Robot vacuum cleaners

Convenience, but at what cost?

Robot vacuum cleaner in hallway

While robot vacs perform well on hard floors, carpets are still a bit beyond their ability. They just don’t have the suction power to rival canister, upright or stick vacuums.

We've tested 13 robot vacuum cleaners.

Find a robot vacuum cleaner Join Consumer Log in

If you’re ready to welcome a robot into your home, here’s what to consider:

  • Navigation: Robot vacuums generally steer themselves by either bumping into objects then randomly changing direction or by mapping your house and moving methodically through it. They detect obstacles using sensors on their sides and sometimes underneath (to detect stairs). Some also come with virtual walls, which you can set up using an app or external unit.
  • Docking: There are two reasons why a robot vacuum will return to its charging base: it’s running out of battery or the dustbin is full. Most (but not all) robot vacs automatically dock and recharge themselves. Only some of the newest models can automatically empty their dustbins while docked.
  • Programmable times: Most robot vacuums let you set when you want them to clean (so you don’t have to hear them bumping into things while you’re having a sleep-in).
  • Suction: They’re good on hard floors, but struggle to clean carpet well, especially thick carpet.

Check out our buying guide for robot vacuum cleaners.

Read the guide