Best robot vacuum 2021: Roomba isn’t your only option | ZDNet

I have tried many robot vacuums for the office — and home — over the past few years, and some of them really stand out with their superb features and capabilities. Vacuuming is important to remove dust, debris, and allergens from your space, and keep your floor looking its best. If you have never tried an automatic robot vacuum to sweep, mop, or scrub your floors, here are some of the best robot vacuums for all floor types and floor plans. These blow the iRobot Roomba S9, the iRobot Roomba 675, and the Eufy Robovac G30 out of the water. 

You will not go wrong with any of our top pick devices that will take you into the new age of vacuuming.


Multi-function robot vacuum with an auto-empty station

The Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro+ is a multi-function robot with an auto-empty station that supports multi-floor mapping through its own app feature. 

You can set no-go areas, label rooms, and specify areas that need extra cleaning. The auto-empty station will notify you when its onboard bag is full.

When the mopping module is fitted the robot vacuum will avoid rugs.

Key features:

  • LiDAR navigation.
  • 2,600Pa suction.
  • 420ml dust bin and 240ml water tank.
  • Obstacle detection and avoidance.

Pros:

  • Auto empty station included in price.
  • Excellent multi-floor mapping labelling of rooms, and configuration of no-go zones, virtual boundaries.
  • TrueDetect obstacle avoidance technology and LiDAR navigation.

Cons:

  • When mopping, it will avoid rugs meaning these will need to be swept on a different sweeping schedule.
  • Water tank a little small meaning that on maximum water flow, the tank will run out when mopping large spaces.
  • Non-reusable dust bag in the auto-empty station.


$600 at Best Buy


Multi-function robot vacuum

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The 360 S10 is a multi-function robot vacuum with a large battery, and powerful 3,300Pa suction. It uses LIDAR to navigate, has an easy-to-empty dustbin and a large water tank that mops floors well.

It is quiet, in use at 60dB in quiet mode and the robot easily connects to its full-feature app. The S10 has good obstacle avoidance and displays a 3D map showing areas of the space that are carpeted and which have hard floors.

Key features:

  • LiDAR navigation.
  • 3,300Pa suction.
  • 500ml dust bin and 520ml water tank.
  • Obstacle avoidance.

Pros:

  • Easy to connect the robot to the fully-featured app.
  • Large dustbin which is very easy to empty and good-sized water tank.
  • 3D mapping shows carpeted and hard floor areas in 3D view.

Cons:

  • Annoying onboard voice alerts.
  • Mopping does not clean very grimy floors.
  • No auto-empty station.


$555 at Amazon


Multi-function robot vacuum

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The Roborock S7 multi-function robot vacuum has a vibrating mop that does seem to get floors cleaner than other models that drag a mopping cloth across the floor. 

It is powerful with 2,500Pa suction and a large battery that will clean up to three hours before returning to recharge. You can also set no-go and no-mop zones in its easy-to-use app feature. 

If the S7 detects a rug it cleverly lifts its mopping module whilst vacuuming carpets and rugs.

Key features:

  • LiDAR navigation.
  • 2,500Pa suction.
  • 470ml dust bin and 300ml water tank.
  • No-go zones and invisible walls.

Pros:

  • Sonic mop vibrates 3000 times per minute to scrub hard floors. The mop lifts up when it encounters rugs.
  • Comprehensive map with multi-level maps, no-go zones, and cleaning pattern configuration.
  • A large capacity 470ml dustbin.

Cons:

  • No auto-empty station.
  • No spare brushes in the box, which are supplied by other manufacturers.
  • Fairly heavy unit.


$650 at Walmart.com


Single-function robot vacuum and auto-empty station

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The iRobot Roomba i7+ is a single function sweeping robot with an auto-empty station. It uses two rubber brushes so that pet hairs do not get tangled in the brushes. 

The app lets you set no-go zones and will alert you when the base station needs to be emptied. It uses vSLAM technology for navigation and integrates with voice assistants. The app will also let you set customized routines and paths to clean rooms in a specific order.

Key features:

  • vSLAM navigation technology.
  • 300ml dustbin and auto-empty station.
  • Selective room cleaning.

Pros:

  • Auto-empty station.
  • Market leader in robot vacuums.
  • Can set exclusion zones.

Cons:

  • No obstacle avoidance technology.
  • The mapping feature is fairly basic compared to other models.
  • Long hair can become tangled in the brushes.
  • Poor technical documentation and product specification.


$600 at Best Buy


$799 at Walmart


$799 at Amazon

Dyson 360 Heurist

Single-function robot vacuum

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The Dyson 360 Heurist robot vacuum is a single-function robot that uses 78,000rpm cyclone suction and SLAM vision navigation to create its map of the area. 

Its brush goes across the full width of the robot so it will clean a wider path than other robots can.  It learns the map of your home and adapts its cleaning routine to optimize its clean. 

You can create and customize zones using the app and set rules for cleaning and no-go zones.

Key features:

  • SLAM navigation.
  • Cyclone suction.
  • 310ml dustbin.
  • No-go zones and invisible walls.

Pros:

  • Full-width roller brush and 78,000 radial root cyclone technology.
  • Will work with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz technology.
  • Can set no-go and no-climb areas.

Cons:

  • Very expensive.
  • Needs full Wi-Fi connectivity to the single router for mapping to work well.
  • Can sometimes get lost returning to the charging dock.
  • Poor technical documentation and product specs.

Do you need to use an app with a robot vacuum?

Not necessarily. Some robot vacuums can be programmed using a remote control or directly on the robot vacuum itself. However, there are a host of other features that can be set to get the most out of the robot vacuum.

How often do you need to empty the robot vacuum’s dustbin?

It depends on how much debris is on the floor. Generally, for average rooms, the dustbin will require emptying every 3 to 4 days. If this is too often for you, consider getting a robot vacuum that has an auto-empty station.

How long will a robot vacuum’s battery last?

Most robot vacuums will clean for about two hours before returning to charge. Some robot vacuums have a feature that will return the robot vacuum to its charging dock when the battery gets low, recharge itself, and when fully charged again, will return to the last place it cleaned and resume its cleaning session.

How did we choose these robot vacuums?

We have selected these robot vacuums based on several criteria:

Are they single-purpose or multi-purpose robot vacuums?

Some robots vacuums are purely sweeping robot vacuums and some only mop. Multi-function robot vacuums can sweep and mop at the same time. 

How powerful are robot vacuums?

More powerful suction power, measured in Pascals (Pa) will pick up more ingrained dust from carpets, and loose carpet fluff.

Some robot vacuums can detect when they are on the carpet and will increase the suction power when sweeping the carpet.

How easily do robot vacuums connect to the associated app?

You need to use 2.4GHz to connect the robot vacuum to the app. Very few robot vacuums are able to connect using 5GHz.

How well will robot vacuums sweep or wash floors?

Newer robot vacuums can sweep and wash floors at the same time, older robot vacuums can either sweep or mop. Some robot vacuums are designed for single use.

Some robot vacuums use a mopping cloth and gravity-fed water to wipe the floor. Other robot vacuums control the amount of water via the app.

Some robot vacuums have a vibrating mop that scrubs the floors.

How well do robot vacuums avoid obstacles?

Obstacle avoidance means that the robot vacuum will move around the obstacle it detects in its path.

Some robot vacuums have a database of objects detected and will mark the object on the map — with a degree of certainty indicated on the app.

How well do robot vacuums map rooms?

If the robot vacuum has SLAM or LIDAR technology then an accurate map can be created and stored in the app.

Some robot vacuums can store up to 10-room layouts so that when moved, you will not need to redraw the map.

How well do robot vacuums manage power?

Some robot vacuums will go back to their base station to recharge and will go back to the last place cleaned when the battery has been recharged. Other robot vacuums will clean until the battery is low and return to its base station where it will end its cleaning cycle.

Which is the right robot vacuum for you?

There is a bewildering array of robot vacuums in the market with multiple features, different functions and a massive price range. But to choose the most appropriate robot vacuum for your space you will need to think about the type of flooring you have.

  • If your space is predominantly carpeted, then the mopping function of a multi-function robot vacuum may not get used too often.
  • If you have porous hard flooring — such as wood — leaving the mop module attached to the robot vacuum will damage your floor.
  • Do you want to mop some areas and vacuum other areas? If so, then a robot vacuum that will recognise carpets and avoid them when mopping, or will lift the mop when it vacuums the carpet.
  • Do you have pets? A robot vacuum with object recognition features will avoid any pet poop and stop any smears from occurring.
  • Do you hate emptying the onboard dustbin? If so, then consider getting a robot vacuum with an auto-empty station.
  • Do you have long hair? Consider a brushless robot vacuum that uses cyclone technology to stop the roller brush from getting tangled.



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