The Best Robot Vacuums

Staff author Sabine Heinlein has been a journalist for over twenty years. She obsesses over find out how to take away fur from each nook of her residence and hairballs from her heirloom rugs.

We’ve examined dozens of robotic vacuums since 2012, together with 13 fashions in 2023. We spent greater than 80 hours analyzing the robotic vacuums and testing the highest contenders in a multi-pet, multistory, multi-surface residence.

For this information, we interviewed representatives from corporations that make robotic vacuums, together with iRobot, Roborock, and Ecovacs. We pored over proprietor critiques and talked to robot-vacuum homeowners. We additionally employed the AI device FindOurView to establish essential themes and points in hundreds of buyer critiques.

Anyone who needs to maintain their flooring wanting clear can profit from a robotic vacuum. If you’re quick on time, have mobility or dexterity points, or just hate vacuuming, a robotic vacuum can in all probability make your life simpler.

Bots don’t procrastinate or get bored, in order that they spend extra time cleansing. Pet homeowners and other people with younger children particularly appear to achieve lots from bots, and plenty of robot-vacuum homeowners have advised us that they’re amazed at how clear their flooring feel and look after they begin utilizing one frequently.

However, whereas a robotic vacuum is nice at cleansing superficially, it has solely a fraction of the suction energy of a very good upright or canister vacuum. Bots make nice secondary choices, however even the costliest ones depart a lot to be desired: They fail to take away grime embedded deep in carpets and rugs, they usually usually neglect mud near baseboards and thresholds. While obstacle-avoidance know-how has improved lately, don’t depend on your robotic to keep away from getting tousled in cords, toys, and socks. You’ll nonetheless need to tidy up earlier than you begin your cleaner.

We weighed the contents of every bot’s dustbin after a cleansing cycle to find out how a lot particles it had collected. Photo: Sabine Heinlein

We examined 13 robotic vacuums in 2023. Here’s what we evaluated:

Cleaning efficiency: For each robotic vacuum we examined, we ran no less than three common cleansing cycles throughout a 600-square-foot area with furnishings, obstacles, thresholds, and a few low-to-medium-pile space rugs. We evenly unfold a mixture of rice, cat litter, and Cheerios round the lounge, hallway, and kitchen. We weighed every bot’s dustbin earlier than and after the cleansing cycle to find out how a lot particles it had collected. We additionally checked how every bot coped with rabbit and cat fur, litter, and strands of hay, and we sprinkled a tablespoon of baking soda alongside baseboards to see how a lot it was in a position to collect. We additionally famous whether or not a robotic’s self-emptying dock labored as supposed.

Obstacle navigation: We famous whether or not the robotic was in a position to climb the 0.75-inch threshold to the toilet, how usually it received tripped up by obstacles, and whether or not it elicited sure failure messages repeatedly.

App and voice controls: Where pertinent, we assessed the user-friendliness of the mannequin’s app and checked whether or not its options have been helpful and functioning correctly. Where relevant, we assessed a take a look at mannequin’s compatibility with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home.

Repairability and reliability: We accumulate long-term information from the homeowners of our picks and, if relevant, take a look at information from the AI-assisted user-review evaluation device FindOurView.

In addition, we long-term take a look at all of our picks in a wide range of households, typically for years or extra, to find out sturdiness and efficiency. We additionally checked whether or not substitute components, corresponding to battery packs and brushes, are simply accessible and reasonably priced.

Our decide

Roborock Q5

A reasonably good robotic vacuum

This bot is a top-notch cleaner and an important navigator that avoids (most) obstacles whereas preserving on prime of scattered particles.

Buying Options

You save $90 (30%)

Roborock Q5+

A reasonably good robotic vacuum that empties itself

This is the Roborock Q5 packaged with a charging dock that sucks particles from its dustbin after it cleans.

Buying Options

Use promo code ROBOROCKS

If your pets shed like they’re planning to affix a nudist colony or your child is a human Cheerios cannon, a robotic vacuum is a good sidekick to a extra highly effective plug-in mannequin. The Roborock Q5 and the Roborock Q5+ ranked among the many most thorough and quietest cleaners we examined, they usually have helpful good options and mapping know-how besides. (The Roborock Q5+ operates identically to the Q5, nevertheless it comes with a dock that routinely empties its dustbin right into a bag.)

It’s a wonderful cleaner. In our checks, the Q5 cleaned higher than every other good robotic at its worth, sucking up virtually 90% of the rice, Cheerios, fur, and baking soda we put down.

It’s an adroit, speedy navigator. Using its laser rangefinder (lidar) and bump sensors, the Q5 learns your ground plan in a swift, single session. In our checks, it shortly mapped the house earlier than embarking on its cleansing run, which took about half the time of that of many different robotic vacuums.

It can keep away from obstacles and cross (some) thresholds. In our checks, even when the Q5 ran into an object its lidar turret missed, it course-corrected quicker and extra precisely than different bots.

While you may’t count on this mannequin to run up the steps, it climbed a 0.75-inch toilet threshold that almost all different bots didn’t even try and cross over. In our checks, solely the iRobot Roomba 694 and the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max (typically) made it from the hallway into the toilet.

It has an important app and helpful good options. Roborock’s app helps you to map your property quicker and extra precisely than these of most different good bots we examined. It is user-friendly and intuitive, and it will probably retailer as much as 4 maps of your property in each 2D and 3D. The app additionally helps you to activate spot cleansing (to eliminate remoted spills) and auto-boost mode (for fur-covered carpets, as an illustration), in addition to schedule cleansing classes.

It is supplied with a distant management and a “Pin n Go” operate, which makes it straightforward to direct the robotic towards spots it could have missed. (We have, for instance, used it in our baking soda/baseboard take a look at.)

Compatible with Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, Roborock’s app usually responds effectively to voice instructions—so long as you pronounce Roborock like Robo Rock, a common complaint amongst customers. For instance, you may say “Hey Alexa, ship Robo Rock to hoover the eating room,” and off it goes.

It has a future time—and cleans quietly. The Q5’s battery lasts for 180 minutes when used on naked flooring in quiet mode, longer than the iRobot Roomba i4’s. If the Q5 encounters the resistance of carpets and is run on Turbo or Max mode, its run time will cut back considerably however will nonetheless be sufficient to hoover a 1,000-square-foot residence. While we needed to cowl our ears and watch our pets bolt when the iRobot Roombas ran or emptied their bins, the Q5+’s emptying dock was comparably quiet.

Its self-emptying dock really works. Unlike that of the iRobot Roomba i4+ and j9+, the Q5+’s self-emptying dock sucked in even heavy and enormous particles, corresponding to rice and Cheerios, leaving nothing behind within the robotic’s bin.

Flaws however not dealbreakers

The Roborock Q5 has just one brush, making it much less adept at choosing up particles near partitions and thresholds. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

It misses spots. Like virtually all bots we examined, the Roborock Q5 struggled with particles near thresholds and baseboards. (Only the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max and the Miele Scout RX3 did markedly higher.) In our checks, the Roborock Q5 unfold cat litter and rice alongside a 0.375-inch rug and a 0.25-inch door threshold as a result of its suction wasn’t sufficient to choose up particles when one wheel was on the rug or threshold and the opposite wheel was on the naked ground. We observed that, in some cases, its brush kicked much more particles towards the transition. Similar to most robotic vacuums, its effectiveness in eradicating high quality mud from the perimeters of a room is missing.

Roborock’s customer support seems inconsistent. An alarming variety of Amazon critiques report frustration about Roborock’s customer service. When we referred to as their helpline, nevertheless, our name was promptly answered. We have been placed on a five-minute maintain whereas a courteous consultant researched our dilemma.

It gives an industry-standard one-year guarantee, however few substitute components. While customers can exchange their Q5’s washable filters, brush, charging cable, and dustbin, not like Eufy (and that iRobot), Roborock doesn’t supply substitute battery packs or motors.

Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Budget decide

Eufy RoboVac 11S Max

An unassuming however mighty robotic

This stable, reasonably priced robotic vacuum has a big bin and glorious cleansing energy. It may be scheduled to wash, however it will probably’t be managed with an app.

Buying Options

The easy, reasonably priced Eufy RoboVac 11S Max cleans in addition to the pricier Roborock Q5, nevertheless it lacks mapping know-how and different good options.

It cleans effectively and has a big bin. In our checks, the RoboVac 11S Max cleaned a tad higher than even the pricier Roborock Q5. It effortlessly eliminated rice, Cheerios, cat litter, and even baking soda sprinkled near baseboards (a rarity amongst even the costliest robotic fashions). As of early 2024, the 11S Max has one aspect brush (the mannequin we initially examined had two). During testing, this vacuum effectively ferreted out an unholy quantity of fur from the carpet and swept the entire batch into its extra-large, 600-milliliter dustbin. (In comparability, the Q5’s dustbin holds 470 mL.)

In our checks, it carried out higher near thresholds and round rugs than every other bot, aside from the a lot pricier Miele Scout RX3.

It’s quiet and comparatively nimble. The 11S Max is so quiet, you may simply neglect that it’s working. It skips over half-inch door thresholds (and, in our checks, it sometimes made it over the 0.75-inch threshold to the toilet), and it will probably keep away from stairs and drops. (We had a number of incidents the place its predecessor, the RoboVac 11S, fell down a flight of stairs, however up to now we haven’t had this downside with the 11S Max.)

With its anti-collision sensors, this mannequin stays away from most obstacles. In reality, we discovered that it didn’t get tousled any extra usually than the Roborock Q5. (The Q5’s benefit is that the app sends out an alert if it will get caught, making it tougher to overlook such conditions. The 11S Max will simply preserve attempting to free itself till it runs out of juice.)

In our take a look at residence, the 11S Max’s low peak of two.85 inches allowed it to easily glide beneath every bit of furnishings. (The Roborock Q5 is one inch taller, so it could not be capable to slip beneath low sofas or beds.)

It has three cleansing modes and a decently future time. The 11S Max has three cleansing modes: Standard, Maximum, and Boost IQ. The latter routinely switches from normal to most mode on carpets. Its battery lasts for 100 minutes (as measured on naked flooring in Standard mode).

It lacks an app however has an old style distant management. The 11S Max doesn’t connect with Wi-Fi, so it will probably’t create maps of your property or be managed through an app. But it does include a battery-powered distant management that allows you to schedule cleansing cycles and direct it to spots it could have missed.

It’s sturdy. Guide writer Sabine Heinlein has had her Eufy 11S (the predecessor of the Eufy 11S Max) for nearly 4 years and needed to exchange its battery solely not too long ago. She’s run it a number of occasions every week in a really furry family and is repeatedly impressed with its pickup. Senior editor Grant Clauser and senior employees author Rachel Cericola have additionally owned earlier fashions of the Eufy 11S Max for five-plus years, and their bots are nonetheless going sturdy. “Twice I needed to fully open it as much as clear out mud and canine hair that was stopping it from working,” Grant stated, “however aside from that, I simply exchange the filters and brush every year.”

It’s received a mean guarantee, good customer support, and many replaceable components. Like our prime decide, the 11S Max comes with a one-year guarantee. But not like our prime decide, virtually all of the components of the 11S Max are replaceable. Eufy sells substitute brushes, brush guards, bumpers, battery packs, charging stations, motors, filters, and extra on its web site, making the 11S Max a extra sustainable alternative than different fashions we examined.

Eufy’s customer support usually will get excellent ratings from Amazon reviewers. When we referred to as, we waited for 10 minutes earlier than selecting the callback possibility. Our name was returned throughout the hour and our questions have been answered.

Photo: Sabine Heinlein

This will not be a complete listing of all the pieces we examined in earlier iterations of this information—solely fashions that we’ve not too long ago examined and are presently accessible.

If you have been to guage a robotic vacuum by its look and cleansing efficiency alone, the Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision could be the clear winner. With the seems to be of a captivating axolotl, the Miele RX3 was the one mannequin that persistently cleaned baking soda near baseboards and in corners. It is extraordinarily quiet, and whereas its no-frills app is intuitive, it lacks lots of Roborock’s options. Its built-in dwell digital camera transmits a grainy picture feed to your app, supposedly so you may keep watch over your property. The bot additionally will get simply caught even on low thresholds, incessantly eliciting a “wheel raised” error code. The RX3 is supposedly appropriate with Alexa, nevertheless it leaves a lot to be desired, and Amazon users in Germany, the place the “Saugroboter” has been accessible for over two years, are livid. (We realized, by calling customer support, that Miele doesn’t even present an inventory with appropriate voice instructions.) In our checks, it responded to solely two instructions—begin and cease—regardless of quite a few makes an attempt to get it to hoover particular rooms. (It did considerably higher with Google Home.) One would count on a $1,100 vacuum cleaner to be nearer to perfection.

We favored the TP-Link Tapo RV30C. Its app is simple to make use of, nevertheless it didn’t clear in addition to our picks, forsaking extra particles round thresholds than its rivals. Plus, its high-pitched sound may be grating.

We additionally examined the Eufy RoboVac 15C Max, nevertheless it wasn’t almost pretty much as good a cleaner because the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max.

The Shark RV2310AE Matrix is simply okay. While it’s glorious at scaling thresholds, it tended to kick particles round, and it returned to its dock regardless of having missed a number of massive areas.

The Eureka E10S is nearly ridiculously unhealthy. Our evaluation unit talked incessantly and cleaned shamefully, and we encountered a unique kind of downside with every run. At first it spoke solely Russian, regardless that we had the nation set to the United States (weirdly, the language operate is hidden someplace throughout the mapping function). Then, after mapping the house, it failed to search out its base. Lastly, it obsessed over an obstacle-free 4-square-foot space for quarter-hour straight. An organization consultant advised us that a number of of those points have been rectified, although we stay hesitant to advocate this mannequin.

In our newest testing cycle, we evaluated the iRobot Roomba 694, the iRobot Roomba i4 EVO (and i4+ EVO, with a self-emptying dock), and the iRobot Roomba j9+. We additionally examined one in every of iRobot’s new vacuum-mop hybrids, the iRobot Roomba Combo i5+.

(The firm has been within the information: Amazon canceled its planned acquisition of iRobot in early 2024, and that iRobot has introduced that it is going to be slicing 350 jobs.)

Each iRobot vacuum introduced its personal set of challenges and caveats.

Roomba 694: Previously one in every of our price range picks, the 694 was outperformed by our new price range decide, the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max. The Roomba 694 collected solely between a 3rd to a half of the particles that the 11S Max managed to choose up, and its dustbin is significantly smaller than that of the 11S Max.

Roomba i4/i4+ EVO: The Roomba i4 EVO and i4+ EVO (with a self-emptying dock) have been former prime picks on this information. Though iRobot has discontinued the i4 EVO and i4+ EVO, they’re nonetheless accessible on Amazon and at another retailers.

Under the best circumstances, the i4 is a good, comparatively cheap cleaner. But the primary i4 EVO unit we tried on this testing cycle fell quick in its app performance, particularly when in comparison with the inexpensive Roborock Q5, which maps considerably quicker and whose app gives extra options. Both the i4 EVO and i4+ EVO initially struggled to connect with Wi-Fi, with the app crashing sometimes, and it took them greater than thrice as lengthy to map than the Roborock Q5. Furthermore, the i4 repeatedly failed to save lots of the map it had created.

Company representatives advised us that they weren’t conscious this was a standard downside. But our evaluation of Amazon critiques utilizing FindOurView indicated that as much as a 3rd of reviewers complained of mapping points, together with the quantity of time it takes to map, unsaved maps, and inaccurate mapping.

The i4+ EVO’s self-emptying dock additionally did not take away all of the particles it had collected in its bin, forsaking Cheerios and rice.

Roomba j9+: The j9+ cleaned effectively, however just like the i4+ EVO, its self-emptying dock didn’t persistently take away all of the particles from the bot’s bin. Our contact at iRobot attributed this to the Cheerios in our checks, however we observed related points with different, smaller particles, corresponding to rice. The j9+ additionally incessantly ran into furnishings and pushed over a big cup, one of many obstacles we had put in its path.

Roomba Combo i5+: One of iRobot’s latest fashions, the Combo i5+ comes with two separate, exchangeable bins, one for mopping and one for vacuuming.

We confronted a number of issues throughout testing. Initial Wi-Fi connectivity points have been adopted by app crashes, and as with the i4 EVO and i4+EVO, the mapping course of appeared limitless, and its supposedly self-emptying dock persistently failed to completely empty the particles bin.

A significant challenge occurred when the app didn’t routinely supply a mopping mode, which requires the scanning of a separate, easy-to-miss QR code, main the dock to inadvertently suck soiled water into its vacuum bag. We reached out to customer support, which couldn’t resolve and due to this fact escalated the difficulty. But decision was gradual and got here solely after we contacted iRobot’s PR staff. (iRobot says it has since resolved the difficulty, and no separate QR code is required anymore.) Apparently, we weren’t the one ones with this downside.

Complaints about iRobot’s customer service are rampant, reflecting a broader challenge with its app and product help.

Though finally operational, the i5+ mopped ineffectively, forsaking stains that would simply be eliminated with a daily mop. The bot additionally repeatedly returned to its dock earlier than it had completed cleansing, and its slanted tray leaked water onto the ground in a single day.

Photo: Sabine Heinlein

While robotic mops have been round for some time, many corporations at the moment are introducing robotic vacuum-mop hybrids. We’re simply starting to check these merchandise, and we’ve discovered that vacuum-mop hybrids are usually much less efficient at mopping than a very good hand cleansing. However, just a few fashions do excel in eradicating mild stains, small spills, and dirt {that a} robotic vacuum alone can’t deal with. While not one of the fashions we examined have been in a position to sort out outdated, dried-on stains, the most effective and costliest ones could make routine cleanup simpler.

We have examined the iRobot Combo i5+, the Eureka E10S, the Tapo RV30C, the Shark Matrix Plus 2-in-1, the Roborock Q Revo, and the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni.

The iRobot Combo i5+, the Shark Matrix Plus 2-in-1, and the Eureka E10S function swappable bins (or built-in water reservoirs) and small microfiber pads that clip on for mopping. Dragging the moist pad throughout the ground, they regularly deplete the clear water, and since no soiled water is collected, these bots appear to do little greater than redistribute grime. After mopping, you must detach the pads and wash them by hand or within the machine. This, along with their restricted cleansing functionality, makes them a poor funding in comparison with conventional mops.

Another disadvantage of the iRobot Combo i5+ and the Shark Matrix is that they’ll’t differentiate between naked flooring and rugs, so you have to roll up or block off carpets earlier than mopping. (The Eureka E10S, the Roborock Q Revo, and the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni can all elevate their moist pads on rugs.)

In our checks, the a lot pricier Roborock Q Revo and Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni, with their rotating mop pads, massive water tanks, and self-cleaning options, simply outperformed their Swiffer-like counterparts.

We examined the Q Revo and the Deebot X2 Omni in a grimy basement. While neither fully eliminated heavy, dried stains, each left their assigned areas noticeably cleaner.

Operating quietly at 55 to 59 decibels (with an inexpensive 70 dB throughout bin emptying), the Q Revo and the Deebot X2 Omni incessantly wash their mops and empty their soiled water tank on the base.

Their apps are intuitive, with scheduling choices and a number of cleansing modes, in addition to choices for mop-washing frequency and water move.

Both apps help you block off areas, however solely the Q Revo’s contains a handy handbook distant management and a “Pin n Go” operate, for sending the bot again to spots it could have missed. The Deebot X2 Omni’s app, then again, gives choices for deep scrubbing and a number of mopping passes (which got here in helpful in our soiled basement).

Like virtually all robotic vacuums and hybrids, the Q Revo and the Deebot X2 Omni depart a dirty body across the room’s margin, because the bots don’t get all the way in which to the baseboards and into corners. None of the hybrids we examined have been adept at choosing up particles near thresholds.

Both machines are usually good at avoiding obstacles, however at one level throughout testing, a stray screw received caught within the Deebot X2 Omni’s brush bearings. While the app didn’t notify us—which might have been useful had we not been residence—we have been alerted by loud rattling. We opened the brush-roll cowl to take away the new screw, virtually burning ourselves.

We proceed to check robotic mop-vacuum hybrids and can publish our full outcomes quickly.

Basic upkeep, like changing the aspect brush and cleansing the wheel bearings and charging contacts, is a should. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Before you begin a cleansing session, you must decide up any laundry, charging cables, or light-weight mats. (Expect just a few hiccups in the course of the first handful of classes till you determine the ache factors.)

It’s regular for a robotic to not re-dock sometimes. But if that occurs persistently, strive shifting the dock. For bump-and-run bots, it’s a very good technique to preserve the dock close to the center of your property (relatively than stuffed within the nook in a again room) in order that the bot will cross the dock’s path extra usually. For all bots, be sure you depart just a few ft open round and above the dock. If the dock is in a cluttered space or beneath a bit of furnishings, there’s a very good probability the bot is not going to re-dock.

In most properties, a bot is more likely to keep in good condition when you keep it correctly within the following methods:

  • Shake off the filter each few classes.
  • Wash (Q5) or exchange (11S Max) the filter each few dozen classes. You may avoid wasting cash by utilizing third-party filters, that are unlikely to hurt the bot, however you could void your guarantee when you occur to ship in your bot for repairs with one in every of them within the filter slot.
  • Cut away any hair wrapped across the brush roll as needed. Most bots include a device that may lower after which brush away the fuzz.
  • Clean the bearings on the comb roll, caster, and aspect brushes each few weeks (extra usually if in case you have pets). You may want a screwdriver for this job, however many bots allow you to come out the components with no instruments.
  • Wipe the sensors clear as wanted, in accordance with the producer’s tips.
  • Keep a can of compressed air helpful in case you have to blow mud out of gears or different hard-to-reach nooks within the bot.
  • Replace filters and aspect brushes just a few occasions per 12 months, the comb roll about every year, and the battery (if accessible) as wanted.

If your bot breaks down outdoors of the guarantee interval, you could possibly restore it, significantly if it’s a Eufy mannequin. Don’t chalk up the bot as a complete loss till you examine to see whether or not the damaged half is out there as a substitute.

We’re presently testing the brand new Dyson 360 Vis Nav, which has 360-degree imaginative and prescient and, in accordance with the corporate, “two occasions the suction of every other robotic vacuum cleaner,” and can share our findings quickly.

Rachel Cericola and Liam McCabe wrote earlier variations of this text, which was first revealed in 2012. This article was edited by Courtney Schley and Ingrid Skjong.

Do robotic vacuums actually work?

Yes. Although robotic vacuums are weaker than conventional vacuums, they’ll reliably decide up most sorts of ground particles, they usually work on most naked flooring and carpets.

Do robotic vacuums want Wi-Fi?

No. Although many robotic vacuums do connect with Wi-Fi so that you could management them remotely through an app or obtain software program updates, most bots even have bodily controls. (Note that you have to join your bot to Wi-Fi if you wish to use options like good mapping or voice management.) Some, just like the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max, don’t connect with Wi-Fi in any respect.

How usually ought to I run my robotic vacuum?

The benefit of a robotic vacuum is that it will probably clear flooring extra usually than many individuals are prepared to hoover. If you schedule it to run each few days, and even on daily basis, mud and crumbs gained’t accumulate, leaving your flooring feeling cleaner than they might and not using a bot.

Do any robotic vacuums empty themselves?

Many producers now supply the choice of robotic vacuums with and with out self-emptying docks. Self-emptying robotic vacuums include an enormous charging dock that sucks particles out of the robotic by way of a trapdoor within the dustbin and shops it in a disposable bag or a bagless bin. You nonetheless need to toss the bag or empty the bin frequently.

The charging stations are huge, noisy, and type of ugly, however the system saves you from having to empty the dustbin on the robotic each time you vacuum. Bagged machines additionally make for higher filtration, because the particles stays contained in a bag, and also you don’t need to inhale any of it when emptying the bin.

  1. Thomas Climer, product supervisor at Ecovacs, in-person interview, September 21, 2023

  2. Warren Fernandez, product chief and class creator at iRobot, video interview, October 17, 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *