How Much Electricity Does Robot Vacuum (Roomba) Use?

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In the era of convenience, robot vacuums could not have been more timely.

A device you can set on a schedule to clean your floors without your involvement. Advancements in technology have only improved their performance from hardwood to carpeted floors; a robot vacuum can help maintain a task that often gets forgotten in the bustle of a busy life. 

So, how much electricity does a robot vacuum (Roomba) use?

Most robot vacuums require anywhere between 30 to 90 watts of electricity per charge, with some models consuming as much as 120 watts. A single charge is approximately 60 to 90 minutes. To run your robot vacuum for 2 hours every day for a month, you'll pay between $0.23 and $0.94 in energy charges.

Such innovation prompts you to think about the logistics of this piece of machinery and whether it is worth the convenience—price, mechanics, upkeep, and so on. In comparison to the cost of a cup of coffee, less than $0.50 may not seem like a lot, but how does the robot vacuum stack up in terms of energy efficiency?

Let's consider the comparison to the upright vacuum and the performance of each type.

Is a Robot Vacuum more Energy Efficient than an Upright Vacuum?

A few factors to consider when comparing a robot vacuum with its predecessor, the upright vacuum.

First and foremost is the power class of your particular robot vacuum. Typically, these devices come in one of three power classes: weak power (15-20W), average power (30-35W), and higher power (90-120W). Then there is the frequency in which you vacuum, vacuum performance, and size of the home to consider. 

A robot vacuum is more energy-efficient than an upright vacuum. Upright vacuums typically consume 1000-2200 watts of electricity per one hour of use, which typically equates to between $7.80 and $16.80 if you run your upright vacuum for 2 hours every day for a month. 

Even with the additional energy used to have a robot vacuum docked and not charging (5W) or maintain a charge (10W), it still consumes approximately 15 times less power than an upright vacuum.

Can a Robot Vacuum Replace an Upright Vacuum?

With its advantage in energy efficiency and monthly cost of maintenance, you might want to consider nixing the upright vacuum altogether in favor of the robot vacuum.

Before leaping, you might want to consider how the robot vacuum stacks up in other ways. 

A robot vacuum cannot wholly replace an upright vacuum. The robot vacuum currently lacks critical features that would make it a sufficient replacement. Suction power, for example, is much weaker in a robot vacuum than it is in an upright vacuum.

Another limitation is the robot vacuum's inability to pass from one floor of the home to another. If your home is one level, this is not a concern for you, but if you have multiple levels with stairs, you can't take advantage of the robot vacuum's ability to "set it and forget it."

Pros and Cons of the Robot Vacuum

Now that we have tackled some of the robot vacuum's limitations, you might wonder what else it would lack compared to an upright vacuum. First, let's look at some of the benefits robot vacuums offer. 

1. Energy Efficient

We've established that robot vacuums use less power and therefore cost less to operate and maintain than upright vacuums. To refresh, that is $0.23 to $0.94  a month compared to $7.80 to $16.80 a month

2. Obstructions

Due to the minimal design of the robot vacuums, the device's wheels are small, making it susceptible to obstructions throughout the home. Thresholds, rug tassels, rug endings, and power cords are everyday items that cause the robot vacuums to get stuck. In fact, the wheels and brushes can get tangled.

Heads up: Did you know that not all robot vacuums have brush rollers? If you are tired of having to clean the brush rollers all the time, why not consider a tangle-free robot vacuum? Check out the top 3 right here.

3. Hands-Free Operation

One of the biggest bonuses of a robot vacuum is that it operates entirely hands-free. Once you start the device, you can walk away and tend to other tasks on your to-do list. A price tag can't be placed on the convenience of time saved and utilized elsewhere. 

4. Self-Charging

Another feature that comes in handy is the robot vacuum's self-charging feature. If your device is going and the job is not completed before the charge is exhausted, the robot vacuum will return to its dock and charge. Once charged, it will continue operating until the task is complete. 

Now that we've looked at the benefits of the robot vacuum, let's delve a little deeper into the drawbacks. 

5. Lower Suction Power

Unfortunately, the robot vacuum has lower suction power when compared with most upright vacuums. The lower suction power can be challenging with larger messes or thick rugs. You want to be sure that whatever device you use can tackle any cleaning jobs. 

6. One Floor Use

If you have a single-floor home, this limitation does not apply to you. However, multi-level homes present a dilemma for a robot vacuum. The device cannot transfer from one floor to the next without assistance.

This limitation would involve needing a robot vacuum for each floor to avoid hampering the convenience or moving the robot vacuum yourself from floor to floor.

You also have to be mindful of the stairs in the home if the robot vacuum is on an upper level. You may have to secure a gate at the top of your stairs to prevent the robot vacuum from accidentally falling down the stairs, which could cause damage to the device. 

7. Higher Initial Cost

Though the robot vacuum is more energy-efficient and will save you money in the long run on your energy bill, it does have a higher cost upfront than an upright vacuum.

The higher cost is due to the modern features of the robot vacuum upping the cost of production. Typical costs can be anywhere from $200-$400 but can jump as high as $1,000. 

8. More Space Prep

The hand-free feature of a Roomba requires you to do a bit more space prep before operation. Space prep means protecting or removing breakable items the robot may run into, including vases, pots, or other decor.

It also means eliminating any wires or power cords that are not already stuck to the floor to avoid the robot vacuum pulling them along and possibly causing damage to the items attached to the power cords or wires. 


Though robot vacuums may help to lessen the cost of energy consumption of using an upright vacuum, as it stands now, it can not eliminate them. However, technological innovations for robot vacuums are constantly being improved upon, and many of its limitations today may be a non-factor tomorrow.

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