Vacuuming is one of the most cumbersome chores, but using one a robot vacuums could make this drudgery a thing of the past. Sometimes, robot vacuums are collectively known as Roombas, but like Q-Tips, Kleenex, and Dumpster, Roomba is a brand name. If a company makes a vacuum, it probably also makes a robot vacuum. Bissell, Wyze, and yes, even Roomba will be showcased in this thorough round-up of the best robot vacuums available. 

Best Overall: Zigma Spark 980 Robot Vacuum Cleaner and Mop
Best for Hardwood Floors: WYZE Robot Vacuum with LIDAR Mapping Technology
Best Robot Vacuum and Mop: Bissell SpinWave Hard Floor Expert Pet Robot
Best for Pet Owners: Eufy by Anker RoboVac G30 Robot Vacuum
Best Self-Cleaning Robot Vacuum: iRobot j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum

How We Picked the Best Robot Vacuums

Technology has conquered dishwashing and laundry, making these once arduous chores fairly simple. Sure, you still have to load these machines with dirty dishes and smelly laundry. But it beats scrubbing and drying pots and pans by hand, or worse, resorting to cleaning stains on a washboard. Even the best vacuum cleaners still require you to get on your feet and drag it across every floor in your living space. Robot vacuum cleaners, especially the best ones on the market, clean every inch of flooring, and they do it mostly hands-off. 

Effectiveness: In many cases, robot vacuum cleaners are big round machines with one main brush on the bottom and two side brushes which help sweep up dirt into the dustbin. Using built-in sensors, many robot vacuum cleaners can map out rooms so they don’t leave an inch unswept. It’s an elegant cleaning system, at least in theory. But in practice, things occasionally get dicey. Does the robot vacuum leave a room clean as if you vacuumed it yourself? Bonus points if it can handle different carpet heights and surfaces with equal ease.

Speed: Robot vacuum cleaners are some of the most finicky cleaners. Because of this, they occasionally fixate on one part of any given room, before finally getting to other parts of it. For example, my Zigma Spark 380 likes to linger in and around litter boxes. Even after it’s swept up stray litter, the Zigma does an extra few sweepings before moving on to the rest of the room. Annoying to be sure. But worse, it extends the cleaning time of that room. Effectiveness is important, but if manpower is ultimately quicker than robot power, is it even worth it? 

Power: Like a standard vacuum cleaner, a robot vacuum cleaner is only as effective as its suction power. This suction pressure is measured in pascals, or Pa. A higher suction pressure means a robot vacuum can pick up larger objects easier. Power isn’t everything, though. Airflow is also important for a vacuum to do a thorough job, so finding a device with the right balance is essential.

Cleaning the Device: Here’s a very important caveat they don’t tell you when you buy a robot vacuum: you have to clean them. Most of them, anyway. Robots vacuums, smart as they are, still require maintenance, which includes emptying the dustbin, replacing HEPA filters, and cleaning the main brush. And when I say clean, I mean, “Get out a special tool to clip stubborn hair and fabric clogging up the brush.” You know, just like a regular old-timey non-robot vacuum. The amount of maintenance required for these machines usually is proportional to the price. The pricier the model, the easier it is to clean. Ultra premium models even clean themselves. 

The Best Robot Vacuums: Reviews and Recommendations 

Best Overall: Zigma Spark 980 Robot Vacuum Cleaner and Mop

Sparks Joy. Jaime Carrillo/Futurism

Why It Made The Cut: The Zigma Spark 980 sweeps as well as it mops, and at a fair price point to boot. 

Specs:
Dimensions: 3.74-inch height, 12.9-inch diameter
Weight: 5.95 pounds
Color: Black
Dustbin Capacity: 0.6 liters
Suction Power: 4,000 Pa
Compatible Surfaces: Hard floors, low-pile carpet

Pros:
— Multiple modes of control
— Longer than average runtime
— Continuous app updates

Cons:
— Thorough, but slow
— Not optimized for higher carpets

Is your house covered in shag carpeting? If it’s not, the Zigma Spark 980 is a solid vacuum cleaner that doubles as a mop. 

The Zigma has a LIDAR detector to ensure it can traverse obstacles and sweep rooms with ease. Using the Zigma smartphone app, (available on App Store and Google Play) it can memorize countless maps of entire floors of your house, especially in wide areas that aren’t separated by doors. Using Alexa voice commands, you can even make the Zigma sweep up specific rooms in its memory bank. If app control isn’t for you, it comes with a remote control that lets you tap into the basics, pause your device, plan out its cleaning plan, and even make it go back home to its charging station. It runs up to 140 minutes on a single charge, and while this is a welcome addition, it’s likely because it operates a little slower than other robot vacuums. However, the Zigma is incredibly thorough, and rarely requires nudging in any direction. The mopping function is compatible with both tiles and hardwood floors, and will make surfaces shine with ease. You will have to slide out the dustbin for a mopping pad, so storing it might cause a headache or two. 

Best for Hardwood Floors: WYZE Robot Vacuum with LIDAR Mapping Technology

Smart and Efficient. Wyze

Why It Made The Cut: WYZE Robot Vacuum is annoying to set up, but a workhorse when it comes to sweeping, especially on hardwood floors. 

Specs:
Dimensions: 3.7-inch height, 13.8-inch diameter
Weight: 7.2 pounds
Color: Black
Dustbin Capacity: 0.55 liters
Suction Power: 2,100 Pa
Compatible Surfaces: Hard floors, low-pile carpet, high-pile carpet

Pros:
— Precision mapping technology
— Maps rooms as it cleans for efficiency
— Varied suction options

Cons:
— Requires app to operate
— Tedious setup 

On the tip-top of the WYZE Robot Vacuum is a sensor armed with a spinning laser. This LIDAR sensor spins about six times a second to fully scan a room and its surroundings, measuring up to 2,016 points to hone in on or avoid. 

Watching the WYZE Robot Vacuum work is almost eerie, the way that it mimics a human in its vacuuming style after it maps out its attack plan on any given room. Instead of zigging and zagging around a room, it operates in straight lines, to ensure that no spot goes unswept. Because of its powerful motor, the WYZE is excellent for hardwood floors, but can also tread through high-pile carpets. Of course, when you push this robot vacuum’s limits, expect it to operate a little louder than when it’s on less-than-troublesome surfaces. All of these features come with a catch. Unlike other robot vacuums in its class, WYZE requires a companion app to tap into all its smart features. Out of the box, the whole business of syncing it up to your Android or iOS smartphone may be annoying enough to make you break out your standard old-timey vacuum out of storage. Tech worries aside, once it’s set up, WYZE Robot Vacuum is one of the most dependable, quiet, and easy-to-use devices available. 

Best Robot Vacuum and Mop: Bissell SpinWave Hard Floor Expert Pet Robot

Double Duty. Recurrent

Why It Made The Cut: Bissell’s robot vacuum doesn’t just sweep, it mops too, and it’s still within reach of most budgets. 

Specs:
Dimensions: 3.25-inch height, 12.5-inch diameter
Weight: 7.5 pounds
Color: Pearl white with black accents
Dustbin Capacity: 0.4 liters
Suction Power: 1,500 Pa
Compatible Surfaces: Low-pile carpet, bare floors, hard floors, sealed-wood floors

Pros:
— Vacuums and mops
— Wide surface compatibility
— Excellent value

Cons:
— Finicky navigation capabilities
— May require light nudging

Sorry dogs and cats, man’s actual best friend is the Bissell SpinWave Hard Floor Expert Pet Robot. It vacuums, but it also polishes floors with its active mopping system.

In dry cleaning mode, Bissell Spinwave is strong enough to suck up dirt and pet hair on carpet and hardwood floors alike. Or, if your floors are all hardwood, simply slide in the mop head and sweep and polish floors at the same time. Bissell even packs in a container of its Multi-Surface cleaner to try out this mode right out of the box. Even if you have multiple surfaces in your home, the Bissell SpinWave Hard Floor Expert Pet Robot can sense carpets and stay away from them when it’s mopping, so you don’t have an extra mess to contend with. By connecting it to the Bissell Connect App (available on Google Play and iOS) you can schedule cleanings, and start, and stop the machine at will. And while the Bissell Spinwave runs for up to 100 minutes, it may require every second to do a thorough cleaning job. It will occasionally overclean certain areas in a room while seemingly ignoring others. This isn’t something a light course correction can’t fix, but it’s less than ideal. However, the value of a 2-in-1 robot vacuum at this price point can’t be overstated. 

Best for Pet Owners: Eufy by Anker RoboVac G30 Robot Vacuum

Human Tested, Pet Approved. Recurrent

Why It Made The Cut: The Eufy Anker G30 RoboVac is great at cleaning up after furry friends. 

Specs:
Dimensions: 2.85-inch height, 12.8-inch diameter
Weight: 5.29 pounds
Color: Black with blue accents
Dustbin Capacity: 0.6 liters
Suction Power: 2,000 Pa
Compatible Surfaces: Hard floors, low-pile carpet, high-pile carpet 

Pros:
— Smaller, so it fits into very tight spaces
— Sweeps up ungodly amounts of pet hair
— Drop-proof tech

Cons:
— Takes 5 hours or more to charge
— Lackluster app

Just how much hair do your pets (and you, for that matter) shed on any given day? After a single day of operation, the Eufy by Anker RoboVac G30 Robot Vacuum may shock and amaze you with the amount of fur it sweeps up.

The RoboVac G30 is almost an inch shorter than other robot vacuums in its class, which means it can fit in incredibly hard-to-reach spaces that probably haven’t been cleaned for a few months, like under a living room couch. If your home has multiple floors, this robot vacuum won’t take any spills down staircases because it’s great at detecting dangerous ledges. Cleaning and maintaining the RoboVac G30 is also a breeze, with a filter that’s easy to clean and replace. You can sync it up to your smart home and order your robot vacuum around using voice commands with Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant. It’s even got two gyroscopes for optimal precision and efficiency. The app gives you thorough readouts of cleaning progress and even saves its operating history. That is, if you even want to deal with it. It’s usable, but it’s not as user-friendly as the compatible apps that come with other devices in this compilation. The RoboVac also takes quite a bit of time to charge to full, but on the bright side it’s quiet enough to run at night, as long as your pets aren’t bothered by a robot maid. 

Best Self-Cleaning Robot Vacuum: iRobot j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum

Truly Automatic. iRobot

Why It Made The Cut: iRobot j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum empties itself, making it less a robot and more a live-in housekeeper. 

Specs:
Dimensions: 3.4-inch height, 13.3-inch diameter
Weight: 7.49 pounds
Color: Black with silver accents
Dustbin Capacity: 0.6 liters, though it empties itself into Clean Base
Suction Power: Not Listed
Compatible Surfaces: Hard floors, low-pile carpet, high-pile carpet 

Pros:
— Spot cleans messes right after they happen
— Empties itself
— Avoids cords, pet waste, and other cumbersome items

Cons:
— Battery life isn’t great
— Pricey

Just about every robot vacuum cleaner requires you to empty it regularly. The iRobot j7+ empties itself, saving you that extra, annoying step in typical robot-vacuum maintenance.

It’s a fairly simple system. The iRobot j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum’s dock charges up the machine, but it also empties its dustbin after every cleaning task. It stores the debris it picks up in a bag, which is then emptied by you when it’s full. It can be as long as six months before you have to think about emptying the Clean Base, making this robot vacuum cleaner a true set-it-and-forget-it device. Using the iRobot app (available on iOS and Google Play), you can make the iRobot j7+ clean a room the way you would, mapping out an attack strategy for cleaning each and every room in your house. It even has built-in sensors to not sweep up cords, cables, shoe laces, and animal poop. In the case of the latter, iRobot will replace your machine no questions asked if it accidentally sweeps up a stray piece of cat or dog waste. And unlike other machines, it can spot messes the second they happen, and sweeps them up before you can reach for a dust pan. Flashy as this device is, it comes at a premium. And despite its power, it’s a little lacking in the battery department. Still, it may be worth it to score a robot vacuum that you don’t have to worry about for months on end. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Robot Vacuum

Is a Robot Vacuum Right For Me? 

This is a question you should ask yourself before you make even a modest investment in a robot vacuum. An automatic vacuum cleaner that sweeps up after you sounds like a dream, at least in theory. Some folks are happy with the job that robot vacuums do — sweeping, and in the case of a few pricier models, polishing — floors. But have you ever seen one in action in your home? The experience can sometimes be jarring, and not at all what you expected. After all, if the technology was perfected, standard vacuum cleaners would quickly go the way of the VCR, and in large part, they haven’t. 

When you set out to vacuum a room, there’s a good chance you can finish within ten minutes, depending on how dirty your floors are or how large the room is. If you’re expecting company, you’ll have to trust that your robot vacuum will be as thorough as you are, and in the same amount of time. I’m no John Henry, but I’m certain I could smoke any robot vacuum cleaner when it comes to quickly cleaning a room using my Dyson V11 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum. However, if a robot vacuum operates daily, you likely won’t have to worry about continual weekly sweeps the way you do with a regular vacuum. Just remember that if you want a mess swept up quickly, you’re operating at the whim of a robot, which even in the best cases won’t go where you want it to. 

Curious cat scopes out a new friend. Jaime Carrillo/Futurism

Pets and Children

I can’t speak for all cats, nor do I want to stereotype an entire species, but in general, felines are a curious bunch. Just about every machine on the market will do its best to avoid animals. Of course, this will deter a robot vacuum from finishing its tasks as it has to constantly remap its course to avoid a cat. Something I didn’t consider until recently was that it can also be potentially dangerous. My smaller cat, Jodah, loves to try and grab the side brushes which are underneath the machine, especially when it’s running. I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that a paw could become injured under one of these machines. Maybe not! But I’m not going to risk it, and it’s something you should consider before running a machine with pets in the house. Of course, this goes double for babies and children. Also, depending on how much noise your machine makes, you may want to make sure your device is off before you go to bed. I’ve woken up to the sound of cats fighting with a robot vacuum at 3 a.m. thinking they were burglars. Plenty of machines have “on” buttons on the surface of the robot that are easily pressed by a paw. 

Terms and Conditions Apply

A robot vacuum cleaner will sweep your floors for you. That doesn’t mean the process has completely removed the human element. You still have to do some light to heavy maintenance of your machine. For one, you have to empty out the dustbin, likely after one or two uses. Dustbins usually only hold about half a liter of dirt, give or take. When first setting up your new robot vacuum, it’s good to check on how long the filter will last. For the machine to be effective, the filter requires cleaning and eventual replacement, usually after two months of continuous use. But wait, there’s more! Like a regular vacuum cleaner, sometimes, string, hair, and other miscellaneous tangles get caught in the main brush of the vacuum. Luckily, a mostly easy to use tool comes packaged with all robot vacuum cleaners listed here to dispense with this annoying problem. Just remember that while the vacuuming is automatic for the most part, the maintenance is not. However, the iRobot j7+ does handle much of its cleaning itself, but you will still eventually need to empty the dustbin in its docking station. 

FAQs

Q: How much does a robot vacuum cost?

Robot vacuums, on average, run from a couple hundred dollars to a thousand, depending on the features.

Q: How do robot vacuums work?

Many robot vacuums work by using two spinning brushes to sweep dirt and debris into a main brush, which sucks it up into a dustbin. 

Q: How long do robot vacuums last?

With proper cleaning and maintenance, a robot vacuum cleaner can last four to six years, but higher end models can endure up to a decade. 

Q: Which brand of robot vacuum is the best?

The best overall robot vacuum in this compilation is the Zigma Spark 980 Robot Vacuum Cleaner and Mop for its wide range of features and affordability.

Q: Is Shark or iRobot better?

Shark and iRobot both make great robot vacuums but Shark brand is slightly more affordable. 

Q: Can a robot vacuum replace a normal vacuum?

A robot vacuum can replace a normal vacuum, but it still requires regular cleaning and maintenance. 

Final Thoughts on Robot Vacuums

Even though they come with a few caveats, robot vacuums may just fit into your lifestyle. They sweep up carpets and hardwood floors with ease, and some models, like the Bissell Spinwave, even mop. Our best overall pick, the Zigma Spark 980 Robot Vacuum Cleaner and Mop, is also a solid 2-in-1 machine. If you want a machine that requires very little maintenance, the iRobot j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum empties itself for up to half a year, but is a fair bit pricier than every model offered here. 

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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