Best Robotic Vacuum Reviews and Buying Guide in 2018

Whichever way you look at it, cleaning is a tiresome affair.

One neat way to simplify your cleaning routine is to invest in a vacuum that does all the hard work for you even if you’re not at home…

In today’s best robotic vacuum reviews, we’ll break down 5 of the most effective robots on the market so you can more easily pick the one that best fits your requirements.

We’ll also serve you up with a condensed buying guide. This will point you in the right direction when it comes to buying the best robot vacuum.

Before that, we’ll launch straight into the reviews so you can first familiarize yourself with the range of options at your disposal…

Here are the top 5 robotic vacuums we’ll be reviewing at a glance:

Now, let’s go in detail about each of the vacuums listed above.

best robot vacuum consumer reports

First up in our best robotic vacuum reviews is the Roomba 980 from one of the pioneers in the field, iRobot. With over a quarter-century in the robotics saddle, this company has a wide range of vacuuming robots (the Roomba family) along with mopping robots (Braava models).

We’ll focus first on the range-topping Roomba 980 robot vacuum. Since the Roomba first launched back in 2002, it’s become the default choice for anyone looking to introduce automatic cleaning into their schedule and with just cause.

Unlike many robots, the Roomba acquits itself well on all surfaces. Whether you have hard flooring, carpets or tiles, the 980 does a more than serviceable job. The auto-adjust cleaning head ensures that the multi-purpose brushes ride at the correct height for any given flooring.

iRobot poured a great deal of R&D cash into their patented Dirt Detect sensors. These nifty little devices laser in on any hidden specks of grime in awkward spots and also intuit high traffic areas giving them a thorough blitz. One of the common fears when you’re buying a robot vacuum is that they won’t carry out an in-depth clean. Dirt Detect alleviates those concerns and ensure that no stone is left unturned and no area of your house neglected.

The robot is deliberately designed to be very low-slung meaning it’ll have no problem at all getting under the furniture and scouring all rogue debris.

In terms of the cleaning itself, iRobot came up with a proprietary 3-stage AeroForce system. By marrying super-powered suction to tangle-resistant brushes suitable for all surfaces, you’ll end up with some serious airflow and cleaning results more in line with an upright vacuum. Whether it’s light dust, stubborn and ingrained filth or even pet hair, iRobot Roomba makes certain you’ll get an immaculate clean even if you’re not at home…

And if you’re out and about, you can now schedule your 980 from the road. iRobot’s HOME app has been uprated so you can program from afar with a full degree of customization. Whether you want your Roomba one or several passes, go for a swift gloss-over or take care of a complete edge-to-edge clean, tweaking things remotely just got even easier. You’ll be able to check up on progress with a map of the cleaning and you can do all this using your cell phone.

If, on the other hand, you want to control your 980 from the comfort of home, you can do so conveniently and hands-free using either Alexa or Google Assistant. Digital assistants continue to go from strength to strength. We’re not here to sell you on that functionality but if you’re already a fan of barking commands, this is great news.  This is achieved through Wi-Fi connectivity so you can take charge from any of your devices from tablet through to laptop.

Another area where robotic vacuums continue to improve regards run-time. Where an hour was once pretty much as good as it got, iRobot Roomba 980 is good for 120 minutes of intense run-time before it will hobble back to the docking station. Charging on the Home Base takes roughly 2 hours and you’ll get best results with iRobot’s lithium-ion battery. Some robots start again from the beginning if they run out of juice mid-clean. The 980, on the other hand, simply regroups and resumes cleaning from where it left off with brisk efficiency.

iRobot navigates its way around without any fanfare or fuss. iAdapt 2.0 paired with Visual Localization allows your 980 to nail an entire level of your home at a time while you can, if you wish, keep track of its location. With sensors and embracing a high-efficiency pattern, you’ll get superb results even if you’re sat down relaxing. One thing robotic vacuums are not yet capable of is humping up and down the stairs so you’ll need to content yourself with present limitations and focus on what convenience is offered rather than bemoaning what the robot can’t yet do. That said, cliff detection functionality means there’s no risk your Roomba will take a spill down the stairs.

To further automate the process, you can schedule your robot to clean up to 7 times a week so it’s really a case of set and forget.

Do you have pets at home? If so, the 980 is more than up to the job of dispatching the hair and dander left in their wake. This is a common issue with robot vacuums and one iRobot has remedied in fine style.

There’s a 1-year limited warranty in place as long as you purchase your Roomba from iRobot or one of their authorized resellers. While this is not particularly generous as far as warranties go, that’s the nature of the beast with robots and at least you’ll be offered some protection. Go here for a breakdown of the guarantee and a list of authorized resellers.

If you’re on the fence about trying a robot, iRobot Roomba 980 might not be the cheapest option but it’s certainly a strong contender for the best robotic vacuum on the market.

We’ll highlight the chief advantages and drawbacks of the 980 now so you can determine whether or not this is the right robot for you…

Pros.

  • Works well on both hard flooring and carpets thanks to the automatically adjusting cleaning head
  • Fully voice activated using either Amazon’s Alexa or your Google Assistant adding another layer of hands-free convenience
  • Outstanding 120 minutes of continuous run-time should be more than enough for even the largest homes
  • Automatically returns to docking station when power is fading then resumes cleaning from the point of interruption for increased efficiency
  • 10 times the power of previous iterations of Roomba with AeroForce, a 3-stage system combining serious suction with brushes suitable for all surfaces
  • Uprated iAdapt navigation allows your 980 to nimbly make its way around different rooms without running into trouble
  • Sensors pick out any stray dust and debris delivering a thorough finish

Cons.

  • Reasonably expensive but still great value for a top-of-the-line robotic vacuum

top 10 robotic vacuum cleaners

From a range-topping iRobot to something far more affordable, the ECOVACS DEEBOT N79 is one of the strongest cheap robotic vacuums you can find. As the high volume of positive reviews backs up, this pocket-friendly robot doesn’t sacrifice quality in the quest for a cut-throat price.

With over 5 million of these neat little robots sold worldwide and almost uniformly positive feedback, the DEEBOT is a wise choice if you want to dip your toes into the robotic vacuum waters without needing to invest a small fortune.

Off the bat, we should make clear that this robot is designed to cope with predominantly hard flooring. There is a helical brush roll that will separate out the fibers of very low pile carpet and go some way towards cleaning up softer floors. This brush roll will require a little manual input and you’ll get a cleaning tool thrown in so you can keep on top of maintenance.

Run-time is not quite up there with the Roomba 980 but you’ll get more than an hour and a half on a single charge which is sufficient for most homes. Once the battery is depleted, the DEEBOT will scurry back to the docking station by itself. A full charge is imparted in around 3 hours then your DEEBOT will be placed for another 100 minutes in the saddle. It makes use of the usual lithium-ion rechargeable batteries renowned for fade-free performance from gun to tape.

Packing 3 modes, this robotic vacuum is flexible and capable of a range of tasks. Single Room mode deals with one room at a time. For any areas where you need a more thorough blast, use the Spot mode for laser-focused vacuuming. If you need to make sure all corners of the living space are spotless, hit Edge mode and the DEEBOT gets absolutely everywhere.

The Smart Motion system in place makes navigation a breeze for your robot. There are sensors in place to prevent it taking a tumble or crashing into the furniture. The low-profile design lets the DEEBOT slip under most regular couches and chairs. The robot is likely to get stuck if it tries to get under something of roughly the same height of 3 inches.

Although you’ll get surprisingly powerful and rigorous cleaning for such a budget robotic vacuum, the DEEBOT is blissfully subdued in operation. It only kicks out around 60 decibels so you won’t get an annoying racket disturbing you as you relax with a glass of wine and let the robot take care of business.

You can control your DEEBOT using the provided remote control or using the ECOVACS app. This is compatible with both Android and Apple iOS. Whether you want to schedule cleaning, select the cleaning mode or just check up on the robot’s battery life or status, you can do all these remotely without a hitch. You’ll obviously need to be hooked up to a WiFi connection to make use of the app. On the downside, you won’t be able to use Alexa if you like your digital assistants. If you want this functionality, you can consider the M80 Pro model which offers full Alexa connectivity.

Filtration is based on a HEPA design but it is not a true HEPA-rated filter. Unlike some less scrupulous manufacturers, ECOVACS make no attempt to hide this. The debris passes through a filter net and then a sponge filter before hitting a high efficiency filter to complete the job. While it might not achieve the exacting standards of a true HEPA unit, the filtration is sound and will protect any allergy sufferers in your house and removes the vast bulk of pathogens.

If you have pets at home, the N79 does an admirable job of clearing cat and dog hair. As with all robotic vacuums, the idea is not that the unit replaces manual vacuuming completely. Don’t expect a hair void of any hair or dander if you never follow-up with a manual clean from time to time. The DEEBOT does a more than acceptable job of getting rid of the majority of dirt and debris though and it’s a superb first line of defense.

The dust container is relatively spacious and will hold 300ml of debris before it needs emptying out. This is impressive for such a compact little piece of kit.

Most robotic vacuums don’t come with lengthy warranties and the DEEBOT is covered for 1 year which is the norm across most manufacturers.

Aside from the issues with deep pile carpets which ECOVACS makes clear from the get-go, there’s really very little else we can flag against this awesome robotic vacuum. For a cost-effective and high-performing entrance into the world of robotic vacuums, you should pop this nifty little model on your shortlist.

Pros.

  • 100 minutes of run-time is adequate for cleaning even larger spaces
  • Control via ECOVACS app using either Android or Apple operating systems or using conventional remote control for total flexibility
  • 3 cleaning modes (Single Room, Edge Mode and Spot Mode) so you’ve got all bases covered
  • Rated at just 60-64 decibels so quiet enough to tackle your cleaning without disturbing you
  • Smart Motion system delivers superb navigation aided by anti-drop and anti-collision sensors for a seamlessly automated cleaning experience
  • Works best on hard flooring although it will deal with low-pile carpets
  • Filtration system is fairly effective at dealing with allergens and pathogens
  • Charges automatically and takes around 3 hours to get back up and running

Cons.

  • Charges automatically and takes around 3 hours to get back up and running
  • Doesn’t work well with rugs or deeper piled carpets

best robot vacuum consumer reports

You’ll get incredible range with ILIFE’s rebooted V5s Pro, an enhanced version of the already adept V5.

The price of this robotic vacuum is surprising considering its exceptional versatility and top-notch cleaning results.  You can buy into a brand you can trust with a growing legion of satisfied customers for far less than many comparable robots so read on to see where this multi-purpose vacuum stands and falls…

Unlike most standard vacuuming robots, the V5s also delivers damp mopping. Obviously, this is meant for hard flooring rather than carpets. After a round of sweeping and vacuuming, take out and empty the dust container replacing it with the water tank. This has a 300ml reservoir and will ensure that your floors are more thoroughly cleaned than if you relied on vacuuming alone.

If you don’t specify which mode you want, the V5s defaults to auto-clean before switching to spot clean and rounding out with edge-clean mode. This almost entirely automates the procedure and serves up a top-notch finish every time. You can activate these modes individually any time you see fit. The added string to your bow is the fourth mode which allows you to schedule cleaning even if you’re out running errands. A short and sustained burst of extra power is available with max mode to complete truly complete performance.

At an incredible 140 minutes, you really are spoiled by the ILIFE’s run-time. This is good enough to clean an area of roughly 1500 square feet. The robot makes its way back to the charging station automatically. The initial charge after purchase should be 5 hours and, after this point, you should get it back into action after less than 3 hours on the dock. The lithium-ion battery ensures you’ll get fade-free suction and there’s no ongoing expense of buying replacement batteries.

It’s key with any robotic vacuum that the unit is capable of avoiding furniture or anything else in its path. The V5s comes equipped with sensors on the front bumper to keep it away from your precious wooden chairs while the bumper itself is padded so if it does come a cropper, you won’t end up with scuffed furniture.

While there’s no WiFi connectivity and no app, you get a remote control thrown in so you can manipulate your V5s from afar. There’s a crisp LED display on the robot itself so it’s a very user-friendly experience and ideal for anyone less than tech-savvy. For some users, Wi-Fi capability is a curse rather than a blessing but be sure to understand this comes without so you don’t end up disappointed.

Unlike many robotic vacuums, the V5s has a genuine HEPA filter. To qualify for this rating, a filter has to eliminate 99.97% of all airborne pollutants down to a size of 0.3 microns. Take note that you will need to clean this filter after every use for best results. Also, it will need replacing once a month which is an expense that can add up over time.

With a diameter of less than 12 inches and only 3 inches tall, the V5s is super-compact and perfect for working its way under and around furniture and into any awkward spots.

Noise is dialed back to only 55 decibels – even less when mopping – meaning you get a remarkably quiet cleaning experience despite such a complete finish.

Smart Route Planning Technology yields a cleaning coverage of fully 99% of your floor space. Even if the flooring is on an incline or uneven, the oversized roadrover wheels allow the V5s to potter around efficiently with a self-rescue feature to keep everything stable even on a slope.

If you’re looking for an extremely flexible robotic vacuum boasting more features than many four-figure opponents at a mere fraction of the cost, the ILIFE V5s takes some beating. From its disc shape mirroring an iRobot through to its broad spread of cleaning applications, you’re highly unlikely to find much to moan about with this robotic vacuum.

Check out a snapshot of its principal advantages and drawbacks and decide whether or not this makes sense for you and your hardwood floors…

Pros.

  • 3-in-1 functionality as the V5s Pro sweeps, vacuums and mops your floors to get them gleaming
  • Whether you have hardwood or laminate, tile or marble, the wet mop function gives you an added edge of cleaning power on all your hard flooring
  • 140 minutes of run-time gives you plenty of scope even if you have a larger house
  • Automatically returns to base for recharging
  • 4 modes: auto-clean is the default, spot clean nails any stubborn stains, edge clean gets flush to the walls and scheduling clean allows you the freedom for cleaning when you’re away from home
  • Further ramp up the power with a short burst of max power giving you a show house-fresh look every day
  • Obstacle sensors and padded bumpers protect your furniture from damaging knocks
  • HEPA-filtration so ideal for anyone with allergies or sensitivities
  • Extremely inexpensive considering such hard-hitting performance

Cons.

  • Expressly designed for hard flooring so look elsewhere if you want to clean your carpets effectively
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity but you can’t really complain given the price and diversity of features
  • Lengthy tail haNeed to replace the HEPA filter on a monthly basis so factor this into your budgetingose is prone to tangling (although you can trim it to size if required)

best robot vacuum consumer reports

As we near the end of our robotic vacuums, we’ve got another affordable but extremely effective model, this time from the highly reputable eufy.

As with most robotic vacuums, the RoboVac is better suited to hardwood, laminate and tiled flooring. It will deal with thin and low-pile carpets without a hitch but sidestep this model if you’re planning on cleaning rugs or thick-pile carpets as it simply won’t cut the ice.

If you do need to set RoboVac to work on carpeted surfaces or you want it to deal with any particularly ground-in stains or heavy debris, Power Boost Technology means it will generate more suction power when required. This leaves it to perform more gently on delicate hard flooring for the double win.

eufy’s proprietary 3-point cleaning system is an upgrade on the way in which the previous iterations of RoboVac worked. The new, improved rolling brush is more substantial and less prone to getting bogged down on carpets. You also get a pair of side brushes so everything comes together with impressive suction and makes light work of any and all debris.

While the 100 minutes of run-time won’t win any prizes, it’s ample to take care of most normal cleaning duties. The lithium-ion battery guarantees that suction remains constant throughout the cycle without any of the tedious reduction in power that blighted the nickel-cadmium batteries of old. When it’s time for some juice, RoboVac will make its way home to the docking station. Since it automatically switches off the suction, it appears to be sadly, slowing making its way back to base. Charging takes around 4 hours.

Capable navigation is crucial with any robotic vac and the infrared sensors on RoboVac mean it will confidently skip around the room without running into grief. The glass cover is highly scratch-resistant so the device won’t end up battered and there’s also a drop sensor preventing the robot from taking an unintentional swan dive down the stairs.

Alongside the robot itself and the docking station, you’ll also enjoy some spare side brushes and an extra set of filters meaning you’re really getting fantastic value for money with RoboVac.

Holding 0.55l of debris, the dirt container is more generous than you’ll find on many robots. This obviously reduces the number of times you’ll need to intervene and head to the trashcan for emptying duties. Although it sports a large dustbin, the vacuum is still extremely compact and weighs just a smidgeon over 10 pounds so it’s a slimline unit without compromising functionality.

More and more robotic vacuums are giving a very quiet cleaning experience now. If you consider a normal manual vacuum generates around 70 decibels, the RoboVac is measured at less than 60. Get your cleaning done without disturbing your family or your neighbors.

Although there’s no Wi-Fi connectivity, we have deliberately chosen some robotic vacuums without this because not everyone wants a unit packed with features they won’t use. As a result of this, setting up and using the RoboVac is an absolute cinch so you can get going straight out the box.

Despite the lack of Wi-Fi capability, you’ll be able to program your robot to clean at appointed times using the basic remote control provided. Again, for many users this is an advantage rather than a flaw.

Filtration is HEPA-rated making RoboVac a clear winner for anyone with asthma, allergies or other sensitivities. This is straightforward to clean and you can very easily pick up replacements when necessary.

There are a couple of minor snags that merit pointing out…

If you have especially dark wooden flooring or thick pile carpets, this is not the robotic vacuum for you. The manufacturer makes no secret of this fact so there’s no excuse for buying in error and then complaining.

Also, some users have reported issues with RoboVac finding itself trapped under tables or chairs. While the idea of a robotic vacuum is to fully automate the cleaning process, it might be worth your while at least keeping a vague eye on proceedings if possible.

Neither of these problems should be considered deal-breakers and, if you check out the shower of benefits to offset these drawbacks, you can determine whether the eufy RoboVac deserves a place on your shortlist of the best robotic vacuums

Pros.

  • Works well on hardwood, laminate, tile and low-pile carpets delivering a thorough deep clean
  • Harnesses Power Boost Technology to kick out increased suction power for stained areas or carpets
  • 100 minutes of fade-free suction on a single charge
  • Trundles back to base without intervention for maximum convenience
  • Rolling brush, side brushes and super-powerful suction combine to wick away even ingrained filth
  • Infrared sensor keeps RoboVac away from all obstacles and there’s a drop sensor to put paid to any unwanted tumbles if it gets close to the stairs or steps
  • Extra filters and brushes thrown in completing outstanding value package
  • 1-year limited warranty so you don’t need to worry about expensive repairs

Cons.

  • Not suitable for very dark wooden flooring or deeper pile carpets
  • Can get trapped under chairs and tables so it pays to loosely monitor the vacuum if possible
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity but this leads to a simple and user-friendly experience

best robot vacuum consumer reports

Last up in our best robotic vacuums reviews is the XShuai T370 from Haier Robotics, another mid-range robot with all the bells and whistles.

Haier have attacked Wi-Fi connectivity from all angles and ensured that the T370 is a technophile’s dream. You’ll be able to use either Siri or Alexa depending on whether you’re into Apple or Android.

The app for your smartphone is pretty basic but allows you to take advantage of your voice assistant and do everything you need to. It will work in 10 languages so it’s a highly versatile piece of kit.

There’s also a remote control so you can punch in your scheduling needs and instructions even if you’re offline.

The water tank and mop attachment included gives you another prong of attack when it comes to cleaning your hardwood or laminate flooring. It will function on carpets but, as with almost all robotic vacuums, give it a swerve if your home is packed with deep and luxuriant carpets as it’s simply not man enough for the job.

Mobility on hard flooring is excellent. Like most top-notch robots, the T370 is able to ascend modest inclines and it’s protected against toppling down the stairs by its anti-drop sensors. It navigates smoothly and the rubberized bumper and wheels make certain your furniture doesn’t take a pounding while your robot does its work.

Run-time could be improved. Although it’s quoted at 120 minutes, 30 minutes of this allows for returning to base to charge. Still, an hour and a half should be just about enough to take care of most more modest cleaning projects. Charging is the fairly standard 4 to 5 hours so allow for this down time when you are planning your cleaning schedule.

The Z-pattern the robot takes means that all corners of your living space will be cleaned up in the most economical fashion. Alongside random mode, you’ll also be able to initiate spot cleaning or edge cleaning when required.

HEPA-filtration deals with pretty much all pathogens in the air and traps them securely inside out of harm’s way. Whether it’s dust, pet hair or dander, kiss goodbye to being menaced by fine particles spewed back out through the exhaust and say hello to fresh, spotless air.

Build quality is spot-on and everything feels very well put together. The buttons and remote are ergonomic and the LED display is a pleasure to read. For an inexpensive robotic vacuum, it doesn’t feel cheap.

This robotic vacuum certainly falls under the umbrella of a light maintenance cleaner. Although the suction is described as powerful, we’d disagree. It’s fit for purpose and it will perform a reasonable clean but it doesn’t perform quite as well as our other robots in terms of raw power.

The dirt cup is relatively small so when you are attempting to ditch the contents, some dirt and debris can find its way back onto the floor. This is a pretty tiresome design flaw we hope Haier remedies in any forthcoming facelift models.

The only major reported concern is related to the app. This does not function glitch-free and some users found issues when trying to press Alexa into commission.

Although this robotic vacuum is not without its quirks and irritations, overall it represents superb value for money and will repay your further investigation. Check out our honest appraisal of its pros and cons before we wrap up these robotic vacuum reviews and move on with our buying guide…

Pros.

  • Ultra-low profile so gets under beds and furniture with ease without sacrificing cleaning power
  • Full Wi-Fi connectivity and compatible with Siri or Alexa. Hub is required but provided
  • Control from your cell phone adding a further layer of convenience
  • 90 minutes of cleaning time before automatically returning to the charging station
  • Gyroscopic cleaning pattern designed to clean up in the shape of a Z and take care of all nooks and crannies for a flawless finish
  • Random cleaning, spot cleaning or edge cleaning for total flexibility
  • First-rate 1500Pa suction gets rid of even deeper stains and larger debris
  • Water tank included so serves double duty as a wet mop as well as a vacuum
  • HEPA-filtration so a great way to protect yourself from airborne pollutants being belched back into the air

Cons.

  • Some reported issues with the app, particularly Alexa capability
  • Some reported issues with the app, particularly Alexa capability
  • Dirt cup is a little on the small side and some debris can fall back out when you’re emptying it

OK ...

Now you’ve got 5 of the very best robotic vacuums on the market to choose between, simplify your buying decision by poring over our detailed guide to choosing the best robot for your specific needs…

Brief Guide To Finding the Best Robot Vacuum

We all love labor-saving appliances and robot vacuums are second to none in this regard.

These robotic vacuums, as the name suggests, are automatic devices to help you take care of your cleaning needs without any effort on your part. You can even program them to take care of business when you’re out and about or simply relaxing.

Regardless of the surface of your home, whether it’s hard flooring or carpet, robotic vacuums will blitz away the dust and debris fairly efficiently. It must be said they work significantly more effectively on hard floors.

We should also insert a disclaimer here and make it clear that you should not consider a robot as a complete replacement for manually vacuuming. This should not dissuade you from investing in one of these nifty vacs, though…

Let’s face it, if you’re thinking of buying a robot vac, chances are you already own a more than serviceable upright or canister. Simply scale back your manual cleaning to perhaps once a month. Hit it hard and get rid of all the ingrained dirt and grime. In between times, let the robot take up the slack and carry out what you can think of as maintenance cleaning.

So…

If you fancy the idea of some home help but you don’t like the idea of a stiff bill from a maid service, the best robotic vacuum could be the answer to your prayers.

Thing is, there’s a wide and constantly growing number of these robots on the market. It can be bewildering trying to pick the best one for your needs so the 5 robotic vacuum reviews above should already have separated the wheat from the chaff for you.

Beyond narrowing your options, we’ll now give you some handy pointers concerning just what you should take into account when you’re on the trail of the best robotic vacuum…

Overall Cleaning Performance

One of your primary considerations should be the cleaning results you can expect from the robotic vacuum you have in mind.

Bear in mind that if you want to achieve anything close to the performance of your standard upright or canister, you’ll need to be prepared to spend a little for the privilege.

As with most products, focusing on trustworthy brands generally yields superior bang for your buck overall. If you think beyond the bottom line, often investing a little more gives you enhanced rather than diminished value.

If you drop down from the top-tier to a middle of the road robot, you’ll still get a nice tidy finish but you might encounter problems when it comes to the corners of your rooms. These robots also often run into difficulty with some surfaces, specifically carpets.

Budget robot vacuums are not a complete disaster but you should view these as little more than a leg-up with your cleaning duties and be prepared to roll out the manual vacuum for a spotless finish.

Battery Run-Time and Charging

All robot vacuums by definition need batteries in order to do their work. They’re rechargeable so they won’t cost you a fortune in ongoing costs but it pays to think about how much run-time you’ll get from the model you’re thinking about buying.

Charging time is not generally an issue since you get adequate run-time to complete your cleaning and, by the time you’d reasonably press the robot back into commission, it will be powered up and ready to roll.

The vast bulk of robots will serve up an hour of use before they hustle back to the charging station.

Anything less than 60 minutes is not really worth considering. Budget robotic vacuums generally deliver 75 minutes of run time while you’ll get up to 100 minutes of power with a mid-ranger. Step things up to the more expensive robots and you’ll get anywhere up to 120 minutes or so.

Standard procedure is for the robot to automatically head back to its dock when the battery starts running down. This takes the guesswork out of things for you and is a feature worth looking out for. It can be tiresome if you have a less versatile robot that just keeps going until it’s dead then needs manually planting back on the base. Mid-range robotic vacuums will return to the charging station independently but begin cleaning again from the start of the cycle. The more advanced robots pop back for more juice then restart where they left up when interrupted. Think about what works best for you and buy accordingly.

Filtration

HEPA (high efficiency particulate arrestance) filters are the gold standard when it comes to vacuums since they came to market back in the 40s. This type of filter traps 99.97% of all airborne pathogens and contaminants down to a size of 0.3 microns. HEPA filters are particularly valuable if anyone in your household suffers from asthma, allergies or sensitivities of any kind.

While most robotic vacuum manufacturers claim their vacs pack HEPA-filtration, this is hard to verify since you can’t really check the way in which air is filtered visually. Some brands make this claim despite using paper filters.

Stick with one of the 5 awesome robot vacs we’ve reviewed above to be on the safe side when it comes to the filter. If you opt for another model, do your due diligence and stick with a brand you can trust.

Dust Bin: Size Matters

While a robot goes about its work alone, technology is not yet at the point where it can also empty itself. Since this area of cleaning needs your input, it pays to think closely about the capacity of the dirt container and how frequently you’ll need to ditch the contents.

As a rule of thumb, the average robotic vacuum needs to be emptied after every 4 or 5 cleaning cycles.

Don’t completely write off robots that fill up quickly. This is often an indication of their raw efficiency at sucking up all the dust and debris.

Dimensions and Configuration of Your Living Space

To generalize, if you have a larger home, you probably also have a little spare cash so, if you’re in the market for a robotic vacuum, it’s best to look for one of the more advanced models. The enhanced battery life, automatic recharging and superior navigation make them a better fit for big houses.

Depending on the size and layout of your living space, the role of boundary demarcation and the range of accessories will assume varying importance.

There’s no boilerplate solution here but a case of carefully analyzing what kind of robot would mesh best with the configuration and size of your house. Time spent at this stage will ensure you get the most suitable robotic vacuum for your needs in terms of navigation and can save you a potentially costly mistake.

General Maintenance

Since you’re buying a robotic vacuum to save you time and effort, it’s crucial to factor in how much maintenance and upkeep you’ll need to carry out so you don’t end up wishing you’d just done the job yourself.

While we’re still not quite at the point of the robot vacuum self-emptying, technology continues to rapidly surge forwards. Human input is reduced on all counts. From automatically heading back to the dock through to enriched filtration systems, robotic vacuums are going from strength to strength.

Robot vacuums are not like power tools and, for the most part, regular maintenance should not be taxing. Aside from the expected intervention of emptying out the dust container before it’s full and occasionally replacing the filter on some models, you should look for a robot where you don’t have to do too much more than this.

Make the right decision and peg your expectations and you’ll end up with the next best thing to a live-in maid without the monthly expense.

Connectivity

More and more robots now pack full WiFi connectivity.

The iRobot Roomba 980 is a great example you can control neatly using a cell phone app. The XShuai T370 comes with Siri and Alexa for the best of both worlds.

The ability to monitor your system from your smart device or computer gives you great added scope. You’ll also benefit from live updates.

Think about how much you enjoy tech and decide whether opting for a WiFi-enable robotic vacuum makes sense for you.

Auto-Scheduling

Technology continues to surge forwards. The newer, cutting edge robot vacuums come equipped with a range of auto-scheduling features to make your life even simpler.

With the best versions available, you can just input the times of the cleaning schedule you prefer and leave the machine to do the work even if you are away from home.

Think carefully about how important this extra flexibility is to you and check the products on your shortlist to see how they fare.

Budget

Budget always plays a part in any buying decision but you should be careful not to let it be the determining factor.

There’s quite a price discrepancy when it comes to robotic vacuums…

At the cheaper end of the spectrum, you can get something fairly serviceable for just a few hundred dollars. Higher end models can easily run into four figures.

As with most things in life, you generally get what you pay for. It’s no different with robotic vacuums.

None of this is to say that you should overcommit yourself. You absolutely shouldn’t. Never spend more than you can comfortably afford and always do your research so that you spend the least you need to in order to meet your specific requirements.

Cheaper robots are fit for purpose but you’re only likely to get a quick once-over rather than a deeper clean.

If you fancy buying into some real brand heritage but also want to save a few bucks, here’s a handy hint…

Look for an older generation of robot from an established manufacturer for a win-win: get the quality while also enjoying a slight discount.

Wrap-Up

We trust you’ve found some nuggets of wisdom in this concise guide to sorting yourself out with the best robotic vacuum.

Drop us a line any time if you have anything you’d like us to cover here on the site. We’re here to help in any way we can and we’re in the process of building out the site to cover just about everything related to the home and garden.

Now put your feet up and set that robot to work!

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