By Samuel Williams

Since the arrival of robot vacuums, our lives have improved immensely. This enchanted device helped ease our burden. The way we clean our homes and offices has changed due to this device and has become so easy. These tiny devices can autonomously move under tables, chairs, and mattresses to collect dust and filth.

But have you ever questioned, do robot vacuums need light to work? It is widely known that robot vacuums perform poorly at night. Although the cleaner can navigate in complete darkness, the robot can still function with low ambient light.

Since many robot vacuum clients are unsure whether the cleaner can function in dim or full light, today we’ll cover everything in detail in this article. So let’s get started. 

Do Robot Vacuums Need Light – Explained

You must comprehend how these incredibly adaptable devices work to find out the answer to your query, do robot vacuums need light? 

Robotic vacuums employ sensors to determine whether they should change their course to avoid hitting something in their path, such as a dog or a child’s toy. They employ a variety of sensors to sense and gauge the environments around them and their movement through them.

Typically, these sensors use infrared (IR) detectors to find things like walls, rugs, furniture, etc. The robot vacuum will halt cleaning until it determines what is wrong if a sensor detects something not part of the flooring. This implies that you might need to switch on your lights if you wish to use your robot vacuum at night.

In addition to sensors, a robot vacuum camera can do tasks like spotting dirt or other material on the floor. Using machine learning algorithms, certain robot vacuums can recognize dirt or residues, including pet hair or crumbs, and change their cleaning patterns accordingly. 

For a specific reason—the camera needs light to see the room—having a camera can occasionally prohibit the robot vacuum from cleaning dark spaces. If your model didn’t include an LED light, this issue is prevented by some models’ LED lights, but not all models do. 

These sensors and cameras enable your robot vacuum to navigate and thoroughly clean your house. The various types of sensors your robot vacuum uses are listed below.


  • Modern robot vacuums use infrared sensors and non-visual cues for navigation in the dark.
  • They can clean during nighttime hours without disrupting daily activities.
  • Cleaning in the dark reduces the need for room lighting, potentially saving energy.


  • Navigation might be less accurate, leading to missed spots.
  • Difficulty detecting objects in the dark could result in collisions.
  • Dark conditions might affect the accuracy of mapping for future cleaning.

Types Of Sensors On Robot Vacuum

Robot Vacuum has sensors that allow it to recognize walls, furniture, and other obstacles in its path and modify its cleaning technique as necessary. Good lighting in the space can assist the robot vacuum in more correctly detecting and navigating around objects, improving its cleaning performance, even when there is no light for the robot vacuum.

Almost all robot vacuums on the market today have less than three sensors. Those are:

Bump Sensor

To avoid collisions and change course, the robot vacuum can sense when it touches an object, such as a wall or furniture.

Infrared Sensor

It can help the robot vacuum travel around and detect things and obstacles in its path.

Cliff Sensor

When the robot vacuum is about to fall steps or over a cliff, it can sense this and assist the device in avoiding danger. It prevents the robot from falling

How To Find Out If Your Robot Vacuum Isn’t Working In The Dark

robot vacuum is not working in the dark

So, at this point, you’re probably wondering how you’d know if your vacuum cleaner isn’t working in low light. Below, we’ve included some indicators that will let you know that your robot vacuum isn’t able to clean in low light. These are them:

  • Some robot vacuums, like the iRobot, will alert you if the lighting is inadequate by sounding an alarm.
  • When they become fixated on an imaginary object, it will therefore claim to be stuck even though it is not.
  • It’s not very good at moving about and cleaning anything. You can view the areas that have been cleaned if you own a robot vacuum that has mapping technology. 
  • Even when the sensors and cameras are clean, the device may instruct you to clean them.

What Robot Vacuums Need Light

A certain amount of light is required for all Roomba models to clean efficiently. Some models are better than others at cleaning in the dark. The ability of Roomba models to operate in the dark will increase with their level of sophistication. Some Roomba models that require light to clean are listed below:

  • Trifo Ironpie m6
  • Dyson 360 Heurist 
  • Dyson 360 Eye

What Makes Robot Vacuums Function In The Dark

More advanced robots are those that can operate in the dark. These robots detect objects using radio frequency and infrared technology. They also vacuum carpets and hardwood floors using floor tracking sensors. To determine accessibility under tables and chairs, they use reactive sensor technology. These robots don’t have cameras, but smart map technology still exists. 

A robot vacuum cleaner can construct an entire map in just two sweeps. It remembers different locations and saves the map to the cloud. It cleans a particular region without going further. Depending on the need for cleaning, it adjusts the map.

These robots can be set up to clean particular rooms in your home. They can be set to begin at specific periods throughout the day. Additionally, you can program them to shut off after a specific period.

Key Features For Robot Vacuums To Function In The Dark
Infrared and Optical Sensors
Laser-based Navigation
Camera Systems
Mapping and Localization
Floor Detection Sensors
Smart Algorithms
Artificial Intelligence
Table: Key Features Enabling Robot Vacuums To Function In The Dark

Robot Vacuum Smart Mapping?

This is a crucial characteristic you must comprehend to determine whether your robot requires light to function. 

With the help of this capability, the robot can build a smart map of your house and learn to recognize each area by always taking the same path. Your vacuum ought to be able to clean as long as this path doesn’t have any obstructions (in the dark)!

However, not every robot vacuum has a smart mapping function. Because of IR sensor technology, older models can only distinguish obstructions like cords, fences, and other items we frequently find in our homes. The robot can’t see these things in the dark.

The iRobot Roomba models above i7 support smart mapping plus, so you can make a training run (without cleaning) to enable the robot to map out a path across your house.

Roomba would know exactly where to move even in the dark as long as the path is clear. Even though it travels along a predetermined path, Roomba uses its sensors to identify and avoid impediments.

We can now use the newly built smart map to send your robot on a night mission if you don’t want to keep the lights on and clean at night.

To begin cleaning, open the Map app on your vacuum and choose the most recent Smart Map. You’ll see the New Map “Learning in Progress” if your robot hasn’t finished the training run yet, so you’ll need to wait.

Once finished, you can utilize the map at night in total darkness to hopefully avoid having your vacuum get stuck and complete the cleaning. 

Remembering that Roomba will get better at navigating in total darkness after each mapping run is crucial. For the cleaner robot to be able to follow the exact path every night without getting trapped on an obstruction in the dark, it takes roughly 4 or 5 learning courses.

How To Create A Smart Map On Robot Vacuum?

how to create a smart map on robot vacuum

You must be excited to understand how to create it once you have learned about this flexible aspect of the smart map. Then, here we are. The iRobot Roomba program must be downloaded on your smartphone before you can begin creating a training (map) run.

Assuming the application is downloaded and installed on your smartphone, sign in with your account and confirm that you are on the Home Screen. Again, the smart mapping capability is incompatible with iRobot Roombas below the i7!

To create a smart mapping run on a Roomba i7+ model, follow these steps:

  • Make sure your Roomba is charged and prepared to clean.
  • Remove all floor obstructions. (exactly how the room will be during the night).
  • On the left, click the Maps icon.
  • Up until the Start Mapping Run button, press Next.
  • The Base Station, which will serve as the primary reference point, is where Roomba will return.
  • The training run can be completed in one or more rooms.
  • For Roomba to better know the location, numerous mapping runs will be required.

The smart mapping run can be finished in one or more days depending on how large the environment is and how many rooms are included in the map. However, Roomba will become more adept at orienting itself in total darkness the more training runs it completes.

Roomba i4 New Smart Mapping Feature

Robot Vacuums That Work In The Dark

Numerous robot vacuums can clean in the dark, and many are reasonably priced. The Roborock S5, the iRobot Roomba s9+, and the Dyson 360 Heurist are well-known, excellent, and silent robot vacuums. Thanks to its low noise levels, you can sleep while the robot vacuum cleans.

How Much Light Does A Robot Vacuum Need To Clean?

Using camera technology, a robot vacuum needs 40–80 lumens. In other words, between 10 and 20 percent of the power of a typical 40-watt light bulb. We’d say that’s fair because when a 40-watt light bulb’s intensity drops below 5 percent, it gets very black and is too dim for human sight.  

Robot vacuums equipped with camera technology don’t require much light; some even incorporate lidar or laser sensors, so they don’t rely on cameras.

A few auto-on LED night lights can meet most people’s demands. When it gets dark out, night lights turn on and remain on all night. A steady supply of light—rather than brightness—is more important for robot vacuums.

Too Much light

Roombas are not intended to function in total darkness. They are designed to move around obstructions and clear away debris while consuming the least energy. As a result, they require just the right amount of light to see where they’re going.

It should be alright if the lighting in your room is dim just make sure your lights are on before starting on your robot vacuum.

On the other hand, your robot vacuum may be working harder than necessary if the windows are open to let in natural light. This applies to both robot vacuums that use infrared technology and those that include cameras. 

Most robot vacuums you buy employ infrared beacons to communicate with invisible borders to prevent the robot from entering space. The robot vacuum may become confused by the sun’s abundant infrared light. Because of this, your robot vacuum can even decide not to clean near the sun’s rays on your floor.

It is better to let the robot vacuum clean in a space without windows open or when the sun is not shining. A robot vacuum could become startled by an abrupt shift in the lighting, such as the sun setting or turning on an overhead light, particularly if it has a camera. You’ll be alright if you give the tiny device uninterrupted access to the same amount of light.

Remember that when your robot vacuum cleans, it focuses on the walls rather than the floor. They cannot know where they are or where they have been if the walls are not sufficiently lighted.

How Much Light Does Roomba i7 Need

The Roomba i7 can generally clean in low-light spaces. Its cameras and sensors might need some light to view clearly. Imprint Smart Map helps you clean more effectively and efficiently by creating and following a map. 

Never skimp on a robot vacuum’s ability to self-map if you want to purchase one that gives more versatility.

Some Tips For The Light That We Should Notice

Below we have given a few tips that you must take notice of before letting your robot clean:

Suitable Lighting

Robotic vacuums don’t require a lot of light to work, but they do need some ambient light to enable good navigation. The robot vacuum may have trouble spotting obstacles or navigating the room if it is too dark.

Avoid Reflections & Glare

avoid reflections and glare

The robot vacuum’s sensors can become confused by glare or reflections from excessive sunlight, bright lighting, polished surfaces, or reflecting floors. To prevent this, you could change the lighting or cover reflective surfaces while cleaning.

Clean Up The Sensors

The robot vacuum’s sensors may become clogged with dust, grime, or debris, making detecting obstacles or moving around the room difficult. Cleaning the robot vacuum sensors regularly will maintain optimal functionality.

Make Use Of Virtual Barriers

Virtual barriers are available on some robot vacuums, which employ infrared or magnetic signals to draw invisible lines around particular places that you don’t want the robot vacuum to clean. These barriers might be useful in places with poor lighting or plenty of obstructions.

Can A Robotic Vacuum Clean Dark Floors?

Yes, a robotic vacuum can usually clean dark flooring without a problem. This is so bumpers won’t be hit, as the sensors are designed to glance up instead of down at the ground. As long as the machine’s spatial sensors function properly, this procedure enables it to clean the floor continually. It doesn’t matter what color the floor is at all.

Some customers, however, say that certain models don’t function on a black carpet. For instance, the Roomba 570 refuses to operate on surfaces that are black or have a dark color. Some models’ cliff sensors incorrectly perceive dark hues for edges, failing to clear them. Unfortunately, the business lacks a long-term solution to this issue.

Best Tips For Using Robot Vacuums On Dark Floors

Although most robot vacuums lack cameras, they contain optical sensors that can monitor obstructions and gauge how far they have traveled. Optic sensors, however, require sufficient light to function. Because cameras are less trustworthy than optical sensors, we do not advise purchasing a robot vacuum with one.

Use It In The Daytime

use your roomba in the daytime

Utilizing your robot vacuum throughout the daylight may improve its performance. A good rule of thumb is only to use your robot vacuum cleaner during the day if it uses a localization camera to travel. The amount of natural light in the space should also be considered. Close the curtains if the room has enough light to prevent sunlight from jarring the robot’s sensors.

Remember that a rapid change in light exposure, such as turning on an overhead light or placing the robot vacuum cleaner in the sun, may spook it out, especially if the robot vacuum employs a camera. You’ll be alright if you give the robot vacuum cleaner a steady amount of light to work in.

Turn The Lights On

To brighten a room as it gets dark, you can use numerous LED night lights if you decide to clean your house at night. Your robot should function properly as long as the space has adequate lighting. Remember that the most important factor for robot vacuums is a steady supply of light, not brightness. 

The optimal time to use your robot vacuum cleaner is around nine, though you may plan to clean your home anytime during the day. This is the best time to clean, according to our research. In this situation, the sun’s natural light can illuminate your home adequately without flooding the interior with light through the windows.

Clean The Sensors

Even in well-lit areas, your robot vacuum may become stuck frequently if the optical or cliff sensors are filthy. The sensors may become clogged with dust and debris and covered, making the robot vacuum’s navigation less accurate. Before using it, clean the optical sensors with a gentle cloth.

Can Robotic Vacuum Cleaners Effectively Manage Big House?

The effectiveness of robotic vacuum cleaners in managing a big house depends on various factors, including the size and layout of the home, the specific model of the robot vacuum, and the homeowner’s expectations. 

While many modern robotic vacuums are equipped with advanced features such as mapping technology, intelligent navigation, and efficient cleaning algorithms, their effectiveness in larger spaces might be limited by factors like battery life and the need for recharging. 

Some high-end models are designed to handle bigger areas more efficiently, but for optimal coverage in larger homes, it may be beneficial to choose a robot vacuum with extended battery life, multi-room mapping capabilities, and the ability to resume cleaning after recharging. 

Additionally, occasional manual intervention to address specific areas or obstacles may enhance the overall performance of a robotic vacuum in a big house.



So far, you must have had enough clarification regarding your confusion do robot vacuums need light.

Overall, current robotic vacuums like Roombas should work well in the dark, but it’s still preferable to provide them with a constant light source while they clean. If you have the right model—remember that not all of them can clean without the lights on—you can operate a robot vacuum in the dark. Consider models that include LIDAR and other mapping sensors and the appropriate hardware. 

If yours has a top-mounted camera, check to see if little LED lights are placed all around it because this will allow the camera to “see” in the dark. Additionally, ensure there is always enough light—neither too much nor too little—available for your robot vacuums. 


Does the Shark robot vacuum need lights on?

It’s advisable to avoid using it in the daytime because optical light sensors need light to travel. The vacuum contains a carpet brush, a bumper, and two revolving side brushes.

Do LiDAR robot vacuums need light?

Additionally, LiDAR will allow it to function without illumination since the vac already has a functional map. This will make it less likely for the camera to become caught in a corner and reduce any privacy worries about letting it roam around your home.

Does Roomba need lights on?

Even with minimal ambient light, iRobot Roomba vacuums can still function, but not in complete darkness. Run a training mission and clean your floors with the closet light on until your floor plan map is finished. This may help with either the i7 or s9 robots.

How often should I run my robot vacuum?

Your household’s desire for cleanliness, the type of flooring, and the existence of pets will all affect how frequently you use your robot vacuum. It should generally keep your home clean and well-maintained if you run it daily or every other day.

Do robot vacuums scratch floors?

Some robot vacuum models have a sensor to help them avoid any potential hazards. If something alien is found in the bristles, it will turn off. Some versions won’t do that; they might drag the coin, tiny toy, or other objects with them instead. It can end up harming the vacuum and causing damage to the floor.

Can DEEBOTS work on dark floors?

Some DEEBOTs may struggle with dark floors as their sensors may have difficulty detecting them. Check the product specifications or consult the manufacturer to ensure compatibility with dark flooring.

Are robot vacuum cleaners better than manual cleaners?

Robot vacuum cleaners offer convenience for regular maintenance, but manual cleaners may be better for deep cleaning and handling specific tasks. The choice depends on individual needs and preferences.

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