It's a conundrum, isn't it? You'd like your place to feel cleaner, but you're also too lazy to vacuum. What to do?
For one thing, you could "hire" a robot vacuum that will save you from the tiresome chore of actually moving your vacuum around. Now, robot vacuums aren't perfect. They sometimes don't quite get to those hard-to-reach places that only a human touch can take care of. Also, you're not entirely off the hook for physical labor, as you're going to need to remove cords you have lying around, pick up any water dishes your pets utilize off the floor (you really want to keep these things dry) and, in order to get the best results, move your furniture around so the device can move around unobstructed. If you have kids, you'll also want to do a floor inspection for Legos, dice, and any other tiny items that would be sucked up and disappear in the vacuum.
That said, if you make a small effort, robot vacuums can save you a lot of cleaning time. It's easy to turn on your Roomba or other robot vac a few times a week, and thus make deeper cleaning a more occasional endeavor. Many of these devices come with timers, so they can run while you are at work or doing errands, and you can return to a freshly vacuumed house.
Best overall: Dreametech Robot Vacuum
Best design: iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robot Vacuum
Editor's pick: Shark ION Robot Vacuum
Basic, low cost: Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11s
Integrates with Alexa controls: 360 S7 Robot Vacuum
Best robot vacuum for pets: Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum Cleaner & Mop System
Best for smart home integration: Samsung Electronics R7065 Robot Vacuum
How To Pick the Best Robot Vacuum for Your Home
Before you figure out which robot you'd like to clean your place, here's some advice to get the most out of your device, courtesy of Bailey Carson, Head of Cleaning at Handy, the New-York based online marketplace for home services.
- When buying a robot vacuum, think about your home — specifically, the spaces you’re expecting it to clean. Do you have a lot of corners and crevices that might be hard to reach with a circular-shaped robot vacuum? Is your furniture high off the ground or closer to the floor? Do you have different flooring throughout the house? Based on your home, you’ll want to look for a robot vacuum that meets your needs. Or, perhaps, you'll realize that a robot vacuum doesn't really work for your space.
- Some robot vacuum cleaners are certified to remove allergens while cleaning. If you or someone else in your home has allergies, look at each robot vacuum's features and find one certified by a reputable organization, like the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, to help clean the air while it’s cleaning the floors.
- Robot vacuums can sense large obstacles, but things like curtain strings or small toys can get in the way. Before you run your robot vacuum, be sure to clear the area from any small objects that might get caught in the vacuum so you don’t have to worry about it getting jammed.
- Look closely at the warranty that comes with your vacuum, in case anything goes wrong and it needs to be repaired.
It's important to clean your robot vacuum regularly so that it can roam around your place for years. Haniya Rae, an editor at Consumer Reports, says, "You want to make sure you empty the dustbin frequently and wipe off its sensors so it can keep cleaning well. They're pretty sturdy and likely won't get broken by bumping into things."
Rae adds that you should "do your best to keep it from vacuuming up stuff like pet waste or spilled strawberry jam, which requires a lot more cleaning and could damage its internal hardware." Factor in some added expenses if you plan to keep your robot vacuum for the long haul. "These typically run on lithium-ion batteries, and you might have to buy one every couple of years to keep it running well," Rae says.
With all of this in mind, here are suggestions for the best robotic vacuums, according to cleaning experts.
The Best Roombas and Robot Vacuums of 2023
1. Best overall: Dreametech Robot Vacuum
List Price: $399.99
The Dreametech Robot Vacuum is the ultimate cleaning companion, offering 45 days of hands-free cleaning for a more comfortable living experience. This robot vacuum takes automation to a whole new level with its auto-empty base station, which efficiently and quietly dumps dirt and dust into a 2.5L dust bag, ensuring weeks of independent automated cleaning. Simply dump the bag when needed, and the vacuum takes care of the rest.
- Auto-empty base station for easy cleaning
- Battery delivers three hours of continuous runtime
- Voice and app control for convenience
- High-performance LiDAR navigation for pathing
- Wi-Fi only works on certain GHz bands
- Not very effective on carpet
2. Best design: iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robot Vacuum
List Price: $999.99
Roomba is the best-known robovac brand, especially if you're a Parks & Recreation fan. Like many well-known names, it costs more in general, but you can still buy iRobot Roomba models for around $300, or even less than $250.
Still, David Cusick, the Durham-based executive editor of the online home resource House Method, says, "If you (or a loved one) simply must have a name-brand Roomba, then go for the best. Yes, the s9+ is pricey, but for the expense, you get self-emptying capabilities and some of the best cleaning results available on the consumer market.
- Three-stage cleaning with excellent suction power
- Smart Mapping feature for efficient cleaning
- Compatible with Google Home and Alexa devices
- Specially designed corner brush for hard-to-reach areas
- Very expensive when not on sale
- App software is unreliable on old devices
3. Editor's pick: Shark ION Robot Vacuum
List Price: $229.99
Even if you're trying to save money, you can still get a fancy robot vacuum with all kinds of features. Robin Brown is the San Francisco-based CEO of the customized coins and pins company Vivipins, and with her experience in the e-commerce industry, she likes the Shark Ion Robot Vacuum.
"Shark ION Robotic vacuum has three powerful brushes for cleaning. These three brushes are known as tri-brushes, including multi-surface brush, channel brushes and side brushes. These brushes clean all kinds of trash on the surfaces," she says. "The sensor in this vacuum enables it to avoid any kind of damage, such as hitting walls, stairs or furniture."
Brown says that unlike some cheaper models, this one is smartphone ready. "There is an app called SharkClean for Shark ION Robotic vacuum. This app controls the cleaning process according to the assigned schedule. The vacuum is easily cleaned through Google Assistant and Alexa."
- Multi-surface, channel and side brushes for versatile use
- SharkClean app for setting cleaning schedules
- Compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa
- High-tech cliff sensors prevent falling down stairs
- May take a while to dock
- Operates fairly loudly
4. Basic, low cost: Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11s
List Price: $229.99
Some robot vacuums can be controlled by smartphone apps. But if you're not into the bells and whistles and just want a basic, low-cost robot vacuum, then Rae says that Eufy RoboVac will get the job done. "On the low end, Eufy 11S can clean bare floors well, but you can't use an app to program — it's not Wi-Fi enabled."
- Ultra-thin 2.85” design to fit under furniture
- BoostIQ Technology for multi-surface cleaning
- Remote control to set and control modes
- Powerful suction at low noise levels
- Not Wi-Fi enabled
- Bin needs to be emptied frequently
5. Integrates with Alexa controls: 360 S7 Robot Vacuum
List Price: $79.99
Don't want to spend a great deal of money but still want a robovac that you can control with your phone? Cusick understands. "Controlling your robot vacuum via the app is addicting, and far simpler than using magnetic tape like with cheaper models," he says. "360 makes a wide range of lesser-known vacuums that can really impress with their power and ease-of-use capabilities, like Alexa integration." What's more, we've seen the 360 S7 available at Amazon with a $100 off coupon.
- Very affordably priced at under $100
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Settings for virtual boundaries and no-go zones
- One-year worry-free warranty service
- App may have issues with Android devices
- Whole-house cleaning may take a while
6. Best for pet owners: Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum Cleaner & Mop System
List Price: $399.99
Pets bring joy, companionship, snuggles and lots and lots of fur. If you're constantly having to clean up after your pooch or kitty, then John Cho, the London-based Founder of My Pet Child, an online "resource for pet owners struggling due to COVID-19," has a robovac suggestion, especially if one of your little adorable companions has an anxious disposition.
"I am an avid pet lover and foster many animals at a time, so hair and kitty litter are always an issue around the house. But, I need a vacuum that is super quiet so my dog doesn't freak out. It was an investment, but I purchased the Roborock S6 vacuum because it had great reviews and it truly is as good if not better than a Roomba," he says. "It has enough suction to get those stubborn dog and cat hairs but is quiet enough that my dog just ignores it entirely. It's also half the price of a Roomba, so though expensive, it's a great deal for a robovac."
- Remote viewing/broadcast for checking in on pets
- Infrared imaging and LiDAR navigation for nighttime cleaning
- Up to three hours of runtime
- App-controlled mopping and obstacle notification
- Only compatible with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
- Not ideal for high-pile carpet
7. Best for smart home integration: Samsung Electronics R7065 Robot Vacuum
If you're willing to throw down some cash for a robot vacuum that really gets in there and comes with the bells and whistles, consider this model. Rae says, "On the higher end, Samsung POWERbot R7065 is much more powerful, and can pick up fine grains of sand off bare floors, and can be scheduled with Samsung's Smart Things app."
- Powerful cleaning on all floor types
- Innovative rubber blade for edge/corner cleaning
- Onboard camera and multiple sensors for ideal pathing
- Compatible with smartphone and voice control
- Runtime is only 90 minutes
- Hair wraps around brush, requires cleaning
Why Trust Us
Our commitment to the consumer begins with product selection and ends with the last word we write in each article. Each robot vacuum and Roomba is carefully vetted quantitatively through star ratings and the number of reviews and qualitatively through careful examination of reviews and the features each one has to offer. Leveraging our team of bargain hunters, we’re always sure to keep your budget in mind while finding the best robot vacuums and Roombas on the market. Our team of experts is dedicated to accurately depicting the pros and cons of each robot vacuum and Roomba, translating technical product specifications into information you can understand. Our mission is to help you clean your space with the most effective vacuums so you can enjoy it to the fullest without breaking the bank.