Best Robot Vacuums Under $300
This buying guide will help you find the best robot vacuum for your needs and budget — from standard models (some sporting Wi-Fi and app-control) to vacuums for pet owners and robot mops. We consulted expert and owner reviews to identify the best robotic vacuums, including two Roomba vacs from consumer favorite iRobot.
What We Considered
To help determine our picks, we read robot vacuum reviews from a number of sources, including Wirecutter, CNET, Engadget, PCMag, and TopTenReviews, all of which put dozens of robovacs through rigorous testing. We also consulted consumer reviews on leading retail sites like Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe's to get a sense of how these vacuums perform over the long haul. Reviewers expect a robot vac to navigate its way around the house without getting lost or hung up. They also expect it to be relatively quiet (although just how noisy is too noisy is a subjective matter). Highly rated vacuums have dirt trays that hold enough debris and are simple to empty, and batteries that won't conk out before the job is done.
We Looked At
The best robotic vacuums have the ability to differentiate between floor types: carpet, hardwood, tile, linoleum, etc. Cheap robotic vacuums tend to work fine on low carpet but better on tile or hardwood floors. Some also have a tough time transitioning from smooth surfaces to carpet and often get stuck in the process. We chose models that earn praise from users for their ability to clean all types of surfaces equally well.
Likewise important is a vacuum's ability to navigate a room and avoid hazards like stairs. Wall-following technology allows a robotic vacuum to hug the perimeter of a room and clean against the walls or other edges. A ledge-detection sensor prevents the vacuum from falling down stairs, while bumper technology keeps it from getting hung up on obstacles or soft barriers, such as curtains, and vacuum under or around them instead. Most models travel in one direction until they bump into something, then switch direction to maneuver around it. This keeps the robot vacuum moving and cleaning, but it's not especially efficient, because the vacuum may repeatedly travel over the same section of floor and ignore other areas. Darker-colored rugs, walls, or furniture may also present problems, as infrared sensors often have difficulty "seeing" them.
The nice thing about robotic vacuums is that they can navigate beneath sofas, side tables, and other furniture where a traditional vacuum may not reach. All the models we recommend are less than 4 inches tall, low enough to slip under most furnishings. But there's nearly an inch of height difference between the tallest and shortest models, and we read a number of complaints about robotic vacuums that couldn't quite fit in some tight spaces. Aside from the obvious drawback that a stuck vacuum won't finish the job — and searching for a vacuum that has run out of juice while caught under a couch lip can be a real chore — there's the potential that a robot vacuum that's trapped and endlessly spinning on the same section of rug or flooring will do serious damage.
Robotic vacuums, even cheap ones, are much more reliable than they used to be. That said, we still found scattered complaints from users who say their vacuums quit working within weeks of purchase or stopped holding a charge. Most of the robot vacs we reviewed have a one-year warranty.
iRobot Roomba 690 Review
The least expensive model in the iRobot Roomba line, the Roomba 690 comes in at the very top of our Cheapism price limit. But consumers looking for an efficient and comparatively advanced robot vacuum that earns enthusiastic endorsement from both pros and owners might find it worth the extra outlay. Wi-Fi-enabled for convenient smartphone or voice control, the 690 allows for easy cleaning scheduling and also lets users monitor cleaning activity and view cleaning history through the app. Most reviewers say this vacuum is powerful enough to pick up pet hair and other debris, and the dust cup is easy to empty. They also like the Dirt Detect feature, which can sense heavily soiled areas and adjust to compensate. Many owners wish it had the same room-mapping sensors of more expensive iRobot models to clean floors more quickly.
Connects to Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Cleans carpets and hard floors equally well, according to experts and users.
Dual central brush and rotating side brush for edges.
Special dirt sensor.
Height automatically adjusts for different floor surfaces.
Comes with a virtual wall barrier.
Parts are easy to maintain and replace; washable filter.
Price is on the high side.
At 3.7 inches, this model requires about 4 inches of clearance under cabinets and furniture, users say (Roombas tend to be fairly heavy and thick).
Sometimes gets hung up on cords and cables.
Occasionally fails to return to its charging station.
Relatively short run time of 60-75 minutes.
Eufy RoboVac 11 Review
The Eufy RoboVac 11 is a top seller on Amazon, and reviews from both experts and users are generally very positive. Most owners say this robot vacuum is very thorough and good at passing over thresholds or floor edges, a frequent issue with many cheaper models. It can also run for 90 minutes on a full charge — longer than many other robotic vacuums — and hold more dirt than a lot of the competition with its 0.6-liter dust cup. On the downside, the Eufy 11 occasionally appears to meander randomly or stops running for no apparent reason, and a number of reviewers say their vacuums began malfunctioning after several weeks of use. Nevertheless, even with these drawbacks, this robot vacuum is considered one of the best available on a budget.
Performed well on both carpeting and hardwood floors in expert tests.
Relatively quiet, users say.
3 cleaning modes.
Remote control; can be programmed to run on a daily schedule.
Roller brush and 2 side brushes.
Runs for up to 90 minutes on a full charge; can be charged on base or via adapter.
Very low profile (3.1 inches); easily navigates under furniture.
Manufacturer does not offer replacement batteries or parts (filters and brushes can be purchased via third-party sellers).
Prone to getting stuck on floor vents and other obstacles, owners report; lots of random shutdowns when tested.
Pet hair and threads easily tangle in the central brush; not recommended for high-pile rugs.
Bobsweep Bobi Pet Review
Pet owners know that a good vacuum is essential for keeping fur and dander under control. Unfortunately, most pet-focused robot vacuums fail to live up to their promise. This affordable, yet fairly feature-rich Bobi by Bobsweep gets the best endorsements of the bunch for picking up pet hair. While expert reviewers insist that its performance otherwise is just average compared with some (usually pricier) competitors, users are generally satisfied with the cleaning power for the price. They like using the included remote control to program the vacuum, and the HEPA filter is a big selling point. A sore spot, however, is the Bobi Pet's tendency to get stuck. Some owners complain that it can sometimes wander and get caught looping endlessly around one room, and it's known for being downright pushy when it comes to obstacles — we read numerous reports of this robot vacuum moving chairs and potted plants clear across the floor.
Sweeps, vacuums, and mops.
HEPA filter and UV sanitizer.
Bristle and rubber brushes beneath, as well as a side brush.
Electronic touch controls and a wireless remote.
3 cleaning modes (including "juice" charging mode) and programmable cleaning schedule.
Comes with a block accessory to set digital barriers.
90-minute run time is competitive for the category.
Experts and users say it's fairly quiet compared to other robot vacuums.
2-year warranty bests other brands.
Attachable microfiber mopping pads must be manually dampened.
Has trouble avoiding obstacles and pushes lightweight furniture around.
Gets stuck when transitioning from hard floors to carpet, users say.
Some owners report that it has difficulty finding its charging station.
Hair tends to build up on the main roller brush, requiring frequent cleaning.
At 3.5 inches high, it's not as thin as some other models.
Ecovacs DeeBot N79S Review
Overall, reviewers say this smart robotic vacuum from Ecovacs does a good job of cleaning carpet (at least thinner carpets) and bare floors, but there are some aspects of its performance that hold it back. We read a number of complaints from owners who say that despite its extra-powered "max mode" and spot-cleaning setting, this vacuum is still prone to missing dirty spots on the floor and sometimes leaving trails of dust behind. At 3.3 inches, it's not especially slim, making it more prone to get caught on the lip of a low-lying couch or cabinet. That said, its biggest boon is that it's one of the least expensive Wi-Fi-enabled robot vacuums around, and consumers looking for a vacuum that will complement a smart-home setup love that this inexpensive Deebot can be app-controlled from their phones or using Amazon's Alexa digital assistant. It isn't compatible with other devices like Google Home, however, a major disappointment for some users.
Very inexpensive for a Wi-Fi-enabled robot vac.
Owners say the app is very easy to use; a standard remote is also included.
4 cleaning settings with time scheduling.
Central rolling brush and 2 side brushes.
Lasts about 102 minutes on a full charge, significantly longer than many other models.
Users say the roller brush needs to be cleaned often.
Not compatible with all smart-home devices.
Some complaints of the vacuum getting stuck frequently and failing to find charging dock.
iLife A4s Review
This compact iLife robot vacuum is a good cheap option that performs nearly as well as more expensive models. Owners say the remote control, which is the only means of programming the vacuum, is fairly easy to use. Experts say the vacuum is relatively quiet and does a surprisingly good job of sucking up dirt, debris, and even pet hair (thanks to the roller brush beneath). This model randomly meanders around a room unless purposefully steered, and we also found a few complaints of the vacuum getting stuck on heavy carpeting. But all in all, users and professional reviewers are pretty bullish on the iLife A4s — it even earns a 4-star "excellent" rating from electronics aficionados at PCMag. For less than $200, it's a good pick for consumers not necessarily committed to the robot vacuum craze and willing to sacrifice bells, whistles, and better navigation capabilities for a true bargain buy.
Relatively low, 3-inch profile; can reach tight spots other vacs can't.
Experts say it cleans hard floors and low carpeting equally well.
5 cleaning modes, including edge clean, spot clean, max clean, and small-room.
Remote for scheduling cleaning and manually directing the vacuum if desired.
Central brush beneath; dual rotating side sweepers.
Incredibly long run time of 120 to 140 minutes.
Cleans relatively slowly.
Navigation is not necessarily a strong suit; sometimes has difficulty finding its charging base.
Scattered complaints about durability.
Pyle Pure Clean PUCRC25 Review
This Pyle Pure Clean robot vacuum is incredibly cheap, at less than $100, and does a decent job sweeping up debris, including pet hair. It's simple to operate, with a washable filter and top-empty dustbin that make keeping it clean an easy task, and users say it excels on flat surfaces and hardwood floors — just don't expect it to work as well on rugs, especially since there's no center brush. Lacking some of the fancier features found on more expensive models, like a docking station or programmable cleaning schedules and modes, the Pure Clean PUCRC25 doesn't appear at the top of consumer product experts' recommendation lists. But many industry reviewers and owners with tempered expectations insist that this slim robovac is a nicely priced, bare-bones model for consumers who just want a little help keeping smooth surfaces and small areas dirt-free without dragging out a full-size vacuum every day. There's a newer model, the PUCRC26B, that garners lots of positive user reviews and adds rotating side sweepers to the mix (buy it on Amazon), but we're not sure that it's worth the extra $20.
One of the cheapest robot vacuums around.
1-touch operation makes it a cinch to use.
Very low profile, at just 2.9 inches.
Washable HEPA filter helps trap dust and allergens.
2 detachable side brushes.
55-minute run time is significantly shorter than the other vacuums on our list.
No docking base; must be plugged in for charging.
Users say it doesn't transition between surfaces well.
Other Products We Reviewed
iRobot Roomba 510 Review
In a category that gets harsh user criticism, iRobot Roomba 510 reviews comes out on top. Users posting reviews at Amazon seem very impressed with this cheap robotic vacuum, saying it cleans carpet perfectly and pointing out the convenience of special features such as spot cleaning. Users posting reviews at Buy.com agree, saying the ledge detection, which keeps the vacuum from falling down stairs, is also a nice feature and the vacuum overall makes life a little easier.
The Roomba 510 (starting at $250) is the cheapest model from the popular iRobot brand. It's simpler than some higher priced versions but still manages to offer some great features. It adjusts to clean hardwood, tile, linoleum, and carpet, and it comes with a one-year limited warranty, something other budget robotic vacuums don't offer. Special features include sensors to detect dirt and clean dirtier areas longer, bumper technology to allow the vacuum to go under soft barriers like curtains, and spinning side brushes for close wall cleaning.
In a category without many good choices, this one is the cream of the crop. We like all of the special features on this low-cost robotic vacuum, especially the sensors to detect dirtier areas and spend more time cleaning those areas. Furthermore, user comments indicate that this machine works great and really helps keep areas clean between regular vacuuming sessions.
Infinuvo CleanMate QQ-2 Review
The Infinuvo CleanMate QQ-2 cleans well and maneuvers easily around furniture and corners, according to CleanMate reviews at Newegg. Some users report in reviews that the vacuum transitions well from hardwood floor to carpet and back, but some users disagree, saying it gets hung up while transitioning. The CleanMate QQ-2 is supposed to be able to find its way back to its home base and charge itself, but users report in CleanMate reviews that the vacuum has a hard time finding its home base unless it is nearby.
The Infinuvo CleanMate QQ-2 (starting at $160) runs for 70 minutes on a fully charged battery and charges in three and a half hours. Other special features include an ultraviolet light that deodorizes and kills bacteria, a ledge feature to prevent the vacuum from falling down stairs, and a remote control. It cleans hardwood, tile, linoleum, and carpet.
This cheap robotic vacuum seems to be better than most, but it still has its problems. We like the self-charging feature but wish it worked better. While users seem to consider this vacuum a solid choice, it could use some improvement.
iTouchless AV002A Review
Users posting iTouchless vacuum reviews on the Home Depot website are not impressed with the iTouchless AV002A Automatic Intelligent Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (starting at $127), reporting that it doesn't transition well between hardwood flooring and carpet and often gets stuck on carpet. One unhappy user posting a review on Amazon agrees, calling the machine maddening because it stalls out even on low carpet. Other users posting iTouchless vacuum reviews on Amazon report that this cheap robotic vacuum is not very durable and stops working or stops holding a charge after only a few uses.
ITouchless doesn't indicate how long the AV002A takes to charge, but it can clean for 70 minutes on a full charge. Special features include stair and ledge detection, wall- and corner-cleaning technology, and a feature that turns the machine off when it gets stuck. This vacuum also comes with a remote control and has the ability to come into a lighted area when it's done cleaning so it's easy to find.
One paper, this model seems able to compete with the other low-cost robotic vacuums on our list. In practice, according to user reviews, it just doesn't make the cut. While most robotic vacuums struggle on carpet, this one seems to perform exceptionally poorly. It also worries us that users report that it stops working after only a few weeks. This model is perhaps best avoided.
P3 International P4920 Robotic Vacuum Review
Despite lacking a lot of special features, the extremely cheap P3 International P4920 Robotic Vacuum gets good marks from users posting P4920 reviews on Newegg. They say it maneuvers well around furniture and walls and does a good job picking up dirt and dust. The main gripe in reviews seems to be that the vacuum takes almost a full day to charge. The long charge time coupled with only 45 minutes of running time means it can really clean only one room per day.
The P3 International P4920 Robotic Vacuum (starting at $33) is the cheapest and simplest robotic vacuum we researched. Its only special feature is an along-the-wall mode that allows it to clean a room's perimeter. It cleans hardwood, tile, and carpet, but the user must manually add an attachment to transition to tile and hardwood floors from carpet.
While some users seem to like this vacuum and compliment its maneuverability and cleaning ability, others find it lacking. Robotic vacuums are supposed to be easy to use and "intelligent," and this model falls short on both counts. Some consumers might feel its worth the super-low price, but we think you'll find better value for your money if you spend a little more.
IRobot's robot vacuums consistently earn high praise from pros and consumers alike. This particular Roomba model is far beyond our price ceiling, but it gets so many positive reviews that it's worth considering if money is no object. A majority of owners are mightily impressed with the cleaning power of the Roomba 960 and say they are more than satisfied with the performance of their Hazels, Crystals, and Florences — yes, the iRobot app encourages users to name their bots! That said, we did see scattered user complaints questioning the mapping abilities and the efficacy of the newly designed roller brush, and we also read reviews pointing to a host of operation issues, from frequent error codes to models that were defective out of the box. Given the sizeable price tag, some might not tolerate anything less than absolutely stellar performance absolutely all the time — and there are owners who've had previous models that cost less than the 960 who insist that it doesn't merit the added expense. But considering that the very best model the brand has to offer, the Roomba 980, sells for nearly $200 more, experts agree it's the go-to choice for consumers who want a top robot vacuum without paying top dollar.
Performs exceptionally well on all kinds of flooring, according to experts and users.
Wi-Fi-enabled; works with Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant.
Camera-guided sensors and mapping for precise, thorough cleaning.
Dirt detection sensors to target problem areas.
Suction power 5 times stronger than base models.
Height automatically adjusts for different surfaces.
Customizable cleaning schedules and modes.
Resume and restart function allows it to pick up cleaning where it left off after recharging.
Tangle-free central brushes are made of rubber instead of bristles to make hair removal easier.
Comes with a virtual wall barrier.
Higher profile (3.6 inches) than many other robotic vacuums; may get stuck under furniture.
Some owners say the brush leaves rolled up clumps of hair behind.
Filter is only HEPA-type; traps particles down to 10 microns, versus 0.3 microns with a true HEPA filter.
Several reports of damage to hardwood floors.
A fair number of complaints regarding defective units.
Relatively short run time of 60 to 75 minutes.
Users who like the features offered by the Ecovacs Deebot N796S will certainly be drawn to the Deebot M80 Pro, a smart robot vacuum with similar specs that does double-duty as a mop. True, it's hard to find a model that performs both functions equally well, and while some owners love the M80's mopping feature, the tank holds only water, not cleaning fluid, and some complain that the attachable mopping pads tend to leave a lot of debris behind. Yet, with a price that's currently lower than the cost of its single-function cousin — plus a longer run time and a larger dust cup (0.5 vs. 0.3 liters) — the Deebot M80 Pro seems well worth the money even if the wet-clean option is never employed. Reviewers say it does a very good job of vacuuming hard floors and low-pile carpets.
Wi-Fi-enabled; can be controlled with a phone and Amazon Alexa voice command.
Central rolling brush and 2 side brushes; mop and water tank attachments.
4 cleaning settings with time scheduling.
3-stage air filtration and sponge filter.
Lasts up to 120 minutes on a full charge.
Lots of disappointment with the mopping feature.
Occasionally fails to avoid objects in its path and sometimes can't find its way back to the charging base.
Scattered complaints about durability.
The Braava Jet 240 isn't a robot vacuum; it's a robot mop designed to work on hardwood, tile, and linoleum floors. Most reviewers say this little mop does a fairly good job of keeping small rooms and lighter-traffic floors scrubbed. While the run time isn't very long, experts suggest it makes short work of mopping duties; a reviewer at Digital Trends reports that it cleaned her bathroom in just 15 minutes. For larger spaces or multi-room cleaning, manufacturer iRobot recommends the heftier Braava Jet 380t, which costs about $80 more. But for rooms that measure less than 250 square feet, this bot will save some cash and cut down on the elbow grease usually required to keep a home or apartment sparkling clean.
Designed for both mopping and sweeping.
Works with 3 types of pad attachments; cleaning mode automatically adjusts.
Bluetooth-equipped; app provides cleaning stats and can start and stop the vacuum.
Jet spray and vibrating cleaning head.
Square shape good for cleaning along baseboards.
Returns to the starting point and shuts down when the job is done.
Built-in navigation and Virtual Wall mode.
Lightweight, compact (6.7 x 7 x 3.3 inches), and easily portable with attached carry handle.
Struggles to clean heavy stains and sometimes leaves wet streaks behind, experts and users say.
Small water tank needs to be refilled often; some owners complain that cleaning cloths tend to bunch up during use.
Battery must be removed for charging.
Short run time: just 45 minutes to an hour.