One of the most tedious jobs when it comes to cleaning is vacuuming. 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?
The design of most robot vacuums consists 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.
Most autonomous robot vacuums also include various types of sensors. The most common are downward-facing 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 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. If you don’t believe Roborock, the company includes a plastic model poop so you can try the feature for yourself. 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 960
- Sophisticated sensors + three-stage cleaning system
- Compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa
- Average battery life
It is hard not to include two vacuums from the pioneer that started it all. The Roomba 960 is another excellent top-of-the-line addition, which delivers great results.
Like others on the list, the iRobot Roomba 960 comes with a companion app. However, it also works with both Alexa and Google Assistant, making it easy to incorporate it into your smart home ecosystem. What truly makes it stand out from the competition, however, is its three-stage cleaning system. The Roomba 960 will pass dirty areas more than once, which is especially useful if you have hairy pets that shed everywhere. 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 sports camera navigation, which helps it easily avoid obstacles without bumping into them. It is not as slim as the Ecovacs Deebot N79S — it is 3.6 high, but it will still be able to easy clean under most furniture.
In terms of battery life, the Roomba 960 is pretty average at around 70-75 minutes. Its price, however, is much higher than the competition. At around $550, it is one of the priciest robot vacuums on our list. But if quality and durability is what matters to you most, it’s worth paying the higher price.
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 11S
- Slim build
- Only programmable by remote
- Unreliable stair sensor
If you’re looking for the best value robot vacuum cleaner, check out the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S. 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 11S can be programmed using an included controller. Once the eufy vacuum is set to run, it will automatically switch between cleaning cycles based on the flooring that it’s cleaning and whether it’s picking up a mess.
The eufy Robovac BoostIQ 11S is powerful without being too noisy.
And despite being slim, the Eufy is quite powerful! It packs 1300Pa 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 11s not only one the best budget robo vacuums, but one of the best robot vacuums overall.
5. Shark Ion Robot 750
- Very slim
- Compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa
- Slightly below-average battery life
- Not very powerful
Got pets that constantly leave a mess of hair everywhere? Then the Shark Ion Robot 750 might be one of your best choices. This vacuum might not be as sophisticated as some of the others on this list, but it has its advantages.
Just like the Roomba 960, the Shark robot vacuum is compatible with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices. It has a companion app but no remote control. It doesn’t have mapping capabilities either, but its infrared sensors do a fine job of avoiding obstacles.
The Shark Ion Robot 750 is also the slimmest robot vacuum on our list. It has a diameter of 12.6-inches and its height sits at only 2.6-inches. This makes it more than an inch thinner than some of our other picks. It will easily fit under most furniture, making it very convenient for those hard to reach spots. However, maneuverability comes at a price. The Shark Ion Robot 750 is not terribly powerful. It can deal with minor messes and collect pet hair, but it can struggle with larger crumbs or debris. The good news is that it comes with magnetic tape you can use to create boundaries, so the vacuum avoids areas like the jumbles of cables under your desk.
The Shark Ion Robot 750 has a slightly below-average battery life of about an hour 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 Ion Robot 750 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.