When thinking about smart home devices, your mind doesn’t likely go to vacuum cleaners. However, in today’s age, everything is getting the smart treatment, and vacuum cleaners are no exception. Smart vacuums – better known as robotic vacuums – are not a new thing, but here recently, they’ve become a bit more advanced, fitting nicely into the ecosystem of smart devices, and they are a huge win in terms of convenience.
If you’re looking to pick up a cool new gadget that makes cleaning a bit easier than going ‘old school’, check out this list of the best robotic vacuums. Keep in mind, as is true with most smart home accessories, you get what you pay for. We’ve segmented the list into two sections – the best and the budget.
First up on our list of the best robotic vacuums is the Roomba 690. A very new addition to the lineup up of Roombas, the 690 brings a range of functionality that is sure to delight. Let’s get to the fun stuff straight out of the gate. The Roomba 690 has Amazon Echo and Google Home compatibility. So, you can give the vacuum voice commands when you want it to begin cleaning, or when you want to call it a day and have it return to its dock for charging. I can’t think of many better ways to use your Amazon Echo or Google Home
Speaking of charging docks, the Roomba 690, like many of the best robotic vacuums will automatically return to its dock for charging when the battery gets low. iRobot claims that the Roomba 690 will run for 60 minutes before needing to return home, so that should cover a fairly large area. However, that’s not quite as long as some of the competitors. As you might expect in a robotic vacuum of this caliber, the 690 will adjust to all floor types to get the job done, including carpet, hardwood, tile, and laminate. And, as an added bonus, you can program your Roomba to stick to a cleaning schedule so it does a little touch-up every day. Just don’t forget to empty the basin.
Stepping it up just a bit in iRobot’s Roomba lineup, we have the Roomba 960. In this robotic vacuum, you’ll find very similar features to the lower models. What’s different you ask? In addition to the acoustic sensors that can be found in the 690 and 860 models, you’ll find the addition of an optical sensor. Basically, the 960 will be a little bit more efficient when it comes to locating areas of concentrated dirt and spending more time in those areas.
Outside of the new set of eyes, the 960 officially supports multi-room navigation. The multitude of onboard sensors makes it easier for the vacuum to navigate around obstacles – essentially it’s more comfortable going through doorways and keeping track of where it is in your home so it can still return to the charging dock when needed. The battery life gets a little bump here as well, adding 15 more minutes from the lower models, reaching up to 75 mins. For the extra $230 you also get an upgraded motor, more efficient brushless rollers, a 5x more powerful air system, and a smarter dirt bin that sends notifications to the Roomba app when it’s time be emptied. The extra money seems quite worth it.
Stepping outside of the iRobot Roomba world, we have the Samsung Powerbot R7040. At a mid-range price of $399, the Powerbot R7040 has a battery that’s rated for 60 mins of run time. Like the Roomba 690, that should get you pretty decent coverage depending on the amount of furniture you have that the robotic vacuum cleaner will need to maneuver around, and if it gets low, the R7040 will automatically return to its charging dock. Samsung’s vacuum is also capable of cleaning all floor types, automatically detecting the type of surface it’s on. The device has large under-mounted wheels that help it transition smoothly from hard surfaces to something like a rug.
Samsung’s robotic vacuum has “visionary mapping” and a “full view sensor” to map out the layout of the room that it’s in. That’s fancy marketing jargon for “it won’t bump into stuff and it won’t fall off of stuff.” In total, the vacuum has 9 sensors. That’s enough to make you feel confident with the little guy roaming around your house. Unlike some of the others on this list, the Samsung Powerbot has a flat front edge. It doesn’t look quite as slick, but it makes the device much more practical in the sense that it can get into corners that other robotic vacuums would not.
Finally, for those of you who like the idea of barking commands at your robot, the Powerbot R7040 can be controlled with Amazon Echo, but it does require that you also have a Samsung SmartThings hub.
The Neato Botvac D3 Connected is another one of the best robotic vacuums – fitting a fair amount of features into a price that is still relatively affordable. Personally, this my favorite looking robotic vacuum on this list. It’s very sleek and almost looks like a stealth vehicle of some kind. Besides its good looks, the Botvac D3 has many of the same capabilities as others on this list. It has a 60-minute battery run time, it automatically docks and charges, and it connects to WiFi to be controlled by Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The Botvac D3 connected can also be controlled with the Neato app which will inform you when the vacuum gets stuck, when the battery is low and when cleaning is finished.
As with the other devices in this price range, the Botvac works on all floor types, and it also has a flat front edge like the Samsung Powerot to help get into those tricky corners. Unfortunately, unlike its bigger siblings in the Botvac lineup, the D3 Connected does not have side brushes to sweep dirt away from walls and into the line of the vacuum. Overall, this is a very slick device that packs in solid features for a little bit of better price than the Roombas and Samsung’s Powerbot.
The Budget crowd
If you’re looking to get into the world of robotic vacuum cleaners and add to your overall smart home ecosystem, you might start to look for a few options that aren’t quite as expensive as the first few on our list. The iLife A4 Robot vacuum might just be what you’re looking for. At only $207 (relatively affordable in this segment) you will miss out on a couple of features, but overall this is still a solid option to get you started. Like the other vacuums, the iLife A4 Robot vacuum will automatically adjust depending on what floor surface it is on. A small but useful addition of side brushes can found here as well to help draw some of the dirt and dust away from the edges of the room and into the path of the vacuum.
With a lower price point, you will, unfortunately, sacrifice internet connectivity with the iLife A4 Robot vacuum cleaner. Your control options to get the vacuum started, stopped and scheduled are limited to using the included remote, and you also won’t be able to activate the vacuum with Amazon Echo or Google Home. If you can stomach the lack of internet connectivity, however, you’ll find the battery life in this device to actually far surpass that of others in the category. Whereas some of the $600 and up vacuums will only get you 60-75 minutes of run time, you’re looking at up to 120 mins with A4 in optimal situations. That’s quite impressive considering the vacuum will also automatically dock and charge itself.