The Best Robot Vacuums

Eufy RoboVac 11S  

Robot vacuums never get bored or distracted, and they don’t mind working every day. In most homes, they keep the floors tidy with barely any effort—pet hair and crumbs just disappear before you even notice a mess. If you want a robot vac, consider the  first. It works well on bare floors and thin rugs, rarely gets stuck, and is much quieter and fits under more furniture than other affordable bots. Share this review on Facebook Share this review on Twitter Save this review on Pocket Share this review on Pinterest Eufy RoboVac 11S A quiet, nimble, affordable robot $224* from Amazon Eufy RoboVac 11S Eufy RoboVac 30 Our pick, plus extra features $270 from Amazon RoboVac 12RoboVac 15CRoboVac 30RoboVac 30CRoboVac 35C iRobot Roomba 690 A repairable bot with Wi-Fi $297* from Amazon $300 from Abt iRobot Roomba 690 iRobot Roomba 960 Better cleaning, smarter navigation $550 from Walmart $550 from Amazon iRobot Roomba i7+ The best robot vac money can buy $1,100 from Amazon $1,100 from Walmart Roomba 960 Roomba i7+review of the Roomba i7+ here a handful of other bots that we like Eufy RoboVac 11S A quiet, nimble, affordable robot $224* from Amazon iRobot Roomba 690 A repairable bot with Wi-Fi $297* from Amazon $300 from Abt iRobot Roomba 960 Better cleaning, smarter navigation $550 from Walmart $550 from Amazon iRobot Roomba i7+ The best robot vac money can buy $1,100 from Amazon $1,100 from Walmart Share this review with E-mail  

Our pick

This affordable robot vacuum is quieter and fits under more furniture than any others. And thanks to its nimble, persistent nav system, it’ll rarely need your attention.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

No other robot vacuum blends into the background like the . It can clean almost every nook of your house, yet you’ll barely notice it. It sounds more like a fan than a vacuum, so even if you’re at home while it’s running, it shouldn’t get on your nerves. Of all the bots we’ve tested, it’s one of the least likely to get stuck and quit cleaning mid-session. We also found that, in certain situations, it’s strong enough and persistent enough to pick up more debris than bots that cost two or three times as much. Like most affordable robots, it relies on a semi-random navigation system, which can struggle in larger homes (and some people get frustrated when they watch it too closely). But it’s perfectly effective in smaller spaces, and you can find ways make it work in bigger areas, too.

Runner-up

The same robot as the 11S, plus extras that most people won’t need: a little more suction, a different paint job, and boundary markers to block the bot from going where you don’t want it to.

The , , , , and are all similar to the 11S, with some combination of extra features added, like Wi-Fi, boundary markers, or extra suction. If you can find any of these upgraded bots for a similar price as the 11S, go ahead and grab it. However, we don’t think it’s worth paying too much extra: None of them are as durable or repairable as some other brands and their extra features aren’t as user-friendly.

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Also great

It’s louder and more expensive than Eufy bots but the Roomba 690 adds an invisible boundary marker, app and voice-assistant controls, and a repairable design that should help it last longer.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $300.

The  is a sturdy, repairable robot that’s still effective and affordable. Like the Eufy RoboVac models, the Roomba 690 is a semi-random navigator that works best in smaller spaces, though it’s a larger, louder machine and typically costs more. The main upside is that it’s designed to be repairable, so in the right hands it should last for years—long enough that you’ll actually save money. (iRobot has an excellent track record for keeping spare parts available for ages.) The Roomba 690 connects to Wi-Fi (if you want it to) and can be controlled from an app or with Alexa voice commands. It also comes with a “virtual wall” beacon, which creates an invisible do-not-cross line for the Roomba—a much more elegant solution than the magnetic strips used by Eufy vacuums.

Upgrade pick

If you have a bigger home or just want a robot that looks smart and cleans super-efficiently, Roomba 960 is the best balance of price, pleasantness, and performance.

A self-emptying dustbin and the ability to clean specific rooms on command make this the easiest, most satisfying Roomba to use—if you’re willing to pay for it.

If you have to clean a large space or just prefer a robot that looks like it knows where it’s going, a robot that maps your house while it works is ideal. We recommend one of the higher-end Roomba models. They drive in a predictable, grid-like pattern, using a camera (and other tricks) to track their location. When they’ve run out of new areas to explore and clean, or when the battery is running low, they can reliably return to their charging docks. And in case they didn’t finish cleaning, they’ll pick up where they left off once they’ve recharged. They’re also much stronger cleaners than our cheaper picks, especially for getting pet hair out of thicker rugs.

The  will work very well in most homes. It’s easy to use, navigates and cleans effectively, and is actually reasonably priced for a robot with its advanced capabilities. We’ve been testing one for a couple of years and haven’t had any big problems with it.

But if you can afford it, the flagship  is the very best robot vacuum that money can buy. It’s the only one that can empty its own dustbin (the dock is itself a vacuum, which sucks debris out of the bot through a trapdoor), and is one of the few that can clean specific rooms on command while skipping others. Both of those marquee features actually work well and legitimately make the i7+ even more convenient than other great robots. (You can read our full .)

Later in this guide, we’ll cover  but that don’t have as much broad appeal as the ones we’ve already talked about.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

This affordable robot vacuum is quieter and fits under more furniture than any others. And thanks to its nimble, persistent nav system, it’ll rarely need your attention.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

Also great

It’s louder and more expensive than Eufy bots but the Roomba 690 adds an invisible boundary marker, app and voice-assistant controls, and a repairable design that should help it last longer.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $300.

Upgrade pick

If you have a bigger home or just want a robot that looks smart and cleans super-efficiently, Roomba 960 is the best balance of price, pleasantness, and performance.

Buying Options

A self-emptying dustbin and the ability to clean specific rooms on command make this the easiest, most satisfying Roomba to use—if you’re willing to pay for it.

Buying Options

The research

Why you should trust me Do robot vacuums really work? How we picked and tested Our pick: Eufy RoboVac 11S Flaws but not dealbreakers Runner-up: Eufy RoboVac 30 Also great: iRobot Roomba 690 Upgrade picks: iRobot Roomba i7+ and Roomba 960 The competition What to look forward to What a robot vacuum can (and can’t) do What makes a good robo-vac Care and maintenance vacuum guidescordlesshandheldplug-in  Why you should trust me 

I’ve written about robot vacuums for Wirecutter since 2013, logging hundreds of hours of research and testing in that time. (I’m also the co-author and editor for Wirecutter’s other , including those about , , and traditional  styles.) Altogether I’ve looked into about 150 different robots and tested about 30 models from 10 brands. That’s included hundreds of cleaning cycles at my home (I’m on my third apartment since I started) and in some of my friends’ homes, too. Most of my guests ask me what the hell I’m doing with so many robots.

In addition to my own testing, I’ve gotten many other perspectives: I’ve spoken directly with dozens of robot-vacuum owners, who live in all kinds of homes: apartments and single-family houses, old and new construction, lots of small rooms or open-concept spaces. Some of them live alone, others have a few kids and hairy dogs. One guy even lives in a mansion near a volcano. I’ve paid attention to all of the comments, tweets, and emails from our readers, including feedback on our picks and expectations about bots in general. I’ve lurked on the  enthusiast forum and messaged with a few of its members. Robot Reviews I’ve read hundreds of reviews posted on big retailers’ websites, including Amazon and Best Buy. We’ve learned about quality-control problems or design flaws in a few models this way. I’ve talked to representatives from just about all of the major robot vacuum brands, including iRobot (Roomba), EcoVacs, Neato, iLife, Electrolux, Roborock, Samsung, LG, and Dyson. I’ve tracked down a few engineers who used to work on robot vacuums, including Bruno Hexsel, a former software engineer for Neato, and Duane Gilbert, a former hardware engineer for iRobot. I’ve looked at reviews from other publications to see if I missed anything in my own testing and reporting. Shout out to ; if you want a different perspective on robot vacuums, the site’s coverage is very thorough and well-presented. TechGearLab

This guide accounts for all of the robot vacuums available in the US as of February 2019. We try to update this guide every few months, whenever promising new models come out. But if it seems like we’re behind the curve on our recommendations, leave a comment or hit us up on Twitter—we may already be testing whichever new model you’re curious about. Do robot vacuums really work?  

Yes, robot vacuums really can keep your floors tidy. They’re not just some toy or novelty item. Some good robots actually cost less than a few of our favorite “traditional” vacuums that you have to push around yourself.

The value in a robot vacuum is that it can clean your floors every single day. Crumbs and pet hair never get a chance to pile up, so they’re a lot less likely to get stuck to your feet or your clothes and end up on your couch or bed. The mess is gone before it can annoy you.

There are some caveats: Robots are much weaker than traditional vacuums, so they don’t really deep clean the dust out of your rugs. They don’t climb stairs. And certain kinds of flooring features and clutter can make it hard for a robot to do its job. But for many people, those are just minor flaws, offset by the convenience of having reliably tidy floors.

We go into much greater detail about what it’s like to live with a robot . here How we picked and tested   Photo: Liam McCabe

Based on years of at-home use and side-by-side testing, we think that nimble, reliable navigation is the most important element in a great robot vacuum. That’s followed by cleaning performance, noise, size and shape, repairability, and then extra features like boundary markers and Wi-Fi.

But there’s a lot of nuance to most of those elements. For example, robots can have weak suction but still be excellent cleaners. Or they can have sophisticated mapping systems but still be poor navigators. Some experts even told us that it’s harder to design a good nav system for a robot vacuum than for a self-driving car. If you’re interested in that level of detail, we’ve written a lot more on what makes a great robot vacuum . here We torture-tested each robot in an area cluttered with several chairs, stray USB cables, a sock, a flat-weave area rug with uneven edges and tassels, and a tall threshold—all of the most common bot-trapping obstacles. Video: Liam McCabe

At least 100 robot vacuums are available on Amazon as of February 2019, and I’ve tested 21 of the most noteworthy models.

For every robot, I run at least two regular cleaning cycles around my apartment. It’s a challenging environment: About 1,000 square feet chopped into nine rooms, with lots of tall thresholds. I don’t have any permanent carpet, but I do have 10 different area rugs, ranging from lightweight doormats to rubber-backed, medium-pile rugs that take up half a room. I have a long-haired cat, a long-haired wife, and an infant daughter, who all leave plenty for the robot to pick up (for my part, I spill a lot of coffee grounds). It’s a really effective space for finding a robot’s weaknesses.

As long as the robots can clean my apartment pretty well, without getting stuck too often, I’ll put them through some stress tests.

In one test, I run the bot in a room with two chairs, some stray USB cables, a sock, a flat-weave area rug with uneven edges and tassels, and a tall threshold—several of the most-common bot-trapping obstacles in one place.

In another test, I pour out about ⅛ cup of all-purpose flour across an area rug and bare floor (including some against a baseboard) and let the bot try to suck it up for a couple of minutes. This gives me a visual gauge for each bot’s raw cleaning power.

I have a long-haired cat, a long-haired wife, and an infant daughter, who all leave plenty for the robot to pick up (for my part, I spill a lot of coffee grounds).

And then I sprinkle a 2-ounce mixture of cat litter and coffee grounds around my dining room, which has a mix of bare wood and a low-pile rug as well as a big table with four chairs and a bench underneath it. I run each bot for 25 minutes or until it stops on its own, whichever comes first. When it’s done, I weigh how much debris each bot managed to pick up.

The dust- and crumb-pickup stress tests are only meant to give us an idea of each bot’s cleaning power—they don’t tell the whole story, and we don’t weigh them too heavily when we’re deciding what to recommend.

I make sure to try out anything related to the interface or user experience: companion smartphone apps (and all of the features within, like no-go lines or suction adjustments), compatibility with voice assistants like Alexa, the physical remote, scheduling system, boundary markers, and anything else like that.

Using a noise-meter app, I measure the volume and frequency of each bot from about 10 feet away as they work.

Then I check how easy it is to take each bot apart and find replacement parts online.

When I find robots that do well on all of those tests, I try to run them as much as possible for a few weeks to see if they perform consistently. Some bots struggle more with navigation than the first rounds of testing revealed, in ways that I wouldn’t have thought of. For example, through this kind of testing I found that Roomba 900-series bots struggled around sunset, and that software updates to the Electrolux Pure i9 sometimes screwed up its navigation.

As of February 2019, the models that we have tested and are currently available in stores include the Eufy , , and ; EcoVacs  and ; iRobot , , , and ; the Neato  and ; ; ; ; ; ; iLife  and ; and . RoboVac 11SRoboVac 30RoboVac 30CDeebot N79SDeebot 900Roomba 690Roomba 960Roomba e5Roomba i7+Botvac D3 ConnectedBotvac D7 ConnectedSamsung Powerbot R7070LG Hom-Bot Turbo+Electrolux Pure i9Xiaomi Mi (1st gen)Roborock S5A8A4sCoral One Our pick: Eufy RoboVac 11S   Photo: Liam McCabe  

Our pick

          Eufy RoboVac 11S A quiet, nimble, affordable robot

This affordable robot vacuum is quieter and fits under more furniture than any others. And thanks to its nimble, persistent nav system, it’ll rarely need your attention.     $224* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

Plenty of affordable robot vacuums clean and navigate effectively, including the . But we like this one the most because it’s so much quieter and it can fit underneath more furniture than anything else we tested. Eufy RoboVac 11S

The 11S is quiet enough that you could easily forget that it’s running if you have to be home while it’s working. We measured it at 54 dBC (from 10 feet away), a full 5 dBC quieter than the  and —that’s a major difference. It sounds more like a fan than a vacuum cleaner. Plenty of other bots are tolerably loud, but the 11S is especially hushed. EcoVacs Deebot N79Roomba 690

Another surprisingly useful upside to the 11S is its short body. It may end up cleaning more of your home than other bots just because it fits beneath more stuff. At 2.85 inches, it’s about three-tenths of an inch shorter than the EcoVacs Deebot N79S (another good, cheap, short robot). That may not seem like much, but it’s enough for the 11S to slide under even more low-clearance furniture where dust and hair build up but never see the light of day. I was surprised the first time I saw the 11S disappear under my bed—and then more surprised when it reemerged with an unholy amount of cat hair stuffed into its bin and wrapped about the brush roll.

Like a bunch of other good robots, the Eufy 11S is a nimble navigator and rarely gets stuck. It is what we call a , which means that (most of the time) it drives in a straight line until it finds an obstacle, makes a semi-random turn, and repeats until the battery runs out. Most robots that cost less than $400 navigate this way. It doesn’t look like it knows what it’s doing, but it is effective. In our testing it stopped running only when it got tangled on a cord or wedged itself underneath something (both of which can stop any robot) and when it beached itself on a tall threshold once. The 11S seems to recognize when it runs into a trap, then runs a routine to escape that particular trap. For instance, if it’s stuck on a threshold, it rocks itself back and forth until it gets itself unstuck. Or if something starts jamming the brush roll, it’ll usually back away from the jam. bump-and-run navigator The 11S has a relatively small brush compared with other robot vacuums, but the dual side brushes help sweep debris toward the intake. Photo: Liam McCabe

The 11S is a very solid cleaner for the price. , you don’t have to worry too much about a bot’s cleaning performance—most of them can suck up obvious debris as long as the navigation system is nimble enough to keep them moving. And although we do run a couple of controlled cleaning tests, we don’t weigh the results too heavily when we decide to make recommendations. As we lay out here

It may end up cleaning more of your home than other bots just because it fits beneath more stuff.

But to prove our point that affordable bump-and-run bots like the 11S can pick up just as much obvious debris as the priciest bots (at least in some situations), take the results of our crumb-pickup test: The 11S actually collected a little bit more debris than anything else we tested: 1.8 ounces out of a 2-ounce mixture of coffee grounds and cat litter. One of our upgrade picks, the Roomba 960, sucked up a similar 1.75 ounces—probably within the test’s margin for error. But a couple of the worst performers captured just 1.4 ounces. We think the results show that the 11S can be very effective at keeping your home tidy as long as it’s able to consistently navigate your space.

Here’s why we think the 11S is so effective in the real world:

The battery life is as long as you’ll find in a bot at this price. Because it’s a bump-and-run robot, that allows it to make more passes around your home, which in turn gives it more opportunities to suck up debris and to cover every patch of ground. We measured its life to be 100 minutes at full power and up to another 50 minutes at reduced power while it looks for its charging dock.

The brush roll is a simple but proven design: A single bristle/blade combo brush, effective enough for loosening obvious debris from short rugs and scooching it toward the intake.

And the suction is strong enough to get most types of visible debris and is slightly better than some competing models. Eufy says this model has 1,300  of suction, which is definitely more than the EcoVacs N79 (at 1,000 Pa). Most other robot makers don’t publish any suction specs, so we’re not actually sure how the Eufy 11S compares with the Roomba 690, for instance. We’re also not sure that the modestly stronger suction matters much: We didn’t notice a big difference compared with the N79 and Roomba 690 in our dust-pickup test. To be clear, some higher-end robots have noticeably more cleaning power than the 11S. The Roomba 960 and Electrolux Pure i9, for example, can clean as much debris in a single pass as the 11S manages after two or more passes and pick up much more small, dusty debris, period, particularly out of carpets. pascals The clamshell-style dustbin is easy to empty. Photo: Liam McCabe

Other noteworthy points:

The 11S itself has a single button on the top of its body that starts or stops the cleaning. It also comes with a remote control (two AAA batteries are included) that can do the same, but also lets you set a daily cleaning time, adjust the suction (we recommend the BoostIQ setting, which ramps up the power slightly when it senses it’s cleaning a rug), steer it manually using a directional pad, or run a few different routines like spot clean (useful), edge clean (meh), and room cleaning (don’t bother).

Eufy sells replacement , , , and through Amazon. filtersbrush rollersside brushesbrush guards

The Eufy RoboVac 11S is actually built by Eufy in its own factory, according to company representatives. In the past, Eufy robots were just relabeled versions of other manufacturers’ machines (the Eufy 11 was the same bot as the EcoVacs Deebot N79, for example—a fact we’ve confirmed with EcoVacs). But now the company makes its own gear. Flaws but not dealbreakers   The Eufy 11S doesn’t have Wi-Fi or any smart-home connectivity, but you can still set a daily cleaning schedule with the remote control. Photo: Liam McCabe

Eufy robots do not seem to be built to last as long as other brands’ robots, particularly the iRobot Roomba models.

While Eufy is relatively new to the category, and its earliest bots were built by another manufacturer (EcoVacs), we’ve seen a concerning number of comments and reviews that the company’s current crop of robots can break down beyond repair within a year. We don’t know exactly how common this is, or if these broken-down units tend to see heavy use. But iRobot sells a lot more robot vacuums than Eufy does, yet we read and hear far fewer complaints about Roomba models ever breaking down so completely, let alone so quickly.

To its credit, Eufy is good about honoring its warranty. Some owners have said that even when their robots died outside of the warranty period, Eufy offered them a refurbished model at a discount. And to be clear, Eufy does sell some major replacement parts, including batteries and (on request) wheels, along with brushes and filters. But if it’s any other problem, you may be out of luck.

The 11S is one of the few remaining robots without Wi-Fi, so you can’t control it from your phone or with voice commands. We’ve asked our staff and some readers, and our sense is that most people are pretty lukewarm on Wi-Fi control anyway. But if that’s a dealbreaker for you, check out one of the  or the . higher-end Eufy RoboVac modelsRoomba 690

As a relatively low-cost robot vacuum, the 11S has some limitations in common with others at its price. For instance: The semi-random navigation irks some people, and isn’t the most efficient method for cleaning larger homes. It doesn’t work with boundary markers, so you won’t be able to block it from going into certain areas unless you set up another physical boundary. At least some of the time (possibly much of the time, depending on the layout of your house), it won’t make it back to its dock. And though it’s a persistent and basically effective cleaner, it’s not the best tool for cleaning longer rugs with lots of ground-in pet hair. You can buy your way out of these problems with a pricier robot, like the  or plenty of others that we cover later in the guide. Roomba 960

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