iRobot’s Roomba is the best-known name in the robot vacuum game, so it’s no surprise this smart vacuum pioneer leads the pack for overall cleaning, features, and customer satisfaction.
The iRobot Roomba 960 packs a powerful punch with a 75-minute runtime and its unique AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System that lifts and suctions with up to five times more power than other Roomba vacuums.
Tangle-Free Brushes for Pet Hair A patented design makes cleaning up pet hair a breeze. These specially designed brushes work on multiple surfaces and won’t get hung up by pet hair—even if you have a whole horde of furry beasts.
Voice Control Options When you combine your Roomba with an Amazon Echo or Google Home device, you can clean the floors with nothing more than the sound of your voice.
Simple Maintenance Not only does the Roomba 960 recharge on its own (and resume cleaning where it left off), its brushes and filter require less maintenance, which makes keeping your floors clean even easier.
Although the Roomba comes with a lot of great features, sometimes they don’t work as well as we’d like. The navigation struggles if the unit runs into cords and wires, and the app can be difficult to set up.
Tricky App Setup Users complain that the app is confusing to set up on both Android and Apple products, especially when it comes to notifications.
The combination of a D-shape design and LaserSmart Mapping make the Neato Botvac D7 ideal for getting into corners and covering large areas without missing any spots.
This is one of the only robot vacuums we found that improves over time. The more you use it, the better job it does at keeping those floors clean.
Learning Technology This vacuum regularly scans its environment to map the area and avoid obstacles. Plus, Neato sends out regular software updates that make this robot vacuum smarter and more effective, especially when it comes to navigation and smart mapping.
Two Cleaning Modes The Neato Botvac D7 comes with an Eco Mode and a Turbo Mode. Eco provides an energy-saving clean that is quieter but takes longer. Turbo delivers deep cleaning and picks up the most hair for those with pets.
Fast Charging Time If the battery is completely drained, it will take about three hours to get a full charge, but if you catch the Neato Botvac D7 before the battery’s gone, you’ll get a full charge much faster.
One of the things you sacrifice for the low price point is more technologically advanced features like virtual mapping and smart home integration.
No Wi-Fi Connectivity The ECOVACS DEEBOT N79 can’t connect to Wi-Fi, so there’s no way to make it part of a smart home system or use it with Amazon Alexa for voice control.
The iLife V3s is an affordable robot vacuum that delivers excellent performance without all the extra bells and whistles you find on more expensive models.
This robot vacuum has the longest battery life of any of the vacuums that made our list. You can get up to two hours of cleaning time on one charge.
Low Profile Design The iLife is great for getting under furniture and into hard-to-reach places thanks to its low profile design that slides right under most home furnishings.
Strong Suction This is another crowd-pleaser when it comes to suction. Users report impressive power that picks up every speck, leaving floors cleaner than ever before.
Pet Hair Care Tech The iLife V3s was designed with furry friends in mind. This robot vacuum is on a mission to rid your home of dirt, dander, and pet hair. Plus, its tangle-free design makes cleaning the bin easy and quick.
The low price tag (around $160) means that advanced features like Wi-Fi connectivity and a mobile app are lacking.
No Smart Home Compatibility This robot vacuum can’t be connected to a smart home hub, a voice control speaker, or even a mobile app.
This robot vacuum is loaded with features like virtual mapping and a special sensor that helps the Samsung POWERbot avoid obstacles and identify the optimal cleaning path.
Thanks to the Edge Clean Master that extends out to reach corners and edges, the Samsung POWERbot leaves no debris behind.
EasyPass Wheels If you need a robot vacuum that easily transitions from carpet to hard floors, this is the one for you. Large wheels help the vacuum smoothly move from one type of flooring to the next.
Washable Filter You’ll save money with the washable filter that can be hand-washed and reused to keep your robot vacuum working at top performance.
Powerful Suction for Pet Hair Samsung claims this vacuum delivers twenty times more suction than the previous POWERbot model. Users back that up with reports of how well the vacuum tackles pet hair, but they also note that pet fur can clog up the canister.
The biggest downsides to the Samsung POWERbot are unreliable software and a glitchy app.
Frustrating App Everything from constant crashing to difficult pairing make the app a sore spot for users. The good news is that the robot vacuum comes with a remote, so you don’t have to rely on the app if you find it too frustrating.
If your home is overrun with pet hair, then this affordable robot vacuum could be the solution you’ve been waiting for. A large bin and excellent suction make the eufy RoboVac 11 the perfect foil for fur and dander.
Even though this is a lower-priced model that’s missing smart home compatibility, the eufy RoboVac 11 delivers on so many other counts that we don’t think you’ll miss it.
Advanced Filter for Pets This robot vacuum uses a triple-filter system to take down all the dirt, dust, fur, and dander your home and pets can dish out.
Quiet Operation This is the quietest robot vacuum we found. It sucks up all manner of dirt and pet hair, and does it all so quietly that you might forget it’s working.
Easy-to-Clean Large Bin The eufy RoboVac 11 has one of the largest bins of all the vacuums we looked at, and the best thing is how easy it is to clean.
There are no high-tech features like Wi-Fi connectivity, smart home compatibility, or a mobile app included with the eufy RoboVac 11.
No Mobile App You can’t control this robot vacuum with your smartphone, but it does come with a remote control. You you can either operate the eufy Robovac manually or use the remote to schedule cleaning times.
If you want a robot that can clean up wet spills in addition to vacuuming, then look no further than the bObsweep PetHair Plus. There are other robot mops on the market, but what makes this one special is the addition of a robot vacuum. We like how well it takes care of a busy household that has multiple pets and people coming and going. But you need to be on your toes, because this robot vacuum and mop combo tends to get stuck easily when moving from one type of flooring to another. And it doesn’t come with the ability to integrate with a smart home hub, so voice control isn’t an option.
Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Robot Vacuum
Robot vacuums are new to most of us, so we wanted to pass on some of the most helpful tips we found to make sure your robot vacuum performs the way you want it to.
Clear the Way Robot vacuums are pretty smart, but just like an upright vacuum, they can’t work miracles. Make sure to keep the floor clear of clutter and small items that can get in the way or accidentally get sucked up by your robotic vacuum cleaner.
Make Charging Easy Make it easy for the robot vacuum to find and access the charging station. Place the charging station in an open area that has at least two feet of clearance on either side. We recommend finding a flat spot against a wall for best results.
Give Your Robot Vacuum a Checkup Keep your robot vacuum in tip-top shape—read the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and follow those instructions. At a minimum, you should regularly check the bin, brushes, and sensors for tangles and dust buildup.
Save Your Cords Cords on the floor can trip up a robot vacuum. Use cable wire clips to keep cords out of harm’s way. Or block access with a shoe. An old tennis shoe becomes an ideal bumper to keep the vacuum at bay (just be sure to tuck in any shoelaces!).
Robot Vacuum FAQs
Robotic vacuum cleaners sound like something out of The Jetsons, but they’re quickly becoming a standard in American homes. If you’re on the fence about jumping on the robot vacuum cleaner trend, the questions below can help you decide if it’s time to go shopping. Best of all, your answers will make it easy to find the robot vacuum that’s a perfect match for your home and lifestyle.
What is a robot vacuum?
A robot vacuum cleaner is an automatic vacuum device that is programmed to clean floors all by itself. Robot vacuums don’t require human assistance to operate and can get the job done while you’re at work or running errands.
Robotic vacuums have come a long way since they hit the market in 1996. Today’s robot vacuum cleaners automatically return to their charging stations when their battery is low and most of them can pick up right where they left off once the battery is full. They can be programmed to clean on a specific schedule, and some models map your home as they work to make future cleaning more efficient. Many robot vacuums are designed to supplement a standard, upright vacuum cleaner, being used mostly for touch-ups in between regular vacuuming sessions.
How much area can a robot vacuum cover?
Consider how much area you want the vacuum to cover. Some robot vacuums work best in smaller spaces, like an apartment. Others can sweep up areas as big as 2,000 square feet. Robot vacuums with smaller capabilities can work in bigger spaces, but it takes longer to finish because they need to recharge a time or two. If you don’t mind how long it takes a robot vacuum to get the job done, then you could get away with one that has more-limited cleaning capacity.
Another thing to consider is how much clearance you have under furniture. You want to make sure the robot vacuum can fit under tables and chairs to get dirt and other detritus that’s lurking underneath. Robot vacuums tend to be around three or four inches tall, so pay attention to those specs when you’re shopping.
Can robot vacuums help with pet hair?
Staying on top of dog fur and cat hair can feel like a losing battle. How many times have you tracked down every last bit of fluff and fur only to find a brand new hairy gift left behind by your beloved pet? With a robot vacuum, you can wave goodbye to those frustrating discoveries. A robot vacuum can make new deposits of fur and hair disappear—and you won’t have to lift a finger.
Look for a robot vacuum that is designed to tackle things like pet hair and cat litter. You want super suction and a good filter. Features like non-tangle brushes are another perk to watch for. One note—you’ll have to pay extra attention to maintenance (cleaning out the bin, brushes, etc.) to keep your robot vacuum in top form if its main job is cleaning up after pets.
What types of flooring can robot vacuums clean?
Not all robot vacuums are equipped for every kind of flooring. While most should be able to handle both hard, bare floors (wood, vinyl, tile) and carpet, some do better on one or the other. Another thing to consider in regard to flooring is how well the robot vacuum transitions from one type of floor to another. Some are better at moving from hardwood to carpet or navigating throw rugs successfully.
Most robot vacuums work on low pile carpets, but shag carpet can be a problem. Rugs with tassels or fringe can also be tricky for a robot vacuum. Most manufacturers clearly indicate what types of floors their robot vacuums clean best, but we recommend either trying one out or reading customer reviews to make sure the vacuum you choose will be able to tackle the floors in your home.
How much does a robot vacuum cost?
Robot vacuums range from around $200 to as much as $1,000, but there are good ones at every price. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect based on cost.
$200–$300: In this range, you’ll get a basic robot vacuum with good battery life and decent suction. The main features missing here are Wi-Fi connectivity, mapping, and smart home integration.
$300–$700: At this price point, you can expect mapping, mobile apps, self-cleaning brushes, Wi-Fi connectivity, and smart home capabilities.
$700 and higher: The extras offered in this price bracket are the latest tech advances, which typically appeal to early adopters and folks who love having the latest and greatest. But overall functionality won’t be drastically better than that found in less expensive robot vacuums.
Do robot vacuums work with smart homes?
If you’re interested in a robot vacuum, then you may be ready to get into other smart gadgets. Robot vacuums can become part of your overall home automation configuration. Vacuums that come with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity can be synced with a smart home hub or a voice-controlled speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home.
The main advantage of integrating a robot vacuum with other smart home products is ease and convenience. For example, you might be able to use one app to control all of your smart appliances, rather than having to go into multiple apps or programs. Voice control is also a major perk. If your robot vacuum works with Alexa, for example, you can tell the vacuum to start cleaning without having to leave the sofa or reach for your phone to access an app.
To find the best robot vacuums, we looked at more than fifteen models. We compared overall performance, suction, ease of use, maintenance requirements, and battery life. We also looked at features like scheduling, virtual mapping, mobile apps, and smart home compatibility. Beyond that, extras like pet-specific design and price were considered. Our rankings are the result of expert ratings, customer reviews, and independent research.
12 hours of research
15+ products considered
5,000+ customer reviews
8 coffees consumed
*Amazon.com list price as of 12/18/19 01:28 MST. Product prices and availability are accurate as of this date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any prices and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.
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Related Pages on SafeWise
A robot vacuum is a smart product and can be part of a complete home automation suite. Whether you’ve just dipped your toe in the pool of home automation or are completely submerged in smart technology, these FAQs can help you make the most of smart gadgets and gizmos.
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more