LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ robot vacuum review

Is LG's adorable vacuum worth the cash?

LG Home-Bot Turbo+

The world of robot vacuums is an increasingly crowded one. You've got the originals like the iRobot Roomba, plus entrants from the likes of big vacuum names, like the Dyson 360 Eye, all up against vacuums from tech powerhouses such as Samsung and Xiaomi.

LG's Hom-Bot may fly under the radar compared to some of the other choices, but the company has packed in as many features as it can to help it stand out amongst the pack. For instance, the Hom-Bot can be turned into a smart camera if you really need it. No, really.

So does the Hom-Bot stack up well to the competition, or does my new robo-buddy not make the cut? Read on to find out.


LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ robot vacuum review

LG Hom-Bot: Design and build

The first thing you'll notice about the Hom-Bot is that it does actually look kind of cute. The two cameras on the front look a bit like eyes, and the brushes on the front look like little arms scooping up everything in their path. The Hom-Bot is easy to anthropomorphise, and you will do it – especially if it comes in rose gold like my own.

The 13.39in x 3.5in x 13.39in body is small enough to fit into the nooks and crannies in my home. It was easily able to slip under most of my sofas and was even able to fit under the weird nook under the cupboards in my kitchen. Bonus points to LG for that.

Those two little arms will push dirt and other things into the vac's little motor, which butts up against two treaded wheels. Those two wheels, for the most part, do an admirable job moving the Hom-Bot around its given space. It had very little problem going from hardwood floor to carpet to rug in my home. The wheels provide enough of a gap from the floor to the bottom of the vacuum that the Hom-Bot can make its way over things about a half an inch high pretty easily.

While the Hom-Bot gets underneath a lot of things pretty easily (unlike the Dyson 360), it does struggle with chair legs quite a bit. Specifically if it's headed back home to its charging stand. I literally watched my Hom-Bot get stuck on a rogue chair leg for about 15 minutes. It continued the same loop of its side hitting the chair leg, freaking out, backing up and trying again, only to hit the chair leg again. It's a bit of a blind spot.

The top of the Hom-Bot has a push lid that opens to reveal the dust bin, and on top of that lid are some touch controls, which you will probably never use as there is both a physical remote and a companion app to control this thing. Plus Google Assistant and Alexa support should you not want to tap or press anything at all.


LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ robot vacuum review

LG Hom-Bot: Performance

The Hom-Bot performs great when it comes to dust. The little arm brushes on the front do a solid job or pulling in whatever is in its way. It does an especially impressive job on corners, as the brush arms let it scoop things in and send it to the vacuum.

It doesn't have the greatest suction in the world however, which is probably why LG doesn't list it on its website. There were moments where I'd find little cereal flakes left in its wake. While it'll pick up most things, you shouldn't expect too much here. It won't pick up the big things reliably.

But it does handle multiple floor types like a champ. Well, all but hardwood. There have been some moments where the arm brushes would swat away larger pieces of dirt, like half a peanut, as if it was a hockey puck. It would eventually get it, but those few moments where the angles line up are comical.

The Hom-Bot is mostly quiet. There is a low hum and you can tell someone is vacuuming, but it's definitely not as loud as you probably expect. It's also got little lights on its side that light up darker areas so that its cameras can see things better when it's moving around.

There are a few different modes to try, but the default is a zig-zag pattern. Cell by cell mode will start on the outside of your area and slowly work its way toward the centre, like a game of snake, while spiral will do the same thing but in a circular shape. Spiral mode isn't available while you're charging though, which means you have to turn it on after it starts going.

LG Hom-Bot
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Turbo mode will see it go into overdrive, cleaning at a much higher pace than it usually does. That normal pace is fine, but it took two sessions of about an hour to clean out our lounge, kitchen and hallway. To be fair, my floor plan is long and windy, but still – not ideal.

There are actually three models of the Hom-Bot, and it gets a bit confusing because they're all called the LG Hom-Bot Turbo+. What you'll need to look for is model numbers. The highest end model, the one we tested, is the CR5765GD and comes with support for Home View and Home Guard features. It also has the best cleaning abilities of the three, doing better with things like pet hair.

The other two models are the $899.99 second-tier CR3465BB and $799.99 lower tier CR3365RD. For the most part, these two models are the same. The lower tier model doesn't have a mop plate and doesn't come with the magnetic strips that you can use to direct your Hom-Bot.

By the way, voice assistant integration is pretty alright. You can check the status and get the Hom-Bot to go pretty easily with Alexa and Google Assistant. Surprisingly, I had some difficulty getting it to go home, but this might be an issue on LG's end.

One area of concern is when the Hom-Bot starts to look for its charging stand. It's pretty good about automatically heading back when it's low on battery, but it also takes forever to find its home. It can be four feet away yet it'll circle around like a dodo trying to home in on the charging base. At one point I even got tired and tried to put it on the charger itself, but then it freaked out and went rogue on me, trying very hard to get onto its stand itself. I had to eventually stop the vacuum, place it far away, turn it on and tell it to go home again.

The most annoying bit of the Hom-Bot is that it's very chatty – it announces everything it does. It'll say hello when it's on, it'll tell you what mode it's in and remind you – every time – to clean out the dustbin when it's done. It'll also announce when it's tired and needs to go charge. It's useful, but it can be annoying if you're trying to do other things.


LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ robot vacuum review

LG Hom-Bot: Maintenance and battery

Maintenance on the Hom-Bot is very easy. You simply push to open the top lid, pull out the dust bin, open it and empty the dirt. There's even a little brush on the dust bin that you can pull off to get some of the dust out of the container.

Oh, there's one big thing you'll need to do to main sure the Hom-Bot runs well: Make sure you have no cables touching the ground. The Hom-Bot has an uncanny ability to find and draw in as many cables as possible. They get tangled on its brush arms way too easily, and then it starts to either pull devices off shelves or pull itself toward whatever device is high above it, like some kind of robo-toddler.

As for charging, the Hom-Bot is usually pretty good about aligning itself to its charger. Just make sure you clear out enough open space for it to make it there without getting confused. Don't put shoes or chair legs nearby, or anything that it has to navigate around. This will just throw off its alignment. The charging points are pretty large so it'll still charge, but it won't be perfectly aligned on the charger and may look funny. Oh, and it does take a long three hours to fully charge.

Speaking of battery, the Hom-Bot will get you about 100 minutes when you're not using turbo mode. I did have to initiate a second session to get it to fully clean my home, but for the most part that'll be enough time for your most important areas.


LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ robot vacuum review

LG Hom-Bot: App and extra features

The Hom-Bot app has some interesting ideas about what a robot vacuum can do other than, you know, vacuum. The first feature is called Home View, which essentially lets you control your vacuum and move it around.

Control was pretty easy, and anyone who has ever remote-controlled something with a smartphone will be at home here. You'll also get a video feed of your home from the perspective of your Hom-Bot, which can turn it into some sort of weird spy machine.

This can be useful in some situations, but it can also be problematic. Whoever has access to your Hom-Bot through the app can pretty much move it around your house and spy on you.

There's also the Home Guard feature, which you can set up in the app. The Hom-Bot will use its motion sensors to take five pictures whenever it senses something in front of it. What ends up happening though is that these pictures are mostly of the legs of people. If they're sitting down, then yeah you'll get a good look at 'em, but not if they're standing directly in front of it. You're better off with a dedicated security camera.

The app itself is a bit annoying to use. When you open the app it can take a couple seconds for a connection with the Hom-Bot to establish. Once you do that, you have your pick of controls. For the most part, all these features are well laid out and easy to understand. However, we had trouble finding the mapping feature.

It turns out you have to click the three dots in the upper left corner, then choose Cleaning diary, and then choose a session to see your map. This menu is also where you'll see the option to schedule cleaning and other settings. There's also smart diagnosis, which will make your Hom-Bot spin around for a bit. It's basically checking to make sure everything is okay, and if it's not it'll give you tips on how to fix it.


LG Hom-Bot Turbo+
The Hom-Bot is an adorable little robot vacuum that makes you want to root for it. It looks cute and LG's extra features are nice attempts to bring something new to the world of robot vacuums, even though they mostly turn out to be gimmicks – or potentially dangerous. It cleans most stuff well, but it's also a little too expensive to not be better at cleaning.
PROS
  • Looks great
  • Smart Diagnosis
  • Cleans the small stuff great
CONS
  • High price
  • Gobbles cables
  • Gets confused going home

TAGGED   smart home

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