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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
Best of the Best
iRobot Roomba s9+
Roomba S9+
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Best robot vacuum for hardwood floors
Bottom Line

Its suction power captures all types of debris on slick hardwood and even gets into corners more effectively than other robots.


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 fan brush while cleaning hardwood. It is one of the most expensive models we tested.

Best Bang for the Buck
iRobot Roomba i4
Roomba i4
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Best robotic vacuum for your buck
Bottom Line

The best robot vacuum for people on a budget, with features and capabilities of more expensive models.


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.

Eufy RoboVac X8
RoboVac X8
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Best robot vacuum for power
Bottom Line

Twin turbines generate twice the suction power of other robot vacuums for a deeper and more effective clean on carpet.


Comes with two interior turbines to deliver 4,000 pA total suction force, capable of deep cleaning carpet and fully removing pet hair in a single pass during testing. Laser-based navigation allows for precise maneuvering around furniture and fast obstacle avoidance. We like its feature-rich app and good voice command compatibility.


Somewhat loud. Takes 4 hours to fully recharge its battery.

Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL
IQ Robot Self-Empty XL RV1001AE
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Best robot vacuum for the money
Bottom Line

This robot vacuum excelled on hardwood floors during testing but is considerably cheaper than models with similar performance.


Our testing found it removed nearly all debris on hardwood and carpet. It also cleaned well in corners and along baseboards. The app is easy to use for scheduling and other features. It has a self-emptying base for uninterrupted cleaning.


Its mapping function didn’t work as well as expected during testing. Small objects like pet toys sometimes got caught in it.

iRobot Roomba j7+ Combo
Roomba Combo j7+
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Best for mopping and vacuuming
Bottom Line

This hybrid robot vacuum not only vacuums hardwood but mops without damaging it too.


Its mopping pad flips up on top of the robot to avoid scrapping or oversaturating the floor. We found it had enough suction power to suck up all but a few grains of heavier debris. It can clean with water only. Its battery can run for over 2 hours before recharging.


It doesn’t have a mop-only setting. It ran into an erroneous pump error message during mopping.


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 robot vacuum

Robot vacuums are one area where the real 21st century has somewhat kept up with "Jetsons"-style predictions. In the last few years, they have become widely available at a variety of price points from budget models to feature-packed premium designs. The best robot vacuums can turn this common household chore into something easy, convenient and even fun. More importantly, they free up your time, so you can do the things you enjoy.

The BestReviews Testing Lab tested more than 30 robot vacuums. We evaluated them on performance, ease of use, smart capabilities and build quality. We ran tests on carpet and hardwood flooring, checked their ability to move from one surface to the other and examined their overall navigation. We paid special attention to how well they sucked up pet hair and cat litter. Finally, we assessed how easy they were to clean and maintain.

Robot vacuums have been introduced by many popular brands, and for every top-selling model, there can be five or more low-cost clones. After putting all of these machines to the test, we think the Roomba line from iRobot is still the best in the category, including our top two picks, the impressive Roomba s9+ and the value-packed Roomba i4.

New releases

On September 11, iRobot released two new models ahead of the holiday season. Here's a look at what we know so far.

iRobot Roomba Combo j9+

Roomba Combo j9+ on hard flooring next to area rug

Product specifications

Battery life:
120 minutes | Dimensions: 13.7” L x 13.7” W x 3.4” H | Weight: 8.98 lbMapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts | Scheduling: Yes

The Combo j9+ is a flagship-level combo mop/vacuum model with twice the suction power (100% more) of the mid-level Roomba i series. Like the Combo j7+, it keeps its mopping pad on an automatic robot arm that swings the pad over the top of the robot to ensure a wet pad never touches carpet.

The Combo j9+ can learn from previous cleaning jobs to identify rooms and areas that often get dirty, recognizing the difference between a lightly used home office and a high-traffic hallway, or increasing its scrubbing power in a mudroom. It’s even smart enough to know to mop a bathroom after a kitchen, to prevent spreading germs.

The Combo j9+ features faster mapping and advanced object recognition to avoid pet waste, backpacks, cords and other hazards. It also comes with a redesigned Clean Base dock with a usable wood-finish top surface and the ability to automatically refill its water tank for up to 30 days.

BestReviews is currently testing this product; we will update our test picks when we're done.

iRobot Roomba j9+

Roomba j9+ on area rug in front of dog and person

Product specifications

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

The Roomba j9+ includes all the improved features of the Combo j9+ without the mop. A stylishly designed model with a self-emptying dock, the j9+ also has twice the power of an i-series Roomba, with what iRobot claims is improved pickup performance even over the impressive Roomba s9+.

The Roomba j9+ has the same ability to learn and adjust its cleaning settings as does the Combo j9+. It can identify and differentiate rooms based on how dirty they get and how often they’re used, paying more attention to the areas that need it. Its improved mapping is faster than that of the j7 models and can identify and avoid things like backpacks, cords, toys and even pet poop. The j9+ boasts an estimated two hours of battery life.

BestReviews is currently testing this product; we will update our test picks when we're done.

Our top picks: Which robot vacuum is best?

iRobot Roomba s9+

Best robot vacuum

Product specifications

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

The pricey but powerful Roomba s9+ with its self-emptying base is our top pick among robot vacuums. It aced our dirt and flooring tests, vacuuming up spilled salt, breakfast cereal, pet hair and cat litter with ease. Its wide multisurface rubber brushes effectively covered almost a foot of floor with each pass and went from carpet to hardwood to rugs and back without mishap. When it comes to cleaning corners, the s9+’s D-shaped design beat other robot vacuums we tested, getting into the nooks and crannies and leaving very little behind.

A model from 2019, the Roomba s9+ features smart mapping, allowing you to specify rooms and areas to clean and making the robot’s already-efficient navigation even more direct. Its battery lasted 1 hour and 47 minutes on a full charge, cleaning 140 square feet in 37 minutes. In testing, it filled its bin in 28 minutes and automatically returned to its self-emptying charge base. The bin-emptying process is about as loud as the s9+ gets, resembling a standard vacuum cleaner, but it’s notably quiet during actual cleaning. With the intuitive and helpful iRobot Home app, the s9+ can be scheduled to run at specific times, and because it also supports Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri Shortcuts, you can command it with your voice.

With impressive suction on both carpeted and bare floors, outstanding corner-cleaning capability, excellent navigation and a self-emptying base, the Roomba s9+ earned a perfect 10 out of 10 score in our ratings. We think it’s simply the best robot vacuum you can buy.

iRobot Roomba i4

Best value robot vacuum

Product specifications

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 iRobot Roomba i4 is a great robot vacuum for anyone looking to clean a smaller home or apartment. We found that it did a fantastic job with coffee grounds and cereal on both carpet and bare floor. It also did well in pet hair and cat litter tests. Its rubber multisurface rollers not only resisted getting tangled with pet hair, but also made it effective on a variety of surfaces from low-pile carpet to hardwood to vinyl plank. It ran for 94 minutes before returning to its home base to recharge, and cleaned an area of 346 square feet in 71 minutes, taking two hours to recharge a depleted battery to full. With its row-by-row navigation, it covered a lot of ground efficiently. 

Transitions between surfaces didn’t faze the i4, even though it took a moment to figure out the best way to get onto a high-pile rug from carpet. Its side brush let it clean corners with only a little residue left behind, and it managed to clean under dining chairs and along couches faster than Roomba’s budget models. Released in 2021, it features smart mapping that allows you to name specific rooms to clean and schedule when you want a cleaning job to run. It also works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri Shortcuts for voice-controlled jobs.

While it lacks some of the power and advanced features of more premium models, we found the Roomba i4 a helpful addition to a daily cleaning routine and a worthwhile purchase to keep your home spic and span. We gave it a score of 8 out of 10 for reliability, performance, ease of use and affordability.

Eufy RoboVac X8

Best robot vacuum for power

Product specifications

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 is a high-end robot vacuum with not one, but two separate turbines inside its chassis. This allows it to generate 4,000 pA of suction, twice that of other models in our breakdown. The RoboVac X8 got deeper into carpet than expected during testing, removing dust, cat litter and other particles, and did equally well on hardwood, laminate and tile surfaces. Its power was most apparent on pet hair, removing far more from a 215-square-foot high-pet-traffic area than Eufy’s single-turbine RoboVac G30 model.

Released in 2021, the RoboVac X8 uses laser navigation (also called lidar) to make its way around a room. This gives it extra accuracy in both mapping and navigation. Compared to infrared- or gyroscope-based robot vacuums, the X8 reacted quicker to obstacles, spent less time “thinking” and navigated around corners and under chairs with precision. It lasted 190 minutes on a single full charge during testing, although it needed almost four hours to recharge from a depleted state.

A fully equipped smart vacuum, the RoboVac X8 can be operated from Eufy’s feature-rich smartphone app and is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. It supports not just mapping but also zone cleaning and digital no-go boundaries. Aside from price, its only major drawback is the extra noise generated by two turbines compared to one. Still, it earns a rating of 9 out of 10 for its powerful suction and great navigation.

Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL

Best robot vacuum for pets

Product specifications

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

All robot vacuums claim to handle pet hair well, and in our testing we were unable to find one that truly drops the ball when it comes to pets. But the Shark iQ Robot Self-Empty XL was particularly impressive when it came to a small multiple-pet home, visibly removing hair and crumbs and allowing you to specify zones where you don’t want it to go. It also has a dock that can go 45 days before emptying.

The Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL is a Wi-Fi-enabled model that can be controlled by Alexa or Google Assistant in addition to the Shark app. Despite this, it was easy for a newbie to set up, even though we had trouble getting its mapping features to function. Even without a fully customized map, it was simple to set up no-go zones for the Shark IQ to avoid, as well as schedule a regular daily cleaning routine. The Shark’s powerful suction and two side brushes removed an estimated 98% of dirt and debris from both carpeted and bare floors, navigating successfully under couches and TV consoles as well as around chairs.

The Shark IQ features an innovative brush roller design that combines thin, flexible fins with small, precise brush segments for effective cleaning of various surfaces. It also is designed to avoid getting tangled with pet hair, a key consideration when it comes to robot vacuums and pets. Thanks to its effective cleaning, dependable scheduling and convenient self-cleaning base, we give the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL an 8 out of 10 rating and recommend it for pet-friendly homes.

iRobot Roomba j7+ Combo

Best robot vacuum and mop combo

Product specifications

Battery life: 128 minutes | Dimensions: 13.3" L x 13.3” W x 3.4” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.4 L | Weight: 7.35 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts | Scheduling: Yes

Released by iRobot in 2022, the Roomba j7+ Combo robot mop and vacuum is as close to hands-off cleaning as we could get in our testing. It combines a powerful robot vacuum and a robot mop into a single device and comes with a self-emptying dock to boot. With its retractable mopping pad, it can go from vacuuming carpet to mopping hardwood on the same cleaning run.

To best use both the Roomba j7+ Combo’s functions, we recommend doing a full mapping run prior to cleaning. In our tests, the j7+ Combo took 54 minutes to map five rooms on the same floor, noting which areas were carpeted and which were hardwood or laminate. During cleaning, the j7+ ran for 128 minutes on a single charge, the longest of any of the models we tested, and took 71 minutes to fill its bin. It moved from carpet to bare floor without a hitch and performed well in particle and spill testing, although it needed a few passes to fully clean cat litter or cereal. In 52 minutes, it cleaned a room of 320 square feet.

Like its non-mopping siblings in the Roomba “j” series, it did very well with pet hair, removing a visible amount without any getting tangled in its rollers. When it came to mopping, it removed a stuck-on stain on hardwood with ease, and it left no residue after mopping up spills. With keep-out areas, zone cleaning and smart-assistant compatibility, the Roomba j7+ Combo is an all-in-one cleaning machine that earns a rating of 8 out of 10 from our testing.

Eufy RoboVac 11s Max

Best low-profile robot vacuum

Product specifications

Battery life: 120 minutes | Dimensions: 12.8" L x 12.8" W x 2.85" H | Dustbin capacity: 0.6 L | Weight: 5.73 lb | Mapping: No | Self-emptying: No | Voice commands: No | Scheduling: No

The Eufy RoboVac 11s Max is another affordable robot vacuum we tested that impressed us. Despite not being a smart-mapping model, it offered solid performance and scheduling with a handy remote control. Its low profile makes it a great choice for homes that have a lot of low-slung furniture.

The RoboVac 11s Max lasted for two hours during testing, more than its rated 100 minutes of runtime. Its 0.6-liter bin took more than an hour to fill even in a pet-friendly household. It’s noticeably quiet during use, and we believe Eufy’s claim that it runs at a mere 55 decibels during operation, the same as an air conditioner, making it the quietest on our list by at least 5 decibels. At less than 3 inches tall, it fits where other robot vacuums don’t, such as under couches. Suction power was satisfactory on both carpet and bare floor in our testing.

While the RoboVac 11s Max, which was launched in 2019, lacks the mapping ability of other models, it offers job-specific navigation like edge-only and spot cleaning, and you can control its direction manually with buttons on its remote. It even offers a 30-minute quick-clean option in lieu of true scheduling. While it has some drawbacks, such as its tendency to lose side brushes when moving from carpet to hardwood, its affordable price, low profile and precise manual control allow us to recommend the RoboVac 11s Max with a score of 8 out of 10.

iRobot Roomba 694

Best budget robot vacuum

Product specifications

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 a simple yet solid robot vacuum that uses a basic semi-random navigation method to clean your home. Unlike a row-by-row or smart mapping model, the 694 moves forward until it bumps into an obstacle, turns in a semi-random direction and goes on from there until it bumps into something else, at which point it chooses the next semi-random direction to turn. This can look aggravating to an observer, but if used regularly, it ends up cleaning almost as much of a given area as more advanced navigation systems.

The Roomba 694 ran for 75 minutes during testing before needing to return to its dock to recharge for 2 hours. It cleaned 250 square feet in 56 minutes before announcing it had completed the job to its satisfaction. After 75 minutes, its bin needed emptying, which was a simple job of removing it from the chassis and emptying the contents into a waste basket.

Although the Roomba 694, which came out in 2020, lacks mapping and uses semi-random navigation, it supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections and can be controlled by Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri Shortcuts. It was effective in vacuuming coffee grounds, cereal, pet hair and pet litter from both carpet and bare flooring, although its side brush would often send stray bits of larger debris across the floor. It moved from surface to surface with no trouble except for high-pile carpeting, and its roller brush needed occasional cleaning from tangled pet hair. Despite some drawbacks, the Roomba 694’s simplicity and overall effectiveness make it a great budget model to consider. We give it a 7 out of 10.

How we tested


  • Unboxing: We noted each robot vacuum’s packaging, how secure it was, how complete its accessories were and if it used too much plastic or too little protection.
  • Setup: We kept track of the setup process for each robot vacuum, from physically plugging in its dock to any assembly or preparation that needed to be done on the unit.
  • App: We downloaded and installed any apps recommended or required to use the unit, noting user interface, comprehensiveness and ease of use.


  • Carpet: We tested each robot vacuum extensively on carpet, both in area cleaning and in spot cleaning with small, medium and large particulates, in open areas, in corners and near or beneath furniture.
  • Hardwood: We tested the same particulates on hardwood and similar bare flooring, paying attention to corners and edges.
  • Transitions: We tested the performance of each robot vacuum in negotiating transitions between surface types, such as carpet to hardwood, carpet to rug, hardwood to rug and so on.
  • Navigation: We observed each robot’s navigation capabilities, its cornering, its ability to maneuver around obstacles or in tight spaces, its coverage efficiency and its ability to return to its home dock.
  • Pets: For pet lovers and pet homes, we tested each robot vacuum’s ability to remove pet hair from carpet and bare flooring, how effective it was at cleaning up spilled litter, how often pet hair got tangled in its rollers and how easy it was to remove.

Ease of use

  • Mapping: For models with mapping, we tracked the duration and area of a mapping run, the accuracy of the resulting maps and the usefulness of the maps when specifying a room or zone to clean.
  • Scheduling: We checked if a robot vacuum offered scheduled cleaning, how easy a schedule was to set and if the robot vacuum followed the schedule accurately.
  • Voice control: We set up each vacuum that supported voice assistants with Alexa or Siri Shortcuts to see how effectively and precisely they could be controlled by voice.


  • Emptying: It was important for us to check how easy or difficult it was to empty each robot vacuum’s dirt bin, both those with a manual bin and those with a self-cleaning or self-emptying dock. We also noted how long it took to fill a bin or dock and how often you needed to empty it.
  • Upkeep: We cleaned each robot vacuum after testing, paying attention to its roller brushes and filters, but also checking and cleaning its wheels, sensors and any side brushes. We also observed how dirty a robot got during cleaning and how easy it was to clean its surfaces.

Why buy a robot vacuum?

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

  • You love coming home to a clean space, but you hate vacuuming.
  • 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.
Some of the robotic vacuums we tested to decide which one is best.

What to consider before you buy

Here are a few questions to answer before deciding whether to purchase a vacuum.

Is it able to navigate the rooms of my home?

Many mid-range to high-end robotic vacuum cleaners use mapping technology to navigate specific rooms,  like the Roomba s9+ and i4 or the Eufy RoboVac X8. Not all robotic vacuums can do this, though. If you have a house with a complex floor plan, consider a device with more advanced artificial intelligence.

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

If you want a cleaner that works while you're away, make sure you choose one with good navigation and object-sensing capabilities. The Eufy RoboVac X8, for example, uses laser navigation to find and redirect from obstacles almost in real time, while the Roomba i4 can disentangle itself from cords by means of built-in maneuvering.

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

All robot vacuums have sensors, often called cliff sensors, that stop them from plunging down a stairwell or landing.. Some robotic vacuums also support “virtual walls” so you can block off certain areas of your home (“no-go zones”). Both the Shark IQ and the iRobot Roomba j7+, for example, let you set up digital barriers and virtual walls around fragile objects, pet bowls and cluttered closets, to maximize efficiency and minimize obstacles.

What about battery life?

Robotic vacuums have lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, but the runtime varies from one product to another. This, in turn, affects the length of your cleaning sessions.

Your machine will need to spend time on the charging dock in between cleaning sessions. But you probably don’t want to pause your cleaning just to put it on the charging dock. Most of the models we tested, including the budget-priced Roomba 694, can sense when their batteries are running low and suspend a cleaning job to return to their dock as quickly as possible. Once they’ve topped off their batteries, they resume the same job where they left off. A full charge, however, takes an average of two to two and a half hours.

Since larger homes require longer battery life, take stock of the square footage recommendation and the battery runtime of the vacuum you’re interested in. A runtime of an hour and a half is the average minimum among models we recommend, although that can change depending not only on square footage but also how much dirt the robot vacuum finds and how complex the navigation is.

What type of flooring and debris are you dealing with?

Some robotic vacuums are better able to handle different types of dirt and debris. A thick-pile carpet requires a gentler brush and a more powerful motor than a hard floor or a low-pile carpet. Homes with large amounts of pet hair also need that power. Eufy’s RoboVac X8 has the most powerful suction among our recommended vacuums, but the roller brushes of the Roomba i4 and Shark IQ also do a good job on high pile.

If you’re a pet owner, pick a model that can handle the fur your pets shed. Choosing a device with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or similar pleated-type filter, such as the filter in the Eufy RoboVac S11 Max, helps keep allergens at a minimum in your home. Also, if you have lots of hardwood flooring, verify that the vacuum you’re considering is suitable for it. All our top picks do well on hardwood and other hard flooring types, but a gentler rubber roller, as on the Roomba s9+, may be more suitable to preserve real hardwood finishes.

Do you want a robot vacuum with smart capabilities?

Even if you don’t live in a completely “smart home,” the ability to control your robotic vacuum cleaner with an app or voice assistant is helpful. A good robot vacuum app not only allows you to send the robot on a cleaning job but also keeps track of error messages, job duration, area covered, extra dirt discovered, battery life and more.

Some of these vacuums even allow for the automatic creation of a cleaning schedule. The iRobot app used by Roombas, for example, learns your cleaning routine and, after a few uses, offers suggestions for schedules that reflect seasonal changes such as pollen or spring cleaning. Scheduling cleaning jobs also lets you run a robot vacuum while you’re away, so you return to a freshly vacuumed home.

Most robot vacuums with app control also offer compatibility with voice commands and digital assistants, most often Alexa and Google Assistant. This lets you control your robot vacuum with a simple command, such as, “RoboVac X8, clean the dining room” or “Clean the kitchen at 10 p.m.” iRobot’s Roombas also offer compatibility with Apple’s Siri assistant via the Shortcuts app.

How to clean a robot vacuum

A robot vacuum needs regular cleaning to stay in peak condition. If you don’t have a self-emptying model, empty its dustbin after every full job for best results. Every week or so, check its rollers for pet hair and other tangles and clean its sensors and wheels.

For most robot vacuums, this involves simply turning the robot on its back and opening an access panel to its roller brushes. If possible, remove the roller brush or brushes and cut or untangle string, pet hair and other debris. Clean the compartment containing the rollers as well. Replace the rollers when you’re done.

Use a soft microfiber or lint-free cloth to clean any sensor windows on your robot vacuum, including cliff sensors, IR receivers, camera windows and laser ports. Check the wheels and axles for debris. Every so often, unscrew the side brushes if possible and check for debris in the axle. If possible, rinse the dirt bin in warm water, and replace the dust filter when recommended.

Robot vacuum cleaner prices

Robot vacuums cost more compared to a standard upright vacuum. That said, the prices of vacuums can vary. Generally, the higher the price, the more features you have and the more cleaning power you’ll get.

Under $200

The most affordable robots cost under $200. You will not find many iRobot Roombas in this price range, but you are likely to find some eufy RoboVacs, Shark robots, and ILIFE robots in this mix, not to mention dozens of capable knockoffs from fly-by-night brands that do reasonably well for a while and then conk out for no particular reason.

Less-expensive robotic vacuum cleaners feature more basic cleaning options (think low-pile carpet, minimal messes and smaller living rooms) and may lack some of the scheduling features seen in costlier models.

From $200 to $500

Between $200 and $500 you’ll find the best entry-level and mid-priced models of well-known and dependable robot vacuum manufacturers, including iRobot, Roborock, Eufy and Shark. Pricier robotic vacuum cleaners tend to have better smart mapping abilities. If you want something that responds to voice commands, offers powerful suction and stands out for its navigation system and battery life, look in this price range.

From $500 to $1,000

What would you get for a $1,000 vacuum cleaner like our top pick, the iRobot Roomba s9+? A refined cleaning experience on all fronts, mostly, from better corner and edge performance, wider brushes, more powerful suction, more scheduling and zone options, and self-cleaning docks. You may balk at spending this much on a vacuum cleaner, but the savings in time and effort are worth it.

Potential cons of robot vacuum cleaners

Though highly 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 upright vacuum cleaners. Even a budget robot vacuum can cost as much or more than a high-end upright vacuum cleaner. The budget-priced basic Roomba 694 costs more than our top-5 pick, the Shark Navigator upright vacuum.

The price difference is due, in large part, to convenience: You don’t have to run the vacuum yourself.

It also has to do with the advanced features offered, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, smart mapping and compatibility with a voice assistant.


Robotic vacuum cleaners can get stuck. Even the smartest models aren’t as smart as you are, and they can jam under couches or get confused in a cluttered room, bringing a cleaning session to a halt.

In other words, you could come home to an unvacuumed living room and a jammed robot vac that needs a little “help” extricating itself from a tight situation.

Less power

Though more powerful than a cordless stick vacuum, robotic vacuum cleaners lack the powerful suction of a traditional upright. 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 high-pile carpet and even medium-pile carpet. 


Robot dustbins require more frequent emptying than upright vacuum dustbins. This is because they simply aren’t very big. That said, emptying the dustbin of a robotic vacuum cleaner is fairly simple — you just need to do so regularly.


  • Declutter before you vacuum. Most robotic vacuums can get out of tight spots thanks to their intelligent sensors. To make sure yours doesn't get trapped under the living room couch or in another tight spot, clear obstacles as much as you can beforehand.
  • Place it on the charging dock first. It’s a good idea to fully charge your new robotic vacuum before you put it to work on your floors.
  • Read the manual carefully. Although it’s a lot to take in at once, you will appreciate being able to put all the features of your robotic vacuum to use right away.
  • Change the filter often. This helps keep allergens to a minimum inside your home.


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

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

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

A. It 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. Eufy’s slim RoboVacs, such as the 11s Slim and 11s Max, are intended to fit where other robot vacuums can’t go. However, if a robot vacuum thinks it can fit under a piece of furniture, but actually can’t, it might keep trying until it’s wedged in tight and has to call for help. This can happen when low-profile furniture is on high-pile carpet. 

Q. Can a robot vacuum do spot cleaning in smaller areas?

A. Many robot vacuums offer spot cleaning, including most of our top picks. iRobot Roomba models and Eufy RoboVacs, for example, have specific spot-clean modes that can be activated from the unit itself or from a remote or app. To use spot clean, it’s recommended you physically place the robot on the mess to be cleaned. It will then run a cleaning pattern focused on the area without continuing on to a different part of the room.

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