The 10 Best Robot Vacuums of 2021

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Most of us will agree that vacuuming is time consuming and pretty boring. Fortunately, there is a whole marketplace full of robotic devices that can take this chore off your plate. Robot vacuums have been around for several years now, and they’re becoming increasingly hands-off and easy to automate.

Higher-end models usually come with a companion app, which gives you access to a whole host of advanced features, including room-specific cleaning schedules and designating off-limits areas in your home. Sensor systems are also becoming more advanced to prevent vacuums from getting stuck or lost. Some even have built-in cameras that can identify unexpected hazards like pet messes and notify you of where they are. 

Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest in robot vacuum technology or a basic budget option for a smaller space, we’ve done the research to recommend the best models.

The Rundown
The iRobot Roomba i7+ is our top pick for its customizable settings, automated features, and cleaning power.
Best for Hard Floors:
Roborock S6 MaxV at Amazon
It can map your home’s layout, recognize the floor it’s on, and even detect and report unexpected hazards like pet messes.
With powerful suction, 3D mapping with LiDAR, and efficent coverage, the L10 Pro offers both vacuuming and mopping.
Best for Carpeted Floors:
Neato Robotics Botvac D7 at Amazon
Its 'D'-shaped design allows it to effectively clean into corners where round robot vacuums can’t reach.
Best for Small Spaces:
EcoVacs Deebot N79SE at Best Buy
The Deebot is an effective, low-maintenance device that’s great for low-maintenance spaces.
The iRobot Roomba s9+ is a top-of-the line robot vacuum with a full-featured app, corner-cleaning design, and self-emptying dustbin.
We’d recommend the Braava Jet for people with lots of finished hardwood, tile, or stone floors.
Best for Pet Hair:
bObsweep PetHair Plus at Amazon
Not only does the vacuum trap flyaway fur and debris, it also filters and passes UV light over smaller particles and potential allergens.
Best Budget for Smart Home:
iRobot Roomba 675 at Amazon
The Roomba 675 has an edge-sweeping brush and two different multi-surface brushes underneath that can tackle all kinds of flooring.
The Samsung POWERbot features the line’s most powerful vacuum yet, at 40 times the suction of previous models.
What We Like
  • Automatic emptying

  • Powerful suction

  • Mapping function allows for custom cleaning schedules

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

It may be on the expensive side, but the iRobot Roomba i7+ is our top pick for its customizable settings, automated features, and cleaning power. This makes it especially convenient for people with larger homes, or those who have particular areas that they want a robot vacuum to avoid. If you worry about letting a vacuum loose around pet areas or fragile objects in your home, the i7+ allows for a much greater level of control.

iRobot’s vSLAM navigation system actually maps your house as it cleans and uploads that map to the iRobot companion app. You can then use it to customize which rooms the vacuum cleans, and when. It also lets you designate specific “Keep Out Zones” and point the i7+ to a particular part of the room when immediate cleanup is needed. Use the app or connect the Roomba to your existing voice assistant (Google Assistant or Alexa device) to control the vacuum with voice commands.

The Roomba i7+ is also self-emptying. After each cleaning cycle, the vacuum returns to the charging base and automatically dispenses the dirt into a collection bag inside the base. And because it can hold up to 60 days of dirt, the bag needs only to be emptied every two months.

Runtime: 90 minutes | Functionality: Vacuum only | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice Control: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa | Companion App: Yes

Best for Hard Floors: Roborock S6 MaxV Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Roborock S6 MaxV Robot Vacuum Cleaner
What We Like
  • Impressive AI features

  • Vacuums and mops

  • Mapping function allows for custom cleaning schedules

What We Don't Like
  • Struggles on carpet

  • Expensive

This combination vacuum and mop from Roborock is one of the smartest robot floor cleaners on the market. It has an impressive set of AI features supported by a built-in camera that doubles as an interactive pet cam. It can map your home’s layout, recognize the floor it’s on, and even detect and report unexpected hazards like pet messes, which could turn a regular cleaning cycle into a disaster if your vacuum tracked through them.

This vacuum won’t get trapped under furniture, tangled in wires, or caught on an errant sock. And by using the maps in the companion app, you can set “No-Go Zones” so it cleans only where you want it to. You can even specify the amount of suction or water used in different areas.

Despite its intelligent features, many users have reported that it’s not very effective on carpet. Some of these devices can’t seem to get up over the edge of area rugs, while other users report that the brush stops turning on carpeted surfaces. We’d primarily recommend the Roborock for people with hard floors, because for this price, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of its features.

Runtime: 180 minutes | Functionality: Vacuum, mop | Self-emptying: No | Voice Control: Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri | Companion App: Yes

Best Combo Vacuum and Mop: Dreame Technology Dreame Bot L10 Pro

Dreame Technology Dreame Bot L10 Pro
What We Like
  • 3D mapping with LiDAR

  • Mops and vacuums

  • Powerful suction

  • Efficient coverage

  • Good battery life

  • Smooth travel

  • Quiet operation

What We Don't Like
  • Small water tank

  • Doesn't clean edges and corners as well as other models

The Dreame Bot L10 Pro is a mopping and vacuuming robot, so you can clean your hard floors fully in one cleaning cycle. It has 4,000 Pa suction, which is stronger than many other robots like the Roborock S6 and the Wyze Robot Vacuum, and it also has advanced navigation due to the addition of a dual laser LiDAR system. Our reviewer Erika found that the L10 Pro travels across floors quickly and purposefully, and it doesn’t ram into your walls, furniture, or your ankles. She also noted how the robot left her floors free of debris after a single cleaning cycle.

The L10 Pro has a 5,200 mAh battery, which will last long enough to clean your home for at least one cleaning cycle. You won’t have to worry about the robot returning home for a charge because the battery has more than enough power to finish the job. When performing a mopping cycle, the smart water control feature lets the robot know how much water to dispense based on the type of floors, so you’re hardwoods won’t be drenched after a mopping/vacuuming—they’ll just be clean.

The 270 ml water tank is low-profile with a wheel on the bottom, so the bot can maneuver over area rugs without knocking the tank out of place. The only complaints our reviewer had about the L10 Pro are that she wished it came with more mopping accessories and that she'd like to see it do a slightly better job cleaning edges and corners. Other than that, Erika was quite impressed with this bot.

"When the cleaning cycle finished, my floors were spotless—I couldn’t feel a single crumb on my socks." Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best for Carpeted Floors: Neato Robotics Botvac D7

Neato Robotics Botvac D7
What We Like
  • Powerful suction

  • Cleans into corners

  • Extra-large brush for carpets

What We Don't Like
  • Loud

  • Poor app support

The Neato Robotics Botvac D7 is a mid-range robot vacuum that offers a good deal of customization and powerful suction on multiple floor surfaces. Like other high-end vacuums, the Neato maps your home as it cleans and then allows you to create schedules, mark specific cleaning zones, and create “No-Go Lines” using that map in the companion app. It can even “remember” multiple floors and follow custom cleaning cycles for each layout.

The Neato has two features that really set it apart. The first is the “D”-shaped design, which allows it to effectively clean into corners where round robot vacuums can’t reach. The other is the extra large brush, which cleans deeper into carpets and can help pull out embedded dirt and pet hair. Neato vacuums are known for their cleaning power, and the Botvac D7 is no exception.

Instead, this device’s weakness is in its app integration. Many users report issues with the device’s Wi-Fi connectivity, which can translate to issues using the maps. The Neato can deliver on cleaning, but note that it might not be the best fit for someone who really wants an ultra-customizable robot vacuum.

Runtime: 120 minutes | Functionality: Vacuum only | Self-emptying: No | Voice Control: Google Home, Amazon Alexa | Companion App: Yes

Best for Small Spaces: EcoVacs Deebot N79SE

EcoVacs Deebot N79SE
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Quiet

What We Don't Like
  • Limited customization features

  • Can get stuck

If you have a small space and want a less-expensive robot vacuum with scheduled cleaning capabilities, the Deebot N79SE is a great option. It doesn’t have laser mapping or AI, but it has a three-brush system, good suction power, scheduled cleanings, and the ability to handle both carpet and hard floors.

Use the app to switch between two levels of suction power and select from four cleaning modes: auto, single room, spot clean, and perimeter mode. The Deebot is an effective, low-maintenance device that’s great for low-maintenance spaces.

Runtime: 120 minutes | Functionality: Vacuum only | Self-emptying: No | Voice Control: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa | Companion App: Yes

Best Splurge: iRobot Roomba s9+ 9550 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum

iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Wi-Fi® Connected Robot Vacuum
What We Like
  • Automatic emptying

  • Powerful suction

  • Cleans into corners

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

The iRobot Roomba s9+ is a top-of-the line robot vacuum with a full-featured app, corner-cleaning design, and self-emptying dustbin. It’s very expensive, but if you like to have the latest and greatest in robot vacuum technology, the s9+ combines iRobot’s most powerful suction (40 times stronger than the regular Roomba) with advanced app features such as floor plan mapping, customized schedules, and “Keep Out Zones.”

The “D”-shaped design allows the s9+ to clean into hard-to-reach corners, and the rubber brushes are less likely to get tangled with hair—a big plus if you’re cleaning up after pets. This model also empties its dustbin into the CleanBase docking port every time it returns to recharge.

The base holds up to 60 days of dust and dirt so it needs to be emptied only every two months. It can also be paired with iRobot’s robot mop, the Braava Jet m6, and the two can clean in tandem with one another.

Runtime: 120 minutes | Functionality: Vacuum only | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice Control: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa | Companion App: Yes

Best Mop: iRobot Braava Jet M6

iRobot Braava Jet M6 Robot Mop
What We Like
  • Good for large spaces

  • Dry sweep and wet mop modes

  • Automatic battery top-up

What We Don't Like
  • Glitchy software

  • Regular replacement of cleaning pads and solution

There are several mopping robots on the market these days, but the iRobot Braava Jet M6 is one of the few that’s actually suited to clean your entire home. Its larger water tank and long battery life allow it to cover a lot more ground, and it has an automatic battery top-up feature that prompts the Braava Jet to briefly recharge and resume mopping if its battery gets low in the middle of a cleaning cycle. 

We’d recommend the Braava Jet for people with lots of finished hardwood, tile, or stone floors. The mop uses a combination of water, floor cleaning solution, and a disposable pad to clean surfaces. You can attach either a dry sweeping pad or a wet mopping pad, and the device will automatically switch to that cleaning mode. In terms of cleaning solution, only iRobot’s brand name floor cleaner and Bona cleaning solution are approved for use in the Braava Jet—using any other brand will automatically void the warranty on the machine. 

If you already have an iRobot Roomba vacuum, the Braava can be paired with that device through the iRobot companion app to work in tandem. Like Roomba robots, the Braava Jet can map your house and allow you to create custom cleaning schedules and off-limits areas for different rooms. But the mop’s software has had some reported issues with these features when used on its own (not as a companion to the Roomba).

Runtime: 150 minutes | Functionality: Mop and dry sweep | Self-emptying: No | Voice Control: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa | Companion App: Yes

Best for Pet Hair: bObsweep PetHair Plus

bObsweep PetHair Plus
What We Like
  • Extra-large dustbin

  • Large brush for pulling up pet hair

  • Built-in UV sanitizing light

What We Don't Like
  • No app support

  • Shorter battery life

  • Might not fit under some furniture

If you have animals that shed, a robot vacuum is a great way to automate some daily maintenance cleaning and cut down on allergens and the appearance of pet hair in your home. The bObsweep PetHair Plus is one of the few devices on the market that’s actually designed to tackle pet hair, and it does its job well.

With a huge 1-liter dustbin, extra-large carpet brush, built-in filtration system, and UV sterilization light, the bObsweep is our top recommendation for multi pet households and those with extra large or long-haired animals. Not only does the vacuum trap flyaway fur and debris, it also filters and passes UV light over smaller particles and potential allergens. An attachable microfiber sweeping pad provides additional dust cleanup.

This vacuum forgoes a companion app in favor of a physical remote, so it doesn’t have super-advanced software features. But the remote lets you schedule up to seven days of cleaning in advance and switch between different cleaning modes and suction power. The bObsweep also comes with a set of blOck Plus blocker accessories, which look like little plastic bricks that you can set outside rooms or specific areas of your home that you don’t want the vacuum to enter.

Runtime: 60 minutes | Functionality: Vacuum only | Self-emptying: No | Voice Control: None | Companion App: No

Best Budget for Smart Home: iRobot Roomba 675

iRobot Roomba 675
What We Like
  • Automatically adjusts to different surfaces

  • Learns which areas need more thorough cleaning

What We Don't Like
  • Older model

  • Might not fit under small furniture

The iRobot Roomba 675 isn’t the newest Roomba model, but that makes it a great option for people who want to experiment with iRobot’s customization features without paying top dollar. (It’s also one of the least expensive models to support Google Assistant and Alexa integration.)

The iRobot app allows you to create custom cleaning schedules and will suggest changes once it learns your habits. It intelligently navigates your home and uses Dirt Detect Sensors to more thoroughly clean messes and high-traffic areas. 

The Roomba 675 has an edge-sweeping brush and two different multi-surface brushes underneath that can tackle all kinds of flooring and sweep along walls and furniture. The brush heads automatically change height when the Roomba moves onto a new surface so it can clean both hard and carpeted floors.

Runtime: 90 minutes | Functionality: Vacuum only | Self-emptying: No | Voice Control: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa | Companion App: Yes

Best for Families: Samsung POWERbot R7070

Samsung POWERbot R7070
What We Like
  • Powerful suction

  • Good navigation

  • Self-cleaning brush

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive for its features

  • Bulky design

  • Limited app functionality

The Samsung POWERbot features the line’s most powerful vacuum yet, at 40 times the suction of previous models. It also has a few additional hardware upgrades including the Self Clean Brush, which prevents the dreaded tangle of hair and pet fur around the brush, and an Edge Clean rubber blade that extends when the device detects a wall, effectively cleaning into corners and around room perimeters where typical round vacuums can’t usually reach.

The POWERbot's cleaning power makes this a solid choice for family homes. But we also recommend this model for its system of sensors, which uses an actual built-in camera to detect obstacles. If you live in a busy household where toys sometimes get left on the floor or shoes end up in unexpected places, robot vacuums might have a hard time navigating around those changes. The Samsung POWERbot can detect new hazards and avoid them so you don’t need to keep such a watchful eye on your vacuum.

Unlike some models in this price range, the POWERbot does not have advanced mapping features and won’t create a floor plan of your house that you can access and customize in the app. Instead, the Samsung companion app serves as a kind of secondary remote that lets you control the vacuum with either on-screen buttons or voice commands.

Runtime: 90 minutes | Functionality: Vacuum only | Self-emptying: No | Voice Control: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, SmartThings, Bixby | Companion App: Yes

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the pricey, but advanced iRobot Roomba i7+ (view at Amazon). With room mapping, customizable settings, and a self-emptying bin, it delivers truly intelligent, hands-off cleaning. If you don’t need high-tech features, we’d recommend the EcoVacs Deebot N79SE (view at Best Buy). It offers reliable performance and basic scheduled cleaning features at a budget price.

How We Tested

Our expert reviewers and editors evaluate robot vacuums based on design, performance, functionality, and features. We test their real-life performance in actual use cases, cleaning spaces of various dimensions and layouts, and test their battery life and effectiveness in tough cleaning scenarios. Our testers also consider each unit as a value proposition—whether or not a product justifies its price tag, and how it compares to competitive products. All of the models we reviewed were purchased by Lifewire; none of the review units were furnished by the manufacturer or retailer.

About Our Trusted Experts

Emmeline Kaser is an experienced product researcher and reviewer in the field of consumer tech. She is a former editor for Lifewire’s product testing and recommendation round-ups.

Erika Rawes has been writing for Lifewire since 2019, covering a wide variety of consumer technology including smart home devices, streaming, games, and more. She's previously been published in Digital Trends and USA Today.

FAQs

Do robot vacuums need Wi-Fi?

While a Wi-Fi connection isn’t always required for the vacuum to work, it will allow you to get the most out of the device’s features, especially with higher-end models. Many robot vacuums use a Wi-Fi connection to access the vacuum’s companion app or your existing smart home system. The companion app is where you typically access the device’s settings and customizable features such as scheduling and off-limits zones. 

Which kinds of robot vacuums are best for pet hair?

If pet hair is your primary concern, look for a robot vacuum with a large brush and/or a rubber brush head. Large brushes with longer bristles can reach deeper into carpet fibers to pull out embedded hair. Rubber brush heads are also effective at catching and pulling out hair, and can prevent long fibers from getting wrapped around the brush. To avoid hair collecting along the edges of rooms, look for D-shaped vacuums that can back into corners.

Do robot vacuums work on different kinds of floor surfaces?

Though it varies by model, most robot vacuums are designed to work on a mix of hard and carpeted floors. The majority of newer models are also able to tackle elevation changes, so they can roll up onto thicker area rugs. If you’re concerned about your carpets causing problems, read product reviews to see if there are any reported issues with the particular vacuum you’re considering.

The Ultimate Robot Vacuum Buying Guide

Cleaning can be a hassle, but robot vacuums make the household chore of keeping floors clean almost painless. The recommendations on our list cater to a range of living spaces and budgets, and those are two important places to start when you’re shopping for this kind of gadget.

Some pricier models are better for certain surfaces and types of messes, and intelligent enough to adjust cleaning settings based on the type of flooring. But even a few budget-minded models offer Wi-Fi and smart home connectivity. And if you like the idea of having a fully powered machine at all times, there are robot vacuums clever enough to return to a docking station to recharge and resume.

If you’ve never owned a robot vacuum, it can be difficult to anticipate what aspects will matter most for your real-life cleaning needs. Use this guide to help you uncover the robot vacuum features that will be most useful and necessary in your home.

Size and Shape

There’s not a huge amount of variety when it comes to the design and general build of a robot vacuum. All of them feature some combination of brushes, wheels, and a battery-powered motor that provides suction power. The most common body shape is completely round, but you’ll also find D-shaped robot vacuums that sport one flat side. These models often feature a wider main brush on the flat side and can meet edges much more closely than round models. That means more precise cleaning along walls and in corners that round robots can’t quite reach.

Another thing to consider is how much a robot vacuum weighs. Typically they range between five to eight pounds or so. While you won’t be picking them up or wielding them the way you would a handheld, upright vacuum, if you do have to move one up and down stairs or redirect it, a model that’s closer to 10 pounds could be cumbersome. Heavier models are often bulkier and taller as well. Even as little as five inches high could be too much to fit under some lower furniture or under low cabinets and shelves. Shorter and slimmer models will be the safer bet if you have a lot of furniture and built-ins without much clearance.

Suction Power

How do you gauge just how powerful a robot vacuum is? There are a lot of claims that manufacturers throw out. Dyson says that one of its models boasts more suction power than any other autonomous vacuum. While it’s hard to know what that means exactly, you can find some clues based on the information brands supply about the motor technology and suction modes. Try to find the speed of the motor in RPM or revolutions per minute. The higher the RPM the more powerful the motor is, which means greater capacity for sucking up everything in its path. The Dyson brand is known for its digital motor that can reach over 100,000 RPM. According to the EPA, most motors typically fall below or at 30,000 RPM.

If you can’t track down this information, look for hints about power settings. Some models have advanced suction or so called max-suction modes that maximize a motor’s power and reach further into crevices and hard-to-reach areas. Other brands like Eufy measure this capability in pascals (Pa), where the higher the Pa the greater the suction power a model offers.

Also consider the kind of flooring you’re working with. Carpets will need a machine with more gusto than hardwood or tiles. If you have little to no carpet, you won’t need as much suction power.

iRobot Roomba
Lifewire / Julia Warren

Cleaning Specialties

Robot vacuums aren’t necessarily as capable at deep-cleaning as other vacuums that require manual operation. If you have specific cleaning needs—maybe you have young children and deal with frequent food spills or long-haired pets that shed—look for products that shine brightest in those areas.

Automatic Cleaning

If you’re interested in not having to prompt your robot vacuum to get to work, consider models that are smart enough to clean automatically. Options that are Wi-Fi-connected are programmable from the convenience of a mobile app—so you can schedule routine sweeps through your kitchen or living room at designated times during the day. Some models also come with specific cleaning modes like spot or targeted zone cleaning so that you can make sure the highest-traffic or mess-prone areas are spotless.

Robot vacuums that get to work regardless of whether you’re home are also often clever enough to head back to their charging docks when finished or when they need more power, or even self-empty their dustbins when full.

Hardwood vs. Carpet

Not all models are as adaptable to different flooring. Some can only handle low-pile rugs in addition to tile and hardwood, but can’t manage thick carpet or dark-colored floors. If you have a mix of carpeted and uncarpeted surfaces, you’ll want to find models that don’t get tripped up by the transition. Models that can detect surface changes use adaptive wheels to help move them onto carpet from non-carpeted floors. They’ll also be able to automatically sense what kind of material they’re cleaning and match it with suction power—or you’ll have the ability to set the suction mode based on the floor type.

If you don’t have much carpet in our house or apartment, hardwood-to-carpet versatility isn’t as important as brushes that can extend into corners and a motor that offers enough suction to pick up crumbs and dust particles.

Mopping

A mopping function could be an added bonus if you have a carpet-free home. While there aren’t many two-in-one robot vacuums that offer equally strong mopping functionality, the iRobot line manufacturers a mopping robot that can be paired with a vacuuming model from one of the other product series. Or some models from brands such as bObsweep and Roborock come with mopping attachments.

Pet Hair

Not all models do that well with pet hair. You’ll have the most luck browsing options that are specifically built for pets and carpet. These robot vacuums won’t get caught up by pet hair and will be effective at removing it from carpets and baseboards, and will have a large enough bin to operate without having to be emptied all the time. And since there are many allergens in the air from pet dander, pet-friendly robot vacuums have HEPA filters or some sort of advanced filtration system to reduce irritants in the air. The Samsung POWERbot R7260 even has a self-cleaning brush mode that prevents brush tangling from pet (or human) hair.

iRobot Roomba
Lifewire / Julia Warren

Navigation and Sensors

A robot vacuum that always falls down the stairs, gets tangled in cords, or bumps into furniture is a less-than-ideal cleaning aid. All models are prone to some sort of hiccups from time to time. A mess of cables or a free-standing cup of water can be major blocks and catastrophic to these machines. But the most effective robot vacuums have advanced systems, sensors specifically, to prevent these interruptions from derailing them.

These sensors serve as the machine’s eyes and determine how they function when presented with various circumstances. The main sensors account for walls, obstacles, and stairs. Wall sensors help robot vacuums recognize walls and then get to work with a thorough sweep of baseboards. Obstacle sensors are responsible for sensing and maneuvering around objects they come into contact with—anything from a coffee table to shoes—rather than repeatedly bumping up against them. Cliff sensors prevent a tumble down stairs by detecting the distance from the bottom of the device to the floor. If the system spots an increase in this distance, then it will let the robot know a drop is ahead, and to avoid it.

While those are the main sensors all robot vacuums usually share, not all offer wheel or optical sensors that use lasers to orient themselves. These sensors give the machine a sense of location by determining how many turns it has completed and the overall distance traveled. This kind of sensor is critical to a robot vacuum’s ability to navigate around your home without any intervention. The most advanced models on the market come with mapping technology that helps the device learn the layout of your home, register landmarks, remember which areas need the most attention, and also know which areas to avoid completely.

You can count on even the most inexpensive models to have a certain level of awareness of your home’s surroundings and ability to navigate around them. But if you have large rooms, special trouble areas, or targeted cleaning concerns, consider models that offer more advanced sensors and navigation software that receives regular updates.

Connectivity

Not every robot vacuum is uber-sophisticated when it comes to connectivity options. Many models that aren’t as smart do come with a remote that you can use to program a cleaning time. But if you’d like the freedom to speak a command like “Clean the kitchen,” you’ll want to look for models that are compatible with voice assistants. Most models that are smart-home-capable are at least compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but some offer access through Siri or Samsung’s Bixby.

These more intelligent models also come with built-in Wi-Fi compatibility with 2.4Ghz or both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies and work with a dedicated app that allows you to set cleaning schedules, make more precise mapping tweaks, and ensure your machine is up to date with the latest software tweaks. The smartest robot vacuums can also work diligently while you’re not at home, thanks to the virtual access the software and mobile app provide.

Noise Levels

According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association, anything above 85 decibels can be damaging to hearing. Luckily, robot vacuums are generally pretty quiet and fall within a safe range of 60 dB to 68 dB. If you’re not a fan of loud machine noises, even a slightly lower decibel rating could make a difference in the user experience. Or models with a quiet mode could help you keep your house clean even when loved ones are asleep.

Battery Life

Robot vacuum battery lives typically range from 60 to 120 minutes, though some can perform for up to three hours at a time. If you live in a small city apartment, it’s unlikely that you’ll need all of that time to cover your whole dwelling. But if you have a large home with large rooms and more than one floor, you’ll probably want to choose the model with the longest battery capacity. Consider charging times as well. Longer-lasting models tend to have equally lengthy charging times, but they’re also often capable of quick-charging to an adequate degree so that they can resume their work.

Price

Robot vacuums can be very expensive. Some systems from the iRobot or Dyson brands cost over $1,000 and are aimed at buyers who want a comprehensive and rugged cleaning machine—and possibly forego other sweeping and mopping tools. Budget models that offer Wi-Fi connectivity and a decent feature list can cost $200-$300, and mid- to upper-range models are still pretty pricey, at between $500 to $800, but offer many of the same extras as the most expensive models.

As with any other larger home appliance, price isn’t always the most definitive marker of the value of a robot vacuum. If your home is small and you don’t have pets, a more modestly priced model can still offer smartphone connectivity ease and efficient cleaning. Chances are, if you live in a larger, multi-story home, a robot vacuum may not be the only machine you’ll use. While it’s great for daily cleaning and upkeep, deeper cleaning could require upright machines too. That’s another consideration for your wallet.

iRobot Roomba
Lifewire / Julia Warren

Brands/Manufacturers

Many of the most well-known vacuum brands (Shark, Dyson, Bissell) also offer autonomous models, but there are several manufacturers that work specifically in the robot vacuum space. It can be tricky to decide between seasoned vacuum brands and those that specialize in robots that clean. There’s definite overlap, but some manufacturers listed here offer decidedly more or more specific features for certain buyers.

iRobot

This brand is probably the best-known producer of robot vacuums. Their Roomba models are divided into several different collections that offer a range of bells and whistles. The 600 series is the most affordable, starting at around $250, and offers basic multi-surface cleaning without smartphone connectivity. You can step up $100 to the e Series, which are geared toward pet owners, whereas the i Series and s Series models, ranging from $600-$900, are more sophisticated in looks and extras. The higher-end Roomba models come with the latest advanced sensor and mapping technology for more accurate performance and other conveniences like self-emptying bins. Almost all Roomba models can be paired with accessories that increase performance, whether that’s a virtual wall barrier that keeps the machine out of rooms you don’t want it to clean or tag-teaming with the Braava robot mop.

Eufy

Eufy manufacturers many home and smart home-related products, including robot vacuums. Their models tend to be some of the more affordable on the market, within the $220-$250 range. Some, but not all, offer the ease of Wi-Fi and app control. But those that don’t have this convenience come with a remote control for programming cleaning sessions. The fanciest model, the RoboVac L70 Hybrid, costs only about $500 and sweeps, mops, and lasts for as long as 2.5 hours. Most Eufy models are relatively slim and short enough to fit under cabinets and furniture. You’ll also have no trouble finding the suction power value in Pa (pascals), which is listed for every model. But charge times can be lengthy with these machines—as long as 6 hours on some of the most basic models.

ECOVACS

This brand is a dedicated smart home robot vacuum developer (though they also make a couple of window cleaning robots as well). The Deebot series of vacuums starts with versatile and budget-friendly models that retail for under $200, are Alexa-compatible, and boast decent run times of 120 minutes or longer. On less expensive models, there are fewer flourishes like floating brushes, self-emptying ability, and charge times hover around 4 hours. But more powerful and pricer models (within the $600 range) offer multiple cleaning modes along with dual mopping/sweeping ability, run times of 3 hours, and will even check in with you to let you know—with a voice report—what they’ve been up to.

Roborock

This robot vacuum manufacturer offers just three models presently, and they range in price from about $400 to $650. All are controllable by voice and mobile app and can mop floors too, but the more advanced two models have a longer run time of 150 minutes, more suction power (2000 Pa vs. 1800 Pa), modes for zone-cleaning, and advanced mapping technology that supposedly measures your home and all obstacles within 0.8 inches of accuracy. Roborock also provides helpful information for each model that other manufacturers don’t list so plainly—such as decibel level, dustbin volume, and the best fit based on the size of your home.

Accessories

Even though robot vacuums are small and self-contained, you may end up having or wanting to replace some of those components. While bags aren’t a concern, think about filter replacements or cleaning needs. Samsung machines come with a washable filter, which eliminates the need to replace this item and iRobot offers a washable dustbin and a dirt-disposal station that doesn’t require you to empty the dustbin at all.

Some companies sell individual parts like rolling and side brushes that can be swapped out to enhance performance or replace a faulty part. Eufy and Roomba also sell battery replacements to keep certain models at peak charging performance and mapping accessories (boundary strips, virtual wall barriers) to help your robot better understand boundaries and floorplans.

Final Takeaways for Selecting a Robot Vacuum

A robot vacuum can simplify the way you clean your studio apartment or multi-story home. The price tag doesn’t always signify quality, and should be weighed against the size of your living space and whether you need specialized cleaning to manage pet hair and different surfaces (hardwood, carpet, tile, etc). It’s also worth considering the kind of control you’d like to have over scheduling cleaning sessions from a remote or smartphone app, and just how much you can coach the machine to get the job done.

While a robot vacuum could be a supplemental tool in your arsenal for keeping a tidy home, and not your sole option. We hope that considering these traits will help you land on a model that is a good complement to your setup.

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