The Best Robot Vacuums

The Best Robot Vacuums


The Best Robot Vacuums



Robot vacuums never get bored or distracted, and they don’t mind cleaning every day. So with very little effort on your part, they’ll keep your floors constantly tidy. We’ve tested dozens of robots, from cheap models that bump around randomly to fancy machines that empty themselves and (usually) steer around dog poop. First, consider the strong, durable, and smart-enough iRobot Roomba i3 EVO.

iRobot Roomba i3 EVO

Like most great robot vacuums today, the iRobot Roomba i3 EVO works well in most homes, large or small, because it drives in orderly, back-and-forth rows, keeping track of where it has or hasn’t been, so that it doesn’t miss any big patches of flooring. It also has smart mapping, so you can tell it to clean or avoid specific rooms. But unlike most of its competitors, the Roomba i3 EVO is actually a sturdy, repairable appliance—and although longevity is never guaranteed, you can reasonably expect to own and use it regularly for years. It’s also better at cleaning rugs than most other bots, and hair doesn’t get tangled in its brushes as quickly. With the companion app and a Wi-Fi connection, you can remotely turn the robot on or off and optionally set an automatic cleaning schedule. That’s all you need to know—it’s simple. The downside is that it doesn’t work quite as fast as some competing models.

Another neat option: The iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO bundle includes the i3 EVO robot plus a charging dock that automatically sucks the debris out of the robot and stores it in a disposable bag, which you have to change only once a month. The debris-removal function actually works, and it makes owning a robot vacuum even more convenient, especially if you find emptying the vacuum yourself challenging. iRobot also sells a few models that are very similar to the Roomba i3 EVO and are worth buying instead if you find them on sale, including the Roomba i4 EVO (a Costco exclusive that’s basically identical to the i3 EVO), the Roomba i4+ EVO, and the Roomba 900 series, which is older but works similarly.

Roborock Q5

Like our top pick, the Roborock Q5 can map out multiple levels of your home, so it knows where to clean and where not to clean. In our tests, the Roborock mapping system created a slightly better, more realistic view of our home in comparison with Roomba’s results, offering both 2D and 3D views. The Roborock app is easier to use overall, and we didn’t have any issues when using voice commands through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri Shortcuts. It also has a larger dustbin and a battery that runs twice as long as that of the Roomba i3 EVO. Despite all of those perks, the Q5 is a slightly weaker cleaner than the i3 EVO, especially on carpet. That said, this Roborock model is a great option if you don’t want a Roomba bot (for example, due to privacy concerns) or if you prefer using an app and smart features.

Like the Roomba i3 EVO, this model has an upgrade option. The Roborock Q5+ performs exactly the same as the Q5 but comes with a charging station that can empty debris from the robot right into a disposable bag. Although the function works well, we found the Roomba i3/i3+ to be more affordable and a better cleaner overall.

Cheaper robots usually have semi-random navigation systems. (We like to call them bump-and-run bots.) That’s actually perfectly fine for cleaning three or four rooms per session (or a little more if you’re patient), though the bumbling aimlessness gets on some people’s nerves and makes such models inconsistently effective at tidying larger areas. We still think bump-and-run bots have a place, so we’ve shuffled our favorites in this group to budget-pick status.

The iRobot Roomba 694

The first one we recommend in this group is the iRobot Roomba 694. Really, any model in the Roomba 600 series is a good choice, since they are all strong cleaners, especially on rugs, thanks to the dual-brush and dirt-detection systems. They are also sturdier than any bump-and-run models from any other brand we’ve tested, which more than offsets the Roomba line’s slightly higher sticker price. The Roomba 694 is the most current model with Wi-Fi (for on/off remote control through a smartphone app), but at times you might be able to find a more basic model, without Wi-Fi.



The Eufy RoboVac 11S

Also consider the Eufy RoboVac 11S, which is so quiet and nimble that it blends into the background like no other robot (apart from the dozen or so clones from Eufy itself and other brands). This basic, bump-and-run bot sounds more like a desk fan than a vacuum—even if you’re home while it works, you’ll barely notice it running. It’s shorter than most bots, which lets it glide under more furniture, picking up plenty of hidden debris. The big downside is that the RoboVac 11S and other bots like it don’t seem to be built to last for more than a couple of years on average, and we’ve heard about plenty of unrepairable breakdowns that happen even sooner. And although the 11S can get your floors much cleaner than if you didn’t vacuum at all, this bot just isn’t built to dig up much debris from rugs, especially softer, thicker types.


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