Samsung’s Powerbot Essential robot vacuum cleaner is an attractive entry into a crowded marketplace. I already have plenty of robot vaccuums, and I love them, but lately I’ve been looking around at some of the competition from Asia. I’ve had my eye on Samsung’s Powerbot Essential Cleaning Robot Vacuum as a possible addition to my fledgling robot army, so I’m thrilled to be able to do this product review.
First, I’ll take a look at the Powerbot Essential’s key features, then I’ll talk about things I thought the Powerbot Essential did right as well as those areas where there’s room for improvement. I’ll end by looking at how the Powerbot Essential stacks up against other vacuums.
Contents (Jump to)
When I bought my Roomba, I had no idea what to look for in robot vacuums. I wanted a robot vacuum, the Roomba 595 was on sale, and that was that. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, that vacuum is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. But my Roomba is a few years old and I’m thinking of buying it a younger companion. These days, though, I’m not just going to buy the first one I find on sale.
I have to say, the features of Samsung’s POWERbot Essential are impressive:
Key Features of the Samsung Powerbot Essential
- Powerful Suction: The Powerbot Essential has the power of more expensive vacuums but at a lower price point. Samsung claims the Essential is ten times more powerful suction than the leading robot vacuum brand.
- Visionary Mapping Plus FullView Sensor: The Powerbot Essential uses a digital camera and ten digital smart sensors to create a map, one which includes useful things like walls, furniture and stairways. Using the map, the vacuum then plots a path that allows it to cover the entire room while avoiding obstacles.
- CycloneForce Design: The CycloneForce system separates dust to keep the filter clean and reduce clogging.
- Easy Pass Wheels: The Powerbot Essentials large wheels are the key to its moving smoothly over obstacles and helping it transition from hardwood to carpet.
- Combo Brush: Last but by no means least, the Powerbot Essential has a 12-inch brush that works wonders cleaning carpet and getting into the corners, routing out every last dust-bunny.
Pros – What The Powerbot Essential Did Well
Here’s what I want in a robot vacuum. First, and I know this might go without saying, but a robot vacuum needs to do a good job as a vacuum. I’m as geeky as the next person and love the idea of having a household robot, but I’m not going to spend money on something that doesn’t work. It must remove dust and grime on carpets as well as hardwood and must be able to pick up pet hair. That’s the first part.
Just as important as being a good vacuum is being smart enough to avoid obstacles. It’s frustrating coming home to find my Roomba stuck under the fridge, wheels spinning. Or, even worse, coming home to find out it’s only done half the floor!
Also, noise matters. Is the vacuum so noisy I would never want to have it running when I’m home?
Last, but definitely not least, how easy is it to use?
- Cleaning Power: The Powerbot Essential did not disappoint when it came to the fundamentals of vacuuming. The Combo Brush worked wonders getting into every nook and cranny. Also, I was impressed by the way it sucked up dirt and miscellaneous pet hair on both carpet and hardwood. Full points.
- Avoids Obstacles: It works reasonably well avoiding obstacles, but the Powerbot Essential seems to have a problem with paper, especially newspapers. Instead of rolling over the paper or avoiding it, the vacuum tried to roll over it. Then its wheels started spinning. This isn’t a huge problem for me as I usually don’t have a lot of loose paper around, but if you do then it’s something to think about.
- Easy Access To The Dustbin: It may sound trivial, but every time I use my Roomba I have to empty the dustbin. It’s one of those small things that can become disproportionately irritating very quickly. The Powerbot Essential gets full points for ease of access.
- Remote: I didn’t think this would make much of an impact on me, I guess I have taken a sort of ‘bah humbug’ attitude toward remotes. My Roomba doesn’t have one, I’m happy with my Roomba, so who needs it? Well, I might not need one, but after being able to guide the vacuum to one particularly messy spot (I have no idea what these cats do while I’m not home!) I have to say I’m now a big fan.
- Attractive Pricing: As of this writing, the Powerbot Essential retails for less than $500 (check here for latest), which is considerably less than the $998 price tag (as of this writing) for Samsung’s Turbo Powerbot Vacuum. Of course the Turbo also has an app one can use to remotely select which rooms you want the Turbo to clean and when. While that would be nice, for myself the lesser expense of the Essential more than makes up for any inconvenience.
- Easy To Use: Overall, the Powerbot Essential is easy to use. Cleaning the dust bin is simple and quick and the remote is intuitive. In general, a well-designed machine.
Cons – Where The Powerbot Essential Leaves Room For Improvement
- Noisy: When you have a vacuum like the Powerbot Essential that has the power of more expensive vacuums you know there’s going to have to be a trade-off somewhere. It is noisy. My Roomba is noisy as well, so I usually end up sending it off to clean just before I go out.
- No app: For those who don’t want yet another app on their phone this might not be a bad thing, but there’s no denying it would be nice to have the ability to trigger a cleaning cycle remotely. Some of the higher-end models let you program exactly which rooms you would like the vacuum to clean and when.
- No scheduling: For me, this is a definite minus. As I’ve noted, I found the Powerbot to be a bit on the noisy side so I would want to schedule it to clean when I’m not around. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s something to think about. Granted, my Roomba doesn’t have this feature, but it is something I will look for on my next vacuum. If a robot cleaner isn’t convenient to use, often it becomes an unused curiosity. An expensive one.
- No virtual walls: My Roomba came with two virtual walls that I use all the time to block off certain areas and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them. Well, I do know, I’d be moving around furniture, stacking books to use as barriers (all my reference books are digital now so my paper encyclopedias have turned into door stops and potential Roomba guides).
- Tall: The Powerbot Essential was too tall to clean under one of my chairs, one which my Roomba has no trouble clearing. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but if you’re thinking about purchasing the robot and it’s important to you that it cleans underneath all your furniture, make sure the clearance is greater than 5.3 inches. (By the way, a friend of mine bought a Powerbot Essential, found out her couch was too low for it to get under, so bought foot pads to increase the height of her couch. It worked!)
Comparing Samsung’s Powerbot Essential with Samsung’s Turbo Powerbot Vacuum and the Neato Botvac D80 Robot Vacuum for Pets and Allergies:
|Samsung’s Powerbot Essential||Samsung’s Turbo Powerbot||Neato Botvac D80|
|Price||Check here||Check here||Check here|
As you can see, the Powerbot Essential is by far the heaviest of the three vacuums but, interestingly, it lacks a handle. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but it would be a nice feature on a vacuum this heavy; though having a Remote Control helps make up for this.
Final Take – Is the Powerbot Essential a Good Value?
The short answer: Yes. Even though it’s a bit on the noisy side and low pieces of furniture could present a challenge, the Powerbot Essential does the important things right. I was impressed with the amount of suction the vacuum could sustain and it handled both carpet and hardwood equally well. Also, and just as important, it was able to navigate around a fairly cluttered floor space while still covering the entire area.
All in all, for me, the cons are relatively minor. The Powerbot does all the things I need a robot vacuum to do. Will I replace my Roomba with the Powerbot Essential? I might, but probably not for awhile. My Roomba still does the job and, besides, I find half the fun is in shopping around. If you want to compare some of the top Roomba’s, you can check out this guide.