Best robot vacuum cleaner 2021: Clean up with the most effective robot vacuums you can buy
Sick of doing the weekly hoovering? Why not let a robot vacuum cleaner give you a helping hand?
With technology progressing rapidly in recent years, the humble robot vacuum cleaner is now the best way to keep your house clean with minimal effort. You no longer need to push a heavy vacuum around your home to keep your floors in pristine condition.
Crucially, robot vacuum cleaners are no longer the expensive pieces of home cleaning tech they used to be. You can now pick up a reliable robot vacuum cleaner for less than £200, although there are still some high-priced options to choose from if you prefer a robot vacuum cleaner with all the bells and whistles. If you’re after an easy and effort-free way to keep your floors clean, buying one of these robotic helpers could be one of the best investments you ever make.
Thanks to the use of built-in cameras and a variety of sensors, robot vacuum cleaners will find their way around your home with minimal fuss – and the more expensive models come with different cleaning modes and advanced features such as the ability to produce maps of where they’ve cleaned and for how long.
However, with such a wide variety of models to choose from – at varying prices – it can be tricky to choose which robot vacuum cleaner suits your needs and budget. Here at Expert Reviews, we’ve tested all of the latest models, to prevent any guesswork on your part when you walk into the shops. These are the only robot vacuum cleaners you need to consider buying in 2021.
Best robot vacuum cleaner: At a glance
- Best-value: Eufy RoboVac 15C Max
- Best all-round: Neato Botvac D7 Connected
- Best of the best: Dyson 360 Heurist
- Best budget: Eufy RoboVac 30C
How to choose the best robot vacuum cleaner for you
There are several to consider when shopping for a robot vacuum cleaner. To help you decide which model is right for you, we’ve put together a handy video guide, arming you with all the information you need to make a well-informed purchase. If you’d rather read rather than watch, you’ll find our comprehensive written guide below.
How well do they deal with household obstacles?
All robot vacuums employ bumpers and sensors to help them navigate their way around your home and to prevent them coming to grief by falling down the stairs. But some are more efficient at finding their way around than others.
The cheaper versions run to a random cleaning pattern and bump around your rooms blindly, cleaning as they go. This works up to a point but it can take a while for these types of vacuum to finish cleaning a room and, although they do their best to cover all the floor, they often miss spots here and there.
The more expensive robots employ cameras and advanced laser sensors to map out their surroundings first before tackling each room. This means they can work out the most efficient route before getting started and don’t need to cover the same spot twice, as can happens with robot without these sensors.
Even then, advanced sensors can only go so far. A big problem with robot vacuums is that, no matter how good they are at mapping out their surroundings, they often get beached on low-lying furniture and stuck on stray cables.
The best way to avoid this is to keep your floors clear of such items, however in some cases that isn’t possible, which is where you want a robot that comes with the ability to set virtual no-go zones in the accompanying app. That way you can instruct your robot to avoid the places you don’t want it to go near.
Which robot vacuums give the best cleaning performance?
Although most robot vacuums look the same from the outside, they deliver vastly different levels of cleaning performance. And this is affected by a number of different factors. Probably the most important aspect is brush configuration.
Our favourite robot vacuums have brushes that span the full width of the unit, allowing them to clean right along the edges of your room and into the corners. Alas, these aren’t particularly common and most stick with the popular disc-shape, with the main brush situated between the wheels and a couple of less effective spinning brushes in the ‘corners’ of the vacuum to drag dust into the mouth of the vacuum.
Next, you need to consider suction power. Typically expressed in Pa (pascals) this is a measurement of how powerful the motor is inside a robot vacuum. A good number to look for here is around 2,000Pa or above for an effective clean.
Is there anything else I should consider?
- Bin capacity: Robot vacuums need emptying more frequently than a regular vacuum but there’s still quite a variation in bin capacity from model to model. The largest you’ll see tend to be around 0.7 litres in size but they can be as small as 0.4 litres. Some models have larger bins built into their base stations that they automatically empty into when charging but these tend to be very expensive
- Mop attachments: As robot vacuums become more popular we’re seeing more manufacturers than ever build in mopping features as a way to set their robots apart. These use a small water reservoir with a cleaning pad attached to the bottom that drags around the floor as the robot makes its way around your room. You’ll still need to use a proper mop to get stubborn stains off, though; a mopping robot is only good for cleaning up light dirt and dust from your hard floors.
- Height: One thing robot vacuums are great at is cleaning below low-lying furniture but some are considerably taller than others so it’s well worth checking out the dimensions before you buy to make sure it will fit where you want it to go.
The best robot vacuum cleaners to buy
1. Eufy RoboVac 15C Max: Best-value robot vacuum cleaner
Price: £270 | Buy now from Amazon
You might not have heard of Eufy, but don’t let that put you off: this superb RoboVac 15C Max is a solid choice if you’ve got £270 to spend.
The Eufy RoboVac 15C Max is the more fully featured version of our previous budget robot vacuum top pick, the RoboVac 30C. It costs £90 more – the RoboVac 30C has dropped in price since launch – but the 15C Max provides much more suction power than its predecessors. With 2,000Pa of suction, the 15C Max is very powerful considering its price but despite the extra power, it’s still impressively quiet regardless of which of the three settings you use. (It has three cleaning settings: Standard, Boost IQ and Max.)
Carpet areas will benefit from some of the more powerful settings, but we found the standard setting to be more than suitable for easy-cleaning hard flooring. Boost IQ adjusts the suction power automatically as the vacuum cleaner transitions between different types of flooring. The RoboVac 15C Max can also run up to 1hr 40mins on a single charge and is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for a fully hands-off approach to your daily cleaning.
It isn’t quite as feature-rich as some of the other robot vacuum cleaners on this list – it misses out on infrared scanning and room-mapping – but at less than £300, the RoboVac 15C Max barely faces a foot wrong and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better at this price.
Read our fullfor more details
Key specs – Size: 325 x 325 x 72mm; Weight: 2.7kg; Battery life: 1hr 40mins; Charge time: 2-3hrs; Bin capacity: 0.7l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 55dB
2. Neato Botvac D7 Connected: Best all-round robot vacuum
Price: £450 | Buy now from Amazon
There’s no doubt in our minds – the Neato Botvac D7 Connected is the best robot vacuum cleaner money can buy, despite not being a huge upgrade to its predecessor, the D5 Connected.
The design is well thought out: the D7 Connected’s low profile of 100mm means it can easily duck under sofas, beds and other low-sitting furniture, while its 0.7l dust container is ample.
However, what sets the Botvac apart from its rivals is the laser scanner on top of the vacuum. This allows the robot to build up a detailed map of its surroundings and avoid obstacles – whether the light’s on or off.
Another useful feature is the ability to set virtual “no-go zones” via the apps. Bear in mind, though, that these only work if you use the app to start cleaning. If you press the physical power button on top of the vacuum, you’ll have to lay down the included boundary-marking strips.
So, bells and whistles aside, how is good the Neato Botvac D7 Connected at actually cleaning? In a word: very. It goes about its business in an amazingly methodical way that ensures every bit of floor space is covered. In short, it’s the full package – albeit an expensive one.
Read our fullfor more details
Key specs – Size: 319 x 336 x 100mm; Weight: 3.5kg; Battery life: 2hrs; Charge time: 2-3hrs; Bin capacity: 0.7l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 67
3. Dyson 360 Heurist: The best of the best
Price: £800 l Buy now from Dyson
With twice the suction power of any other robot vacuum cleaner we’ve tested, the Dyson 360 Heurist may be the priciest vacuum on this list, but it’s the only one with a genuine claim to being the only one that could replace your standard upright cleaner. With the Heurist, Dyson has not only improved suction by a claimed 20% but it has also introduced an LED lighting ring so the robot can navigate in dark rooms and developed an improved app that gives more control over the robot.
The design hasn’t changed much between generations, it’s still around the same size and shape as the previous model – the 360 Eye – and it even uses the same digital motor as before. Instead, the new Dyson 360 Heurist builds on the things that set Dyson’s last robot apart from the competition – tank tracks for climbing obstacles, a full-width brush bar for close to the edge cleaning and a 360-degree camera for all-around vision. If you want a robot vacuum cleaner with all the perks, look no further.
Read our fullfor more details
Key specs – Size: 2.3 x 2.4 x 12cm; Weight: 2.51kg; Battery life: 75mins; Charge time: 2.5hrs; Bin capacity: 0.5l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes
4. Eufy RoboVac 30C: Top value, effective cleaning
Price: £230 | Buy now from Amazon
The RoboVac 30C is another solid robot vacuum cleaner for the budget-conscious. It’s circular in shape and has a low profile so it can fit under furniture and clean the carpet under your bed, and it will recharge itself at its base when it runs low on battery power. With up to 100 minutes of cleaning per charge, though, it should be able to cope with even the largest of rooms before having to do that.
Other features include Alexa and Google Assistant support (so you can tell it to go clean via your Echo or Google Home speakers), a companion app so you can control it via your smartphone and a useful remote control that lets you direct operations when your phone isn’t handy.
With 1,500Pa of suction power, the Eufy RoboVac is pretty powerful for the money, too, and it’s reasonably quiet. If you’re looking to dip your toe in the water of automatic vacuum cleaning but don’t want to spend in the region of £500, this is the next best thing.
Read our fullfor more details
Key specs – Size: 32.5 x 32.5 x 7.2cm; Weight: 2.7kg; Battery life: 1hr 40mins; Charge time: 3hrs; Bin capacity: 0.6l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 55
5. Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 920: A great (and cheaper) Dyson alternative
Price: £590 | Buy now from Amazon
Before you splash out more than £300 on a robot vacuum cleaner, there’s a laundry list of features you’ll want to tick off. Laser scanning is the priority, allowing the vacuum to map out its surroundings before proceeding to clean, methodical cleaning is another and room mapping with virtual no-go zones is essential – the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 920 has all of these things and doesn’t cost the earth (relatively speaking).
It also includes a mopping function with a sizeable 240ml water tank and even allows you to adjust how much water is used remotely via the app. There’s automatic surface detection, so it can ramp up the suction power when travelling from hard floor to carpeted areas and a large battery gives up to 1hr 50mins of cleaning per charge.
In our testing, we found it cleaned effectively and efficiently, without getting stuck in the usual places, and it’s pretty quiet too. It’s a great all-rounder and, although suction and cleaning power can’t match the Dyson 360 Heurist, it is quicker and a lot cheaper.
Key specs – Size: 350 x 350 x 93mm; Weight: 2kg; Battery life: 1hr 50mins; Charge time: 4hrs; Bin capacity: 0.43l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 66dB
6. iRobot Roomba 960: Best robot vacuum cleaner for features
Price: £439 | Buy now from Amazon
The iRobot Roomba 960 is another premium-priced robot vacuum, but for that hefty outlay, you get plenty of features to rival the Dyson 360. Like the Dyson, the Roomba 960 uses cameras to find its way around your home and travels in parallel lines to make sure it collects every speck of dust. The low profile means it can get right under every bit of furniture and the longer side brushes make sure every corner and skirting board is spotless.
The iRobot Home app allows you to schedule cleaning, and when you’re not home it automatically travels back to its station to charge up for the next run. If you’ve got a pet, the brushless extractors will collect even the longest hair in its 0.6l bin, and to give the best cleaning results, the Roomba 960 automatically ups the power output when it detects that it’s travelling over carpet rather than hard floors.
Key specs – Size: 35 x 35 x 9.1cm; Weight: 6kg; Battery life: 1h4 15mins; Charge time: 2hrs; Bin capacity: 0.6l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 65