If you’re a fan of the iconic magazine “Popular Mechanics” (it’s been around since your grandfather’s era), you will appreciate the magazine’s sense of humor when a columnist compiled a nostalgic history of the robot vacuum cleaners.
The title they chose? “This Sucks: The Messy History of the Vacuum Cleaner.” It’s not only a clever title but memorable as well because the evolutionary journey of this piece of equipment took serious twists and turns before it morphed into the appliance homeowners can’t live without.
According to writer Matt Blitz, there’s a Vacuum Cleaner Museum, so if the urge to make a pilgrimage to this Missouri attraction is too strong to resist after you finish reading this review, don’t pick out your new appliance yet. And if the urge to make sure your newest cleaning mate stays on duty until you return home to the cleanest floors on the block, make it a robotic vacuum rather than an upright.
Making a clean sweep of it
How would you fare if asked when the first vacuum was invented? Though brooms and other manual floor-cleaning tools have been identified by archaeologists undertaking digs that go back as far as BC 2300, the final design for a lowly broom didn’t reach recognizable stages until a Massachusetts farmer named Levi Dickenson took pity on his wife as she attempted to clean the floors of their home in 1797.
She used a homemade tool that shed its bristles faster than dirt could be disbursed, so Dickenson did what any good hubby would do: he made her a sturdy broom using sorghum stalks, usually discarded once the grain used for a livestock feed were culled and served to the animals.
You can’t keep a good idea down-especially in the New World where settlers invented the concept of entrepreneurship. Dickenson whipped up some more sorghum brooms, began selling them (with his sons) and by 1850, both the new nation and his new enterprise were thriving. A precursor to the iconic Fuller Brush Man? Perhaps.
There is no stopping progress and equally creative thinkers realized that brooms are good but more sophisticated ways to clean floors are better. When did the first carpet sweeper come along? Surprisingly, just eight years later in 1858. A Bostonian inventor borrowed technology being developed in England to design a “carpet sweeper.” Curious to see Hiram Herrick’s invention? Go to https://patents.google.com/patent/US21233 to see this original design.
Plug it in!
Did the invention of electricity change the world for the better? That depends upon your outlook. But electricity alone wasn’t responsible for the evolution of vacuuming devices. A clever dude named Daniel Hess invented a machine that draws dust and dirt using air drafts in 1860, but the contraption had to be hand-cranked to work!
It took 60-year-old James Murray Spangler to put all the puzzle pieces together when he used a pillowcase, broom and electric motor to help him do his job as a Canton, Ohio department store janitor. Using a ceiling fan motor to push air into a rotating brush held together with a leather belt, he was able to quit his job in 1907 when he founded the Electric Suction Sweeper Company thanks to capital investors and the inspiration of cousin Susan Hoover. Yes, that Hoover.
A future without dust?
Can you put a price on an electric vacuum capable of hygienically cleaning surfaces that help to keep families healthy? Probably not. But inventors never stopped trying.
From more powerful motors that drew about 1.5 amps and operated at 3000 rpm to contemporary vacuums capable of drawing 11 amps at 100,000+ rpm, an industry based on engineering fast and efficient machines flourished, and with it, auxiliary industries making supplies necessary to keep vacuum cleaners running.
From cloth bags to paper collection bags and from HEPA filters to dirt collection canisters, homeowners figured there was nothing more to be seen as companies like Dyson pioneered the “status symbol” vacuum costing thousands of bucks and other companies jumped onboard the technology train, producing cheaper, more feature-filled and more stylish appliances.
That’s when the iRobot Roomba came along. The year was 2002. Homeowners in love with technology turned to this stealthy circle of electronical engineering to pick up dirt on its own thanks to sophisticated technology. The Roomba started the trend. Years later, just about everyone eager to eliminate laborious housework is taking that ride!
Best Robot Vacuums 2023
You can’t ask your robotic vacuum to pick up the clothes your kids leave on the floor, and it’s not a wise idea to let your cat use this appliance as a magic carpet (even if you can get her to sit on it). But it is easy to fall in love with robotic vacuums because they relieve you of a boring, time-consuming task and they are very personable if you like to converse with your appliances.
Robotic vacuums have become so popular among homeowners that “over two million units have been sold”. And while they’re not perfect (ask anyone who has been awakened in the middle of the night because sensors implanted in the machine couldn’t stop it from bumping into walls), new features are being added with each iteration.
While Roomba remains the “grandfather” of this vacuum niche, it’s getting plenty of company from some of the most well-known manufacturers on the planet, as well as new start-ups eager to make a commercial mark by reinventing the robotic sweeper.
To help you make a decision about which one you’ll welcome into your home, the following table offers highlights before you move on to our longer and more details reviews. Each robotic vacuum’s retail price is included on the table, but if you your homework, you can save money and perhaps get a pricier model that suits your budget.
Care and feeding of your robotic vacuum
We appreciate “Consumer Reports” and turned to these unbiased testers to figure out whether or not it makes sense to add a robotic vacuum to a home’s cleaning arsenal or whether upright and canister vacuums are still perfectly capable of doing the job. If you’re thinking of switching, these 10 tips will give you an idea of what you will be required to do and what you can expect if a robotic vacuum is on the job 24/7.
- Give your robot a clear path to patrol at night by putting away pet and kid’s toys, plus bulky items that can keep your cleaner stalled until it simply goes away.
- Read all of the owner instructions if you intend to install “boundary strips” that create safe zones for items that you’ve no intention of moving. Close off rooms that you don’t want your robot to visit.
- If you live in a multi-floor home, check your robotic vacuum’s feature list to make sure it was programmed with a “cliff sensor” that renders it capable of stopping short before tumbling down stairs.
- Don’t block the vacuum’s cleaning dock. Even if you can’t see it, robotic vacuums operate by low-frequency radio signals or infrared beams that point the way home once the job is done. By the way, not every robotic vac uses a docking station; some get powered up via a cord plugged into a wall outlet.
- Keep tabs on all of the fittings that keep your robot moving. Regularly check the wheels, motor, brushes, rollers and dustbin so the unit doesn’t malfunction due to a build-up of dirt and grime.
- If your robot comes with Wi-fi connectivity, you can operate it remotely. If it doesn’t offer this upgrade, you may want to consider it if you want to be able to control your appliance from your smartphone.
- Cleaning time and distance covered rely upon the sophistication of the technology in the unit you choose, but the thicker the carpet pile, the more time it could take to patrol floors.
- Like most wireless technology, you may find the most fault with the battery installed in your robot vacuum. Batteries drain faster when botvacs spend most of their time on thick pile, so it could wind up returning to its docking station more frequently to finish the job.
- Even if you’ve fallen in love with your robot vacuum, it still can’t compete with today’s powerhouse uprights and canisters, no matter how much you pay for it. That stated, it will still give you more time to do what you want because nothing beats these machines for touch-ups and regular maintenance.
- According to scientists at iRobot (home to the Roomba), if you add a robotic vacuum to your cleaning arsenal, you can eliminate around 2 hours of cleaning per week and “as much as 110 hours of cleaning a year.” No wonder you’re shopping for one!
1. ECOVACS DEEBOT N79: Best Vacuum for Low-pile Carpet & Floors
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At first glance, the Deebot resembles every robot vacuum on the market, but appearances can be deceiving. First off, the fine print advises shoppers that this appliance is designed for low-pile carpet and hard floors, so if your home is lavished with carpet so thick, wearing high heels can be problematic, you should probably take a pass on this product.
But let’s say your floors meet the aforementioned criteria of being either carpet-free or the rugs adorning your rooms are of the low-pile type. You’re going to be very happy with this tried-and-tested robot vacuum because it’s Wi-fi enabled.
That means a remote control allows you to do all of the hard work associated with this self-propelled vacuum without getting off the couch, and because it can be interfaced with your smartphone via the appropriate app, you get ultimate control from a variety of places.
Like all vacuums on today’s market, the Deebot promises the benefit shoppers seek most: extremely strong suction. And when time comes to ascertain the health of this vacuum, that handy remote control allows you to schedule and track sweeps, figure out if the battery life is dwindling and if something goes wrong, you get an error alert.
Both Apple and Android compatible, you can’t chat up Alexa via this robot vacuum, but you may not care because you get other perks. A 1-year warranty accompanies this aggressive cleaner so if you’ve misjudged your choice, you can return the Deebot to the store or website and select an alternate product capable of doing the job.
- This robot vacuum is engineered with a Smart Motion Navigation system.
- The cleaning system is 3-tiered: Direct suction, helix brush roll and dual side brush modes.
- Use the Smart Motion auto-clean function interfaced with three specialized cleaning modes.
- The Lithium battery (100 minutes per charge) delivers quiet, consistent performance.
- The Deebot’s safety technology keeps the vacuum from colliding with immovable objects.
- Soft, tough bumpers protect walls and the electronics inside the unit when the two collide.
- Excellent customer support in addition to that warranty.
- Not every Deebot purchaser found customer service to be outstanding.
- Electronics could malfunction sending confusing signals about which areas need attention.
- Could get stuck repeatedly if you’ve misjudged the thickness of your carpet.
- The Deebot performs poorly when carpet is littered with pet or human hair.
- Could stop for no reason in mid-clean or repeat the same small area until it runs out of steam.
- Suction power may not meet your standards.
- You get what you pay for. You may find that this affordable appliance still needs bugs worked out.
2. iRobot Roomba 980: Best Performing Icon with Remote Control
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If you’re all about branding and prefer to acquire products after they’ve been on the market for years because it can take time to reach states of perfection, prepare to take out your checkbook (or a home improvement loan) for the robot vacuum that started the trend.
At three times the price of the aforementioned Deebot, the iRoomba 980 is truly state of the art, and while not every robot vacuum works with Alexa devices, this is one does.
Get used to being found talking to your iRobot because voice control is at the heart of this vacuum’s technological nerve center. You use your smartphone to handle the heavy lifting; this includes everything from scheduling regular cleaning sessions to programming customized ones that kick in when your home gets extra dirty and needs a more intense approach.
Pile depth? Pile it on. Thanks to iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with assisted Visual Localization, you can make quick work of the largest floor plan. How long will this appliance run before running out of steam? Up to 120 minutes, at which point it automatically re-charges itself and soldiers on like a champion.
The 980 is driven by what the company calls its AeroForce Cleaning System, state-of-the-art technology that uses Power Boosts to loosen grime and lift it up, so the suction function can kick in and eliminate the soil. This process is extremely effective because it uses 10-times more air power than competitor units and the Roomba 980 never met pet hair it couldn’t vanquish.
As a matter-of-fact, a patent has been taken out on those brushes because they render pet-related waste tangle free, so it can be swept away more efficiently. Got a couple of Collies or Maine Coons around your place? You may finally have found the answer to your pet dander problem.
- Never met a thick carpet pile it couldn’t conquer seamlessly.
- Has 10x the air power (the AeroForce 3-stage system) of typical robot vacuums.
- One-touch programming and operation is managed via Wi-fi connectivity.
- Runs for two hours before it automatically recharges itself.
- An improved design over Roomba 600 and 700 series cleaners.
- Auto-adjust cleaning head keeps brushes at proper heights, making depth changes on the fly.
- Smart sensors are intuitive, allowing for smoother navigation.
- The price may not be worth the quality of the job this robot vacuum performs.
- Could scratch hardwood floors if left to its own devices, say dissatisfied customers.
- Not as easy to program if you’re not Wi-fi savvy or don’t have a grandson to do the job.
- Could get stuck in the same spot repeatedly or get jammed under furniture for no reason.
- If the Roomba brain “thinks” the waste bin is full, it won’t run-even if the bin is empty.
- Extremely thick pile doesn’t always welcome the Roomba 980, even if ads say it will.
- If a part breaks, the company won’t replace it, rather suggesting one buy a new robot vacuum instead.
3. Eufy RoboVac 11+: Best Second-Generation Improved Bot
- BoostIQ™ Technology**: New feature automatically increases suction power when extra vacuuming strength is needed to get the best clean (Power Boost is now known as...
The Eufy Robo Vac with Boost IQ makes lots of promises for a second-generation model. The company has upgraded the vacuum’s bumper and improved the section inlet, for starters, and this self-charging appliance could be the answer to your pet fur and dander dilemma and if your carpet pile isn’t too high.
Designed to be used on medium-high carpet pile and hardwood floors, this reinvented robot vacuum was once marketed as the product known for offering the most effective power boosts until the company decided to give this feature the new name of BoostIQ. As a result, it’s smarter and it even looks the part.
The upgraded bumper system does a much better job of circumnavigating furnishings and other obstacles than its “former self,” and one of the reasons the company can make this claim has to do with the inventive new 3-Point Cleaning System. The rolling brush at the heart of the action has been reconfigured, so it’s not just wider but two side brushes work harder so the unit doesn’t get hung up on pile.
There have been improvements in terms of aesthetics, too. A protective, anti-scratch, tempered glass cover gives this robot vacuum a sleek look and the obstacle-avoiding infrared sensor is the most intuitive feature of all because it stops the unit from going over cliffs (stairs).
This handy appliance will keep operating efficiently until the battery runs out at around 100 hours, then it recharges itself automatically to keep going until the territory it has been programmed to cover runs out.
The dust collector is roomy, so you’ll empty it less frequently and because its silhouette is thinner, it can scoot under furnishings with short legs, so no area is immune from its reach. There’s a 12-month warranty attached to this tool so should anything go wrong, you have return recourse that lasts a full year.
- New and improved technology that offers quiet running.
- 100 hours of continuous cleaning and on-the-go recharge capability.
- Use the remote control to program and monitor functions.
- Easy to set up and easier to follow use instructions provided by the maker.
- Sensor indicators flash if the robot vacuum needs attention or it’s about to recharge.
- Gives shoppers more extras than comparably-priced botvacs.
- Choose from two power modes designated for carpet or floors.
- While the recharge function kicks in automatically, it must perpetually return to the docking station.
- Can be tripped up by cords that lie in the path of this unit when it moves around.
- Suction may not be as strong as you like, and this bot could go astray, missing coverage areas.
- Consumers report that vacs fail to return to the docking station for recharging.
- You can’t replace the battery if it dies; you must buy a new vacuum.
- The RoboVac could malfunction after encountering thick obstacles, like dog feces.
- There are mixed reviews about how well this unit traps pet hair.
4. Shark ION ROBOT 750: Most Intelligent Bot at an Affordable Price
- THREE BRUSH TYPES. ONE POWERFUL CLEAN: Tri-Brush System combines side brushes, channel brushes, and a multi-surface brushroll to handle debris on all surfaces.
If you rely upon the Amazon Alexa system to keep your life on track, the first thing you’ll find impressive about the Shark Ion 750 is that the two of them are literally on speaking terms! So, count on your iPhone or Android smartphone to keep the dialog going once you download the necessary app.
The Shark 750 can be programmed to start moving across your floors from any starting point, and it’s one of the industry’s most successful products for pet parents who spend their days and nights obsessing about hair, dust and dander. The self-cleaning brush roll is a particularly popular part of this system since it doesn’t discriminate between short and long hair; it collects them all.
The brain behind the Shark Ion robot vacuum is backed by the company’s “smart sensor” technology that boosts this appliance’s ability to navigate effortlessly between obstacles, furnishings and just about anything else you or the kids throw on the floor and forget to pick up.
Weighing in at less than 6 pounds, the Shark Ion gives you one-touch activation, the cabinet’s silhouette is slim enough to slide under low-set furnishings and when the unit sets out to cover the territory you’ve indicated, it can take on around 1500-square feet before it runs out of steam.
At that point, the long-life lithium-ion battery will re-energize it sufficiently to give the robot vacuum another hour of service.
Does your home require several docking ports? You’re in luck. Shark docks are “completely interchangeable,” says one Robot 750 owner, so your bot can report to the one that’s most convenient. According to owners who have converted to the Shark Ion from the Roomba, even baseboards get gentler treatment when the robot vacuum encounters them, so keep that in mind if you want a robovac that runs less than half the price of the iRobot Roomba.
- Comes with boundary markers in the start-up package so you don’t have to purchase separately.
- Control your bot from either your home’s wireless system or remotely.
- Bumpers won’t mar or scar walls or other obstacles they encounter.
- This Shark won’t clean out your bank account or max out your credit card; it’s affordable.
- Dog owners write love letters to Shark about this bot’s ability to “wrangle” bountiful amounts of pet hair.
- Easy-to-empty bin designed to help you avoid soiling your hands.
- If you’ve owned a noisy robot vacuum in the past, you can kiss that problem goodbye.
- Could get stuck on obstacles and close doors on itself, so it can’t return to dock.
- Some incidents of lost connectivity reported; most were temporary.
- Trying to get technological assistance from customer service could prove frustrating.
- Despite the navigation system, this bot could get stuck under shelves and have trouble crossing thresholds.
- Owners report sweeping wheel stoppage, even when debris is removed from around the wheels.
- You’ll be required to access two different modalities to employ the Wi-fi function.
- There’s no internal navigational memory and if not set correctly, this robot vacuum could scratch floors.
5. Samsung Powerbot R7070: Best Suction-power Improvement over Earlier Models
- 40x More Suction Power – Delivers 40x more powerful cleaning on all floor types when compared to a conventional robot vacuum with a circular design
If you’re wild about statistics and count on them when you shop for goods, you’ll want to know that Samsung claims its POWERbot R7070 has 4-times more suction power than earlier iterations of this vacuum. So, if you’ve a long history of robot vacuum ownership that disappoints in this arena, putting this model atop your short list isn’t a bad idea.
Featuring a self-clean brush engineered to un-tangle hair and other materials that can wrap around and clog brushes, the POWERbot also features the Edge Clean Master system designed to poke into corners and wall edges to remove debris and dirt that collects in these spaces.
Fed up with clogs throughout the robot vacuum system? This machine is built with CycloneForce technology, a level of centrifugal force that’s so efficient, it separates dirt from debris as it’s funneled into the waste compartment, so it doesn’t impede suction strength.
Like competitor companies, Samsung has attached a proprietary name to its sensor system: it’s called Visionary Mapping Plus and FullView 2.0 Sensor. Lots of powerful words to describe the way the R7070 avoids obstacles and redefines the process of path cleaning. You can access the coverage map on your app that shows you where the bot has cleaned, just in case you don’t trust it to go where it’s programmed!
Beneath all of these clever features is the Wi-fi connectivity that makes all of this cleaning possible. Choose your favorite device: Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa for voice control or interface your smartphone via Smart Home or Samsung Connect to control every facet of your robot vacuum.
Programming is a breeze thanks to the sophistication of this vacuum’s design and Samsung proves that it’s the little things that count when assessing product satisfaction: This POWERbot model sits atop EasyPass wheels. They’re a little larger than most and that enables the vacuum to adjust to floor or vacuum pile differentials, so this bot won’t get stuck as often.
- Interfacing the robot vacuum with your iPhone app is a simple process; even for non-techies.
- Highly rated by folks whose floors are a mix of carpet and wood because transitions are seamless.
- Delivers a “thoughtful” approach when confronting baseboards to avoid damaging trim.
- Tackles thicker-than-usual pile thanks to adjustable motor speed settings.
- When run on the “Quiet” setting, the POWERbot won’t disturb sleepers while it does its job.
- There’s a way to avoid using the Samsung app if you employ Alexa integration systems.
- The HEPA filtration system goes a long way to helping people with allergies breathe easier.
- May still smash into objects despite Visionary Mapping and FullView Sensor 2.0 capability.
- When programmed for High speed cleaning, you may need noise-cancelling headphones.
- May not cover all of the surfaces you desire if it gets hung up on obstacles and stalls.
- The dust bin is small, so frequent clean-outs may be required to keep this robot vacuum humming efficiently.
- The magnetic floor strips used to constrain cleaning areas don’t always work.
- App interface critics insist Samsung rarely updates the app and when they do, bugs can crash the system.
- Don’t believe everything you read about this robot vacuum’s ability to deal with pet hair.
6. ILIFE A4s: Best Warranty Policy for an Affordable Robovac
- The Gen 3 CyclonePower cleaning system with a strong suction provides thorough and concentrated cleaning. Adjusts to floor types - thin carpet, tile, hardwood, laminate &...
Is there a difference between a regular 12-month warranty and a worry-free 12-month warranty? You’ll find out for yourself if you decide to add this ILFIE A4s to your cleaning arsenal.
This robot vacuum may look like its competitors, but if you use run time as your criteria for making your decision, you’ll want to know that the A4s is armed with a battery that runs for up to 140 minutes before it returns to its docking station. That’s longer than Roomba claims by 20 minutes.
Whether you prefer to program the ILIFE so it runs on a pre-set schedule or you like to wing it, this appliance’s smart sensor system is engineered to avoid collisions, backing away from furniture legs, walls and clutter while snapping up dust and dirt along its route.
The manufacturer’s ads say that this unit won’t fall off stairs, so if you’ve had this issue in the past and live in a multi-level home, this perk alone could win your favor.
The 3-step cleaning system gives you options that adjust suction power to meet the demand of the carpet or floor being swept. The tangle-free roller brush, paired with 2 side brushes, attack grime, dust and pet hair, dumping everything into a roomy bin that best serves this robot vacuum if it’s cleaned out often.
Use the remote control–called Active Max mode–to set cleaning parameters so the bot goes only where you want it to travel during that 140-minute max run time. The sturdy Li-ion battery will keep the unit moving in-between charges, and while this vac isn’t suitable for thick carpet or dark wood floors, this ILIFE will tidy things up everywhere else.
Weighing in at less than 5 pounds, this vacuum is heavy enough to remain stable as it meets floor height adjustments and it’s priced to sell, especially when compared to robot vacuums with comparable features.
Sadly, there is one thing this robotic won’t do-come home on demand. One owner left his front door open and his ILIFE escaped. This bot has no GPS system so for all we know, the owner is still searching for his ILIFE.
- Highly recommended by owners who suffer from allergies.
- Enjoy extremely strong suction courtesy of Max Mode, especially if you have pets.
- Set the robot vacuum on its normal setting and you likely won’t hear it making its rounds.
- You get a spare HEPA filter with purchase in addition to the one already installed.
- It’s very easy to find replacement parts for the ILIFE.
- The dust bin is roomy enough to handle multiple cleanings.
- The battery gives users an extra hour of cleaning on Max Mode and another 15 minutes in normal mode.
- If you’ve set your sites on owning a Wi-Fi enabled product, keep shopping.
- Could get stuck in place more often than higher-priced robotic sweepers.
- Stuck wheels have damaged floors if the unit isn’t stopped immediately upon discovery.
- You might have to employ foam barriers to keep it from ramming glass doors.
- Owners report that this unit doesn’t always return to its docking station.
- This robot vacuum is better suited to homes with open space layouts.
- Could develop loud squeaks over time not remedied by lubricants.
7. MOOKA: Best Competitively-priced Bot with Full range-of-motion Capability
- ENJOY SMARTER LIFE – This Robot Vacuum Cleaner from Mooka will no doubt change the way you live. Thanks to smart mapping technology, it seamlessly keeps track of where...
There’s a lot to love about the MOOKA, including the cute name that’s artfully embellished across both the robot vacuum cabinet and the remote control that allows you to run it from your favorite chair. This unit is engineered to suck up pet hair and stow it in the waste bin without having the hair get all tangled up enroute to the bin.
Designed to handle thin carpets and hard floors exclusively, the MOOKA admits that it’s the wrong appliance if your carpet pile is so thick–in fact, it could stall or leave grooves in the carpet–but when it comes to cleaning other surfaces, it will keep going effortlessly, enabled by drop-sensing and anti-bump technology.
The vacuum battery within the MOOKA is rechargeable via the docking station, but you should keep a supply of remote control batteries on hand so you’re not caught short if the remote control stops working.
Use that remote control to set up a regular automatic cleaning schedule. The auto-adjusting cleaning head will get the signal and travel throughout rooms confronting differing surfaces (e.g., going from tile to rugs; low-pile carpet to wood), while automatically adjusting itself to depth changes.
A perennial favorite of homeowners seeking a reasonably-priced robot vacuum after having owned more expensive models, the MOOKA charges via the power cable that doesn’t have to be plugged in. As a result, this appliance experiences “a full range of motion” that keeps it going for between 100- and 120-minutes on a single, full charge.
Set the timer to engage this appliance and twin side brushes, a rolling brush and suction combine to tackle all sorts of grime including cat litter and other pesky granular soil that can often be overlooked when a vacuum doesn’t dig down deep. Sensors help guide the MOOKA so it avoids obstacle bumps and retreats if confronting stairs. Now, that’s intuitive.
- Get a 30-day, money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty with this product.
- Runs quietly from one room to the next so nightly cleaning doesn’t disturb sleepers.
- Offers a gentle “bump” when encountering obstacles before turning away.
- Battery charge lasts at least an hour before recharge is necessary.
- Easily transitions between floors and low-pile rugs and carpet.
- Unit components are simple to remove and clean to add years of life.
- Competitively priced at 2/3rds the cost of the Roomba.
- Remote may eat up remote control batteries at a brisk rate.
- Not as many extras, bells and whistles as pricier cleaning bots.
- The force of the suction MOOKA delivers may not be sufficient for your needs.
- If your carpet pile is thick, this isn’t the robot vacuum for you.
- Could get stuck under low-profile cabinets; furnishings and fail to return to the dock.
- This appliance may adopt random pattern cleaning habits that defy solutions.
- May fail to charge properly for no reason.
8. Neato Botvac: Most innovative Cabinet Design and Features
- Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately).
There’s always one kid in the class who stands out from the crowd and when it comes to today’s generation of robot vacuums, this honor belongs to the Neato Botvac. It’s got a unique cabinet shape (one flat edge rather than the usual circle) so it even looks different than competitors.
You’ll pay more for this robotic appliance, but in return, you get lots of space-age technology. Download the Neato app and achieve total domination over this machine as it goes about its tasks via pre-programmed or manual commands. You make the call.
The Neato will converse with you, too-delivering status reports and notifications-so if the unit needs attention, has gone off the reservation or it wants its refuse bin cleaned out, you’ll be the first to know about it.
Engineers gave this robot vacuum its unique shape on purpose. It employs CornerClever technology to get as close to baseboards, walls, corners and obstacles as possible before it leaves the scene to attend to other matters. The long-lasting Ion lithium battery is a workhorse.
But the features sure to impress most are the network of sensors and scanners that drive functions like mapping and navigation. Consider this appliance’s “real-time” object detection capability. It’s critical if the bot isn’t to spend its days or nights crashing into things and waste precious time best spent cleaning carpets and floors.
Your floors are likely best served by a combination of power suction choices. The Neato allows you to choose between Eco and Turbo modes. The first is chosen by folks who like a long, quiet, energy-saving tour of floors while the Turbo mode does exactly what the word implies: dynamic cleaning that powers across surfaces collecting soil, dirt and especially hair. It does not go quietly into that gentle night!
If you rely upon Alexis to keep track of your life, the Neato robot vacuum is on speaking terms with her, too, so you can configure it in concert with the Neato app to drive your vacuum in either the slow or fast lane. A more advanced version of this robot vacuum has landed on the market, but you won’t miss much if you don’t buy it because this version is both affordable and well tested for efficiency and service.
- Easy to set up and program after downloading the app and the software automatically updates itself.
- Extra versatile: Select the manual clean, clean house or clean stop mode to customize floor cleaning.
- Select either the Eco or Turbo settings to determine speed and suction power.
- Notifications like “I’m stuck” or “I’m finished cleaning” give you the skinny on the bot’s status.
- The “D” cabinet shape gets you closer to walls, corners and obstacles.
- Long life battery and longer run times; you’ll always know its status courtesy of pulsing lights.
- Very stealthy in “Clean House” mode, so you won’t lose any sleep.
- Not everyone is able to set up programming; you might need to call a geek to help.
- Setting the vac on turbo could keep you awake if you run it at night.
- Navigational sensors when in manual mode are disabled so the robot could crash.
- Remove or secure loose wires or Neato could stall in place; especially phone charging cords!
- Reflective surfaces (glass; mirrors; chrome) has been known to confuse this bot.
- The side brushes are magnetically attached and could fall off. A lot.
- The “bin full” notification won’t always warn you when it needs to be cleaned out.
9. PureClean Robot Vacuum: Best deal of all for folks on a budget
- 90 MIN RUN TIME: Upgraded Lithium battery life for up to 90 min run time and 1200pa suction. Enjoy more advanced programming for improved obstacle climbing
Quick take: Looking to invest in your first cleaning bot but your bank account says no? You could think about the PureClean, an affordable and sleek appliance that detects stairs, cleans carpet and hardwood floors, and if you’re a pet owner, the HEPA filter alone may win you over. It’s one of the few white cabinets on the robo vacuum market so if aesthetics is important, factor that in.
This sweeper is poised to improve your life by doing a chore you’d rather skip and don’t let the low price fool you. This isn’t the first version of the PureClean bot to hit the cleaning market; it’s actually new and improved after a less than stellar introduction. This version is engineered to correct past mistakes, like falling down stairs and colliding with obstacles.
The PureClean won’t brew coffee, but it will undertake simple home cleaning routines on tile, hardwood and low-pile carpet. You won’t need a degree in electronical engineering to operate it either; this machine powers up with a single touch of the glowing power button.
Sleek and slim at under 3-inches high, this robot vacuum slides under low-profile furnishings, and since there are only 2 auto-side, rotating sweeper brushes installed beneath the cabinet to loosen dust and grime as the unit sweeps over surfaces, you won’t be removing clumps of hair from bristles or unwinding strands, either.
As the PureClean goes about its rounds, that HEPA filter does its job of keeping the air in your home clean and sanitary, so even if you own lots of pets or family members are troubled by allergies, you won’t regret adding this robotic sweeper to your cleaning inventory-even if it didn’t cost you an arm and a leg!
- Assembly is so easy, it comes right out of the box and goes to work after popping on the legs.
- Works especially well on non-carpeted floors like kitchens prone to accumulating floor dirt.
- As the least expensive robot vacuum on our list, it’s still got lots of desired features.
- Works like a charm on a 4-hour battery charge, but you can also charge it in increments.
- Makes a beeping sound to announce the battery needs a re-charge.
- This no-frills robot vacuum needs no docking station; the power cord does the job.
- Tiny waste bin means you’ll be cleaning it out more than you may like.
- Leaves vacuuming lines; not everyone likes to know where the bot has gone.
- May not behave as advertised when making the transition from floor to carpet.
- No Wi-fi connection capability, nor is there an app to interface with your phone.
- Can get tangled in home theater wires if you don’t tape them down.
- May not stop itself when it reaches stairs; you may have to rescue this bot.
- Keep your expectations in check; this is a bare-bones appliance.
10. Deik B073QP6S4B: Best Sweeper/Floor Washer Bot Combo
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There’s a reason Deik calls this robot vacuum a “mopping cleaner.” This bot will perform all manner of tasks: wash your floors, sweep and vacuum them and there’s even a wet/dry mopping setting if you intend to do a comprehensive cleaning.
All three cleaning settings are driven by the brand’s Smart Motion Navigation system. The unit is fitted with sensors that react to stairs, barriers and furnishings by turning around and getting on with its territory sweep. When the robot vacuum does encounter an immovable object, soft bumpers protect corners, walls and baseboards.
You can program the Deik Mopping Robot to choose from 5-stage cleaning modes that take this appliance on an S-shaped route as it sweeps and collects dirt and grime, guided by a built-in gyro sensor. Opt for auto-cleaning, spot-cleaning, wall-follow cleaning and turbo boost cleaning-each of these 5 program options delivers a different kind of customized cleaning.
Program the Deik for a daily clean that automatically kicks in at a certain time of day or gauge the amount of dirt on your floors and pick the appropriate setting for a one-time sweep of your floors.
Fitted with both a roomy dustbin that captures up to 900ml of grime and dirt and a 650ml water tank that supports floor washing sessions, the high-efficiency air filtration system and unique design not only prevent dirt from spilling out of the dustbin, but water won’t leak out either.
You get a 30-day, money back guarantee with this electronic device and a 15-month-long warranty, making this one of the most versatile, fully-equipped and customer-friendly robot vacuum on the planet, especially if you love the idea of being able to turn the job of floor washing over to a robot, too.
- The only robotic vac on this list that washes floors and sweeps floors and carpets.
- Extremely affordable given this product’s features and versatility.
- Does a thorough job of cleaning and washing floors and rugs, but never gets confused between the two.
- Strong suction power (1200 PA) rivals that of high-end Roomba and Dyson bots.
- Runs so quietly, this Deik is measured at 55 decibels while typical upright vacs put out 75+.
- Side brushes are configured to push soil to the center where it’s picked up and shuttled to the bin.
- Select auto/full power that sets the robot vacuum on its own roaming course to take care of business.
- You may want to pre-wet the mop cloth; it takes up to 10 minutes to saturate it in wash mode.
- Can get hung up on obstacles despite navigation system sensors.
- You may also have to carry the unit back to its charging station when it dies.
- May be hard to locate replacement parts if something goes awry.
- If your carpet has patterns, this bot may see color differences as boundaries and stop.
- The user manual in the hands of non-techies could lead to frustration.
- There is no Wi-fi connectivity nor is there a smart phone app that allows you to drive this unit.
A Complete Buying Guide for Robot Vacuums
Who should buy a robot vacuum?
Anyone who’s technologically adept and loves the convenience of a pre-programmed or manually-operated cleaning system that takes care of itself whether you’re around or not.
Families juggling killer responsibilities-kids, work, a social life, community involvement and any number of calendar-clogging activities–will find a bot to be the next best thing to live-in help in terms of keeping floors clean. And you don’t have to feed it.
For people with disabilities who must rely upon external help with cleaning chores, this type of appliance can save you money and give you more control over the time and way your floors and carpets are cleaned. For some, this type of cleaning tool can mean independence.
Pet owners have been known to throw parties in celebration of robot vacuums that routinely patrol floors in search of hair and dander. Not every one of the bots profiled in this review is equally effective, but even the poorest performer will be greeted like a long-lost relative by homeowners appreciative of constant sweeping.
Read more: Best Vacuums for Pet Hair
Robot vs Upright Vacuum Cleaner?
Having consulted with rating services, consumers and product reviewers, we’ve concluded that making this choice is too complex to recommend one over the other.
Lots of consumers own both-and a great percentage of them do so because no matter how pricey or powerful a bot may claim to be, it can still be impossible to do a thorough job of high-pile, luxury carpet with only a robot.
That doesn’t mean that homeowners with rugs, tile and wood floors don’t have plenty of brand opinions, and with price points dropping, and new manufacturers regularly entering the international marketplace, this industry is expected to keep growing.
Bottom line is that making your choice is likely to depend upon the usual criteria. How much are you willing to spend? How important is brand loyalty? How critical is it to you to own a Wi-fi enabled cleaning bot despite the prospect of data capture that keeps some folks awake at night?
Are you just looking for a perpetually clean carpet and floors that defy the amount of soil your pets and kids leave behind on an ongoing basis, or are you just as happy to push an easy-to-operate upright or canister vacuum that won’t awaken you at night if it crashes into items you failed to pick up before hitting the sheets?
The down side of Wi-fi-enabled robot vacuums
Are you concerned about the possibility of becoming vulnerable for hacking via Wi-fi connectivity? You’re not alone. In July 2017, iRobot CEO Colin Angle admitted to a Reuters News reporter that mapping data collected by his company’s Roomba bots may, some day, be sold to tech companies.
Sadly, iRobot isn’t the only company eager to expand its sphere of influence or make a buck by capturing consumer data that can be re-distributed and/or used for marketing future marketing purposes.
We mention this because if you’re worried about privacy issues and you choose a bot that’s Wi-fi enabled, you can protect yourself. Don’t use the app that comes with the product.
This means you won’t be able to manage your robot vacuum’s activities or path from your phone, but perhaps that trade off won’t mean much to you in the larger scheme of things if you are concerned about protecting your private information.
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