Best cheap robot vacuums

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The best cheap robot vacuums are harder to find that you’d imagine. First of all, a good robot vacuum needs to offer a quality performance — that means collecting all manner of dust, crumbs and pet hair in a single pass. Its navigational abilities should be second-to-none, dodging chair legs as well as expensive rugs, while also reaching well into the corners and up against the baseboards. Operation needs to be seamless on top of this, with an app which is intuitive to navigate and a dustbin which is easy to empty. This all sounds hard enough to come by as it is, let alone if you’re shopping on a budget. 

However, there are robot vacuums out there which manage to tick every box against the odds. And while some of the more premium offerings, such as self-emptying bases and object recognition, may be out of reach, that’s not to say you need sacrifice on performance. In fact, during our testing we’ve found several models which indeed offer value for money. These will deliver a top-notch performance without breaking the bank, and you can still take advantage of useful features such as no-go zones and mopping capabilities. These are the best cheap robot vacuums.     

The best cheap robot vacuums you can buy today

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iLife V3s Pro on hardwood floor

(Image credit: Future)
Best for pet hair

Specifications

Cleaning Performance: 97
Bin Size: 600 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: None
Size: 11.8 x 11.8 x 3 inches
Weight: 4.5 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent pet-hair-cleaning performance
+
Fantastic hardwood performance
+
Inexpensive

Reasons to avoid

-
Loud
-
Inconsistent cleaning pattern

The best cheap robot vacuum overall, the iLife V3s Pro has been around for a few years, but it’s still one of our top picks due to its unique combination of excellent pet hair cleaning performance and affordability. It’s especially good on bare surfaces, such as hardwood floors and tile, but works well on thinner rugs, too. Unlike most robot vacuums we’ve seen, the V3s Pro collects debris using a 3-inch suction opening instead of a brush roll.

This bump-and-clean robot vacuum isn’t Wi-Fi-connected, which means the only way to control it is via the included remote control or the onboard buttons. If you’re skittish about internet-connected home devices and security, this is the robot vacuum for you. The random cleaning pattern of the V3s Pro means it might miss a few spots, but if you’re willing to keep an eye on this bot while it’s cleaning, the iLife V3s Pro is an incredible value that will keep your floors fur free. That's why it's named as one of our best vacuum cleaners.

Read our full iLife V3s Pro review.

iRobot Roomba 675 review

(Image credit: Future)
Best for budget bump-and-clean robot vacuuming

Specifications

Cleaning Performance: 89.7
Bin Size: 600 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home
Size: 13 x 3.7 inches
Weight: 7.8 pounds

Reasons to buy

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Affordable
+
Easy-to-use app
+
Automatic dirt detection offers more thorough cleaning

Reasons to avoid

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No mapping feature
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Unorthodox cleaning pattern

The iRobot Roomba 675 serves as the company’s entry level robot vacuum, but offers some of the same features as the company’s pricier bots. This WiFi-connected bump-and-clean robot is controlled through the iRobot Home app which gives this budget vacuum fancy features, such as geofence-triggered vacuum runs and seasonal cleaning recommendations. Though it doesn’t follow a predictable serpentine cleaning pattern, we did observe it methodically making its way along baseboards and around chair legs.

In our iRobot Roomba 675 review, we praised its automatic dirt detection. When the robot vacuum decides an area has excessive dirt or debris, it’ll spin around and clean that section more thoroughly. It also proved to be a capable performer in our lab tests, where it earned an overall average pickup score of 89.7. The Roomba 675’s one weak spot was pet hair pick up, so if you’ve got furry friends, the iLife V3s Pro is a better option.

The Roomba 675 is being phased out by iRobot. If you can’t find it, check out its replacement, the Roomba 694, which offers nearly identical performance, but lacks a carrying handle.

To pick up a discount, head to our iRobot coupon codes page. 

Read our full iRobot Roomba 675 review

iLife V5s Pro

iLife V5s Pro (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best cheap robot vacuum hybrid

Specifications

Cleaning Performance: 94.8
Bin Size: 600 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: None
Size: 11.8 x 11.8 x 3 inches
Weight: 4.9 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive
+
Quiet
+
Gingerly approaches obstacles
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Impressive at picking up cereal and pet hair

Reasons to avoid

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Lackluster mopping feature
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Some debris didn't reach the dust bin

Want a cheap champ that can  clean up cat hair and give your kitchen floor a once over? Look no further than the iLife V5s Pro, a hybrid robot that has a water tank and microfiber pad attachment for very light floor mopping. Much like its sibling, the V3s Pro, the iLife V5s Pro excels at quietly picking up after furry family members. It’s a no-frills bump-and-clean bot that works by bouncing off walls and other obstacles, but in our review we found that it did so gently, slowing down just before impact. In our lab tests, the V5s Pro earned high marks, earning an average score of 99.1 on our cereal test and 97.3 on our pet hair test.

Unlike some more expensive hybrids, you can’t vacuum and mop at the same time. Instead, you have to switch out the dustbin for a water reservoir and snap on a microfiber pad to the robot’s underside. While the V5s Pro’s mopping ability won’t have you tossing your manual mop in the trash, its water-only cleaning is just enough to make the floors look presentable before company arrives.

Read our full iLife V5s Pro review

Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge

Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best for larger homes

Specifications

Cleaning Performance: 88.9
Bin Size: 600 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home
Size: 12.8 inches x 2.85 inches
Weight: 5.8 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Quiet
+
Easily fits under furniture
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Lots of options and info in app
+
Auto-return feature means it self-charges

Reasons to avoid

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So-so carpet performance

The Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge stands out as a Wi-Fi-connected robot vacuum that offers basic mapping capability paired with a slew of useful features, including Auto-return cleaning – a feature usually found on more expensive models. Should the G30 Edge run out of power before its job is complete, it will recharge itself on the dock, then head back to work where it left off. Via the EufyHome app you can even choose the suction power and initiate a spot cleaning. Though it doesn’t offer no-go zones like the Roborock S4 Max, the mapping on the G30 Edge will show where the vacuum is currently cleaning or – should the G30 Edge lose its way under a couch – where it got stuck.

One of the Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge’s biggest surprises was its exceptionally quiet vacuuming. We were able to hold a conversation at normal volume the whole time the bot was in the room with us. Like other mapping robots, the G30 Edge cleans in an orderly back and forth pattern, a welcome relief from unpredictable bump-and-clean bots. In our lab tests, this methodical cleaner earned an overall score of 88.94. Though it struggled a little with smaller particles on carpet, it was adept at picking up cereal, earning an average score of 98.7.

Read our full Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge review

Roborock S4 Max

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Get it when it's on sale

Specifications

Cleaning Performance: 96.3
Bin Size: 460 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant
Size: 13.5 inches x 3.8 inches
Weight: 4.9 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Fast mapping
+
Excellent cleaner
+
Quiet vacuum

Reasons to avoid

-
Room dividing could be better

Normally priced at around $429, the Roborock S4 Max can occasionally be found for just $309 – a great deal for a robot vacuum that combines excellent performance with a wealth of features. This Wi-Fi-connected bot uses LiDAR navigation to quickly and accurately map your home, just like more expensive bots. It’ll take its best guess at room divisions, but you can fine tune them in the Roborock app along with adding no-go zones and invisible walls. Want to clean around the kitchen sink? Draw a box around the area in the map and the S4 Max goes to work. Though the bot will automatically detect carpet, you can adjust the suction and the number of cleaning passes directly in the app.

It’s not just a wealth of features that sets the Roborock S4 Max apart, but also its cleaning prowess. It earned an overall score of 96.25 in our lab tests and notched an impressive average score of 94 on our pet hair tests and 96.38 in our kitty litter tests.

The Roborock S4 Max supports up to four maps, so you can use it reliably on multiple floors of your home. When the vacuum is cleaning, you can follow its path on your phone, letting you know exactly what it’s up to. Though enabling map saving in the app isn’t the most intuitive and sometimes room divisions are tricky, the Roborock S4 Max is one of the best robot vacuums around.

Read our full Roborock S4 Max review

How to choose the best cheap robot vacuum

Robot vacuums start from as little as $100, but can go as high as over $1,000, so prices really do vary depending on the included features. Once you’ve got a budget in mind, you need to consider exactly what you need from your robot vacuum.  You should first take account of the predominant floor type in your home — is your home wall-to-wall carpets or is it mostly hard floors? Next think about pets — will your robot have to deal with shedding and potential obstacles such as pet poop? Some of the entry-level models don’t feature obstacle detection, which is important if you face this problem!

You should also think about connectivity. Would you rather program the robot vacuum on-board, via a remote, or using your smartphone or voice control? Wi-Fi connected robot vacuum cleaners are more affordable as of late, but they’re still the more expensive option compared to non-connected models. 

Finally, whichever robot vacuum you choose, remember that it’s going to need occasional maintenance. This means emptying the dustbin after each cycle, and cleaning as well as replacing the filter when necessary. If the brush bar becomes wrapped in hair or fur, that will need cutting free as well. Here are six robot vacuum tips and tricks for keeping your home clean. 

Bear in mind that self-emptying bases, which have become more commonplace as of late, will likely be off the table if you're shopping on a budget. You need to be prepared to spend $350+ to get one of these. 

Robot vacuum deals 

Looking to grab a real bargain? Check out our robot vacuum deals page for the latest offers. Some of our favorite brands have made an appearance.   

How to clean a robot vacuum

Your robot vacuum is constantly collecting dirt, dust and pet hair, so it will need to be inspected and cleaned regularly. The dustbins are smaller than you would think, with some holding less than 400ml, so they will need emptying after every run, unless you happen to own one of the more expensive self-emptying models! When you empty out the bin, check the rotating brush at the same time for any tangled hair — cut this free rather than pulling at it. You also need to inspect and clean the filter occasionally as well, following the manual’s instructions. These will also need replacing after a period of time, refer to your manual once again for specifics including where to buy. Some brands, including Eufy, iLife, Neato, and Roborock, will also supply a cleaning tool to help with regular maintenance. 

If you don’t regularly clean your robot vacuum, it will start to affect its performance. In fact, it will stop working altogether and be counterproductive once the dustbin is full. Dirt will be dragged around your floors rather than collected. 

If you’re lucky enough to own an app-connected robot vacuum, it might offer maintenance tips and guidelines as well as reminders. Some will even schedule in when it’s time to buy replacement filters.  

If you're considering buying a robot vacuum with a self-emptying base, be sure to check out our guide on whether robot vacuums with self-emptying bases are worth it.

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Cheap robot vacuum test results
Row 0 - Cell 0 OverallCerealKitty LitterDog Hair
iLife V3s Pro*9799.791.7599.5
Roborock S4 Max96.2598.3896.3894
iRobot Roomba 67589.799.8894.9374.25
iLife V5s Pro*94.899.188.297.3
Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge88.9498.780.8587.25

*Same test performed in a larger 15’ x 15’ area

How we tested the best cheap robot vacuums

All of the robot vacuums we review are subjected to both our lab tests and in-home, real world use over several days. The test results, user experience, price, and features relative to competing models weigh into our overall rating.

Our lab tests are three separate tests run twice – once on hardwood and once on low pile carpet. In a 5-foot-by-5-foot area, we measure how effective each vacuum is at picking up 2 grams of dog hair (primarily sourced from an English Cream Golden Retriever), 20 grams of kitty litter, and 20 grams of Cheerios cereal. As long as the dog hair is collected by some part of the robot vacuum, such as the side brush or main brush roll, it’s counted. Older models were subject to the same tests, but in a larger 15-foot-by-15-foot area.

Real world testing isn’t as rigid as our lab tests, though we test all of the features in each vacuum. Most commonly, this includes mapping out the first floor of the reviewer’s home and evaluating it for accuracy. This also includes how easy or hard it is to make map adjustments, such as room divisions and drawing no-go zones. We also look at the dustbin: Is it hard to access? How much force is needed to open the dustbin? Does dust go flying everywhere? How easy is it to clean the brush roll, side brush, and wheels?

Household terrain is also considered. Does the robot vacuum get caught up on small rugs? Is it able to cross a common threshold? Does it get stuck in a maze of dining room chairs? How about under the couch? These are just some of the questions we answer when evaluating each robot vacuum.

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.