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.