Best robot vacuums: We name the most effective cleaners

Vacuuming is one of the most hated household chores. Here are your best choices for outsourcing it to some automated help.

Rob Schultz

It’s not surprising that robot vacuums are all the rage. Vacuuming is one of the most loathed household chores. While it doesn’t come with the ick factor of cleaning the toilet or the tedium of dusting, pushing and dragging a noisy, cumbersome vacuum is its own kind of torture.

Robot vacuum cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

Robot vacuums don’t have unwieldy cords or hoses to contend with, and they require little effort from you: You can run one from your couch using a physical remote or smartphone app, and the higher-end models can be programmed to wake up and start cleaning without any intervention at all. Robot vacs easily dispose of the most common household detritus—food crumbs, pet hair, dust—making them ideal for routine maintenance and quick cleanings when you’re expecting company.

Our top pick isn’t the most expensive model on the market, though it’s price tag is up there. If you’re working with a more modest budget, we have a strong recommendation in that category as well. 

Updated July 15, 2019 to add our review of the Roborock S6 robotic vacuum/mop combo. This smart appliance will not only keep your floors free from dust and loose, it will also scrub your hard-surface flooring free from smudges and light stains. See the bottom of this article for links to all the recent robot vacuums we’ve reviewed.

Best all-around robot vacuum

iRobot’s Roomba brand has become as synonymous with robot vacuum as Q-tips is with cotton swabs. The Wi-Fi-enabled Roomba 960 is ample evidence why. It turns a tiresome chore into something you can almost look forward to. With three cleaning modes and dirt-detecting sensors, it kept all the floor surfaces in our testing immaculate, and its camera-driven navigation and mapping were superb. Its easy-to-use app provides alerts and detailed cleaning reports. The ability to control it with Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice commands are just the cherry on top.


When a manufacturer builds one device that’s designed to perform more than one function, you all too often  end up with a product that’s a jack of all trades, but a master of none. We certainly didn’t find that to be the case with the Roborock S6, a highly capable robot that will not only vacuum dirt off your floors, but mop your hard-surface flooring.

Most sophisticated robot vacuum

iRobot has taken the robot vacuum to the next level by creating a model that can empty its own dustbin. A second powerful vacuum in the Roomba i7+’s docking station automatically sucks the dust and debris out of the vacuum when it docks, storing as many as 30 dustbins full of dirt. And it stores it all in a filter bag, so that nothing escapes in your home’s air when you eventually need to change the bag. We recommend this model to all who can afford its $950 price tag.

Best budget robot vacuum

Don’t let the low price tag fool you. The Deebot N79S from Ecovacs delivers several of the features typically found only on robot vacuums costing hundreds more, including navigation mapping, a smartphone app, and support for smart home devices such as the Amazon Echo series. It’s a terrific value.

Best robot vacuum for pet hair

It’s an unfamiliar brand, but we have no complaints about its performance, especially considering its low price tag. If pet hair is an issue in your home, this is the model we recommend. While it lacks the advanced features you’ll find in higher-priced models, it has no equal when it comes to picking up pet hair.

Robot vacuum cleaners are not cheap

The convenience robot vacuums provide come at a cost: As much as $1,000 at the high end, with many of the best models running no less than half that. To help you determine which ones are worth the expense, we tested models from some of the most popular brands in a real-world lab: my home, where the floors are punished daily by two kids, three cats, and a dog. I tasked each one with vacuuming a 400-plus foot space that includes low-pile carpet, hardwood flooring, and linoleum that was regularly littered with food crumbs, pet hair, tracked-in dirt, stray cat litter, and other debris. To maintain the real-world environment, each model also had to contend with random floor clutter during several cleanings.

Be aware even the most premium robot vacuums are a supplement, not a substitute, for your stand-up vacuum. Despite manufacturer claims, most just don’t have the same suction power of an upright. Think of them as an easy way to maintain your floors in between deeper cleanings with your current vacuum.

Robot vacuum features and functions

Fundamentally, the robot vacuums in our guide all operate the same way: They autonomously maneuver around your home on a couple of wheels suctioning debris from your floors. Two to four brushes on the bottom—both rolling-style agitators and spinning side brushes—grab dirt from the floor and wall edges respectively, and guide it into the suction area or direct it straight to a small, filtered dustbin. When cleaning is complete, or their battery is running low, they return themselves to their charging dock.

But just how they get the job done can differ across manufacturers and models. Here are some features and functions to consider beyond the basics.


Autonomy puts the “robot” in “robot vacuum.” Virtually all models include an “automatic” mode that requires you to do nothing more than press a button on a remote, in an app, or on the vacuum itself to clean a room. This is great for ad-hoc cleaning, but most models can also be programmed to clean on a schedule. The latter scenario is great if you want them to work when you’re not home or to create a regular cleaning routine. Some higher-end models also integrate with smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which allows to control them using voice commands.

Cleaning modes

Just as your stand-up vacuum can be adjusted to clean either carpet and hard flooring, so to can a robot vac. Most feature the ability to change suction and other cleaning functions to adapt to different floor surfaces, either automatically or with input from you. They may also have a spot mode for more concentrated cleaning on a small area (cleaning up a spill, for example), include options for single- and double-passes of a room, or offer an option to focus just on cleaning along wall edges and baseboards.


The allure of robot vacuums is their promise to complete their task with minimal management from you. In order to do that, they must be able to navigate a room’s unique layout, maneuver around furniture and other obstacles, and avoid hazards such as falling down stairs and getting tangled in electrical cords.

Robot vacuums “see” the world through a combination of sensors. Cliff sensors let it know when there is an increase in distance to the floor—e.g., stairs or a sunken living room—so it doesn’t tip over the edge. Other sensors tell it when it has bumped into an object, so it can change direction, or is near a wall, so it can follow it. Still other sensors help the robot vacuum track how far it has travelled. Depending on the manufacturer and model, a robot vac might also include sensors that determine the amount of dirt present so it can adjust its cleaning mode accordingly.


Manufacturers are increasingly including mapping capabilities in some of their robot vacuums. These models use an onboard camera or laser reflections to produce a 360-degree view of the room. This allows the robot vac to create a map of the space and locate itself within that map.

The advantage of mapping is the vacuum will know which areas it has already cleaned and which it hasn’t, to avoid going over the same spot unnecessarily. It also lets it know where to resume cleaning if it must stop and recharge midway through the task. This makes it ideal for larger rooms and—because it’s still something of a premium feature—larger budgets.

Boundary blockers

In an ideal world, you’d clear all your floors of clutter before using your robot vacuum. But we live in the real one and that’s not always possible or desirable. Knowing this, many robot vacuums include some way to block off areas you don’t want it venturing into, whether it’s a pet’s area, your kids’ room, or a cluster of device cords in the corner. Often it’s just a length of magnetic tape you stretch in front of or on a forbidden area that the vacuum’s sensors will detect and tell it to avoid. But some models employ virtual barriers, such as the ability to designate boundaries on a floor plan that signal the robot to steer clear.


The dimensions of a robot vacuum matter for a couple of reasons. First, they will determine how well it can get into tight spots, such as under your kitchen cabinets and low-clearance furniture (couches and recliners). If it’s too tall, it won’t be able reach into these spots, or worse, it will get in and get stuck until physically free it. Second, the bigger the robot vacuum, the larger the dustbin. Robot vacuums don’t use expandable bags like many of their stand-up brethren do, so when it comes to debris capacity, what you see is what you get.

There is no sweet spot for robot vacuum dimensions that we could determine—it really depends on your particular room layout—but a diameter of 13- to 14 inches and a height of 3.5 to 4 inches are the most common measurements we encountered.


Wi-Fi-enabled robot vacuums allow you to control them with a smartphone app instead of, or in addition to, a physical remote. That convenience alone doesn’t really warrant the extra cost these models command, but some model’s apps also provide other perks, such as detailed cleaning histories and the ability to save and edit floor maps for better navigation. Those models are worth considering if you’re cleaning large, intricate spaces.

Our robot vacuum cleaner reviews

We will add to this list as new models come to market. 

At a Glance

The iRobot Roomba i7+ ushers in the next phase of automated vacuuming, but it carries a premium price tag.


  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • Self-emptying dustbin
  • Can map multiple floor plans


  • Clean Base requires more floor space than conventional dock
  • Expensive

The Roomba 960's flawless navigation, stellar cleaning, and advanced features set it apart from all other robot vacuums.


  • Navigates obstacles and different floor types seamlessly
  • Supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa voice commands
  • Wi-Fi enabled


  • Doesn't support manual navigation

The Amarey A800 delivers consistently deep cleanings on par with higher priced robot vacuums, and it's great at picking up pet hair.


  • Powerful suction pulls up pet hair and other stubborn dirt
  • Excellent navigation
  • Budget-friendly price


  • No app control
  • No room mapping capabilities

The Amarey A900 is a powerful, efficient cleaner with advanced features at budget-friendly price.


  • Camera mapping and navigation for more efficient cleaning
  • App control
  • Supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa voice commands


  • No barrier option to keep it out of unwanted areas
  • The Ecovacs Deebot N79S is an even better value for the money

The Deebot N97S is a great cleaner with app control and Amazon Alexa support at a budget price.


  • App control
  • Amazon Alexa support
  • Budget-friendly price


  • Doesn't support 5GHz Wi-Fi

The Deebot 500 does a great job cleaning all types of floor surfaces and offers some advanced features for a budget price (but the cheaper Deebot N79S isn't far behind).


  • App control with real-time and historial cleaning data
  • Supports Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice commands
  • Max suction mode doubles its power


  • No room-mapping capabilities
  • Not a lot of added features or performance compared to the less-expensive Deebot N79S

The Deebot 711 combines super suction and excellent navigation for an excellent dust buster.


  • Excellent navigation and mapping
  • Multiple cleaning modes
  • App control and smart-home integration


  • Does not support virtual boundaries
  • Doesn't always pick up all the debris on its first pass

The 11s delivers powerful automated cleaning without breaking your budget.


  • Simple to set up and use
  • Multiple cleaning modes
  • Budget-friendly price


  • Can't customize scheduling for different days
  • Not compatible with digital assistants such as Alexa
  • Can't be connected to your Wi-Fi network

The Botvac D4 Connected makes top-end robot vacuum features available to the many.


  • Includes floor mapping and other advanced features
  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • Supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa voice commands


  • Height doesn't allow it to get under low-clearance furniture

The Neato Botvac D7 offers excellent navigation, deep cleaning, and a fantastic app.


  • Unique D-shape enables it to clean edges and corners better than round robot vacuums
  • Excellent navigation
  • Elegantly designed app


  • One of the more expensive robot vacumms available

The Roborock S5 Robot Vacuum Cleaner's has superb cleaning capabilities and map-enable features make it a great choice for those looking for a premium household helper.


  • Vacuums and mops
  • Lazer navigation and mapping capability
  • Mulitple cleaning modes


  • No smart-home integration
  • Less-than-impressive mopping performance

The Powerbot R7065 does an impeccable job of cleaning floors and around edges, but it might need your help navigating clutter.


  • Excellent deep cleaning
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings appliances
  • Navigates around furniture well


  • Can get stuck when it encounters obstacles on the floor

The Deebot 901 is a competent cleaner and an affordable way to try out advanced robot vacuum technology.


  • Includes mapping and smart home integration
  • Includes special attachment for pet hair
  • Less expensive than premium mapping models


  • Has trouble getting under low furniture
  • Edge brushes left significant dirt behind

The Deebot OZMO 930's dual-cleaning is great for rooms with different floor types, but it didn't navigate obstacles as well as similarly priced robot vacuums in our tests.


  • Automatically detects floor surfaces for vacumming or mopping
  • Allows you to create virtual barriers on floor maps
  • Maneuvers well around furniture


  • Gets tangled in cables and similar objects
  • Buggy Android app

The Electrolux Pure i9 is a nimble and hard-working robot vacuum but it lacks the extra features expected at its price point.


  • 3D camera navigation
  • Suction automatically adjusts to different floor types
  • Easy-to-use app control


  • Android app prone to crashing during setup
  • Doesn't have the extra features of comparbly priced robot vaccums
  • Doesn't always accurately report problems it encounters during operation

The Coral One's 2-in-1 design is a compelling idea but it performs like a work in progress.


  • Easy setup
  • Detachable handheld unit makes it easy to clean spots the robot can't
  • Stores your home's floor plan onboard to protect your privacy


  • Bulky body keeps it from getting under couches
  • Had trouble suctioning food crumbs and larger particles

The Ecovacs Deebot 601 offers some advanced features at an affordable price. Its erratic navigation, however, necessitates some hands-on supervision.


  • App control
  • Supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa integration
  • Budget-friendly price


  • No room mapping capabilities
  • Erratic navigation left some areas uncleaned

The Shark Ion Robot 750 Vacuum is an inexpensive entry point into the world of robot vacuums, but it offers only average cleaning.


  • Navigates obstacles well
  • Easy-to-use app
  • Supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa voice commands


  • Random, unreliable cleaning patterns
  • Has trouble picking up some types of debris
  • Doesn't offer mulitple cleaning modes