Best Robotic Vacuums of 2021
Consumer Reports' tests reveal that today's top-performing robovacs are no longer just for gadget geeks
Robotic vacuums have gotten so much better at cleaning over the last few years that we’ve had to up the ante in our test labs.
"We're challenging these bots to work larger, more complex spaces—making sure they don't snag on your carpet tassels and cables and don't get stuck in awkward places," says Susan Booth, the engineer who oversees vacuum testing at Consumer Reports.
Booth and her team built a new multiroom lab to evaluate how well each robotic vacuum removes surface debris on low-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. And since many robotic vacuums connect to the internet, our experts evaluate the data privacy and security of each connected vacuum.
The new ratings also factor in predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings based on 7,600 members' experiences with their own robotic vacuums from our recent surveys.
If you’re thinking of purchasing one of these little machines, consider your flooring (some are better on carpet, others on bare floors), the layout of your home, and the types of detritus your household generates (pet hair, kid spills). Robotic vacuums can’t compare to the suction on upright vacuums, but they can go a long way toward helping you maintain grit-free floors. Prices range from around $200 to more than $1,000.
Here, listed in alphabetical order—not by CR rank—are seven standouts from CR’s rigorous robotic vacuum tests. For complete test results and even more options, see our robotic vacuum ratings.
CR’s take: You don’t need to shell out a grand for a good robotic vacuum. Typically selling for around $220, the Eufy RoboVac 11S earns a Very Good rating in our carpet cleaning test and does even better on bare floors. While it’s not the most efficient cleaner (testers noted that it sometimes scatters debris), it does the job, operates quietly (like many robotic vacuums), and has a cliff sensor to keep it from tumbling down stairs. This robotic vacuum 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 whole receive an Excellent rating for reliability, meaning this model likely won't break down within the next three years. Overall, CR members were very satisfied with their Eufys in our recent surveys.
CR’s take: The Eufy 30C is an extremely quiet vacuum. Our testers note that they couldn’t tell if it was on or running, which makes it a great choice for those who might need to run a robotic vac while they’re home. This is one of the cheaper vacuums that really does the job: It earns an Excellent rating for bare floors. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can program the robot through the manufacturer’s app. Because Eufy discloses very little information about its data privacy policies, this vacuum earns only a Fair rating in our privacy tests. In terms of security, it earns a Good rating—Eufy is the weakest manufacturer in this department because it hasn’t confirmed with CR that it has a security oversight panel, a vulnerability disclosure program, or security updates over time—three things other robotics companies do have.
CR's take: The new RoboVac G30 Edge from Eufy is marginally better at navigation when compared with the 30C and the 11S Max, though all three models earn an Excellent rating in our tests. The G30 Edge isn't great on carpet, but it does earn a Very Good for ease of use—another improvement over the other Eufy models on this list. This is a connected model, and similar to the 30C, earns a Fair in our privacy tests and a Good in our security tests.
CR’s take: Though the iRobot Roomba 960 vacuum isn’t the newest entrant in the category, it has held strong in the top tier of our ratings for almost three years. This model earns an Excellent rating in our bare-floors test and also does a superb job cleaning carpet, though you might have a little difficulty cleaning pet hair out of the brush roller. In our privacy and security tests, iRobot earns a Good rating for data privacy and a Very Good rating for data security—iRobot is one of the only companies that says, for example, that it will provide updates to patch security vulnerabilities and establish a vulnerability program open to security researchers. iRobot's robotic vacuums earn a Very Good rating for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.
CR’s take: The iRobot Roomba e5 is one of our top models for good reason: It earns Excellent ratings for surface carpet cleaning and bare floors. It falls in the middle of our top picks when it comes to price. This Roomba doesn’t have a remote control, but you can schedule its cleaning times from an app and review its cleaning pattern after it’s finished. As noted above, iRobot is one of the better brands for digital privacy and security; its models earn a Good rating for data privacy and a Very Good rating for data security.
CR’s take: One of the latest iRobot models to hit the market, the S9+ is pricey, but it delivers. This vacuum earns top scores down the line in our performance tests, and it’s the best of the best where edges and bare floors are concerned. This is also a self-emptying model that empties its dustbin into a dirt bag, no hands required. Like the e5 and the 960, the S9+ earns a Good rating for data privacy and a Very Good rating for data security.
CR’s take: The Samsung R7040 earns an Excellent rating for bare floors and for carpet cleaning. Our testers also found it 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 this Samsung app as well, which is a positive, though overall it still earns a middle-of-the-road Good rating in our data privacy tests. In our data security tests, it earns a Very Good rating. Samsung robotic models are not as reliable as Eufy or iRobot, and earned a Good rating in our survey—there's a greater chance your Samsung bot will break down. Members also gave these bots a Good rating for owner satisfaction—lukewarm on these models as a whole.