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All the best robot vacuums for every budget and home

All the best robot vacuums for every budget and home

We all know someone who never fails to refer to any and every handheld vacuum cleaner as a Hoover. Robot vacuums and Roomba have become just as interchangeable, but we’re here to put some respect on the other names.

Given iRobot’s domination of the robot vacuum market from 2002 up until a few years ago, this assumption made sense for a while. Roombas have been around for a long time and came out less than a year after Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake stepped out in the all-denim ensemble.

But the first robotic vacuum wasn’t an iRobot brainchild. Though iRobot may be the one to credit for robot vacuums hitting mainstream households, Swedish brand Electrolux technically introduced the first robot vac in 1996. iRobot continues its reign as one of the best, but it wasn’t the first — and isn’t the last either. 

Roborock, Shark, and Eufy have entered the chat.

Are robot vacuums worth it?

The crisp control of an upright vacuum comes with its own type of high. But if you’re not one to use cleaning as a de-stressing method, a robot vacuum could cut a majorly agonising task off of your to-do list.

But whether robot vacuums are worth it or not comes with a caveat: It can’t be just any robot vacuum. A cheap robovac that acts drunk — scattering dust rather than sucking, bumping into walls, getting stuck on area rugs — is completely missing that convenience factor that draws people to robot vacs in the first place. We’ve gathered the best-reviewed models for 2021, but some extra criteria specific to your home or needs can help narrow down the options:

Suction power — A vacuum is the one purchase that you hope sucks a lot. Suction power is typically measured in Pascals (Pa), ranging between 600 Pa to 2,500 Pa in the ones on this list. Stronger sucking will be needed to pick up heavier pieces of debris (be sure to set up a barrier around Legos) and to pull patted-down pet hair from rugs.

Floor type — Carpeting and high pile rugs will probably require stronger suction than hard floors, as well as special features like an extra-wide or self-cleaning brush roll to prevent hair from wrapping and clogging. Folks in homes with multiple floor types might consider a bigger, sturdier robovac that can hurl itself and its wheels over mats, rugs, and transitions from carpet to hard floors. 

Home layout — Every robot vacuum is equipped with sensors and drop detection. But if your home has lots of rooms, lots of turns, or lots of close-together furniture, you’ll have fewer navigation issues with an advanced model that uses intelligent mapping to remember exactly how your home is laid out, including labelling of specific rooms and where staircases are.

Low-profile furniture — No one should have to be scared about what’s accumulated under their sofa over the past year. A robot vacuum measuring three inches or less in height should be able to scoot under most low-hanging sofas and beds.

Battery life and square footage — One of the main complaints people have about their robot vacuum is that it craps out in the middle of the floor. Larger spaces require more time to clean, and it all depends on how annoyed you’ll be if it only finishes a few rooms at a time. Average run times for the list below range between 90 and 150 minutes, which translate to about 500 and 2,600 square feet covered on one charge.

App control — WiFi-enabled robot vacuums can be synced with a smartphone app to control scheduling, manual start, cleaning settings, as well as telling your vac to make its rounds when you’re not home. Low-end models that don’t connect to WiFi will usually come with a separate remote. If you’re used to asking Alexa or Google to turn off the lights or tell you the weather, a model with voice integration will blend in nicely.

It’s really important to take all of these things into consideration before making any sort of purchase decision. The best models aren’t cheap, so it’s worth taking your time to properly think this through.

Robot vacuums and pet hair

Pet hair can really mess with a botvac without the right features. If your home is shedding heaven, a D-shaped vacuum could take some of the pressure off of you to find the spots where it collects. We can’t scientifically back this, but we’re pretty sure pet hair gets up and crawls into corners when we’re not looking. A robot vacuum with a flat side can fit into those 90-degree angles and skim the edges of walls better than most circular bots can.

However, the D-shape has yet to really blow up. Only two mainstream models rock it, and both the Roomba and the Neato are pricey. The next line of defense is a tangle-free brush roll. It’s essentially a brush roll that prevents shedding from long-haired pets from getting wrapped up and tangled, likely having to be cut with scissors. Rubber trim or rubber fingers are a material that hair already doesn’t like to stick to, but also works to kill static that may be pinning hair to a carpet.

A robot vac’s filtration system is also an important consideration for homes with pets, as well as allergy sufferers in general. Vacuuming is bound to kick up dander, dust, and pollen into the air. A good filter captures that and makes sure it also makes its way into the dust bin. A HEPA filter can catch even smaller particles and are becoming a more common addition in many vacuums.

What is the best robot vacuum?

In an unspoken sort of way, Roomba has been crowned as “the best” on the sole basis that it’s the most established brand in the robot vacuum market. But other brands have the advantage of being already established in the vacuum market as a whole, from stick vacuums, to handheld ones, to ones with huge canisters.

But while other brands may be experts on suction power, brush rolls that don’t tangle, and other things on the vacuum end, Roomba has mastered suction and dominates the robot end. The maps created by a Roomba after it gets a sense of your home feature precision down to each room and the type of messes it typically sees. Other vacuums can struggle to make reliable maps. Roombas also typically have better run time.

A general comparison between Roomba and other brands doesn’t work that well. Roomba has significantly more models to choose from at a range of prices and features that can be tailored to your needs. 

Whether iRobot, Eufy, Neato, or any other brand is the best at actual cleaning is pretty subjective. “Best” to someone with four dogs and lots of carpet may not mean “best” to someone with a huge house filled with 100% hardwood. At any rate, patience is required. Not even the best robot vacuum is guaranteed to not be a bumbling idiot on occasion, especially when they’re still learning the feng shui of your home. 

These are the best robot vacuums for any home and budget in 2021.


40x the suction of Roomba’s 600 line • Covers huge amount of space on one charge • Self-emptying bin holds two months worth of debris • Can label rooms in the iRobot app • HEPA filter

Seriously expensive • Can be loud

The s9+ is so hands-off that it can direct itself around your home and self-empty for 60 days.

iRobot Roomba s9+

iRobot’s heavy hitter harnesses quadruple the suction of the i7+ and is totally self-sufficient.

  • Battery life:
    120 minutes
  • Suction power:
    2,500 Pa
  • Navigation:
    Imprint smart mapping of your home
  • App connected:
    Yes
  • Alexa and Google Assistant:
    Yes
A robot vacuum that rivals a MacBook Pro in price has some serious criteria to cover, and the iRobot Roomba s9+ crushes it. New additions like a slower side brush that won’t scatter debris make it the best Roomba for edge cleaning, but iRobot’s first D-shaped can do much more than suck the dust bunnies out of corners.
Both the s9+ and i7+ (the next-best Roomba) have automatic dirt disposal and a Clean Base that holds up to 60 days of debris. The s9+ may fill up faster, but that’s just because it’s raking in significantly more floor gunk. Boosted suction power, improved air flow, and wider dual rubber brushes take on medium-pile carpets, hard floor, and pet hair without tangling. 
Leave it to the s9+ to remember your home’s layout, clean in neat rows, and retreat to its base after two hours of uninterrupted cleaning.  

Quiet • Works on hard floors and carpet • Decent suction and dustbin for its small build • Features infrared obstacle sensors

No room-scanning tech • Gets stuck on high-pile carpet • Doesn’t always make it back to the dock • Filter isn’t HEPA

Quiet, low-clearance cleaning on all floor types make this ideal for apartment dwellers.

Eufy RoboVac 11s

At less than three inches tall, Eufy’s Slim model is low-height with low noise and a low price.

  • Battery life:
    100 minutes
  • Suction power:
    1,300 Pa
  • Navigation:
    Infrared sensors and drop detection
  • App connectivity:
    No
  • Alexa and Google Assistant:
    No
Nuisances like noise level or low profile furniture are magnified in cramped spaces. If you need something to suit a tight space, the Eufy RoboVac 11s might be your best option. It’s reportedly one of the quietest bot vacs even on high-suction mode.
For less than £200, the Eufy 11s packs a serious punch — just don’t expect any bells and whistles. The vacuum uses 1300A of suction power and can clean both carpets and hardwood, but its cleaning paths are more aimless bobbling than they are methodical. There’s no room scanning tech and scheduling is limited, but infrared sensors do ensure that it’s not falling down stairs or running into corners. If you live in a confined space with limited furniture, this probably won’t be a big deal.
The “S” actually stands for slim: At a mere 2.8 inches tall, it’s also ace for sneaking under lower-sitting furniture. 

Schedule cleanings or cleaning of specific rooms • Three-hour battery life • AI-based room mapping • Tough on bare floors without scratching • Large tank with adjustable water flow

Bin may be hard to clean • Mopping doesn’t automatically miss carpet

The S6 has the power and battery to conquer some serious ground and leave it gleaming.

Roborock S6

Tenacious suction and effective mopping make the S6 more well-rounded than iRobot’s mops.

  • Battery life:
    180 minutes
  • Suction power:
    2,000 Pa
  • Navigation:
    AI room mapping and sensors, obstacle detection cameras
  • App connected:
    Yes
  • Alexa and Google Assistant:
    Yes
Mopping features on robot vacuums aren’t novel anymore, but few do more than push water around. 
The Roborock S6 is a true hybrid and a reputable alternative to iRobot’s spotty robomops. Fully charged and on quiet mode, the S6 can squeeze out a full three hours — more than enough time to complete a full dry sweep and wet scrub or two.
Laser scale sensors scan each room to adapt the route accordingly, adjusting suction for large pieces like cereal or small ones like salt. The S6 is gentle yet highly effective on hardwood, linoleum, and is a beast on high-pile carpet as well. If a nasty obstacle is found by the stereoscopic cameras, just dampen the mop cloth and snap it on.

Covers lots of square footage quickly • Some of the strongest suction on the list • Opening port shaped specifically to combat hair clogging • No-go boundaries can be set up in the app • Remembers where it has already cleaned

Too expensive for hit-or-miss cleaning • Loud • Takes a while to get oriented

The loud hum made by the D7 is easy to ignore when it cleans so fast and effectively.

Neato Robotics D7

The D-shaped competition for the Roomba S9+ is speedy and strong on carpets covered in pet hair.

  • Battery life:
    150 minutes
  • Suction power:
    2,000 Pa
  • Navigation:
    Smart mapping, 360-degree laser scanning
  • App connected:
    Yes
  • Alexa and Google Assistant:
    Yes
A bumbling robovac and a stumbling toddler are a recipe for an accident. For homes with small children or lots of pets, the Neato BotVac D7 Connected gets in and out in a fraction of the time — and does so without skimping on the sweep job itself.
Speed-wise, Neato ran circles around competing vacuums in a test done by . Turbo Mode is loud and fast, but if the coast is clear, you can switch to Eco Mode for a slower, quieter clean. 360-degree laser scanning helps the D7 to scan rooms and execute an efficient plan of attack. 
It knows when to scoot its flat edge into corners, as well as switch to a spiral combo brush that alternates plastic and standard bristles to pull hair out of rugs.  

AeroForce system loosens dirt on carpets • Cleans for 75 minutes on one charge • App-enabled and works with Alexa and Google Assistant • Highly rated

If you’re ready for a mid-range Roomba, this one has a lot of bells and whistles.

iRobot Roomba 960

This highly-rated Roomba uses a three-stage cleaning system to pull up embedded dirt.

  • Battery life:
    75 minutes
  • Suction power:
    900 Pa
  • Navigation:
    I-adapt responsive navigation technology
  • App connected:
    Yes
  • Alexa and Google Assistant:
    Yes
The iRobot Roomba 960 is the drool-worthy combination of price and quality. 
Its AeroForce system loosens dirt on even the most stubborn carpets and uses patented tangle-free brushes to combat pet hair, and cleans for 75 minutes before returning to charge itself. Compatible with the iRobot app as well as Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, the 960 wants to ensure that you can schedule cleaning simply and come home to clean floors.
Listed for under £700, it’s actually pretty generously priced considering how highly it’s rated.  

HEPA filter • 55 minute run time • Three cleaning programs and detachable brushes

Not rated as highly as some others on this list

If you’d like a cheap option with some extra features like a HEPA filter, this could be the robot vacuum for you.

PureClean PUCRC25

If you’re looking for a budget model with multiple settings and a HEPA filter, this is something to consider.

  • Battery life:
    90 minutes
  • Suction power:
    850 Pa
  • Navigation:
    Self programming path navigation
  • Alexa and Google Assistant:
    No
  • App connected:
    No
This entry-level model by effectively cleans tile, hardwood flooring, and short carpet, with a low-profile and a run time of 90 minutes.
The PureClean PUCRC25 includes three cleaning programs and detachable brushes for tackling a range of issues. It’s also equipped with anti-fall sensors that will automatically detect a gap and stop it from running off any edges in your home. It is features like this that you don’t always get with cheaper models.
The HEPA filter keeps fine dust particles trapped inside the easy to clean removable dustbin, so this model is effective at controlling pet hair and allergy problems.

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