Whether you have pets and need the extra help, or just want to streamline your cleaning process, a robot vacuum is a great product to add to your arsenal. These small, vaguely cute machines run on their own, and some can even be put on a schedule and charge themselves so you truly don't have to think about it. There are a ton of options out there, and each comes with its own long list of features to sift through, so we narrowed down our favorites to help you find the best fit for your needs.
How This Works
Every week we research new product categories and bring our final picks into the office, where we haggle and decide which ones make the final list. Everything is based on quality, appearance and price. These are what we could choose for our own home.
This Jetson's-like category always puts a smile on my face, regardless of the outcome. I consider robot vacuums an extra convenience and not replacement for a real cleaning. Nevertheless, for homes that deal with daily pet hair or dust of any kind, having one of these guys around, running automatically will keep things cleaner and fills a useful need.
The top three that we tested each performed very differently, with the bottom two (see the video above) doing a lot of moving around of the debris we tested them on. Only the Neato carefully and completely cleaned our test surface. Using lasers to figure out the exact space it was cleaning and then charting a path around it that made sure to vacuum 100%, it resembled a much more intelligent device and far less of a random robot. It has a much larger "mouth" and brushing/vacuuming surface, which makes a real difference.
Neato is bigger, heavier and more expensive, which may make it out of range for many people, but it did the best job. If that is the case for you, I would still recommend the other, more affordable machines on our list. They will all help.
One of the best budget options out there, this robot vacuum stands out for its low price under $100 and its nice range of color options. It doesn't have the same power as other more expensive vacuums, but it gets the job done and is great for smaller, less trafficked areas. Other notable characteristics include a HEPA filter layer and a mop attachment, plus it's lightweight—at only 2.5 lbs, it's the lightest vacuum on our list.
Another great budget pick, the V3s Pro is especially geared toward pet owners; it boasts a tangle-free suction passage that's ideal for hair and fur removal. It's built with AirAway technology, which includes double filters that separate dirt from debris and reduces clogging, plus controls odors. It also comes with a remote control, a small but mighty addition that will allow your vacuuming experience to be as hands-off as possible.
The RoboVac 11S is a super sleek model that has BoostIQ technology, which automatically increases suction when extra strength is needed. It's also the slimmest option on our list with a height of only 2.85 inches—perfect for getting under hard-to-reach spots. Unlike other vacuums, the RoboVac is fairly quiet and can last for up to 100 minutes in between charges.
Samsung has several newer models out, but the R7010 is affordable and still reliable. It has powerful room mapping and sensor features, as well as precise edge cleaning (thanks to that "D" shape). On another note, Star Wars fans might want to consider Samsung's limited edition Star Wars robot vacuums designed to look like Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper—props to Samsung for realizing their robot vacuums already had the Darth Vader vibes and making the most of it.
The Deebot is a quality heavy-duty pick, with multiple cleaning modes and an app that allows you to control it from your phone. Modes include Auto for a regular cleaning, Edge for cleaning, well, edges, Spot for focusing on a specific area, and Max for the more stubborn messes. Plus, it's compatible with Amazon Echo and comes with a high efficiency filter that reduces airborne allergy triggers.
The first robot vacuum to really take off was the Roomba back in the early aughts, and every iteration since then has been reliable, powerful and well-loved. The 690 is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa and can be controlled through an app. Unlike other vacuums that struggle with cleaning different surfaces, the Roomba 690 has an auto-adjust cleaning head that adapts to carpet and hardwood.
On the high end is the fancy-looking Roborock, which has a whole suite of upgraded sensors for a seriously smooth cleaning process. It's also the biggest option on our list, coming in at 3.8 inches in height and 11.6 pounds. The Roborock does not mess around—not only is it larger than average, but it has an ultra powerful suction and two-in-one sweeping and mopping capability. Especially exciting is the rose-gold color option—for $100 extra.
The most recent Roomba model, the 980 is one of the smartest and toughest robot vacuums out there. It'll navigate an entire level of your home, automatically recharging itself when needed and keeping track of where it's been and where it still needs to go. The advanced motor automatically kicks up the power when it detects heavy dirt areas and carpet, and it's designed to work with corners and along walls. It's not affordable, but it's one of the best options on the market and will last a long time.
Tips for Using a Robot Vacuum
- Clean up ahead of time. Even though it's a hands-free machine, you still have to do some clean up before your robot vacuum runs. Just like you would with a normal vacuum, remember to get clutter off the floor and hide cords so your robot vacuum doesn't encounter any obstacles.
- Keep an eye on it. While it's tempting to schedule cleanings for when you're not home or asleep, the safest time to run your robot vacuum is when you're around. You never know what sort of problems it could run into, from a stray sock to unexpected dog poo.
- Give it time to get familiar with your space. Robot vacuums are smart, but they still need time to learn the layout of your home. Typically a few sessions are all it needs for the sensors to fully map out the space and work as efficiently as it can.
Our Best Robot Vacuum Posts:
- Smart Vacuums Smackdown: Which Robot Vacuum Is Best for You?
- Getting a Roomba for the Holidays? Learn From This Family's Poopocalypse
- Don't Ever Want to Vacuum Again? It Might Be Time for a Robot Vacuum
Other Good Resources:
- The Best Robot Vacuums for Every Budget — Wired
- The Best Robot Vacuums — Wirecutter
- Which Robot Vacuum Is Actually Worth It? — Strategist
- Robot Vacuum Buying Guide: What You Need to Know — Tom's Guide