Best Robotic Vacuums of 2022

Consumer Reports' tests reveal that today's top-performing robovacs are no longer just for gadget geeks

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robot vacuum on wood floors Photo: iStock

Tired of constantly sweeping up or vacuuming dust, crumbs, and other debris from your floors? A robotic vacuum cleaner could be your new best friend.

A robotic vacuum won’t replace your trusty upright or canister model, but they can be just the thing for hassle-free, daily floor maintenance. We’ve tested dozens of robotic vacuums in our labs to see which hardworking machines deserve a place in your home. CR’s vacuum testers evaluate how well each robotic vacuum removes surface debris on medium-pile carpet and bare floors, whether it can get into tight corners, and how well it navigates and cleans multiple types of rooms with common robotic vacuum pitfalls, including power cords and carpet fringe. And because many robotic vacuums connect to the internet, our experts evaluate the data privacy and security of each connected vacuum. (Data security assesses whether a robotic vacuum incorporates security measures such as encryption. Data privacy examines privacy setting options and publicly available documents, such as privacy policies and terms of service, to see how manufacturers collect and use your data.)

Our ratings also factor in predicted reliability and owner satisfaction scores based on members’ experiences with more than 9,000 robotic vacuums from our recent surveys.

Here, listed in alphabetical order, are eight standouts from CR’s rigorous robotic vacuum tests. For complete test results and even more options, see our robotic vacuum ratings; and check out our vacuum cleaner buying guide to find out how robotic vacuums compare with other types of vacuum cleaners.

CR’s take: You don’t need to shell out a grand for a good robotic vacuum. For a fraction of that amount, the Eufy 11S earns a Good rating in our carpet cleaning test and an Excellent rating on bare floors. While it’s not the most efficient cleaner (testers say it sometimes scatters debris), it gets the job done, operates quietly, and has a cliff sensor to keep it from tumbling down stairs. This model isn’t WiFi-enabled, so you can’t control it remotely from a smartphone app, but that also means it can’t be hacked. Eufy robotic vacuums as a group received an Excellent rating for reliability in our member survey, as well as a Very Good owner satisfaction score.

CR’s take: The i3+ iRobot Roomba earns an Excellent rating in our pet-hair tests, thanks in part to its rubber brush roll. It’s one of the bigger models on this list and doesn’t get tripped up on the power cords in the room. Navigation is top-notch and it’s very quiet. One downside: You have to purchase replacement vacuum bags for the base, but they don’t cost a lot. The manufacturer receives mixed results when it comes to protecting your data, earning a Good rating for data privacy while earning an Excellent rating for data security. To its credit, iRobot is one of the only companies that says it will provide updates to patch security vulnerabilities and establish a vulnerability program open to security researchers. Another selling point: iRobot’s robotic vacuums earn a Very Good rating for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

CR’s take: The top-of-the-line Roomba i7+ cleans floors efficiently, moving fast and gathering up a lot of debris on a single pass. When it returns home, it has an automatic process to empty its contents into the dock, meaning it can run more cycles than most robotic vacuums before you need to step in and empty the bins. And because it’s smart, you can start a cleaning cycle from your phone or with voice commands to an Alexa or Google Assistant speaker. But our testers say pet hair has to be manually removed from the brush.

CR’s take: The iRobot Roomba j7+ is a solid performer in CR’s tests, acing both our bare floors and pet hair tests with Excellent scores. The vacuum has smart-mapping technology that allows it to learn, map, and adapt to the areas to be cleaned. And iRobot says it will replace the vacuum if, within a year of purchase, it should fail to avoid pet waste. Navigation is top-notch and this vacuum easily slides under and around furniture. The Roomba j7 is the only iRobot to fall short of an Excellent score for data security. And like all its brandmates, it earns a middling Good rating for data privacy.

CR’s take: Though the iRobot Roomba 960 vacuum isn’t the newest entrant in this category, it has held strong in the top tier of our ratings for four years. The model earns an Excellent rating in our bare floors test and a Very Good rating in our carpet cleaning test, though you might have a little difficulty cleaning pet hair out of the brush roller.

CR’s take: One of the newer iRobot models to hit the market, the Roomba S9+ is pricey, but it delivers great performance across the board. The vacuum earns top scores down the line in our cleaning tests, and it’s the best of the best when it comes to cleaning bare floors and edges. It’s also stellar at navigation, earning an Excellent score on that test. This is a self-emptying model that empties its dustbin into a dirt bag, no hands required. Like its brandmates, the iRobot Roomba S9+ earns a Good rating for data privacy and an Excellent rating for data security.

CR’s take: Like many of our top robotic vacuums, the Samsung Jet Bot+ with Clean Station earns Excellent marks for cleaning bare floors and also aces our edges test, leaving little to nothing behind as it works quietly. Like most robovacs, it’s not superb at cleaning carpet but still better than most. It handily navigates a room and is easy to maintain. It deposits its contents in the cleaning station so you don’t have to empty the dustbin after every vacuuming session. Like other Samsung robotics, this one earns Very Good marks for data security but scores only so-so for data privacy.

CR’s take: The Samsung Powerbot R7040 earns Excellent ratings for cleaning bare floors and carpet. Our testers also find that it’s easier to use than similar models from the manufacturer. Samsung’s SmartThings app allows you to check the status of the bot, as well as schedule it and view cleaning history. Users can delete or request data in the app, although the manufacturer’s robotic vacuums still earn a middling rating in our data privacy tests. Samsung robotic models are not as reliable as Eufy or iRobot, according to CR’s member survey; also, members gave the manufacturer’s robotic vacuums only a Fair rating for owner satisfaction.

Mary H.J. Farrell

Knowing that I wanted to be a journalist from a young age, I decided to spiff up my byline by adding the middle initials "H.J." A veteran of online and print journalism, I've worked at People, MSNBC, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and an online Consumer Reports wannabe. But the real thing is so much better. Follow me on Twitter.