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!
✔️ 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
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!)
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!
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!
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 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!
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.
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.
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”.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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)!