Vacuuming sucks. Literally. Who wouldn't want a robot vacuum to take over the brunt of this odious chore? These little droids, which range in price from $100 to more than $1,000, can free up time to do other chores. That's why it's not all that surprising that robot vacuums make up 20 percent of the worldwide vacuum market, according to iRobot's CEO.
Before you buy, you need to decide if you're looking for a simple duster of floors or a heavy-duty piece of machinery. This will help determine how much you spend. You'll also want to take into account the size of the dustbin, to determine how often you'll need to empty it. If you're interested in a robot vacuum, this guide will help you find the droids you're looking for.
Currently, the Roomba 650, Amazon's top-selling robot vacuum, is on sale for $299, which is almost $100 off its regular price. If you're looking for something less expensive, the iLife A4 costs just $179, has two side brushes, and will automatically dock when it needs to be recharged.
Before you purchase a robot vacuum, there are a number of things you'll want to consider, such as room size and what you'll be vacuuming. We've put together a handy robot vacuum buying guide to help you determine your needs.
Latest Robot Vacuum News
iRobot announced two new robot vacuums, the Roomba 890 and the Roomba 690, both of which will be connected to Wi-Fi, so that owners can control them from their Android or iOS devices to schedule cleanings, or start and stop the vacuums. Previously, this feature had only been available with its top-of-the-line Roomba 980. The Roomba 690, which is the successor to the Roomba 650, will start at $375, and will be available by the summer. The Roomba 890, whose price has not been announced, will be available later this year.
Additionally, all Wi-Fi-connected Roombas are compatible with Alexa and Google Home (in the U.S. only), so that consumers can start and stop cleanings using Amazon's or Google's voice assistant. Other commands include asking the status of the Roomba, locating the vacuum, and telling the vacuum to return to its dock. The Roomba app will also let you control more than one vacuum, though you'll have to assign them different names.
Here are our favorite robot vacuums.
There's a reason the brand name "Roomba" has become nearly synonymous with robot vacuums: quality. iRobot's Roomba 880, combines top-notch vacuuming and navigation technology. It also comes with a HEPA-filter, which means it can collect and contain particles finer than the width of a human hair.
Using the accompanying remote control, you can set a number of preprogrammed cleaning settings, change them in the middle of a vacuuming cycle or take control for spot cleaning yourself. The Roomba 880 also comes with two devices called Lighthouses that you can put around your house to help guide the vacuum or prevent it from accessing certain areas.
What owners are saying about the iRobot Roomba 880
Likes: Amazon customers love how well the iRobot Roomba 880 works on almost any surface and that the device has no brush bristles to clean. They agree that this machine is a great choice for busy people who just don't have time for vacuuming. One reviewer says, "I have finally found a reliable housekeeper!"
Dislikes: People like that the iRobot Roomba 880 recharges itself, but complain that the battery doesn't last long enough. Other common complaints include that the device clogs, lacks quality suction and needs to be emptied often, even when not full. One owner says, "If you have dogs that sheds, this unit is worthless."
Amazon's top-selling indoor robot vacuum, the Roomba 650 is the company's mid-range model has a 3-stage cleaning system that's good for everything from pet hair to cereal. At 3.6 inches high, it should fit under most furniture, and it can be scheduled to clean up to seven times per week. When it's done, it automatically returns to its dock to recharge.
What owners are saying about the Roomba 650
Likes: "Roomba did a good job covering an awkward area. We captured a full bin of hair from the dogs...The bin was full of fur and even captured some large dog food nuggets." said one reviewer. Another commented "I have 3 kids and 1 chocolate lab. I spent a lot of time vacuuming dog hair up and food the kids dropped. iRobot Roomba has saved me a lot of time!"
Dislikes: "It covers the same area a lot while missing others and seems to like to climb obstacles it shouldn't," said one person. Others complained that it would get lost, and not find its way back to the charging station.
The iLife A4 has a three-step cleaning system, as well as a side brush that sweeps up dirt and dust from sideboards. At just 3 inches tall, it should be able to easily scoot underneath furniture. A high-capacity 2600-mAh battery will last between 130-150 minutes, and it has multiple cleaning modes for varying levels of dirt and surfaces. You can schedule it to clean when you're not home, and a remote lets you direct it to trouble spots in your home. Its sensors help keep it from getting stuck or falling down stairs, and will return automatically to its base station to recharge.
What owners are saying about the iLife A4
Likes: Amazon customers love that the iLife A4's low profile allows it to go "under couches and other low furniture easily," according to one reviewer. Others lauded its long battery life, and ability to work on a variety of surfaces. "Two dogs and a cat leave a great deal of fur. The A4 picked it all up in addition to little scraps of paper, dog food, kitty litter-you name it," said another.
Dislikes: Some customers have said that the A4's small dust bin fills up quickly, and that its sensors get tripped up on black carpeting.
iRobot's smallest and least expensive robot vacuum, the Braava Jet is designed to sweep up spills and dirt from bathroom, kitchen, and hardwood floors. Replaceable pads with built-in cleaning agents will automatically switch the Braava into dry, damp, or wet mopping. The Braava squirts water from a 150ml reservoir, and a vibrating cushion helps the pads scrub up any stains. The Braava Jet will come with six pads, and replacements will be sold in packs of ten for $7.99.
What owners are saying about the iRobot Braava Jet
Likes: "Best investment ever if you hate cleaning hard-surface floors like I do," says one Amazon reviewer. Customers love that the iRobot Braava Jet's battery lasts quite a while before needing a recharge, and that the robot stops using liquid when it goes over anything that isn't a hard floor.
Dislikes: Many Amazon customers, no matter if they love or hate this device, seem to agree that they hate the series of beeps for error codes and would like the Braava Jet give actual messages instead. A recurring complaint is that you cannot use your own cleaning solutions with the product.
The Strata Home Cadet is Monoprice's low-cost entry into the robot vacuum market. The Cadet has anti-drop and anti-collision sensors to keep it from falling down stairs and running into walls and furniture, and it can automatically detect what surface it's on and adjust suction accordingly. Measuring 12.8 x 13.1 x 3.34 inches, it should fit under plenty of furniture to pick up dust bunnies. It has a 0.25-liter bin, and will run up to 65 minutes before needing a recharge. If you step up to the Strata SmartVac 2.0, you get additional features such as scheduled cleaning, a 0.5-liter dustbin, 100-minute runtime, remote control, and a wet-mopping function.
Like Neato's Botvac Connected, Samsung's newest robot vacuum, the PowerBot VR7040, works with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, so you can start cleanings just by speaking. It also comes with a smartphone app, so that you can control it remotely, too. The VR7040 is 4 inches tall, and 28 percent slimmer than previous Samsung vacuums, so it should be able to get under furniture more easily. It also has a wide 11-inch brush, which is self-cleaning, so not as much dirt and dust should get trapped in its bristles.
Via Neato's smartphone app, you can monitor the D3 Connected's progress and schedule cleanings. Its lithium-ion battery can cover up to 1800 square feet, and the dirt bin is just as large as the $699 Botvac Connected. You can even control it using an Apple Watch.