Why should you spend countless hours bending over and sweeping the floors while a robot could do it for you? Now, I know when robot vacuums were first introduced they were thought to be a thing for the futurists. In their early stages, they were arguably ahead of their time. Between their confusing setup, not so great suction power, and the awkwardness that followed when they got stuck and you had to retrieve them from tiny spaces between couches (a process that took the “ease” out of owning one), robot vacuums were more annoying and tiring to use than regular vacuums.
But things have since changed. Courtesy of improved sensors, functional and responsive apps and healthy industry competition, robot vacuums are now pretty darn good at their job and many homeowners are embracing them.
This is some great news, right? Their popularity comes with some confusion. Before there were just a handful of robot vacuums to choose from but today, the list of brands and models is endless. Luckily for you, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to try out a huge chunk of these vacuums and compiled a list of those that are worth your time.
Quicklook: The Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners
- iRobot Roomba 980 – $899
- Neato D7 – $689
- Eufy RoboVac 11 – $223
- EcoVac Deebot N79S – $229
- Samsung Powerbot R7065 – $549
Do Robot Vacuums Really Work?
Yes, robot vacuums do work. Robot vacuums are not toys or novelty items like most people think. They are functional and time-saving. Think about it, if you are running late for an event or you probably just hate cleaning up, a bot will make cleaning easier and faster for you. You just need to turn it on and it does the rest. There’s very little setup needed and most work on all floor types. I love them mainly because they do not battle with procrastination or even get bored. It’ll clean your home as programmed without fail and get all the tricky spots you overlook like under the couch or bed.
Quick tip: for your peace of mind, we suggest that you don’t watch your robot work. Why? Well, robots, even the smartest ones look stupid from time to time which could make you second guess a pretty decent purchase. You are better off programming it to clean when you are out.
How to Choose the Best Robot Vacuum
This is the hardest bit for robots vacuums. For this reason, I’m intrigued when I come across a robot vacuum that can complete its tasks with minimal supervision. Robot vacuums do this by navigating the rooms and maneuvering around furniture and wires.
Robots don’t have eyes as humans do. Instead, they have sensors. Cliff sensors let the robot know the distance to the floor has increased. These sensors are what tell robot vacuums to stop when they come to the edge of the staircase. Other sensors alert it when they are about to hit an obstacle. Depending on the brand and model you get, the robot vacuum might come with sensors to determine how dirty the floor is. This will allow the robot to adjust to the most suitable cleaning setting for utmost efficiency.
More and more manufacturers are adding this feature to the robot vacuums. They do this by adding more cameras around the vacuum to provide it with a 360-degree view of its location. This feature helps a robot vacuum to locate itself in a room.
The advantage of this is that the vacuum can tell the areas it has worked on and those that it’s yet to work on. It avoids repetition.
In a perfect world, you’d probably clear the clutter on the floors before releasing your bot. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Decluttering is not always possible. Manufacturers are aware of this and include boundary blockers in their models. These blockers create virtual barriers in areas you don’t want the robot to go such as the kid’s room or your pet’s space. For some models, these blockers are implemented by simply running a piece of magnetic tape in front of the forbidden room or area.
Robot vacuum dimensions are a big deal for several reasons. First, the size of the robot vacuum will determine its effectiveness in cleaning some tight spots like under recliners and couches. If it’s tall, it can’t get through or worse, it’ll get stuck while cleaning.
But on the flip side, bigger robot vacuums mean larger dustbins. Since robot vacuums don’t come with expandable bags like conventional vacuums, what you see is what you get. Unfortunately, there isn’t a size ‘sweet spot’. You just have to factor in your room’s layout and see what works best for you.
Wi-Fi enabled bots can be controlled via smartphone apps. Though this alone doesn’t really justify the extra costs they fetch, some additional perks like cleaning history and ability to edit and save floor maps make it worth-while.
Vacuum performance matters. However, it’s not as crucial as many people make it out to be. I mean, if the robot vacuum is picking up crumbs and dirt such that you cannot feel anything sticking to your feet when you walk barefoot around the house, it’s doing its job. If you get a bot that can clean your rug that’s a bonus but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Even the strongest and most expensive bot only has cleaning power a fraction of a cheap upright vacuum.
Review of Best Robot Vacuums in 2019
It’s simple really. We put the bots through a series of stress tests and rated how they fared. Ranked their cleaning performance, navigation, noise levels, and app user experience. We also factored in how easy it is to get replacement parts like filters.
iRobot Roomba 980
This bot is perfect for those who are willing to cough up extra cash for quality performance. The Roomba 980 excels on the basics. It does a thorough cleaning job and doesn’t need supervision while at it. The vacuum has different cleaning settings. When it rolls over a high pile carpet, it amps up its power and reduces the power when it moves to hardwood floors and low-pile carpets. This way it saves a lot of energy. It cleans every corner in a room and doesn’t get stuck.
Complementing its cleaning performance is the easy to use iRobot app. You can schedule cleaning sessions and check on the vacuums status. And unlike other robot vacuums that have a hard time extracting hairs and wires, the Roomba 980 is designed to avoid such snags.
It has virtual walls and a ‘send home’ button. The button comes in handy when you have guests over and you don’t want it to keep circling their legs. Its battery runs for 120 minutes and then it recharges itself.
- Captures 99% of allergens courtesy of the AeroForce filter
- Easy to use App
- Cleans all kinds of floors
- It’s expensive
We found that the D7 requires some bit of assistance in comparison to the Roomba 980. However, the extra features it sports makes it a great rival.
For starters, its app is easy to use. After several cleaning sessions, it provides the floor plan of the rooms it has cleaned. You can draw some likes to put up virtual barriers. Moreover, it has a spot cleaning setting. When in this setting, the bot doesn’t clean the entire room. It only concentrates on the area you designate.
For fun, you can control the D7 like a remote control car. I know this sounds super lazy, but it’s really fun. Lastly, though it features an ultra-performance filter, the 980’s cleaning is slightly better. But as we said, you shouldn’t lose sleep over this.
- Battery lasts for 2 hours
- It has a stylish design
- Simple virtual barrier setup
- Has a small waste bin
- The bin overfills since it lacks a bin sensor
Eufy RoboVac 11
Admittedly, this isn’t the most feature-filled robot vacuum there is. But we give it thumbs up for not being afraid to get dirty when the need arises. The best bit about the RoboVac 11 is its cheap price tag. But even with the cheap price tag, it still offers great convenience and is functional.
To ensure a thorough cleaning job is done, the unit features a 3-point cleaning system. This system includes a rolling brush, side brushes, and a powerful suction. Other premium features include an anti-scratch tempered glass cover for superior protection and infrared sensors to help avoid obstacles.
- It is cheap
- Has decent cleaning performance
- Doesn’t come with a companion app
- Its battery life is short
EcoVac Deebot N79S
Its true robot vacuums are expensive. And in all fairness, we did warn you from the start. But don’t let this scare you away. You can get the EcoVac N79S for a cheaper price. The N79S is perfect for persons on a budget.
But despite its price, its performance is exemplary. It has 3 cleaning modes, voice controls, and a smart app. It auto charges has air filtration, and anti-collision and anti-drop sensors to improve its navigation.
- 3 cleaning modes
- Has a smart app
- It comes with protective bumpers
- Suction power is not as strong as more expensive models
- Not very thorough
Samsung Powerbot R7065
This Samsung robot vacuum is designed to solve lots of problems that affect most bots. It has a unique design which makes it best for cleaning corners (where most dust hide). It comes manual settings which make it possible to tackle spot cleaning when cleaning the entire room is overkill.
The Powerbot R7065 is also great at adjusting its power when it rolls over onto different surfaces. This means that it will do a great cleaning job. It’s also worth mentioning that this bot is a little more organized and orderly in its cleaning. It tries to clean in straight lines even when it hits obstacles. This might not matter to you but it’s a big deal when you have pets. The bot will scare them less.
- It’s orderly
- Edge cleaning
- Combo brush
- Wi-Fi connection
- Has issues cleaning thick rugs
- Short battery life
Should You Buy a Robot Vacuum?
Yes, why not? With the current economic times, we find ourselves having to take up more jobs to earn enough to live comfortably. This leaves us with little time to do other things around the house. And if you think about it, this is one of the comforts working hard can afford you.
Just make sure that whichever robot vacuum you pick is superb and has great reviews. The above five bots are a great place to start your search.