How well are robot vacuums doing in threshold climbing? Pretty well if you think that most premium robot vacuum cleaners can now handle up to 3/4″ (19mm).
However, this is true for most premium vacuums, and not all of them are equally good at climbing threshold. Moreover, you might think that a robot that can climb high thresholds is going to be more autonomous, but the truth is that this really depends on what robot you get.
What you should do about the threshold can depend on many factors, so in this article I want to show how robots deal with threshold climbing, review some of the solutions, but also discuss if it is worth it to think about the problem at all.
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The highest threshold a robot vacuum can climb
As I said, in 2021 the highest threshold a robot vacuum can clim is ¾” or 19 mm, but it really depends on the robot and how good they are at navigating.
For example, the latest Roomba S9 is great at climbing thresholds up to 2mm and its younger brother i7 is supposed to be as good, but the i7 has proven to be as good only in some cases, meaning it can climb 2mm only when it’s coming from the right angle.
Premium robots by Ecovacs such as the Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI are great at climbing and can climb 19mm thresholds with impressive ease, but also their previous models are great, and you’ll find that any Deebot in the 900 serie can do it without much problems.
Other great robots that can climb thresholds are the Roborock series and the Neato D7 which really delivers its promise to climb the 19mm threshold.
In any case, that 19mm limit is probably the highest threshold any robot will be able to climb, not considering a lucky approach to a higher threshold that might happen with some robots.
In which case is it worth it to fix the threshold?
Now, weather you should take action on fixing a too high threshold really depends on what robot you have.
Of course if you’re thinking about getting a premium robot that can navigate intelligently through large houses, you don’t want a threshold to stop it from moving from one room to the other.
But if you’ve purchased, or you intend to purchase, a robot with random navigation it might turn out to be useful to have a threshold preventing the robot to autonomously move to another room.
This is because with random navigation robots there’s no way to know if the robot has finished cleaning the first room when you let it move freely through the house. You’ll often have to close the door or put a barrier in order to make sure it has completed its job befor letting it go to a second room.
So, with a random navigation robot, the autonomy you get is already compromised by the fact that it doesn’t know where it has and hasn’t cleaned, and having to move the robot from one room to the other is already something you’re going to have to do if you want to make sure it cleans thoroughly.
This means that climbing thershols is a problem you should work on almost only if you have a robot with smart mapping and navigation technology.
What are the possible solutions?
Now that you know that robot vacuum cleaners can climb ¾” thresholds, you should check if there are higher thresholds in your house that might be a problem for a robot vacuum cleaner.
There are different solutions to make a robot climb a threshold, and since they’re not inexpensive, always consider if it’s worth it to do so for your specific robot.
The first things that come in mind are ramps. On the market there’s a really wide range of products to choose from. And the choice should really take into account how well the ramp is going to mix with your house’s design.
Wooden threshold ramp
Wooden threshold ramps are probably the best solutions because their beautiful and easy to manage and install. There’s really plenty of options to take into account, but as for robot vacuum cleaners you should consider thinking about how steep the ramp is going to be. The gentler the better.
Recycled rubber safety ramp
Rubber ramps are not what you would typically like to put in your house. Even if they’re not ugly, it is difficult that they will blend very well in a house. The good thing about rubber ramps though, is that they can be very long and can help a robot go through a very steep threshold.
When putting a steep ramp though, you should take into account that the robot’s sensors might perceive it as a step, and its sensor might make it move away. So, the highest the threshold, the longer the ramp has to be.
Low-pile bathroom style carpet
The cheapest option is of course to put a doormat or low-pile carpet in front of the threshold in order to create an intermediate level between the floor and the threshold. Of course there are things to consider if you decide to adopt this solution. It’s probably going to be the worse option in terms of design and it might not turn out to be very practical.
A rug or doormat could move and require you to prep the threshold often to make sure it’s in position. And if the threshold is too high for the robot on both sides you’re going to have to put two doormats, which can turn out to be impractical.
Depending on what robot vacuum you have or you’re planning to get, it’s totally worth it to make an investment to make your house robot friendly.
In fact, with smart navigation robots, considering how much you pay for a robot that is so autonomous, it’s also totally worth it to make some adjustments to your home even if it requires you to invest some money.
Alessandro Eric Russo is a technology content writer with a passion for home automation devices that bring Artificial Intelligence into our lives in a meaningful way.