|Name||Docking Station||Bin Size|
|Dyson 360 Eye||Yes||0.33L|
|Ecovacs Robotics Deebot Slim||Yes||Small|
|Eufy Robovac 11||Not sure||0.25L|
|Vileda Robotic Vacuum||Not sure||0.25L|
|Vileda Relax Cleaning Robot||No||0.2L|
|Fine Dragon Smart Vacuum||Yes||0.6L|
|iRobot Roomba 650||Yes||0.4L|
|Neato Botvac D85||Yes||0.7L|
|ET Robot Vacuum Cleaner||Yes||N/A|
Those chores around the home – don’t you just hate them! Unfortunately, they have to be done, and they don’t do themselves – or do they? We have a lot to thank technology for – not least the rise of the internet and the prowess of the home computer – but have you stopped to consider the impact computer technology has had on your home? You may be surprised, if you look closely, at the many ways you rely on such technology without being aware, on a daily basis. Look around your kitchen, for example: your washing machine most likely uses computer technology, and your cooker quite possibly does, too.
Then, there’s other systems in the home, such as the central heating. These days you can install complex systems that use computerised, wireless thermostats, and that are very versatile and almost entirely automatic. Some can even use your broadband connection to access GPS data, and fine tune your heating timing to suit your daily movements. These are very clever, and surprisingly affordable, systems that can save you money on your household bills.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today: the devices we are reviewing here may not save you money, but they will save you time, and they will do one of the jobs in the house that you hate doing, without your input: we’re talking the daily vacuuming, and the new breed of robot vacuums. What are these devices, and why do you need one? Let’s have a closer look!
Table of Contents
- 1 How Does It Work?
- 2 Top 10 Best Robot Vacuums
- 3 Important Features to Consider
- 4 Let’s Wrap It Up!
How Does It Work?
So, the robot vacuum cleaner: what’s it all about? Well, consider what you have now – perhaps a Dyson or a Hoover; you push it along, it sucks up all the dust and dirt from your floors and carpets. So far, so good, but what if you could buy a device that would do the same, but under its own power? That’s what robot vacuums are, and they are fast becoming extremely popular devices. Some can be programmed to perform their task at night, and are very quiet as such, and they often come with the ability to return to the charging station themselves, so they can recharge and complete the job.
Now then, that all sounds great, but what’s the catch? As you will see when you read this review – and we feel it necessary to point out – there is a vast gulf in price between the various makes and models. That we found odd, as they all do pretty much the same thing. There’s also something all of them don’t do, and that’s stairs. These small, versatile devices can’t climb stairs, so you need a traditional vacuum to complete that part of the job. Are they worth it? If you lead a busy life and don’t have a lot of time to allocate to your daily chores, we don’t see why not, so let’s consider the pros and cons of the top 10 robot vacuums available right now.
Top 10 Best Robot Vacuums
We start with a brand that has changed the way we clean our floors over the past couple of decades. Dyson is a name that is now a household one in many countries across the world, and has a reputation for excellent performance, but also for high prices. This model, the 360 Eye, is no exception to that rule, although it is a very impressive device. It’s an attractive, futuristic design and is light and well-built, and the 36o refers to its sensor system, which covers all of the circumference of the robot. It has a very clever navigation system, so will effectively map the room and make sure it has covered every inch, and returns to its base automatically for recharging.
It runs for a long time on one charge, and if you download the appropriate app, you can control this model from your smartphone, so you can even programme it to clean a room when you are at work or anywhere remote. Now, the problems: many user reviews have stated that this is not a great device for homes with pets; this is because – and to be fair, it applies to many of these devices – it has a small capacity, so will need emptying regularly. However, it does have a powerful motor, and offers a claimed twice the sucking power of any such model, and it is a capable and viable option. That is, if you can afford it – you should expect to pay a massive £800!
This neat and modern design is, compared to the above, a no-frills model with some fine credentials. It is very slim, so it will fit easily under chairs and tables, and it – like most – returns to its docking station for charging when the batteries begin to lose charge. It’s easy to use – there’s no complex programming, you simply press a button and it gets on with the job – but that means it can’t be set with a timer to clean when you’re not at home. It uses a three-stage cleaning system to make sure your floor is covered many times, and is very versatile.
This one claims to be perfect for cleaning up dog and cat hairs – although we can’t see how a device so small as any of these can have the required capacity to do so effectively – and features a clever system so it will not fall down stairs if it encounters them. It does have a remote control so you can start and stop it from a distance, but it’s not smartphone compatible, and it is claimed to be very easy to maintain. This may not be a Dyson, but it does the job it is designed for fairly well. You should expect to pay around £180, which is the same sort of price as a quality, regular vacuum, so it’s not exactly cheap, but not Dyson-expensive.
This model comes from a brand – Eufy – with a range of impressive household cleaning devices. This is a typical robot vacuum, one with a familiar circular design, and it is a very clean and tidy design, too. It’s small enough to fit under chairs and tables – as required – and features four cleaning modes, including a clever edging programme that makes sure it misses nothing at the very extremes of the room. It can be programmed to clean while you are out, too, and has many excellent reviews from satisfied customers. It comes with a scratch proof cover, so will always be looking good.
It has a stair sensor so it will not tumble down when it comes to the edge, and uses infra-red technology to avoid obstacles, plus it will return to its docking station when the batteries begin to fade, recharge and complete the job. It has a home remote control – but not a smartphone compatibility – and gives up to an hour and a half on one charge, and it comes with spare brushes and other accessories. This one is available to you for around £200, so while not the cheapest, is certainly not the most expensive.
This model, from the popular Vileda brand, could be described as a budget model, but that’s not to say it should be written off. If you don’t want to pay hundreds for one of these, and are happy with basic functions, this could be the one for you at less than £100. Having looked at the features, we think this one is good value in this company, if not the most capable or highly specified of these models. It’s a neat little design that is typical of the breed, and has proved very popular in the market place.
However, there is something we should say here: Vileda has been honest enough to state that this model – which comes with anti-drop sensors so it won’t fall down the stairs, and an intelligent navigation system for negotiating obstacles – is best used for hard floors and short pile carpets. We would suggest that perhaps the rest of the models on this list should also be stated as such, as they don’t have a huge capacity and need emptying often. Nevertheless, this is a perfectly decent, useful and affordable model overall.
We have included this, another from Vileda, as a direct comparison to the one above, the reason being that it is very similar. It offers all the usual features – intelligent navigation for avoiding obstacles, anti-drop technology so it won’t tumble down the stairs, and it will find its way around chairs and other objects while still cleaning. It is quite powerful – like all of these, by the way, it has no dust bag, but a chamber where the debris is collected – and it will give a sensible run on one charge. Unlike some, it needs to be manually plugged in to recharge.
Once again, this one is recommended for hard floors and short pile carpets; we would not feel comfortable recommending it for homes with dogs or cats, as it will need emptying too often, It’s a neat and tidy design, and will happily clean any size of room – in fact it comes with three settings so it knows what it has to do. So, would we buy it? Well, if we were looking for a basic, budget robot cleaner, no; we would buy the model above. This one does no more, and is an extra fifty quid on top, for reasons we can’t fathom.
Not a name brand, Smart Dragon is one of a number of lines from a company that is, and we quote. ‘a direct sales factory’. This is not to say you should be wary, but that you shouldn’t expect the clever features you get with name brands. For example, this one doesn’t have a docking station it returns to when not in use; it needs to be manually recharged when it runs out. However, the makers claim 60-hours on a full charge; that’s a bold claim, so we’ll take their word for it. It’s a neat and compact design that will do the job – but you need to exert caution where you use it.
This one does the usual stuff in not falling down stairs and bumping its way around obstacles, and it will fit easily under chairs and tables thanks to its slim build. It is aimed at users with hard floors – laminate and tiles, for example – and we wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with pets. However, it’s a neat device that does what it claims to do and, at the price – around £100 – is a decent buy if you want something to clean your home when you are out.
From the very basic, we return to the more sophisticated. This model, the iRobot Roomba 650, offers a variety of impressive and very clever features that will impress – but at a price, which we will come to later. It has a clever return-to-base charging system, can be programmed to clean at seven intervals a week, so you never need to know it is doing its job, and promises very powerful suction. It’s also intelligent, but in more ways than just avoiding obstacles and not falling down the stairs.
Indeed, this one has a computerised sensor system that checks its environment many times a minute, and uses very clever acoustic sensors so it can find even the most obscure dirt and stop to remove it with is multi-stage cleaning system. You can also program it with virtual barriers, so you can keep it away from parts of the room or home you don’t want it to visit – a very clever feature that is much welcome. It’s recommended for both hard floors and carpets, but – again – we would be reluctant recommending it for dog or cat owners. That price? It’s around £380, so you really need to want one of these to justify it.
It is surprising to say that we have reached number eight on our list of ten before we came to a model that tackles a problem we have been wondering about, namely: how does a circular robot vacuum tackle corners? We reckon it’s a problem that should have been obvious to designers of these, and this one – the D85 Botvac from Neato – is the only one so far to have given us an answer. It is a ‘D’ shaped device, so the squared-off end fits into awkward corners – a very clever touch that makes it a stand-out in terms of design.
That’s not all, for it also features laser-mapping so it knows exactly where it has got to go, plus it returns to its docking station for charging. It also features a larger than usual chamber, so will need emptying less regularly, and has very powerful suction and brushing capability. Interestingly, this one is also recommended for use in homes with pets – although we remain cautious on that front. So, is this the best yet? Yes, we reckon it is, but here’s the problem: it will cost you around £500, so you need to have a hefty budget for one of these.
9: RoboVac XD
Nearing the end now, and we have to say this one comes with a wealth of features that – at the price which we will come to later – send it to the top of our shortlist. OK, so it’s round and not as clever as the one above, but what you get for your money is impressive. It does the usual stuff such as returning to its docking base to recharge, not falling down stairs when it comes across them, and it’s easy to use and can be programmed to run when you’re not in. It also comes with a remote control, powerful suction motors, and a good brush system. You also get a mop attachment, which is a great idea for kitchen and bathroom floors.
This one is handily fitted with a UV lamp for killing bacteria – a very neat touch that we like a lot – and has a surprisingly large capacity holding tank, so you won’t need to empty it as often as some. You get a pack of spare brushes, too, and it also comes with a virtual wall feature. To put it simply, this one comes with all the best features from the rest of this list, and at around £150, is very good value in the face of the competition. If you need one of these, you really need to check this one out.
Our final choice comes with a good selection of features; you get the obstacle avoidance system so it will find its way around things that it comes across, plus it won’t fall down the stairs. It has a powerful suction and brush motor, you get a mop as above for the kitchen, and it promises 2-hours on one charge. Like most of these, this one is not recommended for long carpets, but mainly for hard floors and short pile. It’s a circular model, as are all but one of these, and will do the job it’s asked to do.
This model is fully programmable – so you can let it do the job when you’re not at home – or it is ideal for night-time use as it is designed to be as quiet as possible. All in all, we like it, but we have to say that compared to the above – and at around £50 more expensive – we would take number 9 over this one.
So, there’s ten robot vacuums for you to choose from; before we go on to our summary, let’s recap some of the features to look for.
Important Features to Consider
What to consider when you are looking for a robot vacuum? Let’s have a look at some of the more serious considerations:
Convenience – perhaps the main, if not only, reason for buying one of these is the convenience factor; remember, if you have thick carpets, they are going to struggle, so think carefully before committing.
Ability – these range from the very basic that you simply press and let go, to those that come with a full range of clever features, including programming from a smart phone. Check out the specs before you decide.
Price – with a price difference ranging from £100 to £700, there is clearly a lot to think about where budget is concerned!
So, all that remains is for is to wrap things up!
Let’s Wrap It Up!
We have a clear winner here in our opinion: number 9, the Robovac XD. We choose it because, at the price, it offers more features than any other. It’s not the best here – we reckon that to be the £500 Neato model, number 8 – but it is the best value. However, we leave you with a warning: if you want one of these to tackle long-pile, deep carpets, it’s going to struggle, even if you shell out the massive price for the Dyson. If you need one for hard floors, or short pile carpets, off you go, and enjoy a clean house without any effort!