The robot vacuum category launched in 1996 when Electrolux introduced the 'Trilobite.' There have been many changes and progress in the category since then. Now the market and product are mature enough to talk about what the best robot vacuum is. We've tried and reviewed several models at different price points and put together our thoughts on developing our best robot vacuum based on several criteria.
Our Top Rated Products
We felt strong enough about the iRobot i6 Roomba that this is the vacuum that we bought for our house. The i6 features a docking station that empties the contents of the vacuum, has a great app for your phone and really sucks up the mounds of dog hair around the house. Read our iRobot i6 Roomba review.
The iRobot Roomba 980 vacuum is a really great vacuum, although this will definitely break a few budgets. This vacuum is smart enough to adjust its suction level for carpets or hard-wood floors and does a great job on pet hair. The price tag did give us pause. Read iRobot Roomba 980 Review
Great Starter Unit
The iLife a4s vacuum is priced on the low-end so may not have all of the features that you might be looking for. The a4s is a really great starter robot vacuum and will likely do all the things that you need and want done. Read our iLife a4s review.
As we were researching and trying out the various robot vacuums, we came up with a list of criteria that we wanted to have. Our concept of the best robot vacuum and your concept might be a little different. We were looking for:
- a robot vacuum that had a good application that we could run from our phones.
- a vacuum that could empty itself so that we didn't need to empty it mid-job
- a powerful vacuum that could tackle our pets
- Amazon Alexa integration
Our selection, the iRobot i6 vacuum, had all of this and more. Since we've had the vacuum for a while now, our favorite feature only dawned on us well after we had the vacuum and had everything fully set up. Our ability to open up our phone and only vacuum the places that needs to be cleaned at that moment was an absolute convenience. We have our vacuum running on a specific schedule throughout the week, so our house is clean and dust-free, but this turned out to be an excellent feature for the times we need a little more.
See our Robot Vacuum Buyers Guide.
When we looked and tried out a couple of the other vacuums, we have lovely friends, we did like some of the other products, but all of the features and the price of the i6 made it the winner. If there was no special going on for this particular model on Amazon Prime Day, we might have gone with the iLife or one of the less expensive models.
The iLife A4S did an outstanding job when it vacuumed. We needed some extra features that it didn't have. It's a great product as a starter vacuum if you're not sure that you'll get the amount of benefit that you need or want with this purchase.
See our other reviews:
Robot Vacuum Bottom Line
As with many products that we buy today, your budget is a significant factor in what you can and can't afford. The robot vacuum category has a broad range of price ranges. The low-end comes in at under $250-300. The mid-priced products have a price range of $300-700. The expensive products exceed this $700 price point.
When you spend the extra money to go from one price level to another, you will get a lot more features. These features are not meaningless for most people. The additional features that you buy at the higher price points make the product much more helpful.
In the low-priced range, you will get a vacuum that works and works reasonably well. The app, if it exists, may not be feature-rich. The mid-priced range will give you some extra features like a better app, a better filtration system, or better suction. When you get into the higher-priced category, that's where you'll see the most features and the most creature comforts. If cost was not an issue, that's where you should be looking. Like most people, if cost is an issue, look at the lower-cost models to see if they have enough features to make it worth your investment.