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It ran for over an hour and a half on a single battery charge. Its sophisticated mapping allows for cleaning specific rooms or areas. Testing revealed it transitions easily between hardwood and carpet. Its D-shape also fits easily into corners and along baseboards.
It can scatter heavier debris with its side brush while cleaning hardwood. It is one of the most expensive models we tested.
We found its suction power and dual roller brushes allow it to capture debris easily — even on carpet. It avoids obstacles in its path by swerving away from them. Its mapping is highly accurate. It is compatible with voice commands for targeted cleaning.
Battery life isn't as strong as other vacuums. It needs to be in a well-lit room in order for it to operate and navigate correctly.
We appreciated its impressive obstacle detection and ability to avoid drops. Navigation and suction power impressed in our testing. Great cornering and edge cleaning. Can be controlled precisely with its remote.
Side brushes kept detaching between carpet and hard floor. May struggle with larger debris.
Performed well on carpet, rugs, high pile and hardwood flooring in our testing. Removed coffee grounds from underneath chairs and in corners with little to no residue. Rubber rollers move easily from carpet to hardwood and can handle high pile with little problem. Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Cleans in rows for efficient coverage. Accurately maps rooms.
May occasionally get lost despite its mapping features. Emptying its bin is slightly tricky.
Avoids stairs and ledges. Deep cleaning is available to both pile carpets and hardwood floors thanks to its tri-brush technology. It is WiFi-enabled and works with the Shark app and Amazon Alexa as well as Google Assistant. Comes in your choice of black or white.
Doesn't have high-tech features like self-cleaning brush roll and home mapping.
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Cleaning the carpet is one of the basic jobs expected from a robot vacuum. Carpets and rugs are very popular floor types, and many apartments and homes come with some or most of their floors preinstalled with carpet. Carpet is a little more challenging to clean than hardwood or bare flooring, of course, so a robot vacuum can go a long way in easing the load of this frequent chore.
At BestReviews, our Testing Lab tested 33 available models of robot vacuums and evaluated them on how well they cleaned on carpet. We used commonly available items to simulate small and large debris, placing them in corners and under chairs to see how well each robot removed each kind of mess. We checked how well the robots physically maneuvered on carpeting of various pile heights. We also noted how advanced features like mapping, navigation and smart controls like voice assistants applied specifically to cleaning carpets. And keeping pet owners in mind, we paid a lot of attention to how well they picked up pet hair and cat litter.
We were not surprised to find that the iRobot Roomba S9+, our top pick among Roomba models and among robotic vacuums overall, also did the best on carpet, cleaning quickly and deeply. We also recommend the Roomba j7+ for its impressive navigation and performance on carpet.
On September 11, iRobot released two new models ahead of the holiday season. Here's a look at what we know so far.
Battery life: 120 minutes | Dimensions: 13.7” L x 13.7” W x 3.4” H | Weight: 8.98 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts | Scheduling: Yes
The Roomba Combo j9+ is a flagship-level model from iRobot that combines vacuuming and mopping in a single unit. Other combo models can get carpet wet from mop pads that are only millimeters above the pile, but the Roomba Combo j9+ raises its mop pad completely above its body, making sure it never comes anywhere near carpet, including high pile.
With twice the suction power of an i-series Roomba, the Combo j9+ can free trapped dirt from in between carpet fibers better than other Roombas before it. Its updated software allows it to learn from previous cleaning jobs, recognizing high-traffic areas and increasing power when needed. It knows to avoid things like pet waste, and its new self-emptying dock comes with a usable, attractive top surface.
BestReviews is currently testing this product; we will update our test picks when we're done.
Battery life: 120 minutes | Dimensions: 13.3” L x 13.3” W x 3.4” H | Weight: 7.5 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts | Scheduling: Yes
If mopping isn’t a feature you require from your robot vacuum, the Roomba j9+ offers all the improvements of its Combo sibling at a slightly lower price. Most importantly, its increased suction, 100% more than that of an i-series Roomba, gives it excellent pickup performance when combined with its dual rubber rollers. This lets the j9+ clean deeper into carpet fibers without damaging brushes.
Real-time object recognition allows the j9+ to avoid things like solid pet waste, a real relief for pet lovers with carpeted homes. The room-identification and dirt-detection improvements of the j9+ let it concentrate on high-traffic areas and adjust its settings as needed. It comes with an auto-empty dock that’s 8.75 decibels quieter than previous Roomba docks.
BestReviews is currently testing this product; we will update our test picks when we're done.
Battery life: 107 minutes | Dimensions: 12.25" L x 12.25” W x 3.5” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.5 L | Weight: 8.15 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts | Scheduling: Yes
iRobot’s Roomba s9+ is our top pick among all robotic vacuums and among Roombas, and it’s our top pick for carpets for the same reasons. Its powerful suction, some 40 times stronger than the basic Roomba 600 series, reaches deep into pile for a more comprehensive clean in a single pass. Paired with its self-cleaning dock, it makes cleaning a fully carpeted home or apartment far less of a chore compared to vacuuming all your carpeted areas yourself.
In our testing, the Roomba s9+ made short work of small particles, like salt spilled on carpet, removing virtually all the grains from the pile both in open areas, in corners and under dining chairs. In our large-particle test, the s9+ handled spilled Cheerios with ease and avoided crushing some into the carpet while it worked, a problem with other models we tested. The s9+ excelled at picking up pet hair on carpet, removing all of it in our test. It did well in our cat litter test as well, although it left behind a few stray granules.
The s9+ had no trouble rolling between carpet and hard flooring or between carpets and rugs with different pile heights. Its wide rubber rollers were gentle on different heights of pile and less harsh than a bristle brush roller. Battery life was better than average, lasting 107 minutes of multisurface cleaning, and its self-emptying base liberates you from having to empty its dustbin all the time.
The vacuum packs nifty smart features including remote start and scheduling features. You can even control it with your voice using Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri Shortcuts from an iPhone. With its powerful suction, intelligent navigation and gentle rollers, we give the Roomba s9+ a 10 out of 10 as an excellent robot vacuum for carpet and everywhere else.
Read more: iRobot Roomba s9+
Battery life: 97 minutes | Dimensions: 13.3"' L x 3.3” W x 3.4” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.4 L | Weight: 7.49 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts | Scheduling: Yes
The Roomba j7+ from iRobot stands out for the ability to navigate not with gyroscopes or even lasers but with an actual camera and LED light. This allows the j7+ to actually see in real time what’s in its path. The j7+ can dodge loose cables, balled-up socks, and even avoid unfortunate pet messes without having to bump or roll into them. If you have a pet and carpet, the j7+ won’t track your pet’s accident all over the place the way some other robot vacuums would.
Like other Roombas, the j7+, can be controlled by Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri Shortcuts, and the iRobot app is well-designed and easy to use. In testing the j7+ did well on carpet, removing salt particles with little residue left over and successfully cleaning spilled cereal pieces in two passes. Cleaning small particles from along couches and underneath chairs was also successful, though the j7+, like many round robot vacuums, had difficulty cleaning corners. It ran for 97 minutes before needing to recharge, and recharging itself took two hours.
We tested its obstacle avoidance and navigation by placing a variety of objects in its path, and the j7+ reacted in real time to avoid them. Standing in front of the j7+ causes the robot to swerve to avoid hitting you rather then bumping around you as other, less accurate models might. Its suction power, 10 times that of a Roomba 600 model, gives it plenty of oomph for getting into pile, and its soft rubber rollers works on a variety of pile heights and edge transitions. These factors, and its highly accurate optical navigation system, are why we rate the Roomba j7+ 9 out of 10 for keeping carpets clean.
Read more: iRobot Roomba j7+
Battery life: 190 minutes | Dimensions: 13.58" L x 13.58" W x 3.85" H | Dustbin capacity: 0.6 L | Weight: 7.72 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: No | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant | Scheduling: Yes
The Eufy RoboVac X8 also packs not one but two turbines inside its chassis, letting it generate twice the suction force of competing cleaners. The RoboVac X8 got deep into carpet during testing, providing performance comparable to a powerful handheld or lightweight upright vacuum.
It capably tackled short pet hair, dust and pet litter pellets on medium-pile carpet, and took care of long pet hair easily despite occasionally getting it tangled in its rollers. It lasted a whopping 190 minutes on a single charge during testing, moving from carpeted to non-carpeted surfaces, and effortlessly removed hair, dander and dirt from a 215-square-foot area with high pet traffic.
This high-end robot vacuum uses laser-based navigation to make its way around a room. It navigated around furniture and corners with precision. By reacting to obstacles in real time, the X8 cut down on cleaning duration and spent less time calculating its next move compared to other RoboVac models. As with most high-end robot vacuum models, the X8 works with Alexa and Google Assistant and has an app that lets you control and schedule its cleaning jobs. Its hefty battery life means it takes four hours to fully recharge, and its two turbines make it louder than similar robot vacuums, but its sheer power makes the RoboVac X8 a great choice for thick carpets. We give it a 9 out of 10 for precision navigation and suction power.
Battery life: 94 minutes | Dimensions: 13.34” L x 13.26” W x 3.63” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.3 L | Weight: 7.44 lb| Mapping: Yes| Self-emptying: No | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts | Scheduling: Yes
The Roomba i4 from iRobot provides excellent performance for the money on all kinds of flooring, including carpet. While it lacks the kind of precise navigation of other, higher-end Roombas, its suction power, rubber rollers, row-by-row cleaning pattern and smart features make it a great buy.
Like the Roomba j7 and s9 models from iRobot, the i4 features rubber rollers that effectively clean on a variety of surfaces and that are especially gentle on carpets and rugs. The i4 provides the same suction power as the Rooma j7 family, 10 times that of the basic Roomba 600 series, which allows it to get into carpet for dust and dirt. The i4 removed coffee grounds from carpet both in open areas and under furniture in three passes or less with no residue left behind, although it had more trouble in corners. It worked equally well on low-pile and high-pile rugs and managed the transitions between pile heights with little difficulty. The i4’s Dirt Detect feature allows it to spend more time and use more suction on more soiled areas, a feature that proved itself during carpet testing.
Able to run continuously for at least 94 minutes on a single charge, the Roomba i4 cleans rooms in overlapping rows as much as it can, leaving carpets and floors more fully and more neatly cleaned than budget robot vacuums. It supports app control and scheduling as well as voice commands from Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri Shortcuts. The i4 impressed us in every way for its price range during testing. We give it a rating of 8 out of 10 for value, performance and ease of use.
Read more: iRobot Roomba i4 EVO
Battery life: 90 minutes | Dimensions: 12.9" L x 12.6" W x 3.5" H | Dustbin capacity: 0.17 L | Weight: 5.87 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant | Scheduling: Yes
In our testing, we haven’t run into any robot vacuums that truly dropped the ball on pet hair, but the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL stood out for its performance with pet hair on all surfaces including carpet. We think this is due in large part to its innovative roller brush design, where flexible angled fins work with small fine brushes to channel dirt up and into the vacuum. Indeed, we ran the Shark IQ in a range of tests from carpet to hard flooring and back, and we estimate it picked up 98% of the dirt and debris we wanted it to. It did have some trouble cleaning in corners, like many robot vacuums.
The Shark IQ’s biggest single feature, both literally and figuratively, is its capacious 45-day self-empty dock. Like other self-cleaning docks, it relieves you of the task of emptying your robot’s dustbin yourself, but its large capacity makes it extra convenient for anyone with a lot of pets. We also appreciate that it is a bagless model, so you won't have to keep buying expensive dust bags when the bin gets full of pet hair and other debris.
The Shark IQ navigated well in our testing, negotiating stools, couches, tables and corners without incident, and went from carpet to hard floor and back with ease. It supports smart mapping and zone cleaning but can be used by itself or with only scheduling, which we liked a lot. We rate the Shark IQ 8 out of 10 for performance with pet hair and its big bin capacity.
Battery life: 128 minutes | Dimensions: 13.3" L x 13.3” W x 3.4” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.4 L | Weight: 7.49 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts | Scheduling: Yes
The Roomba j7+ Combo takes what we liked about the j7+, namely its optical navigation and strong suction strength, and adds a mopping function. This, combined with its mapping and zone-cleaning features, allows the j7+ Combo to work as an all-in-one cleaning robot for your home, moving from carpeted areas to bare floors in a single cleaning job.
Like the mop-less j7+, the Combo was among the best models we tested for navigation; its camera and LED light found and avoided objects like shoes, cords and even pet messes with impressive accuracy. Being able to prevent spreading messes on carpet is not something to take for granted, as more rudimentary robot vacuums have come with horror stories of blithely tracking mud or pet messes all over a room. Not only does the j7+ Combo avoid that scenario, its mopping function lets you tackle spills and wet messes on bare floor before they can get to your carpets and rugs. When not in use, its mopping pad retracts away from the floor, leaving your carpet unscathed.
The Combo performed as well as the j7+ in our debris tests, with the same results on carpet from small and large particulates like salt and cereal. It handled pet hair equally well, and its flexible rubber rollers traveled easily on various lengths of pile and between hard flooring and carpet. We highly recommend letting it map your space before use so it can learn which areas are carpeted and which are not. We rate the j7+ 9 out of 10 for utility, convenience and versatility and think it’s ideal for those with both carpeted and non-carpeted floors.
Read more: iRobot Roomba j7+ Combo
Battery life: 75 minutes | Dimensions: 13.4" L x 13.4” W x 3.54” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.35 L | Weight: 6.77 lb | Mapping: No | Self-emptying: No | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts | Scheduling: Yes
The iRobot Roomba 694 is more basic than other Roombas we tested, but we think it’s still a worthwhile choice for anyone who wants to use a robot vacuum with a minimum of setup and fuss. It worked well on carpet despite some limitations, and it shares several smart features with higher-end Roombas and competitors.
The Roomba 694 has a dual-roller system that pairs a rubber roller with a bristle brush. The brush digs effectively into carpets and rugs, making up for the 600 series’ more limited suction power. While it needed several passes to clean up spilled Cheerios on the carpet, for example, it did a good job on dry ground coffee, and it had no trouble at all with removing pet hair from carpet. Navigation-wise, it goes about its job in a semi-random, bump-and-run pattern that looks haphazard at first, but over time, it cleans rooms almost as effectively as more advanced models.
The Roomba 694 cleaned 250 square feet of carpeted space in 56 minutes during testing. It ran for 75 minutes before needing to recharge for two hours. It’s Wi-Fi-capable, with an app that lets you set schedules for cleaning jobs, and can also be controlled by voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri Shortcuts. It can also be operated solely from its top buttons without any need for anything more complicated, making it worth consideration for otherwise low-tech homes. For this reason and for its simple reliability, we give the Roomba 694 a 6 out of 10 and recommend it for dependable no-frills cleaning on carpets and more.
Read more: iRobot Roomba 694
How well your robot vacuum cleans your carpets or rugs varies on what type of carpet or rug you have, the height or length of the pile, any bordering or tassels, and if they’re anchored or not. Generally speaking, throw rugs that lie loose on a bare floor are harder for robot vacuums to clean, as they can be pushed or moved along with the robot. Tassels and fringes on rugs have been known to jam a robot vacuum’s rollers or intake. As with regular vacuums, low- to medium-pile carpeting is easier on robot vacuums than high-pile or shag carpeting. Even if a robot vacuum can maneuver on high pile, it can find high pile difficult to clean without a good brush or suction power.
When it comes to cleaning carpets, you may want to pay special attention to certain features of a robot vacuum, such as:
Cleaning carpet uses more of a robot vacuum’s battery than hardwood or bare flooring does. The higher the pile, the more energy the robot vacuum needs for cleaning. Most robot vacuums have batteries that last at least an hour in a mixed-flooring environment, and we’ve found it takes a minimum of two hours for most models to fully recharge from a depleted state.
You might also find that your robot vacuum spends more time and power on specific areas of carpet where it detects more dirt, which can also affect battery life. The Roomba j7+ and j7+ Combo as well as the Eufy RoboVac X8 were the models in our picks with the longest battery life, even considering their extra features and power.
You may have heard concerns about vacuuming actually harming carpets. By and large, this isn’t an issue, unless you have a vintage or antique carpet that needs more delicate care. Extremely powerful suction can be harmful to carpet, but even the most powerful robot vacuums have less suction power than a standard upright.
Robot vacuums clean by using their rollers to guide debris up into their suction zones, so the roller types and capabilities have a more direct influence on carpet performance. Soft, smooth rollers are gentler on pile than bristle brush rollers, but brush rollers can get deeper into pile without depending on suction.
Having pet hair everywhere is a price many of us pay for loving our furry friends, and it can be hard to imagine cleaning pet hair off carpet without some kind of vacuum cleaner. Happily, robot vacuum makers seem to know this well, and all the models we’ve tested have done nothing less than credible jobs removing pet hair from carpets of all types. Even the budget-featured Roomba 694 cleaned copious pet hair in its basic setting thanks to its bristle roller, although longer strands needed to be untangled from that roller semi-regularly. Other models, like the RoboVac X8 and Shark IQ, powered through pet hair without any trouble at all.
Low-cost robot vacuums can be found costing between $100 to $200, but it’s hard to recommend most of them. They may have only basic navigation skills, low suction power and little to no smart connectivity, and they may struggle with cleaning carpets or rugs of any kind. On the other hand, you can also find clones of higher-priced robot vacuums in this range, or models that promise a plethora of high-end features, but if they work, they usually don’t last very long and aren’t worth repairing.
In this range, you’ll find worthwhile buys in the budget and value range, the kinds of models you can rely on from brands that back up their claims with support and repair options. Look for smart connectivity, scheduling, good suction power and compatibility with voice commands in this price range, from solid brands like iRobot, Eufy and others.
Above $500, you’ll find robot vacuums with plenty of cleaning bells and whistles. Here you will find self-emptying and self-cleaning models with included storage docks; models with lidar or optical navigation systems; zone cleaning and zone avoidance, for even more control over where your robot goes or doesn’t go; and multisurface vacuuming and mopping combo models.
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