If you hate to vacuum, you’re not alone. Lugging around a heavy machine is hardly enjoyable, especially when you’re dodging furniture and chasing down every last dust bunny lurking in the corners. That’s why so many people are investing in robot vacuums – those cylinder Pac-man-like devices that move by themselves, gobbling up all the dust and debris in their path. These incredible cleaning machines have come a long way since their creation in 1996. The latest models contain Laser Distance Sensors and/or cameras to map and navigate rooms, resulting in more precise and efficient cleaning patterns. Many also come with companion smartphone apps, and you can control them using Alexa and Google voice commands. More advanced models even have self-emptying capabilities. The good news? We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and have the most updated list of the best robot vacuums you can buy.
Speaking of cleaning, did you know one in six Americans put off cleaning for at least a month? In a recent study, while half of the respondents claim the longest they’ve gone without cleaning their home is just one month (52%), a surprising one in 10 admitted they’ve gone more than six months without cleaning. Part of the problem may be people really don’t know how to clean. Luckily, these automated cleaning machines make it so that is a skill you may never have to learn!
How to Choose the Best Robot Vacuum
Robot vacuums have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. They’re convenient, easy to use, and can help you keep your floors clean without having to lift a finger. But with so many different robot vacuums on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Suction power: If you have pets or carpeted floors, you’ll need a robot vacuum with strong suction power to pick up dirt, dust, and pet hair.
- Battery life: Robot vacuums can have battery lives of anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes. If you have a large home, you’ll need a robot vacuum with a longer battery life so it can clean your entire home without having to recharge.
- Navigation technology: Some robot vacuums use random navigation, while others use more sophisticated mapping and planning technology. Robot vacuums with more sophisticated navigation technologies are generally more expensive, but they’re also more effective at cleaning your home.
- Features: Some robot vacuums come with additional features, such as mopping capabilities, smart home integration, and self-emptying dustbins.
Which model is best? Check out our list of the top seven best robot vacuums. Also, if you already own one, what is your recommendation? Let us know in the comments below.
The List: Best Robot Vacuums, According to Experts
This model has all the bells and whistles, especially if you have pets. Tech Radar says, “The Roomba Combo J7 Plus comes with something iRobot calls the P.O.O.P. promise. It’s short for Pet Owner Official Promise and it means that if this Roomba robot encounters pet waste and doesn’t avoid it, they’ll replace your entire robot. It shouldn’t come to that, however, because this iRobot has very effective obstacle detection and avoidance. We found that it vacuumed very well and mopped much better than many combination models…The Roomba works with all the key smart speakers and its app is both intelligent and easy to use. It maps your floorplan and enables you to create specific cleaning zones, and it’s constantly checking and learning.” Another key feature — it empties itself!
Speaking of self-emptying, HGTV calls this the best robot vacuum in that department. “If you’re looking for a truly hands-off vacuuming experience, then look no further than the iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum. It uses iRobot OS Technology and PrecisionVision Navigation to maneuver through rooms, recognizing and avoiding common objects like cords, pet waste, curtains, shoes, and more. This model features a self-emptying base that empties itself into an enclosed bag in the base, only needing to be changed out every 60 days according to the manufacturer. Our tester noted that the vacuum picks up every bit of dust, debris, and hair in its path including cereal, muffin crumbs, and paper shreds in her home. The suction was so good, in fact, that it sucked up a toddler-sized sock, but our tester was able to easily remove it from the dustbin. Our tester loved the app, too, from which you can start cleaning, see the robot’s battery level, choose a specific room for it to clean, schedule cleanings, and see what the robot is doing in real-time (cleaning, returning to base, emptying, charging, etc.).”
ZDNET writes, “The Roomba j7+ is one of my favorite robot vacuums to use throughout my house, whether on carpet, tile, or rugs. After a few initial runs, the j7+ can map a home’s layout. Next, you can go to the iRobot app and choose your cleaning method. You can select which rooms you want to be cleaned, in what order, and how many times you want each room cleaned.”
This is the most advanced robot vacuum on the market right now, but it comes in at number two because it’s also the most expensive one. Tech Radar writes, “We found the S9+ to be very simple to set up and use, and it impressed us when it came to sucking everything from fine dust and biscuit crumbs to cereal on hard floors. It has strong suction but its pick-up on carpets wasn’t quite as good as it is on much less challenging hard floors. That’s not unique to robot vacuums, though: our cordless stick vacuum also struggles with the same deep pile pick-up. The Roomba S9+ is self-emptying and deposits the debris from each clean into the 14.9oz / 440ml replaceable dust bag in the charging and emptying station – meaning you won’t have to empty the robot vacuum regularly. Instead, you’ll get an alert on the app when it needs replacing, and the vacuum offers integration with Alexa and Google Assistant.”
ZDNET says, “This is Roomba’s most powerful robot vacuum to date and comes in a D-shaped design, allowing the robot to fit in the corners of your home. Once the s9+ gets going, the dual multi-surface brushes suck up everything in their paths. Even on carpet, the ingrained dog hair and dirt get sucked away and into the robot. As an iRobot vacuum, you can rest assured knowing the AI inside the s9+ can recognize shoes, socks, cords, and more. And Roomba does a great job keeping your devices up to date, so they’re always learning and getting smarter through continued software updates.”
Looking for speed as well as accuracy? Popular Mechanics tested this model on different surfaces. “The s9+ clocked the fastest time to finish the carpeted area, leaving just a trace of sawdust after 9 minutes. In the concrete area, it took more time navigating around the wooden stool but was delicate in doing so, cleaning around the legs thoroughly. Like the others, it did leave some rice at the edge of the floor mat. In the laminate corral, we couldn’t find any debris except for a dusting of flour in one spot.”
“The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is a two-in-one device where you get what you pay for, and with a hefty price tag, I can assure you that your floors will shine after every use with this robot,” says ZDNET. “The Roborock will develop a 2D, 3D, or matrix layout so you can tell the robot specifically which rooms or areas you want cleaned. Because it is a two-in-one machine, you may be worried about your rugs or carpets, but the S8 Pro Ultra is an impressive piece of equipment. The VibraRise 2.0 Mopping System lifts the mop head completely to keep your rugs and carpet dry.”
Popular Mechanics agrees, “This high-end robot vacuum has a dual-sensor navigation system, which combines a LIDAR mapping sensor that maps out your home with a pair of 3D scanning cameras at the front of the vacuum that let it spot, identify, and, if necessary, avoid common obstacles like power cords, furniture legs, or even pet waste in real-time. The vacuum can also store up to four maps, so you can use it on any floor in your home. It leverages the utility of its camera sensors to spot landmarks and automatically identify which room it’s working in. It can also output a 3D representation of your home after mapping.”
CNN states, “The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is a ‘set it and forget it’ hybrid floor cleaner with a whopping 6,000 pascals of suction power for vacuuming. It also comes with improved mop scrubbing capabilities, and once set up, its new, streamlined dock takes care of everything from emptying the dirt and dirty water from the robot, refilling it with clean water, cleaning the mop pad and drying it so it doesn’t get smelly.”
HGTV names this as the best model if you have pets. “Pet hair will be a nuisance of the past thanks to the ILIFE V3s Pro Robot Vacuum. Not only is this robot vacuum budget-friendly, but it also puts in the work to remove hair, crumbs, debris, and more from hardwood, tile, laminate, and low-pile carpets. The feature that sold us the most on this vacuum is the tangle-free pet-hair suction. Because the robot doesn’t have a roller brush on the bottom (and instead has two spin brushes), it eliminates the tangled mess that often occurs when pet and human hair get wrapped around that roller. While testing, our editor let the pet hair accumulate in her home and found that the vacuum sucked up a full bin’s worth of hair, litter, and more, with no obvious hair left behind.”
CNN agrees saying, “If your main struggle is keeping up with pet hair and small pieces of debris like cat litter, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a well-performing robot vacuum. In our testing, the iLife V3S Pro did the best job on cat hair and cat litter on my hardwood floors. The V3S Pro uses a small suction opening to scoop up debris, much like a regular vacuum, instead of the spinning roller brush on the bottom used by most robots.”
According to Tom’s Guide. “Despite its low price, the V3s Pro consistently outperformed other robot vacuums that cost three times as much. It picked up nearly all of Fido’s fur in our lab tests — making it the best robot vacuum for pet hair — and it performed well in my home too. It reached well up against the baseboards, picking up flaky bits of onion skin in my kitchen, and it collected all breadcrumbs in its path. It was about average in terms of noise compared to the other robot vacuums on test though, at 64.1dB.”
“If you love the idea of a robot vacuum that can mop and vacuum but don’t want to spend a fortune, this hybrid floor cleaner from Eufy is well worth considering,” according to Tech Radar. “During our testing, we found that the Eufy G30 Hybrid collected fine dust, cookie crumbs, and larger debris – including cereal – with ease, even on the lowest power setting from hard floors. Like most robot vacuums carpets were more challenging and it struggled to lift tramped-down dirt. Its mopping performance was very impressive, although because it’s a relatively small unit its water tank, like its dust canister, are comparatively small. That means more frequent emptying of both, but we think that’s a small price to pay considering the significantly lower sticker price of this robot.”
PC likes this model because it’s small, when others have gotten so large. “These days, it’s hard to find a model that stands less than 3 inches. The Eufy RoboVac G30, on the other hand, stands out for its short stature. Measuring 12.8 inches in diameter and 2.85 inches tall, it’s one of the smallest robot vacuums we’ve tested, meaning it can clean where a lot of other robot vacuums won’t fit, like under couches.”
Popular Mechanics adds, “It was slightly slower than the others, sure, yet it effectively and methodically vacuumed each area. It left barely a trace of debris on both the carpet and laminate floor and missed some rice transitioning from the floor to the mat in the concrete area. We did notice the G30 Edge bump things slightly harder than the other vacuums— not surprising since its navigation is an enhanced version of bump-and-go.”
“This robot vacuum is extremely versatile, boasting strong suction, smart mapping of your home for room-to-room cleaning abilities, a self-emptying bagless base, LiDAR navigation, pet hair pickup, obstacle avoidance, and more,” according to HGTV. “And, thanks to Shark’s Matrix Clean Navigation (that uses a matrix grid pattern to take multiple passes over dirt and debris), a smarter, more efficient cleaning pattern is established for a much deeper clean. Our tester noticed that the robot vacuum had zero issues transitioning from hardwood to tile to carpet and didn’t leave any debris behind in the process of those transitions. She appreciated how the machine senses walls and obstacles before running into them and how it navigates around furniture legs seamlessly.”
Popular Mechanics writes, “Shark’s AI Ultra robot vacuum is a hands-off maintenance cleaner with a HEPA filter, making it a great option for pet owners. The AI Ultra can run unaided for up to 60 days because the docking station empties the robot at the end of every cleaning cycle. After each stage of testing, we examined the vacuum’s onboard dust bin after it self-emptied and found it clear of debris.”
“The dry oatmeal, rice, and pet hair fuzz I scattered on both carpet and bare floors were no challenge for the AI Ultra,” according to Good Housekeeping. “It not only picked up everything I put down, but it went back to find and suck up a straggler speck that it missed on its first pass. Impressive! And unlike other models we’ve tested, it didn’t struggle when going from one-floor type to another. Lightweight throw rugs and mats were no challenge either. For especially dirty jobs, you can program it to UltraClean mode where it goes over the same area three times for the deepest clean. That’s why we named it our best robot vacuum pick for carpets.”
It’s no surprise a third iRobot model rounds out our list. HGTV says this is a great midrange robot vacuum for households big and small. “Multisurface brushes allow the machine to pick up debris from both hard flooring and carpets, and cleaning sessions can be started and scheduled in the easy-to-use app or with voice controls. Although it’s bulkier than other models we tried, its size works in its favor to easily cross thresholds and pick up larger debris. It effortlessly climbs onto rugs from hardwood, auto-adjusting brush height to effectively clean each surface. But size comes at a cost, as we noticed this vacuum was much louder than comparable models.”
The New York Times calls this “smart, sturdy and affordable.” They say, “This tried-and-true robot vacuum is much more durable and repairable than similar bots from other brands and is better at cleaning rugs, too. It’s a nimble navigator that rarely gets stuck, though it works best when it has to clean only a few rooms at a time.”
Despite being iRobot’s most affordable model, it got high marks from PC. “In testing, it maneuvered obstacles just fine without advanced navigation technology and captured lots of dust and dog hair. Best of all, the robot offers slightly better battery life than its excellent predecessor, the Roomba 675. You can control the Roomba 694 via an app or your voice, including setting up scheduled cleanings.”
You may also be interested in:
- New York Times
- Tom’s Guide
- Tech Radar
- Popular Mechanics
- Good Housekeeping
- Good Housekeeping
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.