Vacuuming sucks. Literally. Who wouldn't want a robot vacuum to take over the brunt of this odious chore? These little droids, which range in price from $100 to more than $1,000, can free up time to do other chores. The past year has seen a range of robot vacuum products hit the market, from smartphone-controlled versions to vacuums with laser-based sensors. And those technologies are constantly evolving.
Before you buy, you need to decide if you're looking for a simple duster of floors or a heavy-duty piece of machinery. This will help determine how much you spend. You'll also want to take into account the size of the dustbin, to determine how often you'll need to empty it. If you're interested in a robot vacuum, this guide will help you find the droids you're looking for.
Here are our favorite robot vacuums currently available or soon to be released.
There's a reason the brand name "Roomba" has become nearly synonymous with robot vacuums: quality. iRobot's latest model, the Roomba 880, combines top-notch vacuuming and navigation technology. It also comes with a HEPA-filter, which means it can collect and contain particles finer than the width of a human hair.
Using the accompanying remote control, you can set a number of preprogrammed cleaning settings, change them in the middle of a vacuuming cycle or take control for spot cleaning yourself. The Roomba 880 also comes with two devices called Lighthouses that you can put around your house to help guide the vacuum or prevent it from accessing certain areas.
What owners are saying about the iRobot Roomba 880
Likes: Amazon customers love how well the iRobot Roomba 880 works on almost any surface and that the device has no brush bristles to clean. They agree that this machine is a great choice for busy people who just don't have time for vacuuming. One reviewer says, "I have finally found a reliable housekeeper!"
Dislikes:People like that the iRobot Roomba 880 recharges itself, but complain that the battery doesn't last long enough. Other common complaints include that the device clogs, lacks quality suction and needs to be emptied often, even when not full. One owner says, "If you have dogs that sheds, this unit is worthless."
The latest robot vacuum from Neato, the Botvac 85, is a powerful gadget that specializes in sucking up pet hair. The vacuum features a larger brush and blade for getting hair and other small particles off hard floors and especially carpets, and includes not two but three filters. The Botvac also features a laser-guided navigation system, which it uses to map out a room and then execute a cleaning pattern that's both thorough and concise.
What owners are saying about the Neato Botvac 85
Likes: Amazon customers love that the Botvac is more reasonably priced than its competitors. Many praise its ability to restart where it left off, saving time and making sure it covers the entire floor. One reviewer says, "HOLY WOW, this little baby performs like a champ."
Dislikes: A common complaint about the Neeto Botvac 85 is that it can't go from carpet to tile and back again. "The machine's motor can't make it from the tile to even a low area-rug with no pad underneath," says one Amazon reviewer. Many also find the device's brush a large hassle when anyone in the home has long hair.
We like the Moneual RYDIS H68 Pro for hardwood floors because the robot comes with dry and wet mopping options as well as vacuuming features. You can even preset the robot to do both at the same time. The mop pads attach to the robot's underbelly, just behind the vacuum opening and two sweepers. The device can also carry up to 6 ounces of water, which it uses to dampen the mop pads as it works. Like many other vacuum robots, the H68 scans the room it's about to clean and then executes one of its preprogrammed cleaning routines, from a basic sweep to "Double Deep Clean." The different cleaning options mean you should be able to find the setting that works best on your hardwood floors.
What owners are saying about the Moneual Rydis H68 Pro
Likes: People are thrilled that the Moneual Rydis H68 Pro is a hybrid with a multitude of cleaning options. Everyone seems to love this robot's added mopping feature. "This product is great! It mops better than I did," says another customer.
Dislikes: Many Amazon customers have complained that the front brush on the Moneual Rydis H68 Pro is always full of hair. They have also said that Moneual is quite lacking in customer support and access to help when you have problems. Mark H says, "I was given the opportunity to review the Moneual RYDIS H68, and I think it still needs some work."
In addition to vacuuming, the affordable Infinuvo CleanMate QQ-2 BASIC also includes a UV light that simultaneously disinfects as it eliminates bacteria, germs and allergens from hard-surface floors and low carpets. At only 3.5 inches high, the QQ-2's low profile lets it sneak under sofas and beds, and its cliff sensors keeps if from tumbling down the stairs.
What don't you get by spending less? This budget bot doesn't come with a homing charging base, and its low profile also means it might get stuck. Otherwise, the QQ-2 BASIC provides most of the cleaning capabilities of other, far pricier robot vacs.
What owners are saying about the Infinuvo Cleanmate QQ-2 Basic
Likes: Amazon customers love that the Infinuvo Cleanmate QQ-2 Basic gives you all the features of other bot vacs on the cheap. One reviewer says, "Picks up all the dog hair for a fraction of the price." A much-lauded feature is the vacuum's ability to clean tile floors.
Dislikes: Customers are quite unhappy with the QQ-2 Basic's short battery life and its tendency to get "stuck" on the same spot without moving to other areas. Because the products' packaging says it "emits ozone" as part of its "de-odoring" function, some customers have decided not to use this device at all.
This cloud-connected vacuum comes with an iOS app that lets you start a cleaning job and choose the cleaning mode, as well as set a schedule. Additionally, a new navigation system builds a map of its environment as it cleans, making it more efficient at its task. A camera identifies and recalls objects, and a floor-tracking sensor similar to the one found in a PC mouse builds an accurate and robust map of the home. The 980 can also sense when it's about to hit an obstacle, and minimize any impact. This model also promises twice the cleaning power of its predecessors, and when its 2-hour battery is about to run out, it'll automatically return to its charging station.
What owners are saying about the Roomba 980
Likes:"I upgraded from the 880, and this thing is awesome," says one Amazon reviewer. This is a repeating sentiment among Roomba 980 customers. Many customers love the vacuum's cleaning power. "Overall, we are in shock [at] how much dirt and hair it picks up — seriously," says another customer.
Dislikes: The floor-mapping ability, battery life and app for this product are some of the most common customer complaints. One Amazon reviewer says, "The app is absolutely useless." Don't expect extralong endurance, either. "Battery on this 980 only lasts about 30 minutes," says another customer.
iRobot's smallest and least expensive robot vacuum, the $199 Braava Jet is designed to sweep up spills and dirt from bathroom, kitchen, and hardwood floors. Replaceable pads with built-in cleaning agents will automatically switch the Braava into dry, damp, or wet mopping. The Braava squirts water from a 150ml reservoir, and a vibrating cushion helps the pads scrub up any stains. The Braava Jet will come with six pads, and replacements will be sold in packs of ten for $7.99.
What owners are saying about the iRobot Braava Jet
Likes: "Best investment ever if you hate cleaning hard-surface floors like I do," says one Amazon reviewer. Customers love that the iRobot Braava Jet's battery lasts quite a while before needing a recharge, and that the robot stops using liquid when it goes over anything that isn't a hard floor.
Dislikes: Many Amazon customers, no matter if they love or hate this device, seem to agree that they hate the series of beeps for error codes and would like the Braava Jet give actual messages instead. A recurring complaint is that you cannot use your own cleaning solutions with the product.
Not only does Neato's smartphone app (available for Android and iOS) let you remotely schedule the Botvac, but you can also use the app as a remote control, and direct the vacuum where you want it.
The Botvac has two cleaning modes, and a filter that will pick up particles as small as 0.3 microns. A laser scanner maps your room, so that the Botvac can chart the most efficient path possible. It will automatically return to its charging cradle when the battery runs low, and then pick up right where it left off.
What owners are saying about the Neato Botvac Connected
Likes: "This is by far the best robovacuum ever," says one Amazon reviewer. Amazon customers say the ability to use your iPhone and an app to run the Neato Botvac Connected is a fantastic feature — no bending over to change the settings.
Dislikes: A common complaint about the Neato Botvac is the need to "watch over it," because it gets stuck and seemingly confused. This is not a great characteristic when you are trying to do other things. JustSomeGuy says, "Neato clearly has a quality-control problem."
Love Dyson vacuums but hate vacuuming? The Dyson 360 Eye could be the solution. This pricey robot vacuum uses Dyson's cyclone technology to create a whole lotta suction to pick up dirt and dust. However, the 360 Eye is a lot taller—4.7 inches—than most of its competition, meaning it'll have a harder time getting into tight spaces. A camera at the top of the vacuum takes a 360-degree picture of your room to create a map, which you can view on Dyson's smartphone app. You can also use the app to schedule cleanings, but not much more. Sadly, the 360 Eye's battery life (45 minutes) is well short of others on this list.
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