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Robots are taking over. But that might be a good thing, as robots are now helping out with everyday chores.
One of the most popular ways to upgrade your life with robotic aid is a robot vacuum. These devices roam around your home, cleaning up dirt, debris, pet hair and even stains. The implications of a robot maid are pretty straightforward: you can enjoy clean floors without lifting a finger.
Robot vacuums have been around longer than you might think, as iRobot actually launched the now-famous Roomba way back in 2002. This has given the robot vacuum market ample time to develop products that work well and utilize plenty of smart features to clean like a human — or even better.
These little machines use sensors to explore your home. Some even go so far as to map the space for more efficient cleaning. They can navigate around furniture — or under it, depending on the model — and transition between hardwood and carpet. After a job well done, the robot vacuum will return to its dock to recharge. Debris gets collected in a small dust bin, which you do need to empty from time to time.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Robot Vacuum
Even though robot vacuums are a relatively new invention, there are still plenty of options to choose from. Below are some specs you’ll want to consider before making a decision.
Dust bin: All that pet hair, dirt and grime has to go somewhere. One of the drawbacks of (most) robot vacuums is that they can’t hold too much debris, meaning you’ll need to empty the dust bin after each vacuum job. However, some higher-end models such as the Roomba i7+ feature larger dust bins that can be left alone for months at a time.
Size: The size of your new cleaning robot is important for two reasons. Firstly, smaller robot vacuums can squeeze under low couches for a more complete cleaning. Secondly, a large vacuum can also be burdensome in small apartments and might get in the way.
Controls: Robot vacuums are either controlled with an included remote or via an app on your phone. Some also connect to smart home assistants such as Alexa for voice activation, so you can tell the vacuum to, say, clean up that cereal you spilled while working from home. App control is usually much easier and offers more features than a remote, and added voice control makes things even more high-tech.
Battery life: If you have a large home that requires big cleaning jobs, you’ll want a robot vacuum with longer battery life. This will allow the vacuum to get the job done in one go without needing to recharge halfway through.
Below is our shortlist of the best robot vacuums. Obviously, the famous Roomba is present, but we also have some very impressive Roomba alternatives that are worthy of any dirty floors.
1. iRobot Roomba i7
This i7 model is the high-end choice with powerful vacuuming capabilities, advanced navigation and comprehensive smart connectivity.
The Roomba is controlled with the intuitive iRobot app as well as home assistants like Alexa and Google Home. From the app, you can tell the Roomba to start and set up cleaning schedules that start automatically while you’re away or asleep
Power and navigation are where the i7 really shines. The robot learns your home’s layout, including different rooms, furniture and no-go zones, so that it can clean precisely and efficiently clean without getting in the way. Powerful suction also means it’ll pick up whatever you (or your pets) leave on the carpet and hardwood floor.
The only real downside with the i7 is battery life. It’ll only run for 75 minutes, but the Roomba accounts for that with a clever “recharge and resume” feature. If the i7 runs out of juice midway through a vacuum job, it’ll return to the dock, charge and get back to work.
2. Roborock S4 Robot Vacuum
Most robot vacuums require a separate device for creating a virtual barrier. So if you want your vacuum to clean the living room and not the always-busy kitchen, you’ll need to buy an extra gadget. The Roborock solves this with programmable virtual no-go zones in the app. You can even set the Roborock to avoid certain areas of a room (for example, that corner your cat likes).
The Roborock S4 also scores high on battery life with an impressive 150 minutes of run time. And even if it runs out of battery, it will automatically charge and return to finish the job.
The Roborock does have it’s setbacks. For one, it’s not great on thick carpets. It’ll clean low-pile carpets, but even then, it’s really built for hardwood or tile floors. And although the brand’s young age offers some fresh, innovative features, it also means we don’t know how well these vacuums hold up with age.
3. Neato Robotics D7 Vacuum
The shape of this Neato robot vacuum is a major upgrade, as pet hair and dirt tends to get pushed to the edges of the room. Plus, the D-shape also provides space for an extra-large spiral comb brush. The cleaning capabilities and unique design makes this a Roomba alternative worth considering.
The D7 connects to an app, as well as smart home assistants for easy control. The easy-to-use app gives you a range of features including schedules and virtual no-go zones to avoid specific spots in a room.
In terms of navigation, the D7 is also very advanced. It uses laser mapping to learn the entire space of your home and clean in the most effective pattern possible. The D7 can also learn multiple floors of one home, so you can move it around for vacuuming everywhere without a problem.
Other noteworthy features include a large 700-milliliter dust bin and two-hour battery life.
4. Yeedi K650 Robot Vacuum
We tested the Yeedi K650 on both (thick) carpet and kitchen tiles and it delivered a deep clean on both surfaces, effortlessly switching from one to another. That’s thanks to the vacuum’s powerful motor, which delivers 2000Pa of strong suction. Its slimmer design (just over three-inches in height) helps it get under tight spots too — think under the kitchen drawers or under the couch.
Concerned about dust and unhealthy particles trapped in your carpeting and floorboards? Yeedi says its its triple-filter system captures up to 99% of dust mites and allergens as small as six microns.
Get up to 130 minutes of runtime on a single charge; the vacuum automatically returns to its charging dock when it’s out of battery. The 800ml dustbin is one of the largest of any model on our list and means less frequent need to empty its contents.
Despite the strong motor, the vacuum is surprisingly quiet; if was barely noticeable even on our Zoom calls. The Yeedi App is easy to use and lets you monitor cleaning progress and control settings. You can also use Alexa to control the vacuum using your voice.
5. iRobot Roomba i7+
This Roomba i7+ is the best-of-the-best. The name might not make it obvious, but that extra + over the regular i7 is, well, a huge plus.
The i7+ charging dock includes a dust bin disposal. It’ll collect debris from the Roomba after each use, so you don’t have to worry about anything for up to 60 days. That’s two months of letting the Roomba do its thing all by itself.