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If you’re wondering “how often should I run my robot vacuum?” then there’s good news and bad news. I like to get the bad news out of the way first, so here goes. There’s no one correct answer. The question usually comes up when people want to know how often to send their robot vacuum around the house to keep it clean rather than with any technical reasons in mind. There are simply too many differentiating factors from person to person to give a concrete answer.

Your first question should be how dirty your house gets. If you live alone, go out to work every day from Monday to Friday and prefer socialising outside the home when you’re not at work, then you probably don’t need a daily clean from your robovac. Unless things are going on in the house that neither you nor I know about, nothing is happening to make your carpets dirty!

Contrast that lifestyle with a family of four with a couple of dogs that enjoy a walk in the fields. You might need to run the robot vacuum multiple times each day, presumably after every walk with the dog.

I prefer to answer questions like this one with a proper answer, but that’s not always possible. In this case, I’d suggest keeping an eye on the floors and carpets throughout your home when you first start using a robot vacuum. Ideally, a completed clean will lead to floors where dirt and dust are noticeably absent. Keep an eye on how long it takes before that’s no longer the case. Even the person in the first example will notice dust build up over time, and setting the robot vacuum to run once each week should be sufficient to ensure that this doesn’t get out of hand.

How Often Should I Run my Robot Vacuum Upstairs?

I’m in the privileged position of having one robot vacuum upstairs and one downstairs. However, that’s not the norm and is only a result of having tried so many and keeping some of them for longer than the review period.

Generally speaking, the floors upstairs shouldn’t be exposed to as much dirt and dust as their downstairs counterparts. For me, that means keeping the less powerful robot vacuum with a smaller dust box capacity (an iRobot Roomba 671) upstairs, and the more powerful model with a larger capacity (the Eufy RoboVac 15C MAX) downstairs.

Between them, that means less emptying and more consistency. I tend to run the Eufy downstairs every morning on a schedule. Upstairs, I tend to do once each week. That’s based on two adults and a young child with no pets. It gets the job done for me, and the scheduling comes in very handy indeed. I’ll run the downstairs RoboVac in the time between waking up and getting downstairs, which usually gives it just enough time if I’m in a rush. It’s not really loud enough to disturb my sleep, but I don’t want to interrupt anyone else with it.

Can Running a Robot Vacuum Often Affect Battery Life?

Robot vacuums are electronic devices like any other. I’ve got a friend who writes elsewhere on technology, and it doesn’t take all that much to set him off on how batteries hold back technology more than anything else. On a fundamental level, the more you charge and discharge the battery in any electronic device, the more wear takes place. As that happens, the capacity of the battery reduces.

While answering yes to the question posed is technically correct, whether it has any real effect on users depends entirely on your needs. From a personal perspective, the iRobot Roomba 671 I use upstairs has been used at least 300 days a year for around five years. It still gets the job done as well today as it always has. Part of that comes down to the fact that the stated battery life is 90 minutes. Even if, like my iPhone reports, it now operates at 80% of peak performance, that’s still 72 minutes of cleaning. In my home, a three-bedroom semi-detached, it takes about 25 minutes to do upstairs and around 35 for downstairs as there’s more space that isn’t covered by furniture.

I’m cutting it fine and any further degradation could potentially lead to issues, or would if it wasn’t only tasked with cleaning upstairs nowadays. Fortunately, Roomba spares, along with extra gear from other major robot vacuum manufacturers, isn’t difficult to come by. Of all the tech components in a robovac, the battery is the one that has been made most painless to change in virtually every model. A replacement Roomba battery doesn’t have to cost the earth and Eufy, Bagotte and all the other major players have spares on Amazon to counter any degradation.

Of course, this will often be a last resort. I’d suggest working your robot vacuum as often as you need to. Only when it physically can’t do what you need it to any more should a battery replacement take precedence.

Emptying Your Robot Vacuum

While dust box capacities aren’t inherently related to the subject at hand, there is a link. The more you use your robot vacuum and the greater the amount it picks up, the more often you’ll need to empty it. Some Roombas are notoriously stingy on dust box capacity. My Roomba 671 holds 0.3 litres of dirt, dust and whatever else it picks up. With that said, most other models like the Roomba 981 and Roomba 606 meet our Robovac benchmark of 0.6 litres. The largest capacity of any robot vacuum we’ve reviewed to date is to be found on the Neato Botvac D402 with its 0.7-litre capacity. Anything around 0.6 litres should do the trick.

Again, how often your robotic vacuum can go without emptying depends on how often you use it and how dirty your floors get. I just wanted to mention emptying as it’s another deciding factor in choosing how often to use your robot vacuum, as the more you use it, the more frequently it’ll require emptying.

How Often Should I Run My Robot Vacuum – In Summary

I like to use my robot vacuum each morning. That’s more than enough to take care of dirt and dust buildup throughout the day. You may need to do it more or less frequently, but that’s a happy medium, especially with most robot vacuums supporting schedules.

I wouldn’t worry all that much about battery degradation through excessive use. Most robovacs can do the job they’re intended for several times over on a full charge. Many of the most modern robot vacuums will automatically head back to their charging dock when they’re low on power and pick up where they left off when sufficiently charged. If the worst does come to worst, you can usually find a replacement battery at a small fraction of the cost of a replacement device.

In general, keep a close eye on what your robot vacuum achieves during a clean cycle in the early stages and then decide from there how often you really need to let it run for it to do its thing and stay on top of the housework.

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