Best and Effective Robot Vacuums Cleaners never get bored or distracted, and they don’t mind working every day. In most homes, they keep the floors tidy with barely any effort—pet hair and crumbs just disappear before you even notice a mess. After testing dozens of robot vacuum models over the past several years, we think most people should look first at the simple, tried-and-true iRobot Roomba 614 or the Wi-Fi–connectable Roomba 675.
This tried-and-true robot vacuum is much more durable and repairable than similar bots from other brands and is better at cleaning rugs too. It’s a nimble navigator that rarely gets stuck, though it works best when it only has to clean three or four rooms at a time.
This is essentially the same bot as the Roomba 614—plus Wi-Fi connectivity that enables remote control from a smartphone app, scheduling, and integration with some popular smart-home voice assistants.
We’ve been testing Roomba 600 series robots 2017, and no other affordable robots are as durable as these. Even if a part does break down after a few years, it’s easy to swap in a new part at home, and iRobot has an excellent track record for keeping spare parts available for every model the company has ever made. The Roomba 614, 675, and other 600 series models are also better at cleaning rugs than other affordable bots, because they’re the only ones with two brush rolls.
The navigation system is semi-random, so the bot looks pretty silly as it bonks around under furniture and occasionally drives in circles, but it’s perfectly effective for cleaning smaller spaces. (One of our upgrade picks will work better in a larger space.) And it rarely gets stuck under furniture. These bots are a little bit taller, louder, and rougher than other affordable bots like the Eufy RoboVac 11S, but we think most people will find that the added durability is worth it.
Budget pick Robot Vacuums Cleaners
Quiet, nimble, and affordable This affordable robot vacuum is the quietest we’ve ever tested and fits under more furniture. While it works best in small spaces, it rarely gets stuck and does a good job on bare floors and short-pile rugs. However, it’s not as durable as a Roomba.
No other robot vacuum blends into the background like the Eufy RoboVac 11S. It can clean almost every nook of your house, yet you’ll barely notice it. That’s largely because it sounds more like a fan than a vacuum, so even if you’re at home while it’s running, it shouldn’t get on your nerves. It’s also unlikely to get stuck and quit midway through a cleaning session. While it can’t clean plush rugs as well as the Roomba 675,
it’s strong enough to keep bare floors and short-pile rugs tidy. Like most affordable robots, it relies on a semi-random navigation system, which works well in smaller spaces but can struggle in larger homes. The main problem—and the reason that it’s no longer our top pick—is that it doesn’t seem to be nearly as durable as the Roomba 600 series, according to some reader feedback, and most of its major parts (like its wheels and brush transmissions) can’t be replaced even if you wanted to repair it. Eufy makes several similar models, including the RoboVac 11S Max, RoboVac 15C, RoboVac 30, and RoboVac 30C Max, which offer additional features like Wi-Fi, extra suction, and tape you can use to place boundaries your robot won’t cross. Our advice: Try to buy Eufy bots when they cost less than $230 or, if possible, even $200. Prices on Eufy bots can swing wildly, and a representative from Eufy told us that you shouldn’t pay full price because discounts are always around the corner.
Upgrade pick Robot Vacuums Cleaners
Supersmart bot, great price This robot vacuum can quickly and gracefully navigate large spaces, and it offers a robust and flexible barrier-setting feature via smartphone app for a lot less money than anything we’ve seen so far.
Why you should trust me
I’ve written about robot Vguides, including those about cordless, handheld, and traditional plug-in styles.) I’ve kept notes on almost 200 different robots and tested nearly 40 models from 10 brands, running hundreds and hundreds of cleaning cycles in my own homes (I’m on my third apartment since I started on the robot vacuum beat).
In addition to my own testing, I’ve gotten many other perspectives:
- I’ve spoken directly with dozens of robot-vacuum owners, who live in all kinds of homes: apartments and single-family houses, old and new construction, lots of small rooms or open-concept spaces. Some of them live alone, others have a few kids and hairy dogs.
- I’ve paid attention to all of the comments, tweets, and emails from our readers, including feedback on our picks and expectations about bots in general.
- I’ve lurked on the Robot Reviews enthusiast forum and messaged with a few of its members.
- I’ve read hundreds of reviews posted on big retailers’ websites, including Amazon and Best Buy. We’ve learned about quality-control problems and design flaws in a few models this way.
- I’ve talked to representatives from just about all the major robot vacuum brands, including iRobot (Roomba), EcoVacs, Neato, iLife, Electrolux, Roborock, Samsung, LG, and Dyson.
- I’ve tracked down a few former robot-vacuum engineers, including Bruno Hexsel, a former software engineer for Neato, and Duane Gilbert, a former hardware engineer for iRobot.
- I’ve looked at reviews from other publications to see if I missed anything in my own testing and reporting. Two of the best are Vacuum Wars, which has excellent video reviews and head-to-head comparisons of some of the most noteworthy robot vacuums (and a lot of good comments on the videos), and TechGearLab, whose thorough roundup favors different features from ours.
This guide accounts for all of the robot vacuums available in the US as of October 2019. We try to update this guide a few times per year to keep up with all of the latest noteworthy models. If you think we’ve missed one worth covering, let us know—though we may already be testing it.
How we tested
For every robot, I run at least two regular cleaning cycles in my apartment. It’s a challenging environment: about 1,000 square feet chopped into nine rooms, with lots of tall thresholds. There’s no permanent carpet, but there are 10 area rugs, with styles ranging from lightweight doormats to rubber-backed, medium-pile rugs that take up half a room. I have a long-haired cat, a long-haired wife, and a toddler, who all leave plenty for the robot to pick up (for my part, I spill a lot of coffee grounds). It’s a great space for exposing a robot’s weaknesses.
As long as a robot can clean my apartment pretty well, without getting stuck or lost too often, I’ll put it through some stress tests.
In one test, I run the bot in a room with two chairs, some stray USB cables, a sock, a flat-weave area rug with uneven edges and tassels, and a tall threshold—several of the most-common bot-trapping obstacles in one place.
In another test, I pour out about an eighth of a cup of all-purpose flour across an area rug and bare floor (including some against a baseboard) and let the bot try to suck it up for a couple of minutes. This dust-pickup test gives me a visual gauge for each bot’s raw cleaning power.
I have a long-haired cat, a long-haired wife, and a toddler, who all leave plenty for the robot to pick up (for my part, I spill a lot of coffee grounds).
Then I sprinkle a 2-ounce mixture of cat litter and coffee grounds around my dining room, which has a mix of bare wood and a low-pile rug as well as a big table with three dinner chairs, an IKEA high chair, and a bench underneath it. I run each bot for 25 minutes or until it stops on its own, whichever comes first. When it’s done, I weigh how much debris each bot managed to pick up.
The dust- and crumb-pickup stress tests are only meant to give us an idea of each bot’s cleaning power—they don’t tell the whole story, and we don’t weigh them too heavily when we’re deciding what to recommend.
I make sure to try out anything related to the interface or user experience: companion smartphone apps (and all of the features within, like room or zone labeling, no-go lines, and suction adjustments), compatibility with voice assistants like Alexa, the scheduling system, and, for the bots that still use them, boundary markers, physical remotes, and anything else along those lines.
Using a noise-meter app, I measure the volume and frequency of each bot from about 10 feet away as they work.
Then I check how easy it is to take each bot apart and find replacement parts online.
When I find robots that do well on all of those tests, I run them as much as possible for at least a week to see if they perform consistently. Some bots struggle more with navigation than the first rounds of testing revealed, in ways that I wouldn’t have thought of. For example, I found that bots in the Roomba 900 series struggled around sunset and that software updates to the Electrolux Pure i9 sometimes screwed up the navigation.
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Digital Marketing Strategist Specializing in Content Writing, E-Commerce, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Marketing, Social Media Outreach, Link-Building, Social Media Marketing. Currently, I’m a Personal Blogger and E-commerce Entrepreneur for both of my websites. However open to Freelance Projects anytime.
Marketing at https://www.sureshopify.store and various Freelance Projects with the help of tools like Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Ahrefs, Semrush, Hootsuite, Hubspot, and many more. I love learning new tools and things to implement in my strategies and making a difference.
I have over 5 years of experience working with Brands, Entrepreneurs, and Influencers creating cohesive strategies that bring all of the pieces together. Now I primarily work with entrepreneurs who want to build their audience and launch something big on the internet
Digital Marketing Strategist Specializing in Content Writing, E-Commerce, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Marketing, Social Media Outreach, Link-Building, Social Media Marketing. Currently, I'm a Personal Blogger and E-commerce Entrepreneur for both of my websites. However open to Freelance Projects anytime. Marketing at https://www.sureshopify.store and various Freelance Projects with the help of tools like Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Ahrefs, Semrush, Hootsuite, Hubspot, and many more. I love learning new tools and things to implement in my strategies and making a difference. I have over 5 years of experience working with Brands, Entrepreneurs, and Influencers creating cohesive strategies that bring all of the pieces together. Now I primarily work with entrepreneurs who want to build their audience and launch something big on the internet