Updated May 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best robotic vacuums

Robotic vacuums have automated a common household chore and can clean your home whether you’re present or not. Models vary in their efficiency and hazard detection and may be better suited to different environments.

You should consider the layout of your home and whether a robotic vacuum is capable of navigating multiple rooms or can be programmed to clean specific areas. The battery life can limit how much a vacuum can clean, and some models may have wireless capabilities to respond to commands from a smartphone app. And of course, you should consider the type of debris and flooring your vacuum will need to clean.

The more expensive the robotic vacuum cleaner, the more features and functionalities it will offer. Expensive models tend to have more programmable functions and better hazard detection. 

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The first robotic vacuum was inspired by Star Wars and was invented by Helen Greiner. “I saw Star Wars when I was 11 and I was enthralled by R2D2 because he was more than a machine.” - Helen Greiner

Why buy a robotic vacuum cleaner?

You may be wondering if robotic vacuum cleaners are just a fad, or if they’re a permanent new fixture in cleaning technology. We tend to think the latter. As AI technology grows and expands, some aspects of our lives become simpler.

Consider buying a robotic vacuum cleaner if any of the following apply.

  • You’re a busy person who would like to delegate the task of cleaning your floors to someone (or something) else.

  • You enjoy living in an environment with spotless floors.

  • You find you can’t keep up with the ever-accumulating pet hair or other debris in your home.

  • You want to minimize the amount of time you spend cleaning your home.

  • You’re interested in high-tech gadgets and would get great enjoyment from a robotic vacuum cleaner.

  • You’re looking for ways to simplify your life.

Expert TIp
Allow your robotic vacuum to fully charge between uses so it will clean as long as possible. This is especially important if you want it run while you're away from home.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Key considerations

Is the robotic vacuum cleaner able to navigate the rooms of my home?

Some robotic vacuum cleaners use mapping technology to navigate the various rooms in your home. Not all robotic vacuums can intelligently do this, however. If you have a house with multiple complicated room layouts, you may want to consider a device with more advanced artificial intelligence. 

Can the robotic vacuum cleaner self-correct if I’m not home?

If you want a robotic vacuum cleaner that works while you're away, make sure that you choose a robotic vacuum with good navigation and object-sensing capabilities.

Expert tip
Pre-sweeping and picking big things up off of your floors will help your Robotic vacuum run faster and not get stuck on large debris, like food.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert 

What is the robotic vacuum cleaner's level of hazard avoidance?

A robotic vacuum cleaner’s level of hazard avoidance is an important consideration. Some vacuums are equipped with features that prevent them from plunging down a stairwell. Many robotic vacuums also come with “virtual walls” which allow you to block off certain areas of your home.

What type of battery life does the robotic vacuum cleaner have?

Robotic vacuums are equipped with rechargeable batteries, but the lifespan of said batteries varies from one product to another. Larger homes require longer battery life, so take stock of the square footage recommendation and the battery runtime of the robotic vacuum that you’re most interested in.

What type of flooring and debris are you dealing with?

Some robotic vacuums are better able to handle different types of dirt and debris. Thick carpets require a more powerful motor, as do large amounts of pet hair. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll want to ensure you choose a model that can handle the fur they shed. Choosing a device with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will ensure that allergens are kept to a minimum in your home.

Do you want a robotic vacuum cleaner with wireless capabilities?

Being able to connect wirelessly to your robotic vacuum cleaner is a godsend when you’re away from home and need to check in on the cleaning process. Some of these vacuums even allow for automatic scheduling which helps you to plan out cleaning in advance, even during the times you’re away.

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Testing robotic vacuums
We spent 33 hours researching 32 robotic vacuums, including testing 2 in our lab. This testing helped us confirm our top picks.

Robotic vacuum cleaner prices

You will pay a premium for a robotic vacuum cleaner compared to a standard upright vacuum. However, the prices of quality robotic vacuums do vary.

Generally, the higher the price, the more cleaning power you’ll get out of your chosen device.

Pricier robotic vacuum cleaners tend to have better AI and excellent room-mapping abilities. Less-expensive robotic vacuum cleaners feature more basic cleaning options and may lack some of the scheduling features seen in top-shelf models.

Expert TIp
Knowing the size of your home will help you pick a robotic vacuum with a long-enough battery life.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Potential cons of robotic vacuum cleaners

Though very convenient and useful, there are some potential downsides to robotic vacuums that you should be aware of before you buy one.


Robotic vacuum cleaners are generally much more expensive than most upright vacuum cleaners.


Robotic vacuum cleaners can get stuck. Even the smartest models aren’t as smart as you are and can get stuck under sofas or get confused in a cluttered room.

Expert Tip
Pick up cords and make sure that none of your rugs have loose threads or strings hanging off of them since vacuums can cause destruction in both cases.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Less power

Robotic vacuum cleaners lack the power of traditional vacuums. You simply can’t get a super deep clean with a robotic vacuum. We recommend using it often in combination with a traditional vacuum for heavily soiled areas or on dense surfaces like shag carpeting.


They require more frequent emptying than do upright vacuums because they simply are not large in size. However, emptying the bin of a robotic vacuum cleaner is fairly simple – you just need to do so regularly.


  • Most robotic vacuums can get out of tight spots thanks to their intelligent sensors, but to make sure yours does not get trapped clear obstacles before you set it out to clean.

  • It’s a good idea to fully charge your new robotic vacuum before putting it to work on your floors.

  • Read the included device manual carefully so you can put all of the neat features of your robotic vacuum to use.

  • Remember to empty the bin of your robotic vacuum cleaner regularly.

  • You’ll also want to change the device’s filter often to ensure allergens are kept to a minimum inside your home.

  • When it comes to safety, treat a robotic vacuum just like you would a regular upright vacuum. If you get down to floor level to help the vacuum move along on its cleaning route, make sure your hair is pulled back and unable to get caught in the vacuum.

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Check your expectations. Most robotic vacuums won’t fully replace upright vacuums with large canisters. However, they’re great for providing a quick sweep between larger cleaning jobs.


Q. What’s the advantage of a robotic vacuum cleaner over an upright vacuum?

A. The biggest advantage to having a robotic vacuum cleaner is that you can literally set it and forget it. These devices also tend to take up a lot less space, so they’re great for smaller homes or apartments.

Q. How does a robotic vacuum cleaner find its way around a room?

A. Robotic vacuums use different variations of mapping technology to navigate the inside of your home. Some common technologies include sensors, like the ones that alert your vacuuming robot that it’s encountered an obstacle. Some optical sensors allow the robotic vacuum to gauge its distance traveled. Many newer models actually use artificial intelligence to help them clean your space.

Q. Can a robotic vacuum cleaner find its way under furniture to clean those spaces?

A. That depends on whether the vacuum you choose can clear said furniture. If your couch is high enough off the ground, a robotic vacuum should have no problem getting beneath it to clean.

Q. What about corners? Can a robotic vacuum clean those areas?

A. This will depend heavily on the shape of the unit you choose. Special D-shaped units are specially designed to clean corners.

Q. What kind of maintenance should I expect with this kind of device?

A. You’ll need to remember to empty the dustbin each time you use your robotic vacuum. Sometimes, the sensors on the vacuum will need to be cleaned off to ensure the robotic vacuum can continue to find its way around. Some vacuums will require you to clean out hair and debris that has become stuck or trapped inside. Filters will also need to be changed to ensure your vacuum continues to trap allergens.

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