Which robot dogs are best?
Robot dogs are for people of all ages. They’re a great way to teach young children about the responsibility of caring for an animal, perfect for adults who travel often or have a busy work schedule and are wonderful for seniors living alone seeking companionship.
Just like real dogs, robot dogs come in a variety of types and should match the personality of their owners. The Joy for All Companion Pet Golden Pup responds to your commands and features a lifelike heartbeat and coat.
What to know before you buy a robot dog
Robot dogs fall into two main categories: models intended for children and models intended for the elderly. Adults in the middle can take their pick in either direction.
Models intended for children are more toy-like and meant for entertainment. They resemble stuffed animals more than actual dogs. Models intended for the elderly are more like actual dogs and meant for companionship. They resemble live animals and come in several different breeds. Robot dogs intended for the elderly typically have sophisticated interactive features while those intended for children typically do not.
Lifelike vs. robotic
Robot dogs also fall into two main design types: models that look like real dogs and models that purposefully resemble robots. Some people prefer models that look like real dogs because they’re cuddlier or because they remind them of a pet they had growing up. Other people prefer the more robotic looking models because they’re unnerved by the lifelike designs of the first category. Some see a robot dog with a fake heartbeat as adorable while others see it as creepy. Follow your gut reaction, and look for a design that you find attractive.
A robot dog can provide companionship and entertainment, but don’t forget that it’s also still a piece of electronic equipment. Consider who will be using the robot dog most often and their typical learning curve with electronics. Advanced features can be great but only if you have the time and patience to learn their ins and outs.
High-end robot dogs will also have their own learning curves. They are programmed to learn and respond to your voice. Over time, they can even obey common commands like fetch, sit and play dead. Keep that manual handy in case you need to look up how to use new or advanced features.
What to look for in a quality robot dog
Robot dogs aren’t going to chew up your sock drawer or have an accident on the rug, but their ability to interact with their owners varies across models. If you want the experience of training your robot dog, make sure to look for a model where this is included. Also look at how your robot dog will react to various noises. Some models may bark in response to your actions, while other models may bark unprompted.
Certain more toy-like models will come with a remote control, so you can decide where your dog moves and what it does. Some users may prefer this while others may feel like it eliminates the element of surprise.
Just like a real dog, your robot dog is going to run into your walls and furniture. Some models have sensors to prevent this, but they’re not foolproof. Cheap models may damage quickly if they tumble down a flight of stairs or are squeezed too hard. Depending on the intended user and their living environment, it may pay to invest in the quality and durability of a more expensive model.
Be sure to read the instructions closely for any recommended cleaning and care steps you can take to ensure the longevity and good health of your robot dog.
Robot dog battery life varies greatly and depends on how long you play with your canine companion every day. For models that use regular batteries that must be replaced manually, your dog should last a couple of weeks at least. For models that use rechargeable batteries and a charging station, your dog should last for an hour at the minimum.
Many robot dogs that use charging stations are programmed to go back and charge automatically. No training on your part required.
How much you can expect to spend on a robot dog
Simple robot dog toys for young children with minimal features cost around $5-$15. Mid-range robot dogs both lifelike and robotic with some features range from $30-$60. High-end lifelike robot dogs with many features will run $100-$150.
Robot dog FAQ
Will I be able to control the volume of my robot dog?
A. Models vary. Some robot dogs have the option to mute their barks entirely but may not have a sliding volume scale. Others may have volume buttons and some just bark as loud as they want. If you live in a small space with other people or thin walls, be sure to check before you buy.
Why do robot dogs have wheels instead of paws?
A. While science is amazing, and your robot dog can do many things, walking realistically on paws isn’t one of them. The technology’s not quite that advanced yet. The wheels at the end of your robot dog’s legs are the easiest solution to this mobility issue.
What’s the best robot dog to buy?
Top robot dog
What you need to know: Intended for the elderly but great for all ages, this is the most sophisticated robot dog on the general market.
What you’ll love: This is an adorable golden retriever puppy with realistic fur and a heartbeat that responds to your commands. Batteries are included.
What you should consider: This model is expensive and has extensive features that are probably unnecessary for young children.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top robot dog for the money
What you need to know: Like a wind-up toy that you don’t have to wind, this basic robot dog will delight small kids and even small dogs.
What you’ll love: This undeniably cute chihuahua bounces, moves his tail and has a high-pitched yip bark.
What you should consider: There are limited features on this model. It’s also very tiny.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This hybrid robot dog comes with a robotic design body but has an adorable, lifelike face.
What you’ll love: It responds to touch and voice commands and is easy and fun to train. Soft ears and tail add more cuddly aspects to this otherwise-robot model.
What you should consider: While cute, it’s not very cuddly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Frank Paiva writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.