The best robot vacuum you can buy right now

These wonderful little robots do all the hard work for you

The best robot vacuums are impressive devices that will clean your floors well without complaining (much). With big Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022 sales already in full swing, now is the time to grab a bargain on one of these smart bots to keep your home spic and span this holiday season.

Thankfully, today’s robo vacs have largely shaken off the category’s early reputation for running out of juice halfway through a job, missing large swaths of your floor, or losing a battle with a chair leg. Most know when to return to their base to recharge, and if they get stuck, they can call for help.

Many models can also map your home using variations on a technology called simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), so they won’t miss spots. You can direct them with a voice assistant or app and have them clean on a schedule or get busy when you’re gone.

Some of the more advanced robots have devised ways to prevent getting stuck on common robot traps such as cables and socks. And a few can even identify when your precious pet made a whoopsie and avoid smearing it all over your rug.

But the latest and greatest robot vacuum invention is the automatic docking station. This turns the charging base for your robot into a motorized emptying station that sucks out the dirt from its bin. (Warning: this process is very loud!) There are also some models that can drain and fill the bot’s water tank and clean its mopping pad. It’s not Rosie the Robot yet, but it feels like we’re not too far away.

However, not all bots are created equal, and you’ll pay more for those with whizz-bang features that make your life a little easier. They range in price from under $200 to well over $1,000, so there’s a bot for every budget. Whether you have a 3,000-square-foot home and three shaggy dogs or a small, stylish apartment you share with a goldfish, there’s a robot vacuum to suit your needs.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white md:text-40 lg:-ml-100″>The Best Robot Vacuums of 2022

The Roomba j7 is a superb vacuum that looks good (for a vacuum) and works well. You can get the robot on its own or with iRobot’s Clean Base auto-empty dock.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Roomba j7 is a superb vacuum that looks good (for a vacuum) and works well. You can get the robot on its own or with iRobot’s Clean Base auto-empty dock.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white md:text-30″>1. Roomba j7

Best robot vacuum overall

iRobot’s Roomba j7 is the best of the best right now, offering excellent cleaning power, an impressive app, plenty of extra features, and a really nice design for around $600. While it’s a steep price tag, this is the first Roomba with AI obstacle avoidance, which means it uses both a camera and some processor-powered smarts to see and avoid potential obstacles such as power cables, shoes, socks, and pet waste. The real benefit here is that you don’t have to tidy up before you run your vacuum (although cluttered floors won’t get as clean). It also means it rarely gets stuck during a job, so you won’t come home to a beached bot and a half-clean house.

Stepping it up a notch, and for about $200 more, you can take away the chore of having to empty its decent-sized bin by investing in the j7 Plus, the robot vac with an auto-empty dock. This is one of the most reliable, nicest-looking auto-empty docks I’ve tested. The design is compact with some welcome aesthetic touches, such as ribbed matte black plastic casing and a leather pull tab to access the bin area, so it doesn’t look too alien in your home.

The Roomba j7 is an AI-powered robot vacuum that can detect and avoid common robot traps, such as cords, cables, and dog poop. It works with a stylish clean base that will clean the dirt out of its bin so you don’t have to.

The Roomba j7 is a mapping robot that can learn your home’s floor plan and identify the furniture and appliances in it. This lets you ask the robot (using the app or a voice assistant) to clean specific areas, such as in front of the fridge or behind the couch.

While most mapping robots allow you to create virtual keep-out zones — areas the robot shouldn’t venture into — in the app, this Roomba uses its AI smarts to suggest trouble spots, so you can create a keep-out zone with just a tap.  

The j7 uses two rubber roller brushes and a large side brush.

The j7 uses two rubber roller brushes and a large side brush.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The j7 uses two rubber roller brushes and a large side brush.

A feature I like is that you can link the robot to other smart devices in your house to clean when you lock your front door or close your garage on your way out. It also works with Amazon’s Alexa to start running when you leave (using geolocation) and stop when you arrive home — so you never even have to think about it. If you want to run it on a regular schedule, the app can handle that, too.

If you are looking for the best clean for your buck and want to avoid the possibility that the robot won’t finish its run because of a stray piece of clutter, the Roomba j7 is the one to go with. Its cleaning prowess is largely unmatched thanks to iRobot’s decades of experience in this space, and it’s one of the easiest robot vacuums to use. The app is simple and uncluttered, with new features added frequently.

The biggest potential downside is that all Roombas are quite noisy — one of the loudest in my testing. But I do like how easy Roombas are to repair, a crucial factor for an expensive gadget you’d like to use for many years. While parts are costly, they are readily available (which is not the case for many of the other bots I tested). You can basically rebuild your bot if needed, making this an investment that should last a long time.

You can read my full review of the Roomba j7 Plus here. I’ve also started testing iRobot’s newest bot — the j7 Combo. This is a j7 with a mopping pad, but rather than dragging the damp cloth around while vacuuming your rugs as most hybrid bots do, the Combo raises the mop over and onto the top of the vacuum when it’s not in use.

This means you can let the robot roam without fear it will smear a wet mop on your white mohair rug but still get your floors a little cleaner than vacuuming alone. However, its mopping action isn’t as effective as the mop on the Roborock S7. This makes the added expense harder to justify unless you have a lot of high-pile rugs, which this vacuums more efficiently than the S7. It costs $1,099, including the auto-empty base, although it’s on sale for $899 for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

With an impressive battery life, big bin, and some navigational smarts, the Roborock E4 is a great budget bot.

With an impressive battery life, big bin, and some navigational smarts, the Roborock E4 is a great budget bot.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>With an impressive battery life, big bin, and some navigational smarts, the Roborock E4 is a great budget bot.

Best robot vacuum on a budget

For $200, this is the least you can spend on a bot and get a decent experience. Yes, there are cheaper options, but those are mainly what are known as “bump and roll” bots. They roll until they bump into something, then trundle off in another direction. This means they often miss spots. The Roborock E4 uses a dual gyroscope and OpticEye sensor system to navigate your home by “feel.” It moves in a somewhat methodical pattern that covers all the ground it can reach. 

The E4 also packs a powerful 5,200mAh battery, the same found in the higher-end Roborock S7 and unheard of in robots in this price range, allowing it to run for about 200 minutes. Its closest competitor for this spot, the Yeedi k650, only goes for 130 minutes. Since most bots can recharge and resume, run time isn’t as big of a deal as it once was. But it’s still more convenient if your bot can get the job done in one go.

The Roborock E4 uses a hybrid rubber / bristle brush and a side-sweeping brush.

The Roborock E4 uses a hybrid rubber / bristle brush and a side-sweeping brush.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Roborock E4 uses a hybrid rubber / bristle brush and a side-sweeping brush.

As with most budget robot vacuum cleaners, there are no mapping features, so if you need to create keep-out zones — and a door won’t work — you’ll have to purchase some magnetic tape to create a barrier.

The Roborock E4 also has an impressively large 640-milliliter bin and four suction levels (silent, balanced, turbo, and max), so you can run it for a light clean without much noise. It’s compatible with Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. But without mapping, voice commands are limited to start, stop, and pause.

You can also add a mopping pad to this bot. It costs extra and, with a small 180ml reservoir, it’s not an effective substitute for a proper mop. But it will help get up any fine dust the robot’s suction action missed. 

$159

With the same battery as its more expensive S7 sibling that can run for 200 minutes and a huge 640ml bin, the E4 is a workhorse. It’s also very nimble, cleans in methodical rows, and works with Google Home and Alexa voice assistants.

This is a good option if you need a basic bot that will get the job done and don’t mind ditching the fancy features of the higher-end models. It’s a powerful robot that rarely got stuck in my testing, even on my high-pile, fluffy, tasseled living room rug I’ve nicknamed the robot killer.

It could also tackle most transitions with ease. The biggest downside is that, instead of using the very good Roborock app, for some reason, you are stuck with Roborock’s parent company Xiaomi’s Mi Home app. But the app lets you add schedules, set a do-not-disturb period, and play with a few other features, which is all you need to get the job done.

A robot vacuum on a hardwood floor.

A robot vacuum on a hardwood floor.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Roborock S7 is a great vacuum that can also mop well.

Best robot vacuum / mop hybrid

A few years ago, the hot thing in robot vacuums was sticking a cloth attached to a tiny liquid reservoir underneath the bot and calling it a mopping robot. These were very ineffective at mopping, and they took away from the capacity of the dustbin, a key feature if you don’t have an auto-empty dock. Then the Roborock S7 ($650) came along and changed the game. 

This hybrid vacuum / mopping robot does both jobs well because Roborock designed a mop that not only vibrates 3,000 times a second to simulate some good old-fashioned scrubbing but also made room for an extra-large water tank so the mop can get wet enough to be effective.

It also has an ingenious “VibraRise’’ feature that lifts the mop a few millimeters when it senses carpet, meaning you don’t get a damp rag dragged over your living room rug. You also don’t have to worry about swapping out the mopping pad when you just want to vacuum. It is limited to very low-pile rugs, however, so the S7 has the option to set a no-mopping zone around any plush floor coverings you have. 

The Roborock S7 has a rubber brush, a side-sweeper, and a detachable mopping unit.

The Roborock S7 has a rubber brush, a side-sweeper, and a detachable mopping unit.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Roborock S7 has a rubber brush, a side-sweeper, and a detachable mopping unit.

You can use the Roborock as two separate robots — a vacuum and a mop — as it has a mop-only mode that moves in a tighter “Z” pattern and goes over the floors twice. I liked to send it out to vacuum everywhere first, then recharge and go out again to mop, which resulted in sparklingly clean floors. It takes a while, though.

My top pick, the Roomba j7, does work in combo with iRobot’s mopping robot, the Braava Jet M6. It also has the option of a self-emptying bin / dock, and you can get all this in a bundle for $950. The Roborock comes with a bin / dock combo for the same price. It doesn’t have the AI-avoidance tech of the Roomba, but the two-in-one capability means less clutter.

There’s also the new Roomba j7 Combo for $1,099 with its robot mop arm. But that doesn’t mop as effectively as either of these options, although it’s easier to use overall as you don’t have to mess with the mopping pad.

The Roborock S7 Plus combines the robot vac with an auto-empty dock.

The Roborock S7 Plus combines the robot vac with an auto-empty dock.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Roborock S7 Plus combines the robot vac with an auto-empty dock.

The Roborock S7 is a mapping robot that uses lidar sensors to map your home in minutes. It also gives you the option of room-specific cleaning commands (with the app or voice control via Alexa, Google, or Siri) and allows you to set keep-out zones. This is essential as it doesn’t have AI obstacle avoidance, so it will get stuck in regular robot traps such as clusters of cables. It also struggles with tight furniture footprints as it’s quite wide. The Roborock S7 works with Alexa Routines and can be set to run when you leave home, or you can use the app’s scheduling feature. 

$650

This multitasking robot mops and vacuums — and does both very well. It can even lift its mop to vacuum your rugs without getting them wet. It works with an auto-empty charging base (sold separately) and has Alexa, Google, and Siri voice control.

The S7 is the best option for a bot that can actually mop at a semi-accessible price. It does require a bit more hands-on effort, though, since you have to refill the reservoir (it doesn’t warn you when it’s empty) and wash the mopping pads (you can throw them in the washing machine). There is a new Roborock model that cleans its own mop, but it costs $1,400 (see the below).

For more details, read my full review of the S7 Plus here.

The Roomba i3 is the best value Roomba that can empty its own bin.

The Roomba i3 is the best value Roomba that can empty its own bin.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Roomba i3 is the best value Roomba that can empty its own bin.

Best robot vacuum that can auto-empty

While the Roomba j7 is the best bot if you want all the bells and whistles, the Roomba i3 Plus EVO is the best robot vacuum for a better price that also empties itself. You don’t get AI obstacle avoidance or app-enabled clean or keep-out zones, but you do get smart mapping (so you can control exactly which rooms it cleans and when) and a physical spot-cleaning button that lets you do small areas on the fly.

The mapping feature allows you to set a schedule to clean only certain rooms or send it off at any time to clean just the kitchen or living room. This helps make it less intrusive since it doesn’t try to clean the whole house on every run — meaning you’re less likely to find it sitting silently in a corner because an annoyed family member shut it off. However, it does take a long time to map your home initially (almost two hours for my downstairs), because iRobot uses its own navigation tech and not lidar, which most other mapping bots use to map in minutes.

The i3 Plus EVO is also iRobot’s most affordable self-emptying option. For several hundred dollars less than the j7 Plus, you get the power of a high-end Roomba vacuum; it has the same suction level and similar battery life as the j7. You can also buy the i3 as a standalone vacuum for around $300. However, it tends to bump into things more often than the j7, likely because it doesn’t have a camera on board. This resulted in a few toppled chairs during testing, so it isn’t the right bot for you if you have delicate items like vases on pedestals.

Just like the j7, the Roomba i3 uses two rubber brushes and a side brush. Unlike the j7, it has a spot-cleaning button on the robot.

Just like the j7, the Roomba i3 uses two rubber brushes and a side brush. Unlike the j7, it has a spot-cleaning button on the robot.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>Just like the j7, the Roomba i3 uses two rubber brushes and a side brush. Unlike the j7, it has a spot-cleaning button on the robot.

Most other features are the same as the j7, including voice control with Alexa, Google, and Siri; scheduling; the option to create favorite cleaning routes; and integration with smart home devices to tell your robot to get busy when you’re gone. The physical design is also very similar under the hood, with two multisurface rubber roller brushes to get more dirt up. These rubber brushes don’t get tangled by long hair the way bristle brushes can. Because there’s no option to add keep-out zones in the app, you’ll need to buy iRobot’s virtual walls if there are places you don’t want the robot to go. These are little towers that emit a 10-foot barrier or a 4-foot circle. They cost $99 for two, so if keep-out zones are important to you, it’s worth upgrading to the j7.

The best bang for your buck if you want a self-emptying robot, the Roomba i3 Plus cleans as well as the j7. It just won’t avoid clutter and doesn’t have app-enabled clean zones or keep-out zones. If you can live without those, you’ll be very happy with this bot.

The i3 has an attractive woven plastic gray top — a nice change from most of the shiny black plastic you find in this category (which is a magnet for dust, fingerprints, and scratches). It still gets stuck on common robot traps such as phone charging cables, cat toys, and, in my house, the skinny feet of a lounger chair. You do need to tidy up a bit before you set it free, but it does better with large cables and rug tassels than many other robots. (iRobot has an anti-tangle tech that makes the bot reverse course if it starts to get tangled.) This works pretty well for bigger items but, sadly, not phone charging cords.

The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is a new breed of bot that can do more for you, for a lot more money.

The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is a new breed of bot that can do more for you, for a lot more money.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is a new breed of bot that can do more for you, for a lot more money.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white md:text-30″>5. Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra

Best robot vacuum that can auto-empty, refill its mop, and clean itself

The very latest innovation in robot vacuums is a vacuum / mop combo that can empty its bin, refill the mopping reservoir, and then clean and dry the mop.

I’ve tested several models in this category now, and the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is my favorite. The Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni (which has a built-in voice assistant) is also good, but the Roborock can vacuum carpets and mop at the same time, whereas you have to choose your cleaning preference with the Ecovacs model.

The S7 MaxV Ultra has the same sonic, vibra-rising mopping action of the S7, so it mops very well. But it also has AI-powered obstacle recognition, so it won’t get caught out by clutter and can avoid stepping in dog poop. There’s also the option of using the onboard camera as a security camera, with two-way talk built-in. It’s an optional feature, not on by default, and is livestream only — there’s no recording. 

The downside of a device like this is that the charging / cleaning base is huge and not at all attractive. And while it is well-designed — easy to fill the fresh water and empty the dirty water tank — it does get a bit smelly. You also need to periodically clean the mopping station.

$1400

This robot is expensive but worth it if you want cleaning your floors to be almost completely hands-free for up to two months at a time. It works with Alexa, Google Home, and Siri Shortcuts for smart home control and doubles as a home security camera.

The mop cleaning and drying process is efficient, and, in theory, you don’t need to remove the pad after every run. But I would recommend throwing it in the washing machine every time you empty the dirty water tank.

One aspect of this type of hybrid vacuum is that it needs to go back to its base every 20 minutes to refill and wash its mop. This process is quite loud and takes two or three minutes to complete as the little brush in the base runs back and forth across the mop and scrubs it. This extends the time it will take to completely clean your home (although you can tweak the timing in the app). But you do get much cleaner floors as a result.

Read my full review of the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra here.

A head-on angle of the Shark AV2501AE AI Robot Vacuum docked in its self-cleaning station against a wall, plugged into a nearby outlet.

A head-on angle of the Shark AV2501AE AI Robot Vacuum docked in its self-cleaning station against a wall, plugged into a nearby outlet.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Shark AI Ultra XL is an excellent self-emptying robot with high-end features for a lower price.

Best midrange robot vacuum

The latest vacuum from Shark is the company’s first that uses lidar mapping. This brings the level of this bot way up, making it much more reliable than some of Shark’s previous models. It’s also designed exclusively as a self-emptying bot. (You can’t buy it separately.) For just over $600, you get most of the features of high-end bots that cost half as much again. 

A mapping robot, the Shark has room-specific cleaning and app-enabled keep-out zones. It also has a handy Zones feature that lets you select areas of your house — say, half the living room and the hallway — to clean on a schedule. This is useful for regular, quick cleans in high-traffic areas, and it doesn’t need to be set up every time you run it, as with some clean zone options.

The Shark AI Ultra XL has a hybrid bristle brush Shark calls “self-cleaning,” and two side brushes.

The Shark AI Ultra XL has a hybrid bristle brush Shark calls “self-cleaning,” and two side brushes.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Shark AI Ultra XL has a hybrid bristle brush Shark calls “self-cleaning,” and two side brushes.

The Shark has both clean zones and keep-out zones — neither of which the Roomba i3 Plus Evo has. If those features are important to you and the j7 Plus is a step too far, the Shark is a good option.

A brash, loud auto-emptying robot vacuum that’s long on features and short on style but comes at a real bargain. The Shark AI’s slimline bin / dock doesn’t use bags, which is a bonus. But don’t be fooled by the AI in the name — it can only avoid objects if they’re over four inches tall.

The major downside is that this robot is loud. It rattles terribly as it rolls around and is super distracting — you want to be far away when this is doing its job. The design is also flashy and ugly: lots of chrome and shiny black plastic and a really obnoxious Shark logo. But the base is relatively compact, and it’s the only self-emptying robot I tested that doesn’t use bags. You just empty it over the trash bin, so cost-wise you don’t have to spend $20 every few months for extra bags (which is how much iRobot charges for a three-pack of bags).

This budget Deebot bot from Ecovacs is an excellent match for your furry beast.

This budget Deebot bot from Ecovacs is an excellent match for your furry beast.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>This budget Deebot bot from Ecovacs is an excellent match for your furry beast.

Best robot vacuum for pet hair

The Deebot U2 Pro is a monster. With a giant 3,200mAh battery that goes for 150 minutes and a huge 800ml dustbin, this is one of the best sub-$400 bots for pet owners. There’s no smart mapping, keep-out zones, or AI obstacle avoidance, but it has enough intelligence to go in straight lines and not bumble randomly around your home.

The Deebot U2 uses a bristle / rubber brush or a rubber brush, and has two side brushes.

The Deebot U2 uses a bristle / rubber brush or a rubber brush, and has two side brushes.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Deebot U2 uses a bristle / rubber brush or a rubber brush, and has two side brushes.

Two things make it a great pet bot: the big bin and that it comes with a swappable bin / mopping pad. This means that if your pup makes a mess, you can do a quick switcheroo and have it mopped up in a few minutes. (It has a spot-cleaning mode in the app.) The second bin combines a 400ml dustbin with a 300ml water reservoir, which is unusually large for a budget bot. This ensures there’s enough water to get the grime up, and you can select different water levels in the app.

The budget-priced Deebot U2 Pro is a beast of a bot with a big battery and huge dustbin, making it a good option for households with pets. It also comes with a special pet hair-specific roller brush and a mop attachment.

In addition to spot mode and the standard back-and-forth cleaning mode, you can opt for edge-only cleaning to get all that pet hair off your baseboards. The Deebot U2 also comes with a tangle-free silicone brush you can swap out with the standard bristle brush. In my testing, bristle brushes work better on carpet but are prone to getting tangled with fur. (A lot of bots come with a little cutting tool to help with this.) The silicone brushes are able to shake off the hair better, making them good for households with lots of pet hair.

The Eufy G20 Hybrid is a small, svelte robot vac that’s perfect for tackling smaller jobs with less fuss.

The Eufy G20 Hybrid is a small, svelte robot vac that’s perfect for tackling smaller jobs with less fuss.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Eufy G20 Hybrid is a small, svelte robot vac that’s perfect for tackling smaller jobs with less fuss.

Best robot vacuum for small spaces 

This small, practically silent robot is an ideal, inexpensive option for a cozy apartment or to use as a second bot for an upstairs space or home office. Currently selling for $279 (or $179 for the mopless version), it lacks smart mapping features, has no smart obstacle avoidance, and only runs for 90 minutes. But it is the smallest and quietest vacuum I tested. 

Despite being a budget bot, it doesn’t partake in the classic bump-and-roll navigation. Instead, it uses gyroscopic navigation to divide the space into individual areas and clean each one methodically. Watching it go to work as it moves up and down in neat, rectangular boxes is quite soothing. 

The Eufy G20 Hybrid has a bristle / rubber brush, a side brush (not pictured), and a mop pad. The G20 model doesn’t have a mop.

The Eufy G20 Hybrid has a bristle / rubber brush, a side brush (not pictured), and a mop pad. The G20 model doesn’t have a mop.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>The Eufy G20 Hybrid has a bristle / rubber brush, a side brush (not pictured), and a mop pad. The G20 model doesn’t have a mop.

Slimness is a trademark of Eufy bots, as is a stylish, sleek design. If the competition is bulky SUVs, Eufys are the Porsches of the robot vacuum world. At 2.85 inches high, the G20 is the smallest robot vacuum I tested. Combined with whisper-quiet operation (66 decibels on the lowest suction level on hardwood floors), this makes it a good option if you’re looking for something to get under low furniture or run quietly while you’re working in your home office. 

Available as a vacuum G20 or vacuum / mop G20 Hybrid, Eufy’s G20 robot vacuum is a sleek and silent bot that does very well in small spaces, while the mop version is a good option for hardwood floors.

It also holds a decent amount of debris. The standard model has a large, 600ml dustbin, which can handle five or six runs’ worth of debris in a small space before you need to empty it. If you’re taking care of hardwood floors, the G20 Hybrid model swaps the 600ml debris bin for a 450ml bin and has a 130ml mopping reservoir. This is not going to do much to mop your floors, but it does help with fine dust and debris. 

While not really a feature I consider essential for operation, the G20 has a remote control option in the Eufy Home app, which means it can also double as a fun cat toy.

We tested a lot of robot vacuums. Here’s some tips on what to look for when picking your next house cleaner.

We tested a lot of robot vacuums. Here’s some tips on what to look for when picking your next house cleaner.

a:hover]:text-black text-gray-13 dark:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>We tested a lot of robot vacuums. Here’s some tips on what to look for when picking your next house cleaner.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white md:text-30″>What to look for in a robot vacuum cleaner

There’s a lot of specs around suction for you to study when selecting your new housemate (see my comparison chart), but I can tell you all of these rolling sweepers are suitably sucky, picking up everything from dog hair and kitty litter to Cheerios and dust bunnies. Most have multiple suction levels and will adjust when they sense carpet.

This makes the key consideration whether you want to spend money on a robot that can map your house for precision cleaning and avoidance (crucial if you have delicate objects or areas in your home), even more money on a model that can intelligently avoid clutter and a potential poop-ocalypse, and copiously more on one that can empty its own bin. If you don’t go the latter route, then the size of its onboard bin is an important factor. The bigger it is, the less often you’ll have to dump it out — never a fun experience.

Every Wi-Fi-connected robot vacuum worth its salt today works with Alexa or Google smart speakers for voice control, although some are limited to just stop / start and pause, whereas others can be told to go clean specific areas.

I wrote two blogs on how to use your robot vacuum with your voice assistant, so check those out if you want to know more about Alexa voice control or Google Home voice control. A couple of manufacturers now also work with Siri Shortcuts, so you can use Apple’s Siri voice assistant to command your bot. If you want this, look for robots from iRobot or higher-end models from Roborock and Ecovacs.

A few other things to keep in mind: No robot vacuum can climb stairs (yet), so if you want hands-free cleaning everywhere, you’ll want to budget for one per floor or be prepared to move it around. You can also buy extra charging bases, and some models can map multiple floors.

Thankfully, all the bots I tested have cliff sensors, and none attempted to dive off the stairs. Finally, none could really, truly get carpets clean. They get the surface, but if you have a carpeted house or lots of rugs, I’d also recommend investing in a stick vac for weekly deep cleans. (They’re also handy for stairs.)

The only robot I found that does a really good job on carpets is the Roomba s9, which has 30 times the suction power of the Roomba j7. But that’s a $1,000 bot (including a self-empty base), and its lack of AI obstacle avoidance means it’s prone to getting stuck.

Photos by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

This post was originally published on The Verge

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