The best robot vacuum cleaners will take cleaning duties off your hands and see to sweeping (and sometimes even mopping) all of your floors for you. What's more, they use sensors and added smarts to make sure it's a deeper clean than you likely have the energy for most days.
Robot vacuums don't just wander off in a straight line, either. The best robot vacuum cleaners are able to attack stains, navigate obstacles and clean up spills in circular motions, or hug the corners of a room to prevent dust collecting in the corners. For a processor stuck to a hoover, that's not bad going.
The problem is: not all robot vacuums are created equal. You may be unsure which are really cleaning and which are just moving dirt around – or don't quite have the smarts or stamina to really make a dent in your household dirt. That's where we come in.
The TechRadar team has tested a number of the latest and greatest robot vacuums, meaning we could put together a definitive list of the best robot vacuum cleaners available today.
If automated cleaning isn't what you're after, we have a separate guide to the best cordless vacuum cleaners instead. Otherwise, read on for our recommendation for the best dirt-sucking, floor-cleaning, labour-saving robot vacuum cleaners around.
UPDATE: You might think the next step in robovacs is smarter navigation or the ability to clean up more mess. But for iRobot, the maker of Roomba robo vacs, the evolution in this kind of tech could be arms. According to a report from The Verge, this is so that future cleaning bots can better find out where they are and where things are within your home. So they won't be folding the laundry just yet, but could be getting arms to improve navigation and helpfulness.
The best robot vacuums at a glance:
- iRobot Roomba 980
- Neato Botvac D7 Connected
- Ecovacs Deebot N79S Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
- Eufy RoboVac 11
- Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930
- Shark ION Robot 750
Roomba is synonymous with robot vacuums, and this is never more exemplified than in the iRobot Roomba 980.
With smarts to keep from crashing into objects and environment mapping so it quickly learns every nook and cranny of your home, the Roomba 980 is an impressive cleaning machine. (We'll be keeping our eye on the iRobot Roomba i7+ in the coming months though to see if it could possibly be usurped.)
At 35.05cm in diameter, the Roomba 980 is wider than your average vacuum head, but thanks to its circular design and rotating body, it’s able to maneuver through narrower areas than you’d initially think possible.
The Roomba 980 works magnificently on floorboards, tiles and other hard surfaces (operating relatively quietly while doing so), but it kicks things up a notch when entering carpeted territory. It automatically senses it's rolled onto carpet, and its motors whir into high gear to get in between every fiber.
Just as impressive as its cleaning abilities is the Roomba 980's battery life; it's an impressive two hours long. When it runs low or its bin is full, the 980 returns to its home dock.
Like most robot vacuums, the Roomba 980's bin is on the small side, though we were still impressed with how much it packed into the compartment during our testing.
Read our full review: iRobot Roomba 980
The Neato Botvac D7 Connected is a robot vacuum to rival the Roomba 980, and we mean that. It's a good looking vacuum that more than gets the job done, but its laurels don't rest there.
The revelatory feature with the Neato Botvac D7 Connected are so-called 'no-go lines', which allow you to cordon off areas of your home that you don't want the vacuum to venture into. This could be your desk, which is moated by wires that would normally spell treachery for a robotic vacuum.
Creating a boundary for robot vacuums isn't unique to the Botvac D7, but it's really nifty in this application because you can draw a line using the app while the vacuum is in use to, say, keep the D7 from venturing into a room you want it to stay out of.
The biggest draw back with the D7 is that its bin isn't as big as the original Botvac Connected, and it doesn't have a 'bin full' sensor, so it ends up overfilling.
Read our full review: Neato Botvac D7 Connected
Not all robot vacuums are shiny, whirring pucks from the future. Some, like the Ecovacs Deebot N79S, are more subdued. This isn't an ugly vacuum by any means, but possibly one that's a bit on the plain side. Still, it's really about how it cleans that matters, not how it looks.
You have several modes to choose from with the Deebot N79S, and it comes with a remote that it's quite responsive to. Yes, you can use your smartphone to control the N79S, but the vacuum seems to prefer using the paired remote.
In our tests, we were impressed with the Deebot N79S' ability to not plunge to an early end at the bottom of our steep stairs, so its world-sensing abilities are up to snuff. It did tend to get stuck under furniture, however, so you may come home to find your Deebot wedged under a coffee table, unable to get itself free.
Don't expect a deep clean with this robot vacuum, but it will suck up enough to get surface dirt and dust off of your hardwood floors and carpet. Nicely, the Deebot N79S is rather quiet, making night vacuuming possible.
It's also compatible with Alexa, so you can set the Deebot N79S cleaning using just your voice.
Read our full review: Ecovacs Deebot N79S Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
The Eufy RoboVac 11 isn't the most tech'd out or high-end robot vacuum, but it isn't afraid to get down and dirty and get the cleaning job done.
The best part about the RoboVac 11 is that it's cheaper than most robot vacuum cleaners on the market, so you can get the convenience of a vacuum that works on its own at a fraction of the cost.
Unfortunately, that low price means you miss out on things like a companion app, so you have to use a remote instead, and overall the RoboVac 11 is more... manual than we would have liked. The more recent RoboVac 30C fills in these gaps with an app and smart assistant capability, but there's still something to be said for the bargain vacuuming on offer here.
What's more, battery life leaves something to be desired, though while it's not as long-lasting as higher-end models, it's probably plenty of juice to satisfy your cleaning needs.
Read our full review: Eufy RoboVac 11
Where the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930 stands out from the competition is in its ability to mop your floors.
Sure, you won't get an elbow-grease effort out of the robovac as it slushes water over your linoleum, but it can whisk away footprints and other surface-level stains in a snap.
In other words, the Deebot Ozmo 930 isn't the most effective mopper in the world, but it can do a quick job if you like. That's in addition to its "traditional" vacuum cleaning abilities, which are admirable.
Space mapping is also excellent with Ozmo 930 (though only for one level), and you can control it using either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
All-in-all, the Deebot Ozmo 930 gets the job done, and it's quiet as it goes.
Read our full review: Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930
We've been testing the Shark ION Robot 750 for some time now and it continues to impress us with its strong suction and mapping smarts. Just when we think the 'bot is going to bump into something, it quickly pivots and carries on its way.
It works well on both our hardwood floors and thinner area rugs, though it struggles to crest above thicker rugs in our home. What it does get over, it cleans very well – we swear there's a sheen to our floors after the Shark ION gets done with them.
It's also quieter than some robot vacuums we've tested, and its whir often fades into the background while we're doing chores elsewhere in the house.
We wish the bin was a bit bigger as it can only go about 12 minutes before needing to be emptied (we do have dogs, though, which makes for a lot of dirt and debris). The bin may be just fine if you don't have as dirty floors as we do.
Not only does it perform well, but it looks great, too. The Shark ION Robot 750 is a statement piece, which we never thought we would say about a vacuum cleaner.
- Check out our guide to the best smart home devices of 2019
Source: TechRadar - All the latest technology news
By: Henry St Leger