If I told you that you could have a robotic floor cleaner for less than $100 you would probably look at me sideways. With Roomba and Samsung and others companies charging well over a thousand dollars for their robots, it seems unlikely. It is true, though. Pure Clean is a relatively new company (under the seller name of Pyle) that offers entry-level robots at amazingly low prices.
This review will look at the Pure Clean Robot Vacuum (PUCRC26B) and find out what is going on under the hood, how it compares, where it falls short and if it is the right robot for you and your home.
If you want the quick and dirty you need to know that the robot has very limited controls, will work well on hard flooring and maintenance is more hands-on than most other robots. However, it will be a good fit for smaller homes or apartments without a lot of carpeting and the price is perfect for those on a budget.
- 1 Who is This Robot For?
- 2 Who is This Robot Not For?
- 3 Dimensions, Features and Options
- 4 Specifications Chart
- 5 Alternative Options
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6.1 Q. The owner’s manual shows different cleaning patterns, how do you select them?
- 6.2 Q. How can I keep the Pure Clean from entering the babies room?
- 6.3 Q. How do the sensors work?
- 6.4 Q. How does it recharge without a docking station?
- 6.5 Q. What does the blinking light mean?
- 6.6 Q. How does it clean carpeting if it doesn’t have a brush roll?
- 6.7 Q. What kind of maintenance can I expect?
- 7 In Conclusion
- 8 In a Nutshell
Who is This Robot For?
The Pure Clean Robot vacuum is designed for anyone that wants to start off with a robotic cleaner to find out if they like them without breaking the bank. You may love the Pure Clean if:
- You have a smaller home (900 square feet or less).
- Have allergies and need to keep the air and floors free of allergens.
- Don’t have much carpeting in the home (including rugs and runners).
Who is This Robot Not For?
Not everyone will benefit from the Pure CLean robot, even if you are on a tight budget. You may find you need a different model if:
- You require programming and scheduling of your cleaning cycles.
- Don’t want to have to search for the robot when the battery dies.
- Have medium, high or shag pile carpeting.
Dimensions, Features and Options
Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks here. You want to know if the Pure Clean will work for you, and if so, how does it work? I’ll answer those questions soon enough. Let me take you through the ins and outs of this machine to find out what it has and what it lacks.
The Battery Is Tiny, And There Isn’t A Charging Station.
The battery used by the Pure Clean is a lithium-ion battery. This is good news as they work a lot better than the Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries. Lithium-ion batteries last longer, perform better and hold charges for more cycles than the NiMH counterparts.
The bad news is the battery is a tiny celled battery that doesn’t last too long. Most robots will tout batteries with 3500, 3300, or even 2600 milliamp hours (mAh). The larger the cells, the longer they can run. The Pure Clean has an 850mAh battery pack.
Even as small as it is, it still has a charging time of over 4 hours. To me, it is a bit ridiculous. I know the robot is called a “mini,” but it isn’t much smaller than any other robot on the market. The battery could be a bit larger and have a faster charge time. Currently, the battery will recharge with 4.7 volts. Even your cell phone uses 5 volts.
When the battery is charged, it only has a few jobs to do: run the motor to spin the wheels, power the sensors and make the motor create suction. Because of these small tasks, the battery can provide runtime of up to 90 minutes. You are more likely to see runtimes closer to 65 or 70 minutes, but the chance of a full hour and a half are there.
When the battery dies, there isn’t a charging dock to return to. So you won’t come home and find your new little robot resting on its docking station waiting for you to send it back out again. What you will find is it dead somewhere on your floor with a little red battery light blinking away telling you “help, I’ve run out of power!”
You will pick up the poor little guy and carry it to a power outlet, plug in the DC adapter and then plug the adapter into the robot. When you do, that red light will blink blue. After about four hours, it will be a solid blue and this is your indication that the battery is charged and the robot is ready for active duty.
It isn’t the greatest battery on the market. It will, though, do enough to clean for over an hour and about 800 to 900 square feet of floor space.
The Filter Is Great, At Least.
Filtration is always a big concern when it comes to vacuuming. I mean, let’s face it, vacuums, by design, are meant to stir everything up on our floor, suck up as much as possible and try to keep as much inside the vacuum as possible.
If you remember your grandma’s old vacuum, I am sure that red bag with the giant zipper brings back bad memories of making huge clouds of dust when you bumped into it. Let alone the nightmare of trying to change out the paper bag that held all the crap from the floor.
Now we have canisters and collection bins and filters. All of these go to reduce the amount of dirt, dust and debris returned to the air and floor while using the vacuum and while it is being cleaned.
We have even come so far as to be able to filter the air that is exhausted by the machines to a level that actually reduces allergens in the home. The Pure Clean has such a filter. The small, washable filter is certified HEPA and will collect particles down to 3 microns in size.
The bad news is that the filter and collection bin are tiny. The filter fits inside the collection bin which, at a whole 0.2 liters, is one of the smallest in the industry. You will be emptying this every cleaning cycle. At least once.
The filter will need to be beaten against the side of your garbage can regularly, and once a month (or more) have a wet toothbrush taken too it. Once everything is dry, you can put it all back, though, which is nice for those that like to reuse things.
Controls? What Controls?
If you are looking for a vacuum that has voice commands through Amazon Alexa, mobile apps that send reports and allow you to create schedules, or remote controls with directional arrows for manual steering; you are in for a surprise.
The Pure Clean has none of these. In fact, it doesn’t have any controls at all to speak of. There is one button on the machine: the power button. Press it and the robot starts cleaning. Press it again and it stops.
That’s it. That is all you get. Put the robot on the floor, press the button and off it goes. It will run until the battery is dead or the collection bin is full. It doesn’t even know if your entire house is clean, it just runs itself to death, hoping for the best.
This isn’t to say it doesn’t clean your entire home; it does, the robot just really has no idea it has done so. Kind of like when your four-year-old hears you spell a word and knows you are going to McDonald’s.
As Long As You Have The Right Flooring, There Is Nothing To Worry About.
There are literally dozens of floor types and within those dozens, there are hundreds of sub-types. I could make a list that would be longer than this article. Don’t worry; I won’t.
What I will list are the types of flooring the Pure Clean can handle. Hard flooring and low pile carpet. A short list. Let me make it a bit longer. By low pile carpet, I mean just that. Indoor and outdoor carpet with little to no pile will be cleaned fairly well.
Hard flooring is a much longer list. It includes tile, laminate, vinyl, hardwood, softwood, marble, stone, Formica, shale, granite… You get the idea. If it isn’t carpet, the Pure Clean will clean it.
It will also attempt to clean cords, socks, toys, those clear plastic Lego pieces you can never seem to find until you are barefoot and headed to the bathroom at 3 am. If it is on the floor, the robot will attempt to climb, clean and suction it up. Sometimes for the better (stupid Lego) and sometimes for the worse (sorry cell phone charger).
It’s how it cleans that is important. Pick up the big stuff and watch the cords and throw rug tassels and you will be fine.
Suction Is Basically All You Get.
Unlike your grandma’s upright and most other robotic vacuums on the market, there isn’t a rotating brush roll to agitate the carpet fibers or sweep the floor. There is a suction port where 800pa worth of airflow picks up anything in its path.
You also have the option to attach two side brushes to help push dirt and debris into the gaping maw of the suction port. It works the same way as that old Dust Buster your mom had hung up in the laundry room that she always forgot about until the battery wouldn’t hold a charge longer than two minutes.
It cleans hard flooring well, as most suction vacuums do, and it will surface clean low pile carpet. Which is enough to get you through to Sunday, when your wife turns off the football game until you have vacuumed the whole house with the plugged-in upright. Don’t worry; you’ll be back before Detroit scores, I promise.
Let me show you what the Pure Clean does and doesn’t have in this handy chart so you can see, at a glance, what you are getting.
|Pure Clean PUCRC26B|
|Runtime||Up to 90 minutes|
|Collection Bin Capacity||0.2L|
|Dirt Detection Sensors||No|
|Full Bin Indicator||Yes|
|Floor Types||All hard flooring, Low pile carpeting|
|Price||Check on Amazon|
If you feel that the Pure Clean isn’t the right robot for you, here are some other options to consider.
Roomba has a no-frills model if you are looking to save a bit of money. You will still get the Roomba name, the navigation, clean on hard floors as well as low to high pile carpeting. You won’t get the HEPA filtration though.
You also won’t spend an arm and a leg to get a reliable, virtually maintenance free Roomba. You may not be able to connect to the robot for mobile apps and voice commands, but it will clean your floors, has the ability to use the virtual wall barriers and has a larger collection bin.
If you want a well-rounded machine, are tired of seeing the Roomba name and just want a robot that works, can be scheduled and has all the features you need and none of the ones you don’t, the ILIFE A6 may be up your alley.
Besides being reliable and affordable, you get a superior clean on hard surfaces and low pile carpeting. You also miss a lot of the features of the V series, like mopping, brush rolls and communications, but if you are into entry-level robots, it’s worth a look.
bObSweep PetHair Plus
The PetHair Plus started the all-in-one craze by having a mopping pad that attaches to the bottom of the machine. Not only will it sweep and vacuum your hard flooring surfaces, but it will dry or damp mop them as well.
Unfortunately, it will also attempt to mop your carpet, unless you figure out a way to block it from doing so. However, if you don’t have a lot of carpets and want to have a vacuum that also Swiffer style cleans your floor, this is it.
Frequently Asked Questions
I get asked questions all the time, and sometimes those questions have to deal with robotic vacuums like the Pure Clean. Here, I answer the most common asked questions, so you don’t have to wonder about anything.
Did I miss something? Ask me in the comments section below and I will have my people contact your people.
Q. The owner’s manual shows different cleaning patterns, how do you select them?
A. You don’t. I know, I know. You can get that look off your face, it’s not my fault. The robot seems to do whatever it wants. From what I was able to understand from the testing and poking with a stick, there are three cleaning patterns such as spiral, random, and edge cleaning.
When you power the robot on and let it go about it’s business, it runs through a cleaning cycle using all the patterns. First it will run randomly around your home cleaning as it goes.
From there it does a spiral pattern, which, I assume should start in the middle of the room and work towards the edges, but, without a mapping feature, it doesn’t quite do that.
Then it runs until it hits a wall and cleans along the edges. Once it feels it has completed that, it will run another spiral pattern. The robot continues this pattern until you stop it, the collection bin becomes full, or the battery dies, which ever comes first.
Q. How can I keep the Pure Clean from entering the babies room?
A. Lions. Pet lions will protect the babies room form a lot of things, including the Pure Clean robot. Probably even your baby. Actually, lions are probably a bad idea.
Instead, you can close doors or put heavy items in the way that the robot will bump into and not be able to push. There isn’t a formal method of containment for the robot, so you will have to use things you have around the house.
Weighted pool noodles, baby gates, lazy dogs, work boots, things like that.
Q. How do the sensors work?
A. I kind of skipped over this in the article because there are only two sensors on the robot. However, it is a common question so I will answer here with some detail.
The robot uses a bump sensor located on the front half of the unit. As the robot moves along the bump sensor detects when the robot comes in contact with an object or obstacle. According to the manufacturer, the less items you have on the floor, the better. I assume this is because the bump sensor is contact only and not acoustic, like some of the others.
Acoustic sensors allow the robot to know something is coming up and it may need to slow down a bit. Even though the Pure Clean doesn’t move too fast, it will still bang into furniture legs, walls, the baby, etc. The bump sensor tells the robot this is bad and makes it change direction.
The other sensor is the drop sensor. This sensor keeps the robot from falling off ledges and stairs. The robot, as far as I know, has never been reported for taking a long tumble down short stairs. However, the sensors that detect these ledges aren’t exactly at the edge of the machine.
There are two of them and they are located just before the wheel. To me, this seems risky, but apparently it works. Though, if you have stairs, I would watch it a few times to make sure.
Other than that, there aren’t any other sensors on the robot. It means the computer has less to calculate and the battery has less to power, but more wouldn’t hurt, in my opinion.
Q. How does it recharge without a docking station?
A. Magic beans will recharge the battery. The robot comes with a cloth pouch full off the suckers. You just throw them on your floor and the robot will gobble them up like Pac-Man, recharging as it goes.
If you don’t believe that (you shouldn’t) there is an adapter you plug into the wall that you then plug into the robot. You have to do it manually, and you have to turn the robot off before you plug it in.
There isn’t a docking station for this model and no other means to charge it. You have to physically pick it up (it weighs less than four pounds) take it to the wall outlet and plug it in. Then all you have to do is wait four hours, unplug it and it is ready to go.
A. It is so airplanes can see it in the dark and not run into it during their descent.
Or, if has two meanings: The red flashing light means the battery is dead and the robot needs to be recharged. It also means that the collection bin is full and needs to be emptied. The robot won’t run with a full collection bin (nor will it run with a dead battery, go figure).
The blue flashing light means the robot is charging and shouldn’t be disturbed. Kind of like when you take your cell phone into the bathroom to play Candy Crush.
Q. How does it clean carpeting if it doesn’t have a brush roll?
A. Sheer will and determination. The suction power is all the robot has for carpeting, which is why it is only rated for low pile carpet.
It is true the robot will not agitate the fibers and loosen and lift dirt and debris from down deep in between the fibers. However, any surface dust, dirt and debris will be plucked right up and sent to the collection bin.
This robot really wasn’t designed for a whole lot of carpet cleaning. It will though, cause it is a good little robot and does what it is told. Just don’t be surprised when your carpets still appear dingy after it runs over them.
It is your upright vacuum’s job to do a thorough and deep clean of your carpeting. It is the Pure Clean robot’s job to maintain the clean between upright uses. The more you clean, the better the robot will perform. Kind of counter productive, don’t you think?
Q. What kind of maintenance can I expect?
A. You can expect a lot. Most robotic vacuums will require the same maintenance as the Pure Clean robot does. However, because of the size and lack of additional features, you will find that you are doing the maintenance more often.
First, you will need to charge the robot after every cleaning cycle. If you started the cycle and left home, you will most likely play hide and seek with the robot to determine where it died so you can recharge it.
Once you find it, you will need to empty the collection bin. Just open the lid on the top, pull it out and take it over to the trash can. Open the bin lid and remove the filter. Tip the bin into the trash and make sure it is empty.
Examine the filter. The filter is washable, but sometimes you will need to scrub it with a soft bristled brush (like an old tooth brush) to get it clean again. If you do wash it, make sure it is completely dry before reinstalling it.
You will also need to turn the robot over and pet its belly. While doing so, check for hair and debris build up around the side brushes. Finally, peek inside the suction port and clean out any clogs, hairs or debris that are trapped inside.
These steps, on most machines will need to be done monthly (with the exception of the collection bin, of course), and for the Pure Clean, will need to be done twice a week. It can be a pain, but it will keep everything working better.
As you can tell, the Pure Clean robot isn’t a bad deal. Sure you miss out on some of the fancy do-dads that other cleaners have, but you also save a lot of money. The Pure Clean is currently the least expensive robot vacuum on the market. You can have one delivered to your door for less than $100. Which, is insane to be quite honest.
If you are looking to get into the robotic floor cleaning world, are on a tight budget and don’t have a lot of carpeting in the home, the Pure Clean could be the machine for you. Granted there is a lot of extra maintenance, but for the money, you really can’t complain.
In a Nutshell
The Pure Clean robot is a very basic, single button, no bells and whistles type of robotic cleaner. How it navigates the flooring is actually beyond me, but it does, if if the robot itself doesn’t know. It’s worth a look for those with a small budget or are new to the market.
What I Like:
- HEPA filtration for allergy sufferers.
- Long runtime for such a small battery.
- Produces a lot of suction to clean most floor types.
What I Don’t Like
- The collection bin is way too small.
- Four hours to recharge is a bit much.
- No controls, at all.