Vorwerk Kobold VR300 full review
While Vorwerk may not be a household name just yet, the company is at the forefront of the robot vacuum revolution with a range of autonomous vacs available to buy in the UK and Germany. The VR300 is the company’s latest release, and looks to improve on the already-impressive Kobold VR200 with an upgraded sensor array and more smarts than ever before.
But at nearly £1000, does the VR300 offer enough to justify the purchase when you can pick up a robot vac for £100s less? Find out in our Vorwerk Kobold VR300 review. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, take a look at our selection of the best robot vacuum cleaners for inspiration.
Pricing and availability
Unlike other robot vacuums on the market, the Kobold VR300 is only available to buy directly from Vorwerk itself. It’s not currently available in the US either, but it’ll set those in the UK back £949, £200 more than the previous-generation Kobold VR200 which we also considered fairly expensive.
Vorwerk Kobold VR300 review
The Kobold VR300’s blend of white and grey with green accents is nothing new; in fact, the VR300 looks almost identical to its predecessor, the VR200, both in colour and build. While we’re fully aware that it doesn’t exactly have an Apple-level aesthetic, it’s certainly a better-looking option than some robot vacuums on the market. The real challenge? Making sure friends and family don’t mistake it for a high-tech set of scales, which happened to us on one occasion.
The VR300 sports the same D-shaped design as its predecessor, allowing it to get into the corners, nooks and crannies that circular robot vacs simply can’t reach – even with a variety of side-sweeping brushes. That’s not to say the VR300 doesn’t feature a side-sweeping brush, because it does, helping direct nearby dust and dirt to the vac beneath.
The D-shaped design is complemented by a low form-factor, measuring in at only 9cm. This allows the VR300 to easily navigate beneath chairs, sofas, tables and other furniture in the home for a full-home clean. It can even reach areas that some conventional vacuum cleaners struggle to reach without the hassle of rearranging your living room in the process.
And believe us when we say that the VR300 sucks. It really sucks – in a good way, of course. It has a standard and eco mode, and while the eco mode does a surprisingly good job at cleaning with reduced noise and improved battery power, the standard mode is where the VR300 really shines. It’s a thorough vacuuming experience, picking up even finer materials like dust and hair from carpeted floor, reinforcing just how powerful it is. We’d even go as far as to say that it could compete with a conventional vacuum cleaner, and that’s no easy feat.
The VR300 features an upgraded navigation system that when combined with a touch-sensitive front bumper, ultrasound sensors, infra-red sensors and distance sensors, allows it to accurately map out the environment and even avoid steep drops like stairs with no input from you whatsoever. The simultaneous localisation and mapping technology, or SLAM for short, is similar to the tech featured in self-driving cars, allowing the vacuum to identify potential collisions (even moving objects like pets) and stop or change direction accordingly.
It’ll map out the environment the first time it’s used, creating a floor plan that can be found in the Kobold app for iOS and Android, but it’ll continue to scan the environment for any changes or new obstacles and will avoid them with no issue. It really is one of the smartest robot vacuum cleaners we’ve seen, and really provides the user with confidence that it won’t get stuck or knock anything over when cleaning.
It also sports retractable legs that allow it to get over obstacles up to 2cm tall – perfect for the transition from hardwood to carpet as it goes from room-to-room – though we’ve seen it successfully scale obstacles a little bigger. And if it does manage to get itself stuck, it can (rather impressively) kick out and reverse to free itself.
The battery life lasts around 90 minutes on eco mode, less when using the standard cleaning mode, but it doesn’t matter too much as the VR300 can put itself on charge when necessary and finish the job once it has enough power.
The Kobold app really is the main way to interact with the robot vac, as unlike its predecessor, the VR300 doesn’t feature a built-in display or a physical remote control. That’s not a bad thing though, as the app is well-built and provides access to pretty much everything you’d need.
You can even access it when you’re not connected to home Wi-Fi, allowing you to activate it remotely and come to a freshly vacuumed house.
The app allows to choose between three cleaning modes; Full, Spot or Manual. The full clean will clean the entire floor, while the spot clean will quickly clean a specific space up to 4 x 4m, ideal for a quick spillage clean-up. The manual cleaning mode allows you to use the vacuum like an RC car, and while it’s handy in a small number of situations, we imagine the manual mode will be a novelty for most users.
The app is also where you can set up a weekly schedule and view the floorplan with a tap. If there are areas that you don’t want the VR300 to go – near where cables are kept for example – you can draw no-go lines on the floorplan, ditching the need for physical magnetic strips required by the older model.
It’s fairly smart, and it’s due to get even smarter in the near future. Vorwerk has confirmed that it’s working on Amazon Alexa support for the VR300 in the UK, allowing you to activate the robot vac with your voice. As if using an app wasn’t easy enough!
The Kobold VR300 is certainly expensive at £949, so you really have to question if the upgrades over the £749 VR200 are for you. It offers an upgraded scanning system to help it navigate your home and obstacles, ditches the need for physical no-go lines with in-app support and it’ll be getting Amazon Alexa support soon.
Apart from that, the VR300 offers the same cleaning experience as the VR200 – it has the same impressive suction power, same D-shaped design and same 90-minute battery life.
Vorwerk Kobold VR300: Specs
- 34 cm x 34 cm x 9 cm
- 90-minute battery life
- 0.53 Liter bin
- 3-5 hour charge time