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Best robot vacuum cleaner 2021: Clean carpets, hard floors and mop automatically

Read the Trusted Reviews list of the best robot vacuum cleaners. We've ranked our robot vacuum cleaner reviews to help you make the right choice.

A good vacuum cleaner will help you clean more quickly and more efficiently, a robot vacuum cleaner saves you even more time, as you don’t have to do anything apart from set it to go.

These are brilliant time-saving devices, getting most of the mess up, so when you do have to get the regular vacuum out, you’re only having to tackle edges and those hard-to-reach places.

Getting the right robot can be hard, as there are loads of models to choose from. Here, I’ve narrowed the choice down to the core robots available today, covering every budget and need, with some models even able to mop as well as vacuum.

How we test

How we test robot vacuum cleaners

All of our robot vacuum cleaners are fully tested and we don’t recommend any products that we haven’t seen and used in the flesh. To compare robots, we put them through the same set of tests, including their ability to pick up dirt and, for those that mop, their floor cleaning prowess. We test each one using any smart assistant support that it has, and we see how well they can navigate our homes. For more information, read our guide to how we test robot vacuum cleaners.

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Pros

  • Extremely powerful
  • Flexible configuration
  • Methodical cleaning

Cons

  • Slightly fiddly to set up

The original Dyson robot vacuum cleaner was the most powerful for years, and now the Dyson 360 Heurist takes its crown and throws in additional smarts. Externally, this model looks very much like the old one: its narrow but tall, so can fit through gaps but can’t get under all furniture.

As with the original model, the robot uses a camera to see where it’s going, although this time around the robot can map your home, letting you split it into zones. This lets you clean one room only, or set smart schedules that let the robot clean different rooms at different times, using different power settings for each one. As the robot cleans, it learns your home and improves its routing and cleaning patterns over time.

You need to place the 360 Heurist carefully to make sure it can navigate your home and map properly; if you don’t, it can get stuck. Fortunately, this effort is worth it, as this robot vacuum cleaner is the most powerful that we’ve tested. With its brush bar that runs the full width of the body, edge pick-up is excellent, and the vacuum managed all of our tests pretty much perfectly.

It’s an expensive vacuum cleaner but if you want a robot that can deliver a cleaning performance similar to using a manual cleaner, the Dyson 360 Heurist is for you.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Dyson 360 Heurist review

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Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Good performance on all surfaces
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Mopping is very basic
  • No programmable no-go zones

If you want a cheap(ish) robot vacuum cleaner that gets the basics right, then the Eufy RoboVac G30 Hybrid could be for you. Although it’s cheap, this model is very well built and looks the part, with a more interesting design than most robot vacuum cleaners.

It’s a little basic feature-wise: you can use the app to start a clean, but there’s no mapping control, so you can’t set no-go zones or the like. Instead, you get magnetic tape in the box that you have to place on the floor where you don’t want the cleaner to go.

Mopping is available, too, with a water tank at the back that gravity feeds a microfibre cloth. Performance is a little hit-and-miss: the cloth cleans up light stains but that’s it, so you’ll need to get out a regular mop when required.

While this cleaner may not have the features of its more expensive rivals, its relatively low cost and decent dirty pick up make it a winner.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full Review: Eufy RoboVac G30 Hybrid

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Pros

  • Excellent navigation
  • Cleans well
  • Useful mop attachment

Cons

  • Confusing array of power modes

Roborock is one of our favourite vacuum cleaner manufacturers. It has a wide-range of vacuum cleaners, with models blending into each other, but it’s the Roborock S5 Max that is our current top choice. This model has many of the features of the older S6 model, plus an improved system for mopping floors.

This is also one of the most intelligent vacuum cleaners that we’ve tested. Once this cleaner has mapped your home, you can split it into rooms, set no-go areas, and no-mop areas. The latter is particularly clever, as the S5 Max can vacuum dry areas first and then turn on its water tank to mop.
Mopping is basic (you select the water flow level, and the robot drips water onto a microfibre cloth) but it can be effective. Testing, we found that the mop could remove stains that vacuuming alone couldn’t touch. Vacuuming performance is excellent, too, and this powerful robot manages to pick up dirt well on hard floors and carpets, with its excellent navigation making sure that no areas are missed.

With Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant rounding off the features list, the Roborock S5 Max is currently the best all-rounder and great for those that have predominantly hard floors.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Roborock S5 Max review

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Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Cleans well
  • Great app and voice assistant support

Cons

  • Confusing array of cleaning modes
  • Bounces around a room

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.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Ecovacs Deebot N79S review

We’ve reviewed

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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 trodden-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.

Do I have to move anything?

As good as robot vacuum cleaners are and as powerful as their navigation has become, they can still run into problems around your home that will stop them. Dining chairs placed close together can make it hard for robots to navigate, while rugs with tassels or dangling cables can get tangled up in the robot’s brush. All of these are problems common to all vacuum cleaners, so before you start a clean, you need to make sure that you’ve picked up items on the floor. If you want the vacuum to get under a dining table, then you’ll have to move the chairs out of the way to give it access.

Ultimately, robot vacuum cleaners are a great way to maintain your home but they’re not miracle workers and need help to get around. And, you’ll need to get a regular vacuum cleaner out from time to time in order to keep your home looking its best.

Are there any consumables?

Most robot vacuum cleaners have parts that will need to be replaced, typically around every six months or so, although the app should keep track. You’ll need to replace side brushes, main floor brushes and the filters to keep your vacuum cleaner operating in its best condition. If you’ve got a vacuum that can also mop, you’ll need to clean the microfibre cloths from time to time: don’t use fabric conditioner as this clogs up the microfibres and prevents the cloth from picking up dirt as effectively.

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