Twentieth-century media made 2020 sound like it was going to be so futuristic, it’s pretty much impossible for the real-life year to live up to the hype. But while things like androids and teleportation may still seem laughable to us, video phones and household domestic robots have quietly become completely mundane.
Pretty much everyone has dreamed about owning a robot vacuum at some point, but many people don’t realize you can bring one home without spending thousands of dollars. In fact, some of our favorite robot vacuums cost $300 or less, with our budget-friendly refurbished pick coming in at $99.
Contrary to popular belief, getting a Roomba or similar robot vacuum does not make you lazy. These devices have a skill set you don’t — they’re less than a foot tall, they can adhere to a down-to-the-second cleaning schedule and they seem to sincerely enjoying whirling around on the floor in a state of utter tranquility. Meanwhile, you can reach the ceiling, empty their dust bins and do all the other things they can’t. By collaborating with a robot vacuum, it can take care of the mundane ground-level cleaning and so you can focus on the more cerebral tidying tasks (and also have time to enjoy your life).
For those looking for a sale on one of the most popular brands, iRobot is offering $100 off select Roomba models for Mother’s Day through May 9th, 2020. Check out these options, both of which are very high-quality:
- iRobot Roomba i7 — Sale Price: $499.99 | Reg. Price: $599.99
- iRobot Roomba s9 — Sale Price: $799.99 | Reg. Price: $899.99
The Best Robot Vacuums of 2020
The world of robot vacuums is surprisingly vast, and there are more than a few brands you can choose from. We’ve chosen to highlight the following brands’ vacuums because they’re extremely popular with our forum users.
Budget Option: eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S (Slim)
Reg Price: $219.99 | Best Price seen on Slickdeals: $149
Regularly priced at $219.99, we recently saw this is one on sale for $169.99 with a 10% coupon applied at checkout. This isn’t too far from the best price we’ve ever seen, as it appears fairly often as an Amazon daily deal for $149. So be sure to keep an eye out (or set a Deal Alert to stay on top of all the best price cuts).
Slickdeals user MakinBacon stands by the eufy 11 line, as their 11+ is able to keep up with the shedding powers of a golden retriever. The 11S is effectively the same machine, but with higher suction power and stronger climbing capabilities. It doesn’t have Wi-Fi functionality or the ability to clean high-pile carpets, but it is a favorite among pet owners.
Premium Option: eufy RoboVac L70 Hybrid
Reg Price: $549.99 | Best Price Seen on Slickdeals: $280
The normal retail price is $549.99, but we’ve seen the eufy RoboVac L70 Hybrid go on flash sales a couple of times in the last few months. We saw it priced at $499.99 and even as low as $280 right before Christmas.
Budget Option: iRobot Roomba 675
Reg. Price: $299.99 | Best Price Seen on Slickdeals: $149
The iRobot Roomba 675 retails for $299.99. A recent sale on Amazon had it going for $199.99, and it dipped down to $149 earlier this month at a handful of Lowes locations.
An updated version of Roomba, the original robot vacuum, the 675 uses a three-stage cleaning system to loosen, lift and suction dirt and dust from the floor. It also includes a handy arm that can reach into corners and up against walls. With Alexa compatibility and the iRobot HOME app, the 675 is more technologically advanced than the average budget option. The main premium feature it lacks is a mapping mechanic. Gthirst warns against getting a non-mapping robot if your home’s layout is complicated.
Premium Option: iRobot Roomba 960 Robot
Reg Price: $649.99 | Best Price Seen on Slickdeals: $269
Selected for editor’s choice from PC Mag and Wirecutter, the Roomba 960 retails at $649.99. However we’ve seen it on sale for $394.99 and $448.99. A couple years ago, it was on sale for as low as $269, but only because of a complex coupon stacking trick. Its usual sale range hovers around $360 and $390.
Compared to its budget-friendly little brother, the 960 allegedly has five times the air suction power, as well as intelligent mapping using iRobot’s iAdapt technology. It uses cameras as opposed to lasers, so it does not work quite as well in dim lighting. Amazon reviews say this Roomba is adept at navigating large, cluttered and complicated areas. It can run for up to 75 minutes on a single charge, which is slightly shorter than average.
Budget Option: ECOVACS DEEBOT N79W (Refurbished)
Reg Price: $127 | Best Price Seen on Slickdeals: $70
This refurbished Ecovacs Deebot is only $99, down from $127 new. A few people saw them on clearance for $70 or $84 at Lowes, but this is one of the lowest online prices we’ve seen.
Pet hair is often the litmus test for a robot vacuum’s abilities, and this Deebot won the Sbunt Husky Hair seal of approval. It’s worth noting this vacuum does require Wi-Fi to work, or at least to remember its terrain and cleaning patterns. With bumpers, anti-collision and drop sensor protection, this robot is ready to take a tumble or two. As the cheapest option on our list, this might be the ideal starter’s robot vacuum.
Premium Option: Ecovacs Deebot OZMO 950
Reg Price: $799.99 | Best Price Seen on Slickdeals: $539.99
At $799.99, this is undeniably very expensive for a vacuum cleaner. Amazon occasionally has a coupon for this model but even so, it’s still a little on the pricy side. It was down to $539.99 at JCPenney around Black Friday, but otherwise it is usually found at MSRP (or about $100 under that). Expensive as it is, the Deebot OZMO 950 comes with just about every bell and whistle you could ask of a tiny domestic robot.
Like the eufy Robovac L70, this vacuum doubles as a mop. Unlike its eufy counterpart, this DEEBOT does not warn against use on higher pile carpet, as it can detect whether or not it is currently on a rug. Ecovac claims it can vacuum and mop at the same time!? Science has gone too far. With over three hours of runtime, it has one of the longest battery lives on the market.
Budget Option: Neato Botvac D3
Reg Price: $499.99 | Best Price Seen on Slickdeals: $99
Originally priced at $499.99, the Neato Botvac D3 is budget-friendly because it is on sale for around $275 from online retailers like Amazon and Walmart. It has dipped down to $99 a handful of times since 2018, and it has been listed for $199 at Walmart in the last couple of months.
In a world full of round robot vacuums, dare to be different with a D-shaped robot vacuum. The sharper edges allow for easier navigation in tight corners, and it is telling that this vacuum is widely respected by pet owners haunted by perpetual dog hair dust bunnies. It can even see in the dark. Dealzcat strongly recommends buying a compatible battery online, as the battery life and quality of this otherwise sturdy and versatile vacuum is touchy.
Premium Option: Neato Botvac D7
Reg Price: $599.99 | Best Price Seen on Slickdeals: $400
Bed Bath & Beyond has priced the Botvac D7 on sale for as low as $599.99 in the past, down from $799.99. Get lucky enough to snag this price and pair it with the Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon for more savings. That is a decent deal, as it doesn’t usually go below $400 unless it is Black Friday season.
Unlike other smart vacuums that operate within boundaries, the D7’s “No-Go” lines are programmable in the app. It is advertised for use on carpet, concrete, glass, hardwood, linoleum, tile, upholstery and vinyl, an impressive array of surfaces that is not common among other similar vacuums.
What to Look for When Robot Vacuum Shopping
As robot vacuum technology continues to advance, there are more factors to consider than that of a human-operated vacuum. You can get a wide variety of different features at most price points, so it’s worth doing your homework even if you don’t have a whole lot to spend. After all, you don’t want to blow your budget on the first vacuum you see, just for it to meet its gruesome demise falling down the stairs.
How clean do you keep your home? Some vacuums come with a bunch of fancy features like maps and navigation capabilities, at the cost of battery life. Others are relatively spartan but can stay alive for over two hours and withstand hundreds of charges.
Bear in mind the overall battery life is better when you use your vacuum regularly. If you don’t see yourself using the robot regularly, be prepared to replace its battery more often when you do.
The Terrain of Your Home
Certain vacuums do better on carpets, while others thrive on hardwood surfaces. Some hardwood vacuums can even mop your floor! There are plenty that can do both, but it might be worth surveying your house before making your purchase. High pile carpets will require a higher suction power.
Another thing to keep in mind is the layout of your home. Most vacuums these days are smart enough to navigate turns and simple obstacles, and some of them even have the technology to map out your entire house. If your house has strange dimensions or is large enough that a vacuum might not make it back to its charging dock when it dies, you should invest in something with mapping technology and/or a long battery life.
Filtration and Upkeep
Each robot vacuum has its own system of storing dust and dander. Gone are the days where you have to extract the nasty dust bag from the vacuum — now, you just have to take the dust bin out of the robot and empty it. Some of the newer robots from the Roomba line even empty their own dust bins! Some dust bins are smaller and more difficult to remove than others.
If you are prone to allergies, have pets or simply just care a lot about air quality, it’s worth getting a vacuum with a HEPA filter built in. High-efficiency particulate air filters extract over 99% of allergens from the air. If you get a vacuum with a HEPA filter, be sure to budget filter replacements when considering your purchase.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. On the whole, robot vacuums are seldom as loud as their larger corded cousins, but they still require a motor and suction to operate. If you have little ones or are sensitive to noise, it is worth investing in a quiet robot vacuum. Some vacuums, such as the Roborock line, come with a “quiet mode” that runs as low as 55 dB.
Safety and Mobility
Some vacuums need a little more structure and protection than others. Robots from brands like Neato, Shark and eufy require (or at least strongly suggest) the use of “virtual wall barrier tape” that cordons off certain areas from robot cleaning. You may need to buy this separately.
Another concern is the sturdiness and safety of the robot vacuum. Inevitably, they will sometimes run into furniture and other debris, but some will survive the encounter better than others. Most Roomba vacuums come “naked” in the hopes that you will purchase the protective bumper guards, while vacuums like the Ecovacs Deebot come with a built-in bumper.
Using an app, many robot vacuums offer a way to control how your robot vacuum works. Fair warning: the quality and reliability of each brand’s proprietary app is highly variable. You can set a vacuuming schedule, view your cleaning history and customize your preferences like power settings and thoroughness of each pass through. For example, Roombas deliver a “Clean Map Report” that tells you the exact floor plan that it cleaned and what it found.
If your decision to purchase a self-operating vacuum isn’t at least slightly rooted in the desire to have a cute little domesticated robot zipping around the house, you’re lying to yourself. Some robots beep demurely when they have completed the job, others might even sing a little song. Adorable!
Don’t see the robot vacuum you’re looking for, or not quite ready to make the leap into hands-free vacuuming? Set up a Deal Alert and we’ll let you know when your dream vacuum cleaner goes back on sale within your preferred price range.