One piece of good buying advice is to make a list of the features you want and check them against models that are on sale. But if you haven't shopped for a robot vacuum in a while, you might not know what to look for. 

The best robot vacuum cleaners today can receive detailed scheduling instructions and will take over your cleaning for up to a month without you lifting a finger. If that’s what you want, here are the features to look out for.

Laser navigation

Robot vacuums used to navigate by bumping into things and ricocheting off in a new direction. The best robot vacuums now use laser technology to "see" objects nearby, so they can clean around them instead of crashing into them or trying to roll over them. This means that your delicate ornaments are safer, your pets’ bowls won’t be spilled all over the floor and the robot is less likely to get tangled up in your PC wires.

This kind of navigation tech means that a robot vacuum cleaner won't need to be rescued as often. After all, if you schedule a clean when you're out of the house it's no good if, five minutes into vacuuming, your robot cleaner gets beached on a lamp stand and is stuck until you get home. 


High quality mapping is one of the most important features for freeing up your time and getting the best from a robot cleaner. The first time the robot vacuum leaves its dock, it’ll make a detailed map of your home, which is saved in the accompanying app.

You’ll be able to annotate the map yourself. Once you name the rooms, you can target a clean, so you can send your robot vac straight to the kitchen to clean up a spill.

But you can also use the app to create virtual boundaries anywhere in your home. These are invisible lines that the robot vacuum won’t cross. So, if your kids are building a Lego castle in the sitting room, you can mark the area off-limits and the robot vac will clean the rest of the room and leave their bricks untouched.

The best robot vacuums will allow you to make multiple maps, one for each floor of your home.

Scheduled cleaning

Once your maps are created, you can schedule cleaning. You can set up a daily routine so that your robot vacuum cleans the crumbs from the kitchen floor in the mornings after breakfast and vacuums around the sofa in the sitting room once the family has gone to bed.


If your robot vacuum has mopping capability, you can schedule it to mop your bathroom floor after your morning shower. And when it’s coupled with a sophisticated mapping function, you can head our of the house confident that it’s only the bathroom and kitchen floors that are being mopped, while your bedroom carpet will stay perfectly dry.

Auto-boost suction

Carpet detection will save power and ensure the best possible clean. When your robot vac moves from hard flooring to carpet, it'll automatically boost its suction and then return to a more economical mode when it meets hard floor again. 

Self-emptying technology

Onboard dustbins are very small and typically need to be emptied after every couple of cleans, which is why self-emptying technology is such a game-changer. As yet, vacuum dock technology is rare but it means you can schedule cleaning and forget about it for a month.

The other advantage of vacuum dock technology is that it turns a bagless robot vacuum cleaner into a bagged system. That means no poking around in the bin and no breathing in dust, which is good news for people with related allergies and asthma. Just swap out the bag in the dock every month and you're done.

Home assistant compatibility

To make your life even easier, look for a robot vacuum cleaner that's compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa. That way, you can start the clean while lying on the sofa, with a simple voice command.

There are few robot vacuum cleaners with all of these features. The Ecovacs N8+ has them all. You can buy it now, it at its best price ever in Ecovacs’ Black Friday deal.

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