The best robot vacuums can free you from one of the most mundane, but necessary chores. Instead of spending hours vacuuming your floors for pet hair and dirt, a robot vacuum can do the work for you.
But with robot vacuum prices ranging from less than $200 to upwards of $1,000, which is the best robot vacuum? We've tested dozens of robot vacuums of all prices to see which are the best at picking up pet hair, kitty litter, and other dirt. We've even tested robot mops, too. Along the way, we've found budget models that do just as good a job as pricey vacuums, and aded them to our list.
What are the best robot vacuums?
After spending hundreds of hours of testing dozens of robot vacuums, both in a controlled environment and at home, we think the best robot vacuum for most people is the Shark Ion R85. Not surprisingly, it ranked near the top of our lab tests when it came to picking up Cheerios, kitty litter, and pet hair. We also like the fact that the R85 can be purchased with an optional stick vacuum, so you can clean couch cushions and other spots the robot can't reach.
If you've got some extra cash on hand, we recommend the super-smart iRobot Roomba s9+ ($1,099). This robot vacuum has a charging base that sucks out the dirt from the vacuum, and can hold debris from up to 30 trips. That means less work for you. And, the s9+ can work in conjunction with the Braava m6 mopping robot, so after your floors are swept by the s9+, it will tell the m6 to start mopping.
If you're on a budget, the best robot vacuum is the iLife V3s Pro. It costs less than $200, yet outperformed robot vacuums that cost much, much more. However, it lacks smart home connectivity (you have to control it with an included remote) and is slow. But if you turn it on as you leave your house to go on some errands, then this might not matter to you. What does matter is how well it cleans, and the V3s Pro does that very well indeed.
Read on for all our top picks of the best robot vacuums.
The best robot vacuums you can buy today
Our best robot vacuum overall, the Shark R85 proved excellent at picking up pet hair and other debris around our home with a minimum of fuss. While it took about an hour on average to finish a run in our test space, it was much more thorough than all other robot vacuums. Our advice? Start it up, then leave the house to do some chores.
We also liked the notifications we received from the Shark Ion 85, as well as the ability to control it from our smartphone, as well as using it with both Alexa and Google Assistant. The R85's dustbin was also very easy to empty — not a given with many robot vacuums — and you can purchase its charging base with an optional stick vacuum, so you can clean in between couch cushions and other spaces the robot vacuum can't reach.
Read our full Shark Ion R85 review.
The iLife V3s Pro is the best robot vacuum you can get for less than $200. Despite its low price, the V3s Pro consistently outperformed other robot vacuums that cost three times as much. It picked up nearly all the pet hair in our lab tests, and was also good in our at-home tests, too.
There are a few caveats when purchasing a robot vacuum this cheap, though. For starters, the iLife V3s Pro is slow, taking more than 90 minutes on average to clean our test space. Also, it can’t be controlled from your smartphone, so you have to use the included remote control, and you can't connect it to Alexa or Google Assistant to turn it on or schedule cleanings. We also found that it was a bit louder than other vacuums. But it's great at doing the one thing it needs to do well, and that's picking up dirt. For this price, its downsides are tradeoffs we’re willing to make.
Read our full iLife V3s Pro review
iRobot's Roomba s9+ is the smartest and most thorough robot vacuums we've tested. It's also the most expensive. The Roomba s9+ has advanced mapping, so it can record and remember a blueprint of multiple floors of your house after just a few trips; you can then specify individual rooms, and tell the s9+ to clean specific rooms on specific days. We suggest scheduling it for when you're out of the house, as this is a noisy robot vacuum.
The Roomba s9+ also comes with a dustbin built into its charging base; while you'll have to purchase bags for the base, you will only have to empty the container after every 30 cleanings. It you want to drop even more cash, the s9+ can also talk with the company's Braava jet m6 robot mop ($499), and tell it to start mopping your floors after the s9+ is done vacuuming. That's pretty neat.
Read our full iRobot Roomba s9+ review.
The second-best robot vacuum under $200 is iLife’s V5s Pro, which vacuumed nearly as well as the V3s Pro, picking up pet hair, Cheerios, and kitty litter with the same effectiveness. The main difference with the V5s Pro is that it has an added mopping feature. While this seems like a great idea — a vacuum and mopper in one — we found that the V5s Pro was pretty ineffective at mopping in our in-home tests, so this feature didn't add that much value.
Like most budget robot vacs, the V5s Pro lacks a smartphone app, and doesn’t work with any smart home devices or virtual assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. It’s also one of the slowest robot vacuums we’ve tested, taking even longer than the iLife V3s Pro. Still, for the money, it’s a very effective, and very inexpensive robot vacuum.
Read our full iLife A5s Pro review.
Neato's entry-level robot vacuum, the Neato D4, isn't as jam-packed as higher-end models, and isn't as cheap as budget robot vacuums, but for its price, it's a solid performer with some useful features. Priced at around $500, it's half as expensive as the Roomba s9+, and doesn't have a self-empyting bin, but it's effective at cleaning up dirt and debris.
The Neato D4 also has mapping capabilities, but can only remember one floor of your house, and can't do targeted room cleaning, as pricier models do (you can set up virtual "no-go" zones, though). Still, it did a great job of mapping our home and running its appointed rounds. This is a good model for those who don't want to mortgage their house in order to clean it.
Read our full Neato D4 robot vacuum review.
iRobot's Roomba i7+ makes our best robot vacuum list because it has a base with its own dustbin, so you can go multiple cleanings without having to empty out the bin. It edged out the Shark Ion R85 on our pet hair test, picking up just over 90 percent of all the fur on the floor.
It has a number of other features, such as the ability to map multiple floors and create virtual walls. The Roomba i7+ is also fast, finishing a cleaning run in less than 20 minutes. Now that iRobot has released the Roomba s9+, the Roomba i7+ has come down a bit in price, but it's still on the expensive side. But, it's still just as effective at cleaning.
Read our full iRobot Roomba i7+ review.
The Neato Botvac D7 Connected makes our list of the best robot vacuums because it's the fastest, and one of the smartest, robot vacuums we've tested. It finished our tests in an average of 10 minutes, 22 seconds, blitzing through pet hair, Cheerios, and kitty litter — and picking up a great deal of them, too. However, it wasn't as effective as our top two picks, the Shark Ion R85 and the iLife V3s Pro, at collecting debris.
The D7 also has multi-room and multi-floor mapping, and can be controlled using Alexa and Google Assistant. We also liked how easy it was to empty its dustbin. At around $550, the Neato Botvac D7 connected isn't the cheapest, nor the most expensive robot vacuum, but as a midrange model, it has all the features and performance that you could want.
Read our full Neato Botvac D7 Connected review.
While we have yet to test the iRobot Roomba 675, it's very similar to the now-discontinued Roomba 690, which we found performed very well on both carpet and hardwood floors—though not as good as the Shark Ion R85. But, the Roomba was able to easily navigate such things as thick carpets and power cords.
Roomba's products are on the best robot vacuums page a number of times for a reason: They're easy to use, work well, and have a lot of smarts.
For example, the Roomba 675 has a cliff sensor so it won't fall down the stairs, can be scheduled to clean when you're not home, and can re-vacuum high-traffic areas that are prone to gathering more dirt. It can also be controlled via your smartphone, and works with Alexa and Google Assistant. While it's not as cheap as the iLife V3s Pro, the Roomba 675 is the best robot vacuum for those who want a Roomba without having to pay too much.
A small subset of robot vacuums are mopping robots, which help you scrub your kitchen and bathroom floors clean. iRobot's budget mopping robot vacuum, the Braava Jet 240, has been around for a few years, and is a small and fairly inexpensive mopping robot that's somewhat effective.
Unlike other robot vacuums, you have to place the Braava Jet 240 in the room you want it to clean, and then it goes about its task in a snake-like pattern. There's no remote control, nor can you control it using your smartphone or a voice assistant.
In our in-home tests, we found that the Braava Jet 240 was fairly good at cleaning up spills and stains, but won't substitute for a real scrubbing with a mop. Plus, replacement pads will cost you an extra $24-$48 per year, which you have to factor into the total cost of ownership.
Read our full iRobot Braava Jet 240 review.
The iLife Shinebot W400 is another mopping-only robot, so you'll want to make sure you give your floors a good sweep before setting this model to attack your kitchen floor. The Shinebot W400 is larger than the Braava Jet 240, so it has a bit more trouble getting under furniture.
However, the W400 was better at mopping floors than the Braava Jet 240. We also liked that the W400 had a dirty-water tank, so we knew that grime was being picked up, and not spread around. Of course, you have to empty that tank after each use, which wasn't pleasant. The W400's cleaning roll is washable, so you don't have to constantly purchase additional cleaning pads, which saves you money and is better for the environment.
Read our full iLife Shinebot W400 review.
How to choose the best robot vacuum for you
Before you buy, you need to determine what your needs are, and how much you’re willing to spend. Things you’ll want to consider include:
- How much you’re willing to spend.
- The size of the space you want to clean.
- If you need a vacuum to clean up pet hair.
- If you want to control the vacuum using your smartphone.
Generally, robot vacuums fall into two tiers: Budget, non-smart models that cost around $200 and less, and smarter models that cost around $400 and up. While they can be effective cleaners, budget models aren't as sophisticated, and generally bump around a room randomly until everything is clean. Because of their random cleaning pattern, they can take upwards of an hour to clean a 15 x 15-foot room.
Pricier robot vacuums will have more sensors, which they can use to map a room and clean it more efficiently. Some of the best robot vacuums we tested can clean a room in as little at ten minutes. These vacuums also have additional features, such as smartphone control, Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, and the ability to clean individual rooms.
How we test robot vacuums
To determine which models make it to our best robot vacuum list, we call in or purchase a number of robot vacuums based on their popularity on Amazon, as well as their price and reputation from other review sites and reader comments.
The first phase of our analysis starts with testing each robot vacuum to see how effective it is at picking up 20 grams of kitty litter, 20 grams of Cheerios, and two grams of dog hair on hardwood and a medium-pile carpet. We also time how long it takes each to complete each test, as well as how loud the vacuum is as it goes about its business.
While we factor in the average cleaning time to our overall rating, we give it less importance than cleaning effectiveness, as most people will schedule a robot vacuum to go about its rounds after they leave their house.
The most promising vacuums are then sent to a reviewer to see how well they perform in a real-world environment. Here, we look at things such as how easily it navigates around an apartment, if it gets stuck under furniture or on carpets, how difficult it is to set up, and how messy it is to empty its dustbin.
From there, we base our final rating on its price, cleaning ability, functionality and ease of use relative to similar models.
The best robot vacuums: Test results compared
Here is a chart showing the performance of the top-performing robot vacuums. While this doesn't take into account our anecdotal tests, it provides a look into how well each picks up Cheerios, pet hair, and kitty litter. The Overall Score is an average of how much of the three materials the robot vacuum picked up; the Pet Hair Score is the percentage of the pet hair the vacuum was able to collect; and Cleaning Time is the average amount of time it took to perform all the tests.
|Overall Score||Pet Hair Score||Avg. Cleaning Time|
|Shark Ion R85||94||88||1 hour, 2 minutes|
|iLife V3s Pro||97||99||1 hour, 31 minutes|
|iLife V5s Pro||94.8||97.3||1 hour, 40 minutes|
|iRobot Roomba i7+||90.4||90.5||18 minutes|
|iRobot Roomba 690||89.2||73.3||1 hour, 12 minutes|