The Best Robot Vacuums Will Handle That Mess For You

We tested a lot of bots to find the ones that'll clean your house right.
a collection of robot vacuum cleaners over a swirly background

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Today, the best robot vacuums offer a full suite of cleaning tools and assorted bells and whistles. Arguably too many bells and whistles. Even the cheapest cleaning machines empty and charge themselves, of course, but companies like iRobot and Ecovacs have also introduced mopping, laser-based mapping, smart home integrations, on-board cameras, and self-cleaning functions. It can be hard to know the nice-to-have specs from the need-to-have features.

The Best Robot Vacuums, at a Glance

On the premium end, the smartest robot vacuums cost eye-water sums; the most expensive one in our guide retails for $1,500 (though can be found much cheaper, at least). But the good news is that the category's unrelenting trickle-down effect means that the sweet spot for a robo-vac is really in the $300 to $500 range. You'll just need to know what details matter most for you and your soon-to-be-cleaner home.

To help you choose, we put the top robot vacuums (so many vacuums) from Roborock, iRobot, Eufy, and more through a home obstacle course of our own devising. (Read more about how we tested robot vacuums.) Whether you need one for your ever-shedding pets, or you're just tired of vacuuming, these are the best bots for vacuuming (and, in some cases, mopping) your home.

What to look for in a robot vacuum

In testing robot vacuums for this guide, we've come to appreciate certain features above others— hard-won wisdom. Learn from our experience and find vacuums with the following features:

Suction: To measure the suction power of robot vacuums, most brands (but, frustratingly, not all) will use the pascal unit of measurement, abbreviated as “Pa.” We set our baseline at 2,000 Pa—anything below that and your bot will struggle to pick up pet hair and other debris. At the elite level, the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni boasts 8,000 Pa suction. Neither Shark nor iRobot publicly state the pascal measurement of their robot vacuums, though, which makes cross-brand comparison somewhat difficult. It's most useful to compare models within brands that use the pascal unit.

Mapping & Navigation: In our tests, robot vacuums that feature camera-based navigation or laser-based LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) navigation performed best, doing a more effective job at mapping a home and reducing the number of head-on furniture collisions.

Battery Life: The top bots should have a battery life of at least 120 to 140 minutes, which should be enough to clean three to four rooms before a recharge. Luckily self-charging—where the robot vac knows its battery is low and returns to the dock to recharge—is fairly standard at this point across robot vacs, so you shouldn’t find a conked-out vac dead in the middle of your house.

Is a self-emptying robot vacuum worth it?

Robot vacuum brands try to push customers toward self-emptying robot vacuums, probably because they cost about $250 more on average. (Not "probably"; that's definitely why.) Yes, if you truly want a hands-off solution, then this can be appealing. It's also just putting off the job of discarding junk—you still have to empty the dock. Clearing out the vacuum's dustbin isn't a particularly time-consuming duty, and self-emptying docks take up more space in your home. For the average person, we don't think self-emptying is necessary, and some excellent robot vacuums don’t have this feature.

That said, if you have allergies or are sensitive to dust in the air, then a self-emptying vacuum with a HEPA-filtered dustbin is worth considering. It reduces the amount of dust and allergens that end up back in the air when you're manually discarding the vacuum's trash.

What about hybrid robot vacuums and mops?

Mopping has become a standard feature in many mid-to-high tier robot vacuums, but that doesn't mean they're good at it—yet. While putting bots through our cleaning obstacle course, we were disappointed by how many $1,000 machines failed miserably at mopping. The average robot mop isn’t very good, and often ends up smearing messes rather than cleaning them up. We’ve included some hybrid robot vacuums with mopping functions in our guide, but only the models that justify the feature.

The Best Robot Vacuum for Most People: Roborock Q5 Robot Vacuum Cleaner


Q5 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

The Q5 is the most basic bot in Roborock's Q series lineup (originally introduced in 2022), but it easily handles all types of dust, pet hair, and debris. Roborock dialed up the suction compared to the previous model, which made a big difference in its ability to handle pet hair, rugs, and heavier debris. The Q5's combo of LiDAR room mapping paired with a blessedly intuitive Roborock app (there are so many bad robot vacuum apps!) that let me add objects or cordon off no-go zones in a 3D layout meant the vacuum was more efficient—and faster—at cleaning than others.

There are definitely more advanced (and much more expensive) robot vacuums on the market, but Roborock's Q5 gets the important stuff right: solid suction, great mapping, easy-to-use app. If self-emptying is important to you, upgrade to the Roborock Q5+. (Or if you’re interested in mopping, check out the Roborock Q7 Max). But if you're just looking for the most vacuum with the least hassle, the Q5 has you covered.

The Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair: iRobot Roomba Combo j9+


Roomba Combo j9+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum & Mop

Roomba wasn't the first to sell a robot vacuum (shout out to the Electrolux Trilobite of 1996), but the brand's debut in 2002 effectively made its name synonymous with the category. Twenty-plus years later, against much more competition, Roomba's best robo vacs are in the budget space (more on that in a moment) and at the high-end, with the Roomba Combo j9+.

Unlike its predecessor, the j7+, this model is genuinely good at not just vacuuming, but also mopping. For the latter, it uses a combo of downward pressure with a back-and-forth motion, staying in one spot until its clean—a rarity among hybrid robot vacs that seems to just swab rather than scrub. Though Roomba (annoyingly) refuses to provide suction power measurements, from our testing, it matches up well with other models that tout ~4,000 Pa.

Truthfully we'd prefer the better accuracy of a LiDAR-based mapping, but the Roomba's camera-based mapping is savvy enough to figure out which areas of a home are messiest and begin cleaning there first. It also uploads images of obstacles to the app, so you'll know exactly what kept it from getting to, say, an un-vac'ed corner of a room.

And one big bonus for anyone with imperfectly house-trained pets: unlike a lot of dimwitted bots, the j9+ can identify and avoid pet waste, preventing a nasty mess from turning into a nasty mess that's tracked all over the house by little robo-wheels. iRobot will even replace your Roomba if it fails at that mission. Though let's hope you never have to make that customer support call.

The Best Budget Robot Vacuum: Eufy 11S MAX

You've got a relatively small home or an apartment and you want an affordable, effective, no-frills robot vacuum to keep the place tidy? Let us introduce you to the Eufy 11S Max. It's low-maintenance and low-profile, perfect for sliding under furniture. The remote-controlled 11S Max is a great starter robot vacuum for apartment dwellers in particular, with decent suction power and enough runtime to get the whole place clean, plus a relatively quiet operation that won't annoy the lady in 7B who likes to leave passive-aggressive notes on your door.

The Best Upgrade Robot Vacuum: Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni


Deebot X2 Omni Robot Vacuum and Mop

Things change quickly in at the top of the robo-vacuum dogpile, but as of the moment we published this review, the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni is the most advanced robot vacuum in the world. A quick glance at the specs sheet shows why it costs as much as the monthly lease on an S-Class: industry-leading 8,000 Pa suction, a mopping function that goes the extra mile, and self-everything. We couldn't wait to test it.

Unlike its buggy predecessor, we had zero issues with the X2. And we were glad to see Ecovacs bring back the squared-off design—circle bots may be easy to program, but the X2's shape lets it fit easily into corners and really vacuum well along walls. But you're not buying this because Ecovacs aced geometry.

First of all, the X2's mopping function works and works well, with its spinning pads scrubbing hard floors more effectively than other bots that largely drag a wet pad around. But here's where the innovation happens: When the X2 sees a carpet, it physically lifts and swivels the mop pads so they don't drag grungy wetness across rugs. Then, when it's done cleaning, this vacuum will self-empty (old news), then heat up water to clean and dry the mopping pads (very new).

While you might expect a vacuum with so much suction to sound like a jet engine, Ecovacs solved for the noise problem with impressive soundproofing. In keeping with the theme of over-engineering, this cleaning machine has camera and LiDAR navigation, and it's the best navigator we've tested yet. Is the X2 Omni expensive? Yes. Is it necessary? No. Does it make all other robot vacuums look almost Stone Age by comparison? Absolutely.

The Best Hybrid Robot Vacuum and Mop: Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1

As much as hybrid bots—the kind that can do both vacuuming and mopping—have become the new standard, most are mediocre moppers at best. The Shark didn't have a high bar to clear as a result, but vaulted over it anyways. Credit goes to both the thoughtful (though proprietary) system and some smarts. The AI Ultra uses a Shark cleaning solution and sonic scrubbing, and as a result, it offers a deeper clean than robot vacuums that cost twice as much.

Beyond (somewhat uniquely) being good at the two things it's meant to be good at, the AI Ultra also impressed us with one standout feature. Its Matrix cleaning mode lets the vac spend extra time on spots that require more cleaning. Where most robot vacuums quickly strafe over each part of your floor once per cleaning cycle, the Shark will rotate and spin over the same spot until the job's done. Except for the iRobot j9+, which costs three times as much, we don't know of any vacuum models with a similar feature.

If all that isn't enough, the Shark AI Ultra out-maneuvered every other vacuum we tested. Heavy-duty wheels and LiDAR mapping turned it into a Type-A SUV, rolling over low-lying obstacles or squeezing through tight spaces that have stymied other robot vacuums we've tested.

It's not all perfect—Shark's app is glitchy, and you need to manually attach the mopping pad, then detach it after to prevent it from dragging across rugs. But for the price-to-promise ratio, it's hard to beat the AI Ultra.

The Best Self-Emptier: Eufy X8 Pro

Looking for a strong self-emptier without the aforementioned bells and whistles that drive other vacuums into the $1,000+ price range? Then you'll appreciate the Eufy X8 Pro SES, a self-emptying robot vacuum that makes quick work of carpets, rugs, and pet hair. Under the hood, the X8 Pro features dual turbines with 4,000 Pa suction each and an anti-tangling roller brush (a blessing for households where the people or the pets have long-ish hair). Thanks to these impressive specs, you get extremely effective vacuuming and strong edge cleaning, too.

This bot also creates an accurate map of your home thanks to laser-based LiDAR navigation. And though it didn't necessarily make for a better cleaning experience, we liked using the app to monitor the X8 Pro's progress in real-time as it hunted down dust, Predator style.

The Best Budget Roomba: iRobot Roomba i3+ Evo


Roomba i3+

Okay, so the dueling priorities on your robot vacuum list are as follows: a low-ish price, self-emptying function, and a low-ish price. The Roomba i3+ has you covered. It's not the most powerful vacuum, it offers few smart features, and it's on the louder vacuum (and Roombas are already notorious for being loud). But—but—it's reliable, has a self-emptying base, and the price is right. Mission accomplished.

Unlike when we first reviewed the i3+, it can now map your room. (Sometimes software updates are useful.) It's too bargain-priced to feature LiDAR or cameras, but the i3+ does a good-enough job with what it's got. As a brand, iRobot tends not to win the bang-for-the-buck wars, but the company's vacuums are long-lasting and reliable, which counts for a lot when you're spending hundreds of dollars to avoid having to deal with a hassle.

The Mid-Range Pick: Roborock S8+


Roborock S8+ Hybrid Vacuum & Mop

Roborock, like Ecovacs, is a Chinese company hell-bent on turning the vacuum robot category into an arms race. We can't recommend the brand's top-of-the-line Roborock S8 Pro Ultra and its insane $1,600 price tag, but we can recommend its little bro, the S8+.

This mid-range model (and yes, $800 is considered “mid” in the robovac market) packs in coveted features like a self-emptying dock, LiDAR navigation, mopping, and 6,000 Pa of suction. Like almost all hybrid bots, it's a better vacuum than a mop, but it's capable of swabbing hard floors without any babysitting. The only thing missing? A good spot-cleaning mode. Set your expectations at “quick swab”, not “hands and knees scrub,” and you'll be pleased.

Like the Roomba Combo j9+, the S8+ enjoys arithmetic symbols…wait, we mean it also has excellent obstacle recognition and steers clear of floor-bound cords. And though it's not a deal-maker, we appreciate the design of the vacuum's dock, which is impressively not-ugly, thus beating the competition with ease.

The Best Value for the Money: Roborock Q Revo Hybrid Robot Vacuum


Q Revo Robot Vacuum & Mop

Now that hybrid vacuum-mop robots have started to fill out each brand's lineup, the next piece of tech steadily trickling down from the four-figure models is self-cleaning—not to be confused with self-emptying. Self-cleaning bots can automatically refill the cleaning solution tanks for their mop pads, rinse the pads at the station with hot water, then dry them. The new Roborock Q Revo manages to do all of the above and stay under $1,000, a rare trick.

We appreciate that if you're looking for a bot vac that mops, it means you're probably avoiding something you dislike. A bot that can handle the task well and also save you the hassle of manually cleaning the mop pads—which many other hybrids require—is one that's doing its damnedest to save you from a dreaded chore.

Oh, and yes, the Q Revo is a solid vacuum: dust-bunny destroying suction, solid mapping, and self-emptying. If you're trying to ignore your robot vacuum as much as possible, this one's happy to work in the shadows.

How we tested robot vacuums

We tested most of the robot vacuums featured in this guide, including some we chose not to include. In picking these products, we didn’t just compare the top robot vacuums of 2023 to each other—we also compared them to elite stick vacuums like Dyson's line, the Samsung Bespoke Jet, and other winners in the GQ Home Awards. If you’re investing in a robot vacuum, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have to follow after it with a handheld vacuum. While there are a lot of special features to consider (and we did test these out as well), overall cleaning effectiveness was our top priority.

To find the right vacuum for every type of home, we tested these cleaners on multiple types of floors: tile, laminate hardwood, and rugs. For the hybrid models, we tested the mopping functions on moderate floor stains. All of the vacuums we tested have the ability to create a map of your home, and we compared these maps to see how they fared. Finally, we looked for standout features such as superior obstacle avoidance or increased suction power.

Update 12/14/2023: After testing additional robot vacuums, this guide has been updated with the new iRobot Roomba Combo j9+, the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni, and the Roborock Q Revo Robot Vacuum and Mop. We removed the Roomba j7+, the Roborock s7+, the Eufy G30 Edge, and the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 15C MAX.