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8 best robot vacuum cleaners

If you’re constantly cleaning up after your children and pets, a robot vacuum cleaner could be the solution.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jun 9, 2021

Woman using robot vacuum cleaner

Life with kids and animals is messy. Pet hair, general dirt and food crumb spillages mean that you probably spend far too much time dragging around a heavy, noisy unit attached to a hose.

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Vacuuming. Sigh. Does anyone really enjoy it? But worry not because, these days, you don’t need a back-breaking contraption to keep your house clean. In fact, you don’t even have to get up off the sofa.

Unlike traditional canister or stick models, robot vacuum cleaners do all the hard work for you. All you need to do is programme them then sit back and relax.

But how do these intelligent little gadgets actually work? Robot vacuums come equipped with all sorts of top-notch tech including sensors, cameras, lasers and even wifi to navigate your home unaided without banging into obstacles or toppling down stairs. Some even charge themselves, ingeniously knowing when they need to return to their charging dock for a boost.

You can set a schedule for your trusty robot meaning that it can whizz around the house when you’re out. They’re also invaluable if vacuuming is physically difficult for you to do.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s really not – and with the technology developing fast and new manufacturers entering the market, there are models to suit most budgets too. Here are the best robot vacuum cleaners for 2021.

1. Best overall robot vacuum cleaner: iRobot Roomba 966

iRobot Roomba

“You can set it on timer, come home from work and everything is clean! Definitely worth the money.”

Mumsnet Best winner the iRobot Roomba 966 is adored by Mumsnetters and reviewers alike – no surprise considering it ticks every conceivable box you could imagine. Capable of cleaning carpets and hard floors, including lino, wood and tiles, it’s also nifty at zapping pet hair.

Techies will particularly love the accompanying iRobot Home app, which allows you to set an automatic cleaning schedule and decide on your ideal cleaning preferences. The iRobot Roomba 966 uses expert mapping technology to ensure it covers every spot of your floors and, when it needs to be recharged, it will return faithfully to its Home Base.

Then there’s the Aeroforce® High-Efficiency Filter which captures allergens, pollen and other particles, keeping your home fresh and clean. There’s also a ‘Bin Full’ indicator to let you know when to empty it – a feature missing from several robot vacuums but one that isn’t to be sniffed at.

It’s not the cheapest on our list by far, but it’s certainly one of the most popular robot vacuum cleaners on our forums and an excellent investment buy.

Pros

  • Targeted edge cleaning
  • Powerful on all floor types and automatically adjusts to suit

Cons

  • Can be messy to empty

Key specs

  • Weight: 3.9kg
  • Capacity: 0.6 litres
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Charging time: 300 to 360 minutes
  • Wifi-compatible: Yes
  • Mapping technology: Yes

2. Best budget robot vacuum cleaner: Bagotte BG600 MAX Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Bagotte robot vacuum

“We have a Bagotte called Herbert. I was dead set against getting one but husband bought one anyway and I had to hold my hands up and admit defeat. Robot vacs are great.”

With its powerful suction, slim and stylish design, low noise level, multiple surface function and air purification, this is the best value-for-money robot vacuum cleaner we’ve found. Whether your babies are human or furry, you’ll notice how effective the Bagotte BG600 MAX Robot Vacuum Cleaner is at picking up their dirt and pesky hair – even really long strands.

Operated by a remote control and with three suction settings, this 3-in-1 gadget isn’t just great on carpets and hard floors, it’s the best dry and wet robot vacuum around – you can also use the mop attachment to clean your freshly vacuumed surfaces.

The two large wheels lift it over thresholds of up to 15mm so it’ll travel seamlessly from hard floors to rugs and carpets. You need never worry about it running out of juice either because the clever thing returns to its charging station as soon as it dips below 20 per cent charge. You’ll also get some free boundary strips thrown in, which you can pop onto your floor if you don’t want the vacuum venturing into certain spots.

Pros

  • Effective at picking up pet hair
  • Infrared sensors allow it to easily negotiate skirting boards and corners and avoid steps

Cons

  • The mop attachment has to be purchased separately

Key specs

  • Weight: 4.34kg
  • Capacity: 0.6 litres
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Charging time: 300 to 360 minutes
  • Wifi-compatible: No
  • Mapping technology: Yes

3. Best robot vacuum cleaner for pet hair: Eufy RoboVac 11S Max

Eufy RoboVac

“The Eufy is a game-changer here. Dog sheds enough to make him a daily mane, but this majorly helps!”

A brilliant budget buy, this is another favourite with Mumsnetters and one of the best vacuum cleaners under £300 on our list. Offering accurate edge cleaning and a 100-minute runtime, the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max makes light work of crumbs, dirt and even tackles pet hair.

Easy to set up and use, you just press the button on the remote control and it’ll zoom off across your floors. Handling hard floors, carpets, rugs and door mats equally effectively, its sensors prevent it from bashing into walls or toppling down stairs.

Unlike more expensive models, there isn’t a related app so, sadly, you can’t programme it from afar or check exactly where it’s cleaned. That said, for the price, you’re getting a brilliantly performing little cleaning machine and, if you have furry pets who shed all over the place, you should notice a real difference.

Pros

  • Great at picking up pet hair
  • Works on hard floors and carpets

Cons

  • No sensor to alert you when the bin needs emptying

Key specs

  • Weight: 2.6 kg
  • Capacity: 0.6 litres
  • Runtime: 100 minutes on hard floors; 60 minutes on carpets
  • Charging time: 240 minutes
  • Wifi-compatible: No
  • Mapping technology: No – uses ‘bounce navigation technology’ instead

4. Quietest robot vacuum cleaner: Hosome V701S Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Hosome robot vacuum cleaner

Despite its strong suction power, the stylish Hosome V701S Robot Vacuum Cleaner is pleasingly quiet. It uses a unique cochlea design to produce less than 55dBA of noise.

It’s another great value for money automatic vac too, priced at the lower end of our list. Able to climb up to 2cm – more than most in our roundup, it can easily transition between hard floors and carpets or rugs. It uses ‘S’ path planning to avoid repeatedly going over the same bit of floor. You’ll also receive a complimentary pack of boundary strips – handy if you need to section off any spots of floor that don’t require cleaning.

Wifi-equipped, you can download the corresponding app to your phone or connect your robot to your Alexa and then programme it with voice commands. As this robotic vacuum with six cleaning modes also returns to its charging dock when required, you’ll only ever need to lift a finger to empty it when full. You can also fit a mop attachment to it and have your floors sparkling clean as well as dust-free.

Pros

  • Strong suction but very quiet
  • Alexa-compatible

Cons

  • Mop attachment must be purchased separately

Key specs

  • Weight: 5.32kg
  • Capacity: 0.3 litres
  • Runtime: 110 minutes
  • Charging time: 300 minutes
  • Wifi-compatible: Yes
  • Mapping technology: Yes

5. Easiest-to-use robot vacuum cleaner: Ecovacs Robotics N79S Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Ecovacs Robotics

“Evovacs Deebot is a reliable choice.”

This entry-level robot vacuum cleaner rates pretty well with independent reviewers despite being at the lower end of the price scale. This nifty gadget is really simple to operate, making it ideal for first-time owners of a robot vacuum.

Using the straightforward remote control, you can set the Ecovacs Robotics N79S to clean particular spots on your floor to ensure that nothing is missed. It can also be connected up to your smartphone or your Alexa, so you operate it with voice commands. It will clean for a full 100 minutes before heading home back to its charging dock for an energy boost.

As expected from a lower-priced machine, it doesn’t scan the room using lasers in order to clean a room methodically. Instead, it uses infrared sensors and bumpers to avoid obstacles – not always 100 per cent successfully, it has to be said, so you will need to minimise clutter.

It can miss dirt and dust and may also end up covering the same spots repeatedly as well as floundering on deep pile carpets. That said, if you’re only using it on hard floors, you may find that it’s effective enough for your requirements.

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Very quiet

Cons

  • Doesn’t always give the most thorough clean, especially on deep pile carpets

Key specs

  • Weight: 4.3kg
  • Capacity: 520ml
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Charging time: 300 minutes
  • Wifi compatible: Yes
  • Mapping technology: No

6. Best high-end robot vacuum cleaner: Dyson 360 Heurist

Dyson 360 vacuum

Arguably the only household name on our list, Dyson is well-established in the vacuum cleaner game, as you probably already know. Highly rated by reviewers (review site Which? named it a ‘Best Buy’), this luxury robot vac will set you back a fair wedge. However, it cleans outstandingly with equally impressive navigation and customisation options.

Featuring typically snazzy Dyson colours – bright blue and rose gold, if you were wondering – it looks pretty nifty too. You’ll never catch this ingenious gadget crashing into skirting boards or toppling down stairs due to its eight sensors which help it spot walls, objects and drops at a range of two metres.

The Dyson 360 Heurist has 10GB of memory to ‘remember’ objects and layouts every time it cleans. It can also navigate dark areas thanks to the LED light ring around its clever fisheye camera.

There are three power settings which you can activate using the Dyson app and it’s also Alexa-compatible so you can give it instructions from the comfort of your sofa.

Pros

  • Fantastic cleaning and navigation on carpets and hard floors
  • Offers lots of useful extra features

Cons

  • Relatively small dust capacity for the price
  • Pricey

Key specs

  • Weight: 2.51kg
  • Capacity: 0.31 litres
  • Runtime: Up to 75 minutes on Quiet mode
  • Charging time: 150 minutes
  • Wifi-compatible: Yes
  • Mapping technology: Yes

7. Best robot vacuum cleaner for hard floors: Roborock S5 Max

Roborock S5

“We've got a Roborock vacuum and I can honestly say it's amazing!”

Roborock vacuums get great write-ups on our forums. An update of the Roborock S5 – one of the first mopping robot vacuum cleaners on the market – the 2-in-1 Roborock S5 Max really delivers.

The accompanying Roborock app is compatible with iOs and Android devices as well as Google Assistant so you can set the Roborock S5 Max to carry out daily, automatic cleaning sessions.

This robot vacuum’s 360-degree environmental sensors allow it to calculate the most efficient cleaning route for each room as well as avoiding obstacles and ‘cliff edges’ aka pesky flights of stairs.

For a full clean of your hard floors, attach the water tank, which comes included in the package, and programme your machine to carry out both a dry and wet clean. Meanwhile, you can just sit back and relax.

Pros

  • Great 2-in-1 vacuum and mop
  • Can run for 150 minutes

Cons

  • Heavier and bulkier to store than other robot vacuum cleaners

Key specs

  • Weight: 6kg
  • Capacity: Dustbin is 460ml; water tank is 290ml – enough to mop 2000 square feet
  • Runtime: 150 minutes on Eco
  • Charging time: 360 minutes
  • Wifi compatible: Yes
  • Mapping technology: Yes

Price: £419.95

8. Best robot vacuum cleaner for carpets: Neato Robotics D701

Neato robot vacuum cleaner

“I have a Neato and it’s a game-changer.”

This robot vacuum cleaner is one for tech -geeks- fans. You can fiddle about to your heart’s content on the corresponding app, devising cleaning routines and even creating virtual no-go lines if there are spots where you don’t want the Neato to venture.

It’s effective at zapping pet hair and dust, and the manufacturer claims that the unique D-shape design mimics corners of your home for the sort of precise clean that round robotic vacuums can’t achieve. Reviewers say it performs just as well on carpets as it does on hard floors, which makes a refreshing change considering that many robot vacs struggle on carpeted areas.

There are two suction options – energy-saving Eco and power-cleaning Turo – and the Neato Robotics D701 will work away on your floors for up to 120 minutes before heading back to its base to recharge. If it has to recharge mid-clean, it will go back and pick up directly where it left off until the job is finished.

Pros

  • Compatible with Alexa
  • Unusual D shape to fit into corners

Cons

  • The tech side of things can be complicated to set up

Key specs

  • Weight: 3.4kg
  • Capacity: 0.7 litres
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Charging time: 180 minutes
  • Wifi-compatible: Yes
  • Mapping technology: Yes

Are robot vacuums worth it?

A robot vacuum is absolutely worth it if you lead a busy life and need some help with your household chores. If you have messy kids or pets who shed a lot of hair, you may want to vacuum every day but struggle to find the time. A robot vacuum cleaner can be programmed to fulfil daily cleaning duties, saving you time, hassle and stress.

Here are some pros and cons of robot vacuums:

Pros

  • Saves time: Your robot cleaner will do all the hard work for you, leaving you time for other jobs or to enjoy some well-earned rest. It can be scheduled to clean when you’re out, meaning you can come home after work to clean, sparkling floors.
  • Dual purpose: Some of the latest robot cleaning machines can vacuum and mop too, saving you double the time and trouble.
  • Saves space: Robot vacuums are compact, making them lighter, smaller and must less hassle to store than traditional vacuum cleaners.
  • Tech-enabled: With many new robot vacuums compatible with smartphone apps and voice control devices, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, you can programme them with ease.
  • Reaches difficult spots: Robot vacuums can whizz into tight spaces, such as under furniture, that you wouldn’t usually be able to reach with a manual vacuum cleaner.

Cons

  • Higher price: Robot vacs are becoming ever more affordable as technology develops, but they’re still an investment buy and tend to be priced at a higher level than traditional vacuum cleaners.
  • Can’t handle clutter: Obstacles can be an issue for some robot vacuum cleaners, which can tend to get stuck on certain objects or under low furniture. You’ll need to clear the floor before your new cleaning gadget gets to work.
  • Stairs and corners: Robot vacuum cleaners can’t handle stairs, although they should stop before they go toppling down a flight of stairs thanks to navigational lasers which can detect ‘cliff edges’ (bit dramatic). For that reason, you’ll still need another vacuum to clean your stairs or any other tricky areas, such as corners, that the robot will struggle with.
  • Short battery life: Generally, robot vacuums can only clean for short stints (generally around 100 minutes, depending on model and power mode) before they need to head back to their docking base for more juice.
  • Small bin capacity: As they’re smaller than traditional vacuum cleaners, it figures that robot vacs have much smaller capacity to collect dust. You’ll need to empty the robot after most cleaning sessions.

What should I look for when buying a robot vacuum?

  • Price: Some models cost around £200 while top names and models can set you back £1,500.
  • Bin capacity: Check how much dust and dirt the vac can carry before it needs to be emptied.
  • Running time: Most models can clean for around 100 minutes before needing to be recharged.
  • Charging and charging time: Some robot vacuum cleaners automatically head back to their charging dock. Others may require you to hook them up to their energy source. Always check charging time before you buy.
  • What surfaces you are looking to clean: Some models work best on hard floors while others can also tackle rugs and deep pile carpets.
  • Controls and settings: The latest robot vacs come with apps you can download to your smartphone, allowing you to programme and track it from there. Some can even be operated by voice control.
  • Mapping technology: More expensive models use a plethora of lasers, cameras and infrared sensors to map out the layout of your flooring and map an optimal route. Cheaper models may operate in a more random fashion, which means that they may clean the same spot more than once.
  • 2-in-1: Some robot vacuums can also do your mopping for you – all you need to do is fit the water tank before they start and programme a dry and wet clean.

Which robot vacuum is the best?

The best overall robot vacuum is the iRobot Roomba 966. Not only is it adored by families, but it offers a range of useful features including a corresponding app, an automatic cleaning schedule and cleaning preferences, mapping technology, Aeroforce® High-Efficiency Filter and automatic charging.

The best budget robot vacuum is the Bagotte BG600 MAX Robot Vacuum Cleaner for its three suction settings and ability to mop as well, offering great value for money. The quietest robot vacuum is the Hosome V701S Robot Vacuum Cleaner which produces less than 55dBA of noise.

What is the best robot vacuum for pets?

The Eufy RoboVac 11S Max is the best robot vacuum for pets as it makes light work of pesky pet hair on all surfaces, such as hard floors and carpets.

How we chose our recommendations

Our robot vacuum suggestions mostly came from recommendations on the Mumsnet forums and from consumer reviews on the web. We consulted independent review sites for opinions about products to ensure we were bringing you an honest summary of robot vacuum cleaners in 2021.

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in those years, we’ve seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.

We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.

Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.

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Want more product recommendations? Check out Mumsnet Reviews and Mumsnet Swears By. Prices correct at time of publication.