The convenience that robotic vacuums offer is undeniable. With a remote control, smartphone or button, you can tell these smart vacuums where to go and when to clean. However, not all robot vacuums are the same in terms of features, functionality and reliability.
With the high number of robot vacuum brands available, sifting through countless models to find a quality robot vacuum is not easy. We’ve done the hard part for you and researched the latest models to find 12 of the best robot vacuum cleaners your money can buy.
|Best of the Best!||Best For Tight Spaces||Budget Pick (< $220)|
|Continuous||100 min||110 min|
|12.2 x 12.2 x 3.5 in||17.8 x 13.7 x 4.8 in||33 x 33 x 7.8 in|
|20 pounds||5.73 pounds||7.05 pounds|
Table of Contents
Best of the Best!
iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum (9550)
Among its numerous capabilities, the iRobot Roomba s9+ works efficiently on all floors, creates interactive maps and empties its own dirt bin.
When the bin has reached its fill limit, the robot’s 30-bin-capacity automatic dirt disposal suctions the debris into a mess-free disposable bag. When you need to access the anti-allergen filter in the onboard bin, you can easily do so since the bin is top-loading.
Mapping and corner cleaning are two more areas where the Roomba s9+ excels. The vSLAM optical sensor sweeps over 200,000 data points to create precise maps, and the included dual-mode virtual wall allows you to make no-cross boundaries. Since the s9+ is shaped like a D, it cleans close along wall edges. You can even pair the robot vacuum with the Braava Jet M6 for automatic post-vacuum mopping.
As if the 120-minute runtime and auto-recharge feature aren’t impressive enough, this iRobot Roomba also self-resumes its current cleaning session once the battery level is replenished. When it self-docks, charging only takes 90 minutes.
Suction is smart and strong. A carpet sensor tells the Roomba s9+ to kick up the suction when it detects carpeting, and another sensor raises and lowers the floor plate as needed. A pair of flexible rubber brushrolls work in tandem to lift dirt from all types of floors, and the side sweeper is angled to maximize its edge-cleaning prowess.
Using Imprint Smart Mapping, the robotic vacuum draws as many as ten maps for in-app viewing. These maps are also alterable, allowing you to tell Alexa or Assistant to clean a specific room or set a schedule by room. Manual suction adjustment is also possible via the iRobot HOME app, and basic controls are accessible onboard the s9+.
Read our Comparison: iRobot Roomba S9 versus i7 Robot Vacuum
Best For Tight Spaces
Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S Max Robot Vacuum
Tired of moving furniture before you vacuum? With the Eufy 11S Max, you don’t have to lift a finger. This robot vacuum stands a mere 2.85 inches tall, meaning it can fit where most other robotic vacuums cannot. It also boasts a self-docking function and a lengthy 100-minute runtime due to the inclusion of a 2,600 mAh lithium-ion battery.
Eufy implemented its proprietary BoostIQ technology, which automatically increases the 11S Max’s suction when vacuuming low and medium-pile carpets. Despite topping out at 2,000 pascals, the robotic vacuum never gets louder than 55 decibels. A double-helix brushroll and two side brushes complete the robot’s three-point cleaning configuration.
Whether it’s dust, dander or both that plagues your home, the RoboVac 11S Max’s filter can trap it. Due to the V-shaped pleats and unibody construction, the filter is quite efficient and easily cleanable. You’ll also appreciate the large 20-ounce dust box’s closed lid that prevents debris from falling out during trips to the trash can.
To ensure the robot doesn’t bump into objects or fall down the stairs, Eufy put more than ten infrared sensors into the 11S Max. This robotic vacuum also has a scratch-resistant top made of tempered glass. For seamless floor transitions, Eufy also added a pair of heavy duty wheels that navigate inclines up to 0.63 inches.
With the RoboVac 11S Max, the remote is the main control apparatus. You can use the remote to start an auto-clean session, spot clean small messes, edge clean along walls and quickly vacuum small rooms. Daily scheduling is also an option, and it’s easy to program thanks to the clear display screen on the remote.
Ecovacs Deebot N79S Robotic Vacuum
If you’ve always wanted a robotic vacuum but thought the advanced ones were out of your price range, the Ecovacs Deebot N79S is affordable and comes with plenty of premium features, such as voice control via Alexa or Assistant. You also have the option of installing the Ecovacs Home app or using the LCD remote, both of which offer three cleaning modes, daily scheduling and directional drive.
Bumper sensors help the 3.27-inch-tall Deebot N79S avoid ledges and obstacles while the 2,600 mAh lithium-ion battery provides 110 minutes’ worth of runtime. When the battery is almost out of juice, the robot will drive and sit on the dock, automatically recharging the battery for you.
The N79S thoroughly cleans bare floors as well as carpeted areas. It’s equipped with two side brushes that collect dirt along the robot’s vacuuming path. Additionally, the dual-bristled brushroll’s V-shape enhances the N79S’ lifting power. To clean extra-dirty areas or thick carpeting, you can double the suction strength by engaging max power mode.
A push-to-release slide-out dirt bin holds almost 18 ounces of debris, which is a sizeable capacity for a robotic vacuum. The bin is also where the filtration system is housed. Three layers of filtration make this system is highly efficient at trapping dust, pollen and other allergens.
Routine maintenance costs can add up over time. However, Ecovacs includes an extra set of rinsable filters and two additional side brushes. Since the filters and brushes last up to 6 months, you shouldn’t have to spend a dime in replacements within the first year of ownership.
Vacuums and Mops
Roborock S5 Robotic Vacuum and Mop Cleaner
With its vacuuming and mopping functions, the Roborock S5 handles all your floor-cleaning chores.
Its cyclonic system suctions debris with a force of 2,000 pascals, dropping dirt into a 16-ounce bin while allergens are captured by an E11-rated filter. The jam-resistant brushroll floats to closely clean all types of floors. Plus, the dual-speed side brush speeds up during edge cleaning and slows down in open spaces.
After the robot vacuums your carpets and hard floors, insert the 4.7-ounce reservoir into the S5 to make it mop. The drip system won’t leave behind leaks or streaks, and a filter keeps the reservoir’s water supply sanitary. Roborock includes two reusable mop pads, so you can wash one while you use the other.
The 5,200 mAh lithium-ion battery in the Roborock S5 lasts for 150 minutes at a time. During a full battery cycle, the robot can cover 820 square feet. Charging is taken care of without the need for human intervention. The S5 self-parks on the mat-equipped dock and resumes cleaning when recharged.
On top of the glacier white S5, there is a laser distance sensor that scans rooms and plans the robot’s route accordingly. A pair of deep-tread wheels prevent the robot vacuum from sliding as it moves in an S pattern and traverses inclines up to 0.79 inches.
Map customization, scheduling and five cleaning selections are available on the Mi Home app. If you own an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant Device, you can incorporate your virtual assistant into the S5’s controls. Onboard functions include dock, auto clean and spot.
Ecovacs Deebot 500 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Ecovacs’ Deebot 500 is a solid performer. It’s equipped with a stiff-bristled brushroll that pulls buried debris from carpets and two side-sweeping brushes that remove dirt from bare floors. The dual-speed motor lets you choose between normal suction for everyday vacuuming and max suction for high-traffic areas.
Sensors inside the robot’s tough bumper detect stairs and objects while the Deebot 500’s oversized wheels can climb over threshold strips as high as 0.55 inches. Anti-scratch material protects the 3.1-inch-tall robot vacuum from appearance-marring damage. You can select auto mode for whole-house vacuuming, spot mode for small messes and edge mode for wall-line cleaning.
If you have a large home, you won’t have to settle for half-cleaned floors at the end of the day. The battery is powerful enough to last 110 minutes between charges. Ecovacs designed the Deebot 500 to return to the dock and recharge the battery by itself, which takes approximately 4 hours.
Like the charging system, the filter and bin are also well-made. The dirt bin is see-through, so you’ll know when the debris level reaches the bin’s max capacity of 17.5 ounces. A high-efficiency filter traps almost all the dust or hair collected by the 500.
On the robot, an auto-clean button gives you touch-and-go convenience. The Deebot 500 comes furnished with a remote control and Wi-Fi connectivity. Install the Ecovacs Home app to directly navigate the robot, receive status alerts, choose a cleaning mode and program a schedule. You can also issue audible commands for dock, start and stop through Alexa or Assistant.
Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
Whether you’re going for a fully loaded robotic vacuum, a budget-friendly model or one that does double-duty as a robot mop, there are some features each one should have. For instance, a loaded robot vacuum should be equipped with the most advanced technology.
Although a budget-friendly robot won’t have all the bells and whistles, it still needs to be reliable. As far as a robot vacuum/mop goes, the efficiency of its mopping ability should match that of its vacuuming function.
High-End Robotic Vacuums
The latest robotic vacuum technology is geared toward enhancing efficiency and automation. HEPA filtration is found on all the best robotic vacuums, and auto-adjusting suction per flooring type is a fast-moving trend. Some manufacturers are also making the dirt bin accessible from the top of the robot, and a select few have an automatic dirt disposal feature.
While nearly all robotic vacuums are equipped with a brushroll and at least one side brush, you won’t find a run-of-the-mill brushroll system on a high-end model. Often, there are two brushrolls that roll toward each other, and they’re rubberized to cut down on tangles. There should also be a specialized brushroll that’s angled, rubberized and/or webbed.
As you would expect, navigation will consist of optical technology and algorithm software that moves the robot in a logical pattern. Lithium-ion is the battery of choice for manufacturers of premium robot vacs, and automatic resume cleaning after self-charging is a given. Some manufacturers have abandoned the traditional circle shape for the edge-cleaning prowess of the D-shape.
When you’re shelling out some serious cash, you’ll want robust Wi-Fi connectivity. The robot vacuum should display alterable maps on a smartphone app. Look for one that you can pair with an Amazon Alexa or a Google Assistant device to start and stop cleaning sessions as well as locate the robot and direct it to the room of your choice.
Budget-Friendly Robotic Vacuums
Low price does not need to equal low quality. There are budget-friendly robotic vacuums that produce strong suction of at least 1,000 pascals. Some even offer variable suction. Shoot for one with a brushroll that’s V-shaped or dual-bristled for added efficiency, and two side brushes are better than one.
At this price point, don’t expect a HEPA filter, but a pre-media/high-efficiency filter set is common. Protective features like anti-drop sensors, collision-detection sensors and a shock-absorbing bumper are must-haves. A 1 to 1.5-hour runtime is not unusual, and most robotic vacuums are programmed to self-dock to the charger.
Random-pattern movement is par for the course, but there should be a few cleaning modes like spot, schedule and edge. The robot should come with a fully functional remote and/or a smartphone app that acts as a remote. If you have your heart set on voice control, there are some that understand basic commands.
Mopping Robotic Vacuums
Balance is the key to finding a great robotic vacuum/mop. On the vacuuming end, suction should be just as powerful as a vacuum-only robot in the same price range. Variable suction that changes speed according to the floor type is a possibility. A self-adjusting brushroll and multi-speed side brush are also nice to have.
For the mopping feature, a leak-free water system is imperative. Drip-style water delivery and a gasket-sealed dispenser will prevent leaks. Make sure the robot has a carpet-detection feature that stops it from wetting the carpet when set to mop mode. The tank should be easy to insert, and the mop pad should be secured with elastic and/or Velcro.
Ideally, the combo robo vac will have a mega-capacity, so it has time to vacuum and mop on a single charge. Edge coverage and real-time mapping are also important to have in a robot vacuum that mops. If you want Wi-Fi controls, some of these robots offer voice commands and a smartphone app.
What Kind of Battery Does a Robotic Vacuum Have?
Manufacturers rely on three types of rechargeable batteries. Nickel cadmium (NiCad) was the first rechargeable battery available that was appropriate for robotic vacuum applications. Nickel cadmium is the cheapest of all three batteries, and it lasts a long time.
Due to the toxicity of nickel cadmium, manufacturers jumped on nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) once this battery became available. Nickel-metal hydride offers benefits such as a longer charge hold. Plus, it doesn’t contain any unsafe metals. Nickel-metal hydride is now the battery of choice for manufacturers who want to keep the retail price of a robot vacuum low.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) is the newest and most expensive kid on the block. It weighs less than its nickel-metal hydride and nickel-cadmium counterparts. This battery offers the robotic vacuum in which it’s used a long runtime, and it won’t cause the suction to weaken as the battery charge depletes. Therefore, lithium-ion is the gold standard.
What Stops Them From Falling Down the Stairs?
Infrared sensor technology is included in every robotic vacuum cleaner. The infrared sensors that prevent a robot vacuum from taking a tumble down the stairs are called anti-drop, anti-fall or cliff sensors. The most common setup involves two infrared sensors placed on the front underside of the robot.
As the robot drives around the house, the sensors’ infrared light bounces off the surface below it. When it takes too long for the beam to return, the robot knows it has come across a drop. Software programming tells the robot to turn around, and off it goes in the opposite direction.
Can I Use a Robotic Vacuum on Any Floor?
Generally, robotic vacuums are designed to clean tile, laminate, hardwoods and carpet. Any robo vac can handle hard floors and leave them spotless. It’s not so cut-and-dry when it comes to carpets. Some robots can only vacuum low-pile carpet. However, those with strong suction and a hard-bristled brushroll are able to lift dirt from medium-pile carpet.
Will They Get Stuck on Thresholds?
Usually, robotic vacuums can climb over doorway strips with little to no trouble. Their climbing ability ranges from 0.5 to 1 inch. While the caster’s job is to rotate a robot vacuum on its axis, the wheels are tasked with directional driving and climbing. The ones that can climb the highest are equipped with springs.
The specific threshold height a robot vacuum can handle depends on the size of the wheels and the robustness of the tread. The bigger the wheels’ size, the higher the robot’s climbing ability. Wheels with deeper tread have an easier time traversing door thresholds than those that are smooth.
How Does the Robot Find Its Charging Dock?
Virtually every robotic vacuum drives and connects to its charging dock. High-end robo vacs also resume cleaning after they recharge. When a robotic vacuum’s battery charge depletes to a preset level, the robot is programmed to locate its dock.
Again, this is a time when infrared technology is used. An infrared sensor on the robot starts searching for the signal sent by the dock. Once the infrared sensor connects with that signal, the robot heads to the charger.
Is Infrared or Optical Navigation Better?
Between infrared and optical navigation, optical wins hands down. Robots that navigate in a random pattern are equipped with infrared technology. This type of navigation system consists of infrared sensors that detect drops and obstacles.
There may also be sensors in the wheels that direct the robot to slow its speed or move in another direction.
Optical navigation includes a visual sensor that can identify landmarks in the robot’s surroundings. This technology is often grouped with location and mapping algorithms as well as traditional infrared cliff sensors. Robots that have an optical navigation system move in a logical manner, making them more efficient cleaners.
Can Robotic Vacuums Handle Pet Hair?
Textured, man-made materials like carpeting attract pet hair. This means you need a robotic vacuum with a lot of lifting power. A brushroll with long, stiff bristles does the best job at loosening clingy pet hair, and strong suction of at least 1.5 kilopascals will send that hair to the dirt bin.
However, some of that hair will become wrapped around the brushroll. The more hair that accumulates, the less effective the brushroll. Since you’ll need to clean the brushroll regularly, you’ll want one that you can remove without a screwdriver. Even better, there are some robot vacuum cleaners with a self-cleaning roller brush.
How Do I Keep My Robot Vacuum Out of a Particular Room?
You don’t have to resort to makeshift barriers to keep a robotic vacuum from cleaning somewhere you don’t want it to be. Basic robot vacuums usually come or work with magnetic floor strips. When the robot’s sensor detects the strips, it will change course. Magnetic strips are easy to use and make for effective barriers.
Mid-to-high-end robotic vacuum cleaners are compatible with virtual boundary towers. Sometimes, the tower is included with the robot. These physical mini-towers are battery-operated. You can set them to make a straight-line boundary or a halo-type boundary.
For those who don’t want to see black strips on their floor or have small towers their pets can knock over, there is a third option. Remote virtual boundaries are offered on premium robotic vacuums that connect to the home’s Wi-Fi network. From a smartphone app map, you can draw and adjust no-go zones where you see fit.
Are Round or D-Shaped Robotic Vacuums Better?
One shape is not necessarily better than the other as both offer unique benefits. Round is the traditional shape. When a round robot gets stuck in an awkward spot or a corner, all the robot vacuum has to do is rotate until it finds an exit. A D-shaped robot must be cognizant of the surrounding space, requiring complex calculations.
Even though D-shaped robots have a more difficult time freeing themselves, they provide a benefit that round robot vacuums cannot offer. The straight edge of the D shape lends the robotic vacuum greater efficiency at edge cleaning. The curves of a round robot keep it from reaching as close to edges as a D-shaped model can.
What Does Spot, Edge, Auto and Small-Room Modes Mean?
Not all robotic vacuums offer every cleaning mode although some do. Spot mode moves the robot in a tight spiral pattern for a few minutes to clean small messes. Edge mode directs the robot around the perimeter of the room to clean along walls and in corners.
Auto mode is the robot’s default mode. When engaged, auto mode sends the robo vac on a full-house run. It will travel in a random or logical pattern depending on its technology and programming. Small-room mode starts a shortened version of auto mode when you only want the robot to vacuum one room.
Should I Buy a Robotic Vacuum With a Wi-Fi Connection?
Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t necessary, but this feature certainly makes it easier to set up and control a robot vacuum. If you want to include your robotic vacuum into your smart-home system, you’ll need a Wi-Fi-enabled model. You’ll also find the ability to control the robot through your smartphone convenient if you spend a lot of time away from home.
How Much Maintenance Does a Robot Vacuum Need?
Like all appliances, robotic vacuums do require maintenance, but the amount of work it takes to keep a robot vacuum in working order is not excessive. The filter should be replaced or cleaned according to the manufacturer’s schedule, and the bin must be dumped when it’s full.
You also need to wipe off the sensors occasionally, so dust won’t interfere with their signal. Over time, hair and carpet fibers become wound around wheels and the brushroll. Cut off the tangles when they accumulate.
Of course, the battery should be charged when it’s low, and the robot’s software and firmware need to be updated when a new version is available. Almost every robot vacuum self-docks to the charger and some perform automatic updates. Those that require manual update assistance must be plugged into a computer.
It’s the technology that separates a low-budget from a high-end robotic vacuum. While top-tier robot vacuum cleaners are packed full of automation and efficiency technology, a solid robot can still be had when you’re on a budget. You can even find robotic vacuums at any price range that will mop your floors.
Many move in a random pattern, but those with optical sensors and SLAM technology make the most out of each battery cycle. Auto-docking is a universal feature, but premium models also resume cleaning after they charge.
Bottom line – The variety of robotic vacuum cleaners is diverse. Whether you want a Wi-Fi-enabled robot vacuum to control via voice commands or a simplistic model with an infrared remote, there is a robotic vacuum out there that will meet all your requirements.
|Best of the Best!||Best For Tight Spaces||Budget Pick (< $220)|
|Continuous||100 min||110 min|
|12.2 x 12.2 x 3.5 in||17.8 x 13.7 x 4.8 in||33 x 33 x 7.8 in|
|20 pounds||5.73 pounds||7.05 pounds|