If you ever watched The Jetsons as a kid, you probably remember Rosie, the robot maid who whizzed around dusting and vacuuming the futuristic family’s home. While no robot vacuum is going to be your personal housekeeper—at least not yet—the technology has come a long way. And it’s especially useful for the daily maintenance needed if you find yourself stepping on your kids’ stray cereal or pulling dog hair off your socks.
The downside? There’s no such thing as a cheap robot vacuum. The highest-rated option with the best suction is a Roomba with a hefty price tag. The good news? If you strip back some of the fancy features, you can nab one that’s almost as effective for a fifth of the cost! Check out the six best robot vacuums that will tidy carpet, hardwood and concrete floors while you have your hands full.
What type of robot vacuum are you looking for?
The Best Robot Vacuum Overall
The promise of a robot vacuum is that you won’t have to lift a finger, but many models on the market don’t offer enough suction to rival the best vacuum cleaners or still require you to monitor and move it throughout your home. Though the price tag is steep, iRobot’s Roomba i7+ is worth the splurge because it delivers in a big way. It’s strong enough to tackle carpets with pet hair—plus its bags are designed to prevent allergens such as dust mites, pollen and mold from escaping back into the air—and can go two months without being emptied. Its smart technology edges out the competition, too. It can map your floorplan and constantly takes new measurements to adapt, and even connects to your smart devices for voice control.
- As one of the top models in the iRobot family, the Roomba i7+ offers some of the best suction among the brand’s robot vacuums, so that it not only cleans up large messes but also grabs pesky dust and allergens.
- One big concern with robot vacuums is the fact that they tend to quickly fill with dirt, dust and hair. The iRobot Roomba i7+ automatically empties itself into a disposable bag that traps 99 per cent of pollen, mould and dust mites—and you only have to empty it every 60 days.
- This robot vacuum is highly customizable and features patented technology that allows it to map the floor plan of your entire home, which means you can choose which rooms it cleans and when.
- The machine can connect to your smart home with the iRobot Home app, Alexa or Google Assistant. How does, “Roomba, clean my kitchen” sound to you?
I love that he can map the house so that it doesn’t keep going in the wrong places. We have multiple different types of flooring in our home and it has not gotten stuck as of yet. It has even found its way out from under our couch which none of the cheaper models have ever been able to do.
I wish that the bag for the emptying station was larger, but all in all, I love it.
The Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair
Can’t keep up with the accumulation of cat or dog hair that seems to coat your floor on a daily basis? That’s the biggest perk of the iRobot Roomba i7: it handles pet hair and dander so you don’t have to. Instead of running yourself ragged trying to sweep, vacuum or mop every day, program the i7 to clean specific rooms or schedule your preferred times. You won’t have to worry about tangled brushes since the i7’s brushes are made of rubber, but you will need to empty the dustbin if your space is extra messy or you have a huge home.
- This version of the iRobot Roomba is about $250 cheaper than the i7+ (at time of writing). In exchange for saving the cash, you lose the automatic empty feature, so you may have to dump out the bin once or twice as the robot vacuum cleans.
- The Roomba i7 has the same powerful suction as the i7+, making it ideal for picking up the smallest particles of dust.
- The high-efficiency filter traps 99 per cent of cat and dog allergens—a super helpful feature if someone in your family has minor allergies.
- The rubber brushes were designed so that they wouldn’t become tangled with pet hair. Although you may need to clean them out every once in a while, it’s a way faster process than the standard bristle brush.
I have two longhair cats. They shed terribly. I was going nuts trying to keep up. [The Roomba] goes under my bed, couches and other furniture. My condo has never felt so clean. Not perfect on very small pieces of kitty litter but does great on the hair.
Some reviews note that [the Roomba] leaves balled up hair. Yes, she does—especially for the first few days. And, yes, I vacuumed first. I run her every day and after three days no more hairballs, or really anything! I am constantly amazed at how much dirt she sucks up.”
The Best Robot Vacuum for Hard Floors
Perfect for a home with plenty of hardwood flooring, the Shark Ion Robot Vacuum is extra quiet—even on hard surfaces. It transitions easily from wood to carpet to tile and has small brushes on the sides that reach into nooks and crannies so you aren’t left with dusty corners. Hook your Shark Ion up to your smart home and give voice commands when you have your hands full. You’ll get a full hour out of this smarty-pants, though you may have to rescue it from under low furniture every once in a while.
- The Shark Ion has smart sensors to help it move around your furniture and transfer from hard floors to carpet without too much trouble.
- It has a self-cleaning brush to prevent clogging. Plus, it won’t drag a trail of dirt around your home.
- Wi-Fi connectivity and voice control mean you can schedule your Shark from your smartphone and give it voice commands through Alexa or Google Assistant while you’re cooking dinner or giving the kids a bath.
- Small brushes along the sides pull in dirt and debris from corners and along the walls.
I have hardwood floors throughout my whole house. It’s hard to keep these floors nice with all the cat hair. It does a wonderful job. Very, very quiet! I am an unbelievably light sleeper and this machine does not wake me up.
Sometimes he goes over the same area over and over again, while missing others. But when he’s done, he seems to have covered the entire floor very well. He always picks up a good amount of dust and dirt. He’s gotten stuck a few times and we had to rescue him.
The Best Robot Vacuum for Carpet
Carpeted areas are known for holding extra bits of guck and grime, which is why you may need a large dustbin if your home is swathed in carpet or rugs. Enter the Ecovacs Deebot 500, which has a bin that holds more than two full cups. It also offers three different settings (auto, spot clean and edge clean) so you can customize the amount of power and battery life you’ll need for the job. The Ecovacs Deebot 500 is more affordable than many of the other models, but it may also get a little lost in a complicated floor plan. Put away toys and cables before you schedule cleaning so your robot doesn’t get stuck.
- The Ecovacs Deebot 500 comes with three different cleaning modes: auto (for big spaces), spot (for small messes) and edge (to target grime that runs along the baseboards).
- It has a large dustbin that holds about two cups, so you don’t have to empty it constantly.
- The battery will last for about 110 minutes of cleaning, then the robot vacuum will automatically move back to its dock to recharge.
- Use Alexa or Google Assistant to control and schedule your Deebot. You can even receive status updates on your phone.
I bought the Deebot 500 after installing new carpet in my bedrooms. Cannot believe the dirt and dust it picks up. My new favorite appliance! BTW—also connects with my Alexa, so I just have to say, ‘Alexa, start cleaning!’
My biggest/only complaint is that it gets lost in the corners almost every day. If we had a single room that was a perfect square, its randomization algorithm might be fine, but we’re using this Ecobot for the kids rooms and hallway, which has been a little difficult.
The Best Brushless Robot Vacuum
If you want a brushless vacuum because it’s gentle on wood floors and easy to clean, go with a Roomba from iRobot. Most of the brand’s models feature rubber extractors (instead of bristle brushes) that flex to stay in constant contact with the floor sans scratching or clogging. The perk of purchasing a Roomba 960? It has similar power and features to some of the newer Roomba models, but for $400 less (at time of writing). The 960 is largely self-sufficient, and you can program it to follow your floorplan and work around furniture so it can clean when you’re out of the house. Though you may have to empty the dustbin during a big a clean, you can feel comfortable knowing that your trusty robot friend will trap everything in its path—including 99 per cent of allergens, pollen and dust—and won’t become clogged with hair or dirt.
- As with all the newest robot vacuums in the Roomba family, the 960 has rubber brushes, which means they’re less likely to get plugged up with dirt and hair than a standard bristle brush. The perk? It’s on the lower end of the brand’s price range and still has high suction (though not as high as the i7 and i7+).
- The high-efficiency filter traps 99 per cent of allergens, pollen and dust—including the tiniest particles.
- The Roomba 960 is easy to schedule from anywhere (even your school run) with the iRobot Home app and works with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
- If it starts to run out of power, it will automatically return to the dock to recharge, then resume cleaning so you don’t have to chase it down.
We went with iRobot because it was the only robot vacuum that didn’t have a beater bar brush. The cleaning rollers have not damaged the wood floors at all. I’m amazed at the amount of dirt it picks up.
The downside is that it takes over three hours to clean the whole area, since it has to recharge at least once, and the bin has to be emptied several times. But if I weren’t home to empty bin, I don’t think I’d be very satisfied.
The Best Budget Robot Vacuum
As your cheap robot vacuum option, the bObi Classic Snow is a little bit needier than other robots on the market. If you have a lot of delicate furniture or rugs with fringe, your bObi may get stuck (or knock items over!) from time to time. Still, it’s an excellent option for hands-free cleaning because it offers many different cleaning options including sweeping, vacuuming, mopping and sterilizing. It’s not Wi-Fi enabled, but you can set a schedule with the remote.
- The bObi Classic Snow is a multi-functioning machine (literally!). It sweeps, vacuums, mops and sterilizes with UV radiation, making it the perfect all-in-one robot vacuum—and for an amazing price.
- The bObi, which features both rubber and bristle brushes, has a low and compact design, so it fits under most beds and furniture.
- You can customize your preferred cleaning schedule with the included remote.
- Once the battery falls below 15 per cent, your bObi will return to its charging station to recuperate.
Gets 90 per cent of my floor clean like my old Roomba. Like anything you have to get the corners and hard to reach area yourself. I highly recommend Bobi is had performed the same as my old Roomba at a much better price point!
I have a few mats in my home and Bobby is always getting stuck! He will get stuck under my cupboards, too. He has knocked chairs over on himself. He does a good job…but he is needy.
More Floor Cleaning Essentials
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