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Best robotic vacuum

Best Robotic Vacuums of 2018

Consumer Reports' testing reveals that robovacs are no longer just for gadget geeks

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

“Though robotic vacuum suction power can’t compare to the suction on upright vacuums, it can go a long way toward helping with cleaning maintenance,” says Susan Booth, the Consumer Reports 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. And you no longer have to spend $1,000 to get great performance. 

Our experts evaluate how well each robotic vacuum removes surface debris on 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.

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 home generates (pet hair, kid spills). Below, in alphabetical order, are six standouts from CR’s robotic vacuum tests.

1
Ecovacs Deebot M88
Ecovacs Deebot M88

    Ecovacs Deebot M88

    CR’s take: This little vac earns an Excellent rating at cleaning both carpet and bare floors; for under $400, it’s a good deal. The Ecovacs Deebot M88 can be scheduled to clean your home any time you choose. You have to manually clean the brushes, but it’s easy enough that you might not mind. This bot also has cliff sensors, so it won’t crash down stairs—peace of mind if your home has multiple floors.

    2
    Eufy 11S
    Eufy 11S

      Eufy 11S

      CR’s take: You don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars for a good robotic vacuum. Normally selling for about $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, and testers noted that it sometimes scatters debris, it does the job, operates quietly (like many robotic vacuums), and has a cliff sensor, so it won’t tumble down stairs.

      3
      iRobot Roomba e5
      iRobot Roomba e5

        iRobot Roomba e5

        CR’s take: iRobot has been building robotic vacuums since the early 2000s. The iRobot Roomba e5 is one of our top models for good reason. It rates an Excellent for both surface carpet cleaning and bare floors. At less than $500, it falls in the middle of our picks, pricewise. This Roomba does not have a remote control, but you can schedule its cleaning times from an app and review its cleaning pattern after it’s done. 

        4
        LG Hom-Bot CR5765GD
        LG Hom-Bot CR5765GD

          LG Hom-Bot CR5765GD

          CR’s take: At $1,000, the LG Hom-Bot CR5765GD is pricey, but its performance in CR’s test labs is top-notch. This vacuum adjusts its suction based on the type of floor it’s cleaning. In our tests, it earns an Excellent rating for bare floors. You’ll need to download the manufacturer’s app to your smartphone to program your setting. You can also give the Hom-Bot certain voice commands through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. One unique feature: The Hom-Bot can detect movement in your home and can take photos and video of your space, which it can send it to your phone—more of an extra set of eyes than a replacement for a home security system.

          5
          Samsung POWERbot R7065 VR2AM7065WS/AA
          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 carpet. 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 sweep 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. (You 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.

            6
            Eufy 30C
            Eufy 30C

              Eufy 30C

              The Eufy 30C is an extremely quiet vacuum. Our testers note that they couldn’t even tell it was on or running, which makes it a great choice for those who are sensitive to noise. At $300, this is one of the cheaper vacuums that really does the job: It earns an Excellent rating for bare floors. Like the LG Hom-Bot, this vacuum is compatible with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa; you can also program the robot through the manufacturer’s app.

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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).