Many of us live hectic lives, and anything that can save a few moments during our busy schedule is welcome. If you don’t want to waste time on household chores, there is an increasing number of gadgets that can help – including robot vacuum cleaners.
These ever-more sophisticated devices clean the floor automatically, allowing you to dedicate your time to more important, useful or enjoyable things. If this sounds like something you could use, here’s our guide to the best robot vacuum cleaners on the market.
Robot Vacuum Comparison Chart 2021
eufy 11S Robot Vacuum
ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S Budget Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 980 Automatic Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 690 Automatic Vacuum
ILIFE V3s Robot Vacuum
SHARK ION R75 Robot Vacuum
Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner On The Market of 2021
1. Best Overall : Eufy 11S 1300Pa Robot Vacuum
The eufy BoostIQ RoboVac is packed with all kinds of features and functions to take the hassle out of vacuuming your floor. You simply program it once and leave it to work, and it will take care of the vacuuming for you without you having to worry.
It has an ultra-low design that allows it to clean underneath furniture and other obstacles with ease. This makes it highly effective at cleaning places that a human with a traditional vacuum cleaner would probably miss.
Its innovative BoostIQ technology also increases suction power automatically when required. This allows it to save battery when cleaning hardwood floors but to work harder when it moves onto the carpet, ensuring it sucks up all the dust and debris it finds.
One of the things we like about this model is its extremely quiet operation. If you work at home or just want to watch TV, you can leave the eufy to get on with the cleaning and you’ll hardly notice it’s there.
It’s easy to program with the included remote control. Once it’s been set, it will continue to follow the schedule until you change it, returning to its dock to recharge automatically as soon as the power gets low.
On the downside, this is not a “smart” robot vacuum. It cleans using a random pattern, which means it may go over the same spot several times while missing another completely. However, with time, it will cover everywhere, so it’s not a big issue.
Another negative is that it can’t be controlled via a smartphone app or using Alexa. You can only program it from the remote that comes with it – but, unless you specifically want something you can control from your phone, this is hardly a major problem either.
All in all, there’s a lot to like about this model. It’s simple to use, highly effective and sells at a very reasonable price point. If you’re in the market for a helpful robot vacuum in the middle of the price range, this is one of the very best currently available on the market.
What We Like
- Ultra-thin shape – easily passes under furniture and other obstacles
- Very quiet operation – will not disturb you as it works
- 100-minute runtime on hard surfaces – or around 60 minutes on carpet
- Auto-charge – returns to dock by itself when it needs to charge
- Strong suction power – rated at 1,300 Pa
What We Don’t Like
- Random cleaning pattern – doesn’t vacuum methodically
- No programming via phone – works with remote control only
2. Best Budget: Ecovacs Deebot N79S Robot Vacuum
This is a robot vacuum at the more affordable end of the price range on the market. It has all the basic features you would expect from a practical cleaning robot, but you won’t need to break the bank to get your hands on it.
It features two side brushes that work in conjunction with the main brush to ensure a thorough clean each time. It also has three different cleaning modes that allow you to set it according to the type of area you need it to work on.
The Auto mode can be used to clean the whole floor while the Spot mode is used to focus on smaller areas. There is also an Edge mode for when you need the robot to work along floor edges.
One big plus is that it is compatible with Google Assistant as well as Amazon’s Alexa. This means you can easily program this vacuum from your phone – or simply begin a cleaning cycle via voice command.
We like the Max Power mode that allows you to switch it to double suction power when required. At a maximum of 110 minutes of runtime, it also boasts a very respectable battery life per charge – and returns “home” automatically when the battery is nearly empty.
It is suitable for use on multiple surfaces and is capable of moving from one surface to another – for example from a hard surface onto carpet – without any trouble. Its flat shape means it can also clean under tables or other furniture with no problems.
Although this is a highly convenient unit, a problem it shares with other less expensive robot vacuums is that the random cleaning pattern means it will inevitably miss spots during each session.
Also, if you have more than one room for it to clean, it may have trouble finding its way back to the dock since it won’t be able to navigate back through doorways in the same way as more expensive, smarter models can.
However, despite these minor issues, for a machine at this price point, it still performs well. If you are looking for an uncomplicated, efficient and budget-friendly robot vacuum, then this is a model that should be high on your list of possibilities.
What We Like
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant – for ease of use
- Three cleaning modes – Auto, Spot and Edge
- Max Power mode – can increase power by 2x for stronger cleaning
- Long run time – maximum of up to 110 minutes
- Auto-return feature – returns to dock for charging when power is low
What We Don’t Like
- Random cleaning pattern – can miss areas each time
- Can struggle finding its way “home” – especially if you have multiple rooms
3. Best Upgrade: iRobot Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum
When it comes to robot vacuum cleaners, Roomba is the market leader. If you are looking for a top-end machine that will take care of this tedious household chore for you, this could the machine you are looking for.
When you take the step up to a more expensive machine, one of the biggest differences is the mapping technology.
Whereas cheaper versions follow a random cleaning pattern, this Roomba has an intelligent mapping system that remembers where it has cleaned, allowing it to vacuum your floor efficiently and methodically. This means it won’t miss anything as it works.
It is able to navigate around furniture and will clean under couches and so on, picking up dirt and debris that you would probably miss if you were vacuuming manually.
It’s powerful, too. Its power-lifting suction ability gives it up to five times the power of even previous Roomba models, ensuring it picks up all the dirt it encounters.
Its three-stage cleaning system allows it to suck up dirt, pet hair, and allergens – the high-efficiency filter ensures that it removes 99% of dog and cat allergens, making it especially useful for people who have allergies related to their pets.
Another useful feature is the virtual wall and halo function. This allows you to set up an invisible wall or set an area as “out of bounds” to prevent the machine from cleaning where you don’t want it to go.
There are very few problems with this advanced machine. We might complain that it needs to be emptied frequently, especially if you have pets – but this is common to all robot vacuums due to their size and is not specific to this model.
One thing that some people might not like is that this model is noisier than some other options, so if you want something as silent as possible, you might prefer to look elsewhere.
Overall, this is everything you would expect from a top-of-the-range robot vacuum from the best-known brand. It is highly efficient, extremely reliable and very easy to use.
It functions well in a range of situations – on hard surfaces as well as carpets – and if you don’t mind paying extra for a superior machine, this is a model that is well worth checking out.
What We Like
- Advanced mapping technology – cleans methodically and efficiently
- Power-lifting suction feature – delivers 5x more power than previous versions
- Works with Google Assistant and Alexa – for complete convenience
- 3-stage cleaning system – tackles dirt, pet hair and allergens
- High-efficiency filter – picks up 99% of dog and cat allergens
What We Don’t Like
- Needs emptying frequently in larger houses – especially if you have pets
- Relatively loud – noisier than some rival machines or earlier models
4. Best for Under Furniture: iLife V3s Pro Robot Vacuum
This robot vacuum is a budget-friendly option that is especially good if you need something that can deal with pet hairs. It is simple to use and will help you keep your house or apartment clean with minimum effort.
It features a slim design and a low profile, allowing it to pass easily under beds, couches, and other furniture. In this way, it will pick up dirt and hair that you might otherwise miss.
It is easily programmable, allowing you to decide in advance when you want it to start cleaning. Once programmed, you just leave it to set off at the predesignated time. It will do its thing and then return to the dock when the batteries run low.
One useful feature is the extra-large wheels. These are helpful if you have raised carpets or other obstacles for it to deal with – it can easily transition into a carpet of up to 10mm without getting stuck.
Another helpful addition is the sensors that prevent it from bumping into things or dropping over edges. This will help protect your furniture and will also prevent the robot from falling down the stairs or anything similar.
As the name suggests, it is particularly useful if you have pets that shed large quantities of fur – it features tangle-free technology to ensure it sucks everything up without becoming blocked.
It also boasts a very respectable battery life and can keep working for around 90-100 minutes – after which, it returns to its dock to recharge.
However, as you might expect from a budget machine, it also has its weak points. As with many robot vacuums, this model has some trouble with darker surfaces – the sensors can mistake them for drops and the robot will refuse to roll over them.
Also, while it is supposed to return to its base after each session, sometimes it can become confused and may need a little help – although, at such a low price, this is a compromise many people may be willing to make.
To summarize, this is a solid option if you want a basic unit that will take care of the vacuuming for you with a minimum of fuss. If you want a budget machine without any advanced features and that comes with a low price tag, this could be an obvious pick in the market.
What We Like
- Good run time – around 90-100 mins
- Extra-large wheels – can climb up obstacles like carpets up to 10mm high
- Sensors to detect obstacles – avoids bumps and falls
- Slim and low-profile – able to clean under couches, beds, etc
- Good for pet hair – tangle-free collection
What We Don’t Like
- Doesn’t work well on dark floors – detectors can mistake them for drops
- No smart mapping – can become “confused”
5. Best for Hardwood Floor: iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum
This is another robot vacuum from market-leading brand Roomba. While it isn’t quite as advanced as the top-end 960, it still incorporates many of the same features that make that model among the best you can buy.
It is fully compatible with Google Assistant, and if you want to control it via voice command, it also works with Amazon’s Alexa.
It includes the same three-stage cleaning system along with dual multi-surface brushes that allow it to sweep up everything from small particles to larger debris.
It features patented Dust Detector technology that enables it to detect areas that are especially dirty – it can then increase the power to work harder in the areas that need it most. At the same time, this means it conserves battery power when possible.
In terms of battery life, it can run for up to around 90 minutes. This is comparable to most other robot vacs currently available. It also incorporates a number of built-in intelligent sensors that help it navigate around any obstacles it comes across in your home.
When the battery runs out, it returns to its dock automatically to recharge for the next cleaning session.
However, it is not quite as advanced as the 960, and it has its limitations. The most obvious is that it doesn’t have the advanced mapping capability – it cleans randomly, so it isn’t as efficient as the 960.
Another issue is that it is not designed for environments with lots of pet hair. While it is capable of picking up hair if you have lots of animal hair to pick up, choosing a more specialized unit might be advisable.
This model would be a good pick for someone who likes the idea of owning a Roomba but who doesn’t need a model from the top of the company’s range. If you want to spend a little less and don’t need all the bells and whistles, this could be a great option to choose in the market.
What We Like
- Compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa – easy to set up and control
- Dirt detector – works harder on patches that have more dirt and debris to pick up
- Intelligent sensors – help it navigate around furniture and other obstacles
- Decent battery life – runs for up to 90 minutes before returning “home”
- 3-Stage cleaning system – and dual multi-surface brush
What We Don’t Like
- No intelligent mapping – cleans using a random cleaning pattern
- Not designed for pet hair – struggles in environments where there is too much
6. Best Smart-Homes: SHARK ION R75 Robot Vacuum
This robot vacuum from Shark is controlled by a dedicated app on your smartphone – and is also compatible with Google Assistant as well as Amazon’s Alexa, making it easy and convenient to program and operate in different ways.
It features a self-cleaning brush roll that is designed to remove tangles of hair so you don’t need to. This makes it suitable even for households with pets that constantly shed their fur.
It navigates using a system of smart sensors and proximity sensors that allow it to avoid obstacles – it will work its way around your floor while moving around chairs, tables, and other furniture. It also seems to have less of a problem with dark floors than some robot vacuums.
Its low profile allows it to pass under furniture items such as cupboards, beds, and couches, meaning it will pick up dust and debris than you might miss if you were cleaning manually, and it is effective at picking up all hair, dust, dander, allergens and more.
One feature we appreciate is the easy-to-empty dust bin. Robot vacs all need to be emptied frequently, and with one that is as well designed as this, it only takes a few moments before the machine is ready to roll again.
For us, there is one big negative with this model. To mark off no-go areas, you have to lay down special magnetic strips. While this is effective enough, the strips are unsightly, and most people won’t enjoy having them on display in their homes.
Another issue is the battery life since, at only an hour per go, this vac runs for less time than others. However, since it can simply return to the dock and start up again when it’s charged, this isn’t a deal-breaker. Charging takes around three hours.
Shark is a well-known brand in vacuum cleaners in the market, and with this robot vac, the company has produced a machine that does the job reliably without costing a fortune. If you want a robot vac but are unwilling to pay for a top-end model, this is one that should be of interest.
What We Like
- Compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa – or just use the dedicated app
- Self-cleaning brush roll – doesn’t get tangled up with hair
- Low profile – can easily clean under cupboards, couches, etc
- Smart sensors and proximity sensors – helps navigation and obstacle avoidance
- Easy-empty dust bin – quick and easy to clear when it fills up
What We Don’t Like
- Battery only lasts one hour – less than many similar machines
- Uses magnetic strips to mark boundaries – ugly to leave on the floor in your home
7. Best for Pet Hair: Amarey A800 Robot Vacuum
This is another inexpensive but effective robot vacuum cleaner that is ideal if you are looking for a machine that will get the job done without burning a hole in your pocket.
One of its selling points is its powerful suction power – it can deliver 1,400 Pa, allowing it to deal with even the most stubborn dirt. It’s powerful than most of robot vacuums on the market
It also features anti-collision and anti-drop technology, meaning it won’t damage your furniture by knocking into it all the time – and you won’t have to retrieve it continually when it tumbles down the stairs.
It is effective at transitioning between different floor types and has no problem crossing between wood floors, carpet or tiles.
Its low profile also allows it to clean in hard to reach spots. At only 2.7” in height, it slips easily underneath furniture to remove build-ups of dust and debris that might collect there.
It has four different run settings. The main Auto setting is the one to use if you want it to clean your whole home. This will set it to randomly cover the whole area of the floor.
The other settings include Spot for cleaning a small area, Max to focus extra power on a dirty patch and Edge for cleaning along edges and walls.
The triple filter system is also highly effective at sucking up dust and keeping smaller particles trapped inside. The pre-filter is washable, too, enabling you to keep it in good working order for longer.
However, as with other budget options, there are a few inconveniences. For example, while it may have good suction power, this unit doesn’t deal well with larger debris such as cereal or cat litter.
Also, since it only follows a random pattern, sometimes it needs a little help finding its way back to the dock – although, again, this is quite common with the more budget-oriented robot vacuums.
All in all, this is another decent option if you want something that won’t cost a fortune but will still get the job done. Despite its limitations, this is a unit that many people will enjoy owning and one that will give you some much-needed help with the housework.
What We Like
- Powerful suctions – delivers 1,400 Pa of suction force
- Thin and sleek design – only 2.7” high, ideal for cleaning under furniture
- 4 cleaning modes – Auto, Spot, Max, and Edge
- Triple filters – with washable pre-filter, sponge and high-efficiency filter
- 100 minutes of runtime – and returns to dock automatically to recharge
What We Don’t Like
- Not compatible with Alexa – needs to be programmed and controlled via remote
- Doesn’t pick up larger debris like cereal – more effective with dust and smaller debris
Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
If you’re thinking about investing in a robot vac in the market, you probably have a few questions, and the first of these is likely to be whether you should buy one at all.
First, let’s talk briefly about robot vacuum cleaners, what they do and whether buying one could be the right solution for you. After that, we can look in detail at the kind of points you should bear in mind when choosing one.
What are robot vacuum cleaners and should you buy one?
Most people are probably aware that robot vacuum cleaners have been around for quite a while now. If nothing else, you’ve probably seen amusing videos on YouTube of these cute devices trundling across the floor and spinning around with a bemused cat perched on top.
When they first appeared, robot vacuum cleaners were something of a gimmick. The idea seemed quite cool, but not all of them were particularly useful.
However, things have moved on quite a bit since then, and modern robot vacs are much more effective tools than their predecessors. Although these machines vary in quality and efficiency – as well as in price – the best robot vacuum cleaners really can help with the housework.
In general, the concept is simple. You set up a charging “dock” and program your machine to start cleaning at a certain time of day.
It leaves the dock at the set time, makes its way around your floor sucking up dust, debris, hair and anything else it comes across and then returns to the dock to charge when the battery runs low.
The main advantage is that after you set it up, you don’t need to worry about vacuuming anymore – the robot takes care of it for you.
If this sounds interesting, read on to see the main points to consider when buying one from the market.
What to look at when choosing the best robot vacuum
How well a vac can navigate its way around your floor space is one of the key features to notice when choosing.
Most will either continue in a straight line until they bump into something or have sensors that allow them to stop before hitting an obstacle. Once they run into something, they then change direction and set off in a new direction.
Sensors are probably preferable since having a vac that constantly bumps into things may damage your furniture and walls.
Another issue is how well vacs can transition from one type of floor surface to another. Some cheaper models will have trouble going from hard floor to carpet, for example, while more advanced models have no problems.
Finally, many machines struggle with dark floors – the sensors read darker areas as drops, and the vac may refuse to enter the area.
2. Smart mapping or random patterns?
Most models clean by following a random pattern. This means they trundle along in a straight line until they hit something and then change direction. Over time, they will eventually cover everywhere, but it may take more than one session.
Top-end models function differently. As they work, they create a map in their memory so they know exactly where they’ve been. This allows them to methodically clean a room without going over the same area lots of times.
After charging, they also know where to go next and will head straight there instead of randomly wandering off to cover the same areas again.
3. Programming and control
Look at how a vac is controlled. Is it controlled by remote or can you control it from your smartphone via an app and Wi-Fi? Vacs connected to smartphones will also give you a cleaning report, telling you how long, where they’ve been, etc.
Some are also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, allowing you to start and stop the vac by voice command.
4. Battery life
Battery life is important – how long can a vac run for before returning to the dock to charge? Most can run for around 90-100 minutes on hard surfaces, although this will be reduced when cleaning carpets.
Size is another factor to consider. You should choose a model with a low profile that can easily clean underneath cupboards, couches, beds and other furniture.
Suction power and cleaning ability
One big difference between models is how effective at sucking up dirt and debris they are. Also, some are only able to suck up small particles while others can pick up larger pieces such as cereal or cat litter. Make sure it can do what you need it to do.
Will you program it to run while you are at home or while you are at work? Or will it do its thing at night while you’re sleeping?
If you will be in the office when it cleans, the noise level might not be important, but if it will be cleaning during the night, you will probably want one that’s as quiet as possible.
A practical tool to help with the housework
Robot vacs are no longer novelty items – the newest and best robot vacuum cleaners are highly useful devices that can really lighten the load of your weekly housework chores.
While there are many to choose from and picking the best one can be a challenge, any of the models in our review come highly recommended in the market. If you are still not sure which one to opt for, any of our top picks would be a great place to start looking.