Best Robot Vacuums
Published on By Michael Sweet
Eufy RoboVac 11 Review
From $250 Best
Best Robot Vacuum Under $300 Without Wi-Fi
- Performed well on both carpeting and hardwood floors in expert tests.
- Relatively quiet, users say.
- 3 cleaning modes.
- 3-stage filtration.
- 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.
Takeaway: 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.
Bobsweep Bobi Pet Review
From $258 Best
Best Robot Vacuum for Pets Under $300
- 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.
Takeaway: 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.
iRobot Roomba 690 Review
From $300 Best
Best Smart Robot Vacuum Under $300
- 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.
Takeaway: 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.
Pyle Pure Clean PUCRC25 Review
From $90 Good
Good Robot Vacuum Under $100
- 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.
Takeaway: 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.
iLife A4s Review
From $160 Good
Good Robot Vacuum Under $200
- 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.
- 3-stage filtration.
- 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.
Takeaway: 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.
Ecovacs DeeBot N79S Review
From $250 Good
Good Smart Robot Vacuum Under $300
- 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.
- 3-stage filtration.
- 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.
Takeaway: 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.
Choosing a Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
A robotic vacuum won't replace a canister or upright vacuum for serious cleaning — even the best robot vacuum can't clean stairs, furniture, or long-pile carpeting — but it can keep the daily dirt and dust at bay. Robotic vacuums are convenient for people who don't like to vacuum that often and great for cleaning beneath furniture where traditional vacuums can't reach. Some highly rated robot vacuum cleaners carry price tags of more than $600, but we found several models that perform nearly as well for less than half the price.
Pricey vs. Cheap Robot VacuumsAt minimum, a cheap robotic vacuum should have multiple cleaning modes for cleaning different size rooms or kinds of flooring. It should be able to handle the transition between carpet and hard floors, something not all robot vacuums do well. It should also be able to effectively avoid obstacles without getting stuck (at least for the most part). A sensor that helps the vacuum avoid falling down stairs is generally standard. Some models can seemingly think for themselves and even have the ability to return to their home bases to charge themselves when their batteries run low. More expensive models come with stronger motors for more cleaning power, remote and even app-based control, and programmable cleaning modes. Some models have on-board cameras and sensors to map the floor as it's cleaned and ensure the entire area is vacuumed, but these models tend to cost at least twice as much as our picks.
Robot Vacuum BrandsWhen it comes to robotic vacuums, iRobot's Roomba sets the bar. The company wasn't the first to market a robot vacuum — that honor goes to the Electrolux Trilobite — but the original Roomba was a hit with consumers from the moment it was released in stores in 2002. Today, iRobot has to compete with a vast crop of robotic vacuums from brands like Neato, Eufy, Ecovacs, Shark, Bobsweep, and iLife, as well as entries from big-name electronics manufacturers like Samsung and LG, as well as lesser-known labels. Traditional vacuum cleaner makers like Bissel have also gotten in on the craze (although that brand's SmartClean model has thus far missed the mark in terms of consumer popularity). Still, iRobot's Roombas continue to earn solid reviews from professional testers and consumers alike. The latest top-of-the line models beat out even pricier Dyson robot vacuums among experts.
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Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table
Robotic Vacuum Reviews: 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.
Cleaning AbilityThe 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.
Battery LifeBattery life dictates how many rooms (or, more likely, how big a room) a robotic vacuum can clean before it has to be recharged. All the vacuums we recommend can run for at least 60 minutes on a full charge, while the models with the best battery life can run for as long as two hours.
Another consideration is how long it will take a vacuum to fully charge, something not all manufacturers clearly disclose. Obviously, long recharge times can prove inconvenient, especially if the vacuum is intended to be put to daily use. One feature that some models have is the ability to find their home base when the battery is low in order to charge themselves, which significantly cuts down on the hassle factor. Reviews warn, however, that some of these vacuums have a difficult time finding their charging docks, particularly if they're not nearby or directly in the line of sight.
HeightThe 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.
Special FeaturesThe priciest robotic vacuums can be controlled with an app on a phone or tablet and are Wi-Fi enabled so they can also talk to digital home assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Google Home. These "smart" vacuums give real-time cleaning updates, alert users when they've finished a job or need emptying, and can be programmed with custom cleaning schedules. Less expensive models may not be quite so plugged in, but the best feature some nice-to-have extras.
A spot-clean mode allows a vacuum to quickly clean concentrated dirt spots, and edge-cleaning modes help side sweeper brushes get into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Max power or turbo modes provide that extra boost of suction sometimes needed to clear areas that are thick with pet hair or other debris. Other models, particularly those marketed to pet owners, often feature advanced HEPA filters to better trap allergens, dander, and other irritants, while some even have an ultraviolet light to deodorize and kill bacteria.
WarrantyRobotic 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.
Additional Products We Considered
iRobot Roomba 960 Review
Bonus: Worth A Splurge
- 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.
Takeaway: 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.
Ecovacs DeeBot M80 Pro Review
Bonus: Smart Robot Vacuum With Mop
- 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.
Takeaway: 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.
iRobot Braava Jet 240 Review
Bonus: Best Robotic Mop
- 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.
Takeaway: 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.