The Best Robot Vacuums
Best Navigation and Cleaning Combo
Best for Tight Spaces
Best Basic Model
Best Map Customization
Best High-Tech Model
How We Found the Best Robot Vacuums
77 robot vacuums considered
18 robot vacuums tested
5 top picks
The Best Robot Vacuums
Whether you’re replacing an early generation robot vacuum or looking to purchase your first, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the abundance of options and prices, ranging from fairly cheap to fairly steep. We tracked down reliable robot vacuums for every home and budget, from simple robots that dust hardwood floors to mightier models capable of pulling pet hair out of thick rugs. Then we put them to the test to see which ones could pick up dirt while navigating an obstacle course of furniture.
The 5 Best Robot Vacuums
The Best Robot Vacuums: Summed Up
|iRobot Roomba i7+|
|Suggested retail price|
|Smart home compatible|
|Recharge and resume technology|
iRobot Roomba 960
Why we chose it
Methodical cleaning pattern
All Roombas boast iRobot’s patented three-stage cleaning system (agitate, brush, suction) and dirt-detection sensors, enabling them to identify high-soil areas and target their cleaning efforts. What really sets this robot apart, though, is its smooth, s-shaped cleaning pattern that actually seeks dirt. In all of our in-home test runs, the Roomba 960 would start at one end of the room, zoom to the other end, and snake its way back, repeating this pattern until it covered the entire area. This motion likely helped it outpace the other bots in our controlled test by picking up 71% of the mess without pausing or “thinking” it was done halfway through the allotted time. The 960 also has impressive suction power — five times that of the 600-series — making it particularly good for cleaning up after shed-prone pets.
Reliable suite of sensors
The 960 uses odometry (similar to the system that measures the tires on your car) to build a map of the area and help calculate how far it’s traveled. As an added feature not found in its entry-level siblings, the camera on the top of the 960 helps it recognize certain spaces via different patterns of light in order to determine its position on the map.
“To build the map of the floor it is cleaning, the robot — in its brain — draws an imaginary box and then tries to travel and color in that box. As it moves through the home, it discovers walls and other obstacles that help form a map... Once it’s colored in that box, it draws another one and so forth.”
“Recharge and resume” technology
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to even the best robot vacuum is battery life. Poor battery performance can lead to half-cleaned floors and extra legwork on your end. Fortunately, the Roomba 960 (along with other advanced models) has “recharge and resume” technology. This means that when its battery runs low, the 960 will travel to its dock to power up so it can finish the cleaning job. We found this is especially useful for larger homes with more rooms that require extra vacuuming.
The easy-to-use interface of the iRobot app makes setting up your Roomba an absolute breeze — very seldom did we encounter connectivity issues during testing. The app will send you real-time updates of the robot’s status, and if you feel like your floor needs an extra cleaning pass or you need to focus on dust along the baseboards, the app also lets you enable specific cleaning functions.
Both the 690 and 960 let you schedule cleaning times and start a cycle while away, but the 960 goes a step further by sending you a detailed report of where and for how long it cleaned. Although you can still use the virtual wall barrier, you won’t be able to customize or draw virtual boundaries on a map like you can with the i7 — but if you’re indifferent about those high-tech features, the 960 will provide you with just enough post-cleaning data to confirm it’s done its job.
Points to consider
This is a drawback for many robot vacuums on the market today — but you do typically get what you pay for. The Roomba 960’s hefty price tag isn’t even one of the most daunting ones. (Just look at the i7+, for example. At $1,000, you’re upgrading to detailed mapping and automated dustbin emptying.) But if the price tag is a dealbreaker, check out the newer Roomba e5. It retails for about $100 less but still has the same impressive suction power as the 960. The e5 comes with a washable bin and is designed specifically to deal with pet hair, so if you don’t care about the 960’s meticulous mapping feature or s-shaped cleaning pattern it’s a good option.
Eufy RoboVac 30C
Why we chose it
The Eufy impressed us with how smoothly it cleaned and transitioned from hardwood to carpet. During our controlled testing, the Eufy 30C unleashed its suction power, sought the mess, and consumed just as much as the Roomba 690 (about 64% of the mixture). Plus, if you’re at home and watching the robot work, you can customize how you want it to clean with spot and edge cleaning functions — the former boosts suction power to target tougher areas on carpet.
The no-frills design didn’t hinder this bot’s cleaning longevity — it outpaced some of our other models when cleaning by consistently running its full 100 minutes. Others sometimes considered the areas clean and called it quits after 10-45 minutes. You’re definitely maximizing cleaning capacity with this bot, because the Eufy didn’t waste time circling one particular corner of the room or halfway cleaning another.
Smart, sleek design
The Eufy 30C glides around and under furniture with ease, making it able to venture into places your handheld and other robots physically can’t. It’s almost an inch shorter than the other vacs we tested, standing at 2.85”. The Eufy was the only robot that “thought” it could manage cleaning under the leather couch in the testing room of the apartment. Granted, it didn’t account for the additional low-hanging beams in the middle of the couch and cried for help when it got stuck, but the fact that it tried and could fit under such a low clearance for even a small amount of time serves as a testament to its slim yet powerful design.
Easy to use
Transitioning the robovac between our two testing homes was a cinch: The robot quickly adapted to the systems of each and responded well to specific cleaning commands on the app (spot and edge cleaning, directional shifts, and pre-made scheduling prompts). And if you want to keep your robot out of a certain area, Eufy gives you three different ways to do this: virtual controls, physical remote controls, and boundary strips (these look like thin magnets).
We also receive real-time updates on the Eufy’s progress, so if it were to get stuck under a piece of furniture or scoop up a napkin in its left wheel on the way out of the kitchen — we knew immediately. These push notifications are common to almost all robot vacuums today, but Eufy gave especially deliberate, clear, and accurate updates, which made fixing the problem that much easier. After pulling the robot out from under the couch or plucking the forgotten napkin from its wheel, the bot continued its route as if nothing had happened.
While this is a pretty basic bot when compared to the market at large, the Eufy 30C is reliable, provides a powerful clean, and still gives you the freedom to forget about vacuuming, for hundreds of dollars less than some others. It isn’t one of the cheapest, but for its price ($300), it optimizes its capabilities and meets marketing claims.
Points to consider
The Eufy 30C absolutely gets the job done and typically uses its full battery life before returning to the home base. But if you want a detailed map or report of exactly where your bot cleaned while you were gone, you’ll need to look elsewhere. The lack of advanced navigation can actually be an advantage in some situations — just because a bot maps the area, doesn’t mean it’ll automatically give your home a better clean. If you don’t mind moving your robot between floors, the Eufy will clean without the sensitivity or (potential) predetermined restrictions of a stored floor plan — it starts with a clean slate every time like the Roomba 690. While this might mean it bumps into the same bar stool every round until you move it elsewhere, this isn’t necessarily a negative, since the landscape of your home is prone to change over time, too.
iRobot Roomba 690
Why we chose it
This robot is tenacious. In fact, it might even be a more diligent cleaner than the 960 (although not as powerful). We were impressed with the Roomba 690’s decisive motion — rather than languishing in tight spots, it either powered through or powered back out. The Roomba 690 also picked up almost two whole cups of Cheerios — when it noticed a pile in the middle of the floor, it used its “dirt detection” power and circled the mess until it was gone.
The Roomba 690 makes its way around by bumping into things, because it doesn’t have the same sensor makeup as the 960 or i7 and lacks the light-detecting camera. But it does do its job. This was even reflected in our controlled tests, where the 690 wasn’t too far behind the 960 in overall dirt pickup (64% compared to 71%).
One of the main reasons we kept this robot in our lineup was because of its reliable, basic functionality at a fair price. It retails for around $300 on Amazon, which is an entry-level price tag in the robot vacuum market. Not everyone is going to want or need an advanced robot vacuum that maps and methodically travels throughout their home — if you’re looking for a robot to do the bare minimum and give one or two rooms an effective clean, this is a safe bet.
Points to consider
The Roomba 690’s battery doesn’t last as long as those of pricier models. Although the 690 technically runs for 15 more minutes than the 960, the Roomba 960 can extend its battery life for a certain run by recharging and resuming without any prompting. That said, there’s no need for an upgrade if you have a small home or apartment — the 690 has you covered. For few rooms and thin to normal carpeting, the 690 allows you to give your manual vacuum a much longer down time.
Not as easy to clean
The Roomba 690’s brushes are easy to pop in and out — but pulling long hair strands entwined within the bristled brush can be a chore, especially when compared to the dual rubber-brushed design of the newer i and e Series Roombas. Unlike the newer iRobot models, the 690 and 960 dustbins can’t be washed because of their proximity to the motor (the company fixed this problem by moving the motors farther away).
EcoVacs Deebot 900
Why we chose it
Navigation and advanced mapping
When we let this EcoVacs robot roam the family and guest bedroom of our apartment (about 400 square feet total), it created a detailed map and accurately segmented the rooms in less than 40 minutes. The EcoVacs app lets you send the robot to clean a specific zone on your floor plan. We tested this from our office 19 miles away — we drew a box around a small portion of the living room in the apartment and watched the little blue dot on the app (which represents the robot) travel to that box and clean for three or four minutes before returning to its home base. If you want to clean a contained spill without having to wait 30 minutes for your robot vacuum to bump around and figure out where the mess is, you can just tell this bot exactly where to go.
Despite being a tad taller than our Roombas (3.74”), this robot makes a point to travel under low-clearance furniture. The knob at the top (which is the hub that emits the laser — or lidar — technology that makes mapping so easy) makes it a little thicker and less able to crawl under certain places than the Eufy, but this didn’t necessarily hinder its performance in slipping under those dressers and low coffee tables.
Like the higher-grade Roomba models (i7 and 960), you can set the EcoVacs Deebot 900 to a “continuous cleaning” mode. This means if your robot runs out of battery halfway through the cleaning run, it’ll scoot back to its charging base for an extra boost before continuing the round. Combined with the easy and efficient mapping functionality, this makes running this robot relatively low-touch.
Points to consider
If you want a robot vacuum to pick up loose, light debris, this EcoVacs will get the job done, but it isn’t as powerful as others. It only brought in about 43% of our test mixture after 30 minutes. That’s not to say it wouldn’t have collected it all eventually, but we chose it more for its easy-to-manage, strong mapping technology than pure cleaning power. You can also select “max” vacuum power in the app to amp suction for any and all cleaning passes, if you choose. You will be forfeiting a quieter clean, but that’s only a problem if you’re around to hear it.
Scott Ledterman, general manager of EcoVacs, says that noise and suction power go hand-in-hand. Ledterman says the team at Ecovacs tries to strike the right balance between delivering effective cleaning and tolerable noise, even if this means slightly slowing fan motor speeds (which weakens suction) to drive the noise down.
“At the end of the day, it needs to have enough power to pick up dirt and grime reliably to where it doesn’t leave stuff on the floor… but combine that with a product that’s quieter than a dishwasher, so it can run in your home while you and your family or friends are actually hanging out in the home.”
While the mapping and customization features seemed to work pretty seamlessly for us, we think there are some noteworthy weaknesses in the app. And we’re not alone. Users have complained about map connectivity failure. While we didn’t experience total failure with our bot — we actually found the bot to adapt to new scenarios and map our floors relatively quickly — it did flicker between “connected” and “unconnected” several times on the app. The glitching kept us from using our robot for a bit, but typically only lasted for a couple minutes.
Why we chose it
Automatic dust disposal
The only messy part about operating a robot vacuum is manually dumping out its contents after a few cycles. Sometimes, you might even need to vacuum the dust that didn’t quite make it into the trash can. iRobot takes care of this with the i7+. The i7+ is basically the i7 bot with a self-emptying dustbin. It returns to its base and immediately vacuums its contents into the base tower (which can hold up to 30 bins of dirt) after every run. Meaning you won’t have to empty the dustbin yourself, and will only have to empty the tower occasionally. The only time you ever really have to touch your robot vacuum with this feature is when it decides to roll over a pile of cords or lodge a piece of loose clothing in one of its wheels.
The i Series has a stronger suction power than any other Roomba on the market (10 times that of the 600-level models). So if you want your robot vacuum to be somewhat on par with your handheld, this is probably the vacuum to choose. The i7+ didn’t perform quite as well as we had anticipated, but we chalked this up to the fact that it wasn’t familiar with the environment at the time. We — and iRobot — recommend letting this robot fully discover your floor plan before setting high expectations for suction/cleaning power. Even the best robot can only clean well once it’s had a chance to optimize navigation.
Navigational and mapping skills
The i7+ offers advanced navigation and an ability to “remember” up to ten different floor plans. After a few runs, the i7+ will present you with a detailed map that segments the different rooms of your floor plan, which you can then adjust and rename. You can tell the i7+ exactly where to go, taking the term “hands-off” to a whole new level. It did take several hours (over a day’s worth of testing) for this bot to learn its way around the 700 square-foot base level of our three-story home. The Neatos, on the other hand, only needed one run to spit out a detailed map of our floor plan (although getting them to actually use them later on was a bit of a hassle). But it’s worth waiting on the i7+ to learn its way around, because once it does, it doesn’t forget where it’s traveled and typically withstands shifts in base placement.
Points to consider
Purchasing the i7+ ($1099) over the i7 ($700) means paying for the automatic dust dispenser, and it makes this model one of the most expensive robovacs on the market. But if you want a quality mapping bot that offers a wide margin of customization when it comes to cleaning your home, and is seriously low-touch, it’s a great choice. If you’d rather save the cash and empty your own dustbin, the stand-alone i7 retails for about $700, which is pretty comparable to bots with similar functionality (the Neato D6 is the same price).
Hyper-sensitive dirt disposal
While this robot is extremely low-touch, it isn't perfect. You might still have to monitor or manually empty this bot when it comes to larger particles in higher volumes, but this is true for most robovacs today. For example, we received a few unnecessary notifications about a “clogged” dustbin tower. When we threw a cup or two of Cheerios on the ground to see how well the i7+ could consume them, the robot did its job — the tower, on the other hand, did not. Even after the i7+ had completed the run and “emptied” the contents on its own, we were still greeted with a bin full of dried cereal.
Why we chose it
One of our observers called this robovac a true “workhorse” in reference to its cleaning persistence— and we agree. The Neato Botvac D6 trails along walls with ease and can impressively wiggle its way into angular corners better than round bots because of its D-shaped design.
Good for larger homes
It seemed to shine when we set it free in the lower level of the three-story home (about 700 square feet); we watched it run for the advertised 120 minutes before scooting back to the charging base in a completely different room. It can store up to three different stories, so if you have a larger home and want a powerful clean, this bot will do the job.
Points to consider
We didn’t put it in our lineup this time, however, because even though the D6 a pretty decent cleaner, we couldn’t consistently use the features that essentially make it more expensive. For starters, both the D4 and D6 quit halfway through both our testing rounds — we assumed they “considered” the small space clean after 15 minutes, but this also left a lot of coffee and flour residue on our floor. We also encountered some connectivity issues — it would take these bots a while to connect to our strong Wi-Fi signal.
Sensitive to changes
Using the floor plans was also a bit of a struggle. The app would send us alerts saying the bots couldn’t use previously-made maps because the bases had been “moved” from the starting point of the navigational run. Even if the bases had been moved, the fact that a slight shift would keep the bot from using its detailed, pre-made floor plan (with all of our no-go lines) was disappointing. Here’s the good news: These bots receive over-the-air updates, so Neato will likely resolve these shortcomings in the near future, and its flagship D7 will soon include a zone cleaning feature for more isolated messes.
How We Chose the Best Robot Vacuums
We started our search for the best robot vacuums by researching the entire robot vacuum market, scouring reports and customer reviews, to see which ones really worked best for most types of homes. Research told us to settle for nothing less than the combined action of brushes and suction — and to be competitive in today’s market, these robovacs should be able to integrate nicely into your home and daily life.
Your robot vacuum should have a suite of reliable sensors to avoid crashing into everything around it; cliff-detection is also absolutely necessary, because no robot vacuum today should take a tumble down the staircase. To make the fairest comparison possible, we excluded bots with dual vacuuming and mopping functions. After compiling our criteria, we further analyzed our list and arrived at nine seemingly top-notch robot vacuums to test.
We brought all nine robovacs home to let them run their full courses to see how these bots moved and whether they would roam in circles for several minutes, avoiding actual problem areas, or jammed themselves between chair legs and tight corners. If you aren’t home to rescue a stuck bot, it’s probably spending its cleaning cycle jailed between furniture legs, which means you’re not getting a good clean. However, just because a robovac gets stuck doesn’t mean it’s poorly wired — you might just need to move your stuff out of the way. Regardless of how advanced they are, these machines are generally prone to gobbling scarves and thin curtains, and ambitiously climbing thicker rugs only to get stuck and beep plaintively for help.
We tested each vacuum in a small apartment (1,000 square feet) and a three-story home to see how well each robovac could manage different room sizes and topographies. We aligned the bots with their advertised strengths (carpet, hardwood, etc), and found most bots (in general) clean until the job is done — or until they think they’ve covered the area — rather than continuously operating until their battery runs out. This is especially true for the mapping bots — they typically won’t linger in a certain space for longer than they have to, unless you prompt them to complete a second pass (either manually or via the app). Instead, they’ll seek out new areas to clean and cover more ground.
The majority of the bots were able to work around shifted furniture; the basic bots “forget” the previously-made floor plan and assume everything has changed for the next cleaning cycle — it’s like starting with a blank canvas. More advanced robots can create maps of your home that you can then manipulate and customize for future runs — which is useful but sometimes tricky, especially when the technology doesn’t cooperate. (For example: forgetting floor plans or failing to deal with minor shifts of the furniture or charging base.)
Because robot vacuums are designed to deal with everyday dust and debris in the house, and not necessarily heavy-duty pickups, we used finer materials in our controlled test to gauge relative suction powers. We sprinkled 100 grams of flour and 50 grams of coffee grounds onto the apartment living room floor and gave each bot 30 minutes to clean it up. While this debris only comprises a fraction of what most of these robovacs can hold in their dustbins, we found that none of our bots picked up more than 71% of the simulated mess (led by the Roomba 960).
Ease of use
To really maximize the efficiency of a robot vacuum, you should be able to control it from anywhere — this is why we stuck to Wi-Fi compatible bots. Since connectivity is becoming a standard feature for even entry-level bots, we made distinctions based on how well each synced to our home’s system and whether the corresponding apps communicated reliably with the machines.
This stage also allowed us to see how well these robovacs lived up to their marketing claims. We tested whether these bots could return to their home bases and tried out all the hyped bells and whistles (“no-go lines,” virtual wall hubs, boundary strips, and smart home tools). For the more advanced models, we asked: Can we really draw virtual lines on the app to keep our bots from roaming into certain rooms or areas? How well do these robots actually adapt to changes in the home? No bot is “easy” to use if it can’t adjust to your busy lifestyle (or newly-furnished family room) and leaves obvious dirt on the floor for you to manually vacuum later.
Guide to Robot Vacuums
How to find the right robot vacuum for you
Decide what your home needs
We all know the robot vacuum market is heavily saturated. But it doesn’t have to be quite as overwhelming if you know what you want (and what your home needs) going into the search. If you live in a smaller apartment with one level and only a few rooms, you might be better off choosing an entry-level model. Even basic models should deliver straightforward connectivity and a good clean — in some cases (as seen above with our Eufy 30C and Roomba 690 picks), they’re even more efficient cleaners than the higher-level models with all the extra bells and whistles.
On the other hand, if you have a larger home, you might want to consider a robot that recharges and resumes cleaning until the job is done. If your pet sheds a lot, this is also something you should consider beforehand — the more powerful models (like the Roomba 960, e5, i7, i7+, and Neato D6), might be more expensive, but if it means you have to deal with less of that winter coat accumulating within the depths of your carpet, it might be worth it.
Think about how “connected” you want your robot to be
Aside from accounting for your personal preferences and your home’s physical layout, you also need to think about how automated you want your bot to be. All of our top picks are Wi-Fi compatible — it makes cleaning your house while you’re away an extremely easy task. If you want to take it a step further, mapping bots let you know where your robot cleaned, automatically recharge and resume cleaning cycles, and some let you draw boundary lines to keep the bot out of certain areas. As you climb the functionality ladder, though, the cost climbs with you.
Have reasonable expectations of your robot vacuum
Some people are surprised to learn that robot vacuums can’t clean in certain areas or find themselves intertwined in loose strings and smart phone charging cords. Yes, it happens — your robot vacuum is not an all-powerful, invincible machine, although it may sometimes seem that way based on marketing campaigns. Some do have powerful vacuuming capabilities, but overall, these robot vacuums are more or less suction sweepers that also manage to perform well on carpet.
They also don’t work as well when it comes to larger particles — like Cheerios. Most would pick up a little less than the majority of two cups before spitting some back out and trailing streaks of crushed cereal behind them. Again, this is why you need to keep your upright vacuum for these larger, more contained spills that require strong suction.
Prepare your home
Although they aren’t intended to wholly replace manual vacuuming, robot vacuums are nonetheless powerful. This means they, too, suck up phone chargers, shoe laces, and other thin cords without differentiating between them and actual debris. You will have to move boxes, laundry baskets, and cords out of the way in order for your robot vacuum to do its job well. Think about it — you wouldn’t deliberately shove your regular vacuum into a pile of charging cords or stringy tassels, would you?
“What we find time and time again is that [consumers] open up the bin for the first time, see all of the dirt and that validation, and become motivated to actually do all of the room prep...You’ve got to do a little bit of work, and you get a lot of payback.”
Look for sound customer support
There’s a certain inevitability in experiencing difficulties when it comes to operating a robot vacuum, so you should always get a feel for the customer support prior to purchasing. Here are two likely scenarios: You’ll find yourself not knowing how to operate it to begin with, or after working for a time your robot starts malfunctioning. Neato and iRobot both offer helpful tutorial videos and simple explanations for when you receive an error message, but sometimes they just don’t quite cover what you need. This is where you need a human’s help.
For example, we reached out to Neato customer support in light of the bots’ connectivity and floor plan issues and received a response from customer service within just a few hours, explaining we should try “soft” resetting (pressing the side and left start button to reboot) and “hard” resetting (taking out the battery and letting it breathe) to get our bots working again. And when we hadn’t updated Neato on the status of our issue after a few days, several representatives reached out to us to make sure we got the help we needed.
Supervise your pets
Though initially curious about the new robot vacuum cleaning the house, most pets will get used to it and eventually leave the robovac to clean in peace. That said, there are plenty of horror stories about robot vacuums trailing through poop and then proceeding to “clean” the whole house. If you have pets, only run your bot in a closed-off room or while under supervision.
Robot Vacuums FAQ
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