According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2019 is the year of the robot!
Okay, maybe not :p It’s the year of the pig. Oink Oink.
But no worries, we’re going to start a petition and get that changed —because robots are cooler!
I’m not talking about space droids like R2-D2 or C-3PO. I’m talking about robot vacuums, like the iRobot Roomba 960 and the Eufy RoboVac 11S.
Robot vacs have one sole purpose —to keep your floor clean and make life easier ;) They pick up pet hair, remove allergens and vacuum dirt anytime you want —all on their own.
If you’re thinking about buying a smart vacuum for your home, we say go for it! They’re extremely useful and effective. But how do you know which robot vacuum is the best choice?
We made a list of the best robot vacuums on the market to help you choose with confidence. But before we jump into the list, let’s go over some things you need to know about smart vacuums.
What are Robot Vacuums all About?
It’s a pretty simple, easy-going piece of AI. They’re designed to automatically vacuum your home throughout the day. There is no “ set up “ or activation. Just turn it on, and let it rip.
Well..rip is a pretty strong word ;) Many are fairly quiet, and you barely notice them running. If you’re on-the-go a lot, they’re an awesome tool to keep things clean while you’re away.
But keep in mind that typically, robot vacs are not as powerful as traditional vacuums. They’re capable of picking up all kinds of stuff, but don’t expect them to “ deep clean “ your rugs ;)
You can set them to work on a schedule, and control some of them from your phone or digital assistant. (Alexa, Google Assistant etc..)
So yes, they’re your cleaning minion. And they’re at your command!
We have to mention, they’re especially helpful for people looking to control pet hair. If you have cats or dogs, it’s always accumulating. A robot vac can touch up your floor multiple times throughout the day, preventing dander buildup.
Navigation —Mapping vs Bump and Track
Robot vacuums are smart, persistent and get the job done. But they’re not smooth as butter 100% of the time. At least not right away.
Bump and track robot vacuums have been known to look a bit goofy maneuvering around the room. It may appear as though it’s downed one cocktail too many at times ;)
But for the most part, they operate with tact and beauty. Many models run quite smoothly after they become familiar with the floor layout.
Bump and track vacs use a directional map, based on room layout and objects they encounter. Once they acclimate to the room, they maneuver more efficiently.
Mapping robots use a more specific, grid-style mapping technology to roll around your home. They are a little more expensive, but they navigate around the house with a bit more savvy and purpose.
However, navigation is only part of the criteria we use to pick the best robot vacuums. Here are some other nuggets we look for.
Traits You Want in Your Smart Vac
Whether it uses directional mapping or grid mapping, it’s important that your robot vac has reliable navigation. It should be able to maneuver around obstacles well enough to do its job without getting stuck.
No worries though, we’ve weeded out all the ones with poor maneuverability. You won’t have to babysit any of our selections or worry about them getting tangled with cables or cords.
When it comes to buying a well-balanced robot vacuum, suction power is important. While smart vacuums tend to have weaker suction than regular vacs, you still want one with plenty of pull.
We made sure the suction power of each robot vac on our list is up to par. They’re all capable of handling most everything you could throw at them —crumbs, hair, dirt, dust and more.
The Stress Test
Each robot vac on our list was put to the test. They were set loose in a 1,000 square foot house wth multiple rooms. It wasn’t a cakewalk —each room had chairs, rugs and cables. These models rose to the challenge and received a grade of excellent for the job they did.
This factor isn’t really the most important, but we still picked bots that won’t produce too many decibels. We wouldn’t want to run you out of your home ;) And if you decide you don’t like the noise of your bot, you can always make it clean the floor while you’re not home.
We tried to splice economy into the mix with our picks. We showcase some affordable robot vacuums, and some high end bots as well. You can see which one is the best fit for your needs and budget.