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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Spring cleaning is a breeze

Get ready for Chinese New Year with new robot vacuum cleaners that now come with budget-friendly price tags
The Straits Times - January 11, 2012
By: Jasmine Osada
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Spring cleaning is a breeze -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

With Chinese New Year less than two weeks away, it is spring cleaning season again. For people who are too busy or who simply do not want to get their hands dirty, help is at hand for as little as $200.

It comes in the form of a flat, round robot vacuum cleaner.

Robotic vacuum cleaners have been on the market for years. Electrolux brought one out as far back as 2001 and iRobot, in 2002. Then, they were little more than expensive novelties.

Now, they have become mainstream and manufacturers such as AGAiT and Infinuvo have released more budget-friendly versions. But many still prefer traditional vacuum cleaners to their robot cousins.

'Robotic vacuum cleaners are still in their infancy in terms of consumer take-up rate,' said a spokesman for electronics retail chain Courts. There are more of the traditional models to choose from and they are also cheaper than robot cleaners, she said.

Robinsons merchandising manager Tay Hui Min says robots are still a novelty here. The store has sold iRobots since 2010 and has seen 'a noticeable increase in demand', although traditional vacuum cleaners still outsell the robots three to one.

However, those who have the robots are fans through and through. Ms Tan Su Linn, 29, a civil servant, thinks the $315 she paid for a Paranello Multibot Vacuum is money well spent.

'It's brilliant,' she says of the gadget she has been using for less than a month.

'It's made housekeeping so much easier, because the machine does all the work. I leave it to run when I'm out or watching TV. My husband and I used to vacuum as little as possible because we didn't enjoy lugging the conventional machine about the rooms. Now, we let the Multibot run at least three times a week for super-clean floors.'

A robotic cleaner moves automatically around a room, taking up dust that is swept into its vacuum inlet by rotating brushes. They are all round and flat, so that they can easily manoeuvre around and under furniture.

Most models come with charging docks to which the machines will automatically return after cleaning.

Armed with a bag of dog fur, a generous helping of cocoa powder and a very dusty rug, Digital Life put six robotic vacuum cleaners through their paces to see how they cleaned up.



Pages that might interest you: Computer & Electronics, Household & Personal Services, Housekeeping Services, Cleaning Services



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