Best robot vacuums in 2023 tested and rated

If you’re looking for the best robot vacuum, you’ve come to the right place. We tested over 30 models to find those that deliver across the board in terms of pick-up, design and ease of use. Our overall winner is the iRobot Roomba s9+; it provides an impressive removal rate, particularly on pet hair. Plus, it’s fast, thorough and easy to use, leaving little room for improvement. It can communicate with a compatible robot mop if you want the finishing touches too.

To assess performance, each model on test had to collect measured amounts of Cheerios, kitty litter and pet hair from both hard floors and carpet. After which, we let them loose in our tester’s home to see how each coped in terms of navigation, object avoidance and coverage. Plus, we factored in the noise and ease of control via the app. Any special features, including mopping functions and self-emptying bases were incorporated too. This all adds up to days of testing, which is how you know you can trust our results. Here are our picks for the best robot vacuums.  

The quick list

Here’s the best robot vacuums you can buy right now based on our testing and reviews. Scroll on for our full in-depth reviews. 

The best robot vacuums you can buy

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Best overall

iRobot Roomba s9+

iRobot Roomba s9+ (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best robot vacuum overall


Cleaning Performance: 96.8
Pet Hair Score: 98
Bin Size: 0.4 quarts
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant
Size: 9 x 31 x 31 cm (vacuum), 48H x 31W x 39D cm (base station)
Weight: 3.7kg

Reasons to buy

Attractive, premium design
Mapping was quick and easy
Easy-to-use mapping controls in app
Strong performance

Reasons to avoid

Noisy on hardwood floors

iRobot's Roomba s9+ is one of the smartest and most thorough robot vacuums I've tested, which is why it's the best robot vacuum overall. It 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. I suggest scheduling it for when you're out of the house, as this is admittedly a noisy robot vacuum, particularly on hardwood floors; I struggled to have conversations over the top. It's also only the heavy side; I felt this as soon as I removed it from the box — weighing 8.15 pounds. 

However, with an average pick up score of almost 97 achieved during testing, it's a capable vacuum on both hard floors and carpet. I noticed that it's better at picking up pet hair and kitty litter compared to Cheerios — this is usually the other way around. So it's actually better for smaller debris. 

The Roomba s9+ also comes with a self-emptying charging base; while you'll have to purchase replacement bags for this base, which I don't love the idea of, you will only have to empty the container every 30 days, which will save you a lot of time versus emptying the onboard dustbin. If you want to drop even more cash, the s9+ can also talk with the company's Braava jet m6 robot mop, with the two working as a team, vacuuming floors, followed by a mop. That's pretty neat. Ultimately, this robot vacuum comes at a steep price, but it leaves little room for improvement. 

Read our full iRobot Roomba s9+ review.

Best budget robot vacuum

iLife V3s Probest value awards badge

(Image credit: iLife)
Best robot vacuum for those on a budget


Cleaning Performance: 97
Pet Hair Score: 99.5
Bin Size: 300 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: None
Size: 8.1 x 30 x 30 cm
Weight: 2.2kg

Reasons to buy

Excellent pet-hair-cleaning performance
Fantastic hardwood performance

Reasons to avoid

Slow to vacuum

The iLife V3s Pro is the best robot vacuum you can get for less than $200. Period. Despite its low price, the V3s Pro consistently outperformed other robot vacuums that cost three times as much. It picked up nearly all of Fido's fur in our lab tests — making it the best robot vacuum for pet hair — and it performed well in my home too. It reached well up against the baseboards, picking up flaky bits of onion skin in my kitchen, and it collected all breadcrumbs in its path. It was about average in terms of noise compared to the other robot vacuums on test though, at 64.1dB.   

There are a few caveats when purchasing a robot vacuum this cheap. For starters, the iLife V3s Pro is slow, taking more than 90 minutes on average to clean the test space — others took less than 30 minutes. 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. But, if these are #FirstWorldProblems you can live with, then you'll be pleased to know the V3s Pro its great at doing the one thing it needs to do well, and that's picking up debris. For this price, its downsides are tradeoffs I'm willing to make. That's why it's also one of the best cheap robot vacuums

Read our full iLife V3s Pro review

Best hybrid robot vacuum

Roborock S7

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best robot vacuum/mop hybrid


Cleaning Performance: 93
Pet Hair Score: 85.8
Bin Size: 470 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant
Size: 10 x 35 x 35 cm
Weight: 4.7kg

Reasons to buy

Accurate carpet detection
Fast mapping capabilities
Auto-raising mop works well

Reasons to avoid

Dividing spaces in app can be glitchy
Mop pad can catch on area rugs

Until the Roborock S7, most of the hybrid robot vacuums/robot mops I've tested have been good, but not great, at either task. The S7 is the first such device I'd actually trust to vacuum and mop without close supervision. That's because the S7 is smart enough to know when it's on a rug, and can lift its mopping pad so that your carpet doesn't get soaked. It's gentle in operation too, slowing itself down as it approaches obstacles. I watched as it cautiously approached a step stool, cleaned beneath it and then backed away. It admittedly knocked against the legs, but not enough to move the stool.  

As a vacuum, the S7 was pretty good — it's not the best with pet hair (collecting a lot in it wheels and brush roll on test) — but it was fast and thorough, scoring a pick up average of 93. It works better on hard floors compared to carpets, but even on carpets the performance was decent, scoring an average of just over 90. It also has niceties such as multi-floor mapping, no-go zones, and scheduling. Keep in mind that it's fairly sizable at 13.9 x 13.8 x 3.8 inches though — it couldn't even fit through the legs of my dining room chairs. 

But, ultimately, if you're looking for a robot vacuum that can also mop, the Roborock S7 is worth a look.

Read our full Roborock S7 review

Best robot vacuum for pet poop

iRobot Roomba j7+ on carpetTom's Guide Awards 2022 logo

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best for pet poop


Cleaning Performance: 91.81
Pet Hair Score: 82.5
Bin Size: up to 60 days
Smart Home Compatability: Alexa & Google Assistant
Size: 8.6 x 33.8 cm
Weight: 3.4kg

Reasons to buy

Excellent obstacle avoidance 
Learns from cleaning data 
Easy to create no-go zones
Redesigned Clean Base is less obtrusive  

Reasons to avoid

Clean Base is very loud 
Middling pet hair pickup on carpet 

iRobot’s newest offering, the Roomba j7+ is one of the best Roombas because of its obstacle avoidance technology. With this, it can essentially detect everyday objects, such as cables and socks and steer clear of them. The main benefit of this feature is the bot’s ability to avoid pet poop. In fact, iRobot is so confident in the Roomba j7+’s intelligence that it’s introduced the Pet Owner Official Promise (P.O.O.P), whereby iRobot will replace any j7+ that fails to avoid solid pet waste. This robot vacuum is constantly learning with every run too, making it one of the smartest I’ve seen. I dropped some fake dog poop in its path on test, and it didn't disappoint. Although it didn't recognize larger objects, such as socks, shoes and dog toys at first — it should do this with time and software updates. 

The j7+ comes with a cleaning base which is hard to fault. It can hold up to 60 days of debris and looks easy on the eye compared to other bases — plus it’s more compact too. This robot vacuum scored well for collecting large debris, such as cereal and kitty litter, collecting 98.33 and 94.6% respectively. I’ve seen better performances on pet hair, but the score was still a respectable 82.5%. Ultimately, this is a great investment if your pets are prone to accidents and you want to avoid further mess. Keep in mind that's it's a little forceful prior to mapping though — it even knocked one of the weights which secures the walls out of place during our debris tests. 

Read our full iRobot Roomba j7+ review.  

Best robot vacuum for hard floors

Wyze Robot Vacuum

Wyze Robot Vacuum  (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best for hard floors


Cleaning Performance: 92.7
Pet Hair Score: 87
Bin Size: 550 ml
Smart home Compatability: Alexa
Size: 9.4 x 35 x 35 cm
Weight: 3.27kg

Reasons to buy

Very fast mapping
Excellent on bare floors
Strong overall cleaning performance

Reasons to avoid

Room division could be better
Only saves one map

This robot vacuum cleaner from Wyze makes the list because of its exceptional performance on hard floors. When I put it to the test, it picked up 100% of pet fur and cereal — it just missed a perfect score, as it collected roughly 97% of kitty litter. It's speedy as well, mapping the first floor of my home in a near record of 7 minutes, thanks to the Quick Mapping option.   

On top of this, the Wyze app is easy to navigate and intuitive to use. It also comes with useful features, such as a location-based trigger, which I've only seen on iRobot Roombas. It needed my address to use this function, which I wasn't crazy about, but I could extend the size of the boundary that encompassed my home, which had its benefits. For instance, I could make sure the robot wouldn't run when I walked the dog, but would when I was a sufficient distance away — the Roomba i3 always started cleaning when I walked the dog by comparison.  

In my opinion, the Wyze Robot Vacuum is a much more advanced option than the Eufy G30 Edge, which comes at a similar price. This is because you get room division as well as no-go zone options. 

Read our full Wyze Robot Vacuum review

Best hybrid robot vacuum with base

Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra on carpet

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best self-cleaning hybrid robot vacuum


Cleaning Performance: 91.26
Pet Hair Score: 78.25
Bin Size: 470 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant
Size: 9.65 x 35 x 35 cm
Weight: 4.76kg

Reasons to buy

Strong vacuum performance 
Won’t accidentally mop most rugs 
Dock cleans mop pad well 

Reasons to avoid

Very large dock 
Struggles with pet hair on carpet 

The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra will certainly make a statement in any home. An upgrade over the Roborock S7, this capable hybrid robot vacuum combines vacuum and mopping power in one slick looking machine. 

The combined capabilities do mean the S7 MaxV Ultra comes with an all singing, all dancing charging base too, which has a whopping footprint of 49 x 42 cm. So it’s safe to say you need some space if you want to invest in this beast. The hefty charging base isn’t just for show though — it comes with the expected self-emptying capabilities (it can hold up to 7 weeks worth of dust), plus it contains two water tanks, one each for clean and dirty water. With this set-up, it can essentially wash its own mop cloth when necessary, which is quite a useful and rare feature. A small bristle brush will scrub the cloth once the robot docks and fresh water is applied while the dirty water is extracted. This is an ideal function if you hate the task of removing and washing the cloth after each cleaning session. 

But how does this robot vacuum actually perform? With an overall cleaning score of 91.26, it’s not one to be overlooked. It achieved an almost perfect score when set to the task of picking up Cheerios and performed admirably when collecting kitty litter (95.73 on average). However, its streak suffered when it came to collecting dog hair from my carpet — it picked up just 58%. That’s the lowest score I’ve seen compared with similar models; the Roomba j7+ is the closest at 72.5%, but even that’s a sizeable gap. And considering the jaw-dropping RRP of $1,399, I expected better here. That being said, the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra offers a quality performance otherwise and the technology is very impressive. With AI object recognition, it can recognise obstacles and actively avoid them. Although it failed to recognise fake pet poop on test and mistook it for fabric instead. Nevertheless, the robot vacuum would suit households without pets who value convenience above all, and don’t mind paying top dollar for it. 

Read our full Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review

Best budget self-emptying robot vacuum

iRobot Roomba i3+

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best, least expensive self-emptying robot vacuum


Cleaning Performance: 90.1
Pet Hair Score: 75.5
Bin Size: 500 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant
Size: 9.25 x 34 x 34 cm
Weight: 3.18kg

Reasons to buy

Self-emptying base great for those with allergies
Excellent hardwood performance
Auto-detects dirtier areas

Reasons to avoid

Poor kitty litter pickup on carpet
Lacks smart mapping
Very loud Clean Base

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is the company's least-expensive robot vacuum with a self-cleaning feature. Thanks to the self-emptying base, you don't have to dump out its contents after every run — very convenient if you're upgrading from a typical on-board dustbin. The Roomba i3+ excelled at most of the tests, except for picking up kitty litter on carpet, for which it scored a low mark of 58. Otherwise, its performance was strong, so this area was all that really let it down. I was particularly impressed when it successfully detected and collected a line of breadcrumbs on the floor — it showed that this area required additional cleaning on the map. 

At 3.6 inches tall (the same as the Roomba i7), it's an average height, but it may struggle under low reaching furniture. For instance, it reached under my living room chair with ease, but couldn't clear the couch. The Roomba i3+ can be controlled via an app as well as with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can create a schedule and connect it to smart home devices. Unlike the more expensive Roomba i7+ and s9+, though, the i3+ can't be directed to map individual rooms. Overall though, I really liked its performance. It's a good option if you want a self-emptying charging base, but without paying top dollar. 

Read our full iRobot Roomba i3+ review.

Best robot vacuum for features

Samsung JetBot AI+ in use on floors

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best robot vacuum for features


Cleaning Performance: 89.51
Pet Hair Score: 78.5
Bin Size: 200ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home and Bixby
Size: 30.5 x 13.7 x 32 cm
Weight: 4.4kg

Reasons to buy

You can select a preferred cleaning pattern
Traps small dust particles
Clear livestream video
Doesn’t slam into furniture

Reasons to avoid

Large, can’t get under some baseboards
Below average cleaning performance

The Samsung JetBot AI+ is packed full of features to say the least, and it's one of the most attractive robot vacuums to grace my floors. This intelligent and gentle cleaner almost acts as a security camera as much as a robot vacuum cleaner. It can patrol your home while you’re away and livestream what it can see straight to your phone. It can also recognise objects, although the accuracy of this varied for me. It identified the iRobot Braava jet m6 robot mop as a cup/plate, and thought a stray dog toy was a sock/towel. It can also offer alternative cleaning patterns, so you can choose the route you want it to take. It is tall as robot vacuums go at 4.75 inches — it could just reach under my kitchen baseboards, but failed to get under the dishwasher, which the majority of others models could clear.  

It’s quick to map out the home and easy to create no-go zones or select specific rooms to clean. This model also comes with a self-emptying base, which makes it low maintenance, but it is just as noisy as other vacuums when it empties. In terms of cleaning, it’s very careful to navigate its way around furniture, but the overall pickup could be better, particularly on pet hair (78.5%). Having said that, it was great for collecting cereal, with an overall score of 99.6%. It’s not a cheap investment, but this robot vacuum is good-looking and I can’t complain about the range of features.  

Read our full Samsung JetBot AI+ review

Best robot vacuum for reaching under furniture

Eufy Robovac 11s

Eufy Robovac 11s (Image credit: Future)
A very low-profile robot vacuum


Cleaning Performance: 87.9
Pet Hair Score: 81.5
Bin Size: 600 ml
Smart Home Compatability: None, remote control only
Size: 7.23 x 32.5 x 32.5 cm
Weight: 2.65kg

Reasons to buy

Fits easily under furniture
Super easy setup
Affordable at around $200

Reasons to avoid

Gets stuck easily on unfavorable surfaces
Doesn't learn to avoid areas
Dustbin sends dust everywhere

One of the trickiest areas to clean is under furniture; but thanks to its low 2.85-inch profile, the Eufy Robovac 11s can go where other robot vacuums can't, and gets those dust bunnies lurking under your couch. With an RRP of $159, it's affordable, and it's also happens to be quieter than most (but not all) other robot vacuums, reading just 62.5dB in these tests. 

While it's not a "smart" robot vacuum, meaning it can't be controlled via an app, the 11s does come with a remote, which makes it easy to control. Performance was pretty good for the price, as it picked up nearly 88 percent of all debris; it was less effective with pet hair though, picking up just 67.5 percent. It took its time to reach this result too, needing between 55-100 minutes to navigate the test areas. 

I found that emptying the 11s resulted in a little cloud of dust, so be wary when it comes to emptying the dustbin. The 11s also had a propensity for getting stuck on rug tassels as well as shag carpet; it wasn't smart enough to avoid those obstacles. Plus, it will bump into objects with some force as it cleans, including our dog (she's fine). Still, it's a capable and affordable robot vacuum — not one for those with pets or rugs though! 

Read our full Eufy Robovac 11s review.

How to choose the best robot vacuum for you

Samsung JetBot AI+ in use on floors

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Before you start shopping for a new robot vacuum, you should consider what you need from it and how much you’re happy to spend. You will need to decide on the following: 

  • 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.

Most robot vacuum cleaners will fall into two categories: Budget models, which are non-smart and cost around $200 or less, and smart models which cost upwards of $500. Budget models can be just as effective at cleaning as smarter options, but they’re not as intelligent and generally will bump into walls to find their way around. Budget models can also take much longer to clean because of their random cleaning pattern. For instance, a 15 x 15 foot room can take over an hour for a budget robot vacuum to navigate. 

Premium models come with sensors which they use to map out and remember the room before cleaning. Because of this, their cleaning route is much more efficient — some of the best robot vacuums we’ve seen can clean the same space in just 10 minutes by comparison. Premium models naturally come with other useful features too, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, and the ability to clean individual rooms. Premium models can also feature self-emptying bases, which really add to the whole convenience factor, but as a result, will add a hefty sum to the price tag. Before you purchase, you should ask yourself: are robot vacuums with self-emptying bases worth it?

How to clean your robot vacuum

Wyze Robot Vacuum review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Forgetting to clean your robot vacuum is one of the 9 vacuum cleaner mistakes you’re probably making.  

Because robot vacuums are designed to clean, most of us forget that these too need regular maintenance. They have surprisingly small bins (some less than 400ml) and so, unless you’re lucky enough to own a self-emptying model, these will need emptying after each run. On top of this, it’s good practice to cut free any hairs which have tangled in the rotating brush as well as clean the filters. Some brands such as Eufy, iLife and Roborock will provide a cleaning tool which can help with these tasks. The filters will need replacing as well — you should refer to your manual for guidance on how often to replace and where to buy. 

If you do not empty the bin or check for tangled hairs regularly, it will affect the performance of the robot vacuum. In fact, a full bin will result in it dragging any mess around the floors rather than picking it up. 

If you own an app-connected robot vacuum, you might also get maintenance guidelines and reminders for when it’s time to clean. Some even feature replacement schedules so you don’t need to make a note in the diary! 

Robot vacuum features

Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra in charging dock

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
  • Self-emptying — This feature is available on more premium models. When the robot vacuum’s dustbin is full, it will return to its charging dock to ‘self-empty’. This is then stored in the dock until this larger bin is full and needs emptying, which you will need to do. Self-emptying models are great for those who suffer from allergies as the dust is released into the air less often.
  • Wi-Fi connectivity — Most robot vacuums can connect to your smartphone via Wi-Fi, but some lower-end models don’t have this option. It allows you to control and monitor your robot vacuum from your phone and gives you access to all sorts of additional features, depending on the model. 
  • Hybrid models — Some hybrid models exist which can both vacuum and mop. These tend not to perform as well as dedicated machines, but if it’s what you want, the Roborock S7 mentioned above is the exception.
  • Mapping — Some robot vacuums can map-out your home using sensors, so they can remember any obstacles, such as the stairs. The map can be displayed on your phone if the robot vacuum has Wi-Fi connectivity, and using this it can plan out the best cleaning path, rather than moving randomly.  
  • No-go zones — If you have the mapping technology, some allow you to set no-go zones if there’s certain areas you want to avoid, such as your pet’s food bowls or an expensive rug. 
  • Targeted rooms — Similar to no-go zones, some also let you set targeted rooms, if you only need to clean a particular area.
  • Multiple floors — Mapping can sometimes also cover multiple floors, which can be useful if you live on more than one level.     
  • Scheduling — This is quite a common feature for robot vacuums. By connecting with your smartphone, you can schedule when you want it to clean, be it daily, weekly or when you’re not at home.  
  • Remote control — Some entry level robot vacuum cleaners come with a remote control rather than Wi-Fi connectivity. It doesn’t give you as many options, but you can still control it hands-free using this. 
  • Battery life — Battery life is important to consider. If you’re interested in a model which comes with a base, it can self-charge between runs. However, if the model you’re looking at needs to be manually plugged in, you might come home to a half-finished job. 
  • Dust capacity — The smaller the dustbin, the faster it will fill. Look for a minimum of 400ml, unless it self-empties of course! Self-emptying models tend to come with vacuum bags in the charging base, whereas dustbins on the robot vacuum themselves tend to be bagless. For more info on bagged vs. bagless vacuums, check out our guide.  

Robot vacuum test results

Wyze Robot Vacuum review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Here's the table on which robot vacuums are best at picking up dirt and pet hair. Note that while all of the robot vacuums were tested by picking up the same material on the same surfaces, those with an asterisk were tested in a 15 x 15-foot square, whereas the other models were tested in a 5 x 5-foot square.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 OverallPet hairhardwoodcarpetpet hair hardwoodpet hair carpet
iLife V3s Pro*9799.599.894.210099
Roomba s9+96.89896.397.39997
Roomba i7+90.490.589.8918893
Eufy Robovac G30 Edge*88.987.394.483.596.578
Roborock S6 Max V90.680.590.790.47883
Roomba i390.175.596.2849358
Eufy Robovac 11s*85.867.58586.76075
iRobot Roomba j7+ 91.882.594.888.992.572.5
Samsung JetBot AI+89.578.589.589.67186
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra91.2678.2597.6384.8898.558

How we test robot vacuums

iRobot Roomba j7+ cleaning dog fur

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

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.

Initially, each robot vacuum was sent to a lab for debris collection testing on a 15 x 15-foot area. Now this space has been reduced to 5 x 5-foot and it is conducted entirely in a tester's home, along with the navigation and design assessments.  

Robot vacuum FAQs

Can a robot vacuum replace a normal vacuum?

Robot vacuums have improved tenfold since they were first introduced, both in terms of navigation and pickup. And while the gap between these devices and upright models is indeed closing, there is still admittedly a gap. Robot vacuums do not offer as strong a performance as upright vacuum cleaners, particularly corded ones. It’s for this reason that we don’t recommend throwing away the best vacuum cleaner even if you decide to invest in one of these strong contenders. 

Even if you have one of the  best Roombas, robot vacuums are recommended more for light, everyday cleaning, rather than for handling really embedded debris. So, ideally you will still want to run your regular vacuum every so often, while the robot vacuum helps keep dust down in the interim. That’s not to say your robot vacuum won’t lend a hand though. By keeping on top of the light debris, you won’t need to use your full-sized vacuum so often. So, it will save you some manual labor in the long run. Plus, keep in mind that robot vacuums are still improving with each new release, so over time, the necessity for your upright model will lessen. If you opt for a design which can mop as well, this too will likely replace the need for a mop and bucket in the future — but it’s not quite there yet. Our robot vacuum buying guide can also help you decide which is suitable for your home.  

Where should I place my robot vacuum?

First and foremost, you should follow the directions in your instruction manual for where to place the robot vacuum. While most will offer similar guidance, the measurements required can vary, and some designs may prefer a greater clearance. Generally speaking though, your robot vacuum should be placed against a flat and straight wall on a level surface, with around 3 ft of clearance on each side, and at least 4 ft in front. This is so that it has adequate space to start cleaning and dock on re-entry, without any furniture getting in the way. Don’t forget that it needs access to a power socket as well.  

If you’re using a standard charging base, you may have to fix it to the wall, so the robot vacuum won’t knock it out of place. Some bases come with stickers to help with this issue. If you’re lucky enough to own a robot vacuum with a self-emptying base, it should be heavy enough to hold itself in place. Although this does mean it will likely require more clearance space and will protrude further out from the wall as well. Make sure you have a space in mind for your robot vacuum’s dock before you make a purchase, otherwise you might have to move some furniture around. 

Are self-emptying robots worth it?

Most premium robot vacuum brands now offer self-emptying charging bases. This differs from your regular charging base in that your robot vacuum can empty the contents of its dustbin automatically, to be stored within a dust bag contained in the base. This gives your robot vacuum a new level of independence, because it no longer requires your assistance to continue cleaning. Should the on-board dustbin reach capacity, the robot vacuum can empty itself via its base and then continue on route. Of course, the dust bag will eventually need changing within the base, but these will often last for several weeks at a time. 

As well as saving on this maintenance, self-emptying bases are a good investment if you suffer from allergies. This is because the debris is contained within the dust bag, rather than being dispersed into the air each time you empty the on-board bin. Self-emptying bases are also generally heavier than your standard charging base, meaning they’re less likely to be displaced as your robot attempts to park. A self-emptying base opens up other opportunities too — some bases hold water tanks to automatically fill an on-board tank for the best robot mops. Others will even scrub and clean the mop cloth as part of its docking. Ultimately, a self-emptying base will make your robot vacuum cleaner more versatile. 

It’s not all good news though. As you can see just by looking at self-emptying bases, they are a chunky addition and will take up extra space in your home. They’re also remarkably loud in operation, because the dust in the vacuum needs to be effectively sucked into the dust bag. Though some robot vacuums are clever enough that you can set do not disturb timings via the app to keep things quiet. Then there’s the expense to consider — self-emptying bases naturally add a hefty sum to the price tag. 

Ultimately, self-emptying bases are more of a luxury feature, rather than a necessity and its worth comes down to how much you value it. If you dread the task of emptying the on-board dustbin or suffer from allergies, it may be a worthwhile investment. But, if you’re tight on space and shopping on a budget, it may be one to skip.  For more tips, check out are robots with self-emptying bases worth it

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. 

  • mprospero
    Archived comments are found here:
  • jimblack099
    Thanks, Tom's Guide.

    I'd love to see you guys look at even more models.

    Do you have any thoughts the Neato or Ecovacs? I've seen them discussed here other sites

    They seem to get pretty decent reviews on those sites. Would love to hear what you guys think about them.
  • michael4444
    Thanks for taking the time to provide these reviews!

    You list these as having HEPA filters but from what I can find they have HEPA "style" or HEPA "like" filters, not true HEPA filters. Can you please confirm?