are going to cover.
13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6
13.8 x 13.8 x 3.9
Full Bin Indicator
Vacuum + Mop
Here's the bottom line:
You can read all the details of this post if you want to know everything, but here's what's important, and what you probably came here to find out.
The Roomba 900 Series Robot vacuums are the high-end, go-to robot vacuums. Overall, they are more high tech than the bObsweep, but you'll pay a little more for it.
The Roomba is a better long term investment and is best if you need a reliable, lower maintenance robot vacuum.
The bObsweep Robot vacuum is a smaller player in the market, but has it's place. It is a lower-tech, lower cost option.
The bObsweep does also double as a mop, which is a feature the Roomba does not have. This would be the main reason to buy the bObsweep over the Roomba.
Now onto the details....
The setup process for robot vacuum cleaners in general isn't very difficult. Unlike a traditional vacuum, you likely don't have to actually assemble much of anything. At most, you'll have to attach brushes.
The same can be said for both of these.
For the bObsweep Pethair vacuum, you only have to do a few things before you're up and running and ready to clean. First, you need to install the side brush, which you'll need the included screw and screwdriver for. Unlike the Roomba, bObsweep suggests only using one sidebrush and keeping the second as a spare. Second, you have to find a suitable area for the robot charging station. Let the bObsweep fully charge before attempting to clean. In the mean time, you can start the syncing process and get your robot and remote control set up and you're ready to go once fully charged.
For the Roomba, you simply have to remove the robot from the box, set up the charging area and let it charge overnight. While the bObsweep is by no means difficult to set up, the Roomba is just a bit simpler. You don't need any tools to get your Roomba up and running.
When it comes to design, there isn't a whole lot that changed from robot vacuum to robot vacuum. Generally speaking, they are all round(ish), with brushes, and some buttons or a screen on the top. Here's the design details about the bObsweep and Roomba vacuums that you need to know.
The bObsweep robot vacuum comes in a few different colors, but they all have the same control configurations. The dimensions of the bObsweep Pethair Plus is 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.9 inches, and it weighs 7.7 pounds.
On top of the robot, you have a screen with a variety of buttons and status areas so you can quickly see everything, and do everything all in one place. The display will tell you how much battery the robot has, what cleaning mode it is in, any potential issues, and allows you to start and stop a cleaning cycle.
The overall design of the bObsweep is a bit more complicated than the Roomba, so whether or not this is a good thing is up to personal preference.
The Roomba 960 only comes in one color - a greyish silver. The unit measures 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 inches, and it weighs 8.6 pounds, making it slightly smaller, but slightly heavier than the bObsweep.
On the top of the Roomba 960 you have a small control panel, which is much simpler than the bObsweep. You have a home button, a mode button, a clean button and a small screen. To start, pause, or stop a cleaning cycle, you hit the clean button. If you want to sent the robot home, you click the home icon, and similarly if you want to change the cleaning type (automatic, edge, spot), you can do so by clicking the mode button.
The Roomba does not display any potential issues like a clog or malfunctioning part, but you can check the status of the Roomba 960 within the app. There you can see everything from battery percentage to a map of your floor. The bObsweep is not wifi connected, and does not have an app option, so its forced to give you everything it has to offer on the actual robot. With the Roomba, you get the basics displayed on the vacuum, and the rest in the app.
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When it comes to vacuums, performance is everything. It's all fine and dandy if you have a super smart, super high tech robot vacuum, but if it doesn't do its job, it's a waste of money.
The bObsweep and Roomba robot vacuums are two of the top performers in the robot vacuum world, but there are a few small strengths and weaknesses you should consider.
Here's the results of testing the cleaning performance of these robots on multiple surfaces, cleaning rice, kitty litter, cereal, sugar, and flour.
Performance on wood:
bObsweep - On hardwood, the bObsweep did a really great job. It cleaned up nearly all of each type of debris, with the small exception of kitty litter. It cleaned up most of it, but left a few crumbs.
Roomba - On wood, the Roomba performed well, but not quite as well as the bObsweep did overall. It cleaned up nearly all of the debris but struggled with kitty litter, sugar, and flour. While it got most of it, there was still some left over that it missed.
Performance on Carpet:
bObsweep - On carpet, the bObsweep did not perform as well as it did with smaller debris as it did on wood. It was able to clean up nearly all of the rice and cereal and kitty litter but left almost half of the sugar and flour after multiple passes.
Roomba - The Roomba performed better on carpet than the bObsweep did. It was able to clean up more kitty litter, but also struggled with the finer debris, but not as much as the bObsweep did. It was able to clean over 2/3 of the sugar and flour, but still left a good amount behind.
Performance on Tile:
bObsweep - Similar to its performance on wood, the bObsweep did an excellent job on tile, but left behind some of the smaller particles, especially in the grout. It only cleaned about 80% of the flour, but did a good job cleaning almost all of the other debris.
Roomba - Like wood, the Roomba did good, but not as good as the bObsweep. It left more sugar and flour behind, especially in the grout, but performed overall very well on tile. It only left around 10% of the smaller particles behind and was able to completely clean the larger ones.
Brushes - Outside of suction power, the brushes that are used in the robot vacuum are what make or break its cleaning ability. The Roomba and bObsweep have a similar single brush roll and side brush design. The big difference between the Roomba and bObsweep brushes is that the Roomba ones are anti-tangle. This means that you won't have to worry about cutting out hair and fur from the brush roller as often with the Roomba as you'll have to with the bObsweep.
Maintenance - When it comes to maintenance, the bObsweep and the Roomba 900 series are similar. In general, robot vacuums don't require a ton of maintenance, but there are a few things to consider. Since the bObsweep does not have the anti-tangle brushes, you'll have to spend more time cleaning out clogs. However, the bObsweep does have a larger dustbin than the Roomba, which means it will have to be emptied less frequently.
Controls - Both the Roomba and the bObsweep robot vacuums can be schedule cleaning, and will run autonomously. The bObsweep comes with a remote control that can be used to change the cleaning mode, steering, scheduling and more. The Roomba has a similar setup, but is also wifi enabled. This means you can connect the Roomba with an app. The apps allows you to see the status of your vacuum, schedule cleanings, check battery, see a floor map, and control your robot.
Has Wifi - This is a huge plus. With wifi connectivity, you open yourself up to a plethora of features. With a wifi connected robot vacuum, you can control everything you need to within the app. With the Roomba 900 series, you can also see a floor map, schedule your cleaning cycles, check the stats of your machine and more.
Includes Virtual Walls - Virtual walls help keep your robot vacuum out of trouble. You can use the virtual walls to block off areas you want your Roomba to avoid, and also to close off a certain area you want the robot to focus more on.
Anti-Tangle Brushes - When it comes to ease of maintenance, anti-tangle brushes go a long way. The Roomba 900 series uses rubber rollers instead of traditional brushes which drastically reduces the amount of hair that gets stuck.
Cleaning cycle takes longer - While there's no doubt the Roomba does a great job cleaning, it's slower overall than the bObsweep. This isn't a huge deal unless you have a big house. Since the Roomba takes longer to clean, it may not be able to get to everything within a single charge.
More expensive - The Roomba 900 series are great, but the price tag can often times be a lot for some people to swallow. There are lower priced models like the 880 or 650, but you don't get all of the cool features the 900 series vacuums have to offer.
Big dust bin - The bigger the dust bin, the more you can pick up without having to empty it. The bObsweep can hold up to 100 mL of debris, making it one of the largest robot vacuum dust bins on the market.
Remote Control - Since the bObsweep isn't wifi connected, it definitely helps that it has a remote control. You can easily control your vacuum without having to get up to push the buttons on the top, schedule cleanings, change settings and more.
Complicated user interface - More isn't always better, at least if you ask me. While some people may like all the options you have on the bObsweep, for me, it was a bit much. It takes some getting used to, and could be simpler and accomplish the same thing.
Bulky - The actual size of the bObsweep is considered bulky by modern robot vacuum standards. It may have trouble getting under low furniture or into tight areas.
The Verdict: bObsweep or Roomba
From our tests, the clear winner is the Roomba 900 series. You get more features, better overall cleaning, a better battery, wifi connectivity, a smaller footprint, and it comes paired with an app. While it is more expensive, you get a better machine and the extra investment is worth it if you are looking for a long-term robot vacuum that will perform strongly for a long time.
Neither of these doing it for you? Check out our post of the best vacuums of 2018 to see the top cleaners of the year.
Now it's your turn!
Let us know what you think about our review. Comment below which robot vacuum you think is better and as always, let us know if you think we missed anything.