Found the perfect flooring but struggling to keep it clean? If your life is hectic, or you simply have better things to do than vacuum, let a robot vacuum cleaner take care of all that daily dust.
Though increasingly advanced, these mini gadgets aren't yet powerful enough to replace your regular vac (sorry). But, they've got light maintenance covered, reducing the time you'll spend on deeper cleans.
Their pick-up can be highly effective, even lifting pet hair, and they're adept at tackling corners and reaching under furniture. They can't climb stairs, but clever sensors save them from taking a tumble.
Our expert tester put a range of tech to the test to find the best robot vacuums for all floor types. Their reviews are below, but these time-saving machines can be pricey, so let's run through the key things to consider before you buy.
Different models offer different features, at different price points. It's only worth paying for those you'll use, so here's what to look for:
Many robot vacs map out your floor plan before they clean, so they know where to clean through your home. You can dictate where most clean too, creating no-go zones through the compatible app or by using supplied magnetic strips. Some of the more affordable models on our list don't have these features, but as long as you're around while they're cleaning, this shouldn't be a problem.
Every robot vac we've tested has an accompanying app that you can use to control it. They're all compatible with Alexa or Google Home, so you can talk to them if you'd prefer. If you're not fussed about smart features, consider one of the Eufy models – all three in our roundup come with a remote control, too.
Compact robot vacs can generally carry less than one litre of dust, meaning they'll need regular emptying. That said, some higher-end gadgets boast auto-emptying functionality, with disposal technology integrated into their docking stations. iRobot claims that its j7+ and s9+ models (both tested by us) can hold up to 60 days' worth of debris.
Our expert homes tester tried a range of leading robot vacs on hard floors and carpets. They judged each model according to how much specially formulated dust it sucked up in a set number of sweeps. Next, they ground pet hair from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home into carpet to assess heavy duty pick-up.
They put each vac to work in a carefully designed test room, noting how well it navigated obstacles and mapped out dimensions. Lastly, they looked at its tech, considering how intuitive its app felt to use and how effectively it responded to voice control.
These eight robot vacs come stamped with our seal of approval: