How we test robot vacuum cleaners

Here's how we test the latest robot vacuum cleaners.

Robot vacuum cleaner on wooden floor

Robot vacuums should be able to clean any type of flooring. We test them on hard and soft flooring and around obstacles (chairs and a bench), so that the setup is similar to a home.

Overall score

Hard floors (40%)

We scatter a measured amount of sand evenly over a vinyl floor and let the robot loose for 25 minutes, or until the end of its cleaning cycle. We periodically measure the dirt collected and the score is based on the total amount picked up.

19july hwt robot vacuum cleaners hard floors
Cleaning hard floors made up 40% of our overall scoring.

Carpet cleaning (30%)

Similar to the hard floor test, we sprinkle sand evenly onto a section of carpet and leave the robot to clean. The sand collected is weighed and recorded, and then a score is given.

Corners and edges cleaning (15%)

Sand is spread into a corner, and the robot vacuum is instructed to clean this area. A visual assessment of remaining sand checks how close to the corner it got.

Pet-hair removal (15%)

We embed cat hair into carpet and set the vacuum to run for six minutes. The score is based on a visual assessment of how much cat hair is left after the test.

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Andy L.
26 Dec 2020
30% for carpets is low

We’ve had this model for a couple of weeks and we don’t live near the beach or have sand to throw in our carpeted areas but 30% as a result seems very low. We’re very impressed with this vacuum to the point that it gets most of the dirt we can see and our carpets actually feel like they are springier to stand on since using it.