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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.
How Do Robot Vacuums Work?
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 Are the Best Robot Vacuums?
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 j7+
The j7+ is the newest in a long line of robot vacuum tech from iRobot, and the clear 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, or using voice commands, you can tell the Roomba to start and set up cleaning schedules that start automatically while you’re away or asleep.
Roomba also debuts a big improvement to their technology here with “PrecisionVision Navigation”, which lets the j7+ recognize specific objects and avoid obstacles like pet waste (essential for owners) and charging cords.
But power and navigation are where the j7+ really shines. The robot learns your home’s layout in real time, 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 j7+ is battery life. It’ll only run for 90 minutes, which isn’t terrible, but the Roomba accounts for that with a clever “recharge and resume” feature. If the j7+ runs out of juice midway through a vacuum job, it’ll return to the dock, charge and get back to work. But we can’t deny that iRobot pioneered the robot vacuum world with the Roomba, and it’s still the best option around.
2. Roborock S6 MaxV
Roborock is a new player in the robot vacuum game, but they’ve made a splash with this capable and easy to use S6 MaxV vacuum that adds an intelligent mopping feature.
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, invisible walls, and no-map zones in the app, and with independent settings for each floor of your home (up to four levels). You can even set the Roborock to avoid certain areas of a room (for example, that corner your cat likes).
The Roborock S6 also scores high on battery life with an impressive 150 minutes of run time (although that’s on “Eco” mode, a low-power mode, mopping or vacuuming). 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 vacuuming and mopping on hardwood or tile floors. And although the brand’s young age offers some fresh, innovative features (such as AI-powered obstacle recognition and avoidance), it also means we don’t know how well these vacuums hold up with age.
3. Neato Robotics D8 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 (supposedly larger than round robot vacuums). The cleaning capabilities and unique design makes this a Roomba alternative worth considering.
The D8 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 D8 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 D8 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, a high-performance filter that traps up to 99% of allergens, and 100-minute battery life.
4. Yeedi Vac Max
We tested the Yeedi Vac Max 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 3000Pa of strong suction. Its slimmer design (just over five 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 four-stage filter system captures up to 99% of dust mites and allergens as small as six microns.
Get up to a whopping 200 minutes of runtime on a single charge — the longest runtime on our list. The vacuum automatically returns to its charging dock when it’s out of battery. The 2000 square foot-coverage is also one of the biggest cleaning ranges around, so your Yeedi can cover more space for longer.
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 s9+
This Roomba s9+ is the best-of-the-best. The name might not make it obvious, but that extra + over the regular s9 is, well, a huge plus.
The s9+ 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.
As with all Roombas, this one utilizes their fantastic app as well as home assistant voice control. But the best way to use the s9+ is to set a schedule for when you’re out of the house or asleep, let it run, and set a reminder two months later to empty the dustbin. It’s also by far the most intuitive and powerful robot vacuum on our list.