Great robot vacuums that will clean up your mess

Things to consider: battery life, trash compartment size, and smart features.

Most robot vacuums look exactly the same. They’re monochromatic discs that wander around the floor, bumping into your side table, doing their best to pick up crumbs, pet hair, and flecks of dried mud. But despite their similar appearances, there are important differences that dictate which model is best for your abode. You have to consider battery life, the size of the trash compartment, bonus “smart” features, and—of course—price. Since I’ve gotten to see some of these suckers in action over the last few months, I thought I’d write up some of my favorites.

Warning: make sure you don’t have wires laying all over the floor. Not that I needed a landline anyway.

iRobot Roomba 960

It’s the most expensive option on this list, but its performance justifies the price. Amazon

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It boasts multiple-room navigation and 5 times the suction power as earlier models. In order to pick up as much dirt as possible, the Roomba 960 agitates, brushes, and then sucks. The Roomba 960 is voice-activated—so it will work with Alexa and Google Assistant—and cleans hardwood floors and carpets. The 3.6-inch-tall unit also fits under most furniture, so you won’t have to get on your hands and knees to swipe under the sofa. One of the most clutch features is that it automatically recharges itself once it is done with a cleaning cycle. The internal filter captures up to 99 percent of allergens. Each charge provides up to 2 hours of cleaning.

Shark IQ R101AE Robot Vacuum

Effective and efficient.

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Shark’s IQ R101AE robot vacuum empties itself. Without having to empty the vacuum weekly, the robovac is able to continue cleaning for—in this particular case—a month. The self-emptying base can hold up to 30 days of recovered dirt. Beyond this, the Shark IQ comes with all the expected bells and whistles, and is powerful enough to deal with pet hair and dander. It can be controlled via Alexa, using the accompanying smartphone app, maps your floors, and automatically adjusts when it switches from carpets to hardwood. It also lets you choose which areas you want your cleaner to avoid. The self-emptying feature is definitely worth an update.


Almost two hours of runtime. Amazon

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The ECOVACS DEEBOT 500 runs for up to 110 minutes on a fully-charged battery. It has three modes—Auto mode cleans the entire space, Spot mode cleans a small designated area, and Edge mode for cleaning the perimeter of your room. There are five advanced features: direct control, phone scheduling, status updates, cleaning modes, and status check. The direct control feature is useful if you see a dirty spot on the floor and want to direct the vacuum to it. It also has a max power mode, which adds extra suction in case it has been a while since its last sweep or it’s shedding season for your pets. It works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so you can schedule cleaning from your phone or smart speaker. It stores all the dirt in a 17.5-ounce bin that’s simple to empty.

Eufy 30C Max robot vacuum

Set cleaning schedules from your phone and set up boundaries to keep the device out of certain rooms. Amazon

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The 6-pound Eufy 30C Max is super short (2.85 inches high) and much quieter than previous models. Despite the decrease in sound, it features more powerful suction. Plus it can clean for 100 minutes on a single charge, allows you to steer and set cleaning schedules from your phone, and automatically returns to the charging base when it’s finishing cleaning. This Eufy vacuum doesn’t let ledges or small bumps get in the way of its mission. If it senses a large drop, it turns around. If there is a change in floor height—less than .63-inches—the robot’s large wheels can maneuver over it. If you’re worried about breakables, use the included, 13-foot boundary strips to keep the vacuum out of certain areas.

Eufy RoboVac 11S

This robot vacuum can clean for 1.5 hours continuously. Amazon

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For a slightly cheaper option, Eufy’s RoboVac 11S is thin—also only 2.85-inches tall—and can clean for more than an hour and a half without needing a recharge. It recognizes the type of floor it’s trying to clean and automatically adjusts its suction level for maximum pickup. It uses an infrared sensor to avoid obstacles like furniture or your pet. The vacuum won’t take orders from a smartphone but it does come with a remote that can create cleaning schedules.

Billy Cadden
Billy Cadden

Billy Cadden is the Director of Commerce for the Camden Media tech group. He was part of NYC indie rock band The Postelles, and currently releases solo music under his name. His latest work is available on all streaming platforms. Contact the author here.