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Best Robotic Vacuums for $300 or Less

These autonomous models are deals on wheels

As robotic vacuums improve in performance and come down in price, it's getting easier to justify the expense. You can now find a capable model in CR's robovac ratings for $300 or less. That's a welcome development in a category where you can easily pay two to three times that for a vacuum that serves as a backup.

“Robotic vacuums are best at taking care of light debris and the daily dust pileup,” says Frank Rizzi, who oversees Consumer Reports’ vacuum testing. “Many of these models can be scheduled to run every day, provided that you’ve set up your home to accommodate their movements.”

How We Test RoboVacs
Each robotic vacuum is evaluated on how well it removes surface debris on a low-pile carpet and bare floors; whether it can get into tight corners formed by walls and furniture; and the precise length of time it takes to clean a set area. Our engineers sit and watch each robovac perform a full cleaning cycle, carefully tracking every minute of its obsessive odyssey.

For each of these tests, roughly a half-gram of Maine Coon cat fur, 85 Cheerios, and two teaspoons of rice are distributed in a test area meant to resemble the typical layout of a bedroom or living room. Then our test engineers record what the robot detects and cleans, and what it misses or simply redistributes.

Looking for a specific model? Browse our ratings of more than two dozen robotic vacuums from such manufacturers as Bissell, Ecovacs, iRobot, Samsung, Shark, and more.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the best models if you’re shopping for a robotic vacuum on a budget—as well as one in this price range to steer clear of.

1
5 Affordable Robovacs
Black+Decker HRV425BLP

Black+Decker HRV425BLP

CR’s take: Often on discount, the Black+Decker HRV425BLP did better than average on all of our tests and got an Excellent score for its navigation capabilities. At 4.5 inches high, it can slip under low furniture. This robotic vacuum allows you to program daily cleaning with an app, which means you can update or stop its cleaning cycle from anywhere. Our testers found its dustbin to be one of the largest available, which means you probably won't have to empty it after every cycle.

    2
    bObsweep PetHair

    bObsweep PetHair

    CR’s take: True to its name, the bObsweep PetHair did a notable job picking up Maine Coon cat hair from our floors within the first 10 minutes of making its rounds. It’s not the cheapest on this list, and its taller robotic vacuum profile of 4.75 inches means it has more difficulty squeezing under furniture. But if you have enough clearance under your couch, you might want to consider this model, which scored an Excellent on bare floors and is better than average on carpet. It’s also one of the quieter robotic vacuums we’ve tested.

      3
      Eufy RoboVac 11

      Eufy RoboVac 11

      CR’s take: If your home is mostly carpet, the Eufy RoboVac 11 is a good choice because it earned an Excellent score on our carpet test. In our labs, it traversed carpet like a champ and left little debris behind. It doesn’t do as well when it comes to rug fringe, however, and became tangled in the tassels a few times when circling the floor in our vacuum lab. At 3.5 inches high, it won't have trouble getting under most coffee tables, couches, and chairs, and it's one of the quietest models on this list.

        4
        iRobot Roomba 618 (Walmart)

        iRobot Roomba 618 (Walmart)

        CR’s take: Though iRobot models can be pricey, the Roomba 618, which is sold only at Walmart, is not. Its dustbin is a bit smaller than that of other robotic vacuums, and it doesn’t do as well at cleaning near its charging station. That means you might have to do some extra sweeping near the dock. On the plus side, it scored an Excellent on bare floors, didn't struggle with rug tassels when circling our test room, and picked up most of the debris in our edge and corner tests. But for the lower price you give up a remote, making it less convenient to operate.

          5
          Shark Ion 720

          Shark Ion 720

          CR’s take: The Shark Ion 720 is easy to use and does an excellent job at cleaning bare floors. Navigation is Excellent; it detects furniture and such obstacles as electrical cords, and avoids bumping into them. And it doesn’t get caught in rug fringe. But if you have pets that shed and a lot of carpet, you might want to think twice about this model. The Ion dragged loose fur across our carpet before suctioning it up after making a few passes.

            6
            One to Avoid
            Bissell SmartClean 1974

            Bissell SmartClean 1974

            CR’s take: While the price is right, the Bissell SmartClean 1974 did a mediocre job cleaning carpet and spread pet hair over our pile rug without picking it up. But it scored an Excellent on bare floors. It also left debris in the corners of both bare floors and carpeted rooms, and became tangled in the carpet fringe. Our testers noted that when docking, the Bissell redeposited some of the debris it had just picked up. Who needs a vacuum that makes you clean up after it?

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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).