One thing that I’ve always dreamed about is having my own personal assistant – both at work and at home, but so far that hasn’t worked out so well. While my prospects for getting a personal assistant at work are remote at best as I simply can’t afford the extra help, finding a home-based assistant seems to be a little more realistic these days, and I’m not talking about Siri. The robot vacuum cleaners we’ve been reviewing on this site are your own personal assistant – at least when it comes to housework. I’d like a butler too, but I think that’s still a few years out.

One particular model I came across the other day has a lot of the features you find on the higher end models, but it’s available for purchase for less than $300. While that’s not a minor purchase, it’s still a reasonable price. It can’t clean your counters or wash the dishes, but it can do a great job on your floors; that’s a great start.

Sweeps, Vacuums, and Mops

If you want a robotic vacuum cleaner that does more than just vacuum then you can do a lot worse than the bObi Robotic Vacuum Cleaner. This vacuum not only vacuums, but it also sweeps and mops. Personally I was a little leery about buying a robotic vacuum cleaner because I didn’t see how much time it would really save me if I still have to do the mopping myself. It was a comfort to find a unit like this that can actually do the sweeping and vacuuming and, with just a simple mop attachment, mop up the floors as well.

Sterilize Your Environment

A very useful feature that seems to be fairly common on more expensive robotic vacuum cleaners is the ability to sterilize your floors using UV light. The great thing about bObi is that it’s not only quite reasonably priced, but it also includes this feature built right in. The reason UV light works so well at getting rid of germs is because it actually damages their DNA by causing a reaction between molecules within the DNA structure of germs. Sorry for the scientific explanation, but I came across it myself while researching robotic vacuum cleaners and thought it would be interesting to share.

Charges Itself

Another common feature of expensive robotic vacuum cleaners is that they come with their own charging base that the unit can automatically return to. The same is true of this device, which was again a pleasant surprise for such a reasonably- priced model. Whenever the vacuum cleaner’s battery drops below 15% it will automatically attempt to return to the base and recharge itself. This ensures that it never completely drains itself and that it’s ready for the next clean.

Program It for Your Schedule

The bObi vacuum also allows you to program it for a schedule that suits you. If you’ve got young children and you work during the day you probably don’t want to set the machine to clean between the hours of 3 and 7 PM. With the built-in programming feature of this unit you can set it up to automatically begin cleaning while you’re out of the home – if you’ve got pets, though, I’d be sure that they don’t have access to the floors your cleaning while you’re away from home or you might come home to a machine that’s lost a battle with your pet.

Take the Reins

Once in a while you might not be completely satisfied with how the robot vacuum cleaner approaches the cleaning of a particular room. When that’s the case you can simply take over control of the machine yourself with the remote control. Your thumbs may get a little sore from tapping on the controls, but at least you’ll be off your feet and that’s a welcome comfort after a hard day at work. It’s also got a touchscreen display which makes using the remote that much simpler.

Protection from Germs

One of my favorite features of this device is that it has a built in HEPA filter – if you’re not familiar with what one of these does, it basically takes care of 99.7% of the germs in your home. It includes a mesh filter that’s so fine it will even trap tobacco smoke. It has absolutely no problem taking care of pet dander, mold, or dust mites. In fact, with this built-in function the air you breathe in your home will be far healthier than it’s probably ever been.

The Bad and the Ugly

Not surprisingly, this personal vacuum assistant does have a couple of issues. For one thing, the mop attachment has no way of staying wet. You have to wet the fabric yourself before attaching it to the machine and it will quickly run dry before you cover most large rooms. A possible solution is to spray some cleaning solution over the floors before the machine begins its work, but a better solution would have been for the manufacture to include a water tank.

The other issue that seems to be a problem for a few customers with this unit is that it has a difficult time finding its base for recharging. It kind of defeats the purpose of including this feature if it’s simply not going to work. However, it seems to be a small minority of customers that have run into this problem; most people feel the self-charging function works just fine.

The Verdict

Overall the bObi Robotic Vacuum Cleaner seems to be one of the better models on the market – at least for those that are reasonably priced. I love the idea of a touchscreen remote control and I like the mop attachment although, as stated above, I wish it had a holding tank to keep applying water as the device mops. You can’t really beat it for the money though, and if you’re trying to keep your costs down this is a great choice.