These robot vacuums suck in all the best ways… and your pets will love them. (Yoonjae Baik via Unsplash/)
Nothing beats hands-free cleaning—and it truly doesn’t get any better than a robot vacuum. With the push of a button, the best robot vacuums can tackle the largest room in your house without wasting any time. The machines we’re spotlighting are equipped with special features like a quick connection to handheld devices or the ability to remember the overall layout of each room in your home. Stop spending hours panic-vacuuming before guests come over or using up your weekends tackling chores, and get ready to enjoy more free time while these things work away on your floors. All you need in order to operate a robot vacuum is an open outlet for its charging port and you’re ready to roll. Below are our favorite options on the market, as well as a guide to all the things you will want to consider as you start your search for the best robot vacuum cleaner.
- <b>Best robot vacuum for marathon cleaning sessions: </b><a href=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0872XXJN4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=popularscience-best-robot-vacuums-pcr-20&linkId=989c8b57902cc1751eefc34a700ac74f&language=en_US” target=_blank>Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T5</a>
- <b>Best smart robot vacuum:</b> <a href=”https://www.amazon.com/eufy-Super-Thin-Boundary-Self-Charging-Medium-Pile/dp/B07X53V3V6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?dchild=1&keywords=eufy+robot+vacuum&qid=1604008691&sr=8-3&linkCode=ll1&tag=popularscience-best-robot-vacuums-pcr-20&linkId=f57bb29f65270d17800c7f4b095bdde4&language=en_US” target=_blank>eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 30C MAX</a>
- <b>Best self-emptying robot vacuums:</b><a href=”https://www.amazon.com/iRobot-Automatic-Disposal-Connected-Anti-Allergen/dp/B07QXM2V6X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?dchild=1&keywords=irobot+i9&qid=1604008287&sr=8-3&linkCode=ll1&tag=popularscience-best-robot-vacuums-pcr-20&linkId=87bbb950183e54a05e0feac3267689eb&language=en_US” target=_blank> iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum</a>
- <b>Best robot vacuum that mops: </b><a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Objection-Recognition-Advanced-Programming-Efficiency/dp/B086214HTZ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=popularscience-best-robot-vacuums-pcr-20&linkId=b8d81c719520c38be07690274348fde7&language=en_US” target=_blank>Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI Robot Vacuum </a>
- <b>Best robot vacuum with mapping technology: </b><a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Neato-Robotics-Connected-Featuring-Multiple/dp/B078MPFN55/ref=as_li_ss_tl?&ascsub&linkCode=ll1&tag=popularscience-best-robot-vacuums-pcr-20&linkId=a0508492519432e780c52a1580bb6540&language=en_US” target=_blank>Neato Robotics Botvac D7 Connected </a>
- <b>Best budget robot vacuum:</b> <a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Yeedi-Cleaner-Suction-Self-Charging-Cleaning/dp/B08356CQRQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?dchild=1&keywords=VBOT+S30C+Robot+Vacuum+Cleaner&qid=1608216515&s=home-garden&sr=1-4&linkCode=ll1&tag=popularscience-best-robot-vacuums-pcr-20&linkId=1ee5dfd370f925386ce5a44e2ae3e4f1&language=en_US” target=_blank>Yeedi K600 Robot Vacuum Cleaner</a>
What to look for in the best robot vacuums
There are five major things you should take into consideration when purchasing a robot vacuum. The best robot vacuums have a long-lasting battery and a large bin capacity so it can work away in your home without needing to be dumped out or recharged before the job is over. You might want to find one that can easily connect to your smartphone for customized or remote control. And if you’re really looking to elevate your floors, consider a robot vacuum with a mopping function to make your surfaces shine. Finally, look for other advanced features like mapping capabilities or smart-timers. We know that’s a lot of information to keep in mind while you shop, so we’ve created a thorough guide to help you better understand these features, as well as some product suggestions to get you started.
How much cleaning time do you want?
A robot vacuum is only as good as its battery life. Fortunately, many robot vacuums have batteries that last at least one hour. If you have a larger living space you might want to look for something that can last between 90 to 120 minutes to make sure the robot can get to every nook and cranny before needing to recharge. Keep in mind, some vacuums have different power settings, like high intensity or turbo that might drain its battery more quickly. Think about how you want to use your vacuum, what your regular time frames for cleaning will look like, and whether or not you need more surface coverage or suction power.
Most robot vacuums will either alert you when the battery is low or they will dock themselves at their charger. They may also do this automatically after every clean, which means you’ll never have to bother with locating a charging cable or deal with the consequences of forgetting to plug it in. A truly smart robot vacuum will take care of itself after taking care of your floors.
Best robot vacuum for marathon cleaning sessions: Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T5
And the clean goes on and on and on and on and…. (Amazon/)
The Deebot Ozmo T5 from Ecovacs can run for over three hours, cleaning up to 3,200 square feet in a single session. Along with the impressive battery life, this vacuum is equipped with Smart Navi 3.0 laser mapping technology to keep track of your home and prevent any missed areas, a high-efficiency filter, and three levels of suction power. It connects to your smartphone for a customized clean, and, did we mention? It’s also a mop. Yep, this vacuum can also simultaneously mop your floors, recognizing and avoiding carpeted areas as it cleans. But more on mop-vacuum hybrids in a minute.
Do you want to control the robot vacuum with your phone?
The best robot vacuums pair with your smartphone so you can create customized settings and control your clean remotely. When we say these things can get fancy, we mean fancy. A device compatible robot vacuum might be able to pair with Alexa or Google Assistant, follow invisible boundary lines you create to keep it away from loose rugs or lots of cables, generate statistics based on a recent clean, tell you how much battery life is left, and virtually map your living space. Being able to control a robot vacuum from your phone means going to brunch with friends, running to the grocery store, picking up your kids from school, and coming home to a clean house. Some models even allow you to set a predetermined schedule for cleaning so you won’t even have to pull out your phone to get it going. Keep in mind, it might be a good idea to be home for your robot’s first clean so you can identify any tough spots or issues your little machine might face.
Before purchasing make sure you check each vacuum’s compatibility, especially if you are using an Android or you are looking to connect to a specific virtual assistant. Many of the vacuums are going to work great with any smart device, but we would hate for you to get ready to connect only to end up disappointed.
Best smart robot vacuum: eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 30C MAX
You won’t need Alexa to play your cleaning mix anymore. (Amazon/)
The RoboVac from eufy is as “smart” as it gets when it comes to robot vacuums. It connects to Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as the specifically designed eufyHome app where you can set cleaning schedules, direct the clean with remote control, receive notifications, and locate your robot. You can easily program boundary strips that the RoboVac will identify using 10 built-in sensors as it uses the bounce method to clean.
Do you want it to take out the trash for you?
Not all robot vacuums can collect the same amount of debris and detritus before needing to be emptied out. Think about how frequently you’re hoping to vacuum your home and how much dust, dirt, and pet dander might accumulate in the meantime. If you have a smaller living area, keep things relatively tidy, dust and sweep often, or vacuum regularly, you might be able to survive on a smaller bin. However, if you know you need something more heavy-duty, don’t skimp on bin storage. The average dustbin size is 600 milliliters; some can go up to 700 or 750. These dustbins are easy to remove and don’t require extra work, such as bag or filter replacement. If you have a cat or dog (or a very hairy human) running around the house, consider a vacuum that specifically boasts its ability to pick up hair and dander.
One of the best features a robot vacuum can have is a self-evacuating bin. Instead of emptying a bin after every one or two cleaning sessions, your vacuum will automatically deposit all of its collected dust bunnies, forgotten LEGO pieces, food crumbs, and other artifacts to a larger bin at its docking station. Many of these stations come with allergen filters and other sensors to keep its contents completely sealed. It will let you know when it needs to be emptied so you don’t have to worry about spillage or clogging. Now that’s some seriously futuristic cleaning.
Best self-emptying robot vacuums: iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum
This dustbin does the dirty work for you. (Amazon/)
The Roomba S9+ is iRobot’s most powerful vacuum to date and boy, does it pack a punch. This vacuum self-evacuates after each clean at its docking station, which is equipped with a dirt disposal container that can hold up to 60 days of dust and debris. That means you can vacuum every day for almost two months without being bothered by multiple trips to the trash can.
Do you want a mop, too?
We are pleased to inform you that the best robot vacuums can also mop, so not only will you have all the dirt and debris sucked away but you’ll also have sparkling clean floors free of stains and spills. These vacuum-mop hybrids have two compartments: one for collecting the bits and pieces that are suctioned up and another to hold water that will go over hardwood or tile flooring. These hybrids typically come with a sensor that informs the robot where carpeted areas can be found, which the vacuum will avoid when it’s time to mop. That’s one more chore your smart vacuum can take care of and one more episode of TV you get to watch instead!
If the vacuum you are looking at doesn’t have its own mopping function, or maybe a hybrid isn’t in your price range, look for models that are able to pair with a separate robot mopper all together. Many brands create individual vacuums and mops that communicate with one another via smartphone or internal programming to schedule cleanings one right after the other. They can often be stored next to one another and have similar special features and battery life—so you can count on this dynamic duo to get the job done.
Best robot vacuum and mop: Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI Robot Vacuum
For tackling spills of any kind. (Amazon/)
Our favorite robot vacuum and mop hybrid is the Ozmo T8 AIVI from Ecovacs. It simultaneously mops as it vacuums with built-in carpet detection that doubles the suction value and cancels the mop. The 240-milliliter water tank covers up to 2,000 square feet of flooring for a tough and thorough clean. It even comes with a video manager so you can check up on your home as it cleans (A.K.A. see what your sneaky pet is up to when you’re not around).
Does it know your home?
We touched on special features a little bit when we outlined smartphone compatibility, but we want to dive in further and really explain the kinds of advanced features you might want to prioritize when considering which robot vacuum is right for you. The first thing to look for is a vacuum with obstacle identification features, so your vacuum can identify small barriers like power strips, cables, pet toys, or shoes. There’s nothing worse than coming home and finding your vacuum trapped in an endless battle between your internet router and your kid’s favorite stuffed animal, right?
You can also look for specific mapping capabilities that determine whether or not your robot cleans randomly or methodically. A random robot using a “bounce” cleaning method might have object identification sensors—but it won’t necessarily keep track of where in your house it has been, and will go over areas more than once for a thorough clean. A methodical vacuum has sensors that track where it’s been and what areas of the house it’s covered. This is often faster, but not always the most thorough. However, these methodical cleaners collect data over time to retain a virtual map of your home for a more efficient clean. Just make sure you keep the lights on during a vacuuming session, because these sensors need to quite literally “see” in order to collect information and avoid bumping into things. Once this data has been collected, you might also be able to set up boundaries or no-clean zones from your phone. This tells the robot where to avoid, like a play area or delicate carpet.
You can also look for a vacuum with a camera so you can see where it is or simply check in on your home. There are almost endless advanced features you can choose to prioritize depending on your needs.
Best robot vacuum with mapping technology: Neato Robotics Botvac D7 Connected
Fantastic features to finally get rid of dirt, dust, and worst of all pet hair. (Amazon/)
While the previously listed Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI is definitely equipped with advanced features, we also want to spotlight the Botvac D7 from Neato Robotics. This is a great go-to vacuum for those of you who don’t necessarily need a mop or a camera. What it can do is map and store the memory of up to three floors in your home for a methodical, planned clean as well as zone-clean specific messes or spills when you tell it to. You can easily draw no-go lines on your phone’s touchscreen using the Neato app that the vacuum will automatically learn and follow. It comes equipped with a HEPA filter to capture dust mites and allergens, battery life of up to 120 minutes, a large 0.7-liter dustbin, and a flat edge design for quick and easy corner cleans. Additionally, the brush on the D7 is 70% larger than other leading brands, so this vacuum is specifically great for picking up pet hair.
Best robot vacuum brands to know
There are three companies we think you should know about when searching for the best robot vacuums; iRobot, eufy, and Ecovacs. They promise innovative design using the latest technologies and have created efficient tools to maximize your time and reward you for all the hard work you’ve already done.
iRobot was founded in 1990 by three MIT roboticists, Colin Angle, Helen Geiner, and Rodney Brooks, with the vision of making practical robots a reality. Their first robot vacuum was released in 2002 and they have been consistently adding to and improving this design ever since. They hope to enable smart homes and invest in educational programs and STEM training to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists who will contribute to our growing robotic world.
eufy is a branch of Anker Innovations founded by Steven Yang in 2011 after previously working with Google. eufy creates products that make the “smart home simplified” with a focus on accessibility and convenience. Their devices are designed to easily connect with one another, creating cohesion and coherence in the home, from wireless security systems to robot vacuums and light bulbs.
Ecovacs was established as a company in 1998 with the official Ecovacs Robotics brand created in 2006. They specialize in spatially aware, mobile robots that clean your home or assist with business-related tasks. They greatly emphasize research and development, creating over 20 new products each year with a dedicated team of over 700 R&D specialists and engineers.
Best budget robot vacuum: What you get for under $150
While there are a few budget picks for robot vacuums, we encourage folks to wait a little longer and save up a little more before purchasing. There are really great improvements from models that start at $150. With an under $150 vacuum, you should expect a significantly shorter battery life, smaller bins, and less suction power. These vacuums typically do not come with advanced features like navigation, mapping, smartphone compatibility, or charging stations. If you’re looking for one under $150 to try out, we recommend the Yeedi K600 Robot Vacuum Cleaner, but we also recommend that you preemptively lower your expectations and try to plan for a future upgrade.
Bottom line on shopping for the best robot vacuums
An amazing, hands-free clean should now be well within reach with a robot vacuum. There are so many options out there and we hope you now know what to look for when venturing out to get your new robotized housekeeper. Keep in mind that the best robot vacuums are worth investing in for an efficient, smart, and clean home with the push of a button.
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