If rooms were round, the robotic vacuums tested in the past by Consumer Reports would have been better at tidying up. But in our tests, they tended to miss edges and corners. Now LG has introduced the LG Hom-Bot Square at the Consumer Electronics Show. It claims the vacuum has "newly designed corner master technology" and can now get into hard-to-reach places.
Not only is the bot cute, it's smart too. It uses two cameras to plot its cleaning course by taking several images per second and scanning walls, ceilings and floors. According to LG, the bot is programmed to analyze the information and map its course. Ultrasound and infrared sensors detect obstacles along the way to avoid collisions.
And it has a good memory. Once the Hom-Bot Square has cleaned a room, it "recognizes" it next time including where all the furniture is placed, claims LG. To get into the corners, the bot has improved sensors and longer brushes. Small enough to maneuver under furniture, the vacuum features a larger-than-usual dust bin that's easy to empty because it's on top of the machine. The lithium ion battery has a runtime of 100 minutes.
In addition to leaving dirt behind, some of the robotic vacuums in our last tests were difficult to set up and some tended to close the door behind them, locking themselves in a room. But we haven't given up. We're in the process of buying new robotic models for our next batch of tests and hope to have results later this year.
In the meantime, if you prefer to vacuum the old-fashioned way, take a look at our reviews of canister and upright vacuums. And for more cool news from the Consumer Electronics Show, check our full coverage.
—Mary H.J. Farrell