The LG HOM-BOT: You can buy a better product.
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LG Robot Vacuum vs. iRobot Roomba
As you already know, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with robotic vacuum cleaners. I’m also pretty popular in my social circle (at least on Facebook!), so all kinds of people have started asking me questions about robotic vacuums. I’m a huge fan of the Roomba models from iRobot, and I own both the Roomba 650 (downstairs) and the Roomba 880 robotic vacuum cleaner for pet hair and allergies (upstairs). Just follow the links to read more about these and the other vacuums I’ve reviewed, including the iRobot Roomba 630, the Roomba 770 pet hair vacuum cleaner and the iRobot Roomba 780.
I haven’t spent much time with other companies’ offerings with the exception of the Bobsweep PetHair Edition, which I hastily purchased and then later regretted. However, I feel that touting iRobot’s products as the best is a bit hypocritical since I haven’t tried many others, so I’ve made up my mind to try a few others whenever I get the chance. Recently, I had a chance to give the LG HOM-BOT, an LG Robot Vacuum, a test drive.
The LG Robot Vacuum Cleaner comes from one of the largest makers of electronics in the world today. LG makes televisions, home appliances, and even cellphones for people in many countries. In fact, since they lead the industry in technology like smartphones and Smart TVs, I honestly thought to myself that their robotic vacuum cleaner, the HOM-BOT, had to be something worth trying. Keep reading to find out what happened.
Locating the LG Robot Vacuum Cleaner
I post a lot on Facebook about my endeavors with robot vacuum cleaners, and I’ve gained quite the following. People often ask me about my vacuums – why I choose them, why I picked Roomba over Bobsweep, and things of that nature. A few days ago, a friend of mine, Cassey, send me a message about her LG HOM-BOT. She said that she bought it just about a month ago after reading about it on the LG website, and it wasn’t living up to her expectations. In fact, she thought that maybe she was doing something wrong. I messaged her back and told her that robotic vacuum cleaners are usually fairly simple to set up and use, but I told her that she could bring her LG over and I’d be happy to put it to the test and help her figure things out. She agreed, and we met up the following day.
When Cassey came over the next day, she was not happy. She said she’d spent a ton of money on it, but over the course of the last month, it wasn’t doing what she wanted it to do. The feature that truly stood out to her was the camera on the bottom that was supposed to map her home as it cleaned, thus allowing it to clean more and more efficiently with every single use. On paper, this sounds fantastic. According to Cassey, though, it doesn’t make much difference because the LG is just not cut out for cleaning. She had to go to work, so I promised to take care of the HOM-BOT and see if I could figure out what was going on.
LG Robot Vacuum Cleaner – My Experiences
The first thing I did was plug in the charging dock. Then I found the HOM-BOT’s user manual online, which took some time since LG is not nearly as organized as iRobot in this regard in my personal opinion. I read about the LG vacuum for a bit, and the following stood out to me:
- Like iRobot vacuums, the HOM-BOT returns to its dock for charging and resumes cleaning afterward.
- It features optical sensors, allowing it to avoid walls and stairs while cleaning right up to the edge.
- The camera, located on the bottom of the HOM-BOT, maps the space it cleans to help it designate optimal cleaning paths and make it more efficient through a process known as Magellan Mapping. (This really sounded cool.)
- Users can set it to clean on a schedule, and the Voice Alert feature lets them know when the cleaning cycle is complete. (However, whereas Roomba allows me to schedule up to seven days in advance, HOM-BOT only allows for up to 12 hours ahead of time.)
- The HOM-BOT is supposed to be very quiet at a rather shocking 50dB, which is definitely quieter than my Roombas.
A little while later, when the HOM-BOT was sufficiently charged, I set it to work on the carpets downstairs. Though my Roomba 650 usually takes care of this part of the home, I shut it off the day before since I knew Cassey was bringing me her LG. After all, if I’m going to take something for a test drive, I want it to be a challenge. I went outside for a while to tend to the garden (it hasn’t rained much lately and the tomato plants are looking a little peaked), and I returned just about an hour later. The LG HOM-BOT was in the middle of the floor under the coffee table in my living room, dead as a doornail. I double-checked the user guide, and sure enough, it was supposed to return to the dock when the battery was low. I assumed that since the dock was in the kitchen, the little HOM-BOT had given it the ol’ college try, but simply hadn’t made it back in time. I quickly discovered that this was not the only disappointing thing about the HOM-BOT. Some other things I noticed as I walked about my lower level include:
- Simply put, the floors weren’t clean. While there was obviously less dirt and debris than before, there was plenty enough left behind, too.
- The corners and edges of walls looked like they hadn’t been touched at all.
- It died after an hour’s use.
- There are no Virtual Walls or Lighthouses. The HOM-BOT relies on Magellan Mapping, but since I only had the LG for a few hours, I wasn’t really able to put this to a thorough test, to be fair.
The Second Run-Through
I didn’t want Cassey to be disappointed, and truth be told, if anyone was going to get this LG robot vacuum cleaner to do its job, it’s me. A few hours later, once the battery had fully charged once again, I turned it back on and let it go. This time, though, I stuck around to watch. The HOM-BOT acted as if it was lost. The lack of Virtual Walls and Lighthouses let it go just about wherever it felt like going, and I really couldn’t figure out what could be done about that – if anything at all. As I watched, it got stuck under the couch, which sits very low to the floor. (Usually, the Roomba avoids this area until I move the couch out of the way.) This sealed my disappointment in stone at this point, and I would have to break the bad news to Cassey.
Talking to Cassey about the LG HOM-BOT and My Roombas
Cassey returned that evening, and I could tell that she really hoped I had discovered the source of her trouble. Oh, I’d discovered it alright – the LG just didn’t cut the mustard. We discussed my findings for a while, and she told me she had the same problems with it at home. She’d find it dead in the middle of the floor, tangled up on a rug, or stuck under the couch or love seat at least once or twice per cleaning. Then, we talked about the differences in the LG and my Roombas, which are the 650 and 880 models.
LG HOM-BOT vs. the iRobot Roomba 650
First of all, the Roomba 650 does not have many advanced fancy sounding features, but even this entry-level model is programmable up to seven days in advance, the HOM-BOT is not. And BTW who puts a countdown watch (up to 12 hours) into a vacuum cleaner and calls it scheduled cleaning anyway? Cleaning results are a lot better with the Roomba 650, totally different league in my opinion. The LG vacuum did win out in terms of noise, though, but what difference does it make if a quiet vacuum doesn’t clean the floor? My iRobot 650 beat the LG HOM-BOT by a mile, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that the 650 costs about $200 less than the LG robot vacuum cleaner!
LG HOM-BOT vs. the iRobot Roomba 880
Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m including this in my review. There’s just no comparison here. The LG HOM-BOT is quieter than the Roomba 880, but that’s the only real benefit. Don’t believe me? I couldn’t believe it myself and checked out the reviews on Amazon, same results. Bottom-line: Incredibly silent and not useable as a vacuum cleaner. My 880 makes the HOM-BOT look like a heap of scrap in terms of features and cleaning. The Roomba 880 boasts the Extended Life Battery, Virtual Walls and Lighthouses, and a cleaning time that regularly surpasses two hours as compared to the (almost) one hour I got out of the LG. While the LG barely touched the edges and corners of the living room, the 880 is almost as good as a manual vacuum with top-of-the-line corner cleaning attachments. The 880 has HEPA filters for my son’s allergies whereas the LG does not. Although the Roomba 880 costs a bit more than the LG HOM-BOT through most retailers, it is absolutely, 100%, without a single doubt worth every extra penny. Check out my review of the iRobot Roomba 880 Vacuum Cleaning Robot so find out more about it.
LG Robot Vacuum Customer Service Experience – Another Defining Factor
Before making the decision that the LG HOM-BOT was just a terrible concept, I had one final trick up my sleeve. I was curious if maybe something inside the LG was broken or not working correctly, and perhaps that’s why it wasn’t cleaning the dirt off of the floor. I pulled up the LG website and started looking for the things that are so familiar to me on the iRobot site, but there was nothing. There were some articles about the HOM-BOT and the different versions of it, but I could find no user manual or order form for parts. What? Wait a second, here. What if I want to replace the filter? What if a brush wears out? What if I need a new wheel? Do I have to spend $600 for a brand new vacuum? How is it possible that LG does not address any of these concerns? Cassey laughed and said she’d call LG customer service when she got home, but I never heard back from her. I wonder if she’s still on hold….
Why I Choose iRobot
I no longer felt like a hypocrite for being in love with my Roombas. It was obvious that other companies, including the renowned LG, took far less pride in their robotic vacuum cleaners. After all, iRobot got its start in a lab at MIT, and because MIT is known for its technological breakthroughs, it’s hard to expect anything less than perfection. iRobot certainly delivers, and not just with their robotic vacuums, either. They create all kinds of technologies for dozens of applications, including robots that diffuse bombs for SWAT teams and software that allows people to chat face-to-face with loved ones from almost anywhere in the world. I mean, LG makes smartphones, but do they really care how people use them? Probably not. iRobot cares, though.
The customer service experience with LG was also poor. I mean, what kind of company does not make replacement parts as simple as filters available for reorder through its website? One that doesn’t care about the trouble it puts its customers through? When you order products from iRobot, you’ll have access to everything you need in one place – I promise. Go to their website here and check it out yourself. They offer you not only user manuals and guides that are easy to find, but also dozens upon dozens of instructional videos. If you need to talk to someone and order a part, you won’t have to wait on hold all day. If you prefer live chat – they have it. Just tell the agent what you need, and they’ll send it to you – quickly. They’ll also send you a link to an instructional video related to that particular part on your particular model. Just follow the link when you get your part, and you’re on your way. If you need to replace filters or anything like it, just find it on their website with ease or check Amazon. It’s available and you don’t have to search for it. It’s just too simple, and the fact that iRobot can do it while LG cannot is a bit frustrating, to say the least.
My Overall Opinion about the LG Robot Vacuum
If you are going to spend the money to buy a robotic vacuum cleaner, stay far, far away from the LG HOM-BOT. It looks pretty neat, and it sounds amazing on paper with its features named after famous explorers and such, but in all honesty, it spends too much exploring and not nearly enough time cleaning judging by the condition of my living room floor. I mean, if you enjoy the idea of a robotic vacuum cleaner with minimal features that just does its job, I’d recommend the iRobot Roomba 650 over the HOM-BOT any day. It’s a little louder, to be fair, but it does a much better job overall, and you can program it for up to seven days in advance. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a full-featured robotic vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters and technologies designed for efficient, thorough cleaning, spend a bit more than on the LG and go with the Roomba 880. For a full review click here: Roomba 880. It is a bit more expensive, but I guarantee it won’t let you down. Mine hasn’t yet, and I’m picky.
Pass up the LG HOM-BOT. Please. It isn’t worth your money.
Stay tuned for more robotic vacuum cleaner reviews as I have the opportunity to review them.