Vacuuming is not a fun job, so why not hand the hard work off to a robot? With one of our best robot vacuum cleaners, you can clean your home more regularly. With these maintenance cleans, your house will be tidier and a full vacuum will take far less time.
We’ve reviewed all of the main robot vacuum cleaners, but we’ve narrowed down the choice to the six we’ve listed here. Of these, two stand out. For excellent cleaning performance and nimble navigation, the Dyson 360 Eye is the best robot vacuum cleaner you can buy. If you’re on a tight budget and want something simple, the Ecovacs Deebot N79s is excellent value.
How we pick the best robot vacuum cleaners
Robot vacuum cleaners are ‘maintenance’ cleaners. That is, they do a good job of picking up daily dirt on a regular basis, but you’ll need to turn to a full vacuum cleaner for a deeper clean. As such, these smart vacs can’t be expected to perform as well as their full-sized counterparts, but cleaning performance is still important when it comes to finding the best robot vacuum cleaner.
To test the devices, we use a mixture of talc, flour and carpet cleaner. We spread ‘X’ patterns around a room, both on hard surfaces, against the wall and on carpet, and leave the robot vacuum cleaner to do its job. Our tests reveal two things: the cleaning power, and the robot vacuum’s ability to navigate. A good cleaner will hit every spot, picking up the majority of dirt. A poor cleaner will leave dirt behind or avoid it completely as a result of poor navigation.
We measure the performance of a cleaner after it has completed the clean and returned to base, but time the operation. We’ve had some cheaper cleaners that bounce around for a long period, and eventually pick up everything. However, this runs down their batteries and reduces the area that they can clean. A proper robot vacuum cleaner should methodically tackle a room, taking the most efficient path, so it can clean well and manage larger areas.
Usability is important, too, so we test how easy it is to programme each robot, using any on-device controls, smartphone apps and – where available – integration with smart assistants such as Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant.
We test how well robots cope with different surfaces – including thick rugs – and whether they can tackle stairs without falling to their doom. We also assess their ability to clean under and around sofas and various other furniture, and whether they’re able to manoeuvre between chair legs.
1. Dyson 360 Eye
The most powerful robot vacuum cleaner
Designed to offer the suction of a normal vacuum cleaner, the Dyson 360 Eye is an exceptionally powerful robot vacuum cleaner. Smaller – yet taller – than its rivals, the 360 Eye’s advantage is that it can squeeze through tighter gaps; but it can struggle to get under sofas.
Dyson has fitted the 360 Eye with tank tracks, which means that it can cope with pretty much any surface, from thick rugs and beyond. The Eye 360 gets its name from the camera on top, which lets the robot see where it’s going, planning intelligent routes that will enable the robot to tackle the majority of your rooms. Note that the vacuum does need natural light to work properly, however.
Methodical movements let the robot cover most of your home, although it can struggle on occasion to remove all dirt close to a skirting board.
During a clean, the 360 Eye can return to its charger to top up the battery, so it will cope with large houses easily. With the app now supporting Alexa, you can even set off a clean using your voice. If it’s a powerful clean without any effort that you’re after, the Dyson 360 Eye is the machine to buy.
2. Ecovacs Deebot N79s
A low-cost robot vacuum for those on a tight budget
If you don’t have a huge budget, the Ecovacs Deebot N79S could be the model for you. Available at a great price, this model connects to the excellent app, giving you remote control, plus Amazon Echo and Google Assistant integration.
You don’t get smart navigation with this model. Instead, it moves around and bounces off of furniture. This means that a cleaning cycle takes a comparatively long time, compared to more impressive cleaners on this list. However, what it lacks in intelligence, the Ecovacs Deebot N79S makes up with cleaning quality. At the end of our tests, we found that our hard floor and carpet were both exceptionally clean, with the majority of dust picked up.
Excellent build quality and a bundled remote control round off the experience. If you’re after a cheap robot vacuum cleaner, then this is the model to buy.
3. RoboRock S6
Excellent performance at a price you’ll like
We’ve been impressed with RoboRock’s previous vacuums, but the brand-new RoboRock S6 is the company’s best product yet. Although it’s the high-end model, the price is more in-line with other manufacturer’s mid-range products. So, what’s so good? Well, vacuuming performance is excellent, with the RoboRock S6 able to pick up the majority of dust and dirt both from hard floors and carpets.
Even better, the app is really smart and lets you zone your home, so you can pick specific areas to clean, either entire rooms or parts of a room. So, if you’re in the kitchen, you can have the S6 just clean your prep area. If you do want to clean your entire house, the S6 has a massive battery, so it should last the distance.
There’s a mopping option, with a water cartridge slipping underneath. There’s a switch to control how much water comes out (minimum or maximum), but the results aren’t the best and deeper stains didn’t come out. And, as the water is gravity fed, it keeps coming out when the robot stops. We prefer the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930 for mopping, with its controllable amount of water. There’s Amazon Alexa support, although the Skill is more basic than on other models.
If you’re after a quality vacuum at a great price, look no further.
4. RoboRock S5
High-end features, mid-range price.
Who said that powerful robot vacuum cleaners have to be expensive? The RoboRock S5 proves that you can get proper features without having to pay a fortune. This model has laser navigation, programmable no-go areas, and Amazon Alexa support, plus it can even mop.
As a vacuum cleaner, the RoboRock S5 performed well, picking up the majority of dirt in our hard floor and carpet tests. The mopping feature is less succesful, and struggled to clean our floor. Plus, you have to remove the mop when done, to prevent water spillage.
The app is a little clunky at times and gives far too many options for cleaning power. It could do with a bit of streamlining. That all said, the RoboRock S5 gets the basics right and provides features usually seen on much more expensive models.
5. Neato Botvac D6 Connected
A supremely powerful and feature-packed cleaner
Slotting in just underneath the Botvac D7 Connected (featured just below on this list), the Neato Botvac D6 Connected nets you a similar range of features for a chunk less cash.
Short yet wide, the D6 Connected can slip under most sofas for a thorough clean, but its wide body means that narrow gaps are a little harder to navigate. A single button on the top lets you start a quick clean, but you get more control with the app.
Once the robot has made a mapping clean, you can use the app to set virtual no-go areas, keeping the D6 Connected where you want it. Up to three maps can be stored, so you can set no-go areas for different floors in your home. The D7 Connected will soon get area cleaning, letting you clean a specific room in your house, but that’s the only difference.
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT support make this a well-connected robot vacuum cleaner, too.
Cleaning was excellent, with the D6 Connected picking up our spilt powder brilliantly on hard floors and carpets alike. The D7 Connected remains the pinnacle of Neato’s line-up, but the D6 is a close second and the lower price may just tempt you.
6. Neato Botvac D7 Connected
The pinnacle of robot vacuum technology.
With the Botvac D7 Connected, Neato has made just about the smartest robot vacuum cleaner you can buy. New to this model is a smart mapping system that lets you plot no-go areas for the cleaner, enabling the device to keep the part of the house that you want to use tidy, while ignoring the other areas.
Once the cleaner has mapped out your home after its first clean, you can draw the areas it can’t go. While you can block off an entire room, protecting a valuable rug might prove too fiddly. Fortunately, you can use the magnetic tape to mask other no-go areas more precisely.
Smart navigation lets the Botvac D7 get around easily, covering most of a home with ease. We found that its cleaning was powerful, picking up most of our test dust in the middle of the room and against a wall.
Its low-profile body means the D7 can get under furniture, but it’s wide and so may not fit between all gaps; we found it became stuck trying to navigate through chair legs. And, on the default mode, the Botvac D7 Connected can be a bit rough, charging into furniture.
A smart app lets you control everything, from an initial clean to a schedule. Plus, there’s Alexa support too, so you can start a clean using your voice. An IFTTT channel means you can do smart things, such as pause cleaning when you receive a phone call. With its clever navigation and powerful cleaning, the Botvac D7 Connected is the smartest robot vacuum cleaner we’ve tested and one of the best.
It’s worth pointing out that the Vorwerk Kobold VR300 is effectively the same product, following Vorwerk’s aquisition of Neato. There are a couple of differences, though. First, the VR300’s bin has a hole shaped for the Kobold VK200 plug-in cleaner’s nozzle attachment, so you can just suck out the dust. That’s a handy feature if you have a Vorwerk cleaner already and want a quick way to empty the bin.
Secondly, the app and features are different. While the app gives you largely the same range of options as the Neato one, you don’t get Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant support, which is a real shame. We find it far easier to start a clean using a voice command than turning to the app. Given that the VR300 is also more expensive, the Neato Botvac D7 Connected is better value, or you could choose one of the other products from our list.
7. Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930
The robot for keeping hard floors well mopped.
Despite its mid-range price, the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930 has some high-end features, including programmable no-go areas on the map, so you can protect an area from being cleaned. It’s the inclusion of a mop that makes this robot really stand out.
Thanks to its water reservoir and microfibre cloth, the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930 can keep your hard floors shiny and clean. Performance from the combination of vacuum and mop were very good, picking up the worst marks on our kitchen floor. Compared to a vacuum-only device, the Ozmo 930 did better overall.
Vacuum performance is solidly mid-range, with the vacuum missing some bigger chunks of our test dirt. For carpet cleaning, then, you’re better off looking elsewhere. If you’ve got mostly hard floors, the ability to vacuum and clean in one go is very enticing.
Those are our top picks of the best robot vacuum cleaners. If you want to know more about choosing the right model, keep reading.
Robot vacuum cleaner buying guide
Best robot vacuum cleaners – Does size matter?
Robot vacuum cleaners tend to be short and wide, or tall and thin. The former is good for getting under furniture; the latter is ideal for getting through narrow gaps. Ultimately, design is a choice that revolves around compromise and there will be areas a cleaner can’t reach, so choose the shape that best suits the type of space and furniture you have.
Best robot vacuum cleaners – What kind of battery life do I need?
Battery life is important to a degree: the longer the battery life, the more of your home a robot can clean. Typically, robots will last around 45 minutes, which is good enough for a floor of an average-sized house. However, the best cleaners will make their way back to their charging station, top-up and then carry on.
Best robot vacuum cleaners – What bin size do I need?
Robot vacuum cleaners have far smaller bins than traditional cleaners – typically, 0.3 to 0.7 litres. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re using a robot regularly, there’s less dust to pick up. Ultimately, you’ll most likely have to empty a vacuum cleaner after each clean.
Best robot vacuum cleaners – Are smart features important?
Unless you’re going ultra-budget, a robot vacuum cleaner with an app is a must. Smartphone apps make scheduling and control far easier, and you can start a clean without having to be right by your robot. Look for Alexa or Google Assistant support if you’d like to start a clean without having to stand up first.
Best robot vacuum cleaners – What about mopping?
A few robot vacuum cleaners also offer a mopping feature, squirting water out onto the floor, then using a microfibre cloth to wipe up dirt. These can be a great option on hard floors, where trod-in dirt stains tend to stand out more. We find ours useful for keeping a relatively light kitchen floor clean after cats have walked on it. The downside is that with the mop attached, you can’t vacuum carpets. So, if you’ve got lots of hard floors, look for a model with a mop for cleaning; if you’ve mostly got carpet, then the mopping feature probably won’t be a lot of use.