Troubleshooting Robot Vacuums

Robot vacuums can be a huge time saver, but what should you do when yours starts acting up or refuses to work altogether? Here are a few quick fixes.

By Coleen FignerPublishedShareTweetEmail

Robot vacuums can be a huge time saver, but what should you do when yours starts acting up – or refuses to work altogether? Fortunately, most problems with a robot vacuum can be fixed quickly, and a little troubleshooting goes a long way toward getting our little robot friend with benefits back in business.

It might seem like a no-brainer but the most obvious solution is often the right one. Troubleshoot your system to ensure that your vacuum is getting a full charge. Incomplete charging, or quick depletion of battery life, could mean that something is wrong with your charging system or the battery itself. It could be as quick a fix as cleaning the contacts. Because these are located low on the device, they can easily get dusty and dirty, preventing a proper contact for charging.


Related: Choosing The Best Robot Vacuum For Your Space Troubleshooting Robot Vacuums

The battery memory effect is another common problem for rechargeable batteries in robot vacuums, meaning over time the battery won’t hold a complete charge. Even the best robot vacuums will have this problem eventually. If the battery charge isn’t meeting its run time, it may need replacing. These can be removed and replaced easily. Be sure to use the correct battery type for your robot vacuum.

Robot Vacuum Troubleshooting – Dig into the Drive System

Some solutions may be more technical in nature. You may need to refresh your robot vacuum’s brain by resetting it back to the default factory settings. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions for your brand. This can solve such issues as the vacuum launching a cleaning when one isn’t scheduled. If checking your scheduling app doesn’t resolve the issue, a reset may be required. A quick reset can also help if your device isn’t connecting to Wi-Fi. If your robot vacuum isn’t moving correctly, check the front directional wheel which steers the device. Make sure that hairs or a string aren't wound around the wheelbase on the directional wheel or any other wheels.

If your robot vacuum is turning around in circles, it usually indicates a problem with the side sensors. If it is continually backing up, it could be a problem with the front sensor which watches for drops. Try dusting the sensors off with a dry cloth to remove any debris that could be an obstacle. Dark spots on carpet patterns, and dark squares on tile floors, can also cause backing up. Even the best robot vacuums aren’t yet able to discern the difference between a drop and a dark spot on the floor or carpet surface. It will think the dark place is a drop, and the cliff sensors will cause it to retreat.

If your robot vacuum doesn’t seem to be cleaning as well as it used to, check the roller brushes to make sure they are clean. Many of the best robot vacuum cleaners come with tools for removing wound hair and string from roller brushes. You can also use scissors to cut through wound up hair for easier removal. Be sure to keep your filters clean, and empty the dustbin frequently. An overfilled dustbin and clogged filters can greatly affect your vacuum’s performance. If troubleshooting your robot vacuum hasn’t resolved the issue, contact your manufacturer for advice.

Next: The Best Robot Vacuums (Updated 2020)