A very powerful vacuum cleaner with excellent cleaning performance, but it's expensive and lacks some crucial features.
- Excellent cleaning performance
- Brilliant navigation
- Great build quality
- No Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant support
- Review Price: £949
- Eco and standard cleaning modes
- 0.7-litre bin
- Integrated filter
- iOS and Android app control over Wi-Fi
- Programmable no-go areas
- Up to 120-minutes run-time
What is the Vorwerk Kobold VR300?
When German vacuum cleaner manufacturer Vorwerk bought Neato, the first product launched under the name was the Kobold VR200 – a decent but expensive version of an existing Neato product. Now, the company is back with the Vorwerk Kobold VR300.
With more of Vorwerk’s DNA and design in this new model, the VR300 feels different. However, under the hood, it’s Neato through and through – although the lack of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant support and high price are a little disappointing.
Related: Best vacuum cleaner
Vorwerk Kobold VR300 – Build quality and design
You can spot a Vorwerk product a mile off, thanks to the combination of white gloss plastic and green accents. The Kobold VR300 is no different, and this robot certainly stands out.
The robot has the familiar D-shaped design of Neato products, which the company states enables the robot to get into room corners more effectively. As with Neato’s products, the VR300 is wide but short (340 x 340 x 90mm). The advantage in this regard is that the VR300 can fit beneath furniture, such as sofas; but fitting between dining chair legs and other small gaps might not be so easy.
A combination brush – a brush and rubber fin – on its underside rotates at 1800rpm to agitate dirt, which is then sucked up into the bin. There’s also a side brush designed for edge cleaning, sweeping dirt into the path of the main suction engine.
Simple controls adorn the top the cleaner. There’s a Start/Stop button, an option to put the cleaner into Eco mode or use the spot cleaning option, which tackles a 4 x 4m area. The latter is handy if you want to carry the cleaner to a location and have it clean up a specific spill.
A pop-up handle at the back makes the robot easy to carry – and it’s easier to spot. On the Neato, it’s easy to accidentally open the bin compartment by mistake.
Flip open the VR300’s bin compartment and you’ll see a small cut-out, which is the exact size of the nozzle on the Vorwerk Kobold VK200. Just put the nozzle into this and you can suck the dirt out of the bin without mess. Don’t have a full-size Vorwerk vacuum cleaner? Don’t worry, you can pull the bin out, move the filter, and tap it out as normal.
Vorwerk doesn’t quote replacement times for the VR300. Going with Neato’s recommendations, the filter (£15) will most likely need replacing every six months or so, the main brush (£20) once a year, and the side brush (£5) every six months. Keep an eye on them, and replace them when they look worn.
Vorwerk Kobold VR300 – Features
While the controls on the top of the cleaner provide basic control of the robot, it’s through the app that you can access bigger and better features. Vorwerk has its own app, which is designed specifically for its range of vacuum cleaners, although it shares many features with the Neato range.
First, you should start a mapping clean, where the robot goes out and learns its surroundings. Once the floor map has been created, the VR300 can better plan where it’s going, plus you get to draw no-go areas on the map. These prevent the VR300 from venturing into areas that you don’t want it to clean. Accuracy isn’t bad, but not to the point of protecting a prized rug from any part of the vacuum touching it.
From the app, you can put the robot into Eco mode, which cuts suction power but improves battery life; the Standard mode runs at full power. You can add a schedule for the robot if you’d like it to begin a regular clean.
You can also change the cleaning mode, choosing a spot clean for picking up a specific spill to which you’ve moved the VR300. There’s also a remote-control manual cleaning mode, although getting the VR300 to go where you want it is more faff than it’s worth. To be honest, you might as well get out a cordless vacuum cleaner instead.
Vorwerk Kobold VR300 – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT
Although Neato’s vacuum cleaners have both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, Vorwerk has yet to build the necessary skills in the UK. Alexa support is available in the US, with the skill due to be migrated over here. For now, though, it’s a shame that the VR300 isn’t better connected from launch, given that Neato products have these features already.
Neato products also have IFTTT, so you can, for example, pause a clean when you get an incoming phone call. Once again, Vorwerk hasn’t transferred this option to its own-brand cleaner.
Vorwerk Kobold VR300 – How well does it clean hard floors and carpets?
To test the VR300’s performance, I spread a mixture of carpet freshening powder and flour in an X pattern on a hard floor: one X in the middle and one X at the edge. Starting the VR300 in automatic cleaning mode on its regular power setting, I set it off and let it complete a cleaning cycle.
In the middle of the floor, the VR300 was brilliant, picking up the bulk of the spill. In fact, you had to look really hard to find small amounts of powder left behind. That’s impressive cleaning performance and puts the VR300 towards the top of the table.
Edge performance was equally as good. Again, the majority of my spilt powder was picked up, with just a trace amount left in a couple of recesses in the floorboards. Once again, the VR300 proved itself to be a powerful performer.
On carpet, the VR300 did an excellent job, with just a small outline of the spill remaining. Performance is better than the majority of robot vacuum cleaners I’ve tested.
Vorwerk Kobold VR300 – How well does it deal with obstacles
With its floor map and laser navigation, the VR300 is one of the best navigators, ably moving around and cleverly planning where it has to go; coverage is great in this regard. The robot’s wide body wasn’t able to squeeze through some gaps, but the VR300 didn’t ever get itself trapped or stuck, unlike some models I’ve tested.
As the edge-cleaning test shows, the VR300 is capable of getting right up next to objects, cleaning an entire room. Cliff detection works as it should, with the VR300 coming to a halt at the small step into the kitchen and not throwing itself off the edge.
When the VR300 has completed its run, it quickly navigates back to its dock; there’s no hunting around looking for the place to get back to.
Vorwerk Kobold VR300 – How loud is it?
Running in standard mode, I measured the VR300 at 67.8dB running over the hard floor. That’s loud enough that you can hear it, but you can have a conversation while the vacuum cleaner is doing its thing. This noise level is standard for a modern robot vacuum cleaner.
Vorwerk Kobold VR300 – What’s the battery life like?
On standard mode, the battery life is up to 60 minutes. Turning the suction down to Eco mode, this can be extended to around 90 minutes. If the VR300 hasn’t completed a clean before it runs flat, it will makes its way back to the docking station, recharge and then continue from where it left off.
Why buy the Vorwerk Kobold VR300?
The Vorwerk Kobold VR300 is a hugely accomplished and powerful robot vacuum cleaner. If you have a Vorwerk Kobold VK200 upright model, then this is a nice accompaniment, providing a handy way to suction out the dust.
While performance and build quality are up there with the best, the main issue for the VR300 is its price. At £949, it’s hugely expensive. For less, you can buy the Neato Botvac D7 Connected, which offers the same level of performance, plus Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT support. Then, there’s the Dyson 360 Eye, which has the best suction I’ve seen on a robot vacuum cleaner. You can read my regularly updated guide to the top models in my best robot vacuum cleaner guide.
It’s a shame that the price isn’t a bit lower and that the full Neato feature set hasn’t be brought over, as the Vorwerk Kobold VR300 would have scored higher.
A powerful vacuum cleaner with excellent cleaning performance, but it’s expensive and lacks some crucial features.
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