Keeping a house clean is a paramount task. Why not employ a robot vacuum to help? The machines are equipped for efficient cleaning, upright vacuum. If coming home to a spotless abode is your primary concern, go for a robot vacuum with Wi-Fi connectivity. They are well suited for office spaces too. Many robot vacuums can be scheduled to run on a periodic basis, and some are available with companion apps. A robot vacuum keeps things relatively clean and saves you the hassle of scheduling a maid service. The best robot vacuum cleaners you can buy are able to sweep up dust, attack stains, navigate obstacles and clean up spills in circular motions, or hug the corners of a room to prevent any dirt from collecting in the corners.

Six tips for buying a robot vacuum cleaner

Before you buy, your needs and budget have to be determined. Things to consider – area of your house, flooring (hardwood or carpet), provision for pets if any. Other features include the ability to connect them with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can command the voice assistant to start up your robot vacuum. Consider some of these important factors before making a purchase decision:

1. Space 

Consider how big your house is before you start browsing the Amazon aisles. Some robot vacuums, like the iLife V3s Pro, work better in small environments like apartments and townhomes, while models like the iRobot Roomba S9 are better-suited for spaces of up to 2,000 square feet. You’ll also want to figure out how much room you have under the furniture for the robot vacuum to pass through.

2. Flooring

Most robot vacuum models can handle cleaning carpets and hardwood. Robot vacuums such as the Roomba S9 can accommodate rapid surface changes by ramping up power whenever carpet is detected, and then throttling back down when it senses hardwood.

3. Suitable for cleaning pet hair

Models like the iLife V3s Pro and the Roomba S9 scored the best in robot vacuum lab tests, picking up nearly all pet hair on both hardwood and carpeting. If you suffer from allergies, these robot vacuums have HEPA filters to help eliminate allergens too. Some are better at picking up pet hair from carpets, while others might perform better on hardwood or vinyl.

4. Price point

Robot vacuums are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes and at varying prices. Higher-end robot vacuums will have better mapping capabilities, which means they can clean your house more quickly. The pricing ranges between $200 and more than $1,000. 

5. Smartphone app feature 

Wi-Fi-enabled robot vacuums allow you to control them with a smartphone app too in addition to a physical remote. Many robot vacuum models use companion apps that make it easier to control and schedule the robot vacuum. Some models can even map out where they’ve cleaned. Roomba models or the Shark Ion R85, offer companion app control. Robot vacuum having app capabilities also offer Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant integration. You can enable its voice-command capabilities by saying,  “Start cleaning!” and the vacuum will get going.

6. Battery life

Usually, the bigger the battery, the better the cleaning job, especially if you have a larger home. On average, a robot vacuum can clean for up to an hour and a half, with some high-end models lasting a full two hours.

Navigation and Mapping

The major plus point of robot vacuums is their ability to complete tasks with minimal supervision. For this, they must be able to navigate a room’s unique layout, maneuver around furniture and other obstacles. An iRobot Roomba, for example, will slow down as it approaches an obstacle. Manufacturers are including mapping capabilities in some of their robot vacuums. These models use an onboard camera or laser reflections to produce a 360-degree view of the room. This allows the robot vacuum to create a map of the space and locate itself within that map. The unique sensor features:

  • Cliff sensorsThese use infrared light that bounces off objects, sending the signal back to a receiver on the vac. If the signal doesn’t bounce back, the receiver assumes a “cliff” such as a staircase is coming up, so it tells the vacuum to back away and head another direction. 
  • Object sensors – These are mechanical sensors, located on the sides of the vacuum. When it bumps into an object, the sensors tell it to back up, rotate, and move in another direction.
  • Wall sensors – Most vacuums just treat walls as objects. The more advanced models use infrared sensors on the bumper to detect walls so they can follow right up to the edge without bumping against them. 
  • Dirt sensors – These sensors are located on the bottom of the vacuum near the agitator brush. They’re acoustic sensors, so when the brush kicks up a bunch of dirt, it causes a lot of vibration on the sensors’ metal plates. This tells the vacuum to either increase the suction or go over that area again. 
  • Virtual wallsTo keep the vacuum out of unwanted areas, some vacuums come with physical “virtual walls” which are magnetic strips used to block off rooms. Advanced models have “no-go zones” that you can set via a smartphone app that keeps the vacuum from venturing into forbidden territory.

Top robot vacuum cleaners in the market

iRobot Roomba 960 (Best all-around robot vacuum)

The Roomba 960’s flawless navigation, stellar cleaning, and advanced features set it apart from all other robot vacuums. The Wi-Fi-enabled Roomba 960 turns a tiresome chore into camera-driven navigation and mapping. It uses three cleaning modes and dirt-detecting sensors for cleaning. Moreover, the ability to control it with Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice commands is amazing. The Roomba 960 syncs with a smartphone, allowing to schedule cleanings and control the vacuum for efficient cleaning. This model is great for removing pet hair as well. 

iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 960

iRobot Roomba s9+ (Most sophisticated robot vacuum)

The iRobot Roomba s9+ is the most advanced robot vacuum in the market. It is the smartest robot vacuum with an advanced mapping facility. This way, it can record and remember a blueprint of multiple floors of your house after just a few trips. Furthermore, this robot vacuum has a charging base that sucks out the dirt from the vacuum and can hold debris from up to 30 trips.

iRobot Roomba s9+

iLife V3S Pro (Best budget-friendly robot vacuum)

The iLife V3s Pro costs less than $200 but lacks smart home connectivity. Despite its low price, the V3s Pro consistently outperformed other robot vacuums that cost three times as much. For starters, it takes more than 90 minutes on average. However, iLife V3s Pro is slow but picks up nearly all the pet hair. 

iLife V3S Pro

iRobot Roomba 980 (King of robot vacuums)

Roomba 980 is an impressive cleaning machine that works magnificently on floorboards, tiles, and other hard surfaces. It is 35.05cm in diameter, wider than your average vacuum head. The circular design and rotating body enable it to maneuver through narrower areas thoroughly. Moreover, Roomba 980’s battery life last two hours long. When it runs low or its bin is full, the 980 returns to its home dock.

iRobot Roomba 980
iRobot Roomba 980

The best robot vacuum cleaners you can buy should be able to sweep up dust, attack stains, navigate obstacles and clean up spills in circular motions, or hug the corners of a room to prevent any dirt from collecting in the corners. So choose wisely!

Exciting advancements

Robot vacuums are keeping up with the times. Many models include Wi-Fi and can be operated via smartphone apps. Some can even be operated with voice controls via home integration systems like Alexa or Google Assistant. Vacuuming robots have teamed up with robot mops for a tag-team duo of floor cleaning. Roomba i7+ and s9+ can integrate with the Braava Jet M6 robot mop to both sweep and mop your hard floors. iRobot may be the biggest name among robot vacuum cleaners but is not a monopoly by any means. Other companies such as Neato Robotics, Dyson, Roborock, and others have their own lines of high-quality robot vacuums.

Let’s see where the future of robotic cleaning devices takes us in the coming years.