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While there are a few gimmicks on the market that are more trouble than they’re worth, robot vacuums really do all the hard work for you. If you’re not too sure these nifty devices are worth the investment, we answer all your burning questions about robot vacuum cleaners, as well as recommend the 10 best for every concern.
What is a robot vacuum?
A robot vacuum is a cordless vacuum that works autonomously so clean your floors with very little effort needed on your park.
They have built-in sensors and programmable controls that give you the freedom to set it and forget it, allowing it to work its magic on your carpets, hardwood floors, or tiles.
Is a robot vacuum better than an upright vacuum?
Although they aim to do the same thing, vacuum your floors, these devices are very different in the way they operate and the way they’re used.
Traditional upright vacuums are bigger and heavier than robot vacuums, which usually means they have more dust space and more powerful suction.
This makes them faster as robot vacuums often have to go over the same spaces again and again.
Also, robot vacuums are yet to master travelling down the stairs so if you have a house with multiple levels and stairs you want to vacuum, an upright vacuum will be better equipped to meet these demands.
Do robot vacuums fall down the stairs?
Robot vacuums can’t go downstairs (yet) so you’ll have to set it up on each level of your home, it won’t be able to handle a multi-level house unassisted.
Are robot vacuums safe to use with pets?
Most should be, yes. The robot vacuum in question will say in its description whether or not it’s pet friendly, and whether it’s up to the task of picking up pet hair.
Your furry friend may be a little wary of the vacuum at first, but after a while, they should get used to it (just like they do upright vacuums).
Are robot vacuums noisy?
One of the main selling points of robot vacuums is how quiet they are, especially when compared to upright vacuums.
Obviously, not all models are the exact same and if noise is a major concern you should make sure the device stipulates a low noise level before you buy it.
Best quiet robot vacuum cleaners
Coredy R500+ Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Just 7.2cm thin and nearly silent, you’ll almost forget this robot vacuum cleaner is working. It’s that inconspicuous.
One of the worst parts of vacuuming is the obnoxious noise level that disturbs your neighbours and aggravates your pets, but that won’t be a concern with the Coredy R500+ as it works at a whisper-quiet noise level.
The three-point cleaning system and dual edge brushes work a treat on both hard floors and carpets, and you can schedule and customise your cleaning preferences from the convenient remote control.
You can choose between five cleaning modes including spot cleaning, edge cleaning, max vacuuming cleaning, single room cleaning, and manual cleaning.
The built-in anti-collision technology stops any unnecessary run-ins, and the high-capacity battery is suitable for most house sizes.
Battery life: 120 minutes | Dust bag capacity: 0.5L | Surface recommendation: Hard floors and carpet.
Best robot vacuum with mapping
iRobot® Roomba® i3+
When a robot vacuum is doing the hard work for you, how can it get any easier? Well, with the iRobot® Roomba® i3+ it actually can – the device even empties itself for you.
The AllergenLock backs capture and traps 90 percent of pollen and mould, and then it connects with the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal that allows the vacuum to empty itself for up to 60 days.
The three-stage cleaning system picks up stubborn dirt and debris, and the intelligent navigation system cleans in neat rows.
The built-in reactive sensor tells the robot where it can and can’t go, and the Dirt Detect sensors point it in the directions that need the most cleaning.
Battery life: 90 minutes | Surface recommendation: Hard floors and carpet.
Buy: iRobot (£699.99)
Best robot vacuums with powerful suction
DYSON 360 Heurist Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Surely no one is surprised that Dyson takes the top spot for the most powerful suction – they just know how to make a good vacuum.
Using Dyson’s intelligent technology, this device generates 20 percent more suction than its predecessor so you can enjoy clean floors without lifting a finger.
With an advanced memory and quad-core processor, this vacuum learns and adapts to best suit your home so it won’t miss any spots or leave any dirt behind.
Battery life: 75 minutes | Dust bag capacity: 0.33L | Surface recommendation: Carpet, hard floor, wood, and laminate.
Best budget robot vacuum cleaner
LXRZLS Cheap Wet And Dry Sweeper
This robot vacuum cleaner isn’t anywhere near as powerful or advanced as the other devices on this list, but it is the only one that is a budget-friendly price.
The simple robot vacuum cleaner works best on smaller jobs, used as a touch up between big vacuuming jobs rather than used solely to do your weekly clean.
It is powerful enough to pick up dust, dirt, and pet hair, but may not be able to provide the spotless finish of a more advanced vacuum cleaner.
Battery life: 60 minutes | Dust bag capacity: 0.3L | Surface recommendation: hard floors
Best robot vacuum for object detection
iRobot Roomba 698
Connect to the iRobot app in order to schedule the vacuum to get to work, even when you’re out and about, and when it’s done it will charge itself – really couldn’t be simpler.
You don’t have to worry about it knocking stuff over while you’re out either, as the advanced sensors and seamless navigation ensure it can get into all the small nooks and crannies without making a mess.
The cliff-detection sensors also prevent the Roomba from falling down the stairs or other damage-causing drop-offs.
The powerful suction can capture dirt, dust, and all types of hair from both hard floors and carpets.
Battery life: 90 minutes | Surface recommendation: Hard floors and carpet.
Buy: iRobot (£299.99).
Best self-emptying robot vacuum for large houses
iRobot® Roomba® s9+
Definitely the biggest investment on this list, but it could be worth it if vacuuming your large home is quickly becoming your least favourite chore.
When you vacuum a large surface area, you probably notice the dust bag fills up quickly which makes emptying the vacuum cleaner another chore to add to the list.
This innovative device can empty itself so you won’t have to worry about that for weeks at a time.
If you think a robot vacuum wouldn’t possibly be able to clean your carpets properly, this one’s here to prove you wrong.
The iRobot® Roomba® s9+ automatically maximises suction on carpets so it can pull in debris and pet hair from deep within the fibres.
The navigation system gathers over 230,400 data points each second and then uses a quad-core processor to create a map of your home that allows you to control which rooms are cleaned and when.
Battery life: 60 minutes | Surface recommendation: Hard floors and carpet.
Buy: iRobot (£1,499.99).
Best robot vacuum for pet hair
Neato Robotics D450
With a long run time, large dust capacity, and advanced filter, this robot vacuum is a pet owner’s dream.
Everyone knows the worst part of pet ownership is the seemingly endless vacuuming to pick up all their hair.
This robot vacuum could give you those hours of your life back by doing all the hard work for you while you just sit back and play with your pet.
Designed for flats and small homes, the Neato Robotics D450 will give your place a powerfully deep clean, with a specially designed shape that allows it to get into corners with ease so it never misses a spot.
Battery life: 75 minutes | Dust bag capacity: 0.7L | Surface recommendation: Hard floors and carpet.
Best robot vacuum for carpet
Although this vacuum works a treat on hard floors, it is exceptionally good at vacuuming carpets.
The four specialised cleaning modes allow you to adapt the device to best suit the area that it’s cleaning, as well as let you switch to max mode if you’re vacuuming carpets that haven’t been done for a while.
An industry-leading cleaning system uses powerful vacuum suction, a deep reach brush, and wide reach side brushes for comprehensive cleaning.
Battery life: 100 minutes | Dust bag capacity: 450ml | Surface recommendation: hard floors and carpet
Best robot vacuum for hardwood floors
eufy by Anker
Give your hardwood floors the vacuum they need with this powerful robot vacuum from Anker.
Quiet yet flaunting powerful suction, this vacuum can work for up to 100 minutes on hardwood floors while operating at the same noise level as a microwave.
An infrared sensor evades obstacles and avoids falling down the stairs or off high surfaces, and it automatically recharges when it’s finished so it’s always ready to go.
Battery life: 100 minutes | Dust bag capacity: 0.45L| Surface recommendation: hard floors and medium-pile carpets.
Best robot vacuum and mop
Ecovacs Robot Vacuum
What if your robot didn’t just vacuum, it mopped too? Imagine the time you’d save.
Well, imagine no more, because the Ecovacs Robot Vacuum can do just that.
With a built-in water tank, this device can vacuum and mop simultaneously, able to give the whole house a clean in one step – perfect for those who want to minimise their chores as much as possible.
You don’t have to worry about the device accidentally mopping your carpets, however, as it can identify carpet and hard floors and cleans accordingly.
Battery life: 110 minutes | Dust bag capacity: 0.43L | Surface recommendation: Hard floors and low-pile carpets.
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