In the current market, a nice robot vacuum for vinyl plank floors, hardwood, and carpers will cost you up to $700+. Even when you can afford it, this is a lot of money you’ll be putting down for a single, small appliance. But will the amount be worth it? If yes, how long does a robot vacuum last before you need to replace it or any parts?
Well, there’s no definite answer to the longevity of a vacuum. The general term of service varies from one brand to another depending on the build and the human factors.
Human factors in this case include things like how often you run the robot vacuum and the way you care for it. After all, this is also the way with blenders, electric mixers, food processors, and the rest of home appliances.
Be Ready to Get the Most Out of Your Robot
Why did you buy a robot vacuum instead of the traditional upright model? If my guess is right, the answer is to have clean floors all the time.
Just as the name, a robot vacuum necessarily doesn’t need human interaction to clean. Once the routine is set, you’ll always come back to a clean house after work. All needed of you is to empty the duct collection bin to make sure it’s ready for the next day.
Some robot vacuums are now even fully autonomous and require very little of your attention. A perfect example is the Roborock S7 or Roomba i7, both of which are compatible with a self-emptying base unit. Thus, can go up to eight weeks without needing to pour out the dirt.
But even then, don’t just sit there waiting until your robot starts seeking your attention with the error messages. Make sure you check and provide the needed care to make the most of it.
The following chart can help:
|Parts of the Robot Vacuum||Care Frequency||Replacement Frequency|
|Dirt Collector Bin||After Every Use||– (until when needed)|
|Extractor Brushes||Once/ Twice per Week (depending on pets)||Every 6 – 12 Months|
|Edge-sweeping Brush||Once/ Twice per Week (depending on pets)||Every 6 – 12 Months|
|Visual Navigation Camera||Once Per Month||– (until when needed)|
|Infrared Navigation Sensors||Once Per Month||– (until when needed)|
|Built-in Drop Detection Sensor||Once Per Month||– (until when needed)|
|Built-in “Full Bin” Sensors||Once Every Two Weeks||– (until when needed)|
|Charging Contacts||Once per Month||– (until when needed)|
|Vacuum Bin Filter||Once/ Twice per Week (depending on pets)||Every 2-3 Months|
|Self-Emptying Base Filters||Once per Month (or Every Two Months)||Every 6 – 12 Months|
|Left & Right Side Wheels||Once Every Two Weeks||– (until when needed)|
|Left & Right Side Wheels Tires||–||Every 12 – 36 Months|
|Front Swivel Caster Wheel||Once Every Two Weeks||Every 12 – 36 Months|
How Long Does A Robot Vacuum Last Before You Replace?
As mentioned earlier, how long a robot vacuum last varies with the brand. But a good one can serve you for up to a decade when used and maintained well. If you fail on either of the two, the factory lifespan of your machine will be shorter than intended.
What exactly happens is that improper use will damage the internal or external components that may be hard to repair.
Failure to maintain your little helper will also damage it, albeit in this case the internal components. And when some of these parts fail, the beginning to the end of your machine will also commence.
For instance, when the housing of your robot vacuum breaks apart- perhaps after falling down the stairs, throw it away. A failed dust suction motor or circuit board may also be worthless to replace if the system has already served its time.
If the three are still healthy and kicking straight, you can now repair the other parts when needed. Then again, when the repair cost is more than half of your investment value, it will make more sense to buy a new appliance.
In the table above, you’ll notice various components of a robot vacuum have different replacement frequencies. The details are based on the printed maintenance guide of a Roomba, but some are universal to other brands too.
- Extractor Brushes
The extractors are the two multi-surface brushes between the left and right side wheels of a robot vacuum. They usually work together, where one loosens the dirt while the other picks it up alongside the rest of the debris.
To ensure optimal performance, you should clean the extractor brushes at least once per week (or twice for a home with pets). You’ll also need to replace them after 6 – 12 months, depending on when the bristles/ rubbers wear out.
- Edge-sweeping Brush
The side brushes on a robot vacuum will also need to be cleaned once or twice per week for maximum performance. You’ll also need to replace them after six to twelve months, depending on how often they clean your floors.
- Vacuum & Base Bin Filter
In the guide on how to clean the Shark robot vacuum filter, we saw a lot can happen to your machine if the tiny component is neglected. And as a solution, we agreed you should clean them regularly.
The “regular” frequency here is once or twice per week on the robot vacuum (depending on whether there are pets). Replace the filter after every 2-3 months to ensure optimal air filtration.
If your vacuum has a self-emptying base, the filters present should also be cleaned, albeit once every two months. And after 6 – 12 months, make sure you replace them too for the best performance.
- Side Wheels & Tires
Not long ago, we also agreed you should clean your Roomba side wheels regularly to avoid issues like frying their motors. Then again, it’s the same with robot vacuums from Shark, Eufy, Roborock, or any other brand.
You should clean the side wheels at least once every two weeks to ensure the best performance. We don’t have a replacement frequency for the wheel modules as it goes by when either ceases to function properly.
But for the side wheel tires, the original ones that come with the machine can last 3 – 4 years before the threads wear out.
- Front Swivel Caster Wheel
The front caster wheel of your robot will also need to be cleared of clogged hair and debris to spin freely. It’s a maintenance practice you should conduct during the weekly checkup or at least once every two weeks.
As you replace the side wheels tires, you can do the same for the front caster wheel. But the plastic part (of the caster wheel) can wear out earlier.
- Visual Navigation Camera
Unfortunately, the navigation camera on most of the supported robot vacuums will be tricky to replace when damaged. But when it’s working, you should wipe the faceplate, where we have the clear window, at least once every month.
- Floor-Tracking Sensor
In short, this is the “optical” sensor that a robot vacuum (Roomba) uses to create a map of your home. You should clean it (with a dry microfiber/ soft cotton cloth) at least once per month for the best performance.
The mapping sensor is less likely to fail (which is why there’s no definite replacement frequency). But when it does stop working, you can replace it with a compatible one.
- Built-in Drop Detection Sensor
Similarly, cliff/ drop detection sensors have no definite replacement frequency as they are very rare to fail. But in case it happens, only replace them with genuine compatible sensors.
Another thing, you should clean all the cliff sensors of your robot vacuum once every month. However, use only a dry microfiber or soft cotton cloth- don’t spray any cleaning solution.
- Built-in “Full Bin” Sensors
Another thing we’ve talked about is that the “full bin” indicator will still light up when you empty a Roomba but fail to clean its sensors. All six “full bin” sensors should be cleaned at least once every two weeks.
I’m not sure the sensors can be replaced when damaged. But, luckily, they’re also rare to fail.
- Dirt Collector Bin
Chances of the dirt collector bin getting damaged are also rare unless your robot toppled down a flight of stairs or cliff. But you can get a replacement from the manufacturer or authorized dealers when needed.
Speaking of needs, you’ll need to empty the bin after every use to make sure your robot will be ready the next day.
- Rechargeable Battery
I’ve seen some people say that they replaced the battery of their Roomba after eight years. But in many cases, a new robot vacuum will start having battery issues after 3-4 years (36 – 48 months).
As you get the replacement battery, make sure it’s the right one. In particular, iRobot has specific models only compatible with a Lithium Ion battery (Li-ion) and others the nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) kind.
- Charging Contacts
Similar to sensors, the charging contacts can last as long as the housing of the robot vacuum without issues. If unlucky and they (contacts) get damaged, you can get a replacement (in most cases from third parties) and plug them into the circuit board.
But make sure you clean your robot and home base charging contacts at least once per month to avoid dirt build-up. Dirt is the first step to rust and corrosion.
The frequency of use and maintenance are two controllable factors that will determine how long a robot vacuum last. But the quality of the product itself is the most deeming aspect since it also decides how you manage the other two.
In my opinion, I’ll recommend investing in a premium, well-known robot vacuum (local brand if possible) first. On top of first-rate performance, you’ll also have a guarantee of extended durability and easy access to replacement components.