The 7 Best Robot Vacuums to Buy For Your Home in 2018
UPDATED MAY 2018 | BY JONATHAN HOYTE
Robot vacuum cleaners have exploded in popularity over the past few years, finally beginning to fulfill the promise of a sci-fi future where you don't have to waste time on basic chores. Robot vacuum cleaners are more expensive than regular vacuums, but many owners are happy willing to pay a little extra for a painlessly tidy home.
Your robot vacuum cleaner won't make you throw your upright vacuum on the trash heap, as uprights are still more effective at power cleans, but you'll find yourself pulling it out less often. Check out our top picks for the best robot vacuums to buy in 2018.
The new ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S has swept to the top of our robot vacuum rankings since its release in early 2018, displacing the previous best-selling DEEBOT N79 as our choice for the best robot vacuum for most users.
ECOVACS took the highly-touted DEEBOT N79 model and upgraded it with higher-end suction power and Alexa voice connectivity, while keeping the cost the same as the previous model's original price point. The N79S has the best combination of strong suction power, intelligent navigation, long battery life, and smartphone app + Alexa management that we've ever seen at an incredible value price.
The DEEBOT N79S has widely impressed owners with its powerful yet quiet cleaning mode, with many raving that it makes half the noise of top competitors and that you barely know it's even on. Despite the silence, the DEEBOT N79S delivers a powerful high-suction clean, utilizing a v-shaped brush in tandem with brushless central suction to lift dirt away. The new Max Mode Suction power feature enables the N79S to take on serious dirt and heavy carpet in ways the previous N79 couldn't.
The DEEBOT N79S sports a high-capacity lithium battery that ensures 100 minutes of cleaning before it returns to its base to recharge. It is also the first model in the budget price range to connect to a nifty scheduling app and Amazon Alexa, allowing you to control the N79S's schedule and order it clean on command with your voice.
The DEEBOT N79S's navigation system is ideal for small homes and rarely gets stuck. Users with more than 1000 square feet may still want to consider more sophisticated room navigators like our previous top choice, the eternally reliable Roomba 690, or the high-end Roomba 980.
While the navigation systems on iRobot's Roomba series are a step above the N79S, so are Roomba's prices. Most users will never notice the difference and the DEEBOT N79S otherwise shines across the board at a price that iRobot simply can't touch, making it our top choice for most buyers and the current top-selling robot vacuum on the market. Check Amazon Price >>
Pet lovers rejoice! Many robot vacuum models are underpowered when it comes to keeping up with significant pet hair on a regular basis, but the premium but not bank-breaking Roomba 960 is powerful and reliable enough to deliver where others fail.
The Roomba 960 is a big step up from the DEEBOT N79S and the entry-level Roomba 690 in its ability to suck up elusive dog and cat hair without jamming, but doesn't force you to pay for the highest-power Roomba bells and whistles that you may not need on the ultra-premium 980 series.
This upper mid-range model from iRobot features an AeroForce Cleaning System with 5X the air power as the entry-level Roomba 690, which allows it to more effectively capture pet hair on hardwood floors and carpet. It also includes app connectivity and scheduling, and Alexa voice integration.
Unlike the Roomba 690, it has tangle-free debris extractors that keep it from clogging with too much animal or human hair, which is a regular problem with many robot vacuums. Satisfied buyers rave about its combination of durability and suction strength.
While the Roomba 960 is roughly 2X the price of the DEEBOT N79S and Roomba 690, it does everything you'll ever need to effectively clean up pet hair for years and comes in at a much lower price than the Roomba 980 series. Check Amazon Price >>
If you're looking for the best of the best and can afford the luxury price, the Roomba 980 from the heralded brand iRobot is our favorite high-end cleaner on the market. It has brand new bells and whistles including the most intelligent multi-room navigation system for large homes released to date.
The Roomba 980 has intelligent iAdapt 2.0 multi-room navigation, which uses an embedded camera to build a 3D visual memory of your home and create the most effective cleaning pattern while avoiding obstacles. It can clean seamlessly from room to room across an entire level of a big home or apartment.
Many other robots eventually get stuck on furniture and clean in inefficient patterns, but Roomba 980 owners happily report none of those problems due to the impressive new navigation system.
Roomba has improved the already impressive air suction power of the 690 Series with the 980's upgraded AeroForce 3-Stage cleaning system and a special Carpet Boost feature, which makes it a standout for heavy carpet cleaning and picking up pet hair. It will clean for 120+ minutes at highest power and then recharge itself automatically before resuming, and you can command its schedule and room coverage via Wifi and iRobot's app.
If money is no object, the Roomba 980 is one of the most high-tech robot vacuums we've seen, and a great choice for large homeowners or those who can afford the best. Check Amazon Price >>
The iRobot Roomba 690 is our former top overall pick and remains the best-value Roomba available. It is the newest version of the former best-selling robot vacuum line (the Roomba 650), and its reasonable price and legendary durability and sensors make it a strong alternative to the DEEBOT N79S for buyers who want to stick to Roomba's reputation or those with more complex spaces.
The 690's smart navigation feature set allowing it to more effectively cover complicated rooms and get into narrow spaces and around obstacles than the DEEBOT N79S via advanced smart sensors.
The Roomba 690 cleans using a powerful 3-Stage system, and automatically recognizes and switches programs for various floor types like carpet, hardwood, tile and more. Many other robot vacuums have trouble with different surfaces, and few clean deeper carpet this well.
You can program the Roomba to clean your home on a regular schedule, or make it clean at your command, and it boasts more sophisticated app functionality than the ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S.
The Roomba has thousands of happy buyers, with many gushing about its navigation and ability to keep on chugging over time. It is considerably more expensive than the ECOVACS DEEBOT N79, though still the cheapest new Roomba on the market today. We like it as an alternate to the DEEBOT N79S for buyers with tougher spaces to navigate, or those who want to pay up for iRobot's long-term reputation for durability. Check Amazon Price >>
Our bargain pick gives you a decent vacuum, sweeper and dry mop 3-in-1 combo for hard floors at one of the lowest prices on the market, but doesn't hold a candle to the performance and versatility of our top picks.
The V3s is an entry-level model that works best on hard surfaces, where its mid-range motion sensor navigation and extended battery life shine. It has a tough time with dust bunnies, thin carpet or rugs, however.
If you don't have rugs or carpets and want the absolute cheapest model on the market, the ILIFE V3s is a solid buy. For our money, however, we would always choose the ECOVACS DEEBOT N79, which comes in at a not much higher price but outshines the V3s in every way. Check Amazon Price >>
Owners of the Neato Botvac D5 Connected like Neato's premium vacuum because of how effectively they can manage it remotely with their smartphone.
The Neato D5 connects to your wifi and can be managed via their sophisticated smartphone app, in case you need to clean your home in a pinch or change the cleaning schedule while you're away. This functionality comes with cleaning update notifications and makes the Botvac Connected feel more like your in-home personal assistant than any of the other models on our list.
The Neato Botvac series' D-shaped design with CornerClever tech also differs from other brands' robot vacuums, which are usually circular. Owners claim that the design's ability to turn to create a flush angle allows it to clean corner areas that a round robot will miss, ensuring that you won't have dirty edges. That said, some buyers complain that it gets stuck in corners more than other models like the ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S or Roomba 690. We prefer Roomba's best-in-class navigation technology over Neato's LaserSmart technology, which isn't as precise.
The Neato D5 Connected comes in at a much higher price than our top pick, though less than the premium Roomba 980. Overall, high-tech users who want the convenience of a sophisticated app experience are the most likely to pay up for the Neato Connected. Check Amazon Price >>
Think of the iRobot 380t as less of a traditional robot vacuum and more of a robot swiffer or steam mop for your hard floors. This flagship model from the industry-leading brand iRobot will routinely make sure that your floors are gleaming, so you don't have to walk around the house pushing a mop yourself.
The Braava 380t uses advanced GPS via an included NorthStar Navigation Cube to map your home so it knows where it has cleaned, where it shouldn't, and where it still needs to go. It has both a dry sweep and damp mop mode, but the damp mode is what stands out.
You can attach its damp washable microfiber cleaning cloth or even a disposable Swiffer wet wipe, press go, and the Braava 380t will mop any hard surface including tile, vinyl, hardwood and laminate. It includes a water reservoir to keep the mop pads damp for long cleans. Its three-inch profile means it can clean under furniture, couches and beds easily so you don't have to get under them yourself.
The iRobot Braava isn't perfect, and owner expectations are important for making an informed buying decision. It won't replace the need for an occasional intense manual mopping job, as small robots don't have enough power for serious grime, and it doesn't use heavy-duty liquid floor cleaners. It also requires more interaction than a robot vacuum, as you need to affix cleaning pads and set up the Northstar GPS cube for each cleaning job. If you're aware of these limitations, the iRobot Braava will keep your floors shiny and clean. Check Amazon Price >>
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