Robot vacuum cleaners are no longer a novelty.
Roomba was among the first companies to burst out onto the scene. But numerous other brands have followed mostly with cheaper robot vacuums.
So if you are thinking of buying a robot vacuum cleaner, you’ve got quite the challenge awaiting you. There are so many brands and models today with prices all over the map and a gazillion features to consider.
But finding the right robot vacuum cleaner for your needs and budget is not that hard. You just need to know what you need, how smart you want the vacuum to be and how much you are willing to spend.
Simple as that.
What do you Need Robot Vacuum Cleaner?
Of course, you need a robot vacuum cleaner. But which one specifically do you want?
There are $700+ models that can clean your large home in no time, cheaper $200 ones that are better for room-by-room cleaning and a whole lot of other option in between.
To determine exactly which robot vacuum cleaner is best for you, consider these factors.
The size of your home
If you have a large multilevel home, you’ll need something that is up to the task. I recommend a premium model like the Roomba 980 or the Neato Botvac Connected.
These vacuums have a lot of features that make them better at cleaning large spaces.
- Smart navigation that smoothly moves the robot from room to room. These vacuums scan and map your home so they know exactly what path to take and avoid covering the same areas twice.
- Large batteries that can last for 2 hours or more. This allows the vacuum to cover more space in one go.
- Multiple sensors and scanners that steer the robot around or under furniture and away from the stairs.
If you live in a small or mid-size apartment, getting a powerful and expensive robot vacuum is a bit of an overkill.
A cheaper robot vacuum from brands like Ecovacs and Eufy is good enough. Though they can only clean one room at a time, they are smaller and thinner, making them better at navigating around obstacles and under furniture compared to their larger cousins.
If you live in a tiny house or apartment, you are probably better off getting a good old stick vacuum cleaner. A robot vacuum will be frustrating to use because there are more obstacles and less open space to navigate.
Type of flooring
One of the most important things to consider when buying a robot vacuum cleaner is its suction power.
This matters a lot because it’s directly related to how well it can pick up dust and debris from the floor.
Almost all robot vacuums are great on hard floors whether it is hardwood, tile or vinyl. Many also do a good job on thin carpets.
But only a few can properly clean a thick shaggy carpet. And even then, they won’t vacuum as well as a traditional vacuum cleaner.
If most of your flooring is carpeted, go for powerful premium brands like the Roomba 980. They have more suction power and some even have a special boost mode specifically for carpets.
If you have hardwood floors and maybe some areas with a thin rug, then any good quality robot vacuum cleaner will do. If you have a thin carpet, make sure the robot vacuum comes with a roller brush at the front to pick up pet hair, dander and other bits of debris.
Some vacuums just have the side brushes which are useless on carpeted floors.
Do you have pets?
If you have pets, then you know how difficult it can be to clean up the pet hair. It’s worse if your dog is a shedder.
A robot vacuum cleaner can make your job much easier. But only if you choose the right one.
Look for robot vacuums specifically designed to deal with pet hair. They’ll have increased suction, a roller brush and anti-tangle mechanisms to keep the hair from tripping up the robot.
Many also come with HEPA filters to make sure pet hair and dander doesn’t affect your home’s air quality.
Do you need help mopping?
If you do, get a 2-in-1 robot that can vacuum and also mop. A good one is the iLife V8s. You switch between two modules depending on whether you need your floors vacuumed or mopped.
How Smart Do You Want the Vacuum to Be?
Yes, there are ‘dumb’ robot vacuums and there are smart ones.
By ‘dumb’ I mean they have basic features: cleaning brushes, decent suction and obstacle/stairs detection.
The more you are willing to pay, the smarter the robot will be. Thankfully, today you can get some pretty advanced features even in cheaper $200-$300 robot vacuum cleaners.
Here are some of the ‘smart’ features you should decide whether you want.
- Scheduling – this one is becoming standard in many robot vacuums. Using a remote or app, you can schedule the robot to start cleaning on certain days at specific times.
- Auto-recharge – this is a convenient one to have. If the battery gets too low when the robot is vacuuming, it can automatically find its way back to the charging dock.
- Auto-recharge & resume – this one is even more convenient. Some robot vacuums will not only go back home to recharge, they will resume cleaning from where they left off.
- WiFi connectivity – this is the pinnacle of ‘smartness’. Most premium (and some cheaper) robot vacuums can connect to your home WiFi network. They come with an app that allows you to control and monitor the robot vacuum wherever you are. You can set a schedule or start vacuuming from the office.
- Smart home compatibility – most robot vacuums that come with WiFi connectivity can be connected to Alexa or Google Assistant, the two most popular smart assistants. This lets you control them by voice using an Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speaker.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
What’s your budget?
In the low-budget category (less than $300), there’s a surprisingly huge variety of feature-packed robot vacuums.
You get features like remote control, sensors, smart navigation and scheduling. Some like the Ecovacs Deebot N79, which costs less than $250, even have WiFi connectivity.
Unless you have a large home or need advanced features, you’ll find a good enough robot vacuum in this price range.
Some good ones include Shark Ion Robot 750 and 720, iLife V5s and V8s, Eufy Robovac 11, Neato Botvac D3 and Roomba 690.
Mid-range robot vacuums ($300-$500) offer a few extra features like better navigation, WiFi connectivity, stronger suction and HEPA filtration.
Some good models in this price range include the Roomba 850 and Neato Botvac D5.
At the higher end of the price range (more than $500), you get premium robot vacuums with all sorts of features like smart mapping and scanning, camera-based navigation, cleaning reports, smart home compatibility and enough suction to clean thick carpets.
The best premium robot vacuum cleaners include Roomba 960 and 980, Neato Botvac D7 and Samsung POWERbot.
And that’s it. Once you’ve considered the essential features, smart features and price range, I’m sure you’ll find exactly what you are looking for. Click here to know more about the best robot vacuum cleaners.
Author Bio: As the Sr. Researcher & Writer for RobotsInMyHome.com, Vicky spends most of her time covering the real-world impact of the latest technologies on consumers’ lives around the world. She writes full-time for a number of leading review and editorial publications around the web. Click here for more information.