Best Robotic Vacuum 2017

Vacuuming sucks. Literally. Who wouldn’t want a robot vacuum to take over the brunt of this odious chore? While we are still quite far from a Rosie robot like many of us dreamed about thanks to The Jetsons, that day is perhaps not as far off as some might believe. 

Introduction to the Robotic Vacuum

Vacuums have come a long way. You no longer have to suffer the indignity of dragging around an unwieldy plastic hose connected to a clumsy, wheeled canister the size of a Galapagos tortoise. In fact, you don’t even need to get off of the couch. Though it still feels like a relatively new product category, there are several good robot vacuums available to help you dispose of dust, pet hair, and other debris in your home—without needing to lift a finger. Which is the right one for you?

We love automation. We want everything to happen without thinking about it. Life is busy and cleaning is one of our least favorite tasks. Companies have answered the call for our love of technology and automation and hatred for cleaning, with the robotic vacuum cleaners. These units clean the floor automatically. Just set them to clean and they will cover the rooms and clean up dust, dirt and anything left on the floor. Their designs are fairly simple and they are compact enough to get under sofas and beds making them not only valuable in getting a clean house but saving you both time and energy. Most can be programmed and will run automatically while you are at work.

Instead of sweeping, and vacuuming every day, now you can truly set it and forget it, and come home to clean floors with no effort on your part. This high level of convenience and improved technology has made them a very popular appliance. Newer models no longer get stuck and stop when the robot runs into toys or other objects on the floor. They don’t run out of battery in the middle of the room and other inconveniences found with earlier models. These difficulties have been corrected and consumers are raving about the new wave of robotic vacuum cleaners.

Top 10 Robotic Vacuums

RankPictureRobotic VacuumCapacity (sq ft)Runtime (min)Cleaning StagesNoise Level (dB)Filtration
1iRobot Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner118475350AeroVac
2ILIFE V3s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner1110100455HEPA
3Anker RoboVac 10 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner1110100355HEPA
4iRobot Roomba 770 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner166575350HEPA
5iRobot Roomba 880 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner1800100350HEPA
6iRobot Roomba 630 Vacuum Cleaning Robot118475350AeroVac
7iRobot Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner2500120350HEPA
8ROLLIBOT BL618 Quiet Robotic Vacuum Cleaner1110100457HEPA
9bObi Classic Robotic Vacuum Cleaner100090357HEPA
10Haier Automatic Robot Vacuum1615100455HEPA

iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

The iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is the top pick because of its innovative features and attractive design. The iRobot contains an iAdapt navigation system which uses sensors built to adapt and navigate your home. It is able to adjust to different types of flooring, and can sense objects like furniture and doorways. This intuitive design gives it the ability to thoroughly clean an area in a real world environment. There is a 3 stage cleaning system which will agitate the carpet to loosen the dirt, it then brushes it, and uses suction to pull the dirt off the floors.

A side brush gets into corners and keeps the dust from accumulating on the walls and baseboards. You are able to schedule the robot to work during the day while you are at work. You may set the schedule for up to 7 times per week and activate the schedule by simply pressing the “clean” button. The unit will automatically clean and then re-dock for charging, meaning it will always be ready when you need it.

The iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is also able to adjust its cleaning to match the floor type. Adjustments can be made for carpet, tile, hardwood, and laminate flooring. The system is able to collect everything from small things like dust to larger items like cereal. The unit is only 3.6 inches tall and can easily go under tables and sofas without disrupting its flow. It is able to detect the end of the room, compared to a smaller object like a toy.

The unit is only 13.4 inches in diameter and very compact and easy to store. It weighs around 12 pounds and operates with a lithium rechargeable battery. You can establish a virtual wall to keep the iRobot in the rooms you want and it is built to identify stairs and avoid them. This unit comes with a one year warranty.

ILIFE V3s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

The ILIFE V3s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is a top pick because it is both affordable and versatile. This unit can accommodate various floor types such as thin carpet, hardwood or laminate floors, and marble or tile. The vacuum has both a sweeping and mopping function to clean all the floors in your home. It includes a special technology to remove pet hairs and allergens from the floors and the air. It features a V3s technology to effectively remove fine pet hair and dust.

The ILIFE V3s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner offers a slim design that will fit under sofas and beds and other places that are difficult to reach. You are able to schedule its operation during your time away and it will work while you sleep or are out of the home. It operates by activating the clean button. The unit is only 12 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall, allowing it to fit in tight spaces. It includes a charging station and automatically re-charges after cleaning. A Hepa filter is included to reduce dust and allergens during cleaning.

The touch screen makes the unit simple to operate and program and it weighs less than 5 pounds. The unit will clean up to 110 minutes before needed to be re-charged and it takes up to 300 minutes to charge. Included with the robotic vacuum is a remote control, extra side brushes, a mop cloth and an AC adapter. The ILIFE V3s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner comes with a 12 month warranty.

Anker RoboVac 10, Self-Docking Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

The Anker RoboVac 10, Self-Docking Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is a top pick because of its remarkable power and smart functions. This unit includes a three point cleaning system that loosens the dirt and then extracts the dirt from your floors and carpets. It also includes side brushes to ensure that dust and cobwebs are removed from corners and along the walls. The unit is small and compact enabling you to get under tight spaces like sofas and beds, allowing you to clean more thoroughly. The unit is just over 12 inches in diameter and only 3 inches tall. It weighs just over 5 pounds. It is able to climb over objects up to 15 mm in height.

The Anker RoboVac 10, Self-Docking Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is programmable providing you with automatic cleaning at the push of a button. You can set it for automatic, spot cleaning or edge mode depending on the need. It comes with a 2600 Ah Li-ion battery that is rechargeable. The battery is powerful enough to operate up to 100 minutes before needing to dock and recharge. The unit will return to the dock when the power gets low for automatic recharging. It also features drop sensing technology which will prevent the unit from falling down stairs. The vacuum includes a Hepa filter to ensure that any dust in the air is pulled through the filter leaving you with both cleaner floor and cleaner air to breathe. The Anker RoboVac 10, Self-Docking Robotic Vacuum Cleaner includes an 18 month warranty.

Top Rated Robotic Vacuums Summary

All of our picks are built from top quality materials and come from brands with high levels of customer service. They all operate as compact floor models that can be conveniently programmed. The all offer 3 point cleaning systems which loosen and then remove dirt. All of them offer side brushes to get dust and dirt off of walls and corners. All three units include a docking station and operate with a rechargeable battery.

The iRobot is able to adapt to different floor surfaces automatically and you are able to section off rooms without having to close doors. The invisible wall will keep the vacuum operating only in designated spaces. This unit also offers scheduling for up to 7 times a week for a truly automated experience. It is the heaviest and largest at 12 pounds and 13.4 inches in diameter and 3.4 inches high. It does however offer the most advanced features.

The ILife unit is the most economical unit but is only effective on flat floor surfaces and thin carpets. It features a Hepa filter which will remove dust and pet hair from the air. This unit is the smallest and lightest at 12 inches in diameter and 3 inches high. It weighs less than 5 pounds.

The Anker unit adds a lot of the features of the iRobot and can climb over small objects and has a sensor that will identify the drop in floor so it will not accidently go down stairs. The unit also includes a Hepa filter to clean the air and the floors at the same time. It is about the same size and weight as the ILife at 12 inches in diameter and 3 inches high. It weighs a little over 5 pounds. This unit also has the longest warranty of 18 months compared to the 12 month warranty for the other two robotic vacuums.

Whichever model you choose you will get a powerful machine that can reduce the time it takes to clean your floors and carpets.

Robotic Vacuum Buyers Guide

What is a Robotic Vacuum?

When looking for a way to save you time and the hassle of cleaning hard to reach spaces robotic vacuums do an excellent job. While they will not fully replace your vacuum cleaner or eliminate the need to clean your home, they can keep dust at bay and keep your home cleaner with the added convenience of automation. When choosing a robotic vacuum there are a number of factors which will determine which is the best one for your needs.

What job do you need done? Robotic vacuums range in price from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars depending on the features you need. The more thorough the cleaning and the larger space you need covered the higher the price. The more sophisticated the technology, the higher the price. Do you need to dust hardwood floors daily or do you need it to cover the whole first floor and accommodate different flooring? Your goals will depend on the features that you will find important.

Where will you clean? The amount of space you need cleaned will factor on the size of motor, the size of the storage bin, and the time the charge will hold. A small room can clean quickly and the robot can return to recharge for the next cleaning. A larger unit may be able to clean several rooms, identify stairs and go over different floor types.

How Does A Robot Vacuum Cleaner Work?

The most important feature of these robots and the characteristic that differentiates it from a normal vacuum is the so called path-finding or also known as self navigation system, which refers to the exact directions the bot will take to completely traverse the room it is supposed to clean. A robot needs to be careful in order not to destroy anything like cutting the cables of the television or drive over the precious cat. All kidding aside, you are not going to get yourself a self-driving chaff cutter. In fact, all companies are fully aware of all different kinds of possible scenarios and circumstances in a typical home and turned their autonomous vacuums into very sensitive and careful devices that would rather get stuck like a ladybug upside down than destroying anything. Especially in the last two years the algorithms for determining the optimal route have improved tremendously. There are different approaches depending on the manufacturer. At the time of this writing (as you know technical facts can change pretty quickly) the iRobot Roomba uses multiple infrared sensors to measure the dimensions of the room and calculate the distances.

What is HEPA?

Indoor pollutants are a major concern. Research shows that some indoor air quality is 2 to 5 times more polluted than the outdoor air. The air we breathe is polluted with minute particles such as dust, pet dander, cigarette smoke, pollen and other allergens. These air contaminants have a greater effect on people with allergies and asthmatic conditions.

Vacuum cleaners, however, are machines made to dust and bust germs particles from your home and leave a clean environment to breathe on and live in. There are several vacuum cleaners on the market today, but the Roomba series from iRobot stands out in terms of hygienic cleaning. This range of robot vacuums is especially designed with a unique mesh known as the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorption) filter to house impurities and keep them inside the machine until disposal time.

HEPA Filters in vacuums

The reason of using these filters in vacuums is to enhance the functionality of the vacuum cleaner. Some important characteristics of the filter include:

  • Trap Microscopic Particles: The HEPA filter is typically designed from fiberglasses of about 0.5-0.2 micrometers. The structure is useful in helping the vacuum seize all small pollutants and prevent them from entering the room.
  • Enhance vacuum cleaner performance: the more the dirt that’s captured, the better performance of a vacuum cleaner. On this ground, Roomba vacuums deliver unflinchingly as they extract allergens and reduce respiratory problems such as Asthma.

Pros of HEPA

  • The ultra-high, glass fiber medium captures tiny particles that can pass through other filters by a combination of interception, diffusion, and inertial impaction.
  • The HEPA filter is a cloth based filter that captures and holds particles permanently, efficiently cleaning the circulating air.
  • HEPA filters are able to remove up 99.97% of all molecules bigger than 0.3 microns.
  • It will keep away debris and dust from reaching your lungs

Cons of HEPA

  • They cannot trap other pollutants such as fumes, gasses and chemicals.
  • They are very costly units, especially when replacing filters. Replacing the filters can be expensive depending on the number of times you change them.
  • The compactness and shape of the purifier depend on the type you have. There filters that are washable while some are not.
  • The washable filters are not very effective.

Features to Consider

Most robotic vacuums come with AC adapters, self charging stations, a bin to store the dust collected, and a rechargeable battery. From there features will vary depending on your needs and the model you select.

How much space do you need to cover? Units are built to operate a certain amount of time before recharging. Larger units can cover several rooms on one charge while others can only cover one. The size of the battery and the amount of time it will operate will determine the square footage it can cover. The rooms dimension and the amount of objects or furniture it must navigate may also affect the time it will be able to operate on a single charge.

What size bin do you need? In addition to length of charge you also need to look at the size of the collection bin. As the unit runs it will collect dirt and dust and store it in a bin. The collection bin must be changed frequently in order to remain at full suction power. Some bins need to be changed after each use. The larger space you are cleaning the more often the bin will need to be changed.

What floors need to be cleaned? Robotic vacuums operate best on hardwood floors and thinner carpets. If you have one floor surface or only hardwoods and tile, most vacuums can accommodate this. Adding various carpets and thicker styles like shags will help determine the unit needed. Covering a combination of different flooring requires a floor sensor so the robotic vacuum can adapt its suction and height to accommodate your floor surfaces.

What is the convenience vs. cost? A robot vacuum is usually higher in price than a traditional vacuum. It’s a pretty sizable investment, even on the lower end. Let’s consider just what you get for the price. Unless you really love to vacuum, the task itself is pretty mundane. Depending on the size of your house, a robot vacuum can save you anywhere from minutes to hours of your time every week by taking care of a pretty thankless chore. That alone is reason enough for some people to consider one. In addition, robot vacuums have reached the point where they’re basically just as effective and powerful as regular vacuums. The robots rounded up here use filters, side brushes, and spinning brushes that will do an equally good job of cleaning your home as their upright equivalents. They’re also fairly compact, so they won’t take up much space in your storage closet. And they’re able to travel underneath most couches and tables, so you won’t have to rearrange furniture. Even if you do, the more advanced robots on this list use memory banks to note where furniture is placed, so as not to bump into anything on a future pass.

Other Valuable Features

Floor detection: the ability to tell what kind of surface it is cleaning and adjust the suction and height accordingly.

Stair detector: A sensor to identify stairs which will stop the robot from falling down the stairs and move on to the next area.

Room detector: the ability to detect when you are moving from one room to the next. This will allow the unit to clean multiple rooms and still find its way back to the charging base.

Invisible walls: Allows you to block off certain areas that the vacuum will not travel. This can be an area within a room or blocking doorways so it stays in the room you intend without having to close the door.

Dirt detection: provides sensors that look for dirt. This enables the robot to identify corners or missed areas in the room and provides better coverage.

Collection Bin size. The size of the bin determines how often it must be cleaned between uses.

Scheduler allows you to program the vacuum so it will operate automatically as long as it is set to clean.

Remote control allows you to program the unit without having to bend over the physically touch the vacuum on the floor.

Hepa filters will clean the air as well as the floors.

Conclusion

The latest generation of high-end, flagship robots like the Roomba 980, Neato Botvac Connected, Samsung Powerbot Turbo, and Dyson 360 Eye allow you to control them with smartphone apps, and they have better batteries that let them clean much larger spaces in less time than their cheaper counterparts. So if you have a sprawling floor plan or want the flexibility of app control, you might be interested in one of these top-end models. These unfortunately do not provide the same value as the robotic vacuums above.

Robotic vacuums are becoming more popular as new features are added. Lives are busy and adding an appliance that can cut out mundane chores like housework are always welcome. Dust your floors and clean them every day while you are at work with the newest robotic vacuum cleaners.