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Best robotic vacuum

Best Robotic Vacuums From Consumer Reports' Tests

With much-improved cleaning power, today's models appeal to more than just gadget geeks

The latest robotic vacuums have come a long way, thanks to stronger suction, better edge-cleaning capabilities, and improved programming.

"Though robotic vacuum suction power can't compare to upright vacuums, they go a long way to help with cleaning maintenance," says Susan Booth, the CR test engineer who oversees our vacuum tests. Indeed, for daily cleaning of surface debris, a robotic vacuum can work wonders—if you choose one of our top-rated models. Better yet, you no longer have to spend $1,000 to get top performance. 

How We Test Robotic Vacs
Our experts evaluate each robotic vacuum CR buys and tests on how well it removes surface debris on a low-pile carpet and on bare floors; whether it can get into tight corners created by walls and furniture; and the exact length of time it takes to clean a designated area. That’s right: Our engineers sit and watch each robot perform a full cycle, carefully tracking every minute of its obsessive odyssey.

For each of these tests, measured amounts of Maine Coon cat fur, Cheerios, rice, and more are distributed in a test area meant to resemble the typical layout of a bedroom and living room. Then our test engineers record what the robot detects and cleans, and what it misses—or redistributes.

So when you're thinking of getting one of these little machines, consider what your flooring is like, and whether it'll need to clean up after pets or small children. Below, in alphabetical order, are five standouts from Consumer Reports' robotic vacuum tests.

Ecovacs Deebot M88

Ecovacs Deebot M88

CR's take: For under $400, the Ecovacs Deebot M88 is a good deal, as this little vac earns an Excellent rating at cleaning both carpet and bare floors. The Deebot M88 can be scheduled to clean your home any time you choose. You do have to manually clean the brushes, but it's so easy it doesn't amount to much of a chore. This bot also has cliff sensors, meaning it won't crash down stairs—a nice reassurance if your home has multiple floors.

    Eufy RoboVac 11

    Eufy RoboVac 11

    CR's take: Don't think you need to shell out hundreds of dollars for a robotic vacuum. Normally selling for about $250, the Eufy RoboVac 11 earns an Excellent rating in our carpet cleaning test, but doesn't do quite as well on bare floors. Like many robotic vacuums, this one works quietly; it also has a cliff sensor so it won't tumble down your stairs. It's not the most efficient cleaner, however, and in our tests left some debris under furniture.

      iRobot Roomba 890

      iRobot Roomba 890

      CR's take: iRobot has been building robotic vacuums since the early 2000s. The Roomba 890 is one of our top-rated models for good reason. It rates Excellent for cleaning bare floors and almost as good at carpet cleaning. At 3.5 inches, it slides under your sofa and side tables easily. You can schedule its cleaning times from an app and see the Roomba's cleaning pattern after it's done. At less than $500, it's not the lowest-priced model in our tests nor is it the most expensive.

        iRobot Roomba 690

        iRobot Roomba 690

        CR's take: The Roomba 690 costs less than the Roomba 890, but has comparable cleaning performance. Where it falls down on the job is in our ease of use test, earning a middling Good rating. Its smaller dustbin gets fuller faster, meaning you need to empty it more often. In our tests, the 690 cleaned for about 60 minutes before it returned to its dock—though the actual runtime in your home might be longer. If you've got stairs, this guy is a safe bet—the bot's cliff sensor allows it to avoid steep drops. Another drawback: It doesn't have a remote control.

          Samsung POWERbot R7065 VR2AM7065WS/AA

          Samsung POWERbot R7065 VR2AM7065WS/AA

          CR's take: The sleek Samsung Powerbot earns high marks, including an Excellent rating for bare floors. It's also superb at cleaning carpets. A couple of key design details separate it from the competition, such as its ability to clean along walls: It's equipped with a shutter brush that extends down to clean up dirt only when it nears a wall—an improvement over side brushes that are out at all times and can scatter debris. As for power, the Samsung Powerbot is able to pick up fine grains of sand and embedded pet hair from carpets but you do have to manually clean the pet hair from the brush. You can spend a lot more on a robovac and not see this level of performance.

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            Haniya Rae

            I​’m interested in the intersection between design and technology​—whether for ​drywall or robotic vacuums—and how the resulting combination affects consumers. I’ve written about consumer advocacy issues for publications like The Atlantic, PC Magazine, and Popular Science, and now I’m happy to be tackling the topic for CR. For updates, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@haniyarae).