With robots there to help us clean up our homes, it’s almost like we’ve arrived in the era the Jetson’s cartoon depicted. In the past several years, robot vacuums have surged in popularity, but they are still somewhat of a luxury item given that our least expensive pick costs more than $100. Plus, they are better suited to routine upkeep than to deep cleaning. Just because you have a robot vacuum, doesn’t mean you can get rid of your upright vacuum completely. But if you want to use that upright... less often, this is a great tool to have in between. Think of it as tidying between full-on cleaning sessions.
When you’re ready to take the plunge and spend the money, here are the best robot vacuums on the market today.
01 of 07
If you’re looking for a quality robot vacuum that will work well and isn’t exorbitantly expensive (relatively speaking, of course), this is your best bet. The smart navigation system on this model sets it apart from the competition. This feature uses a full suite of sensors to help the robot maneuver throughout your home. It’s able to squeeze into tighter places that other bots might avoid, and it’s less likely to get stuck on furniture or other obstacles.
You can schedule the Roomba 650 to... automatically sweep your place every day if you want—ensuring you’ll come home to a clean house after work each night. And the machine knows how to dock itself and recharge. There’s very little hands-on time required to keep this model running smoothly. Just don’t forget to empty the dust bin on the vacuum regularly, especially if you have it set to clean daily.
In terms of cleaning power, it gets the job done with its 3-Stage Cleaning System that agitates, brushes, and suctions floors. It also automatically adjusts its settings for different floor types including carpet, hardwood, and laminate.
Reviews have been mostly positive with one customer saying he couldn’t live without it since the Roomba collects full bins of pet hair daily in his home. There are some faults, though, as no robot is perfect—it can get stuck in places or eat USB cords, but overall, most consumers who have one say that if you plan ahead and pick up things for the Roomba, it’s a time-saver and a worthwhile investment.
02 of 07
Though it’s a little pricier than the iRobot Roomba 650, many owners are equally devoted to their Neato Botvac D3. The biggest difference between Neato Botvac and the iRobot? The Neato can be controlled via app, meaning you can start, stop and schedule cleaning from your phone. It also has a D-shape design that some say is better able to clean close to walls and corners than round robots like the Roomba.
The Neato Botvac D3 is suitable for wood, tile and carpet and can clean about 1,800 square... feet in one hour. It has LaserSmart Navigation that helps it take the most efficient route while cleaning, and it automatically detects and moves around obstacles. Though the D3 comes with a standard brush and filter, the pricier D5 allows buyers to upgrade to higher-performance options and a longer-lived battery. Owners are pleased with performance, though there are complaints that it sometimes gets stuck, and some say the app doesn’t do enough or won’t connect to the vacuum.
03 of 07
As we mentioned above, robot vacuums can be a little pricey. You’re not only paying for the mid-level vacuum capability but also the operating system that will save you time and effort when it comes to cleaning. So, while this budget option is more than $100, it’s still a great deal for the product. The ILIFE V3s gives you three tools in one: a vacuum, sweeper, and mop. It also has “pet hair care technology” that tackles all the fur, dirt, hair, and crumbs that end up on your floor.
The motion... sensors help prevent this model from falling down your stairs or getting stuck on a door jamb, and the battery life can clean for an impressive 100 minutes. You can also schedule this model to sweep at specific times—all great features for a budget model.
This vacuum works best on hard flooring surfaces, so if you have wall-to-wall carpet, this probably isn’t the best buy for you. Customers have been satisfied with its pickup, although some have mentioned problems with scheduling and getting it to return to the charging station on its own. But many agree that despite the flaws, it’s a good device for the price.
04 of 07
A robotic vacuum has undeniable appeal for pet owners tired of cleaning up endless hair or other messes, but some can be underpowered for the job. The bObi Pet Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is specially designed for pet messes with multi-tier bristle and rubber brushes, and its modes tackle any mess, whether it needs sweeping, vacuuming or mopping. The unit also has UV sterilization and HEPA filtration, a welcome bonus for anyone sensitive to things like pet dander.
Other features include a wireless... remote, simple touchscreen buttons, a washable dustbin, and sensors that keep bObi from falling down stairs or ramming furniture and walls. Some reviewers say the sensors could work better – many say the robot didn’t reliably clean around furniture or other obstacles, and some say it has a hard time finding its charging base. However, most are pleasantly surprised at how well the bObi manages to suck up dirt and hair. They’re also pleased with battery life, which averages about 90 minutes per charge.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Nothing is more frustrating than a robotic vacuum that can’t finish its job because it runs out of juice. The ILIFE A4 aims to eliminate this issue with a powerful “fade free” battery that lasts up to 150 minutes – that’s a full 2.5 hours of cleaning time before the robot automatically docks and recharges. Its three-step cleaning system is suitable for thin carpet, hardwood and tile.
Features on the ILIFE A4 include a MAX mode that offers more powerful cleaning in dirtier areas; sensors and... low-profile casing that keep the robot away from stairs and other obstacles; advanced scheduling; and HEPA filtration. Several owners say the battery life is just as good as promised – some even report getting longer than 2.5 hours – though some caution that running the vacuum on carpet does deplete the battery faster than hard floors. Some also say the vacuum still becomes hung up on obstacles or cleans too erratically to be effective, but most are pleased with how this robot does, especially since it’s less expensive than much of the competition.
06 of 07
Got money to splurge on a robot vacuum? Go ahead and grab this high-end Roomba. It’s similar to our best overall pick, the Roomba 650, but a few additional features make it even more noteworthy (and more expensive).But it is also better quality and gives your floors a deeper clean while requiring less maintenance. This one can also be scheduled daily and works on all floor types.
It also comes with three “Virtual Lighthouse Beacons” that you can set up to prevent your Roomba from crossing into... specific areas of your home. If you find out that it gets stuck every time it tries to go from the kitchen to the mudroom, you can simply make the mudroom off limits.
Reviews have been really good, with many consumers saying this Roomba gives the floors an excellent clean, even on carpets—one customer said they had no idea how dirty their carpet was until they let this machine do its thing. Although just a word to the wise—one reviewer said it scratched their hardwood floors, so test it out in an inconspicuous place before letting it loose, which is a good rule to follow for any robot vacuum that you buy.
07 of 07
If you have lots of medium pile or plush carpet in your house, this is the vacuum model you’ll want to buy. The combo brush works well on both hard floors and carpet, unlike some other robot vacuums that are better at cleaning wood or tile. It also does a great job cleaning corners and edges near your baseboards, which can also be a challenge with some of the completely circular models. The scheduling feature is handy, and the unit will automatically return to its charging base when it completes... its cycle.
Users love how much hair and dirt it picks up in one pass, as well as the fact that it moves through rooms in more of a straight line, as compared to the Roomba which goes in somewhat random patterns. One thing many reviewers have noted is that this device is better if you have an open floor plan, and you do need to pick up as much as you can to clear a path for it as it doesn’t necessarily deal with obstacles well. But look at it this way—it’s a good motivation to keep the house tidy!
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