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The Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners

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A robot vacuum is a godsend at home and can help you keep your carpets and floors spotless with very little effort on your part

Robots have yet to take over the world, but for household chores, they're definitely making in-roads. The robot vacuum cleaner has to be the best of the drudge-busting tech that's been invented in the past few years.

They can cost a small fortune, but if you’re after an easy and effort-free way to keep your floors clean, buying one of these robotic helpers could be one of the best investments you ever make. Even the most expensive models won’t completely overtake a regular cleaner for suction and power, and no one has yet invented one that can clean the stairs, but as long as you don’t expect them to perform miracles, robot vacuums are a brilliant way to get your house spick and span.

Thanks to the use of built-in cameras and sensors, they’ll find their way around your home without fuss – and the more expensive models come with different cleaning modes and advanced features such as the ability to produce maps of where they've cleaned and for how long.

But with some costing almost a thousand pounds, it’s worth knowing exactly what you’re getting before you buy.

The best robot vacuum cleaners to buy

Eufy RoboVac 30C: Best mid-range robot vacuum cleaner

The RoboVac 30C is another solid robot vacuum cleaner for the budget-conscious. It's circular in shape and has a low profile so it can fit under furniture and clean the carpet under your bed, and it will recharge itself at its base when it runs low on battery power. With up to 100 minutes of cleaning per charge, though, it should be able to cope with even the largest of rooms before having to do that.

Other features include Alexa and Google Assistant support (so you can tell it to go clean via your Echo or Google Home speakers), a companion app so you can control it via your smartphone and a useful remote control that lets you direct operations when your phone isn’t handy.

With 1,500Pa of suction power, the Eufy RoboVac is pretty powerful for the money, too, and it’s reasonably quiet. If you’re looking to dip your toe in the water of automatic vacuum cleaning but don’t want to spend a lot, this is the next best thing.

Key specsSize: 32.5 x 32.5 x 7.2cm; Weight: 2.7kg; Battery life: 1hr 40mins; Charge time: 3hrs; Bin capacity: 0.6l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 55

Neato Botvac D701 Connected: The best robot vacuum cleaner

There's no doubt in our minds – the Neato Botvac D701 Connected is the best robot vacuum cleaner money can buy, despite not being a huge upgrade to its predecessor, the D5 Connected.

The design is well thought out: the D701 Connected's low profile of 100mm means it can easily duck under sofas, beds and other low-sitting furniture, while its 0.7l dust container is ample.

However, what sets the Botvac apart from its rivals is the laser scanner on top of the vacuum. This allows the robot to build up a detailed map of its surroundings and avoid obstacles – whether the light's on or off.

Another useful feature is the ability to set virtual “no-go zones” via the apps. Bear in mind, though, that these only work if you use the app to start cleaning. If you press the physical power button on top of the vacuum, you'll have to lay down the included boundary-marking strips.

So, bells and whistles aside, how is good the Neato Botvac D701 Connected at actually cleaning? In a word: very. It goes about its business in an amazingly methodical way that ensures every bit of floor space is covered. In short, it's the full package – albeit an expensive one.

Key specsSize: 319 x 336 x 100mm; Weight: 3.5kg; Battery life: 2hrs; Charge time: 2-3hrs; Bin capacity: 0.7l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 67

Eufy RoboVac 15C Max: Best-value robot vacuum cleaner

You might not have heard of Eufy, but don't let that put you off: the superb RoboVac 15C Max is a solid choice.

The Eufy RoboVac 15C Max is the more fully-featured version of our previous budget robot vacuum top pick, the RoboVac 30C. It costs a bit more but the 15C Max provides much more suction power than its predecessors. With 2,000Pa of suction, the 15C Max is very powerful considering its price but despite the extra power, it’s still impressively quiet regardless of which of the three settings you use. (It has three cleaning settings: Standard, Boost IQ and Max.)

Carpet areas will benefit from some of the more powerful settings, but we found the standard setting to be more than suitable for easy-cleaning hard flooring. Boost IQ adjusts the suction power automatically as the vacuum cleaner transitions between different types of flooring. The RoboVac 15C Max can also run up to 100mins on a single charge and is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for a fully hands-off approach to your daily cleaning.

It isn't quite as feature-rich as some of the other robot vacuum cleaners on this list – it misses out on infrared scanning and room-mapping – but the RoboVac 15C Max barely faces a foot wrong and you'll be hard-pressed to find anything better at this price.

Key specs – Size: 325 x 325 x 72mm; Weight: 2.7kg; Battery life: 1hr 40mins; Charge time: 2-3hrs; Bin capacity: 0.7l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 55dB

iRobot Roomba 960: Best robot vacuum cleaner for features

The iRobot Roomba 960 is another premium-priced robot vacuum, but for that hefty outlay, you get plenty of features to rival the Dyson 360. Like the Dyson below, the Roomba 960 uses cameras to find its way around your home and travels in parallel lines to make sure it collects every speck of dust. The low profile means it can get right under every bit of furniture and the longer side brushes make sure every corner and skirting board is spotless.

The iRobot Home app allows you to schedule cleaning, and when you’re not home it automatically travels back to its station to charge up for the next run. If you’ve got a pet, the brushless extractors will collect even the longest hair in its 0.6l bin, and to give the best cleaning results, the Roomba 960 automatically ups the power output when it detects that it’s travelling over carpet rather than hard floors.

Key specsSize: 13 x 54 x 42cm; Weight: 6kg; Battery life: 1hr; Charge time: 3hrs; Bin capacity: 0.6l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 70

How to buy the best robot vacuum cleaner for you

How long do the internal batteries last?

Most cleaners have a minimum battery life of 60 minutes, although some high-end models can last for up to two hours. Most on this list come with their own charging docks and can find their own way back to top up their battery when they’re running low on juice.

Can they deal with household obstacles?

That really depends on the model. The cheaper versions will have a random cleaning pattern, while the pricier ones will use sensors to find their way around your home, stop when an obstacle is close and then move around it. Having said that, even the basic ones will have a “cliff sensor” which means it won’t go crashing downstairs. Whatever one you buy, though, it’s probably best to make sure you put away anything that could obstruct its path or get sucked up by accident.

Which robot vacuums give the best cleaning performance?

When looking at robot vacuum cleaners there are two brush types to think about. The cheaper ones will come with spinning brushes. They move clockwise and anti-clockwise at the front of the body and drag the dirt in. But if you’re prepared to pay a little more, you’ll get one large rotating brush that should make it easier for the vacuum to pick up any dirt. We’d also recommend looking for a model that has a wider brush as that means it can get right into the corners of rooms or, even better, one that’s squared at one end.

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