A fellow design blogger and I recently got into a discussion about robot vacuums, where she deemed them "totally unnecessary", a solution already solved by a regular vacuum and some good ole elbow grease. And do you know what? I totally agree. That being said, I also believe robotic vacuum devices are the future, especially in regards to the growing demographic of elderly and two income households (not to mention for people who just hate to clean). Ironically, I love vacuuming and cleaning the floors, so I was curious how I would feel about having a floor cleaning sidekick for a few weeks...
The Specs: The Moneual MR6550 Rydis Hybrid Robot Vacuum and Dry Mop Cleaner makes a great first impression with its fashionably bright lemon hued design. At just 3.23" in height and 13.66" across, the Rydis is lower riding than its closest priced equivalent, the iRobot Roomba 650. Specs include dual brushes to pull in debris into its 600ml dust bin via a brushless DC electric motor (the same motors powering direct-drive turntables and hard drives). The BLDC motor not only improves vacuuming power 20-30% compared to regular dc motors, but also has an operational lifetime of 5000+ hours.
The Rydis also filters incoming air using a high-efficiency filter to remove 99.5% particulates; sadly it is not an actual HEPA-rated cleaner. The package is completed with a battery powered room indicator unit to keep the Rydis out of certain areas, while a charging base station welcomes back the citron robot when charging is needed. Users can also clamp on detachable microfiber cleaning pad for hardwood, tile, or linoleum cleaning duties, but I kept this off in our mixed surface apartment during testing.
Cleaning: As someone who vacuums regularly once or twice a week, I've always thought of myself as "above average" when it comes to housekeeping (I believe the term "neat freak" and "OCD" have been whispered my way). So the idea of calling upon the aid of robotic vacuum seemed unnecessary to say the least. Equipped with various cleaning modes, Automatic (the default I set for the unit), Concentrated (a circular cleaning pattern effective for single spaces), Corner (directs the unit alongside walls and corners), Shadow (seeks out darker spaces like underneath the couch and bed), and Manual (directions controlled via remote control) settings, I programmed the Rydis to awake from its charging slumber at 10:30 am each morning to performs its duties.
Setting up the unit for scheduled cleaning is sort of a hazy affair. Instead of inputting a specific scheduled time, users press the ambiguous "RESERVE" button on the included remote while the unit is on to designated a scheduled time, thus you're limited to a single time every day. A display on the top of the Rydis illuminates when settings are input, but I would have preferred a more straightforward clock program indication. Nevertheless, there is an internal clock mechanism within, because lo and behold, each morning the vacuum would begin cleaning with vim and vigor while I was still waiting for my second morning cup of coffee to kick in.
Living in a modest sized 700 or so square foot one bedroom apartment, keeping the floors clean isn't a difficult task for someone working from home. Once a week is usually enough for keeping up appearances and keeping allergens at bay. But I was surprised to discover after just one outing, the Rydis returned with evidence my home keeping had missed quite a few spots. In Automatic mode, the Rydis navigated room to room, cleaning corner, underneath our couches, and all too often ventured into our far off bedroom (I think it would go in there for a smoke break). Our apartment is fully hardwood, except in the kitchen and bathrooms with tiles and renter's linoleum. But all of our living spaces like the dining room, bedroom, and living room are covered with low pile FLOR carpet tiles. None of this proved to be an issue for the Rydis; like a miniature domestic Mars Rover, the vacuum easily switched from one surface to another without a hiccup.
The "smart" technology didn't exhibit all too much intelligence though, a few times requiring rescue from a corner it found itself perpetually stuck in, and one time down and out after sucking in the corner of a bed spread. This brings up an important caveat: ideally all robotic vacuums are best suited in rooms with tidy floors free of cords, cables, hanging upholstery, and miscellaneous items that can tangle into the machines. And despite being equipped with collision sensors, watching the Rydis cleaning could sometimes prove more stress-inducing than one would expect from a device designed to make life easier; its random cleaning algorithm seemed too unpredictable, with the Rydis often skipping spots you'd hope it would "see" (the absence of a debris sensor is probably at fault).
In spite of any deficiencies, there was no doubt normally dirtier high traffic spots like our rug near our rear entry were noticeably cleaner day to day than without the aid of the Rydis. Pet owners will especially benefit from the Rydis when used daily, and I was frankly shocked at how much pet hair and dust was revealed every outing. My better half liked the Rydis enough she insisted we name it (I'd like to call it "Carson" after the butler from in Dowton Abbey).
Closing Thoughts: So has a couple weeks with the Rydis changed my mind about robotic vacuums? No, I still believe the Rydis, Roombas, and their ilk are still technological luxuries. Vacuuming with a regular upright or canister is still a faster and more effective for keeping floors clean. BUT, the Rydis won me over into believing a household can and will be cleaning on a day to day basis, especially in a two pet household, and you'll have to vacuum less often than without it. Yes, it's a luxury, but if you're prone to rarely vacuuming already, or perhaps you're considering this for your elderly grandparents who could do with a little help, the Moneual MR6550 Rydis Hybrid Cleaner is definitely more help than hindrance.
Pros: Surprisingly powerful cleaning on both (low) carpets and hard surface, slim design lets the Rydis get to most sections of a room, "Shadow Cleaning Mode" is great for dusty bunny removal, handy remote control allows for manual mode, rated for 3 years of use every day before lithium iron phosphate battery needs replacement.
Cons: No debris sensor or true HEPA filtration, the "smart" sensor doesn't always seem so bright, not ideal for cluttered or messy homes, and you'll still need to really vacuum.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.