The Best Robot Vacuums for 2020 | Digital Trends


Robot vacuums are no longer a luxury investment. These days, you can choose between models that boast powerful cleaning tech, impressive battery lives, and amazing smart controls for pretty reasonable prices, and through multiple vendors.

Which robot vacuum is best for your home? Do you need one that specializes in picking up pet hair, or one with a massive battery to get as much cleaning done as possible in one go? We’ve tested dozens of robot vacuums, and our pick for the best is the iRobot Roomba s9 Plus. The s9 Plus is the Ferrari of robot vacuums, offering advanced navigation, and even emptying its own dust bin. We’ve also included our picks for the best value robot vacuum, as well as the best robot vacuums in other categories.

At a glance

iRobot Roomba s9 Plus

Best overall

Sure, a robot vacuum makes cleaning your floors a heck of a lot easier. But, you still have to empty the dustbin just about every time you run it. With its Clean Base and compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant, the s9 Plus is the latest model from the esteemed company that’s capable of literally vacuuming without having you lift a finger. Just say “Alexa …” or “OK, Google, ask Roomba to start cleaning,” and your s9 Plus will start cleaning. The best part about the s9 is when it completes the cleaning, since the clean base will suck the dirt and debris into an anti-allergen base that holds up to 30 deposits (60 days of dirt).

In addition to being one of the most user-friendly robots you can buy, the s9 Plus adopts a new D-shaped design to allow for better edge and corner cleaning. Naturally, it’s outfitted with the latest tech under the hood — consisting of a new 3D sensor in the front bumper that enhances Roomba’s wall detection, a more powerful cleaning head, and intelligent mapping. It can tell where it has already been and where it still needs to clean. The robot can clean your entire home, or you can instruct it to clean specific places. Its sensors can locate the higher traffic areas in your home, and the robot will be extra attentive to those dirtier areas of your floors.

While the s9 Plus is expensive, its performance and features are top-notch. If you want the best of the best in terms of robot vacuums, the s9 Plus is the way to go. You can check out our full review of the Roomba s9 Plus here.

Neato Botvac D6

Best for edges and corners

Neato Botvac D6 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

You can easily set the Botvac D6 to clean your entire home or spot clean a specific section of a room. Once set up, you can check in on the bot to schedule tasks and similarly receive notifications as rooms are cleaned via the Neato app. You can store up to three different floor plans, making the D6 the ideal robot for a three-story home. The D6 comes with magnetic strips to set up boundaries around the home or apartment. This is a great way to prevent the unit from bumping into your pet’s food dishes and also partitioning play areas to keep the bot from chewing up toys. You can also create virtual “No-Go Lines” in the Neato App that tell the robot which areas to avoid.

The Botvac D6 has a laser-based navigation system, which allows it to scan and map your home and even clean in the dark. It has a large main brush that picks up pet hair and small debris, and an ultra-performance filter to trap allergens. The battery life on the D6 is pretty good too, at 120 minutes, and it has a quick-boost charging feature to let it charge as much as it needs to finish the job. Plus, with Neato’s D-shape build, this robotic vacuum is a boss when it comes to cornering and edging. We conducted a full review of the Botvac D6 if you’d like to learn more.

iRobot Roomba 960

Best multi-surface

iRobot Roomba 960
Few homes are limited to just carpet or hardwood, and not all robotic vacuums are capable of tackling high-pile carpets or linoleum. That said, the Roomba 960 can handle the full spectrum of flooring options in your home. While many models boast a turbo and efficiency mode, these are often options you need to tweak manually as the bot moves about the home, and babysitting your vacuum sort of defeats the purpose of allocating the task to a droid in the first place. That said, the Roomba 960 automatically adapts to its environment, increasing or decreasing the suction for the terrain underfoot at a given time.

Some models use magnetic strips to establish a perimeter fence to prevent the vacuum from venturing into unwanted areas. The Roomba 960, on the other hand, maps your home using its iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology. Then you can control the cleaning via the iRobot Home App.

Roborock S5 Robot Vacuum and Mop

Most versatile

Roborock S5 robot vacuum

The Roborock S5 is an all-in-one vacuum, mop, and whole-home detailer. On the vacuum end of things, the S5 is equipped with Roborock’s 3D cleaning system, which allows the vac to act like a mini-tornado, sucking in all nearby dirt and debris. The S5 can seamlessly traverse multiple floor types and can clean for up to 2.5 hours on a single charge. We’re also big fans of the self-adjusting brushes that kick up the spin speed to 330 rpms when approaching tight corners or base-trim edges. When the S5 moves away from a tight spot, the brushes go back to a steadier 130 rpms.

For mopping capabilities, the S5 uses a sensor-driven water tank that only shoots out water when cleaning, so no need to worry about water marks on your carpet. The mop head itself is wrapped tightly to the vac, so you can expect mostly streak-free mopping across multiple terrain types.

With the Mi app (for iOS and Android), you can create customized cleaning zones for the vac, save and load specialized cleaning maps of your home, and access real-time video of your vacuum mid-clean by tapping into the S5’s onboard camera. There’s also Alexa compatibility, so you can fire up the vac or tell it to stop cleaning with easy voice commands.

Once in a while, the app can be a bit glitchy, and oddly, the S5 doesn’t send out a notification when its dust bin is full — two little drawbacks that would be easily ignorable if the vacuum cost a bit less.

Amarey A800 Robot Vacuum

Best robot vacuum for pet owners

Amarey A800 vacuum

If there’s a cat or dog in your life, chances are every crevice of your home is filled with some part of them, whether that be hair, litter, or food. The Amarey A800 is tailor-made for this kind of cleanup. It’s all thanks to the vac’s Triple Cleaning System, which employs three different filter types, side brushes, and spinning brushes, allowing it to dig into those hard-to-reach cat-hair nooks. Using the remote, you can also choose between four different cleaning modes, including automatic, spot, max vacuuming, and edge cleaning, the latter two being excellent choices for unearthing pet dander.

The Free Floor transition and onboard Intelligent Sensor mean the A800 can also go “off-roading” without you having to drop what you’re doing to relocate it. It can clean across wood, tile, and carpet, and all at under 58 decibels, so no at-home distractions while you’re trying to work. When it comes to stairs or other steep ledges, the 360-degree anti-collision and anti-drop sensors kick in, ensuring the A800 doesn’t take a tumble.

We do wish there was an app for expanded controls, and it’s a bit of a bummer that Alexa and Google won’t be joining the party. The A800 is only controllable by remote. But for the price and range of pet-detailing features, it’s a solid pick for the caretaker of man’s best friend.

Ecovacs Deebot N79S

Best value robot vacuum

Ecovacs Deebot N79S

If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to Roomba models, we recommend this Deebot model. It doesn’t have the mapping technology found in higher-priced models, but it does have obstacle detection, app controls, and voice controls via Alexa or Google Assistant. If you prefer controlling the vac via the app, you’ll be pleased to see it has options for direct control, or various cleaning modes for different tasks, including an extra suction mode for larger messes. On the normal mode, the Deebot N79S has a 110-minute run time. One battery cycle is enough to clean about 1,100 square feet.

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