When thinking about smart home devices, your mind likely doesn’t go to vacuum cleaners. However, in today’s age, everything is getting the smart treatment, and vacuum cleaners are no exception. Robotic vacuums are no new thing, but here recently, they’ve become a bit more advanced, fitting nicely into the ecosystem of smart devices, and they are a huge win in terms of convenience. If you could use a little more automation in your life, we’re here to help you decide on one of the best robotic vacuums.
TL;DR – For it’s overall performance, battery life, app, and features, we’d recommend you pick up the Roomba 980. While there are more powerful vacuums and some with better battery life, the iRobot Roomba 980 is the most well-rounded package and is a great addition to any home.
Interested in the other picks that made our list? Keep reading to find out.
Best Overall – Roomba 980
Roomba is the most recognized name in the robotic vacuum space. Its name is synonymous with the category itself, much like Chapstick or Band-Aid.
For those not familiar with the other players in the space, they might automatically assume your robotic vacuums is a Roomba. How’s that so? Roomba has been around for years and continues to raise the bar in terms of what’s possible with a robotic vacuum within a certain price range. The Roomba 980 is iRobot’s top-of-line package that nearly doubles the runtime of the closest model, and increases the deep cleaning power.
While there are better-performing devices out there, and some with better battery life, the 980 takes our best overall spot because it’s well-rounded and has a ton of value for your money. That said, it isn’t cheap at $899.
Wifi Connectivity -The Roomba 980 is one of many wifi-enabled robot vacuums. This feature allows you to command your little robot helper to make a pass across your floors from anywhere you happen to be. If you’d like a quick touch on your way home from work, you can whip out the iRobot Home app, and get the job done. You’ll also be able to look back on past jobs in case you’re ever curious if your floors were cleaned.
Multi-Room Capability – Unlike many other robot vacuums, the Roomba 980 handles multiple rooms in one run like a champ. With the two included Virtual Wall Barriers (which are battery-powered and can be moved from room to room) the 980 is able to find its way around an entire level of your home and back to the charging station with no problem.
Battery Life – Like we already mentioned, there are vacuums with better battery life, but a runtime of up to 120 mins (reported by the manufacturer,) is nothing to scoff at. Not to mention that is plenty of time for most homes to get a good cleaning. The Roomba 980 also has dirt detecting sensors that will, well, detect dirt and concentrate on areas that need more attention.
Suction – Not the worst, but not the best either. Robotic vacuums aren’t the best for cleaning large messes in general, however, the 980 does seem to struggle more than other vacuums of equal or lesser price when it comes to picking up large piles of dirt. Something like the Samsung POWERbot R9250, or even the Neato Botvac Connected will be better suited for these kinds of jobs.
Sub-Par Edge Cleaning – The Roomba’s circular shape makes getting into corners and along edges of walls a bit challenging. However, the bot does have side brushes to help. Unfortunately, they don’t do as good of a job as some other options on the market.
Best Value – Eufy RoboVac 11+
If you’re looking for something that’s a little more affordable but still gets the job done, you might want to check out the Eufy Robovac 11+. At $249, the Eufy RoboVac 11+ is a fraction of the price of some higher end devices making it great choice. This is a great device for anyone who’s looking to get into the world of robotic vacuums but isn’t necessarily looking for the biggest and baddest machine available. The feature-set available with this vacuum is very similar to many of the more expensive options there will be some features that you are missing.
Programmable & Multiple Modes – With the Robovac 11+ you have the option to clean in a few different ways. You can let it have full reign of your house, navigating through fairly open areas, across different flooring types, and around obstacles. You can also set the robot to clean only one room at a time for 30 minutes to get a deep clean. On top of that, you can use the included remote to direct the robot to the specific spot you need it to clean.
Low profile – At right around 3″ tall, the Robovac 11+ can fit under your furniture and get into spaces that are even tough for your regular vacuum cleaner, and also can’t be reached with some of the most expensive robotic vacuum cleaners. For comparison sake, this is almost an inch shorter/lower than the Roomba 980 and about 2 inches shorter than the Samsung R9250.
Automatically returns home – Some of the more cost-conscious robotic vacuums sacrifice this feature, but with the RoboVac 11+, you won’t have to worry about manually plugging in your device.
Quiet operation – This device can clean your home while you are home without disrupting your daily activities with an obtrusive sound.
Battery life – Compared to the more expensive models which get you up to 120 minutes of cleaning time, the RoboVac 11+ is only rated for up to 60 minutes of runtime. Fortunately, that will be enough for a couple of rooms cleaned and should be fine for maintaining a clean in your home.
Cleaning power – As you might expect at a lower price point, the RoboVac 11+ doesn’t quite measure up to the big dogs when it comes to cleaning power. Eufy has tried to compensate for this by adding the Power Boost mode in this model which basically increases the cleaning strength when the device detects that it’s required. Keep in mind though, when that mode is activated, the battery will drain even faster.
No WiFi connectivity – Unlike the others on this list, the RoboVac 11+ is not wifi enabled and, therefore, cannot be controlled via app or voice. The device does come with a remote which will allow you to program cleaning times as well as manually direct where you need cleaning the most.
Best Battery Life – Neato Botvac Connected
Next up on our list is a robotic vacuum from Neato – the Botvac Connected. Neato has a premium line of robotic vacuums that boast a ton of features that make their devices worth your consideration. However, the main reason the Neato Botvac Connected makes it on our list is the battery life. Neato claims the device has a run time of 120 minutes in Eco mode and 90 minutes when in Turbo mode.
For the majority of people, that is going to be plenty of time to clean an entire level of your home and get into some of the nooks and crannies. Outside of battery life, here’s what else you should know about the $605 Botvac Connected.
WiFi connectivity & a solid app– A common trait among some of the top-tier robotic vacuums, WiFi connectivity is certainly a welcome feature with the Botvac Connected. When you boot up your device, you can follow the steps in Neato’s clean, well-designed app to connect it to your home WiFi. From there, you control the vacuum with the app. You can change modes, receive push notifications when cleaning is complete, and even control the vacuum like an RC car – directing it to the exact spot that needs attention.
Voice-enabled – Going one step further with the smart capabilities, the Neato Botvac Connected is voice enable and works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. With this integration, you could simply start a cleaning as your walking out of your house for work using on your voice. Or, you can even pause a cleaning with your voice if you have an unexpected guest.
Cleans corners – The shape of the robot vacuum may not seem like a big deal, but the ‘D’ shape of the Botvac allows the device to get into tough corners that others may have trouble with. That in combination with the side brushes puts this one ahead of the pack when it comes to edging up your rooms.
Limited app functionality – Though the Neato app is well-designed and a nice way to interact with the bot, there are some features that we think should be included but just aren’t. That is, the exclusion of details when it comes to errors with the bot, or even cleaning time for past jobs in case you need to see that information.
Eco-mode lacks performance – This one is a bit picky, but with the addition of Eco-mode, the Botvac is able to reach those high battery benchmarks; however, the performance takes quite a hit here. To get that longer battery, the suction power of the Botvac is greatly reduced, but on the upside, it will also perform quieter.
Best in Class Performance – Samsung POWERbot R9350
Finally, we arrive at the biggest and baddest robotic vacuum on our list, the Samsung POWERbot R9350. It’s also quite expensive at $1,199.
The reason this beast is so expensive is that it offers some of the best suction and overall performance available for such a small machine. To get a bit more technical, the robot sports a “Cyclone Force” system that uses centrifugal forces to help separate dirt particles and pet hair to maintain suction power and prevent clogs and tangles. On top of that, the R9350 has one of the widest brushes around, measuring in at 12.2″, and extending almost to the very edge of the device which makes for better cleaning along the walls.
Heavy duty – if you can’t tell by looking at it, the POWERbot R9350 is a hefty device weighing in at nearly 11 pounds. What that means for you though is a very large motor that also has a 10yr warranty, wide brushes, and relatively massive wheels. Pun intended, with the monster wheels on the POWERbot, this device can power its way around your home, onto many different surfaces to make sure no room is left untouched.
Vision mapping – Whereas any robotic vacuum can maneuver their way around your home in one way or another, the POWERbot R9250 does it smarter than most. When you first set up your machine, the top-mounted camera scans the ceiling in your rooms to get a floor plan of your entire home. While the process can take some time, it’s well worth the wait. The outline of your entire home is sent from the vacuum to the companion app. From there you can select the specific rooms you want to the vacuum to focus on in any given cleaning.
Point and clean – Adding to the vacuum’s list of features is the included remote which allows you to point a laser at the exact spot you need the vacuum cleaner to focus its attention. You’ll find this is much easier than having to break out the app and manually steer the device to a specific location.
Cost – Obviously this vacuum is a little cost prohibitive at nearly $1,200. At this price you get a lot of high-tech features and outstanding performance, but for many people that is simply too much money. The POWERbot is certainly more powerful than our overall pick, the Roomba 980, but considering the price and features, the Roomba may be the better choice for most. However, if you aren’t concerned with the price tag, and want the best of the best, the R9350 is the way to go.
Battery life – The POWERbot has three different cleaning modes; Max, Normal, and Quiet. If you want to get the most power and run the device in Max mode, you’re looking at a significantly lower run time than even our best value option at approximately 30 minutes. However, decreasing the power and the sound of the device and running in Quiet mode will get you up to 90 minutes of cleaning, still 30 mins less than our best battery life option. Since this bot will return home for a charge automatically, I don’t see any reason to run this in any other mode but Max. After all, you’re buying this for the power.
Height clearance – The flip side to the device being heavy duty with a large motor and wheels is that it isn’t able to squeeze into those small areas like a low couch or under counter toe-kicks in the kitchen. The device measures in at about 5.5″ – compared to our overall pick at 3.6″, that’s quite a bit taller.
Of course, the complete list of robotic vacuums is much more expansive than what we’ve shown here, though these are what we would consider as the top contenders in their respective categories. However, if you’d like a few more options to research a little on your own, take a look at some of our other considerations below.
Let’s call it like it is. There’s a lot of feature parity when it comes to robotic vacuums. Just by looking at the devices on this list alone, you can see a common theme amongst most vacuums. All of the adjust to the flooring type automatically, nearly all of the return to their charging docks automatically, and they all share a pretty similar product design. What it comes down to is the level of importance you place on things like internet connectivity, integration with other smart devices, battery run time, and other features like voice activation or even vision mapping for the real elites.
Did we miss your favorite robotic vacuum? If so, let us know in the comments below so we can check it out ourselves!