The best robot vacuum for 2024


Whether you have kids tracking in dirt on a daily basis or a few fur-shedding pets (or both), a robot vacuum can help keep your home clean. And these smart home gadgets have gotten much better in recent years: they have improved navigation around furniture and other obstacles, many are better equipped to suck up pet hair and some even have mopping capabilities now, too. On top of that, there are more affordable robot vaccums available now than ever before. We’ve tested out dozens of these machines over the years and continue to test the latest models as they become available. Below, we outline what you should know before purchasing a robot vacuum, plus our top picks for the best robot vacuum cleaners you can get right now.

As we explained in our budget guide, Wi-Fi connectivity is a key feature for most robot vacuums. Some of the affordable devices aren’t Wi-Fi connected, though, so it’s best to double check before you buy cheap. Wi-Fi lets a robot vacuum cleaner do things like communicate with a mobile app, which then allows you to control the device from your phone.

Suction power is another important factor to consider. Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard power scale that all robo-vacs adhere to, so it’s difficult to compare among a bunch of devices. Some companies provide Pascal (Pa) levels and generally the higher the Pa, the stronger the vacuum cleaner will be. But other companies don’t rely on Pa and simply say their robots have X-times more suction than other robots.

Ultimately, we recommend thinking first about the floors in your home: Do you have carpet throughout, or tile and hardwood floors, or a mix? Robots with stronger suction power will do a better job cleaning carpets as they can get into the nooks and crannies more easily. Some machines have “max” modes as well, which ups the suction power but also typically eats at battery life faster than the “normal” cleaning mode.

Past a certain price threshold, you’ll find advanced perks like home mapping features, improved object detection and automatic dustbin disposal. Home mapping is exactly what it sounds like: The vacuum uses sensors to map your home’s layout as it cleans, allowing you to send it to particular rooms or areas. Most robo-vacs have object detection, but some will be better than others at actually avoiding things like chair legs and children’s toys. Higher-end models like iRobot’s j7 series even go so far as to promise obstacle avoidance to steer clear of things like pet poop that can potentially ruin your machine.

We’re also now starting to see more robot vacuums with mopping capabilities. Machines with this feature have a water reservoir either built into the robot’s chassis or as a separate piece that you swap in for the dustbin when you want to mop your floors. It makes the robo-vac more useful if you have hard floors in your home that you like to keep squeaky clean, but it does require more work on your part. Filling and emptying the reservoir remains a human’s job.

Finally, for peak convenience, consider a robot vacuum that comes with a self-cleaning base. These are basically garbage bins attached to the machine’s docking station. At the end of each job, the robo-vac automatically empties its small dustbin into the large clean base – that means you won’t have to empty the dustbin yourself and you’ll only have to tend to the base once every few weeks. Just keep in mind that most self-emptying bins require proprietary garbage bags – another long-term expense you’ll have to factor in. Also, any vac-and-mop robot with a water tank will not dump its dirty water into the clean base, so you’ll still have to clean up that yourself.


Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes | Floor type: All floor types | Features: Obstacle avoidance, home mapping, LiDAR navigation | Assistant support: Alexa/Google Assistant | Mopping capabilities: No | Self-empty: Yes | Good for pet hair: Yes

Shark’s RV2502AE AI robot vacuum with self-emptying base ticks all of the boxes that a mid-range machine should. It offers reliable cleaning performance, its mobile app is easy to use and it produces accurate home maps. On top of that, its base is bagless, which means you won’t have to spend money on extra bags every few months.

Setting up the Shark is as simple as taking it and its base out of the box, plugging the base in and downloading the companion mobile app to finish things up. The machine connects to Wi-Fi, allowing you to control it via the app when you’re not at home, or using Google Assistant and Alexa voice control. The first journey the Shark makes is an “Explore Run,” during which it produces a map of your home that you can then edit from the mobile app.

The Shark produced a pretty accurate floorplan of my two-bedroom apartment, and I was happy to see a “re-explore” option that I could use if the map wasn’t up to my standards. With a completed map, you’re then asked to label rooms in your home. That way, you can send the Shark to only the bedroom for more direct cleaning jobs, select “no-go” zones and more.

The first few times I ran the Shark robot, I had it clean my whole apartment. I was impressed by how quiet it was – or rather, how much quieter it was compared to other robo-vacs I’ve tried. You’ll have to turn up the volume on your TV if it’s cleaning in the same room, but it’ll be hard to hear when it’s sucking up debris down the hallway. It also did a decent job maneuvering its way around the cat toys I left out on the floor. The device’s object detection feature claims it can avoid things as small as four inches, but I found that it was much better at sensing and moving around the three-foot-long cat tunnel on my floor than the many tiny mouse toys.

But even if Mr. Mouse caught the edge of the Shark’s wheels now and then, the robo-vac took it all in stride. One thing I look for when testing robot vacuums is how much attention they need from me during cleanings. The best ones are hands-free and require no extra attention at all – once they start a job, they’re smart enough to putter around your home, move around objects and return to their base when they’re finished. With Shark’s robo-vac, I never had to tend to it when it was cleaning. Now, I did my due diligence and picked up pieces of clothing and charging cables off the ground before running the Shark (ditto for every other robot vacuum I tested), so those things were never in the way. Most companion apps will actually remind you to do this before starting a cleaning job.

This Shark machine comes with an auto-empty station, so it will empty its dustbin after every cleaning run – and also during a job if its bin gets full before it’s done. In the latter situation, the Shark will go back to cleaning automatically after it’s freed up its bin. That’s a great feature, but I found the best thing about the base to be its bagless design. Shark’s device is unlike most other robot vacuum clean bases because you don’t have to keep buying proprietary garbage bags to outfit the interior of the base. When you want to empty the base, part of it snaps off and opens to eject debris, and it easily locks back in place when you return it. Not only is this quite convenient, but it also brings the lifetime cost of ownership down since you won’t be buying special bags every few months.

Its worth noting that Shark has a couple of models that are similar to the RV2502AE that just have a different color scheme, a 30- versus 60-day self-cleaning base capacity and other minor differences. The biggest feature that would impact how you use the machine is the clean base capacity: we recommend springing for the 60-day models if you want to interact as little as possible with your robo-vac.


  • Strong suction
  • Included bagless self-emptying base
  • Easy to use mobile app

$377 at Amazon


Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes | Floor type: All floor types | Features: Advanced obstacle avoidance, home mapping | Assistant support: Alexa/Google Assistant | Mopping capabilities: No | Self-empty: No | Good for pet hair: Yes

Not much has changed since Amazon bought iRobot a little while back – the Roomba j7 remains a great option if you want the latest obstacle avoidance technology from the company in an attractive package. The $600 j7 doesn’t come with a clean base, but you can get the same vacuum with one for $200 extra.

The biggest selling point of the Roomba j7 series is its upgraded AI-driven computer vision which helps it detect and move around objects. This includes pet poop – a robot vacuum’s arch nemesis – and iRobot even promises pet owners that it will replace their j7 machine if it runs into pet poop within the first year of ownership.

That’s one feature I was happy I never got to test while reviewing this Roomba, as my cat kept all of her activity to her litter box. Otherwise, the Roomba j7 did a good job sucking up dirt and debris around my apartment and it didn’t make too much noise while doing so. All of the robo-vacs I tested at this mid-range level had roughly the same level of suction, so there wasn’t a big difference between them when it came to cleaning power.

Like other robot vacuums, you can set cleaning schedules in the iRobot mobile app so you never have to start a cleaning job on the fly. The app also has a “favorites” section, which lets you create profiles that you’ll use all the time like “clean the living room and the entryway.” And if you prefer to use voice commands, the robot supports Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant.

The Roomba j7 has Imprint Smart Mapping, but unlike the Shark, it took more than one runthrough of my home for it to create a complete map. iRobot’s app distinguishes between a regular cleaning job and a “mapping run,” so make sure you’re choosing the latter the first few times you run the machine.

I tested the j7+, which means I was treated to the roaring sounds of the machine emptying its dustbin into its base. The emptying process isn’t as simple as an automatically opening flat that shakes dirt from one garbage can to another – the base actually sucks the dirt from vacuum. This was the case for all of the machines I tried that came with self-emptying bases; they’re all quite loud, but the Roomba j7+ was the loudest of them all. The whooshing sounds last for only five to 10 seconds, but it was shocking the first time it happened. Just keep that in mind if you ever decide to run your self emptying robot vacuum at night when others are sleeping.


  • Strong suction
  • Advanced obstacle avoidance
  • Easy to use mobile app

  • Expensive
  • Cannot clean while creating initial home map

$379 at Amazon


Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes | Floor type: All floor types | Features: Obstacle avoidance, home mapping, laser navigation | Assistant support: Alexa/Google Assistant | Mopping capabilities: Yes | Self-empty: No | Good for pet hair: Yes

You may be unfamiliar with Anker’s robot vacuums, but they’re often more affordable alternatives to the iRobots and Sharks of the world. The Eufy RoboVac X8 Hybrid isn’t a budget machine by any means, but it’s a solid robot vacuum that offers a few key features that many competitors don’t have. Plus, you can often find it on sale for $549 or even $449.

Unlike our other midrange picks, the X8 Hybrid doesn’t come with a self-emptying bin, nor is there one you can purchase separately. It’s just a standalone robo-vac, but the “hybrid” indicates that it’s also a robot mop. It has both a dustbin for collecting debris and a 250-milliliter water tank that you can fill whenever you want to run a mopping cycle. Plenty of other robot vacuums have this feature, and it could be even more useful than a self-cleaning bin if you have lots of tile or hardwood floors throughout your home.

Besides that, I was impressed with how easy it was to set up the X8 Hybrid, how accurate its mapping capabilities were and how many extra features it supports. It has four cleaning modes – auto, room, zone and spot – and four suction levels starting with Pure at the low end and topping out at Max. These features give you a lot of control over where the machine cleans and how powerfully it will do so. The X8 Hybrid was in Pure mode the first time I ran it, and I was surprised by not only how quiet it was but also how thoroughly it cleaned considering it was on the lowest suction setting.

There’s also a “tap and go” feature that lets you pinpoint any spot on your home map in the EufyHome app, sending the robot there to clean. Manual controls are also available, which isn’t something you see on a ton of robo-vacs. This option lets you control the machine almost like a slow and slightly clumsy RC car, giving you more control over where it cleans.

It may not have the name recognition that iRobot or Shark do, but the Eufy RoboVac X8 Hybrid is a solid choice nonetheless, especially if you don’t care to add a clean base into the mix. It’s an even more tempting choice if you can snag it at a lower price when it’s discounted.


  • Vacuum and mopping capabilities
  • In-app manual direction controls

$160 at Amazon

Photo by Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes | Floor type: All floor types | Features: Obstacle avoidance, home mapping | Assistant support: Alexa/Google Assistant | Mopping capabilities: Yes | Self-empty: Yes | Good for pet hair: Yes

Read our full review of the Roomba Combo j9+

The Roomba Combo j9+ has everything we want in a combination robotic vacuum and mop. It offers incredibly powerful suction, deep floor scrubbing and a slew of smarts to avoid obstacles (including cat and dog poop!). It’s a better vacuum than its predecessor, the Roomba Combo j7+, and it also features a new Clean Base that can automatically refill its liquid tank. More than any Roomba before it, the Combo j9+ can make your floors sparkly clean with very little intervention on your part.

While it’s expensive, the Roomba Combo j9+ certainly beats paying for a professional cleaning service. It’s also an excellent accessory for busy parents who just want to keep their floors looking tidy. It’s one of the best robotic vacuums and mops for pet owners, especially for its ability to avoid pet waste. In fact, if the j9+ ends up making a poopy mess due to cat or dog droppings, iRobot will send you a replacement unit for free. (That offer only works for the first year, and it only applies to solid waste from cats and dogs, but it’s still a helpful guarantee for pet owners afraid of the havoc that a robo-vac might wreak.)

The Roomba Combo j9+ features home mapping and can accurately map your home far faster than any previous Roomba, and you can also use the iRobot app to specify room borders. You can also create cleaning routines and label objects to help it clean exactly where you’d like. The j9+ works with smart assistants from Amazon and Google as well, so you can just shout out cleaning requests to your smart speaker. While it’s not a completely magical cleaning robot – you’ll still need to clear up your floors to help it run well – it’s certainly the closest we’ve seen yet to the ideal robotic vacuum and mop. — Devindra Hardawar, Senior Reporter


  • Excellent vacuuming performance
  • Mops on its own
  • Great obstacle (and poop) detection
  • Clean base is well designed
  • Solid battery life

  • Expensive
  • Mopping pad isn’t great for sticky messes

$999 at Amazon


Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes | Floor type: All floor types | Features: Obstacle avoidance, home mapping, LiDAR navigation | Assistant support: Alexa/Google Assistant | Mopping capabilities: Yes | Self-empty: Yes | Good for pet hair: Yes

The main reason why Shark’s machine is our runner-up pick is its more manual nature. It comes with two dustbins, one for vacuuming only and one for vacuuming and mopping that has a water reservoir and a detachable mop pad. You have to switch to the appropriate dustbin when you want to mop your floors, and after each job, the dustbin will not automatically empty into the clean base since it has the reservoir in it. You’ll have to manually empty it instead, but you would have to do that anyway to clean and refill the water tank in preparation for the next job.

Despite being a more hands-on machine, Shark’s robotic vac and mop was a pleasure to review. Setting it up was as quick and simple as one of the company’s standard robot vacuums, and its first run will create a map of your home, which you can then label with room names, edit with no-go zones and carpeted areas and more. You can even choose to have the robot do a dry run first before doing any actual mopping, so you can make sure it doesn’t enter into the carpeted areas you’ve indicated in your home map. In my testing, the robot accurately stayed away from these zones that I set and I actually like having that little bit of extra control over where the machine goes. But of course, that’s just another thing you have to do manually that iRobot’s vac and mop takes care of using built-in tech.

The Shark’s water–and-solution based cleaning abilities are basic but much better than having to schlep out an old-school mop and bucket yourself. My mix of hardwood and tile floors appeared noticeably cleaner after the Shark passed over them with its mopping pad. I know I’ll have to whip out my floor steamer every once in a while to really get a deep clean, but the Shark’s capabilities are more than enough for biweekly runs – and it’s hard to beat the convenience of not having to do it yourself.

Shark’s machine has a few other things going for it, too: the auto-empty station is bagless, which means you won’t have to shell out more money over time for extra bags like you will have to with iRobot machines; its mobile app remains easy to use and one that newbies will be able to pick up quickly; and, maybe most importantly, this device comes in at $700. That’s still a good chunk of change, but it’s a far-cry cheaper than the Roomba j7+ Combo.


  • Vacuum and mopping capabilities
  • Included bagless self-emptying base
  • Easy to use mobile app

  • Must manually switch dustbins when you want to mop

$400 at Amazon


Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes | Floor type: All floor types | Features: Obstacle avoidance, home mapping, LiDAR navigation | Assistant support: Alexa/Google Assistant | Mopping capabilities: Yes | Self-empty: Yes | Good for pet hair: Yes

Roborock’s high-end S7+ deserves a mention for its cleaning power and number of advanced features. First, the S7+ is a vac-and-mop combo, and its mopping pad automatically lifts itself out of the way when the machine reaches the carpet. That means you can have it clean your whole home, vacuuming and mopping in the right spots, without you giving it any extra attention (besides filling its 300ml water tank at the start).

The expensive machine has a longer setup process because its self-emptying base comes in two pieces. You must attach the bottom of the base, where the robo-vac charges, to the garbage-bin upper portion using a few screws and a tool that attaches to the bottom of the base. Roborock provides everything you need to do this in the box, so while it takes a bit more time, it’s still an easy process.

What wasn’t so easy for me at first was connecting the S7+ to the Roborock app. The vacuum had trouble connecting to my home’s Wi-Fi network, but I was able to connect it to the Mi Home app, which is Xiaomi’s main smart home companion app (Xiaomi is an investor in Roborock). There aren’t a ton of differences between the two apps when it comes to robo-vac controls, but the S7+ is designed to work with Roborock’s program. After troubleshooting with a Roborock representative, I was able to fix the problem by factory resetting the vacuum and that allowed me to connect it to the Roborock app properly.

That said, the Roborock app isn’t nearly as polished as those from iRobot, Shark and others. The main page shows your home’s map along with the battery level, cleaning time, cleaning area in feet, and buttons that let you quickly start a cleaning job and empty the dustbin. You’re also able to select specific rooms or zones to clean, but the rest of the control options live in the menu accessible by the three-dot icon at the top-right corner of the app. Things are a little buried, and that might make the S7+ harder for robot-vacuum newbies to use.

When it comes to cleaning performance, the Roborock S7+ did a great job sucking up dirt around my home. In addition to the usual features like cleaning schedules, zone targeting and others, the vacuum also has things like child lock, which will disable the physical buttons on the machine; different auto-emptying settings to choose from; “pin and go,” which lets you tap on your home map to send the robot to a specific location; and manual direction controls so you can move the machine like a toy car. This isn’t the robot vacuum to get if you want the most polished experience – and you may very well want that if you’re dropping $1,000 on one – but it remains a powerful vac-and-mop machine with a handful of extra perks.


  • Vacuum and mopping capabilities
  • Senses floor type to automatically mop certain surfaces

  • Expensive
  • Clunky mobile app

$950 at Amazon


Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes | Floor type: All floor types | Features: Obstacle avoidance, home mapping | Assistant support: Alexa/Google Assistant | Mopping capabilities: No | Self-empty: No | Good for pet hair: Yes

Dyson may have been late to the robo-vac party, but it made a remarkable machine with the 360 Vis Nav. Let’s get this out of the way at the top: this is a $1,200 robot vacuum cleaner that doesn’t have mopping abilities or a self-emptying base. Those factors alone make it less versatile than our other top picks, but two of its features make it worth a shout here: its suction power and obstacle avoidance capabilities.

The Dyson 360 Vis Nav has the strongest suction power of any robot vacuum I’ve tested; it’s certainly the closest you’ll get to using one of the company’s cordless stick vacs. It sucked up an impressive amount of pet hair from my carpeted floors, and I didn’t even get a “bin full” alert after the fact. Obstacle avoidance is impressive as well, thanks in part to the machine’s 360-degree vision system that uses a camera and LED lights to navigate around things like furniture, and map out your home. No robo-vac I’ve used has been able to fully avoid crashing into a chair leg now and again, and the 360 Vis Nav is no exception — but it did so only a couple of times. More importantly, I never got an alert that the robot was stuck or got tangled up with a rogue charging cord and needed human assistance to get it back on track.

In many ways, the Dyson 360 Vis NAv distills a robot vacuum down to its essence: it’s really good at sucking up dirt and debris on its own, with little to no interaction with humans needed (after initial setup, of course). Some people will be willing to spend a pretty penny on that — but in a saturated market like that of robot vacuums, you can get a lot more for your money. A self-emptying base and mopping capabilities are all but standard on most robot vacuums priced at $700 or more (and you can increasingly find one, or both of those features on cheaper machines). Personally, I think it’s particularly painful to pay over $1,000 and not get a self-emptying base, at minimum. But if you’re willing to spend more on a machine that gets the basics almost perfect, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav is the machine to get.

$1,199 at Dyson

Photo by Valentina Palladino / Engadget

iRobot’s $279 Roomba 694 is a good affordable robot vaccum option for most people thanks to its good cleaning power and easy-to-use mobile app. We won’t get too deep into it here since we have a whole guide to cheap robot vacuums with additional recommendations. But suffice to say, the 694 gives you all the essentials you’d expect from a robot vacuum, along with all of the convenience that comes with iRobot’s mobile app.


  • Good suction
  • Easy to use mobile app
  • Affordable

$187 at Lowe’s

First and foremost, always empty your robot vacuum’s dustbin after every cleaning job. If you have a model with a self-emptying base, there’s less work for you to do yourself. If not, simply detach and empty the dustbin as soon as the robot is done cleaning. It’s also a good idea to take a dry cloth to the inside of the dustbin every once in a while to remove any small dust and dirt particles clinging to its insides.

In addition, you’ll want to regularly examine the machine’s brushes to see if any hair has wrapped around them, or if any large debris is preventing them from working properly. Some brushes are better than others at not succumbing to tangled hair, but it’s a good idea to check your robot’s brushes regardless — both their main brush and any smaller, corner brushes they have. These parts are often easy to pop off of the machine (because they do require replacements eventually) so we recommend removing each brush entirely, getting rid of any tangled hair or other debris attached to them and reinstalling them afterwards.

Robot vacuums also have filters that need replacing every couple of months. Check your machine’s user manual or the manufacturer’s website to see how long they recommend going in between filter replacements. Most of the time, these filters cannot be washed, so you will need to buy new ones either directly from the manufacturer or from other retailers like Amazon or Walmart.

We tackled this question when we reviewed budget robot vacuums and the answer is yes, especially if vacuuming is one of your least favorite chores. Robots take the hard work out of cleaning your floors – just turn the thing on and watch it go. Any robot vacuum cleaner worth buying is semi-autonomous in that it will suck up dirt around your home until its battery is low and then make its way back to its charging dock. Unlike a regular vacuum, you should only have to interact with it to turn it on, empty its dustbin and untangle it if it were to get stuck somewhere.

That’s not to say robot vacuums are perfect. They’re almost always less powerful and less flexible than traditional vacuums. Since most robo-vacs are much smaller than traditional models, they often don’t have the same level of suction you’ll get in an upright machine. Plus, their dustbins are smaller, so they will need to be emptied more frequently. While Wi-Fi-connected robot vacuums give you the flexibility to start a cleaning job from anywhere using an app, targeting a small area of your home can be more complicated. Some robo-vacs have spot-cleaning features that focus the machine’s attention on a specific area, which almost – but not quite – mimics the spot-cleaning you’d be able to do yourself with a regular or cordless vacuum.

Robot vacuums can last many years, if you take care of them properly. Check out our recommendations for robot vacuum maintenance above, but in a nutshell, you should make sure that you’re emptying the machine’s bin after every job and periodically cleaning the interior of the bin and the brushes. It’s also a good idea to check the user manual to see how often your robot vacuum’s filter needs changing.

There’s no straight answer to this question. Robot vacuums offer more convenience than handheld vacuums, so for those who are looking to automate a chore, that could mean one of these devices works better for them than a standard vacuum. However, handheld vacuum cleaners often have stronger suction power, and they give the user a bit more control. It ultimately depends on how you intend to use your main vacuum cleaner and what you want to prioritize most.


Leave a Comment