If you are a working professional that has a lot of space to clean, you may wonder how well a robotic vacuum would perform for you. In a warehouse, shop, showroom or anywhere else with vast amounts of hard flooring, it can be a chore to keep clean.
Makita has your answer. The Makita DRC200Z, sometimes called the Makita RoboPro, is a large robot that can take on almost anything your shop floor or showroom can throw at it. This Makita robot vacuum review inspects the robot and finds out if the high price tag is worth the investment, or if you should look elsewhere.
Who the Makita Robot is for
The Makita robot isn’t designed for everyone. If you are a homeowner looking for a robot for your home, you will want to stick to a more traditional robot like a Neato or a Roomba. The Makita is designed for hard flooring only and large spaces. Think of it as a miniature ShopVac without a cord.
If, on the other hand, you have a large, flat surface that needs tending, you will find the Makita helpful. Warehouses, shop floors, stores, even horse or cattle stables. The RoboPro has a large capacity collection bin and a long runtime using two batteries.
While it isn’t a great (or even decent) robot for residential applications, in industrial, farming or commercial floors, it can be a lifesaver.
- 1 Who the Makita Robot is for
- 2 The Makita Robot Vacuum in Detail
- 3 Specifications Chart
- 4 Alternative Options
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5.1 Q. Does the Makita DRC200Z comes with a warranty?
- 5.2 Q. How do I contact Makita customer service?
- 5.3 Q. Where is the best place to buy the Makita RoboPro?
- 5.4 Q. How does the Makita DRC200Z know where to return to when the batteries get low?
- 5.5 Q. How come the robot only cleans on the edges but leaves a trail of dirt in the middle?
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 In a Nutshell
The Makita Robot Vacuum in Detail
Let me take you through the ins and outs of the Makita robot vacuum . You want to know how it performs in real-world applications, not a testing lab. So, let’s break it down by feature and get you the information you need to make a well-informed decision.
Kit or Bare Tool?
The first thing you will need to decide on is to go with the “Bare Tool,” or the “Kit” options. The kit is about $200 more, so why would you need it?
The simple answer comes from the batteries. The Makita robot vacuum uses two lithium-ion battery packs and there are plenty of options here. Makita makes various types of batteries for their equipment line ups. Most of them are interchangeable with other equipment pieces. This is why there is an option for the bare tool only. It costs $200 less, but doesn’t come with batteries.
For the Makita DRC200Z, you have three battery options. Here are their specs:
- BL1850B – 5000mAh lithium ion.
- BL1840B – 4000mAh lithium-ion. This model has been discontinued for the BL1850B.
- BL1830B – 3000mAh lithium-ion.
- BL1815N – 1500mAh lithium-ion without battery level indicator.
If you own any of these battery packs already, you can get away with the bare tool option. The robot will run on one or two batteries (don’t mix and match capacities, though, or you will void the warranty).
With the largest batteries, you can expect up to 200 minutes of runtime and a coverage area of about 5300 square feet. If you only use a single battery, though, you can cut both in half. The good news is that you can use a single battery, charge one and rotate the batteries as they get low, effectively running the robot non-stop.
If you do not own Makita batteries that fit the robot, you will need to either purchase them (and a charger) separately, or buy the RoboPro kit. The kit comes with two BL1850B batteries and a dual-port charger.
Is the kit price worth it? If you want the 5.0 Ah batteries, it is. The cost comes out the same. If you are looking to save some money, though, you can purchase the robot only and then downgrade to a smaller battery pack and charger. However, it is best to use the larger batteries, which means the kit option should be what you go with.
The Suction and Collection
The Makita vacuum uses two cleaning modes with two variations on suction. You can choose pattern cleaning mode for a systematic cleaning, where the robot will travels back and forth in parallel lines. This mode is ideal for floors with wide open spaces and not too many obstacles in the way.
The second option is the random cleaning mode where the robot wanders around cleaning wherever it goes. This mode is perfect for floors with a lot of obstacles where the robot would otherwise get caught.
There are also two suction modes to choose from. The first is the power brush and fan mode. This collects finer debris, dust, sawdust, etc. You will get about 5300 square feet of coverage in this mode.
Finally, you can opt to pick up larger debris by turning the fan off. The power brush only mode will double the expected coverage, giving you up to 10,754 square feet using both 5.0 Ah battery packs.
Regardless of the cleaning mode or suction mode, everything collected will end up in the dust box. And box it is. This huge bin has a capacity of 2.5L. It also has two chambers. The upper chamber stores the lighter, smaller debris picked up by the fan suction. The lower chamber holds the debris swept in by the power brush.
You can go quite a while without having to empty the box, too. This helps lower the maintenance requirements. With both batteries and the large capacity dust box, the robot can fend for itself for quite a while.
Inside the dust box is the large filter. This high-efficiency filter is HEPA rated and will capture up to 99% of the particles that pass through it.
The filter is washable, so is the entire dust box. You don’t want to put them in the dishwasher, but warm water and a hand rinse work well.
When you can’t wash the filter, you can knock it against the inside of a trash can to get the bigger stuff out. The filter has a large surface area, and unlike residential robots, it will last for a lot longer. Owner’s can get about 9 months or so out of the filter before it needs to be changed.
This will depend greatly on the type of debris you are collecting, and how often you run the machine, though. Don’t be surprised if you find that the filter needs to be replaced after 4 or 5 months with heavy use.
The controls of the Makita aren’t fancy like you will find in the Roomba i7. There aren’t any wireless communications and no high-end mobile app. Instead you have durable, easy to operate local control panel and an infrared remote control.
The local controls are what you will most likely use for the initial setup and daily use. The remote control has a power button, along with the mode selection options. You can control the robot from up to 66 feet away.
The local controls allow you start and stop the robot, as well as control the modes, power brush controls and more. There are battery level indicators so you can find out how much longer the batteries will last for. There is also a receiver so you can find the robot if the batteries die in a far corner of your warehouse.
You will also find a timer control. When pressed, the robot will wait either 1, 3, or 5 hours before it cleans. The robot will run until the batteries die. There isn’t a charging station to return to. However, you can set the timer so the area is clear of people and equipment (like over night) and come in the next morning to clean floors.
The robot isn’t without its form of containment, either. Using Bot Boundary tape, you can control where the Makita can and cannot go.
The containment tape is like that used by Neato and other robots. You can cut and place the tape directly on the ground and as the robot approaches the sensors will activate. The robot will treat the tape as an actual wall and will not cross over.
It isn’t the most elegant form of containment, but it works. As long as you don’t mind having silver tape on the floor of your shop or warehouse, you don’t even need to remove it. You will have to replace it after a while when it begins to peel up, though.
There are some aspects of the robot vacuum that may not appeal to you. While some can be overlooked or ignored, others may not be something you are willing to deal with.
- Easily gets hung up. The DRC200Z robot vacuum isn’t as advanced as residential models. It will get caught in corners or in tight spaces more easily than other models.
- Incline obstacles can be a problem. Some owners report that small obstacles such as inclines, thresholds and lamp bases, can cause the robot serious problems.
- Not for carpet. While the power brush and suction can work on some carpet, the Makita model isn’t designed for a lot of carpet and won’t clean a home with any reliability.
- Loud alarm. The alarm on the robot is loud and frequent. Any time the robot is caught up, stuck or otherwise in distress, the alarm will sound. The alarm is loud, annoying and while it can be muted, it is aggravating.
- There is no docking station. Unless you stop the robot manually, it will just run until the batteries are dead.
Below is a list of all the features and options the Makita robot does and doesn’t offer you. Go through the list to find out if your specific needs are met with this model.
|Makita DRC200Z Robot Vacuum|
|Battery||18 volt/5000mAh (x2)|
|Runtime||Up to 200 minutes|
|Recharge||About 2 hours|
|Dimensions||18 1/8 x18 1/8x 7 1/8 inches|
|Filtration||High-efficiency HEPA washable filter|
|Collection Bin Capacity||2.5L|
|Entire Level Clean||No|
|Warranty||30-day return, 1-year warranty on batteries,
3-year warranty all other parts
|Price||Check on Amazon|
If you aren’t sold on the Makita, There are other options to consider. Below, I will cover the competition and give my brief opinions on their performances.
If you haven’t heard of ShopVac, then you are reading the wrong review. Every garage around the country has a ShopVac or has at least thought about buying one. ShopVac has become the brand name that identifies a market.
They are not robots, though. The vacuums can pick up anything, including liquids and there is very little filtration. The design is a large canister, usually on wheels and has a capacity of anywhere between half a gallon and 20 gallons or more. You need to tote them around and they don’t run on batteries.
ShopVacs are durable and reliable, but they are limited. The Makita has more options and better range. Still, a ShopVac can clean any shop or garage mess.
You can find the current ShopVac prices on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now I will answer a few of the most common questions about the Makita DRC200Z
Q. Does the Makita DRC200Z comes with a warranty?
A. Yes, there is a 30-day return for a full refund. After that you get a full 3-year warranty on the rest of the robot. The exception is the battery packs, if you order the kit, which only come with a 1-year warranty.
Q. How do I contact Makita customer service?
A. You can call Makita customer service toll-free at 1 (800) 462-5482. If you can’t call, you can use the contact form on their website to initiate an email correspondence.
Q. Where is the best place to buy the Makita RoboPro?
A. Currently, you will find the best pricing on Amazon. The options for the Bare Tool and the kit will both be available through the online retailer. You also have the option for free or expedited shipping (Prime members), plus you can go through Amazon customer service for any warranty claims, or questions.
Q. How does the Makita DRC200Z know where to return to when the batteries get low?
A. The RoboPro doesn’t have anywhere to go. It doesn’t have a charging station or remember where is starts or has been. The robot will run until the batteries die or until you stop it manually. When it does stop, it is wherever it happens to be, not a specific spot or predetermined place.
Q. How come the robot only cleans on the edges but leaves a trail of dirt in the middle?
A. There is a setting on the robot to disable the power brush. If this happens, the suction only mode isn’t very strong and only the twin side brushes will operate. Make sure the power brush is seated properly and powered on.
The Makita DRC200Z Robot Vacuum is a robot designed for large, open spaces and hard flooring surfaces. As such, it isn’t for the average homeowner and won’t perform well at all in a residential setting.
The dual-battery packs give it 200 minutes of runtime and can cover up to 5300 square feet on a single charge. You can also set a delay timer to run after you leave the shop for the day. The large capacity dust box won’t overfill easily so you can leave it running while you are away.
For garages, warehouses and shop floors the Makita robot is an ideal floor cleaning machine. The price will pay for itself in the man-hours you save having to sweep or clean your shop floors everyday.
In a Nutshell
For a shop or warehouse robot vacuum, the Makita Robot Vacuum delivers. With 200 minutes of runtime, 5300 square feet of coverage and a dust box with almost a gallon sized capacity, there isn’t much this robot can’t pick up.
What I Like
- Enormous 5L dust box
- The filter, dust box and power brush are washable.
- Coverage area is massive, with up to 5300 square feet on a single charge.
What I Don’t Like
- Doesn’t handle rugs or carpeting very well.
- Can easily get hung up and doesn’t try very hard to free itself before giving up and sounding the alarm.