The 692 is iRobot’s baseline model, offering a standard clean that you can trust to keep floors tidy on a daily basis. Hard floors and carpets can both get tackled efficiently with Roomba’s loosen-then-lift strategy. Schedule cleanings and get custom route suggestions in the iRobot app.
Shark’s largest self-emptying dock can hold 45 days of dust bin refuse before you’ll need to deal with it. The vacuum itself maps out your home, then follows that map with methodical row-by-row sweeping. In the Shark app, you can select specific rooms to clean.
Amazon’s 32% discount on Samsung’s Jet Bot+ is a gem of a find compared to the full price listed on Samsung’s own website. The Jet Bot+ uses LiDAR to map your home and cleans by identifying the type of surface and amount of dust it’s dealing with. The compact Clean Station holds up to a month’s worth of debris.
Robot vacuum and mop hybrids and dedicated robot mops
A vacuum with LiDAR mapping is a smart move if you have a complicated floor plan. The Roborock S5 Max helps avoid a “bumper car” situation by remembering the layout of each floor of your home and steering clear of the virtual boundaries you set. It also brings mopping to the table, which the cheaper S4 Max does not.
The control of an upright vacuum comes with its own type of satisfaction. But if you’re not one to classify cleaning as cathartic, a robot vacuum could erase that huge, agonizing task from of your chore list. (And did we mention the joy of having “first day clean” floors all the time?)
But whether robot vacuums are worth it or not comes with a caveat: It can’t be just any robot vacuum. A cheap robovac that doesn’t do the job right — scattering dust, bumping into walls, getting stuck on area rugs — might actually create more work for you.
What to consider when buying a robot vacuum
Suction power: A vacuum is the one purchase that you hope sucks a lot. Suction power is typically measured in Pascals (Pa), with most current vacs ranging between 1,500 Pa and 3,000 Pa. Stronger sucking will be needed to pick up heavier pieces of debris (be sure to set a no-go zone around Legos) and to pull matted-down pet hair from rugs.
Floor type: Carpeting and high pile rugs will probably require stronger suction than hard floors, as well as special features like an extra-wide or self-cleaning brush roll to prevent hair from wrapping and clogging. Folks in homes with multiple floor types might consider a bigger, sturdier robot vacuum that can hurl itself and its wheels over mats, rugs, and transitions from carpet to hard floors.
Automatic emptying: Because robot vacuums are typically under four inches tall, their onboard dust bins are also small — which means they frequently require emptying. (Dustbins fill up particularly quickly in homes with pets.) A self-emptying vacuum takes that job out of your hands, emptying itself into a larger dustbin in its charging dock. These larger bins can typically hold weeks of dirt without needing to be cleaned or dumped out.
Home layout: Every robot vacuum is equipped with sensors and drop detection. But if your home has lots of rooms, lots of turns, or lots of close-together furniture, you’ll have fewer navigation issues with an advanced model that uses intelligent mapping to remember exactly how your home is laid out, including labeling of specific rooms, mental notes of staircases, and ability to deploy zone cleaning.
Low-profile furniture: No one should have to be scared about what’s accumulated under their couch over the past year. A robot vacuum measuring three inches or less in height should be able to scoot under most low-hanging couches and beds.
Battery life and square footage: One of the main complaints people have about their robot vacuum is that it craps out in the middle of the floor. Larger spaces require more time to clean, and it all depends on how annoyed you’ll be if it only finishes a few rooms at a time. Average run times for the list below range between 90 and 200 minutes, which translate to about 500 and 2,800 square feet covered on one charge.
App control: WiFi-enabled robot vacuums can be synced with a smartphone app to control scheduling, manual start, cleaning settings, as well as telling your vac to make its rounds when you’re not home. Low-end models that don’t connect to WiFi will usually come with a separate remote. If you’re used to asking Alexa or Google to turn off the lights or tell you the weather, a model with voice integration will blend in nicely.