Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner – A Definitive Guide

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Robot vacuum cleaners have been around for a while. In fact, iRobot brought out their first automatic vacuum in 2002! Luckily the technology is MUCH better now!

The new generation of robot vacuums are packed full of features and also much more affordable.

Best Robot Vacuums Post Updated:

In this post, I’m going to take you through all the features and recommend the best robotic vacuum based on YOUR needs!

My Readers Have Spoken!

Click Here For Readers’ Top Picks!

Readers' Choice - Robot Vacuums

The top 3 robot vacuum cleaners as voted for by the readers.

Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners - A Definitive Buyers Guide. A detailed review of the best robot vacuums, so you can have your very own Rosie the Robot! Learn about which features you need and which you don't. Perfect for pept hair, kids, hard floors, carpet and more!

✔️ The Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner Voted By the Readers

Now, I have my own picks, but I think what my readers say is MUCH more valuable to you.

My readers picked these 3 best robot vacuums cleaners as their favorite options for easy home cleaning!

I think they made some great picks this year! For example, this automatic vacuum cleaner is their #1 choice – that’s one of my favorite too!

On this page, you can read reviews, see specs, compare prices AND see which of the Reader Top 3 are on sale TODAY.

Ok, let’s jump in and review the best robotic vacuum cleaners…

If you are curious (or just in a hurry)

My top choice for robot vacuum cleaner is the Neato D4. This is a great all-rounder and excellent value for money.

This is the BEST robot vacuum cleaner that I recommend – Neato D4.

The Neato D4 is packed with awesome features! You can’t beat it for value for money!

✔️Which Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is Best?

When it comes to robot vacuums these are the 6 best automatic vacuum cleaners to choose from (in price order). Compare all 6 Robot Vacuum Cleaners here.

Further down in this guide I will explain WHY these are the robot vacuums that I recommend the most. But for now, here are my top 6 Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners…

Robot Vacuum Cleaner Choices

✔️Compare ONLY the 6 Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners all on one page here!

Buying Tip: watch that page above for deals on the Neato D4 – if it’s under $400, it’s a GREAT deal. (That’s the one I’m buying next when it’s under $400!)

Top Robot Vacuums

Why Buy a Robot Vacuum

We might still be a few years away from having a Rosie Robot like The Jetsons, but a robot vacuum is the next best thing!

Best Robot Vacuum

To put it simply, a robot vacuum will help you save a LOT of time when cleaning (see my post about Quick Cleaning Hacks if you want to save more time!).

Rather than having to push the vacuum around the house yourself, you can just push a button and the robot will do all the work for you!

Robot vacuums have a sophisticated array of sensors and lasers that let it “see” your furniture and walls, and it will then use complicated algorithms to navigate around your room and clean every inch.

Well, in THEORY, that’s what robot vacuums are meant to do. I’ve owned a lot of different makes and models, but some of them are just not that great!

That’s why I decided to put together this Definitive Guide to Robot Vacuum Cleaners – to help you find the right bot vac for your needs and budget!

Benefits of a Robot Vacuum

I could talk about the benefits of a robot vacuum for hours, but I’ll try to keep it brief!

The basic benefits of owning a robot vacuum are:

  • Saves you a LOT of time. Think about how long it takes you to fully vacuum your whole house. Now imagine that you are saving all that time… pretty great, huh? It also saves you having to nag your kids to do their chores!
  • Cleans under furniture that you can’t reach with a normal vacuum. Most robot vacuums have a pretty low profile and can get underneath dressers, beds, sofas etc. No more dust-bunnies hiding under the bed!
  • Can clean floors more regularly. Dragging out your big vacuum, vacuuming and then putting it away again takes time and effort. With a robot vacuum, you just push a button, so you will probably end up cleaning your floors a LOT more often (I run mine every single day!).
  • Feeling like you live in the future! Yeah, this is probably my favorite benefit (because I’m a nerd)! Especially if you get one that connects to Google Home or Alexa. Being able to say “Alexa, tell Neato to start cleaning”, makes me feel like I’m living in the future!

Once you’ve owned a robot vacuum you will wonder how you ever lived without one!

I’ve owned at a bot vac of one type or another for the last 13 years and I think of it as a necessity, not a luxury! (Well, I do have 3 kids, 4 dogs, and 4 cats… so it’s my biggest sanity saver!)

Once you understand how they work, they are simple to use. And if you get one with a programmable schedule, then you won’t even need to think about vacuuming your floors again!

Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Disadvantages of a Robot Vacuum

To give you a total fair and balanced guide, I will point out some of the disadvantages of owning a robot vacuum, so you know exactly what you are getting into!

The main disadvantages are:

  • They require maintenance. The dirt bins tend to be on the small side, so you will need to empty it pretty much after every cleaning (if you don’t have pets or kids, then you might be able to go 2 or 3 cleanings before emptying it). It takes me about 30 seconds to dump out the dirt bin, so not a massive investment of time! You will also need to clean the brushes and filters regularly. But then again, you should do that for a regular vacuum too!
  • You will need to robot-proof your home. Kinda like having a baby or getting a puppy, you might need to robot-proof your home. Robots can get stuck between furniture, they can get caught on wire or long drapes, they might push lightweight baskets around, or a dozen different things. But once you’ve run your robot once or twice, you will be able to spot the problems and they are generally easy to fix.
  • You have to pick up toys, blankets, clothes etc. before it can run. Although this could be a benefit too, as it will make you keep your house tidier!
  • They can be expensive. Robot vacuums vary in price a LOT. They range from under $200 to well over $1,000! By figuring out which features you absolutely need and which you can survive without will help you find the best vac for your budget.
  • They take a while to clean a room. A lot of first-time owners complain about how long it takes the vacuum to clean. Yes, it’s true, it definitely takes longer for a robot vacuum to clean a room than if you did it yourself. But why does that matter?! As long as the job gets done, does it matter if it takes a little longer?
  • They can be noisy. It’s a vacuum, so of course, it makes some noise. If you decide to run the vacuum while you are at home, then you will hear it. The simple solution to this is to run it while you’re out!
  • Your kids and/or pets might play with it! I had a robot vacuum before I had children, so my kids take very little interest in it because there’s always been one around the house. But if you have little ones, they might want to play with it! Also, some dogs or cats might be terrified by it or they will try to attack it. Out of my four dogs and four cats, I only have one cat that is afraid of it. All the others completely ignore it (to the point that it will bump against them when they are laying on the floor!).

If you feel that you can live with these disadvantages, then a robot vacuum might well be right for you and your home!

(P.S. I think everyone can benefit from a robot vacuum – it’s just a matter of finding the RIGHT one!)

Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Best Features for a Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Robot vacuums come with dozens of different features and some of them have weird names that make you scratch your head, like Virtual Wall Lighthouse, No-Go Lines, Clean Base, Visionary Mapping Plus and more!

Here I am going to breakdown the most common features and explain the benefits of it, so you can decide if you NEED it, or if you can live without it!

Filter Type

Filters matter because they help filter the tiny particles of dust from your air (and in the side motor of your vac). HEPA filters are well known for their allergen trapping properties.

My Recommendation of Filter Type

This is more important if you have pets or people with allergies, but it is good to have a better quality filter. But have a look at after-market filters. I was able to buy a cheaper robot vacuum, but I purchased a better quality replacement filter (you need to replace the filters every 2-4 months anyway).

Dirt Bin Size

As I mentioned above in the “Disadvantages of Robot Vacuums”, the dirt bins can be on the small side, so it could mean that you will have to empty the bin every time you run the vacuum. But to be fair, most of the bins are very easy to remove and empty, so it doesn’t take too long.

My Recommendation on Dirt Bin Size

This is another “nice to have” but not a deal breaker for me. Because of the number of pets I have (a lot of fur!), I have to empty the bin every day anyway. So I won’t pay extra for a bigger bin, but it’s nice to have if it’s included.

Height

The height of the vacuum will determine if it can get under your furniture. If your sofa is close to the ground, but you want to vac underneath it, then you will need to pay attention to this.

My Recommendation on Height

To me, one of the benefits of a robot vac is that it can clean where I don’t normally (e.g. under the bed!), so a lower profile is something I look for.

Battery Life

Your robot vacuum runs on a battery and recharges at a base-station. The longer the battery life, the larger the area that the robot can clean in one go.

My Recommendation on Battery Life

This will depend on the layout of your home and how you plan to use it. If you are going to be cleaning just one room or a smaller space, then it doesn’t matter. But if you want it to clean an entire level of your home (like I do), then it does matter. One exception though… if you have a “charge and resume” vac (see next feature), then it might not be as important.

Charge & Resume

Charge and Resume basically means that when your robot’s battery is running low, it will return to its base station, charge, and then return to where it was to continue cleaning. This is very useful if you want to clean large areas or multiple rooms.

My Recommendation on Charge & Resume

This is THE deal breaker for me! I’ve owned robot vacuums that don’t have this feature and I’ve quickly replaced them. I want my robot vacuum to be able to clean an entire level of my home, and most robots don’t have the battery capacity to do this, so they need to be able to return to their base, charge and then resume.

Note: Sometimes the wording in the description of the vacs will make you think it has this feature. If it says “Automatic Recharges”, all this means is that the unit will return to the base to charge, it will NOT resume cleaning when it is fully charged again. Make sure you look for “charge and resume”.

Flooring Type

Some robot vacuums are better suited to hard floors or carpets. Depending on what sort of flooring you have, will depend on which robot you will want to buy.

My Recommendation on Flooring Type

If you only have carpets or hard-floors then you can look for this. But most robot vacuums are suitable for bare floors and low-medium pile carpet. Some robot vacuums say they have a built-in “mop” (this is different to actual mopping robots), and it’s basically a mopping pad that you can attach to the bottom. I don’t like these and don’t feel like they are worth paying extra for – they just don’t work that well!

Good for Pets

Just like traditional vacuums, some robot vacuums are designed for pet owners. They tackle pet hair better and generally have better filters too (to help with pet dander). If you have furry pets, then you will want to pay attention to this!

My Recommendation on Good for Pets

I have a lot of pets (4 dogs and 4 cats!), so this is an important feature for me. But if you have just one or 2 short haired pets, then it might not be as important. All robot vacs are pretty great for pet owners!

Scheduling

A lot of robot vacuums have this feature now and it is very useful. You can schedule what days/times your robot vacuum will run. This is great if you want to be able to run the vac while you are at work and come home to clean floors!

My Recommendation on Scheduling

For years I never used this feature. Mainly because I had little kids and we always had toys or clothes on the floor. I’d need to remember to pick everything up each morning, or else I would come home to find the vacuum caught up on Mr. Fluffy Bottom! Now my kids are older and we don’t have toys everywhere, I use the schedule feature every day. It means I don’t have to remember to start the vacuum in the mornings. So if your floors are normally clear of ‘stuff’, then this is an awesome feature.

Navigation Type

This is one of the key differences between the higher priced vacuums and the cheaper ones. The way the robot navigates around a room can vary from random (meaning it just randomly zips around the room and you hope it covers everything!) to sophisticated floor plan mapping.

My Recommendation of Navigation Type

OK, so this one depends on your budget. But I do strongly recommend against a “random” type of robot vacuum. Yes, they are cheaper, but they just don’t clean everywhere, so what’s the point? There is more advanced “Smart Navigation” that you will pay a lot more for, but this is needed for features like “Charge & Resume”, “Virtual No-Go Lines” or “Floor Plans”. To me, it’s worth paying the extra, because it gives you the advanced features that make robot vacuums REALLY useful!

No-Go Lines

Sometimes there are areas that you don’t want your robot to go. In that case, you will need to use no-go lines or virtual walls. The way these work depends on the manufacturer and some are effective… others not so much!

My Recommendation of No-Go Lines

Yep, you need these! There’s lots of different types – some are a magnetic tape that you lay on the floor, some are a “tower” that has a laser that the robot won’t pass and the more advance ones use an app and an interactive floor plan. Really, the method of how it blocks an area isn’t as important, just make sure you can do it some how!

WiFi-Connected

A lot of robot vacuums have WiFi connectivity, so they can connect with an app on your phone. This is an advanced feature but it can make it easier to use your robot vacuum. Just be aware if they connect to 2.4GHz or 5GHz networks. If you only have 5GHz network, then your new 2.4GHz vacuum won’t be able to connect.

My Recommendation of WiFi-Connected

This is one of those “nice to have” features. It adds a lot more features and control to your robot vacuum, but it does come at a price. If you have the budget, then go for it, but don’t worry if you want to stick to a lower-price model without it.

Smart-Home Compatibility

This is a newer feature that is gaining popularity. Many newer robot vacuums can connect to your voice assistants, like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa. This is a cute feature and can be practical in some situations.

My Recommendation of Smart-Home Compatibility

Well, I love pretty much every thing “smart-home”, so you would think that I would love this feature. But I find that I don’t really use it. I have my robot vacuum set to clean on a daily schedule, so I don’t need to ever manually turn it on. If you aren’t using the schedule feature, then this might be useful then. The only exception is that it is nice to be able to ask Alexa to pause the vacuum when the phone rings or I need quiet for a few moments.

Extras

The more advanced robot vacuum cleaners can come loaded with loads of fancy features. One that seems to be getting more popular is an automatic-emptying dirt bin. But these features come at a cost!

My Recommendation of Extra

Well, these are the things that will be unique to you. So if you can justify the expense of a fancy feature, then go for it. If you’re on a budget, then don’t worry about the bells and whistles!

Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners Review

Above I listed my top 6 robot vacuum cleaners and now I am going to breakdown exactly WHY they are my favorite (using the features listed above)!

✔️Eufy 11s

This is a great low-profile vacuum. It is one of the lowest available, but still has good suction for it’s size.

Eufy is a great electronics brand (even though you might not have heard of them) and they offer excellent value for money.

This model doesn’t offer “Charge & resume”, an app or WiFi, but it’s still a solid budget choice.

✔️Ecovacs Deebot N79S

This robot vacuum from Ecovacs gets good reviews from consumers and review sites for good reason! This is an excellent budget choice which is packed full of features!

Often on sale for cheaper than the Eufy 11s, the Ecovac N79S is packed full of features normally only found on higher priced models.

✔️iRobot Roomba 690

iRobot was the first to release consumer robot vacuums and they are still the leading brand. This is one of their entry-level robots.

The Roomba 690 is an OK machine and I’m sure anyone would be happy with it, but it lacks some features and is a little expensive in my opinion for what you get. There are better options out there.

✔️Neato D4

Neato is another leading robot vacuum brand and this is their current entry-level model. It has a lot of features that are normally only found on top of the range models.

It has advanced navigation technology that integrates with its app, so you can view a floor plan of where it’s cleaned. You can also map your floor plan and set no-go lines on the app, so no need for laser beacons or magnetic tape.

This is the robot vacuum that is currently cleaning my floors as I write this! I’ve tried many brands and models and this is my absolute favorite – excellent value for money!

✔️Samsung Powerbot R7070

Now we’re looking at some of the top-of-the-range models! The Samsung PowerBot R7070 is one powerful little machine!

It boasts one of best suction ratings of all robot vacuums and is also very smart!

It integrates with Samsung Smart Things, which is great if you already have a Samsung Smart Home set up. It also works with Alexa and Google Home.

But my favorite feature is the self-cleaning brush! Perfect if you have pets (or if you have long hair!).

✔️iRobot Roomba i7+

This is one of iRobot’s flagship models and you can see why! It is jam-packed with every feature you can imagine. But you’re going to pay for it!

Probably the best feature is the self-emptying dirt bin. Once the robot docks into the base station, it then opens its dirt bin and the base station sucks all the dirt out! It is stored in a disposable bag and can take up to 30 dirt bin loads! That’s a massive time and labor saving feature!

If your budget allows, then this is the one you want to buy!

Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair

Pet hair is such a problem for pet owners, that I thought I would make a separate section, JUST for my recommendation for the best robot vacuum for pet hair!

Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner

All the robot vacuums I discussed above will work OK for pet-homes, but if you want a machine that will really get all that pet hair, then you need to look at the Neato D6.

Neato D6 – Best for Pet Hair

The Neato D6 is very similar to the D4, so why pay the extra? Well, the following features are GREAT for pet owners!

  • Upgraded “Spiral Combo” brush, designed to collect more pet hair from carpets and hard floors.
  • Ultra-high performance filter (great for allergies!). Blocks particles as small as 0.3 microns!
  • Longer run-time. The D6 runs for up to 120 minutes, instead of the 75 minutes for the D4.
  • Side brush. The D6 also has a side brush which will help sweep up pet hair that collects along your baseboards.

If you have furry friends, this is the robot vacuum you need!

What does Consumer Reports say?

Consumer Reports had a slightly different top robot vacuum list. They do extensive testing and rate the vacuums on the following 4 areas:

  • Carpet Cleaning
  • Care Floor Cleaning
  • Navigation
  • Ease of Use

It’s worth noting that most of the robotic vacuums scored less than 7 on the “ease of use” on the Consumer Report ranking. I guess this is mainly because using a robot is very different to using a regular vacuum! You either need to use an app or have to navigate a menu on a tiny screen.

I also want to point out that I feel that this list is a little outdated. There are quite a few newer robot vacuums that aren’t included in their ranking and also some of the ones listed are discontinued and only available through third part sellers. The newer versions tend to be cheaper and have better features.

Consumer Report’s top 6 robotic vacuums are:

  1. Samsung POWERbot R7065 – List Price $600
  2. LG Hom-Bot CR5765GD – List Price $1,000
  3. Eufy 30C – List Price $300
  4. Eufy 11S – List Price $225
  5. iRobot Roomba e5 – List Price $400
  6. Samsung POWERbot R7040 – List Price $295

An interesting list!

Robot Vacuum – Frequently Asked Questions

Do robot vacuums actually work?

This going to depend on the brand you pick. But yes… robot vacuum cleaners do work! The very very cheap ones don’t have the advanced navigation, so they might miss areas of bang into your furniture. It’s worth investing in a good quality one.

What robot vacuum should I buy?

Well, that depends on your budget and needs. But a good all-rounder is the Neato D4. This mid-range robot vacuum will work well in pretty much all households.

What features do I need in a robot vacuum?

Again this is going to depend on your budget and lifestyle. Scroll up to my section on features to see the complete breakdown. (Personally, I have to have “charge and resume” as I expect the robot vacuum to clean an entire level on my home.)

Do robot vacuums work for pet hair?

Yep! Most of the robot vacuums listed above will be great on pet hair. But if you really want to tackle the fluff, then I recommend the Neato D6.

Will the robot vacuum fall down stairs?

No. The majority of robot vacuums have what is called a “cliff sensor”. When they get to an edge, the cliff sensor can “see” the drop and the robot vacuum steers the other way. Some types of cliff sensor (the ones in the Roombas mainly) can “see” dark rugs or floors as cliffs, so if you have a very dark rug, your Roomba might not clean it.

Does the robot vacuum bump into furniture? Will it damage my furniture?

This will depend on the type of robot you get. I once owned a Bobsweep, and that thing was terrible! It would push chairs around and seemed to ram into all my furniture! Picture frames would fall over when it hit my dresser! But all the other brands I’ve used have been much better! So my advice… don’t get a Bobsweep, and you’ll be OK!

Will a robot vacuum clean under my furniture?

Yep! They all vary in height, the Eufy 11s is the slimmest one I recommend and it can basically fit under most furniture. This makes life so much easier, but you don’t need to move furniture anymore to clean under it!

How much space can a robot vacuum clean?

This will depend on the type of robot vacuum that you buy. Some will run for much longer periods of time than others. This is also why the “charge & resume” feature is so important to me. Basically, when the robot’s battery is running low, it will return to it’s charging base, recharge and then resume cleaning where it left off. Because of this feature my Neato D4 can clean an entire level of my home.

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