If you're shopping for the best robot vacuum, you have many choices. Robot vacuums range in price from budget sub-$200 models that drop in haphazardly - but get the job done - to those that cost more than $1,000, map multiple floors of your home, and can empty themselves.
In between are countless models. Regardless, the best robotic vacuums can be a great convenience, helping you clean your floors and freeing you from one of life's more annoying chores. In homes with pets, a robot can be especially useful, picking up clumps of fur from your four-legged friend.
Another benefit of the best robots is that they can be programmed to clean when you're not home, and connect them to Alexa and Google Assistant, even directing the robot vacuum to sweep a specific room - all with your voice.
After spending over 600 hours testing dozens of robot vacuums, both in a controlled environment and at home, we think the best vacuum for most people is the Shark Ion R85. Not surprisingly, it ranked at the top of our lab tests when it came to vacuuming Cheerios, kitty litter, and pet hair. It was a little slow though, taking about an hour compared to about 10-20 minutes for the fastest robots.
The Shark Ion R85 also works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control and schedule it with your voice. We also like that the R85 can be purchased with an optional stick vacuum, so you can clean couch cushions and other places it can't reach.
If you're on a budget, the best robot vacuum is the iLife V3s Pro. It costs less than $200, yet it has outperformed robot vacuums that cost much, much more. However, it lacks smart home connectivity (you have to control it with the included remote) and is slow - it took about an hour and a half to clean our test space. But if you turn it on while leaving the house to run some errands, it may not matter to you. What matters is how well it cleans, and the V3s Pro does that very well.
Best general vacuum robot
Our best general vacuum robot, the Shark R85, has proven to be excellent at picking up pet hair and other debris in our home with minimal fuss. While it took about an hour on average to complete a run in our test space, it was far more thorough than all other robot vacuums. Our advice? Run it and then leave the house to do some chores.
We also liked the notifications we received from the Shark Ion 85, and the ability to control it from our smartphone, as well as using it with both Alexa and Google Assistant. The R85's dustbin was also very easy to empty - not the case with many robots - and you can buy its charging base with an optional stick vacuum, so you can clean between the couch cushions and other places the robot can't reach.
The best robot vacuum on a budget
The iLife V3s Pro vacuum is the best robot vacuum you can get for under $200. Despite its low price, the V3s Pro consistently outperforms other robot vacuums that cost three times as much. It collected almost all of the pet hair in our lab tests, and was also good in our home tests.
There are a few caveats when buying a robot vacuum so cheap, though. For starters, the iLife V3s Pro is slow, taking on average over 90 minutes to clean our test space. Also, you can't control it with your smartphone, so you have to use the included remote control, and you can't connect it to Alexa or Google Assistant to turn it on or schedule a cleaning. We also found that it was slightly louder than other vacuums. But it's great at doing the one thing it needs to do well, and that's picking up dirt. For the price, its downsides are trade-offs we're willing to make.
A good vacuum cleaner, so mopper
The second-best robot vacuum is the iLife V5s Pro, which vacuumed almost as well as the V3s Pro, picking up pet hair, Cheerios and kittens with the same efficiency. The main difference with the V5s Pro is that it has an additional wash feature. While this seems like a great idea - a vacuum and mopper in one - we found that the V5s Pro was pretty ineffective at mopping in our home tests, so this feature didn't add that much value.
Like most affordable robots, the V5s Pro doesn't have a smartphone app and doesn't work with any smart home devices or virtual assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. It's also one of the slowest robot vacuums we've tested, taking even longer than the iLife V3s Pro. Still, for the money, it's a very effective and very affordable robot vacuum.
Self-cleaning vacuum robot
The top-of-the-line iRobot model makes our list of best robot vacuums because it has a base with its own dustbin, so you can clean multiple times without emptying the bin. It edged out the Shark Ion R85 in our pet hair test, picking up just over 90 percent of all pet hair on the floor.
It has many other features, such as the ability to map multiple floors and create virtual walls. The Roomba i7+ vacuum is also fast, allowing you to finish cleaning in less than 20 minutes. However, its price - $1,099 - plus the fact that it wasn't as thorough as other vacuums meant that the i7+ didn't get a higher rating. You can buy the i7 for $799, but that price doesn't include the cleaning basics, which is one of the main reasons to buy this vacuum.