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Sunday, April 18, 2021

The best robot vacuums for 2021

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Robot vacuums have taken the world by storm. Once a luxury tech product, these floor-bound companions are now available from hundreds of brands at various price points, with more currently making their debut at CES 2021. With so many options on the market, however, it can be difficult to find the best robot vacuum for your home.

Do you need a robot that specializes in picking up pet hair or one with a massive battery to get as much cleaning done as possible in one session? We’ve tested dozens of robot vacuums, and our pick for the best is the iRobot Roomba s9 Plus. The s9 Plus is the Ferrari of robot vacuums, offering advanced navigation and even emptying its own dust bin. We’ve also included our picks for the best value robot vacuum, as well as the best robot vacuums in other categories.

At a glance

Best overall: iRobot Roomba s9 Plus

iRoomba S9 Plus

Sure, a robot vacuum makes cleaning your floors a heck of a lot easier. But, you still have to empty the dustbin just about every time you run it. With its Clean Base and compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant, the s9 Plus is the latest model from the esteemed company that’s capable of literally vacuuming without having you lift a finger. Just say “Alexa” or “OK, Google, ask Roomba to start cleaning,” and your s9 Plus will start cleaning. The best part about the s9 is when it completes the cleaning, since the clean base will suck the dirt and debris into an anti-allergen base that holds up to 30 deposits (60 days of dirt).

In addition to being one of the most user-friendly robots you can buy, the s9 Plus adopts a new D-shaped design to allow for better edge and corner cleaning. Naturally, it’s outfitted with the latest tech under the hood — consisting of a new 3D sensor in the front bumper that enhances Roomba’s wall detection, a more powerful cleaning head, and intelligent mapping. It can tell where it has already been and where it still needs to clean. The robot can clean your entire home, or you can instruct it to clean specific places. Its sensors can locate the higher traffic areas in your home, and the robot will be extra attentive to those dirtier areas of your floors.

While the s9 Plus is expensive, its performance and features are top-notch. If you want the best of the best in terms of robot vacuums, the s9 Plus is the way to go. You can check out our full review of the Roomba s9 Plus here.

Best for edges and corners: Neato Botvac D6

Neato Botvac D6
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

You can easily set the Botvac D6 to clean your entire home or spot clean a specific section of a room. Once set up, you can check in on the bot to schedule tasks and similarly receive notifications as rooms are cleaned via the Neato app. You can store up to three different floor plans, making the D6 the ideal robot for a three-story home. The D6 comes with magnetic strips to set up boundaries around the home or apartment. This is a great way to prevent the unit from bumping into your pet’s food dishes and also partitioning play areas to keep the bot from chewing up toys. You can also create virtual “No-Go Lines” in the Neato App that tell the robot which areas to avoid.

The Botvac D6 has a laser-based navigation system, which allows it to scan and map your home and even clean in the dark. It has a large main brush that picks up pet hair and small debris, and an ultra-performance filter to trap allergens. The battery life on the D6 is pretty good too, at 120 minutes, and it has a quick-boost charging feature to let it charge as much as it needs to finish the job. Plus, with Neato’s D-shape build, this robotic vacuum is a boss when it comes to cornering and edging. We conducted a full review of the Botvac D6 if you’d like to learn more.

Best multi-surface: Shark Ion R85

Shark Ion R85

Whether you need a quick sweep or a full home detail, the Shark Ion R85 is your best bet for getting the house spotless. A spinning self-cleaning center brush and two side brushes work in unison to tackle everything from big carpeted bedrooms to hardwood living spaces. Shark’s Smart Sensor Navigation 2.0 is the vac’s guiding eye, helping it to weave around furniture and other obstacles. If the R85 does come into contact with home surfaces, the multi-axis bumper will keep your walls and furniture ding-free.

When Max Mode is engaged, the R85 delivers over three times the power of the lesser R75 model. Use the extra suction for getting underneath counters, stoves, and base trim. If you end up grabbing more dander and dirt than anticipated, the XL dust cup means you won’t need to keep as close of an eye on your Ion’s debris capacity.

Download the Shark app (iOS and Android) to monitor your Ion’s current cleaning, create schedules for automated vacuuming, and adjust performance settings. Best of all, the Shark Ion R85 is also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can use voice commands to power your vac on and off.

Most versatile: Roborock S5 Robot Vacuum and Mop

Roborock S5 robot vacuum

The Roborock S5 is an all-in-one vacuum, mop, and whole-home detailer. On the vacuum end of things, the S5 is equipped with Roborock’s 3D cleaning system, which allows the vac to act like a mini-tornado, sucking in all nearby dirt and debris. The S5 can seamlessly traverse multiple floor types and can clean for up to 2.5 hours on a single charge. We’re also big fans of the self-adjusting brushes that kick up the spin speed to 330 RPMs when approaching tight corners. When the S5 moves away from a tight spot, the brushes go back to a steadier 130 RPMs.

For mopping capabilities, the S5 uses a sensor-driven water tank that only shoots out water when cleaning, so no need to worry about watermarks on your carpet. The mop head itself is wrapped tightly to the vac, so you can expect mostly streak-free mopping across multiple terrain types.

With the Mi app (for iOS and Android), you can create customized cleaning zones for the vac, save and load specialized cleaning maps of your home, and access real-time video of your vacuum mid-clean by tapping into the S5’s onboard camera. There’s also Alexa compatibility, so you can fire up the vac or tell it to stop cleaning with easy voice commands. The app can be a little glitchy, and oddly, the Roborock S5 doesn’t send out a notification when its dust bin is full — two little drawbacks that would be easily ignorable if the vacuum cost a bit less.

Best robot vacuum for pet owners: Amarey A800 Robot Vacuum

Amarey A800 vacuum

Not only is this vac a great value, it’s also an excellent option for pet owners. If there’s a cat or dog in your life, chances are every crevice of your home is filled with some part of them, whether that be hair, litter, or food. The Amarey A800 is tailor-made for this kind of cleanup. It’s all thanks to the vac’s Triple Cleaning System, which employs three different filter types, side brushes, and spinning brushes, allowing it to dig into those hard-to-reach cat-hair nooks. Using the remote, you can also choose between four different cleaning modes, including automatic, spot, max vacuuming, and edge cleaning, the latter two being excellent choices for unearthing pet dander.

The A800’s Free Floor and Intelligent sensors give it the ability to go off course and continue cleaning without you having to find it. Not only does this vacuum clean quietly at less than 58 decibels, but it cleans a variety of surfaces, such as wood, carpet, and tile. The A800’s 360-degree anti-drop and anti-collision sensors are instrumental in making sure it doesn’t fall over stairs or drop-offs.

You will only be able to control this vacuum with its remote. We agree; we wish that Alexa and Google technologies were part of the device or that an app gave users more settings or control. However, if you’re a pet owner, you cannot top the Amarey A800 in terms of price or effectiveness when cleaning up pet dander. 

Best budget robot vacuum: Eufy RoboVac 12

There are more budget-flexible models and devices on the market, like the Eufy product. This vacuum doesn’t have the Wi-Fi or tech capabilities that some of the more expensive models may have. Still, it does have a significant battery, multiple cleaning settings, a drop-sensing system, and reliable suction quality.

This vacuum runs for an hour and forty minutes before needing a recharge, and its suction ranks at 1500pa. It can tackle your dirt powerfully through three different forms of filtration. You can trust the Eufy RoboVac 12 to suck up any dirt, hair, and debris while also appearing fabulous. Its functional design and anti-scratch glass will keep it running for longer. 

Editors’ Recommendations

This srticle was first published on Digital Trends

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