Finding a good robot vacuum is one thing, but finding the best cheap robot vacuums is another ball game entirely. A good robot vacuum should collect all traces of debris, be it dust, crumbs or pet hair, in one pass. It should navigate the room effectively and work independently — so no getting trapped on route. Such a robot vacuum is difficult to find in itself, let alone one that won’t break the bank. But, there are exceptions.
We tested a wide range of robot vacuums to find those that excel in performance as well as provide great value for money. Each model had to collect measured amounts of Cheerios, kitty litter and pet hair from hard floors and carpet, to see how it coped with varying sizes of debris on different surfaces. Our tester then let them loose in her home to assess the navigation and design. If the dust bin was tricky to empty or the app was awkward to access, we made a note. Finally, we put everything together to find the best options out there. These are the best cheap robot vacuums.
The quick list
Here’s the best cheap robot vacuums you can buy right now based on our testing and reviews. Scroll on for our full in-depth reviews.
The best cheap robot vacuum overall
The iLife V3s Pro is both affordable and effective. It collected 99.5% of pet hair on test, and achieved an overall cleaning score of 97%. Excelling on hardwood floors, this robot vacuum utilizes a 3-inch opening rather than a typical brush bar. A remote control keeps control simple, so you don’t need to worry about Wi-Fi connectivity, but it’s loud.
The best cheap robot vacuum for features
While cheap, this robot vacuum still provides some premium features. Automatic dirt detection makes it clean more thoroughly where needed, plus seasonal recommendations will advise you on its use. It also features Wi-Fi connectivity and voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant. It scored 89.7% for its cleaning performance.
The best cheap robot vacuum and mop
If you want a robot vacuum and mop combined, but don’t want to break the bank, this is the one to get. While it navigates with a bump and clean method, the V5s Pro does so gently, slowing down before it makes any impact. It achieved a respectable cleaning score of 94.8%. When you’re ready, you can switch the dust bin for a water tank and microfiber cloth.
The best cheap robot vacuums you can buy today
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 — that's why it's one of the best robot vacuums for pet hair. 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.
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 — that's why it's one of the best Roombas. 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
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
Best for larger homes
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
How we tested
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.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Overall||Cereal||Kitty Litter||Dog Hair|
|iLife V3s Pro*||97||99.7||91.75||99.5|
|Roborock S4 Max||96.25||98.38||96.38||94|
|iRobot Roomba 675||89.7||99.88||94.93||74.25|
|iLife V5s Pro*||94.8||99.1||88.2||97.3|
|Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge||88.94||98.7||80.85||87.25|
*Same test performed in a larger 15’ x 15’ area
How to choose
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.
Robot vacuum FAQs
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.
Why are some robot vacuums so cheap?
Just because a robot vacuum cleaner comes at a reasonable price, doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t offer a good performance. In fact, as our tests have proven, some models can perform just as well, if not better than, those which are twice the price. The difference will likely be down to the features on offer from the model. Options such as self-emptying bases, live streaming and AI are unlikely to be available if you’re shopping on a budget.
You’re not restricted to the bare minimum of functions either though. Some entry level robot vacuums can still offer app connectivity and useful features therein, including no-go zones and mapping. Some will automatically return to the base for charging, and others feature adjustable power levels. If you’re interested in finding a robot mop, some affordable models are available here as well. So, don’t feel like you’re hands are tied if you need to stick to a budget, and don’t worry about it affecting the performance if you follow our recommendations.
What are the disadvantages of a robot vacuum?
Robot vacuums come with their drawbacks, just like any other appliance. First, to be clear, these appliances cannot provide the same power, nor pick-up rate, as a corded vacuum. So investing in one of these does not free you from the chore of vacuuming by hand. But, these little helpers can keep up with light, everyday cleaning, and lessen how often you need to manually vacuum. Navigation also varies from model to model. Some robot vacuums have advanced enough that they can clean your home independently, but others can still get stuck in tight spaces. So, you might need to supervise your robot vacuum more than you realize.
Robot vacuums can be high maintenance too, particularly in terms of the dust bin. These can fill in one to two runs and so will need to be emptied regularly — not ideal if you suffer from allergies. Although, if you are happy to pay more, you can opt for a more premium design with a self-emptying base to resolve this problem. Another nuisance is where to place a robot vacuum. These require an empty space on each side as well as in front of the charging base, and can protrude from your wall quite obviously.
Other disadvantages can include the noise in use as well as the premium price, but these problems as well as some of those above, can be avoided by choosing the right robot vacuum. Our testing methods take account of these factors and can help you find a model which delivers across the board. It’s also worth remembering that the positives far outweigh the negatives; a good robot vacuum can help you keep on top of maintaining your floors, potentially reducing allergens as well as workload when it comes to cleaning.