The Best Robot Vacuums (2024)

The research

  • Why you should trust us
  • Who this is for
  • How we picked and tested
  • Our pick: Roborock Q5 and Q5+
  • Budget pick: Eufy RoboVac 11S Max
  • The competition
  • Why we don’t currently recommend vacuums from iRobot
  • What about robot vacuum-mop hybrids?
  • Care and maintenance
  • What to look forward to
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Sources

Why you should trust us

Staff writer Sabine Heinlein has been a journalist for over two decades. She obsesses over how to remove fur from every corner of her home and hairballs from her heirloom rugs.

We’ve tested dozens of robot vacuums since 2012, including 13 models in 2023. We spent more than 80 hours examining the robot vacuums and testing the top contenders in a multi-pet, multistory, multi-surface home.

For this guide, we interviewed representatives from companies that make robot vacuums, including iRobot, Roborock, and Ecovacs. We pored over owner reviews and talked to robot-vacuum owners. We also employed the AI tool FindOurView to identify important themes and issues in thousands of customer reviews.

Who this is for

Anyone who wants to keep their floors looking clean can benefit from a robot vacuum. If you’re short on time, have mobility or dexterity issues, or simply hate vacuuming, a robot vacuum can probably make your life easier.

Bots don’t procrastinate or get bored, so they spend more time cleaning. Pet owners and people with young kids in particular seem to gain a lot from bots, and many robot-vacuum owners have told us that they are amazed at how clean their floors look and feel after they start using one regularly.

However, while a robot vacuum is great at cleaning superficially, it has only a fraction of the suction power of a good upright or canister vacuum. Bots make great secondary options, but even the most expensive ones leave much to be desired: They fail to remove dirt embedded deep in carpets and rugs, and they often neglect dust close to baseboards and thresholds. While obstacle-avoidance technology has improved in recent years, don’t rely on your robot to avoid getting tangled up in cords, toys, and socks. You’ll still have to tidy up before you start your cleaner.

How we picked and tested

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We tested 13 robot vacuums in 2023. Here’s what we evaluated:

Cleaning performance: For every robot vacuum we tested, we ran at least three regular cleaning cycles across a 600-square-foot space with furniture, obstacles, thresholds, and a couple of low-to-medium-pile area rugs. We evenly spread a mix of rice, cat litter, and Cheerios around the living room, hallway, and kitchen. We weighed each bot’s dustbin before and after the cleaning cycle to determine how much debris it had collected. We also checked how each bot coped with rabbit and cat fur, litter, and strands of hay, and we sprinkled a tablespoon of baking soda alongside baseboards to see how much it was able to gather. We also noted whether a robot’s self-emptying dock worked as intended.

Obstacle navigation: We noted whether the robot was able to climb the 0.75-inch threshold to the bathroom, how often it got tripped up by obstacles, and whether it elicited certain failure messages repeatedly.

App and voice controls: Where pertinent, we assessed the user-friendliness of the model’s app and checked whether its features were useful and functioning properly. Where applicable, we assessed a test model’s compatibility with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home.

Repairability and reliability: We collect long-term data from the owners of our picks and, if applicable, look at data from the AI-assisted user-review analysis tool FindOurView.

In addition, we long-term test all of our picks in a variety of households, sometimes for years or more, to determine durability and performance. We also checked whether replacement parts, such as battery packs and brushes, are easily available and affordable.

Our pick: Roborock Q5 and Q5+

Our pick

Roborock Q5

A pretty smart robot vacuum

This bot is a top-notch cleaner and a great navigator that avoids (most) obstacles while keeping on top of scattered debris.

Buying Options

$320 from Amazon

$430 from Home Depot

$430 from Wayfair

Roborock Q5+

A pretty smart robot vacuum that empties itself

This is the Roborock Q5 packaged with a charging dock that sucks debris from its dustbin after it cleans.

Buying Options

$600 from Amazon

$700 from Home Depot

$700 from Wayfair

If your pets shed like they’re planning to join a nudist colony or your kid is a human Cheerios cannon, a robot vacuum is a great sidekick to a more powerful plug-in model. The Roborock Q5 and the Roborock Q5+ ranked among the most thorough and quietest cleaners we tested, and they have useful smart features and mapping technology to boot. (The Roborock Q5+ operates identically to the Q5, but it comes with a dock that automatically empties its dustbin into a bag.)

It’s an excellent cleaner. In our tests, the Q5 cleaned better than any other smart robot at its price, sucking up almost 90% of the rice, Cheerios, fur, and baking soda we put down.

It’s an adroit, speedy navigator. Using its laser rangefinder (lidar) and bump sensors, the Q5 learns your floor plan in a swift, single session. In our tests, it quickly mapped the home before embarking on its cleaning run, which took about half the time of that of many other robot vacuums.

It can avoid obstacles and cross (some) thresholds. In our tests, even when the Q5 bumped into an object its lidar turret missed, it course-corrected faster and more accurately than other bots.

While you can’t expect this model to run up the stairs, it climbed a 0.75-inch bathroom threshold that most other bots didn’t even attempt to cross over. In our tests, only the iRobot Roomba 694 and the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max (sometimes) made it from the hallway into the bathroom.

It has a great app and useful smart features. Roborock’s app lets you map your home faster and more accurately than those of most other smart bots we tested. It is user-friendly and intuitive, and it can store up to four maps of your home in both 2D and 3D. The app also lets you turn on spot cleaning (to get rid of isolated spills) and auto-boost mode (for fur-covered carpets, for instance), as well as schedule cleaning sessions.

It is equipped with a remote control and a “Pin n Go” function, which makes it easy to direct the robot toward spots it may have missed. (We have, for example, used it in our baking soda/baseboard test.)

Compatible with Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, Roborock’s app generally responds well to voice commands—as long as you pronounce Roborock like Robo Rock, a common complaint among users. For example, you can say “Hey Alexa, send Robo Rock to vacuum the dining room,” and off it goes.

It has a long run time—and cleans quietly. The Q5’s battery lasts for 180 minutes when used on bare floors in quiet mode, longer than the iRobot Roomba i4’s. If the Q5 encounters the resistance of carpets and is run on Turbo or Max mode, its run time will reduce significantly but will still be enough to vacuum a 1,000-square-foot home. While we had to cover our ears and watch our pets bolt when the iRobot Roombas ran or emptied their bins, the Q5+’s emptying dock was comparably quiet.

Its self-emptying dock actually works. Unlike that of the iRobot Roomba i4+ and j9+, the Q5+’s self-emptying dock sucked in even heavy and large debris, such as rice and Cheerios, leaving nothing behind in the robot’s bin.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

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It misses spots. Like almost all bots we tested, the Roborock Q5 struggled with debris close to thresholds and baseboards. (Only the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max and the Miele Scout RX3 did markedly better.) In our tests, the Roborock Q5 spread cat litter and rice alongside a 0.375-inch rug and a 0.25-inch door threshold because its suction wasn’t enough to pick up debris when one wheel was on the rug or threshold and the other wheel was on the bare floor. We noticed that, in some instances, its brush kicked even more debris toward the transition. Similar to most robot vacuums, its effectiveness in removing fine dust from the edges of a room is lacking.

Roborock’s customer service appears inconsistent. An alarming number of Amazon reviews report frustration about Roborock’s customer service. When we called their helpline, however, our call was promptly answered. We were put on a five-minute hold while a courteous representative researched our dilemma.

It offers an industry-standard one-year warranty, but few replacement parts. While users can replace their Q5’s washable filters, brush, charging cable, and dustbin, unlike Eufy (and iRobot), Roborock doesn’t offer replacement battery packs or motors.

Budget pick: Eufy RoboVac 11S Max

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Budget pick

Eufy RoboVac 11S Max

An unassuming but mighty robot

This solid, affordable robot vacuum has a large bin and excellent cleaning power. It can be scheduled to clean, but it can’t be controlled with an app.

Buying Options

$140 from Amazon

The simple, affordable Eufy RoboVac 11S Max cleans as well as the pricier Roborock Q5, but it lacks mapping technology and other smart features.

It cleans well and has a large bin. In our tests, the RoboVac 11S Max cleaned a tad better than even the pricier Roborock Q5. It effortlessly removed rice, Cheerios, cat litter, and even baking soda sprinkled close to baseboards (a rarity among even the most expensive robot models). As of early 2024, the 11S Max has one side brush (the model we originally tested had two). During testing, this vacuum efficiently ferreted out an unholy amount of fur from the carpet and swept the whole batch into its extra-large, 600-milliliter dustbin. (In comparison, the Q5’s dustbin holds 470 mL.)

In our tests, it performed better close to thresholds and around rugs than any other bot, except for the much pricier Miele Scout RX3.

It’s quiet and relatively nimble. The 11S Max is so quiet, you could easily forget that it’s running. It skips over half-inch door thresholds (and, in our tests, it occasionally made it over the 0.75-inch threshold to the bathroom), and it can avoid stairs and drops. (We had several incidents where its predecessor, the RoboVac 11S, fell down a flight of stairs, but so far we haven’t had this problem with the 11S Max.)

With its anti-collision sensors, this model stays clear of most obstacles. In fact, we found that it didn’t get tangled up any more often than the Roborock Q5. (The Q5’s advantage is that the app sends out an alert if it gets stuck, making it harder to miss such situations. The 11S Max will just keep trying to free itself until it runs out of juice.)

In our test home, the 11S Max’s low height of 2.85 inches allowed it to smoothly glide under every piece of furniture. (The Roborock Q5 is one inch taller, so it may not be able to slip under low sofas or beds.)

It has three cleaning modes and a decently long run time. The 11S Max has three cleaning modes: Standard, Maximum, and Boost IQ. The latter automatically switches from standard to maximum mode on carpets. Its battery lasts for 100 minutes (as measured on bare floors in Standard mode).

It lacks an app but has an old-fashioned remote control. The 11S Max doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi, so it can’t create maps of your home or be controlled via an app. But it does come with a battery-powered remote control that lets you schedule cleaning cycles and direct it to spots it may have missed.

It’s durable. Guide author Sabine Heinlein has had her Eufy 11S (the predecessor of the Eufy 11S Max) for almost four years and had to replace its battery only recently. She’s run it several times a week in a very furry household and is continuously impressed with its pickup. Senior editor Grant Clauser and senior staff writer Rachel Cericola have also owned earlier models of the Eufy 11S Max for five-plus years, and their bots are still going strong. “Twice I had to completely open it up to clean out dust and dog hair that was preventing it from running,” Grant said, “but other than that, I just replace the filters and brush once a year.”

It’s got an average warranty, good customer service, and lots of replaceable parts. Like our top pick, the 11S Max comes with a one-year warranty. But unlike our top pick, almost all the parts of the 11S Max are replaceable. Eufy sells replacement brushes, brush guards, bumpers, battery packs, charging stations, motors, filters, and more on its website, making the 11S Max a more sustainable choice than other models we tested.

Eufy’s customer service generally gets excellent ratings from Amazon reviewers. When we called, we waited for 10 minutes before choosing the callback option. Our call was returned within the hour and our questions were answered.

The competition

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This is not a comprehensive list of everything we tested in previous iterations of this guide—only models that we’ve recently tested and are currently available.

If you were to judge a robot vacuum by its appearance and cleaning performance alone, the Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision would be the clear winner. With the looks of a charming axolotl, the Miele RX3 was the only model that consistently cleaned baking soda close to baseboards and in corners. It is extremely quiet, and while its no-frills app is intuitive, it lacks many of Roborock’s features. Its built-in live camera transmits a grainy image feed to your app, supposedly so you can keep an eye on your home. The bot also gets easily caught even on low thresholds, frequently eliciting a “wheel raised” error code. The RX3 is supposedly compatible with Alexa, but it leaves much to be desired, and Amazon users in Germany, where the “Saugroboter” has been available for over two years, are livid. (We learned, by calling customer service, that Miele doesn’t even provide a list with suitable voice commands.) In our tests, it responded to only two commands—start and stop—despite numerous attempts to get it to vacuum specific rooms. (It did somewhat better with Google Home.) One would expect a $1,100 vacuum cleaner to be closer to perfection.

We liked the TP-Link Tapo RV30C. Its app is easy to use, but it didn’t clean as well as our picks, leaving behind more debris around thresholds than its competitors. Plus, its high-pitched sound can be grating.

We also tested the Eufy RoboVac 15C Max, but it wasn’t nearly as good a cleaner as the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max.

The Shark RV2310AE Matrix is just okay. While it is excellent at scaling thresholds, it tended to kick debris around, and it returned to its dock despite having missed several large areas.

The Eureka E10S is almost ridiculously bad. Our review unit talked incessantly and cleaned shamefully, and we encountered a different type of problem with each run. At first it spoke only Russian, even though we had the country set to the United States (weirdly, the language function is hidden somewhere within the mapping feature). Then, after mapping the home, it failed to find its base. Lastly, it obsessed over an obstacle-free 4-square-foot area for 15 minutes straight. A company representative told us that several of these issues have been rectified, though we remain hesitant to recommend this model.

Why we don’t currently recommend vacuums from iRobot

In our latest testing cycle, we evaluated the iRobot Roomba 694, the iRobot Roomba i4 EVO (and i4+ EVO, with a self-emptying dock), and the iRobot Roomba j9+. We also tested one of iRobot’s new vacuum-mop hybrids, the iRobot Roomba Combo i5+.

(The company has been in the news: Amazon canceled its planned acquisition of iRobot in early 2024, and iRobot has announced that it will be cutting 350 jobs.)

Each iRobot vacuum presented its own set of challenges and caveats.

Roomba 694: Previously one of our budget picks, the 694 was outperformed by our new budget pick, the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max. The Roomba 694 collected only between a third to a half of the debris that the 11S Max managed to pick up, and its dustbin is considerably smaller than that of the 11S Max.

Roomba i4/i4+ EVO: The Roomba i4 EVO and i4+ EVO (with a self-emptying dock) were former top picks in this guide. Though iRobot has discontinued the i4 EVO and i4+ EVO, they’re still available on Amazon and at some other retailers.

Under the right circ*mstances, the i4 is a great, relatively inexpensive cleaner. But the first i4 EVO unit we tried in this testing cycle fell short in its app functionality, especially when compared to the less expensive Roborock Q5, which maps significantly faster and whose app offers more features. Both the i4 EVO and i4+ EVO initially struggled to connect to Wi-Fi, with the app crashing occasionally, and it took them more than thrice as long to map than the Roborock Q5. Furthermore, the i4 repeatedly failed to save the map it had created.

Company representatives told us that they were not aware this was a common problem. But our analysis of Amazon reviews using FindOurView indicated that up to a third of reviewers complained of mapping issues, including the amount of time it takes to map, unsaved maps, and inaccurate mapping.

The i4+ EVO’s self-emptying dock also failed to remove all the debris it had collected in its bin, leaving behind Cheerios and rice.

Roomba j9+: The j9+ cleaned well, but like the i4+ EVO, its self-emptying dock didn’t consistently remove all the debris from the bot’s bin. Our contact at iRobot attributed this to the Cheerios in our tests, but we noticed similar issues with other, smaller debris, such as rice. The j9+ also frequently bumped into furniture and pushed over a large cup, one of the obstacles we had put in its path.

Roomba Combo i5+: One of iRobot’s newest models, the Combo i5+ comes with two separate, exchangeable bins, one for mopping and one for vacuuming.

We faced multiple problems during testing. Initial Wi-Fi connectivity issues were followed by app crashes, and as with the i4 EVO and i4+EVO, the mapping process seemed endless, and its supposedly self-emptying dock consistently failed to fully empty the debris bin.

A major issue occurred when the app didn’t automatically offer a mopping mode, which requires the scanning of a separate, easy-to-miss QR code, leading the dock to inadvertently suck dirty water into its vacuum bag. We reached out to customer service, which couldn’t solve and therefore escalated the issue. But resolution was slow and came only after we contacted iRobot’s PR team. (iRobot says it has since resolved the issue, and no separate QR code is needed anymore.) Apparently, we weren’t the only ones with this problem.

Complaints about iRobot’s customer service are rampant, reflecting a broader issue with its app and product support.

Though eventually operational, the i5+ mopped ineffectively, leaving behind stains that could easily be removed with a regular mop. The bot also repeatedly returned to its dock before it had finished cleaning, and its slanted tray leaked water onto the floor overnight.

What about robot vacuum-mop hybrids?

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While robot mops have been around for a while, many companies are now introducing robot vacuum-mop hybrids. We’re just beginning to test these products, and we’ve found that vacuum-mop hybrids are generally less effective at mopping than a good hand cleaning. However, a few models do excel in removing light stains, small spills, and dust that a robot vacuum alone can’t handle. While none of the models we tested were able to tackle old, dried-on stains, the best and most expensive ones can make routine cleanup easier.

We have tested the iRobot Combo i5+, the Eureka E10S, the Tapo RV30C, the Shark Matrix Plus 2-in-1, the Roborock Q Revo, and the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni.

The iRobot Combo i5+, the Shark Matrix Plus 2-in-1, and the Eureka E10S feature swappable bins (or integrated water reservoirs) and small microfiber pads that clip on for mopping. Dragging the moist pad across the floor, they gradually use up the clean water, and since no dirty water is collected, these bots seem to do little more than redistribute dirt. After mopping, you have to detach the pads and wash them by hand or in the machine. This, in addition to their limited cleaning capability, makes them a poor investment compared to traditional mops.

Another drawback of the iRobot Combo i5+ and the Shark Matrix is that they can’t differentiate between bare floors and rugs, so you need to roll up or block off carpets before mopping. (The Eureka E10S, the Roborock Q Revo, and the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni can all lift their wet pads on rugs.)

In our tests, the much pricier Roborock Q Revo and Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni, with their rotating mop pads, large water tanks, and self-cleaning features, easily outperformed their Swiffer-like counterparts.

We tested the Q Revo and the Deebot X2 Omni in a dirty basem*nt. While neither completely removed heavy, dried stains, both left their assigned areas noticeably cleaner.

Operating quietly at 55 to 59 decibels (with a reasonable 70 dB during bin emptying), the Q Revo and the Deebot X2 Omni frequently wash their mops and empty their dirty water tank at the base.

Their apps are intuitive, with scheduling options and multiple cleaning modes, as well as options for mop-washing frequency and water flow.

Both apps allow you to block off areas, but only the Q Revo’s features a convenient manual remote control and a “Pin n Go” function, for sending the bot back to spots it may have missed. The Deebot X2 Omni’s app, on the other hand, offers options for deep scrubbing and multiple mopping passes (which came in handy in our dirty basem*nt).

Like almost all robot vacuums and hybrids, the Q Revo and the Deebot X2 Omni leave a grimy frame around the room’s margin, as the bots don’t get all the way to the baseboards and into corners. None of the hybrids we tested were adept at picking up debris close to thresholds.

Both machines are generally good at avoiding obstacles, but at one point during testing, a stray screw got stuck in the Deebot X2 Omni’s brush bearings. While the app didn’t notify us—which would have been helpful had we not been home—we were alerted by loud rattling. We opened the brush-roll cover to remove the hot screw, almost burning ourselves.

We continue to test robot mop-vacuum hybrids and will publish our full results soon.

Care and maintenance

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Before you start a cleaning session, you should pick up any laundry, charging cables, or lightweight mats. (Expect a few hiccups during the first handful of sessions until you figure out the pain points.)

It’s normal for a robot to not re-dock from time to time. But if that happens consistently, try moving the dock. For bump-and-run bots, it’s a good strategy to keep the dock near the middle of your home (rather than stuffed in the corner in a back room) so that the bot will cross the dock’s path more often. For all bots, be sure to leave a few feet open around and above the dock. If the dock is in a cluttered area or under a piece of furniture, there’s a good chance the bot will not re-dock.

In most homes, a bot is likely to stay in good shape if you maintain it properly in the following ways:

  • Shake off the filter every few sessions.
  • Wash (Q5) or replace (11S Max) the filter every few dozen sessions. You could save some money by using third-party filters, which are unlikely to harm the bot, but you may void your warranty if you happen to send in your bot for repairs with one of them in the filter slot.
  • Cut away any hair wrapped around the brush roll as necessary. Most bots come with a tool that can cut and then brush away the fuzz.
  • Clean the bearings on the brush roll, caster, and side brushes every few weeks (more often if you have pets). You might need a screwdriver for this job, but many bots let you pop out the parts with no tools.
  • Wipe the sensors clean as needed, according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Keep a can of compressed air handy in case you need to blow dust out of gears or other hard-to-reach nooks in the bot.
  • Replace filters and side brushes a few times per year, the brush roll about once a year, and the battery (if available) as needed.

If your bot breaks down outside of the warranty period, you may be able to repair it, particularly if it’s a Eufy model. Don’t chalk up the bot as a total loss until you check to see whether the broken part is available as a replacement.

What to look forward to

We’re currently testing the new Dyson 360 Vis Nav, which has 360-degree vision and, according to the company, “two times the suction of any other robot vacuum cleaner,” and will share our findings soon.

Rachel Cericola and Liam McCabe wrote previous versions of this article, which was first published in 2012. This article was edited by Courtney Schley and Ingrid Skjong.

Frequently asked questions

Do robot vacuums really work?

Yes. Although robot vacuums are weaker than traditional vacuums, they can reliably pick up most kinds of floor debris, and they work on most bare floors and carpets.

Do robot vacuums need Wi-Fi?

No. Although many robot vacuums do connect to Wi-Fi so that you can control them remotely via an app or receive software updates, most bots also have physical controls. (Note that you need to connect your bot to Wi-Fi if you want to use features like smart mapping or voice control.) Some, like the Eufy RoboVac 11S Max, don’t connect to Wi-Fi at all.

How often should I run my robot vacuum?

The advantage of a robot vacuum is that it can clean floors more often than many people are willing to vacuum. If you schedule it to run every few days, or even every day, dust and crumbs won’t accumulate, leaving your floors feeling cleaner than they would without a bot.

Do any robot vacuums empty themselves?

Many manufacturers now offer the option of robot vacuums with and without self-emptying docks. Self-emptying robot vacuums come with a big charging dock that sucks debris out of the robot through a trapdoor in the dustbin and stores it in a disposable bag or a bagless bin. You still have to toss the bag or empty the bin regularly.

The charging stations are big, noisy, and kind of ugly, but the system saves you from having to empty the dustbin on the robot every time you vacuum. Bagged machines also make for better filtration, as the debris remains contained in a bag, and you don’t have to inhale any of it when emptying the bin.


  1. Thomas Climer, product manager at Ecovacs, in-person interview, September 21, 2023

  2. Warren Fernandez, product leader and category creator at iRobot, video interview, October 17, 2023

The Best Robot Vacuums (2024)
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