A robot vacuum won’t mean you never have to lift a finger – or a regular vac – again, but it will take over your usual run around the high-traffic areas of a room. You can schedule it to clean while you’re out, so you can return home to a spotless floor and time to relax.
However, if you have to pick up half your belongings, move a heap of cables and chivvy your pets out of the room before you can use your robot vacuum, you’re going to lose a lot of its time-saving magic.
There are features that’ll help you to manage the interactions between your robot vac and your life. If clutter is an issue, some robot vacs create maps that allow you to zone no-go areas for your robot vac. You can also look out for a model that can identify and avoid obstacles, including wires and shoes.
There are many more considerations when buying, which is why our full reviews accompanying every robot vac in the following chart will give you all the details you need to find the right one for you.
If you’d like more information on features to look out for, skip past the chart and start off by reading our robot vacuum cleaner buying advice before checking out our top ten.
And if you’re in the market for a traditional cleaner, check out our round-up of the best regular vacuum cleaners.
Best robot vacuum cleaners
Ecovacs Deebot X1 OMNI - Self-emptying & self cleaning
- Smart navigation
- Powerful suction
- Voice assistant
- Granular mapping
- Large dock
- Auto-emptying is noisy
If you're after the robot vacuum cleaner that does everything, this is the one to get. It's also a great option if you want to set up a cleaning schedule and forget about it for weeks at a time.
The X1 OMNI not only empties itself, but if you're using the mopping function, it'll empty and refill its water tank, clean and dry itself.
It has powerful suction (a whopping 5000PA), a clever mapping system that allows you to target specific rooms, or even pieces of furniture within those rooms, for cleaning. And you can even do it via voice commands, thanks to the integral voice assistant. It has a 4 hour 20 minute running time and there's an onboard camera that you can access remotely.
But all that tech has to go somewhere and what this means is a huge dock. The dock is also noisy when it comes to emptying and cleaning the robot vac.
Read our full Ecovacs Deebot X1 OMNI review
Roborock S6 Max V – Home security features
- Obstacle avoidance
- Powerful cleaning
- Smart navigation
- Average mopping capability
The S6 Max V is far from budget but it eclipses some of the more expensive robot cleaners in terms of features, as well as cleaning power.
It identifies and avoids obstacles (including pet poop), has an excellent mapping system that easily allows for the creation of exclusion zones and will even allow you to schedule the cleaning of your rooms in a specific order at specific times.
It's also got something extra in the form of the camera, which you can view remotely from your phone, turning it into a secondary home security device. You can check up on its progress or see how your pets are getting on while you're out.
Read our full Roborock S6 Max V review
Eufy RoboVac X8 Hybrid - Solid all-rounder
- Great across carpet and hard floors
- Well designed app
- High-end functionality
- Basic mop integration
- No self-emptying bin
Most robot vacs are interchangeable looks-wise but the X8 Hybrid has some stylish bronze flourishes that set it apart from its unadorned competitors.
This mid-range addition to the Eufy stable is worth a look if you want up-to-date features such as LIDAR, mapping and scheduled cleaning but you're after an option that won't break the bank.
It's already available for considerably less than its RRP and if you can find it for a good price, you won't be disappointed. It's quiet, powerful, has a 180-minute runtime and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The mop is a little disappointing but we are not often blown away by the mopping prowess of a hybrid model.
Read our full Eufy RoboVac X8 Hybrid review
Neato Botvac D7 – Best cleaning performance
- Excellent cleaning
- Sophisticated mapping
- Small bin
- Connection issues in our test
The Neato Botvac D7 Connected is one of the few non-disc-shaped robot vacuums. Its distinctive shape gives it an advantage when it comes to cleaning right to the edge of a room and into the corners.
It has a runtime of 120 minutes and good suction. It also decent mapping features: zone cleaning, virtual no-go lines and the capacity for multiple maps. In our tests, we found it had a problem getting tangled up in cables, but otherwise did a good job avoiding obstacles.
It was expensive when we first reviewed it, which made it harder to recommend. But now that the price has come down and the app has been updated, this is a solid robot vacuum option at a decent price.
Read our full Neato Botvac D7 Connected review
Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 920 – Best mid-range option
- Laser mapping
- Doesn’t often get stuck
- Mediocre mop
- Hair and debris gets tangled inside
The Ecovacs Ozmo Deebot 920 is a recommended mid-range option. It'll give you 110 minutes of cleaning time and it's quiet, operating at a very reasonable 66dB. It has good climbing ability and a 10cm height, making it among the more manoeuvrable cleaners - both under furniture and over obstacles. During our testing period, we didn't have to rescue it once.
Its Lidar system helps it to navigate an efficient course around your home and you can use its map function to create custom cleaning modes and exclusion zones.
It also has a mop function which works well enough but is sadly no substitute for mopping by hand.
Read our full Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 920 review
Dyson 360 Heurist - Best luxury buy
- Compact footprint
- Excellent cleaning performance
- Useful app
- Tiny dustbin
- Taller than rivals
The 360 Heurist is a stylish and powerful robot vacuum that's instantly recognisable as a Dyson. As is its price tag.
Via Dyson's Link app, you can schedule vacuuming, as well as map and zone your home for different levels of cleaning.
It has a decent 75 minute running time before it needs to trundle back to its dock and recharge, but this is somewhat offset by its very small bin (0.33 litres).
It doesn't take up much floor space, which is handy when it's not in use. However, its height means that it won't fit under as many piece of furniture as most other robot vacuums. Measure up if you're considering buying.
Read our full Dyson 360 Heurist review
iRobot Roomba i7+ with Dirt Disposal - Best mapping
- Brilliant mapping & targeted cleaning
- Good climbing ability
- Low profile
- Bangs into furniture
- Expensive for feature set
There's a lot to like about the Roomba i7+. Buy it with the vacuum dock and it'll empty itself after each clean. And you'll only need to change the bag in the dock every 1-2 months.
Another clever feature is its mapping, which allows you to target not only rooms but specific pieces of furniture within them.
This means that you can set up a cleaning schedule to target the cat litter (which you can opt to mark up) first thing every morning, or get the i7+ to vacuum under the sofa in the living room once everyone has gone to bed.
However, it's not without its flaws. It's noisy in operation and in spite of its promises of sophisticated navigation, it repeatedly bumps into furniture.
Read our full iRobot Roomba i7+ & Automatic Dirt Disposal review
Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8+ - Self-emptying tech
- Empty once a month
- Great mapping and cleaning options
- Automatic carpet detection
- The dock takes up a lot of space
- N8+'s climbing is poor
- Mop is average
If you want to be able to set and forget cleaning schedules, a self-emptying robot vac is a must. Otherwise, you'll have to remember to empty it each time it runs, or every other time, at least.
If you go for the N8+, you'll get impressive suction, acceptable mopping and a brilliant mapping system that'll allow you to set up sophisticated cleaning schedules, with no-go areas marked up. Its carpet auto-detection means it'll automatically ramp up the power when it encounters a rug or carpet, saving power for when it needs it.
On the minus side, the N8+ isn't the best climber and got itself stuck more often than many of the robot vacs we test. You'll also need a big, dedicated space for the oversized dock.
Read our full Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8+ review
Roborock S6 – Great value all-rounder
- 2000Pa suction
- Laser navigation
- Mapping with no-go zones
- Alexa control is basic
- Mop isn’t as good as mopping by hand
The S6 is a smart vacuum cleaner. It does a great job of cleaning hard floors and carpets, and has plenty of battery power and suction for the task.
It isn't very good at mopping up ground-in or dried up dirt, so don't buy it and think it will replace those jobs entirely: it won't.
Spare parts are readily available and inexpensive, which is good. The app lets you control the S6 and even choose specific rooms to clean, although we'd love the Alexa skill to be updated so it supports this feature too.
Given that it's cheaper than a few key rivals and does a better job of vacuuming than most, it's easy to recommend.
Read our full Roborock S6 review
Eufy RoboVac 30C - Best budget buy
- Home assistant support
- Good suction
- Good value
- Uses physical boundary strips
As with any robot vacuum cleaner the RoboVac 30C will not eliminate the need for a traditional vacuum every so often, but it has sufficient suction power (1500Pa) to keep your floors and carpets tidy on the days you'd rather put your feet up and chill.
The ability to connect it to your home Wi-Fi network for remote operation is cool, although nothing new, but we love the voice assistant integration for proper lazy boy cleaning.
It's not the newest robot in town any more but at its current low price, it's one of the best value.
Read our full Eufy RoboVac 30C review
Robot vacuum buying advice
Robot vacuum cleaners aren’t the cheapest appliance around but the tech is improving all the time, which means that as newer models gain fresh functionality, some really great models that are only a year old will have dropped significantly in price.
If you’re planning to buy, it’s a good idea to get an idea of what features are important to you and find the cleaner that best fits your profile.
Robot vacs will be controlled by a free to download and use app, a remote control or your home assistant. Most have at least two of these options.
But you should also bear in mind that the robot vac will also need to communicate with you. Some will have a display that brings up error messages, while others will speak to let you know that they’re starting to clean, returning to the dock, or have had to pause because they’ve ingested a sock.
If there’s a compatible app, you’ll also get messages and alerts via that, so if you’re away from home, you’ll know if your cleaner got tangled up with a cable or if it made it back to the dock to charge.
One of the most important features of a robot vacuum cleaner is the ability to map boundaries. Less expensive cleaners may come with magnetic strips or battery-operated towers you can use to keep your robot vac away from the top of the stairs or block off a room you don’t want cleaned (for example, if you don’t have time to pick up your floordrobe but you'd still like to give the sitting room a once-over).
Other, more expensive robots – typically those that use Lidar – create a map of your home. The very good cleaners will have space for more than one map, so you can save maps of each floor. You’ll be able to go into your app and add exclusion zones which they’ll then avoid. Very advanced cleaners with mop capabilities will also let you zone areas for mopping as well.
The best robot cleaners will also use cameras to help them identify obstacles. The Roborock S6 Max V can identify and avoid shoes, cables and even pet poop.
Some cleaners with cameras will also let you use them remotely, via your app. This means you can use your robot vac as an additional home security device. And if you use it in conjunction with your app’s remote control, you can drive your vac around to check up on your pets while you're out.
Suction power (measured in Pascals – Pa) is getting better all the time. If you have hard flooring, a less expensive cleaner will do the job but if you have thicker carpets, it’s worth your while investing in something with very good cleaning power.
As well as giving you updates and allowing you to schedule cleaning, a good app will give you information on how long parts, including brushes and filters, will last before they need to be replaced.
Before you invest in a robot vac, it’s a good idea to measure the distance from the floor to the underside of your sofa and other key pieces of furniture.
Robot vacuums can vary in height between 7cm (very low profile), 10cm (medium profile) and 12cm (high – the Dyson machines tend to be the tallest). If your robot vac can’t get under your sofa and bed, it can make a big difference to its overall usefulness in your life.
Other things to look out for
The cheapest robot cleaners may not have a rotating brush, which means they won’t be brilliant at cleaning carpets but they'll do a decent job on a hard floor. A really good one will have a full-length rotating brush, making it ideal for picking up hair and fluff on carpets and from the edges of the room.
You’ll also want to look out for the size of the bin. Most have a similar dustbin capacity, but some will empty themselves into a larger bin when they dock.
The most expensive cleaners will have cylindrical (or cyclonic) drums that offer very good suction no matter how full the dustbin is.