Talking tech since 2003

When Mandy and I moved from our tiny one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, NY to a much more spacious place in Florida, I'll be honest, one thing that didn't cross my mind was how much more effort it would take to keep a space more than double the size of our previous home clean. But thankfully, it did cross my wife's mind. About a month into living here in Florida an Amazon box shows up at our front door, I bring it in and open it – it's a Coredy robot vacuum cleaner.

"Neat!" I thought as I step into the kitchen and onto a small pile of crumbs on the floor.

The crumbs situation was becoming dire. I like to walk around the house barefoot and I was consistently stepping on crumbs or dust or whatever. Oh, and we can't forget, the little cardboard box bits that were literally strewn across the floor throughout the entire living room courtesy of Zuck and Nala. I love our kitties though. Hi babies!

So yes, I was pretty thrilled at what was inside that boring brown Amazon box. The first thing Mandy and I did was set it up, which truth be told was pretty much a non-event. It took all of about 2 minutes – we attached the dust tray, connected the two side brushes, and plopped it down on the charger which we placed in our kitchen.

While it was charging we used our time in the most effective way possible: brainstorming names for our newest member of the family.

Cody? Nah, too basic. Franklin? Maybe. This went on for about 5 minutes until we both decided on Charlie. So going forward anytime I mention Charlie I'm referring to our Coredy robotic vacuum cleaner. Cool? Cool.

When it came to Charlie's chores, which currently consist of cleaning the wood and carpeted floors in the house every other day or so, I was really curious how he would fair in a few very specific areas within the house. I'm sure you have places like that too in your home, right? Places where the floor is for some reason or another consistently dirty. For us, it's in the laundry room because that's where the kitties litter box resides. There's also areas of the carpet in the living room that always have cardboard bits on them from the cats either using their scratchers or chewing up boxes. And of course, there's also the area in the kitchen where the cats eat their meals. These places were an important benchmark of whether or not Charlie got a passing grade.

The research

Mandy went into the process of finding a robot vacuum cleaner for us with a singular mission: find a good robot vacuum that's cheaper than a Roomba. For those who are unaware (as I was), Roomba's are expensive. A good model will run you $800. We certainly didn't have $800 to spend. Hell, we didn't even have $200 to spend.

Like many online shopping trips, Mandy started by visiting Amazon and doing a quick search for robot vacuums. The first thing you'll notice is there's an overwhelming number of options (like most Amazon searches), to narrow this down, she started filtering: must be able to clean pet hair, must be able to navigate hardwood and carpet, must have at least 4 stars, and must be less than $200.

The less than $200 price tag really helped narrow down the results. From there, she found the Coredy R500+ and the newer, more expensive model, the R750.

Coredy robot vacuum models.

The R500+ retails for $189 and the R750 retails for $299. Both of which are still significantly cheaper than a Roomba. But are they as good? That's what we set out to find out.

The review

I'm going to break this review out into common questions people typically have about robot vacuums.

How does the Coredy R500+ handle switching from wood to carpet floors?

It handles it very well actually. I was surprised by how easily Charlie was able to switch between cleaning a hardwood floor to then moving to a carpeted room.

Charlie also rarely gets stuck, which is great. I've only had to rescue him from awkward (stuck) situations twice since we got him and those were because he got stuck on the base of a light stand and the legs of my desk. Mandy has had to rescue Charlie twice as well, so a four rescues in two months time? Not bad.

One thing I wish the R500+ model had is room mapping. That's where the robot learns your house layout so it can be more effective when cleaning – this model does, however, have wall, obstruction, and ledge detection though which I've found to work well. Charlie will often gently bump into things while cleaning, but always seems to figure out where to go eventually. Plus, the R500+ has around a two hour run time on a full charge so it should be able to clean your entire home (we have a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment for reference) in that time.

How well does it clean?

Our little Charlie does a great job, though sometimes he requires a second pass to get everything. One thing I've noticed with Charlie is if he does leave some stuff behind he may not go back to immediately. He'll run around a bit before eventually making it back to the spot, but he does get there – just on his own time.

First pass: Charlie cleaning up some cardboard bits and catnip.
Second pass: Charlie finishing cleaning up the cardboard and catnip.

How often do you need to empty it?

We empty Charlie's dust bin either before or after every use, especially since we typically run him every other day so there's normally quite a bit of dirt he picks up. It's also worth noting the fuller the dust bin is, the less powerful the suction is when the robot is vacuuming so it's generally a good idea to empty the dust bin before or after each cleaning. Additionally, if you have long hair or pets, you will want to clean the rolling brush located underneath the dust bin at the same time, this is because if your rolling brush gets hair tangled in it, the entire unit could stop running midway through a clean.

The R500+ holds a decent amount of dust, dirt, kitty litter, etc. The exact capacity is 500ML which is a little less than a 20 fl oz. coke bottle.

Emptying the dust bin is incredibly easy too. Simply pinch down on the latch located along the perimeter of the vacuum and pull the dustbin out. From there, you can open up the dust bin by squeezing the two tabs on the top and lifting up the lid of the bin. This is also where you will have access to the filter.

How often do you run it?

Right now we've been running Charlie every other day. But obviously you can run your robot vacuum as much or as little as you want.

Is it noisy?

I think so. It's not insanely noisy, like say, a regular vacuum cleaner but it's not quiet either. I hear Charlie when he's buzzing around the living room or kitchen from my office. I don't hear him when he's in the bedroom on the other side of the apartment though.

Can you program it?

You can program the R500+ model a little. For example, you can schedule the Coredy R500+ to run at a certain time each day. Plus, it also comes with a remote control that you can use. That being said, newer models like the R750 have iOS and Android apps that you can use with the robot which I'm assuming (I've never tested the apps) provides an even better experience.  

Additionally, you can buy (separately for $30) boundary strips which are supposed to tell your Coredy robot vacuum to avoid a particular area. We recently bought some of the boundary strips to test it out and found that they work quite well, despite the fact I think they're ugly af. You use 3M double sided tape to place them down in locations you want your Coredy robot vacuum to avoid and when the robot reaches the boundary strip it will act as if it's hitting a (virtual) wall and turn around.

Mandy also made a good point about the boundary strips, you can use them to force your robot vacuum to stay in a particular location (as opposed to keeping it out). So for example, if I wanted to make sure Charlie cleaned my office floor before moving on, we could place some boundary strips on the threshold of the doorway. Of course, you would have to then pick up your robot and place it outside the boundary strips for it to continue cleaning.

Do you need the mop accessories?

As an add-on, Coredy sells a water tank and a mop cloth that you can attach to your robot vacuum. The mop accessory retails for $40. We haven't had a need for it yet as we normally use a Swiffer Wet Jet on our floors but if we do end up testing it out, I'll be sure to update the review.

How has your overall experience been? Would you recommend it?

I've been really pleased with Charlie. All we have to do is press the power button on top and he's off to the races. After he finishes cleaning the house, he'll find his way back to the charger to recharge for his next run. I love how the floors always feel so clean on my feet after he's done.

He's tackled even some of the most difficult spots in the house that I outlined above with relative ease – picking up all the cardboard, dust, food crumbs, and kitty litter. I used to cringe when I walked into the laundry room barefoot because I'd constantly step on kitty litter – with Charlie that's no longer the case. If I were to change anything about the way we use Charlie it would be that we try and run him daily.  

On a budget, the Coredy R500+ is a great little robot vacuum cleaner that will do you proud. If you have a bigger budget I'd recommend considering the R750 because aside from the iOS/Android apps and Alexa control, it also has more suction power – 2000Pa compared to the R500+'s 1400Pa, which means it'll be able to suck up more debris from carpet.

Overall, I'd give the Coredy R500+ a solid B+ rating.

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