One of the reasons we love smart homes so much is they give us the opportunity to allow the home to take care of itself. One of the first smart devices to enter our living rooms was the robot vacuum. Since then, technology has continued to evolve bringing better suction and more features. But they’re more than just pets ride-sharing, they help keep your home clean while you’re free to think great thoughts or whatever it is that you do instead of vacuuming.
As the technology has evolved, so too have the differences between vacuums and features that enable them to be more efficient at cleaning, so we’ve rounded up some of the most popular models and stack them against one another. These robot vacuums cover a variety of different floor types and price points.
What we are looking for?
Robot vacuums have a very straightforward job function. They are there to clean things up. Period. That’s the list. We want to focus on the features that would do the best job at that, while also pointing out specific technologies that make them efficient.
Right out of the gate, every single one of these vacuums can do the basics. They all work with both Alexa and Google Assistant, plus they all are operated through an app. You can schedule cleanings with all of them. Things like that are considered bare-bones must-haves in order to make this list. The vacuums all have smart return features when the battery gets low too.
Battery life is one of the more important aspects of the vacuum. The size of the battery determines how long your vacuum can keep going. Robot vacuums depend largely on autonomy and getting things done on their own, and a bigger battery will enable your vacuum to go longer, cover more area, and get more done without your assistance.
Most robot vacuums have the ability to return to a charging station and top off the battery if it starts getting low during a cycle. But battery size also determines how long it will take for a battery to recharge, and in this particular case, smaller is better in some respects. However, we can probably all agree that longer runtime is more important than faster recharge time; at least when it comes to robot vacuums.
Battery size and runtime would seem to go hand-in-hand, but that’s not necessarily the case. As you’ll see in the chart below, a larger battery does not necessarily equal a longer runtime. We should also note the fact that the numbers in the chart are the advertised runtime from the manufacturer. Your actual mileage may vary.
There are a number of factors that play into runtime. The equipment on board will have different battery draws. As an example, a robot vacuum with a huge battery, powerful suction, and LiDAR on board may run for less time than a less powerful model with only bump sensors to guide it. That’s why we’re listing both of these categories, and we’ll break down what vacuums use what down below. But it’s important to make the distinction that bigger isn’t necessarily better.
Floors come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. A vacuum that’s great on carpet may not be so great on a tile floor. Because once you finish vacuuming a tile floor, you need to lug out the mop and bucket to get that final shine, right? Well, a few of our robots both vacuum and mop in a single unit, which is pretty killer. Not only do you end up with clean floors, but you end up with shiny clean floors.
Vacuuming is great, but the addition of wet functionality is greater. You’ll be happy to know you can get that in a wide range of budgets, which is amazing. There is some work to do to get your robot vacuum to mop; adding liquid for example, so if you’re coming down off the high of the auto-cleaning dustbin, this should ground you again.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice the prices for our field of vacuums range from $260 on the low end, to a single George Washington below $1000 on the high end. That’s a lot of variety. But if you look at the list again, you’ll notice that the vacuum with the lowest price actually checks a lot of boxes.
The Lefant M571 Robot Vacuum has a cumbersome name, but it also comes with zones and with wet mopping, which is pretty awesome. The Lefant uses a combination of laser guidance and infrared sensors to map out your home, and this is one of the only vacuums on the list that uses infrared.