The Decision To Buy A Robot Cleaner
I’ve thought about getting a robot vacuum for quite some times, a year perhaps. But the thoughts came and went, sometimes unconvinced that a robot vacuum is intelligent enough to do its’ job well.
But I finally made that decision to get one before the Chinese New Year. I have pretty good reason for buying or so I told myself. With sensitive nose to dust, it makes me sneezy and I hate that I will take an hour to vacuum as I would vacuum the wall, the wardrobe and everything on sight which makes me takes longer than usual. And I have to shower each time after vacuum. Good enough reason to invest.
Which Robot Vacuum To Buy – Variety of Robot Vacuums in Malaysia – What to Look For?
So, begin the research to buy a suitable robot vacuum which will work efficiently, durable and cost effective. My budget is under RM1000 (about USD 310).
It isn’t easy to find the information I needed with the variety robot vacuums in Malaysia. Nobody gives much review on the brands. I gathered a few brands to look at : iRobot, Neato, Terrabot & iRova. There is also other brands but these brands are found Lazada and I’ve came across a few times. Other brands were not researched at all, either due to pricing or popularity: Asus AGAiT, Samsung, LG, Ecovacs Deebot, VBOT, Cleanmate, Corvan, Navibot, Roomba, Okusanno, etc.
With different brands, the specification is not standard thus making comparison a little difficult. The only things that I could easily compare is the dust bin capacity, the charging time, the working time, the battery and number of side brushes (somehow I feel that it seems more efficient with 2 side brush than one) and the noise level (check out the noise level of Terrabot, Neato and Cleanmate : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16vwz0v3NCI ).
Not to mention the features, whether it can prevents itself from failing off the stairs, floor disinfection with UV light, mop, self-charging (very common), scheduler, the cleaning mode (spiral, along the wall, Zig-zag, random, etc) and the floor type (carpet, hardwood, Pergo, linoleum, vinyl, and tile). Warranty period and budget place a very important rank as well and whether there is replacement part when some part dies.
One thing that I couldn't really compare is suction power (hardly mentioned) and how efficient the coverage on the floor and durability & reliability of the robot vacuum cleaners.
I saw iRova brand which is widely sold on Groupon & MyDeal but I couldn’t find out where is it made of and how is the performance of the robot; despite so many people has bought it (seen from the number of ‘sold’ in Groupon). The lowest range is from RM299 (iRova Robot Vacuum Cleaner K6 Blue) which is quite tempting at the price and seems to have good rating in Lazada. But it mentions lower power suction by a user.
iRova Robot Vacuum Cleaner K6 Blue
I thought of getting a higher end of iRova which is either the I-Rova Robotic Vacuum Cleaner KK8 (with 2 sides, yay!) at RM599* with HEPA filter and mop features but without UV light.
I-Rova Robotic Vacuum Cleaner KK8
Or the even higher end I-ROVA Robotic Vacuum Cleaner XR210 Silver at RM749 (Lazada price*) with UV light, mop but no mention of HEPA filter and only 1 side brush. Good review on Lazada website by the users. However, I was not fully convinced as I couldn’t find one single review by independent user on blog or forums.
I-ROVA Robotic Vacuum Cleaner XR210
On LowYat forum, I read that user mentioned that it is better to buy an international brand than those local or China brand and the brands mentioned was iRobot, Neato and Terrabot. iRobot is out of my league as it is more than RM2K, which I think is a ridiculous price to pay for a robot vacuum with my financial capacity. Of course everyone has different perspective when it comes to money, budget and expectation.
Next I was looking at Neato. It has quite good reviews in Amazon. The price is still over RM2K in Malaysia but if the price is about USD3xx and with the shipping I think it is still cheaper than buying in Malaysia. But the review in Amazon has a user said that he sent it for warranty for replacement for a couple of time and thus I think it really depends on luck; quite risky to ship from oversea.
I even had a friend’s friend who will ‘import’ and sell it locally; with the price cheaper than the retail price in Malaysia. However the warranty is only a month and the price is about RM1.65K for Neato XV-11 and RM1.8K for Neato XV-21. It is tempting, but the price is still out of my budget and the main risk is still warranty. She is using it herself and with few kids, she said it is really helpful. The reason she picks Neato over other brand is the navigation, no random movements. Fair enough.
Moving on to Terrabot brand. I still couldn’t figure out where is this robot from. From the website (Terrabot.net), you could pick up the countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia & Indonesia.) However only the first 3 is clickable! [I found out much later from the seller, after I purchased, that it is technology from Japan but made in China.]
I finally found a user blog about Terrabot Neo BL-21A and the review for the robot seems good enough for me. This model is priced at RM1388 at AeonBig with mop feature and UV light disinfection and higher battery capacity & 0.4L dust bin capacity. Sounds good!
Another model Terrabot Neo BL-11A does not have the mop or UV light feature, smaller dustbin capacity (at only 0.25L) but has all the standard features of self-charging, fall-prevention, few navigation modes and a year warranty (but only 6 months warranty for the battery). In Lazada, there is 3 good users’ review, the last user was happy with it and mentioned of buying the 2nd unit. I am not sure how ‘real’ is the review but with the price of RM799 (AeonBig promotion right now, RM888 at Lazada), I decided to choose this over iRova higher end unit.
Terrabot Neo BL-11A
The other factor of selecting this brand and model is that when I called their customer service , there is someone picking up the call and tried to answer all my questions. Also they have battery replacement at RM200. Reason battery replacement is important is my friend had a Okusanno robot vacuum which is now dead as he couldn’t find the battery replacement.
And thus, I bought Robot Vacuum Terrabot Neo BL-11A at RM799 in Aeon Big Midvalley on 8th January 2014. There is a Terrabot promoter in AeonBig Midvalley, but he wasn’t there on the day I bought. But the adaptor wasn’t functioning and my husband brought it to change on the Friday, the Terrabot guy was there to exchange it for him.
Reason to select the model BL-11A over BL-21A is firstly the price, about RM588 different. Secondly, I have every intention do the mopping and thus I think it should cover the BL-11A lack of mop and UV light features.
There is another model Terrabot Neo BL-21C which is at RM1288 in Lazada but does not support virtual barrier; but it has mop & UV light features. No review found on that at all.