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The best robot vacuums in 2020

Best robot vacuums

If you’re shopping for the best robot vacuum, you have a lot of choices. Robot vacuums range in price from budget sub-$200 models that bump around randomly — but get the job done — to ones that cost more than $1,000, map multiple floors of your house, and can empty themselves. 

In between are countless models. Regardless, the best robot vacuums can be a great convenience, helping clean your floors and freeing you from one of life's more annoying chores. For homes with pets, a robot vacuum can be especially handy, picking up clumps of fur shed by your four-legged friend. 

Another nicety with the best robot vacuums is that you can program then to clean when you're not home, and connect them with Alexa and Google Assistant, even directing the robot vacuum to sweep up a particular room — all with your voice. 

What are the best robot vacuums?

After spending more than 600 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. However, it was a bit slow, taking about an hour to make its rounds, compared to about 10-20 minutes for the fastest robot vacuums.

The Shark Ion R85 also works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control and schedule it using your voice. 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 it can't reach.

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, taking roughly an hour and a half to clean our test space. 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.

The best robot vacuums you can buy today

Best robot vacuum: Shark Ion R85

The Shark Ion R85 is the best robot vacuum overall. Credit: Shark (Image credit: Shark Ion R85. Credit: Shark)

1. Shark Ion R85

The best robot vacuum overall

Cleaning Performance: 94 | Pet Hair Score: 88 | Average Cleaning Time: 1 hour, 2 minutes | Loudness: 59.2 dB | Bin Size: 625 ml | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home | Size: 12.8 x 12.5 x 3.4 inches | Weight: 5.1 pounds

Great pet-hair performance
Dustbin is super easy to clean
Easy app setup and notifications
Can get stuck on thick carpet

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.

Best robot vacuums: iLife V3s Pro

iLife V3s Pro. Credit: iLife

2. iLife V3s Pro

Best robot vacuum on a budget

Cleaning Performance: 97 | Pet Hair Score: 99.5 | Average Cleaning Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes | Loudness: 64.1 dB | Bin Size: 600 ml | Smart Home Compatibility: None | Size: 11.8 x 11.8 x 3 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds

Excellent pet-hair-cleaning performance
Fantastic hardwood performance
Inexpensive
Loud
Slow

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

Best robot vacuums: iLife V5s Pro

iLife V5s Pro. Credit: iLife

3. iLife V5s Pro

Good cleaner, so-so mopper

Cleaning Performance: 94.8 | Pet Hair Score: 97.3 | Average Cleaning Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes | Loudness: 59.9 dB | Bin Size: 600 ml | Smart Home Compatibility: None | Size: 11.8 x 11.8 x 3 inches | Weight: 4.9 pounds

Inexpensive
Quiet
Excellent cleaner
Lackluster mopping feature
Some debris not suctioned completely into dustbin

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.

Best robot vacuums: iRobot Roomba i7+

iRobot Roomba i7+. Credit: iRobot (Image credit: iRobot Roomba i7+. Credit: iRobot)

4. iRobot Roomba i7+

The self-cleaning robot vacuum

Cleaning Performance: 90.4 | Pet Hair Score: 90.5 | Average Cleaning Time: 18 minutes | Loudness: 62.6 dB | Bin Size: 379 ml | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home | Size: 13.3 x 3.7 inches | Weight: 7.4 pounds

Low profile means it fits easily under furniture
Supereasy setup
Affordable
Gets stuck easily on unfavorable surfaces
Expensive

iRobot's highest-end model 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. Still, its price — $1,099 — plus the fact that it wasn't as thorough as other vacuums kept the i7+ from receiving a higher rating. You can purchase the i7 for $799, but that price doesn't include the cleaning base, one of the main reasons for getting this vacuum in the first place.

Read our full iRobot Roomba i7+ review.

 

Best robot vacuums: iNeato Botvac D7 Connected

Neato Botvac D7 Connected (Image credit: Future)

Neato Botvac D7 Connected

A fast and thorough robot vacuum

Cleaning Performance: 91.3 | Pet Hair Score: 89.3 | Average Cleaning Time: 10 minutes | Loudness: 66.3 dB | Bin Size: 600 ml | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home | Size: 12.5 x 13.2 x 3.9 inches | Weight: 8 pounds

Easily accessible dustbin
Cleans well
Fast cleaner
Expensive
Loud indicator sounds

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.

Best robot vacuums: iRobot Roomba 690

iRobot Roomba 690. Credit: iRobot (Image credit: iRobot Roomba 690. Credit: iRobot)

5. iRobot Roomba 690

A solid performer for the money

Cleaning Performance: 89.2 | Pet Hair Score: 73.3 | Average Cleaning Time: 1 hour, 12 minutes | Loudness: 66 dB | Bin Size: 600 ml | Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home | Size: 13 x 3.6 inches | Weight: 7.8 pounds

Affordable
Easy-to-use app
Maneuvers well in tight spaces
Somewhat loud
Dustbin too easy to remove

While it's an older model, the iRobot Roomba 690 is still one of the best robot vacuums because it has powerful suction and is especially user-friendly. Once you set this vacuum up, it basically runs itself. This is a pretty smart model, too: You can also control the Roomba 690 from a convenient smartphone app, which also lets you schedule cleaning times and connect it with voice assistants. 

The iRobot Roomba 690 did a great job on both carpeting and hardwood flooring, but it didn't do as well with pet hair as our top pick, the Shark Ion R85. However, the Roomba 690 was able to power over various obstacles like thick carpet and wires without getting stuck. That's more than we can say about other robot vacuums.

Read our full iRobot Roomba 690 review.

Best robot vacuums: iRobot Braava jet 240

iRobot Braava jet 240. Credit: iRobot (Image credit: Future)

6. iRobot Braava Jet 240

The best budget robot vacuum for mopping

Average Cleaning Time: 15 minutes, 43 seconds | Smart Home Compatibility: None | Size: 7 x 6.7 x 3.3 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds

Lightweight and compact
Multiple cleaning modes
Replaceable battery
Must purchase washable or disposable replacement pads
Drags dirt around

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.

Best robot vacuums: iLife Shinebot W400

iLife Shinebot W400. Credit: iLife (Image credit: Future)

7. iLife Shinebot W400

A thorough robotic mopper

Average Cleaning Time: 13 minutes, 44 seconds | Smart Home Compatibility: None | Size: 11.5 x 11.1 x 4.6 inches | Weight: 7.7 pounds

Good cleaning performance
Dirty water tank captures dirt and grime
Reusable microfiber brush roll
Cumbersome cleaning process after use
Bulky
Too tall to clean under kitchen cabinets

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 ScorePet Hair ScoreAvg. Cleaning Time
Shark Ion R8594881 hour, 2 minutes
iLife V3s Pro97991 hour, 31 minutes
iLife V5s Pro94.897.31 hour, 40 minutes
iRobot Roomba i7+90.490.518 minutes
iRobot Roomba 69089.273.31 hour, 12 minutes
  • mprospero
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-2918648/robot-vacuums-2014.html
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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?

    Thanks!
    Reply