The Best Robot Vacuums
Updated 23 November 2020
The robot vacuum has come a long way since the Roomba first bumbled about a room – and the range of prices and specifications means that there is a robot vacuum suitable for every budget and need.
Choosing the right robot vacuum for you will depend on what you are looking for in terms of suction, noise, reliability and maintenance.
Although it might seem idyllic to allow a robot to take on one of the most universally hated household tasks, some robot vacuums need more human input than others.
Ecovacs DEEBOT Ozmo 920 has everything you will need for the ultimate robot cleaning experience.
With Smart-Navi 3.0 laser mapping and navigation, the DEEBOT builds a map of your home so that it can clean effectively and efficiently.
You can rely on the strong mobility and high vacuum pressure to get to all the corners, and the suction is great on both carpets and wooden floors.
It has a 110-minute runtime, and with 40W of power, it works efficiently.
With the app you can create virtual boundaries, custom clean modes and schedule cleaning.
The DEEBOT links to smart home systems like Google Assistant so you can activate the cleaner with your voice.
When the DEEBOT charge gets too low, it returns to the dock to charge – then continues where it left off. Smart sensors and soft cushion bumpers protect your furniture, and allergens can be reduced using the high-efficiency air filter.
With its OZMO technology, this is a multifunction cleaner that also washes your floors – and with its carpet detector, you can rest assured that the cleaner will choose the most effective cleaning mode to suit the floor it is on.
A great mid-price option that ticks all the boxes in a robot vacuum – with the added cleaning power of mopping too.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ boasts 10 times the power of the Roomba 600 series and using the iAdapt 3.0 learning system, it can learn up to 10 rooms in your home.
Dual multi-surface rubber brushes make cleaning any floor surface a doddle, and the edge brush ensures that even corners can’t hide dirt.
Its quiet operation means that you can schedule the robot to work around your usual family activities.
With a 90-minute run time, the Roomba i7+ can thoroughly clean every room in just one charge – and it takes just three hours to charge from empty.
The biggest selling point for the Roomba is that it empties itself.
Whenever it docks, the dirt inside the dustbin is automatically sucked inside the base – which can hold up to 30 full bins. Lined with a special bag, the base is also easy to keep clean.
Instruct your Google Home or Alexa to "Clean the kitchen" when you leave and by the time you get home, the Roomba will have completed its chores, returned to base, emptied and put itself on charge.
This is the ultimate in a connected robot vacuum cleaner, and the only reason it isn’t our top choice is the price.
The i7+ has the same connectivity, function and power as the i7 but is an extra £200, with the only extra functionality being the self-emptying facility.
The Eufy Robovac 11s Max may seem little, but it boasts suction of up to 2000Pa – almost double that of the 11s version – so it can deal with dirt, dust and debris quickly and simply.
The BoostIQ function automatically increases suction when needed – for thicker carpet or a heavier dust load.
The advanced brushless motor allows for great performance with reduced noise, and the slim profile means that it can navigate your rooms and get under furniture easily.
With 100 minutes of run time, this 40W robot vacuum has a larger than average dustbin capacity of 600 ml, so it can do more cleaning with less emptying.
Large wheels, anti-collision sensors and drop sense technology ensure that this robot won’t damage furniture or fall off any ledges (or down the stairs).
This is a great robot vacuum at a brilliant price point – it isn’t voice-activated but the remote control allows you to manage performance and set scheduled cleans too.
What Is a Robot Vacuum?
In the simplest terms, a robot vacuum automatically cleans the floors in your home without needing to be pushed around.
The basic premise is a slim, rounded shape that can fit under most furniture and uses a variety of brushes to sweep dust and debris into the suction area, collecting it in a bin as it goes.
Cable-free, robot vacuums operate until they run low on battery and then return to their docks to charge.
Featuring intelligent learning, lasers, motherboards, sensors and even WiFi, robot vacuums are an easy and intuitive way to clean.
With a variety of sensors, mapping options and technology available, robot hoovers can now be programmed to know your rooms, keep away from certain places and adjust the suction for different floor types.
Some offer mopping as standard, are voice-controlled using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and can tell you when they need emptying.
With the latest technology available at prices from just £150, there is a robot vacuum to suit your budget and we know that one will make your life easier.
Why Do You Need a Robot Vacuum?
Vacuuming is widely understood to be one of the least satisfying household chores. The idea of having it done for you, with little to no interaction on your behalf, is obviously appealing.
With the advent of new smart home technology, it is easy to set up a robot vacuum to operate on a schedule and complete each room in a specific way.
Some of the more advanced models can map several rooms, so you can ask your Google Assistant or Alexa to "Clean the living room" and the robot vacuum will comply.
Whether through an app, via remote control or using voice commands, your robot vacuum can clean carpets, hard floors and corners using sensors to avoid furniture and steps, without any input from you.
What a Robot Vacuum Can’t Do
Although a robot vacuum can seem like a magic solution to all your household needs, there are still limitations to the technology that you should be aware of.
Of course, like any technology, there is an aspect of setting up that needs to be completed – whether connecting it to the WiFi or pairing the app.
For the robots with a mapping facility, it also needs to be able to ‘learn’ the floor plan, placing furniture and obstacles as well as finding out which areas need to be cleaned and which to ignore. This can take a few passes.
Although it seems like the perfect solution to hands-free, no effort cleaning, the robot vacuum will still need regular maintenance and cleaning.
Filters and brushes can become clogged and will need cleaning and replacing regularly. The dustbin attachment needs to be emptied – and with the small dustbin capacity in most models, this might need to be a daily occurrence.
Most, if not all, robot vacuums may be intelligent enough to detect different types of flooring, but they can be death to wires and cabling, becoming entangled and even breaking thinner wires (lightning cables and USB chargers, especially). Small children’s toys might get sucked up, as might stray socks.
Clutter and robot vacuums do not mix, so keeping floors clear is the best way to ensure that your robot vacuum can work to its full capacity. Although the technology for avoiding obstacles has come a long way, robot vacuums come into their own in clear rooms like the kitchen or utility room, unless you're super tidy in your living areas.
Although some robot vacuums come with a mopping facility, most will not tolerate standing water or spills so keep your floors dry if using one.
For most people, the robot vacuum can practically replace their standard upright – and with the top-rated options, it is easy to see why.
However, they aren’t infalible; for example, with deep pile carpets or with some types of spill. So, don’t throw out your upright just yet.
What About Maintenance?
As previously mentioned, robot vacuums might be a hands-free cleaning experience, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need regular maintenance.
As with upright or even handheld vacuums, the brushes can get tied up with hairs, the filters can get clogged with allergens and dust, and the dustbins fill up relatively quickly.
All this means that they do need you to monitor and maintain them.
On some models, the allergy filters may need to be washed and thoroughly dried. They may, however, need to be replaced if they do get too dirty.
Brushes have a limited life span – in some robot vacuums, extra brushes come as part of the initial purchase, and they are available separately. Bear in mind that there might be more than just one brush – you are looking at the main brush and the side brushes too.
The charging docks and bases don’t need much in the way of maintenance but do need constant power – the robot vacuums come back to base to charge automatically, but some do charge and then go back to finish their cleans, so constant access to charging is important.
Things to Consider When Buying a Robot Vacuum
The main points that make a good robot vacuum cleaner are:
Measured in Pascal (Pa), this is a scale that measures atmospheric pressure and is used to denote suction power.
In simple terms, the higher the Pa rating, the more powerful the suction is.
This is important if you want your robot vacuum to clean multiple rooms – most have a run time of just over an hour, some up to two.
The length of time needed to complete a full charge is important too – you don’t want to be waiting many hours to get a full charge.
Operating noise is important – you don’t want to have your day interrupted by a super noisy robot.
Of course, the operating noise will always be different on hard floors and carpet.
The capacity of the dustbin is important to gauge how often you will have to empty it. Larger dustbins mean less emptying.
Depending on your needs, you might be happy to operate your robot vacuum via a remote control, or you might prefer an app that gives you more control.
Of course, in our Internet of Things connected lives, having a home system like Alexa and Google Assistant can mean that voice controls can be used too.
Most robot vacuums are slim enough to fit under sofas and can even be stored under kitchen cupboards in newer kitchens.
However, some models are larger and may not fit under furniture. Make sure the robot vacuum you choose has a slim enough profile for your needs.
Everything Else We Looked At
This is a great robot vacuum for those looking to get a feel for the original Roomba technology – updated to include app controls.
Intelligent sensors combine with app-activated virtual walls and a halo mode to give the Roomba 671 clear guidance on where (and where not) to clean.
Made to work effectively against pet hair, dust and debris, with Dirt Detector technology to ensure that floors are kept clean, this robot vacuum uses a three-stage cleaning process combined with a quiet 600Pa suction capability.
Dual multi-surface brushes and an edge brush create a wide cleaning path and ensure that even dust around the edges doesn’t get missed.
Connection can be via the app – allowing you to schedule and control cleans – or via your smart technology such as Alexa and Google Home.
With 90 minutes of run time, automatic return to base for charging and full charge in as little as two hours, this is a speedy cleaner that packs the Roomba punch, but without the price tag.
The unique D-shape of the Botvac D304 allows it to travel into corners to clean them thoroughly, adding to the digital precision of its laser floor plan mapping.
Potent suction, app control and WiFi connectivity are all great additions to the features list of this robot vacuum.
Although it only offers 60 minutes of run time, should it need to charge mid-way through a clean, it will return to base, charge and then continue where it left off.
It has manual controls too, so you can physically steer it toward any spillages easily. A big plus on many robot vacuums that follow their own path.
The Botvac app also provides cleaning summaries so you can get an understanding of the last few cleans it has done.
It uses magnetic strips to create ‘no-go areas’ so isn’t as intuitive as other models in a similar price range – but it is WiFi connected.
This is a good price combination of robot vacuum and mop that offers a strong 2,000 Pa suction power and carpet boost, to pick up even the deepest dust.
We love the Roborock for its long battery life and the ease in which it will return to duties if it needs to stop mid-clean for a charge.
WiFi connected to work with Alexa and Google Home, this clever robot vacuum uses laser navigation to avoid furniture and walls for a smooth operation.
You can schedule your cleans with the Roborock S5, and the addition of a mop means that you can set a scheduled clean and know that your floors will be vacuumed and mopped by the end of it.
A vacuum cleaner review wouldn’t be complete without Dyson, and this robot vacuum from the well-known manufacturer is an improvement on the original Dyson 360 Eye.
Combining the brilliant Root Cyclone technology for powerful Dyson suction and a 78,000 rpm motor with 360-degree vision and heuristic (learning) behaviours, this is a great robot vacuum that works as well as you would expect.
Design-wise, you can tell immediately that it is a Dyson – although it is significantly taller than most other robot vacuums.
This means that it is not as adept at getting underneath furniture but the unique tank tracks that it uses to manoeuvre make it more than capable of climbing over obstacles on the floor.
An onboard 8GB flash memory is used to track and map rooms, and with the Dyson Link app connected via Bluetooth, you can define cleaning zones and set schedules.
It also has a remote control, three power modes and is compatible with Amazon Alexa.
If you are a Dyson fan, this is a bit of tech that you will enjoy – but the only real downside is the height issue – it won’t be able to get underneath the sofa or the fridge.
Another big name in household appliances, you would expect the Miele Scout RX1 to be a high-performing robot vacuum cleaner – and in most cases, it lives up to expectations.
It looks good and works very efficiently, but it lacks some of the technological aspects of the other choices.
The Scout RX1 relies on magnetic strips to create boundaries with its smart navigation system. Sensors positioned around the robot vacuum recognise obstacles and steps.
It does boast a good battery life and very quick charging as well as advanced corner cleaning.
It will automatically return to the base if it needs charging.
You can schedule this robot vacuum via the remote, but it is not as intuitive or connected as other robot vacuums at a similar price point.
This excellently priced robot vacuum from Bagotte works well on all floors, with 1,500 Pa suction.
As an entry-level option, it has all the functions you need – from automatic docking when it needs charging to scheduled cleaning via the remote control, and it looks the part too.
It does use infrared detectors, so it needs light to navigate and doesn’t ‘map’ a room. It has a narrower cleaning path than some of the other options, but it does have a generous dustbin capacity.
What it lacks in additional technology it makes up for in usability, so we think it is the perfect basic option.
With great cleaning capabilities, a large-room friendly bin capacity and all the connectivity you could want, the DEEBOT 502 is perfect for its budget-friendly price tag.
Three-stage cleaning, max mode, an app and a remote control all add up to a feature-packed budget option.
However, it doesn’t offer any room mapping capabilities or notify you when the dustbin is full, but it still charges automatically and you can schedule cleans.
Connection and control are easy using Alexa or Google Home, and with the app or the remote control, you can start, stop and adjust your cleans as you want to.
At a Glance Comparison
|Name||Suction||Run Time||Charge Time||Dustbin Capacity||Noise||Connectivity||Mapping?||Mop Capabilities||Price (RRP)|
|Ecovacs DEEBOT Ozmo 920||1,500Pa||110 mins||4 hours||430 ml||66 dB||WiFi/App||Yes||Yes||£589.98|
|iRobot Roomba i7+||6,000Pa||90 mins||3 hours||Not Known||60-70 dB||WiFi/App||Yes||No||£879|
|Eufy Robovac 11s Max||2,000Pa||100 mins||5 to 6 hours||600 ml||60-65 dB||Remote control||No||No||£239.99|
|iRobot Roomba 671||600Pa||90 mins||2 hours||300 ml||58 dB||WiFi/App||No||No||£399|
|Neato Robotics Botvac D304||Not Known||60 mins||2.5 hours||700 ml||69 dB||WiFi/App||Yes||No||£387|
|Roborock S5 Max||2,000Pa||2.5 hours||6 hours||460 ml||58 dB||WiFi||No||Yes||£481.26|
|Dyson 360 Heriust||20% more than the Dyson 360 Eye||75 mins||2.5 hours||330 ml||74 dB||WiFi/App||Yes||No||£799.99|
|Miele Scout RX1||Not Known||120 mins||120 mins||600 ml||60 dB||Remote control||No||No||£450|
|Bagotte BG600||1,500Pa||100 mins||5 to 6 hours||500 ml||55 dB||Remote control||No||No||£199.99|
|Ecovacs DEEBOT 502||800 – 1,000Pa||110 mins||4 to 6 hours||520 ml||65 dB||WiFi/App||No||No||£179.98|
Robot vacuums have come a long way from the clunky, clumsy and noisy cleaners of the past.
There are now so many options that you are spoiled for choice in terms of tech – from smart home connectivity to scheduled cleans, different cleaning modes including mopping, and even learning functions that allow the robot to map your floors.
When choosing the right robot vacuum cleaner for you, it is important that you consider the type of floors you need to clean and whether you have pet hair or just human occupants to clean up after.
Be aware that purchasing a robot vacuum probably won’t mean that you can immediately throw away your upright – robot vacuums are still not quite thorough enough to replace all the jobs you allocate to your trusty vacuum cleaner, but they will reduce your workload, keeping on top of the daily dust and crumbs while you put your feet up.