One of the most tedious cleaning jobs is vacuuming your entire house. Fortunately, multiple companies have nearly perfected robot vacuums that do all of the work for you. Instead of grabbing your large vacuum for occasional messes or even whole-home cleanups, tell your robot vacuum to do it. Automation is vital in keeping your home clean with minimal work on your part.
Here’s what you need to know about robot vacuums and which you should buy.
How do robot vacuums work?
Most robot vacuums consist of one or two spinning brushes and a rolling brush or two. These work in conjunction to bring large and small debris inwards to the center where the vacuum mechanism sucks it up into the waste bin of the device.
Dirt, fur, food, hair, and everything else the vacuum collects gets stored in a removable section. Once this is filled, the owner will typically have to remove the tray and dump everything into the trash.
The best autonomous robot vacuums also include various types of sensors. Downward-facing sensors are the most common and help the device from driving over a ledge such as stairs. More expensive models have sensors on top that can map rooms as they clean.
Basic robot vacuums can be programmed to run on a schedule using controls on the device itself. Higher-end models can be managed by basic controllers as well as smartphone apps or even a smart speaker.
No matter which device you end up owning, you can be sure that it will pick up debris from all over your residence. As these vacuums can be programmed to run when you are not home, you can come back to a clean house every day of the week.
The limitations of robot vacuums
Before you start thinking that autonomous vacuums are the secret ingredient to an always clean home, we should go over several limitations. Let’s say that robot vacuums won’t be replacing your stand-up vacuum anytime soon.
First, robot vacuums don’t have the same cleaning power and maneuverability that you find with a traditional upright unit. While most units have a varying amount of suction, most designs do not allow the vacuum to reach every inch of floor in your home.
Second, robot vacuums have sensors to make sure they don’t roll down the stairs, but there isn’t much stopping them from sucking up small items in cluttered environments. The biggest casualties in my experience are cables. While most vacuums will move right over thicker cords for lights, USB-C and Lightning cables can get mangled and destroyed.
There are day-to-day hassles with robot vacuum cleaners too. For one, the smaller design doesn’t allow for that large of a collection bin. While it might take a couple of days to fill up if used regularly, homes with pets might need to empty the bin a lot more consistently which can be a pain over the long term.
The other daily hassle is charging. Each robot vacuum will have a battery size rated for an hour or so of continuous cleaning, but the units aren’t always the best at making it back to their charging station. Some days, you might find your vacuum in the middle of a room chirping that it needs to be charged.
Sold on the idea of a robot vacuum? Ready to purchase one for your household? We have checked out the best robot vacuum cleaners currently available and have handpicked the best options for you.
Best robot vacuums:
Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list as new and reliable robot vacuums are released.
1. Roborock S6 MaxV
- Reactive AI to avoid obstacles
- 2,500Pa maximum suction power
- Occasional mop streaking
If you want a powerful robot vacuum that packs some serious mopping prowess as well, look no further than the Roborock S6 MaxV. The price tag is no joke, but the benefits cement the S6 MaxV as a premium smart home gadget.
The Roborock S6 MaxV has a fairly typical design for a robot vacuum, packing one spin brush and a large roller. It also packs a 297mL water tank for all of your mopping needs. This powerful beast can tackle up to three hours of cleaning or 2,580 square feet, whichever it manages first.
Roborock's S6 MaxV can identify and avoid pet poop.
Another great thing about the Roborock is that it’s flat-out smart. It boasts the ability to identify and avoid pet poop thanks to the Reactive AI camera array. You can also schedule cleaning with the power of your voice thanks to your Amazon Echo. Of course, you can also control the vacuum through the companion app or with included the remote. You can schedule a cleaning, spot clean certain areas that are more likely to be dirty, and create multi-floor maps of your home.
Battery life is really impressive at around 180minutes, which should be sufficient for most apartments and one-story houses. However, you’ll have to be ready to carry your S6 MaxV up and down the stairs — or just buy one for each floor.
2. iRobot Roomba i3
- Compatible with iRobot’s automatic Clean Base
- Compatible with Alexa
- No mopping functionality
It is hard not to include two vacuums from the pioneer that started it all. The Roomba i3 is our first pick from iRobot, and it’s a great way to jump into the system
Like others on the list, the iRobot Roomba i3 comes with a companion app. However, it also works with Alexa, making it easy to incorporate it into your smart home ecosystem. What truly makes it stand out from the competition, however, is its compatibility with iRobot’s Clean Base. The Roomba i3 will clean your home in organized rows and automatically return to empty its bin any time it reaches capacity. Its side brush will also take care of sweeping along corners and furniture legs.
To top it all off, the iRobot vacuum packs a multitude of advanced sensors that help it identify areas that need more attention even when on automatic mode. It even mapping navigation, which lets you craft a careful plan of how to clean your home.
In terms of battery life, the Roomba i3 is solid at between 90 minutes and two hours. Unfortunately, there’s no mopping feature with the Roomba i3, so you’ll have to grab the Braava M6 to complete your clean.
3. iRobot Roomba i7
- Smartphone app compatible
- Capable of mapping house and cleaning specific rooms
- More expensive than similarly-specced competitors
- Wi-Fi connection can be spotty
If you’re looking for the top-of-the-line robot vacuum, look no further than iRobot’s brand new Roomba i7. This Wi-Fi connected vacuum comes with almost every cleaning mode and feature that you might want.
Just like other vacuums, the Roomba i7 has a rotating brush that sweeps debris inward towards the device’s dual rubber brushes. Based on the floor type, the vacuum can adjust its 10X suction to pick up dirt, hair, and any other minor messes.
The Roomba i7 can do almost anything by itself.
Additionally, the vacuum maps out your home as it cleans. Owners can then view the layout within the Roomba app. From there, they can direct the robot vacuum to clean specific rooms and areas of their houses from the app.
iRobot introduced a disposal unit alongside the Roomba i7. The unit replaces the vacuum’s base station and automatically clears out the debris when the Roomba is docked. The accessory costs an extra $150, but it makes cleaning out the Roomba foolproof.
4. Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 15C Max
- Slim build
- Impressive AI navigation
- Dust bin could be a little larger
- Unreliable stair sensor
If you’re looking for the best value robot vacuum cleaner, check out the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 15C Max. This mid-range option has some of the best ratings and reviews online for robot vacuums.
One of the best aspects of Eufy is its thinness — it’s only 2.85-inches tall. This feature might not seem important, but it allows the vacuum to clean under furniture that typically gets passed by. Rated to run for 100 straight minutes, the RoboVac 15C Max can be programmed right from your phone. Once the Eufy vacuum is set to run, it will automatically switch between cleaning cycles and use BoostIQ technology to achieve the best results.
The eufy Robovac BoostIQ 15C Max is powerful without being too noisy.
And despite being slim, the Eufy is quite powerful! It packs 2000Pa suction strength without being too noisy. You can also control your RoboVac with your voice thanks to Amazon Alexa compatibility. All of these features combined make the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 15C Max not only one the best budget robot vacuums, but one of the best robot vacuums overall.
5. Shark AI RV2001
- AI Laser Vision mapping
- Compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa
- No self-emptying base
- Limited app features and mapping
Got pets that constantly leave a mess of hair or worse? Then the Shark AI RV2001 might be one of your best choices. This vacuum might not have the best app on the market, but it has impressive AI Laser Vision technology.
Just like the Roomba i3, the Shark robot vacuum is compatible with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices. It has a companion app but it doesn’t have the most impressive features. You can’t map multiple floors, but the AI Laser Vision is able to identify and avoid objects in your home.
The Shark AI RV2001 is not the smallest robot vacuum on our list. It’s a little wider than 12-inches and its height sits at only 3.48-inches. This makes it almost an inch thicker than some of our other picks. The Shark AI RV2001 also packs a clever brush with silicone fins that captures waste without tangling up in pet hair.
The Shark Ion Robot 750 has a decent battery life of 90 minutes but, depending on the size of your apartment or house, it can get its job done in that time frame. So, if you are looking for a robot vacuum that can get to those hard-to-reach places and one that will take care of light daily cleaning, the Shark AI RV2001 is one of your best picks.
These are our picks for the best robot vacuum cleaners. We will regularly update the list as new devices launch.