The Electrolux PURE i9 vacuum is a smart home must-have for housework haters

Why bother vacuuming if a robot can do it for you?

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Automation gets an unfair rap, I feel. The conversation about the unyielding march of automated robots and smart algorithms is too tightly focused on whether we’ll be put out of our jobs, and not on how much easier our lives could be thanks to products like the Electrolux PUREi9. We got down and dirty with the PUREi9 to see if it can put me out of a job pushing a vacuum around the house on my own.

The PUREi9 is a handsome little triangular wedge of a gadget that – in an ideal world – you’ll never see working. That is, once you’ve completed the smartphone set-up of your nifty new floor butler, it sets itself a default schedule to clean between the hours of 9am and 5pm on weekdays, when many people would be at work. When it’s time to go, the PUREi9 backs out of its base station and gets to the business of sucking all the dirt off your floors.

As it swirls to life, it sounds like a quiet little drone that would sooner fly around your house than clean it. It moves at a methodical pace, stopping every few feet to consider its surroundings with a camera and laser-guided measurement system called 3D Vision. Coupled with a pair of bump sensors on the front right- and left-hand sides of the device, the Electrolux stops short of measuring the room by force, instead sidling up to your skirting boards and narrow corners of the room and cleaning them politely and precisely.

How well does it clean?

The PUREi9's dimensions allow it to slip into traditionally hard-to-reach nooks to score its bounty of dust and other particulates, quietly sucking it all into a top-box that simply pops off and easily opens like a sandwich lunchbox so you can empty it into the bin. Dust and other small particulates are kept inside the box via a filter, so you don’t have to worry about your new robot friend causing more hayfever problems than you bargained for.

The Electrolux PUREi9 on its dock

When it came to cleaning our place, the PUREi9 had its work cut out for it. Not that we’re messy people, mind, but my partner and I have a tightly-woven carpet that dust just loves to hide in. Before Electrolux sent the PUREi9 over for a visit, I’d been using a Dyson V6 Absolute to clean the floors, and had my doubts that a little robo-vac could do anywhere near the same job on the surfaces we had.

However, to my delight and surprise when I went over the same spots the PUREi9 had cleaned with the V6, I found little to no dust left for me to grab. It does a stellar job, especially considering the power inside the V6 is enough to pluck dust from other dimensions.

How long does it take?

Relative to how long it takes to manually clean a floor, the PUREi9 does take its time somewhat. It has a system that allows it to pause mid-job for a spot of charge before venturing back out to finish the floors. It cleans for about 30 minutes on our carpet floor before returning home for a power snack, and gets the whole job of cleaning a two-bedroom apartment done in about two hours.

Manually, the same job takes around 20 minutes, but none of that should matter, considering that the PUREi9 is designed around the idea of doing all of its work when you’re not home.

Hell, you could even shut your bedroom door and put this thing on overnight if you’re home all the time. It’s quiet enough on Eco mode that you could sleep right through it. At least we did the first night we had it.

Being able to schedule cleans really is the killer feature, and if you’ve forgotten to schedule a clean and need to give your floors a tidy in anticipation for someone coming over after work or after the pub, you can tell the PUREi9 to start a clean from your smartphone anywhere you have a data connection. It’s insanely good to come home from a night out with a few friends and find your floor totally clean in anticipation for their arrival.

The Electrolux Purei9

Is it worth investing in?

My only real criticism with the PUREi9 is after it pathfinds its way back to the home docking station when it needs a charge. it doesn't always park itself 100% accurately. This can be a problem.

If the vacuum isn't parked on the contact pads correctly, it doesn't charge. We only noticed that it parked wonkily enough not to actually charge once, so the overall success rate isn't bad.

Small quibbles aside, any lazy person looking to gear up their home of the future would love the PUREi9. Sure it’s pricey, but as a real neat freak (especially about hidden dust in my floors), I’ve really loved not having to worry about the vacuuming for the last fortnight, and I’ll miss my new friend when it’s gone.

Where to buy

You can buy the new Electrolux PUREi9 at Betta Home Living, Bing Lee and Harvey Norman among other stores.

The Electrolux PUREi9 retails for $1,699. The packs of four brush head discs cost $39.95 and these are estimated to last up to six months.

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