Robots have been cleaning our floors ever since the first Roomba arrived 14 years ago, but it's not a completely hands-off chore yet. You still have to occasionally clean out your robovac's dirt bin, which Black+Decker is making a little easier with its new Smartech Robotic Vacuum that compresses debris into discs that are easy to dispose of.
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If you looked at buying a new cordless vacuum any time in the last couple of years, chances are you considered Dyson's V6 handstick — a gadget that we absolutely love, and regularly use, for keeping small apartments and living spaces clean without the hassle of a power cord. A few months after launching the same model internationally, the brand new Dyson V8 has hit Australia, and it makes some pretty damn useful improvements on an already good design.
You'd think that the first robot vacuum from a company like Dyson, who reinvented the vacuum, fan, and hair dryer, would rival R2-D2 when it came to functionality. But with the 360 Eye, Dyson instead focused on creating a robovac that did one thing very well: cleaning. It delivers as promised, but is that worth $US1,000?
Even the most advanced robotic vacuums are only designed to deal with dust, light dirt and the occasional food scraps. Try to put them to work on the sawdust covered floors in your workshop and you'll quickly find them clogged and in need of rescue. What you need instead is a robo-vac from a toolmaker like Makita.
We called Dyson's cordless DC59 Motorhead the first genuine replacement for a full-sized vacuum, even with a few annoying design quirks and limited battery life. It has taken the company almost two years to design a follow-up, but the new Dyson V8 appears to fix most of the complaints we had with the original.
iRobot's Roomba vacuum cleaners are about the closest thing you can get to having a real Star Wars droid at home. In fact, many Roomba owners are happy to pretend their robovac is just a shorter version of R2-D2 while it works away, and this decal set will help make that even more believable.
They normally sell for $100 and up, but Dremel has found a way to make its rotary multi-tools a lot cheaper for anyone who already has a workshop full of equipment. Instead of having its own motor inside, the company's new VRT1 is powered by the suction from a vacuum.
There's no reason to feel upset when you see R2-D2 forced to do menial jobs — that's exactly what droids were built for. Believe it or not, he will thoroughly enjoy his latest role as a tiny $US24 vacuum for your desk, and happily suck up your bagel and Doritos crumbs.
Cleaning sucks. Sure, it's nice and satisfying when you're done, but stuffing your hands in dirt and swabbing filth around the floor is basically unpleasant. There's no need to make it more unpleasant by letting a multi-billion dollar conglomerate rob you blind. Put differently: You should stop Swiffering and buy a nice vacuum.
Better suction, battery power and HEPA filters are all great features to look for in a vacuum. But who cares about any of those now that Eureka has created an upright vacuum that can automatically clean hairs and threads tangled around its spinning brush roll? Never having to reach in there with scissors is a fantastic innovation.
Robot vacuum cleaners are great, in theory. That most menial of household chores is perfectly suited to a mindless automaton, cleaning up your leavings while you're out and having fun. But they usually aren't especially good. Until now, we would have only recommended Samsung's POWERbot. Miele, the brand of choice for proper vacuum cleaners, now has a robot in its arsenal.
What do you do with your vacuum in-between visits from your parents? Does it just sit in a utility closet until you need to do a mad-dash cleaning the day before company arrives? That seems like a waste, and Mitsubishi apparently agrees because the company has created a stick vac that does double-duty as an air purifier while it's not being used to clean floors.
Canister vacuums are lighter and more manoeuvrable than a stick-style vac, but you often have to keep running over to rescue them when they get stuck or even flipped upside down. To help alleviate both problems, the Vax AirRevolver is designed as a self-contained cylinder with over-sized wheels that clamber over anything and clever engineering that allows it to keep on sucking no matter how it gets flipped.
A Dyson is promised to keep on sucking at almost full power even as its dirt bin gets full, but few users realise there are also hidden filters that need to be periodically cleaned to keep the vacuum running at full strength. For a company that prides itself on vacuums that never lose suction, that was a big problem. So to ensure that users won't ever forget to clean those filters, Dyson simply engineered a better vacuum design that eliminates them altogether.
As news stories about elderly Japanese people choking on the sticky rice dish, mochi, have wormed their way into our post-New Year's consciousness next to hangovers and Twilight Zone marathons, it was only a matter of time before our gadgets started catching up. Now, a simple vacuum attachment wants to get shoved down your throat, potentially saving you from an untimely and delicious end.
There's still no definitive reason why every home should have a 3D printer, but as more and more companies allow consumers to print their own parts and accessories, the case for owning one gets stronger and stronger. And following in the footsteps of Hasbro and Martha Stewart, Hoover will now let consumers print their own accessories for its vacuums, improving their functionality.