7 Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners

7 Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners

Everyone wants to have a clean home, but not many people really enjoy cleaning. So, in a world where time is money, finding the best robot vacuum possible may be well worth the investment.

It's true:

For decades people dreamed of a cleaning robot. Now they come in all sizes, some at very affordable prices.

So why should you buy an automatic or robotic vacuum cleaner? Robotic vacuums can now remember a house’s layout, dump their own dirt in a receptacle, and even connect themselves to the charging station when needed.

There's more:

Some robot vacuums are even compatible with WiFi, allowing users to set up an automatic cleaning schedule and control remotely.

If you are looking for even more ways to save time and effort on cleaning, Melissa Maker at Clean My Space shares some of her helpful cleaning hacks that will help you get the job done quickly and with very little effort.

How do you determine the best robotic vacuum for you?

We have got you covered. We have researched and reviewed hundreds of products, read reviews, and tested the best robot vacuums. We even categorized our favorites to make it easier for you to determine which will best fit your lifestyle.

Happy cleaning!

Why trust us: Faveable has spent thousands of hours researching, interviewing experts, and testing products to come up with carefully selected lists trusted by millions of consumers since 2013.

7 Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners

  • 7. ILIFE V3s Pro Robotic Vacuum
  • 6. iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot
  • 5. iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal
  • 4. ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S
  • 3. Samsung POWERbot R7065 Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum
  • 2. eufy RoboVac 35C Robot Vacuum Cleaner
  • 1. iRobot Roomba 690 Automatic Vacuum

Most Affordable Robot Vacuum

#7

ILIFE V3s Pro Robotic Vacuum

Most Affordable Robot Vacuum: ILIFE V3s Pro Robotic Vacuum
Performance
7.0
Value
9.5
Terrain Handling
7.0
Battery Life
7.0
Maintenance
8.0
Overall
77%
77 % Editor Score
80 % User Score
244 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Great for pet hair and hardwood floors
  • An efficient little robotic vacuum at a wonderful price point
  • Good battery life, excellent operation

Excellent price, efficient at picking up pet hair, low-profile design, slides under most beds and furniture, self-charging, fully programmable, anti-bump smart sensors, good for hardwood floors, remote control included, and one-touch auto clean.

Doesn’t work well with rugs and tassels; some products arrive defective and break down after 1-2 months.

Expert Ratings

Performance

7.0 / 10

If you’re looking for a robot vacuum that can suck up hair, dust, and dirt like a pro, this budget robo-vac is definitely a good one. Users all agree that it not only gets up the visible dirt, but takes care of all the dirt you didn’t know you had. The fact that it’s self-charging and self-emptying means it’s beautifully easy to ensure your home gets clean.

The one-touch design makes it easy to set the vacuum to auto-clean, and it comes with a special edge cleaning mode that will deal with all the dust and cobwebs along your walls and corners. Thanks to the scheduling features, you’ll find it’s beautifully easy to set the little vacuum cleaner to run while you’re away so you can come home to a clean house.

Value

9.5 / 10

At $130, this is the cheapest of the vacuums on our list. Though some of the vacuums arrive defective (shutting down after 1-2 months), it’s overall a highly reliable, easy to use little vacuum cleaner guaranteed to get the job done.

Terrain Handling

7.0 / 10

This vacuum cleaner is particularly good with hardwood floors, and you’ll find that it can pick up pet hair like a boss. It may struggle with corners and edges of deep shag rugs, but it will always go back over them to smooth things down. Just be aware that tassels can get caught in the brushes and trip up the vacuum cleaner.

Battery Life

7.0 / 10

Battery life on this machine is about average, with roughly 60 minutes of run time before it needs to recharge. You’ll love the fact that it’s self-charging—it will automatically return to its dock and recharge all on its own.

Maintenance

8.0 / 10

There’s minimal maintenance required from this bad boy: simply empty the dust bin when it’s full, and you can let the iLife run on its own. It’ll make your life and cleaning your house a whole lot easier!

Overall Editor Score

7.7 / 10

Best Robot Vacuum for Hard Floors (Mop)

#6

iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot

Best Robot Vacuum for Hard Floors (Mop): iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot
Performance
7.5
Value
7.5
Terrain Handling
8.0
Battery Life
7.5
Maintenance
8.0
Overall
77%
77 % Editor Score
82 % User Score
338 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Amazing product
  • Huge time saver
  • Exceeds expectations

The iRobot Braava is designed to mop floors quickly and efficiently. It's particularly good at dealing with hardwood floors!

Users report this product is great for periodic maintenance, but does not completely replace mopping all together.

Expert Ratings

Performance

7.5 / 10

The iRobot Braava uses disposable or microfiber cleaning cloths to pick up dirt, hair, and dust from all your hard surface floors. All you have to do is attach a cloth and press a button - Braava takes it from there.

Braava has two cleaning modes - sweep and mop. In sweep mode, Braava dry mops your floor by moving in straight lines using dry cleaning cloths. In mop mode, Braava uses a special back-and-forth mopping action to lift surface dirt and grime from floors, keeping cloths damp by dispensing liquid throughout a special cleaning reservoir.

Braava is compatible with drugstore brands, such as Swiffer, so you will have no trouble finding cleaning cloths for your Braava. As an added bonus, Braava is very quiet, allowing you to simply go about your day as normal - no interruptions. 

Value

7.5 / 10

At $254.99, the Braava is actually one of the least expensive products on our list! However, don't forget to factor in the cost of disposable cleaning cloths, unless you opt for reusable microfiber cleaning cloths.

Terrain Handling

8.0 / 10

The new iRobot Braava can handle multiple terrains including tile, vinyl, hardwood, and laminate. As Braava cleans it builds a map of the area, including walls, obstacles and drop-offs, in order to avoid them in the future. Braava also uses advanced technology to track where it's been and where it needs to go, so you'll never have the problem of Braava getting stuck in one location or missing a spot.

Battery Life

7.5 / 10

iRobot Braava comes with a convenient, one-stop charging station and can charge itself in as little as two hours. Additionally, it has enough battery power per charge to mop your entire floor in a single pass.

Maintenance

8.0 / 10

The only maintenance Braava requires is changing cleaning cloths in between cleanings. The cloths are easily inserted and held in place magnetically. When Braava has finished the job and returned to its station simply remove and throw away the dirty pad.

Overall Editor Score

7.7 / 10

Best Automatic Dirt Disposal

#5

iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal

Best Automatic Dirt Disposal: iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal
Performance
9.0
Value
5.5
Terrain Handling
8.0
Battery Life
8.5
Maintenance
9.0
Overall
80%
80 % Editor Score
85 % User Score
126 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Holds 30 bins of dirt and dust
  • Empties on its own!
  • Great for households with pets

Say hello to the most hassle-free vacuum ever! The iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal knows when it's time to empty debris from the vacuum or when it's time to charge, and will do both of these things on its own. Let iRobot Roomba do the cleaning while you relax.

Sometimes there are technical errors with this Roomba, but iRobot provides excellent hands-on customer support. It is definitely on the pricey side but well worth it if within your budget. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.0 / 10

The iRobot Roomba uses a 3-stage powerful cleaning system that cleans dirt, pet hair, and the dust and allergens you can't see. It's got power-lifting suction that delivers 10x the air power, high-efficiency filter traps, and a patented iAdapt 3.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology that enables this vacuum to move around your house efficiently.

You can use smart mapping, which allows your robot to learn and map out your house - making cleaning easier and more productive. This robot vacuum is operable from any smartphone device. 

Value

5.5 / 10

This is one of the most expensive robot vacuums on our list coming in at $1099.00. We understand this is not feasible for some, but if it is within your budget, this vacuum is well worth the cost.

Terrain Handling

8.0 / 10

Thanks to the powerful lifting suction, this Roomba can pick up and trap dirt, dust, dog and cat hair, and allergens you can't even see. 

Battery Life

8.5 / 10

You needn't worry about the battery life for this Roomba, because the machine has smart technology enabling it to know when it's time to charge. This iRobot Roomba i7 will return to its charging post when the battery is low, and then resume cleaning once it's recharged.

Maintenance

9.0 / 10

The iRobot Roomba requires extremely low maintenance. This robot vacuum cleaner empties on its own and charges on its own. The Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal holds up to 30 bins of dirt, dust, and hair so you literally won't have to worry about changing out the disposal for weeks. 

Overall Editor Score

8.0 / 10

Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair

#4

ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S

Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair: ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S
Performance
8.0
Value
8.0
Terrain Handling
8.0
Battery Life
8.0
Maintenance
8.0
Overall
80%
80 % Editor Score
88 % User Score
230 Bought

Why People Love it

  • An amazing robot vacuum at a marvelous price
  • Efficient, powerful, and long-lasting
  • Easy to use, highly effective cleaner

2 hours of run time, great price tag, easy to control via smartphone app, compatible with Alexa, powerful suction, efficient cleaning, auto-clean included, three specialized cleaning modes, anti-drop and anti-collision sensors built in, durable, and top-quality customer support.

Wi-Fi setup can be tricky; may struggle with navigation problems.

Expert Ratings

Performance

8.0 / 10

The performance of this robot vacuum is definitely one of its main selling points—it does an amazing job of cleaning your home, with Max Mode Cleaning that will allow you to speed up the process and double the suction power for truly stubborn messes. The 3-Stage Cleaning system also ensures that any and all debris, pet dander, allergens, and dust is sucked up and disposed of.

The vacuum cleaner comes with the auto-clean mode that will detect particles and adjust its power accordingly. It also includes three specialized cleaning modes: single-room mode, edge mode, and spot mode. Thanks to the smartphone app, you’ll find it’s easy to program that vacuum cleaner to deal with messes in your home. You can even set it up to be activated via Alexa’s voice mode—cleaning just got a whole lot easier!

Value

8.0 / 10

At $180, this is one of the most affordable robot vacuums on our list! Plus, it comes with a 1-year warranty and all the accessories you need to ensure your home gets cleaned thoroughly.

Terrain Handling

8.0 / 10

The Evocacs N79 can handle all terrains from hardwood floors to any throw rugs and carpets. If you’re worried about it falling down stairs or smashing into walls, don’t be! The built-in anti-drop and anti-collision sensors will keep it safe as it cleans your home. It has extra-large wheels that make it easy for the vacuum to climb over thresholds.

Battery Life

8.0 / 10

Battery life is where this little robot vacuum stands out. It delivers a full 120 minutes of high-powered cleaning before returning to its cradle to auto-recharge. It will give you the best, longest-lasting clean on the market.

Maintenance

8.0 / 10

Maintenance on this bad boy is a breeze. Thanks to its anti-scratch finish, protective bumpers, and low profile, you’ll never have to worry about it breaking or being damaged. The app will automatically update the vacuum’s software, and the app is beautifully user-friendly on your phone. The dustbin is also extra-large and wonderfully easy to empty.

Overall Editor Score

8.0 / 10

Most Powerful Robot Vacuum

#3

Samsung POWERbot R7065 Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum

Most Powerful Robot Vacuum: Samsung POWERbot R7065 Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum
Performance
9.5
Value
6.5
Terrain Handling
9.5
Battery Life
7.0
Maintenance
8.0
Overall
81%
81 % Editor Score
91 % User Score
922 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Innovative features
  • Easy to use - automatic
  • 10x more suction than competitors, up to 40X suction power!

If looks, branding, and control are your main concern, then go for Samsung’s POWERbot R7065. Everyone agrees in their reviews – not only does it perform better than competitors, it has other outstanding features such as sleek design, CycloneForce design, and EasyPass wheels. It's simply the best. 

App is very barebones; may struggle to recognize and detect furniture legs.

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.5 / 10

The automatic POWERbot R7065 far exceeds its competitors, especially in the areas of sensors, suction, and smart technology. The visionary mapping system creates an optimal cleaning path, avoiding obstacles, so that your vac won't get stuck on furniture or objects on the floor. When it comes to suction, the powerful robotic suction delivers optimal cleaning results with 10x more suction power than competitors. Finally, with wifi connectivity you can remotely control your robot vacuum with your smartphone. The POWERbot R7065 from Samsung really has it all.

The app is designed to work with your smartphone, particularly Samsung phones. However, it can be a bit barebones and not as easy to use as other apps. Once you master the learning curve, however, you'll find it does a good job of making sure your home is clean and tidy.

Value

6.5 / 10

Although this robotic vacuum is pretty expensive at $600, that's to be expected for a quality robot vacuum. Plus, with all of the vac's unique features, we think this product is well worth the price. 

Terrain Handling

9.5 / 10

The POWERbot R7065 cleaner contains an onboard digital camera, allowing the bot to map multiple floors, avoid obstacles, and handle all levels of terrain. Plus, the EasyPass wheels are designed to move smoothly over obstacles.

Battery Life

7.0 / 10

Compared to its competitors, R7065's battery is above the average. The rechargeable battery lasts exactly 70 minutes, plenty of time to get through an entire house.

Maintenance

8.0 / 10

Very low maintenance - reviewers report that this vac is super easy to empty and clean. It even comes with a self-cleaning brush that will detect, disentangle, and remove pet hair from the main brushes. You'll rarely have to deal with any hassle thanks to the efficient design of this cleaner!

Overall Editor Score

8.1 / 10

Best Low Profile Vacuum

#2

eufy RoboVac 35C Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Best Low Profile Vacuum: eufy RoboVac 35C Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Performance
8.5
Value
9.0
Terrain Handling
8.0
Battery Life
9.0
Maintenance
8.5
Overall
86%
86 % Editor Score
94 % User Score
22 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Super-thin with 1500Pa extra strong suction
  • Anti-scratch tempered glass cover provides a sleek look and superior protection

Eufy RoboVac 35C may be super-slim, but it’s packed with a 3-point cleaning system, BoostIQ technology, and up to 1500Pa of suction power to ensure your floors and carpets are clear of all dirt, dust, and crumbs. Plus, with Wi-Fi built-in, you won’t even have to lift a finger (until it comes time to empty the dustbox, that is).

Some reviewers report that even the newest version of Eufy requires a lot of babysitting, does not wait until the dustbox is completely full prior to returning to the charge base, and often is not able to fully dock itself without a bit of assistance.

Expert Ratings

Performance

8.5 / 10

The Eufy RoboVac 35C features a 3-point cleaning system with three brushes and strong suction power, which will effectively loosen, extract, and vacuum dirt and dust. This robot vacuum automatically increases suction power within 1.5 seconds when it senses extra vacuuming strength is needed, providing the best clean in the shortest amount of time.

Additionally, the EufyHome app, and Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant voice control-services let you accomplish your vacuuming needs with zero effort from you. Some reviewers have even reported that the app has made vacuuming more enjoyable than playing a video game!

Value

9.0 / 10

Let’s face it, robot vacuums are not cheap. However, Eufy RoboVac 35c is currently available on Amazon for $290.99, but you can often find it on sale—which makes this robot vacuum one of the least expensive on our list.

Terrain Handling

8.0 / 10

All you have to do is set Boundary Slips and the slim 2.85” body with upgraded 1500Pa suction will only stay within the areas you have set in order for a more focused and concentrated clean. This robot vacuum also uses drop-sensing technology to avoid falling down stairs or off ledges, even absent Boundary Slips.

For best results, use on low- to medium-pile carpets, tile, laminate, and hardwood floors. Additionally, move cables out of the way to avoid entanglement. Eufy even comes with 5 cable ties to help you better organize wires and power cords.

Battery Life

9.0 / 10

Eufy vacuums for up to 100 minutes of constant, powerful suction that’s no louder than a microwave. Reviewers rave about the battery life and report that Eufy is always able to make it back to the charging port before it runs out of battery.

Maintenance

8.5 / 10

Eufy features a large 0.6L dustbox which holds more dirt per clean that most robot vacuums, in order to reduce the frequency of emptying.

Overall Editor Score

8.6 / 10

Best Automatic Robot Vacuum Overall

#1

iRobot Roomba 690 Automatic Vacuum

Best  Automatic Robot Vacuum Overall: iRobot Roomba 690 Automatic Vacuum
Performance
9.5
Value
8.5
Terrain Handling
9.0
Battery Life
8.0
Maintenance
9.0
Overall
88%
88 % Editor Score
97 % User Score
1,458 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Powerful automatic cleaner
  • Easy robotic navigation
  • Simple maintenance

Although this isn't the newest robovac on the market, it is still a crowd favorite. This vac provides a powerful clean while navigating easily through any interior. Now with Alexa integration!

The biggest complaint about this robotic vacuum is that it's clumsy and tends to slam into objects.

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.5 / 10

The Roomba 680 is everything users loved about the 650, but now with Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility (total game-changer)! With a large bin and self-emptying technology, the automatic cleaning vacuum can clean an entire room without interruption. The beauty of this particular vacuum is that it employs a three-stage cleaning process. First, it uses brushes to loosen any materials stuck to the surface. Then, it utilizes powerful suction to pick up the debris. Finally, it scans the area to make sure nothing is left behind. As an added bonus, this machine is so quiet that it can clean while you sleep. 

Thanks to its upgrade, the 680 can be connected to your Alexa or Google Home Assistant, enabling you to control it hands-free with voice control. All you have to do is give the command and your vacuum cleaner will start the process all on its own. Plus, you can use the app to schedule a cleaning or adjust the robot's settings no matter where you are!

Value

8.5 / 10

The $280 price isn't quite as hefty as the 650's original price of $350+, and the extra technology - which allows you to schedule cleanings up to 7 times per week - and the ability to automatically dock and recharge, makes this baby totally worth the mid-range price point.

Terrain Handling

9.0 / 10

The Roomba 680 automatically adjusts to many floor types, including: carpet, tile, hardwood, and laminate. Additionally, the iAdapt Navigation technology uses a variety of sensors to navigate your home.

Battery Life

8.0 / 10

The Roomba 680 runs between 45 to 90 minutes on a charge, so it works best in small to mid-size spaces. Also, do be aware that due to the shorter battery life, this robotic vacuum sometimes has trouble making it back to the docking station to recharge before running out of battery.

Maintenance

9.0 / 10

One of the best features of this product is that it requires hardly any maintenance aside from emptying the bin between cleanings. Periodically, the filter must be cleaned in order to maximize efficiency, which can be done in as little as 5 minutes.

Overall Editor Score

8.8 / 10

Faveable Ratings: 7 Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners

7 Best Robot Vacuum CleanersPerformanceValueTerrain HandlingBattery LifeMaintenanceOverall
iRobot Roomba 690 Automatic Vacuum Thumbnail
Best Automatic Robot Vacuum Overall
#1iRobot Roomba 690 Automatic Vacuum
9.5
8.5
9.0
8.0
9.0
88
eufy RoboVac 35C Robot Vacuum Cleaner Thumbnail
Best Low Profile Vacuum
#2eufy RoboVac 35C Robot Vacuum Cleaner
8.5
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.5
86
Samsung POWERbot R7065 Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum Thumbnail
Most Powerful Robot Vacuum
#3Samsung POWERbot R7065 Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum
9.5
6.5
9.5
7.0
8.0
81
ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S Thumbnail
Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair
#4ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
80
iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal Thumbnail
Best Automatic Dirt Disposal
#5iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal
9.0
5.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
80
iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot Thumbnail
Best Robot Vacuum for Hard Floors (Mop)
#6iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot
7.5
7.5
8.0
7.5
8.0
77
ILIFE V3s Pro Robotic Vacuum Thumbnail
Most Affordable Robot Vacuum
#7ILIFE V3s Pro Robotic Vacuum
7.0
9.5
7.0
7.0
8.0
77

Faveable Expert Tips

Believe it or not, price isn’t everything when it comes to robotic vacuums - nor is the brand name attached to it. But, even if you don’t need to spend a fortune on your new cleaning appliance, you should know what you need or you may as well be throwing that money away.

Why do you want a robotic vacuum? Do they really work?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your old-fashioned upright vacuum cleaner does a better job than a robotic vacuum. Not only are you there to spot check the area, you can bet that the tiny motor and small dust collector that even the best robotic vacuums have just don’t have the cleaning power of their more experienced cousins - unless you’re really ready to splash out on the highest-end models.

These robots are really good at maintaining the cleanliness of your home in-between deeper cleans that you handle with a vacuum in hand; they’re not necessarily a replacement for your old cleaning appliances (especially, if you have carpeted stairs).

Do they work? Absolutely. Do they work as well? Not so much. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want one; it doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of one.

Robotic vacuums are particularly useful for pet owners, busy families, and for anyone that would rather lose their teeth than clean up the house.

What are the downsides?

Stairs. No really. If you have stairs, you have limitations. Most robotic vacuums can’t even cope with slopes over 15 degrees, let alone stairs. If you have two (or more) floors in your home, you either need to carry your vacuum up and down your stairs - or you need to invest in two (or more) robots. Of course, you can always use one on the ground floor and store and use your upright vacuum upstairs.

Robotic vacuums just can’t cope with certain floors. As you would imagine, shag carpets are going to be a challenge for these devices. But, perhaps a little surprisingly, they get a little tripped up with dark surfaces as well. If you have black-stained wooden floors, your robotic vacuum will stand at the edge, freaking out, as if it was a cliff (and, yet, it will tumble down stairs before you can catch it).

Wires on the floor - and anything else a regular vacuum could chew - is an easy target for a robotic vacuum. It’s almost as if your new machine will seek to destroy wires behind your television, even when the path your robot takes to get there makes zero sense. (And if erratic movements drive you insane, you need to splurge on a robotic vacuum that maps your home rather than going anywhere it pleases.)

And yes, the dust collection bin is tiny (no matter how large of a machine you buy), so you will need to take time to empty it frequently. Though, you will have saved all that vacuuming time, so you should be able to make that work.

How much space needs cleaning? Do you need a large capacity vacuum?

The most important step in determining which robotic vacuum is right for you is considering the size of the space you need to clean. And, bigger isn’t necessarily better; the larger the appliance, the more likely it is to get itself stuck under furniture. The more you need to ferret out your robot, the less utility it has.

But, keep in mind, that even though you don’t want a super large robot (the kind that gets stuck), you also don’t want a small one because you’ll need to empty the dust collection bin seemingly constantly.

That said, it’s really the floor space that matters. You can’t get a tiny robotic vacuum and expect it to clean 2,000 square feet. Luckily, most manufacturers provide a solid expectation of the floor space their machines can cover, so as long as you know how much floor you have to clean, the easier it is to start narrowing realistic choices.

What type of floors do you have?

Some robotic vacuums are better at carpeted floors, some are better at cleaning hard surfaces. If you have only one or the other, you can cut a chunk of options out of your search almost instantly. But, many American homes have a combination of floors; if you’re one of them, you’ll need to think about your priorities. In most cases, you’ll consider the robotic vacuums that fare better with the surface you have the most of.

But, you will need to keep in mind that some cheaper robotic vacuums struggle to get over those tiny little bumps that separate carpets and hard floors. You should plan to splash out on a better model if you expect your robot to cross surfaces frequently in the course of a clean.

If you only have hard floors, you can get away with a robotic duster - which aren’t vacuums per se, but will take care of minimal amounts of dirt and dust at a low cost. They’re not super efficient, but they should get the job done if you live in a relatively small apartment. But, you can also choose a robotic mop which does the sweeping and cleaning all at once. But, if a vacuum is the way forward, stay right where you are.

And, if you have exceptionally plush carpets (lucky you), your options are a little more limited as most models are designed for shorter piles. Suction power is measured in watts (between 15 and 30) and you’ll need to look for something with a higher wattage if you have gorgeous, thickly piled carpet. As previously mentioned, if you have shag carpeting, move along altogether.

What do you need to know about standard features like batteries, brushes, and sensors?

Assuming that you’ve chosen to go the robotic vacuum route, and you know your floor types and space, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of the features that matter the most.

  • Battery life - The majority of robotic vacuums have an average 1.5 hours of run time before they need charging. The range is somewhere between 1 to 2 hours. Obviously, the cheaper models are more likely to have less run time. But, this may or may not make a difference in your home. What’s more important for most users is the homing feature that’s activated when the battery starts to run low. There are some low-end models that you need to manually plug in to the charging station, though these somewhat defeat the purpose of having a robot to do the job for you. If you have a large space to cover, with lots of rooms, you will, however, want to look for the longest possible battery life you can afford so that your appliance can find its way home in the time between the low battery signal and actually running out of juice.

 

  • Sensors and mapping technology - Robots that only need to tackle a single large space have it easy. They can roam around in whatever nonsensical pattern they deem fit. But, as soon as you start adding doorways and hallways into the mix, it’s time to start looking into the sensor technology that’s in play. Basic models will simply change direction when they bump into an object or get too close to the stairs, but they won’t actually map the space. If you’re expecting your robot to cover multiple rooms, you need a little more of a plan - and that means forking out a little extra for the software and the sensors to make that happen.

 

  • Brushes - When you really get into the specifics of brushes, you’ll quickly realize that there isn’t an industry norm. Every manufacturer has gone their own way in this category. That said, you should expect a brush bar with beaters to sweep dust and dirt into the suction section. Newer models have full-width turbo brush bars. And, even though you’ll want to laugh at the little sweeper brushes that flair out from sides, these are actually great at pulling in dirt from the sides.

 

  • Remotes, apps, or manual settings - There are three different ways to get your robotic vacuum going. The most basic models require you to manually push a button on the machine (and/or program it to start at a certain time on the robot’s interface), while remote controls are a step up. What we really love about remote controls is that they allow you to set the cleaning mode and sometimes steer the robot into the right place from the comfort of a seat nearby. And then there are app-controlled vacuums. Needless to say, these models tend to do more and have more settings, which drives the price up, but allows you to get your vacuum going while you’re away. You’ll find variations in price within each control system (which is one way to narrow in on your final choices), but you won’t be able to discern cleaning ability according to the type of controls; it’s really a matter of preference.

 

  • Cleaning modes - In the most basic models, you’ll usually find two cleaning modes. One is the standard clean until you’ve exhausted your battery or your dust canister is full. The other is a spot clean which is a really short cycle that involves just moving within a small radius to clean areas that visibly need a vacuum. There are a few models with deep or power clean functions that work as a combination of spot cleans and regular cleans. And, we’re hoping to see more programming functionality in room cleaning modes as the technology and apps for robotic vacuums develops.

Do you have pets?

If you have furry pets that live in the house with you, it’s almost critical to invest in a robotic vacuum designed to remove pet hair. What’s the difference? Generally speaking, it’s in the strength and design of the brushes, though sometimes there are different suction areas as well.

You may not think of this as a big deal; any old vacuum will do, right?

Erm, no. Short hairs become tangled in carpeting and usually need more assistance to come out than specs of dust and dirt. A little more brushing is required to release hairs effectively. And, yes, you want the suction that can pull up all the little critters that live on the pet hair too. (We’re not kidding.)

As a bonus, many of the pet models also have built-in HEPA filters to avoid kicking allergens into the air, though these do need to be replaced annually.

One thing you do need to be vigilant with when you have both a pet and a robot vacuum is the maintenance of the latter. Pet hair can clog the brushes, dust receptacles, and filters - and you’ll soon find that a weekly clean of your cleaner will keep it in good condition for a longer time.

What programming features make a real difference?

Obviously, the features that matter most to you relate to your home, your family, your schedule, your pets, and your cleaning needs. But, there are a few features that are worth paying for if you can fit them into your budget.

The first feature you should definitely consider is a robot’s ability to realize it is running out of power combined with homing so it gets back to base without losing itself under some piece of furniture. You’ll spend a lot of time looking for your robot if you don’t have this feature.

Secondly, programming makes all the difference. Although you’ll watch your vacuum for the first few hours (no really, everyone does this), you’ll soon lose interest and you’ll want to set it and leave it, only remembering to empty the dust reservoir when it works for you.

Above and beyond are WiFi and app integrations, especially if you already have or are moving towards a Smart home. If you’re running everything from your phone or a hub of sorts, it’s a real pain to break for a little robot vacuum action.

But, perhaps the coolest feature - and one that’s useful for nearly everyone - is a machines ability to set do not enter barriers. These absolutely cost more - even for models that rely on a physical barrier strip - but they’re very worth it. Though the invisible barrier signals are obviously more useful and aesthetic, both types are perfect for ensuring shoelaces and charging cables aren’t chewed - and that pet water bowls don’t splash everywhere.

As for better mapping, well that’s really a nice to have - if you can afford it. Remember, you’re still going to need to vacuum your house every now and again; a robot vacuum is just there to save you from doing it constantly.

How much is too much to spend?

It’s really a matter of what’s in your budget. You should expect to pay at least $200, though $300 is more realistic for a set minimum of features. There are a few models that range into the thousands, but unless you have some very specific needs that only these robotic vacuums can address, you probably can set a cap around $600 to $700.

How much maintenance does a robotic vacuum need?

Every appliance needs some maintenance sometimes. At the beginning, especially if you’ve waited to vacuum until your new buddy has arrived, you will need to empty the dust receptacle every day. Once you’ve had your machine moving around more frequently, you’ll be able to see whether you can go every three days (most pet owners need to empty quite frequently) or every ten days.

Apart from that, you will need to clean brushes and filters occasionally, but it depends on how much work you put your vacuum through. If you have pets and run your robot twice a day, you’ll need to do this more often than small families in small spaces and no pets. The closer your vacuum model matches your actual needs, the less maintenance on your part.

The rechargeable battery will eventually run out, but as long as you’ve taken good care of your robot, you can expect that to happen long after you feel it’s time for an upgrade.

What do you need to know before setting your new gadget to work?

Read the instruction manual before putting your new robot to work. It’s not because you can’t figure out how to push a button or two; it’s because you don’t want to do anything to jeopardize your warranty or ability to return it if it’s not right for you. At the very least, skim the guide for anything that says you’ll invalidate your warranty by doing something specific.

Other than that, the only thing you need to know is that you will, like everyone else, spend a whack of time just watching your robot run when you first get it going.

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Article Staff

Erika has a passion for writing. She is an avid traveler who loves a good road trip. Iced coffee is what keeps her going throughout the busy days in New York, New York. Currently, Erika writes for several blogs and companies specializing in travel, mental health, nature, and current news/politics.  

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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7 Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners

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