The best robot vacuum you can buy right now

Robot vacuums are impressive devices that will clean your floors well without complaining (much). As prices have dropped, these busy little bots have become less of a luxury and more of a necessity. They can reach places most standup vacs never see (under beds and sofas) and, thanks to better batteries and robot brains, rarely get tired of cleaning.

I have tested close to 50 robot vacuums at this point. The key criteria I look for in a robot vac are good battery life, a big bin (or an auto-empty option), a large rubber roller brush (less prone to getting tangled up than bristles), the ability to map your home, and an easy-to-use app. Many other features on top of these will make your life even easier (check out my list at the end of this guide), but these are the essentials.

As for price: everyone and their uncle is now making robot vacs, so the market is completely oversaturated. This means you should only be paying the list price if you really want the newest model — and you want it right now. Otherwise, don’t buy a robot vacuum unless it’s on sale. You can expect to get a decent basic floor sweeper for under $200, a mapping auto-emptying model for around $400, and a top-of-the-line bot for $600. For those who want to do the least work, you’re looking at over $1,000 for one that sweeps, mops, and cleans itself.

The good news is that robots these days have a ton of options, and whether you have a 3,000-square-foot home and three shaggy dogs or a small, stylish apartment you share with a goldfish, there’s a robot vacuum to suit your needs.


The Roomba j7 is an AI-powered robot vacuum that detects and avoids common robot traps, such as cords, cables, and pet waste. It works with a stylish clean base that will clean the dirt out of its bin so you don’t have to.

Dustbin capacity: 419ml / Auto-empty dock option: yes / Mapping: yes / AI obstacle avoidance: yes / Keep-out zones: yes, virtual / Brush style: dual, rubber / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts

iRobot’s Roomba j7 is the best of the best, offering excellent cleaning power, an impressive app, plenty of extra features, easy repairability, and a stylish design for around $600. If you have pets, children, or just lots of foot traffic and find it hard to keep up with your floors, this will do the dirty work for you.

While the j7 is pricey, it’s the first Roomba with AI obstacle avoidance. This means it uses both a camera and some processor-powered smarts to see and avoid potential obstacles, such as power cables, shoes, socks, and pet waste. The real benefit here is that you don’t have to tidy up before you run your vacuum (although cluttered floors won’t get as clean). It also means that it rarely gets stuck during a job, so you won’t come home to a beached bot and a half-clean house.

The Roomba j7 is a superb vacuum that looks good (for a vacuum) and works well. You can get the robot on its own or with iRobot’s Clean Base auto-empty dock — that model (pictured) is called the j7 Plus.

Stepping it up a notch, and for about $200 more, you can take away the chore of emptying its decent size bin by investing in the j7 Plus, the j7 robot vac with an auto-empty dock. This is one of the most reliable, nicest-looking auto-empty docks I’ve tested. The design is compact with some welcome aesthetic touches, such as ribbed matte black plastic casing and a leather pull tab to access the bin area, so it doesn’t look too alien in your home. It also includes a cubby to store extra bags, though I wish you could fit more than one in there. (If you already have the j7, you can buy the dock separately for about $250.)

The Roomba j7 is a mapping robot that can learn your home’s floor plan and identify the furniture and appliances in it. This lets you ask the robot (using the app or a voice assistant) to clean specific areas, such as in front of the fridge or behind the couch.

While most mapping robots allow you to create virtual keep-out zones — areas the robot shouldn’t venture into — this Roomba uses its AI smarts to suggest trouble spots, making creating keep-out zones a one-tap job.  

The j7 uses two rubber roller brushes and a large side brush.

I like that you can link the robot to other smart devices in your house. You can set it to clean when you lock your front door or close your garage, for example. Using the geofencing feature in the iRobot app, I had the j7 start running when I leave the house and stop when I arrive home. This worked reliably, with the robot generally docking as I walked into the house. The only times it failed were when someone else was already in the house and they shut the robot off manually.

The downside is that Roombas are noisy. The j7 is one of the loudest vacuums I’ve tested (hence the propensity to be silenced by a household member). But I like how easy they are to repair, a crucial factor for an expensive gadget you’d like to use for many years. My in-laws still have a Roomba they bought in 2007, and it works great. While parts are costly, they are readily available, including mechanical bits like wheels and the entire cleaning module. This is not the case for many of the other bots I tested. Roborock, for example, doesn’t sell spare parts beyond bags, bins, and brushes on its accessories site; you have to ship the robot to the company for any repairs.

If you are looking for the best clean for your buck and want to avoid the possibility that the robot won’t finish its run because of stray clutter, the Roomba j7 is the one to go with. Its cleaning prowess is largely unmatched thanks to the decades of experience iRobot has in this space, and it’s one of the easiest robot vacuums to use. The app is simple and uncluttered, with new features added frequently.

If you are looking for a robot that vacuums and mops, the Roborock S7 or S8 will suit you better than iRobot’s j7 Combo — a j7 with a mopping pad. It doesn’t do enough with its mopping feature to justify the extra price. However, if you have a lot of high-pile rugs, the j7 tackles these better than either the Roborock S7 or S8. In that case, I’d recommend getting the j7 and a separate mopping bot for your non-carpeted floors. iRobot’s Braava Jet m6 is a good option that can be programmed to mop after the Roomba vacuum is done. It’s often sold in a bundle.

review of the Roomba j7 / j7 Plus and the Roomba Combo j7.

The iRobot Roomba i3 Plus EVO robot vacuum lying on a wooden floor.


The best bang for your buck, the Roomba i3 Evo cleans just as well as the j7 but won’t avoid clutter and doesn’t have app-enabled clean zones or keep-out zones. If you can live without those, you’ll be very happy with this bot. You can also pair it with an auto-empty station for $200 more.

Dustbin capacity: 419ml / Brush style: dual rubber / Auto-empty dock option: yes / Mapping: yes / AI obstacle avoidance: no / Keep-out zones: physical only / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts

While the Roomba j7 is the best bot if you want all the bells and whistles, the Roomba i3 Evo is the best pick for a more affordable robot vacuum. There’s no AI obstacle avoidance or app-enabled clean or keep-out zones, but it does have smart mapping (so you can control exactly which rooms it cleans and when) and a physical spot-cleaning button for doing small areas on the fly. It’s almost as powerful as the j7 and just as repairable, so it should last you longer than a cheaper vacuum from another company.

The mapping feature allows you to set a schedule for cleaning certain rooms or send it off at any time to clean just the kitchen or living room. This makes it less intrusive since it doesn’t try to clean the whole house on every run — so I didn’t find it dead in a corner as often after an annoyed family member shut it off. 

For several hundred dollars less than the j7, the i3 has similar software features, the same suction level, and a slightly smaller battery. You can get it with an auto-empty dock for a list price of $550 (i.e., probably lower). However, it tends to bump into things more often than the j7, resulting in a few toppled chairs during testing. So it isn’t the right bot for you if you have delicate items like vases on pedestals.

The Roomba i3 Evo Plus adds the auto-empty bin to the i3 and is the best value Roomba that can empty its own bin.

The physical design is also very similar under the hood, with two multi-surface rubber roller brushes to get more dirt up. These rubber brushes don’t get tangled by long hair the way bristle brushes can. Because there’s no option to add keep-out zones in the app, you’ll need to buy iRobot’s virtual walls if there are places you don’t want the robot to go. These are little towers that emit a 10-foot barrier or a four-foot circle. They cost $99 for two, so if you need more than a couple of keep-out zones, it’s worth going for the j7 instead.

The i3 has an attractive woven plastic gray top — a nice change from most of the shiny black plastic you find in this category (a magnet for dust, fingerprints, and scratches). It still gets stuck on common robot traps such as phone charging cables, cat toys, and in my house, the skinny feet of a lounger chair. You do need to tidy up a bit before you set it free, but it does better with large cables and rug tassels than many other robots. (iRobot has anti-tangle tech that makes the bot reverse course if it starts to get tangled.) This works pretty well for bigger items but, sadly, not phone charging cords.

It’s also worth noting that the Roomba i4 is the same robot vacuum as the i3 Evo, so pick up whichever one is offering the best price.


Available as a vacuum G20 or vacuum / mop G20 Hybrid, Eufy’s G20 robot vacuum is a sleek and silent bot that does very well in small spaces, while the mop version is a good option for hardwood floors.

Dustbin capacity: 450ml or 600ml / Auto-empty dock option: no / Mapping: no (does plan its path) / AI obstacle avoidance: no / Keep-out zones: no / Brush style: single bristle / rubber hybrid / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home

This small, practically silent robot is an ideal inexpensive option for a cozy apartment or to use as a second bot for an upstairs space or home office. Currently selling for $180, it lacks smart mapping features, has no smart obstacle avoidance, doesn’t have an auto-empty dock option, and only runs for 90 minutes. But it is the smallest and quietest vacuum I tested. 

Despite being a budget bot, it doesn’t do the classic bump-and-roll navigation of most budget bots. Instead, it uses gyroscopic navigation to divide the space into individual areas and clean each one methodically. Watching it go to work as it moves up and down in neat rectangular boxes is quite soothing. 

The Eufy G20 Hybrid has a bristle / rubber brush, a side brush (not pictured), and a mop pad. The G20 model doesn’t have a mop.

Slimness is a trademark of Eufy bots, as is a stylish, sleek design. If the competition is a bulky SUV, Eufy is the Porsche of the robot vacuum world. At 2.85 inches high, the G20 is the smallest robot vacuum I tested. Combined with a whisper-quiet operation (66 decibels on the lowest suction level on hardwood floors), this makes it a good option if you’re looking for something to get under low furniture or run quietly while working in your home office. 

It also holds a decent amount of debris. The standard model has a large 600ml dustbin, which can handle five or six runs’ worth of debris in a small space before emptying it. If you’ve got hardwood floors, the G20 Hybrid model swaps the 600ml debris bin for a 450ml bin and has a 130ml mopping reservoir. This will not do much to mop your floors, but it does help with fine dust and debris on hard floors. 

Compared to the Roomba i3, the Eufy has fewer features, lacks mapping and room-specific cleaning, and doesn’t have the option of an auto-empty dock. But it makes up for that somewhat with a bigger bin and / or the option of a mopping attachment. It’s also cheaper, and it’s smaller and shorter, so it will fit under lower furniture better.

While not a feature I consider essential for operation, the G20 has a remote control option in the Eufy Home app, which means it can also double as a fun cat toy.


This multitasking robot mops and vacuums — and does both very well. It can even lift its mop to vacuum your rugs without getting them wet. It works with an auto-empty charging base (sold separately) and has Alexa, Google, and Siri voice control.

Dustbin capacity: 470ml / Auto-empty dock option: yes / Mapping: yes / AI obstacle avoidance: no / Keep-out zones: yes, virtual / Brush style: single rubber / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts

The Roborock S7 was the first hybrid vacuum / mop that actually did a good job. Many more have come out since its launch in 2021, but it’s still the best. Now, at what appears to be a permanent sale price of under $430, it’s a serious bargain.

The S7’s killer combo is a mop that vibrates 3,000 times a second to simulate some good old-fashioned scrubbing, which is paired with an extra-large water tank so the mop can actually get wet enough to be effective.

The S7 also has an ingenious “VibraRise’’ feature that lifts the mop a few millimeters when it senses carpet, meaning you don’t get a damp rag dragged over your living room rug. Another bonus is that I didn’t have to swap out the mopping pad when I wanted it to vacuum only — something you have to do with most hybrid models. But the VibraRise feature can only clear low-pile rugs, so I set a no-mopping zone around my plush floor coverings.

The Roborock S7 has a rubber brush, a side sweeper, and a detachable mopping unit.

The S7 is the best bot that can actually mop at a reasonable price. It does require a bit more hands-on effort, though, since you have to refill the reservoir (it doesn’t warn you when it’s empty) and wash the mopping pads (you can throw them in the washing machine).

I also like that you can use the S7 as two separate robots — a vacuum and a mop. It has a mop-only mode that moves in a tighter “Z” pattern and goes over the floors twice. I liked to send it out to vacuum everywhere first, then recharge and go out again to mop, which resulted in sparklingly clean floors. It did take about five hours total, though.

An image of Roborock’s S7 Plus robot vacuum on its charging stand.
The Roborock S7 Plus combines the S7 robot vac with an auto-empty dock, but it’s an expensive upgrade.

The Roborock S7 uses lidar sensors to map your home in minutes. It also gives you the option of room-specific cleaning commands (with the app or voice control via Alexa, Google, or Siri) and allows you to set keep-out zones. This is essential as it doesn’t have AI obstacle avoidance, so it does get stuck in regular robot traps such as clusters of cables. It also struggles with tight furniture footprints since it’s quite wide.

If you really want AI obstacle avoidance and the deeper clean that comes with dual roller brushes, the Roborock S8 is arriving in April for $749.99. But for almost half the price on sale, the S7 is the better option right now.

full review of the S7 / S7 Plus.


This robot is expensive but worth it if you want cleaning your floors to be almost completely hands-free for up to two months at a time. It works with Alexa, Google Home, and Siri Shortcuts for smart home control and doubles as a home security camera.

Dustbin capacity: 400ml / Auto-empty dock option: yes / Mapping: yes / AI obstacle avoidance: yes / Keep-out zones: yes, virtual / Brush style: single rubber / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts

If you want a robot that vacuums, mops, empties its own dust bin and dirty water tank, refills its own clean water tank, and even cleans itself, the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is the best of a small but growing category of self-cleaning robots.

The S7 MaxV Ultra has the same sonic VibraRise mopping action as the S7, so it mops very well. But it also has AI-powered obstacle recognition, so it won’t get caught in clutter and can avoid rolling in dog poop. There’s the option of using the onboard camera as a security camera, with two-way talk built in (livestream only — there’s no recording). 

The downside is that the charging / cleaning base is huge and unattractive. And while it is well-designed — it’s easy to fill the fresh water and empty the dirty water tank — it does get a bit smelly. You also need to clean the mopping station periodically, and there is no hot air drying. Instead, it lifts the mop up to let it air dry.

The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is a new breed of bot that can do more for you, for a lot more money.

The mop cleaning and drying process is efficient, and in theory, you don’t need to remove the pad after every run. But I recommend throwing it in the washing machine when emptying the dirty water tank.

One downside of this type of hybrid vacuum is that it needs to go back to its base every 20 minutes to refill and wash its mop. This process is quite loud and takes two or three minutes to complete as the little brush in the base runs back and forth across the mop and scrubs it. This extends the time it will take to completely clean your home (although you can tweak the timing in the app). But you do get much cleaner floors as a result.

I’ve tested several models in this category now, and the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is my favorite. The Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni (which has a built-in voice assistant) is also good, but the Roborock can vacuum carpets and mop simultaneously. In contrast, you have to choose your cleaning preference with the Ecovacs model each time you send it out.

Roborock’s latest version — the S8 Pro Ultra (due out in late April) — has a redesigned dock with a cleaner look, the option of white as well as black, and a mop drying feature. Also, the S8 is the first Roborock with two roller brushes, not just one, which gets a better clean on carpets. However, its list price is $1,600. If you can find the MaxV Ultra on a good sale, you’ll be very happy.

review of the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra.

A head-on angle of the Shark AV2501AE AI Robot Vacuum docked in its self-cleaning station against a wall, plugged into a nearby outlet.


A brash, loud auto-emptying robot vacuum that’s long on features and short on style but comes at a real bargain. The Shark AI’s slimline bin / dock doesn’t use bags, which is a bonus. But don’t be fooled by the AI in the name — it can only avoid objects if they’re over four inches tall.

Dustbin capacity: unknown / Auto-empty dock option: yes / Mapping: yes / AI obstacle avoidance: yes, but only large objects / Keep-out zones: yes, virtual / Brush style: single hybrid bristle / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home

Shark’s flagship robovac is the company’s first that uses lidar mapping. This brings the level of this bot way up, making it much more reliable than some of Shark’s previous models. It’s also designed exclusively as a self-emptying bot, and for the money, it’s a great deal. It’s loud and ugly, and its AI isn’t nearly as good, but it has most of the features of the Roomba j7 Plus for somewhere around half the price (depending on the day).

A mapping robot, the Shark has room-specific cleaning and app-enabled keep-out zones. It also has a handy Zones feature that lets you select areas of your house — say, half the living room and the hallway — to clean on a schedule. This is useful for regular quick cleans in high-traffic areas, and it doesn’t need to be set up every time you run it, as with some clean zone options. The Roomba i3 Evo Plus doesn’t have clean zones or keep-out zones, so if those features are important to you and the j7 Plus is a step too far, the Shark is a good option.

The Shark AI Ultra XL has a hybrid bristle brush Shark calls “self-cleaning” and two side brushes.

The major downside is that this robot is loud. It rattles terribly as it rolls around and is super distracting — you want to be far away when this is doing its job. The design is also flashy and ugly: lots of chrome and shiny black plastic and a really obnoxious Shark logo. But the base is relatively compact, and it’s the only self-emptying robot I tested that doesn’t use bags. You empty it over the trash bin, so cost-wise, you don’t have to spend $20 every few months for extra bags (which is how much iRobot charges for a three-pack of bags).

Shark just introduced a mopping version of this bot, the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1. This adds “sonic” mopping (i.e., it scrubs a bit) for $100 more. As with Roomba’s mopping version, this is of limited value as an actual mop but will get up some of that fine dust the robot’s suction misses. You can also buy this model separately for around $400. While I love auto-empty bases, sometimes you don’t have space for them, especially if you like your robot to live under your bed (this is a useful thing, not a kinky thing).

Battle of the bots. We tested a lot of robot vacuums. Here are some of the features we think will make you happy.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>What to look for in a robot vacuum cleaner

Beyond the basic specs I’ve already mentioned, there are four key features to consider when buying a robot vacuum. You don’t need all of these, and each will mean spending more than the most basic budget bots in this roundup. But each one will bring you a little closer to the Rosie the Robot dream.

  • Mapping with virtual no-go zones. A robot that can map your house allows for precision cleaning and avoidance (crucial if you have delicate objects or areas in your home). Using variations on a technology called simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), the bot will map your home to make sure it doesn’t miss spots and allow you to tell it where you want it to go (in the app or with a voice assistant). Mapping can also add “virtual” no-go zones — digital walls to prevent your bot from going where you don’t want it to. These are also useful for keeping it out of areas where it gets stuck. Every bot I’ve tested struggles around the legs of my swivel armchair, so I create a no-go zone there.
  • AI obstacle avoidance. This adds some souped-up smarts to your robot, helping it “intelligently” avoid clutter (and a potential poop apocalypse if it encounters pet waste). These models use cameras (worth noting) to see objects in their path and decide how to approach them. Robot vacuums with AI avoidance are much less likely to get stuck when cleaning, meaning you’re more likely to come home to a clean floor. It also means you don’t have to tidy up before the robot runs, as it can navigate around shoes, socks, and other common clutter.
  • Auto-empty dock. This turns the charging base for your robot into a motorized emptying station that sucks out the dirt from its bin. (Warning: this process is very loud!) This saves you from having to pull out the bin after every few runs and empty it yourself. Instead, you’ll have to replace the bag when it gets full — about once a month on average. If you don’t get a robot with an auto-empty dock, look for one with a large capacity bin — 600 to 800ml — to avoid having to do the dirty work too often.
  • Self-cleaning dock. Most robot vacuums have the option of mopping now, too, and some of these smart stations can drain and fill the bot’s water tank and clean and dry the mopping pad. You will need to refill the water tanks and empty the dirty water about once a week as well as clean out the dock’s sink occasionally (which gets grubby quickly). These models are all better at mopping than standard mop / vacuum hybrids.

Outside of these features, you’ll be faced with lots of specs around suction power, but largely all of these rolling sweepers are suitably sucky, picking up everything from dog hair and kitty litter to Cheerios and dust bunnies. Most have multiple suction levels and will adjust to suck harder when they sense carpet.

However, none could really, truly get carpets clean. They get the surface debris, but if you have a carpeted house or lots of rugs, I’d recommend investing in a stick vac for weekly deep cleans. These are also handy for stairs, something no robot vacuum can tackle (yet).

The key to a clean floor with a robot vac is consistency. Run it daily if you can; it won’t keep up as well if it only runs once a week. If you want hands-free cleaning everywhere, you’ll want to budget for one per floor or be prepared to move it around. You can also buy extra charging bases, and some models can map multiple floors.

Every Wi-Fi-connected robot vacuum worth its salt today works with Alexa or Google smart speakers for voice control. However, some are limited to stop / start and pause, whereas others can be told to go clean specific areas. Here’s how to set up a bot with Alexa voice control or Google Home voice control. A couple of manufacturers now also work with Siri Shortcuts, so you can use Apple’s Siri voice assistant to command your bot. If you want this, look for robots from iRobot or higher-end models from Roborock and Ecovacs. Robot vacuums are supposed to be part of Matter in the future, but who knows when that will happen.

Photos and videos by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Updated April 3, 2023 11:35 AM: After testing several new robot vacuums, I’ve updated my recommendations. I’ve also removed several discontinued bots.