Maybe you’ve been a proud robot vacuum owner for years now; maybe you haven’t yet tried out this nifty, time-saving home gadget. Either way, we suggest you check out the newest models on the market: With upgraded capabilities and futuristic features, they’re well worth your while—and most perform far better than the earliest robot vacuums. Floor plan mapping, the ability to detect flooring types, obstacle maneuvering and even mopping functionalities make cleaning enjoyable and easy. The best robot vacuums have always outperformed typical vacuums with their hands-off cleaning abilities, but now, they’re that much more efficient.
For instance, with the newer floor mapping capability boasted by newer models, you can set “restricted areas,” designate particular areas for vacuuming and mopping and even choose the order of rooms for cleaning. More advanced robotic vacuums, meanwhile, have even more impressive features—which are naturally accompanied by higher prices—that include automatic dustbin emptying and remote control via voice commands to Alexa or Google Assistant and/or the use of a companion app. And finally, the best of the best robot vacuums go far beyond stick vacuums with features like advanced sensors to avoid wires, stairs, pet waste and other disastrous obstacles (mind you, these models can reach $1,000).
The Forbes Vetted team put in hours of research and combed through hundreds of reviews to find the best robot vacuums on the market right now. Ahead, explore our top picks—and prepare to take one pesky chore off next week’s to-do list.
Best Robot Vacuum Overall
An Excellent Pick With Powerful Suction And Futuristic Features
Best Value Robot Vacuum
An Affordable Pick With A Three-Stage Cleaning System
Best Robot Vacuum For Pet Hair
A Model Whose Airflow And Suction Maximize Pet Hair Pickup
Best Robot That Mops And Vacuums
An Option That Does It All: Vacuum, Mop, Wash And Dry
Best Robot Vacuum For All Types of Floors
A Robot Vacuum That Seamlessly Transitions From Floor To Carpet
Best Roomba Robot Vacuum
A Self-Emptying Option With Many High-Tech Features
What To Consider When Choosing A Robot Vacuum
There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best robot vacuum to meet your cleaning requirements. Do you have several flooring types in your home? Do you have a frequently shedding pet whose abundant fur requires a vacuum with extra suction power? Do you have a large home, or will a shorter run time for a robot vacuum be sufficient? Here’s what to look for:
Look for a robot vacuum that can accommodate the various types of flooring in your home. If you only need one to clean hard floors, you may find that a cheaper model (one that doesn’t necessarily excel at flooring transitions or carpet cleaning) may be sufficient. However, if you want your vacuum to switch from hard floors to carpets and rugs with ease, you’ll want a model that can move across different surfaces and automatically adjust its suction—and lift its mop, if it has one, when it detects carpet. (No one wants wet carpeting, that’s for sure.)
Homes with minimal obstacles make the best cleaning environment for robot vacuums. If you have a lot of furniture, electrical cords or toys (kids’ or pets’) strewn about, you may want to consider a higher-tech model that features home mapping and smart navigation to detect and avoid obstacles and hazards. It still may get stuck, though, so your best bet is to clear as much clutter as you can before unleashing a robot vacuum on your floors.
Do you have pets who shed? The best robot vacuums for you will boast strong suction and self-cleaning brush rolls that are designed to effectively pick up pet hair. You may want one that has an allergen-capturing filter, too. Also, consider a self-emptying option if you think the dust bin will fill up quickly. And if your pets have occasional accidents, check out the Roomba j7+—not only does it avoid the waste, but it comes with the “P.O.O.P.” guarantee: If the product fails to dodge the doo, you’ll receive a free replacement vacuum.
Less expensive robot vacuums have maximum run times of about 90 to 100 minutes, while more expensive models can manage up to 120 to 180 minutes. If you have smaller areas that mostly need maintenance cleanups, the shorter run times should be adequate. However, if you have a large house or regularly need to clean up a lot of pet hair or debris, a robot vacuum will a longer battery life is a better choice.
Just like old-school vacuums, most robotic vacuums need to be emptied manually, which may interrupt a cleaning session (and may feel to you like it defeats the purpose of having a hands-free vacuum). That said, the newer, more advanced models are designed to self-dock automatically and empty when they’re full, so even if you’re not home while they reach capacity, they can make a quick pit stop and keep on cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions About Robot Vacuums
Is A Robot Vacuum Worth It?
The short answer: Yes. Even the most affordable robot vacuums are priced at $200 or so, meaning these gadgets are a significant, worthwhile investment. To determine if a specific robot vacuum is worth its price tag, though, we recommend thinking about your home’s layout and any potential challenges. For instance, if keeping up with pet hair or dirt means that you’re using a regular vacuum several times a week, a robot vacuum might be particularly helpful when it comes to the relevant daily maintenance. That said, they typically aren’t as thorough as a typical vacuum—so you’ll probably still need to use one of those on occasion.
What Robot Vacuum Has The Strongest Suction?
Robot vacuums’ suction is typically measured in Pascal Pressure Units, abbreviated as “Pa.” That’s what we look at to determine which has the strongest suction. The Dreametech W10 Robot Vacuum Cleaner and Mop delivers an impressive 4,000 Pa of suction, so it’s far and away one of the most powerful options on the market.
How Long Do Robot Vacuums Last?
It’s one of the most important questions you can ask a consumer—and we’ve got good news for anyone who’s curious. Robot vacuums typically last for around four to six years, provided that you keep up with proper maintenance by cleaning the brushes regularly and replacing components as needed. Pricier models can last up to eight years under the same conditions.
Can A Roomba Replace A Vacuum?
No, Roombas and other robot vacuums cannot replace normal vacuums. While they can pick up most dirt, dust and pet hair off of bare floors and carpeting, they’re best for light, everyday cleaning. Many don’t provide the same suction power that a traditional vacuum does, so they often can’t pull out dirt that’s been pushed deep into carpets. For this reason, most people use robot vacuums as supplementary, everyday cleaning tools, then use a full-size vacuum to deep-clean their homes as needed. That said, advancements in robot vacuum technology mean that some of the higher-end models can come close to rivaling your standard upright.