When you strip away home automation to its essence, it’s about taking something you normally would buy manually and automating it. That might be turning lights on based on motion, time of day, etc. It might be able automatically raising or lowering blinds based on smart blinds based on when the sun sets. It’s about streamlining how you interact with your home. There’s no more mundane task that should be integrated into HomeKit than smart vacuums, and it’s time for Apple to support it as a HomeKit device. Read on to learn about a few smart vacuums I’ve been testing this year, and how I’d love to take the experience further with HomeKit.
HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
Why smart vacuums?
Vacuuming is a time-consuming chore that needs to be done often and can take a lot of time depending on the size of your home. You can turn all your lights on with one switch, but vacuuming your whole house can take time. By outsourcing it to a “robot vacuum,” you’re buying back time every single week. Instead of having vacuuming on your to-do list for the evening when you get home from work, you can set it to run while you’re at work, and you’ll come home to a clean house. Let’s say that it takes you 20 minutes to vacuum your house, and you do it three times per week. That equates to four hours per month and 48 hours per year. That is a lot of time. To be frank, I’ve found that robo vacuums do a better job than I do as well as they’ll go under couches and get in corners that I’ll typically ignore. So by moving to a smart product, we end up saving two days a year and end up with a better outcome – sounds nice, right?
Best smart vacuums in 2023
I’ve been testing two smart vacuums this year. The first is the roborock S7 MaxV Ultra, and boy is it a beast of a vacuum. One of the most impressive parts about it is the ReactiveAI. Roborock has taken obstacle avoidance to new heights with ReactiveAI 2.0, the next generation of its obstacle avoidance technology. The S7 MaxV with an RGB camera and a neural processing unit, enabling it to navigate common items around your home. Whether it’s furniture, kid’s toys, or backpacks obstructing its path, it can detect and maneuver around them effortlessly without needing to continually start and stop. Even in dark rooms, the vacuum has an additional light that automatically lights up the room. It’s incredibly powerful as well. As the most powerful Roborock robot vacuum sold as of this writing, the S7 MaxV Ultra has impressive suction power, generating a max power of 5100 Pa. Even with a floor full of crumbs, food, hair, etc., it’ll be spotless when the vacuum is finished. Overall, it’s really an impressive vacuum. The Roborock app is easy to navigate, too. It’s simply one of the best vacuums on the market.
I’ve also been testing the ECOVACS T9+, and it’s equally as impressive as the Roborock if you don’t need quite the power of the 5100 pa. It comes in at half the cost, so it’s a great option for any home. Similar to the S7, it’s incredibly smart, as its LIDAR and dToF sensors generate maps that are extremely accurate as well. It’s a tap of a few buttons to start the vacuum, have it clean the kitchen, and then go empty itself. Both of these vacuums are INCREDIBLE. The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is extremely powerful. If you need something for the toughest messes, I highly recommend it. I am equally as impressed with the ECOVACS T9+ as well. At a lower price point, it’s pound for pound one of the best models on the market. Both of these products will empty themselves as well so they truly are “set and forget” (for a few weeks anyways).
Why HomeKit for smart vacuums?
Because HomeKit is so deeply integrated into iOS, I’d love to see smart vacuums come as a supported device. While you can use them using Homebridge, I want more integration. I want the rooms in HomeKit to be supported in a vacuum, so I can say “Hey Siri, go clean the kitchen.” I want the onboard cameras to support HomeKit Secure Video so all of the images it uses stay encrypted. I want motion sensors to be able to trigger the vacuum to start when it knows people are away from a certain room. There is so much about smart vacuums that make them the premier smart home product. They do something that is time consuming, but yet has to be done, and done often. These products have come a long way in recent years, and I want to see them in HomeKit.
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