Russell Hobbs has become the latest brand to join the robotic vacuuming category, with the brand just coming off a series of retail launch presentations for its new R-Vac vacuum cleaner. Like other appliances from the Russell Hobbs stable, the product will be distributed by Spectrum Brands, previous distributor of the iRobot brand of Roomba and Scooba vacuums.
Spruiked as an efficient vacuum for hardwood, tile, linoleum and short-pile carpet floors, the R-Vac features one-touch operation and a remote control as well as integrated 3D collision sensors and drop off sensors, and a side spinning brush for edges and corners.
It also has a 2,200 mAh battery that offers up to two hours of cleaning, and the R-Vac is programmed to return to its base station for recharging between cleans.
Speaking about the new vacuum, Spectrum Brands group product manager Troy Humphreys said the R-Vac was the result of more than 12 months of development and research from a company familiar with the robotic vacuum market.
“We do have knowledge still in the business from when we were distributing iRobot, and we have a number of people in the business who have robotic experience, including the guys in our call centre, as well as product engineers and maintenance,” he said.
“We knew what consumers wanted from the products we’d encountered previously, and now, because it’s not a licensed product, it’s one we could actually develop ourselves, we could modify the product to deal with issues we saw.
“And we saw robotic vacuums as a growing market — obviously it is because there are lots and lots of new players in there this year.”
Alongside the features of the device, Humphreys said Spectrum was committed to marketing a quality product that was backed by a warranty that would offer peace of mind for retailers.
“Significant local testing and development has been conducted to ensure performance and reliability is at the required level,” he said. “We are really focusing on providing value to consumers with a fully featured robotic vacuum at a reasonable price, backed by a category leading warranty.
“Traditionally in this category warranties have been on a repair basis, which is difficult for consumers and retailers alike. We have listened to retailers and consumers and we are offering a two-year replacement warranty with the new Russell Hobbs R-Vac.”
Russell Hobbs is currently in discussion with retailers to finalise availability, but the product will be sold for RRP $499.