Updated 15 June 2022
We have tested robot vacuum cleaners and name the Roborock S5 Max as our Best Choice. It is both great value for money and easy to use. It works well on both hard floors and carpets and did not have any problems dealing with pet hair. It cleans efficiently and picks up where it left off should it need to recharge its battery mid-clean.
Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.
We carried out the test ourselves and tested all of the products as they are intended to be used in reality. The test was carried out over a period of several months in two distinct stages.
In the first stage of the test we tested the robot vacuum cleaners from the perspective of a fairly normal user. We used them in a variety of private homes to test how they worked in different types of households. Some had pets (both cats and dogs), some had young children, while some had neither. The homes had different amounts of furniture and types of dirt, so we were able to assess the differences in how clean and tidy the floors were once the robot vacuum cleaner thought it had finished cleaning.
The second stage of the test involved a laboratory test in which we put a controlled amount of dirt in a limited area to compared how much dirt the different vacuum cleaner models removed. Both stages of testing were carried out on a mixture of surfaces; wooden floors, stone floors, thin carpets and thick, denser carpets. The results of the laboratory tests were weighted into the final score, but we placed the greater importance on how well the robot vacuum cleaners perform in normal homes as this is where they will most likely be used. We also retained some of the robot vacuum cleaners that performed best for further longer-term testing, including some models for more than a year. This allows us to continuously add updates to our reviews, but also showed that some models that coped well in the laboratory setting don’t work as well under real conditions.
We assessed the robot vacuum cleaners using the following parameters:
Function and dust removal ability: How well does the robot vacuum cleaner deal with different types of hard floors and carpets? Can they clean up hair and sand as well as they clean up crumbs or gravel? What type of room mapping does the robot use? How effective is the motor, the suction nozzle and the brush?
Navigation and accessibility: How well does the robot vacuum cleaner cope with orientating itself and cleaning around furniture, under furniture and in several different rooms? How kind is it on furniture? Can it cope with climbing over thresholds, deep carpets or other obstacles? How does its manoeuvring algorithm deal with particularly difficult situations where there is a risk that it could get stuck in tricky obstacles like cable tangles?
Use: Is the robot vacuum cleaner easy to handle and program? How do you communicate with it? Which accessories are included with it in order to make cleaning easier? How long does vacuuming take and how noisy is the motor? Is the brush easy to clean?
We assessed each robot vacuum cleaners' value for money by looking at how well the model fulfilled our expectations in the above parameters in relation to its price. We have also looked at the exterior condition of the robotic vacuum cleaners after they has been used for a longer period as well as the availability of spare parts – although this factor rarely had a decisive effect on their final score.
Efficient and functional robotic vacuum cleaner with mop
Working time: 2 h Maximum working space: 200 m2 Dust container: 0.5 L Size: 9.64x35.3 cm Stair sensor Yes Included: Filter (washable), side brush, wetroom cloth, water tank Miscellaneous: Google Assistant, Alexa, App support
The Roborock S5 Max is a user-friendly robotic vacuum cleaner, offering good performance, with a range of setting options and functions.
For example, you can set the suction power, which of course will also affect the noise level. You can also point to the map the vacuum cleaner has drawn of your home, and give orders for it to go to a specific place and clean there – in other words, you don’t have to carry it around for spot cleaning like some other robotic vacuum cleaners. Another plus is that you can define your own boundaries using the app, to mark where it should clean.
The app also includes other products from Xiaomi, so for example if you use their smart home products, you can have them in the same interface. This makes the app a bit messy, but you quickly get used to it.
Noise levels are normal in terms of price range and competition.
It's a bit daft to talk about prices because these can change quickly, but at the time of writing, Xiaomi has ramped up the price substantially compared to the S5 Max’s test-winning predecessor. This means it’s now on a par with other medium class models, and that makes the competition between rivals much more even and exciting.
The S5 Max isn’t quite as good as Neato's model in the same price range when it comes to suction power. On balanced suction power, it has a problem getting all the dirt on the first go, and it has to do the same area twice for a satisfactory result. On turbo, however, it does an excellent job and hardly misses anything at all.
On the other hand, the vacuum has problems with cleaning at level differences, for example where carpet edges meet the floor – but this is common with robotic vacuum cleaners in all price ranges.
We’d by no means say the S5 Max offers poor performance; in fact it’s very good when you compare performance with price. But the Neato D6 does do better in this respect. Instead, the real strength of the S5 Max lies in its wide range of functions. For example, it’s equipped with a mop.
The mop can’t deal with tough stains on your floor, but it does get up all the micro-dust that remains after cleaning with the vacuum – and that’s a really useful feature. The mop function is something that none of its competitors offer, at least not at the time of writing and in this price range, though you can get the function by paying a good bit more. If you consistently use the mop function, the overall cleaning result will be first class.
Another plus is how efficiently – but at the same time carefully – it cleans surfaces through its movement pattern. It also has very good accessibility and cleans efficiently in terms of time. The working time of two hours specified by the manufacturer is pretty much spot on.
Nor are thresholds a problem for the S5 Max. For example, it handled a level difference of 2 cm in one of our most complex test environments. The low height also makes it excellent for getting under sofas, coffee tables and so on.
The Xiaomi Roborock S5 Max is ideal for anyone with normal cleaning needs who’s looking for a robotic vacuum cleaner that offers a lot of functions.
Vacuum cleaner that mops, cleans and empties itself
Working area: Max 200 m2 Dust container: 0,42 l Maximum working time: Approx. 2 hrs Height: 93.6 cm Width: 35.3 cm Stair sensor: Yes Accessories: Wet room cloths, water tank, air freshener/fragrance capsule, 4 side brushes and filter Miscellaneous: Associated app
The Ecovac Deebot Ozmo T9+ is a really good buy if you don’t want to have to manually empty the robot vacuum cleaner's container every other day. This robot vacuum cleaner empties itself at its charging station. The charging station sucks the dirt into a container in the station tower. The bag in the container is a regular vacuum cleaner bag which you still have to empty – but only about once a month.
The automatic emptying works well under normal circumstances, but there are times when it fails. For example, if the vacuum has hoovered up longer particles, such as grass or the like, these risk getting stuck in the container. But if you only have normal dust, dog hair and so on, the emptying works fine.
One really big advantage of the Deebot T9+ is how good it is at mopping. The vacuum cleaner vibrates the mop nozzle over the floor and also goes over it twice to ensure that it’s properly clean. The result is better than expectations and better than the majority of other robot vacuum cleaners where we’ve tested the mop function.
When it comes to vacuuming, it performs on par with other robot vacuum cleaners in the same price class. It struggles to get thicker carpets clean, but it does a good job on hard floors and short-pile carpets. It’s also impressively good at cleaning where there are level differences, something many other robots struggle with. In addition, it has double side brushes so it collects a lot of debris that might otherwise elude a vacuum. On the other hand, you’ll still need to clean your carpets with a normal vacuum cleaner about once a month.
There are lots of accessories for the Deebot T9+, including an air freshener for the vacuum cleaner nozzle and reusable mop cloths for the mop nozzle. It can vacuum even if the mop nozzle is in place.
The app for the robot vacuum cleaner contains many functions, such as forbidden zones and spot cleaning. It’s a bit fiddly to use sometimes, but generally easy enough and it’s also pretty easy to set up cleaning schedules.
The Ecovac Deebot T9+ is really good at not getting stuck. It sees things like forgotten socks, cables and the like and in the majority of cases avoids sucking them in and getting stuck. Instead, it’s usually able to navigate around them. If you’re a bit careless about picking stuff up at home, this is a very good feature. Furthermore, it can handle thresholds up to two centimetres.
The Ecovac Deebot T9+ is a robot vacuum cleaner that takes care of itself as much as possible. It’s ideal if you don’t want to have to empty the container too often or save your vacuum from forgotten socks.
An easy-to-use, cheap robotic vacuum cleaner with a mop
Working area: Max. 150 m2 Dust container: 0.57 litres Max. working time: 2 hrs 30 Height: 9.6 cm Width: 35 cm Stair sensor: Yes Accessories: Wet room cloth, water tank (270 ml), side brush and filter Miscellaneous: Associated app and supports both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
The Dreame D9 is a budget class robotic vacuum cleaner with several good functions. For example, it has a movement pattern that allows it to clean floors and carpets thoroughly, an easy-to-use app with lots of setting options and on top of all that it has pretty decent suction power.
The suction power is automatically varied when it moves onto carpets. However, it’s also a bit sluggish in terms of reaction time, so on small carpets it can change suction power too late.
The D9 rarely misses areas when cleaning. It divides your home into several smaller rectangular areas, and then vacuums these surfaces back and forth until the entire surface has been covered.
Where it does have a bit of difficulty are corners and thresholds, but here it’s the suction power and length of the brush, rather than the movement pattern, that makes it miss some dust. This isn’t unusual for the price class and the same problem is even found in more expensive models.
This robotic vacuum cleaner is pretty good at getting over thresholds. Lower thresholds are no problem at all, but at thresholds around 1.6 to 2 cm it sometimes struggles and makes a fair bit of noise. However, in most cases it can get over as long as it comes up at the right angle.
The Dreame D9 has the advantage of having a mop function, which means that the slightly weaker suction power becomes a non-problem as the mop gets up any micro-dust. However, you can’t count on it to remove stains and the like.
Nor does this model come with any floor protection for the charging station. The charging station also has no solution underneath to keep it in place should the robot collide with it during cleaning.
Nor are there functions such as the ability to avoid things you may have left on the floor in a room, maps for several storeys or any way of telling when it’s time to empty the dust container. But considering the price, we hadn’t expected any of those functions either.
Overall, though pretty basic, the Dreame D9 does an excellent job at keeping your floors dust-free.
A fantastic high-quality robotic vacuum cleaner for the money
Running time: 150 minutes Side spinning brush: 1 pc Stair sensor: Yes Remote control: No (app support) Accessories included: Washable filter, brush height adjustment, vacuum cleaner location via a map, zone cleaning, spot cleaning, go-to function, support for voice assistants, four power modes
The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum is a cheap robotic vacuum cleaner that combines the best aspects from several of the other top manufacturers.
In the robotic vacuum cleaner world, it's often the case that robotic vacuum cleaners with a triangular shape are better at accessing all the different nooks of your home. But this one still does a very good job. Using intelligent algorithms, it gets both in and out of chair legs as long as the width between them is the same or more than the vacuum cleaner's diameter. The relatively low height also means that it's good at vacuuming under low stairs, sofas and TV stands.
It can cope with hard and soft level differences, and for example can climb up onto 1 cm thick mats. It can even cope with thresholds up to 1 cm without problems. If the thresholds are higher than this, accessibility isn't always 100%. But that's what we'd expect from a premium or intermediate class model. Several models in the intermediate class find it a lot more difficult to cope with thick mats than this machine does. So overall, we're pretty impressed.
One disadvantage with the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum is that its dust container is relatively small. When it gets full, the vacuum cleaner will alert you several times while it performs, making you aware that you need to empty the container or change the filter. This can be rather irritating.
From a safety viewpoint, it would have been better if the vacuum cleaner had stopped vacuuming and gone home, given a single sound alert and then sent a notification to your mobile phone. It's not good for the motor to continue running when the dust container is full.
And because the container is quite small, you have to empty it almost every hour if you have pets. And about every other day if you don't. This sounds a lot but it's standard for the majority of robotic vacuum cleaners – other than those made by Neato, which really stand out when it comes to this aspect.
Despite its low cost, the Mi Robot Vacuum has both app support and support for voice control via a digital assistant. We connected it to Google Home and could then ask it to start with voice commands through a smart speaker. It works well.
The app is a bit of a mess because it includes other smarthome products from Xiaomi. But it does include zone cleaning, for example, where you can draw out a particular area to be vacuumed, by creating rectangles on a map that the robotic vacuum cleaner creates of your home as it explores.
Another great function is that you can point to a place on the map and the robotic vacuum cleaner will go there. And once there, you can start requesting spot cleaning.
The cleaning result is better than we expected. The robotic vacuum cleaner is careful to run with the side spinning brush towards the furniture to remove dirt there, and can be set on four different power modes. It has difficulty picking up dirt on mats if you don't run it with maximum power.
But it does a good job of collecting dirt around level differences – something that many other robotic vacuum cleaners are poor at. It doesn't just run over the threshold, but vacuums both on and alongside it.
It would have scored top marks if it wasn't for the fact that the robotic vacuum cleaner had problems finding its way home a few times. Other than this, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum is a really good robotic vacuum cleaner that can do pretty much everything despite its low price.
If you move up a step in price and choose its big brother instead, you even get a mop function, but if you don't need that the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum is a sufficient and cheap robotic vacuum cleaner. A real bargain!
Cheap robot vacuum cleaner with mop function
Working time: 200 mins** Max working area:** Can mop 180 m2 Dust container: 0.64 l Size: 9.5x35 cm Staircase sensor: Yes Included: Filter (washable HEPA), side spinning brush, wet room cloth, water tank, remote control Miscellaneous: Can be controlled with remote control
The Roborock E5 is a competent cleaning robot offering fairly high levels of performance in relation to its price. On paper, the suction effect doesn’t seem to be very high, but in practice it hoovers up most of what we tested it on. Small gravel as well as coffee powder and breadcrumbs all go smoothly into the dust container. The only thing it really had a hard time with was dirt in carpets with a medium to long pile. On carpets, it does max its suction effect, but if the carpet doesn’t have a short pile, you’ll still find a lot of dirt left behind.
It’s easy to empty the dust container because it’s positioned under a lid on the top, so it doesn’t drop dirt on the floor when you lift it out. The dust container also holds a lot given the robot’s price tag.
The filter in the container can be washed and reused.
The E5 also comes with a mop function. The mop does an OK job, but it doesn’t dampen all of the fairly narrow working width for the mop cloth. If you want a better width, you need to moisten it yourself before you start the vacuum cleaner.
The vacuum comes with floor protection for the charging station so that the robot can park with a damp mop without you risking damage to the floor.
Like Roborock’s other robotic vacuum cleaners, this robot has a good navigation pattern. It systematically vacuums a room and draws a map in the app. However, the map isn’t saved so you can’t set no-go zones in it. In the long run, this means you can’t ask it to avoid carpets when it’s time to mop, or to avoid places where it may get stuck.
The app is easy to use and has several setting options.
In terms of noise, this robot vacuum cleaner is not particularly loud, but more or less standard.
The Roborock E5 should be able to deal with thresholds up to 2 cms, but we feel that it struggles with those compared to the best robots in this price range. Thresholds a few millimetres lower, however, are never a problem.
The Roborock E5 is a cheap robotic vacuum cleaner which produces a good cleaning result as well as offering a mop to pick up micro dust. A robot where the manufacturer hasn’t skimped on functions. This robotic vacuum cleaner is very competent given its price.
Roborock E5 Robot cleaner Black Remotely controlled, Bagless, Google Home compatibility, Alexa compatibility, Voice-controlled
Roborock E5 Robot cleaner White Remotely controlled, Bagless, Google Home compatibility, Alexa compatibility, Voice-controlled
Roborock E5 Robot vacuum cleaner App-Steuerung Wischfunktion white
Careful cleaning and great navigation
Running time: 120 minutes Dust container: 250m2 Side spinning brush: 1 pc Remote control: No (app support) Stair sensor: Yes (and boundary setting in the app) Accessories included: Filter, magnetic strip Miscellaneous: App controlled, maps your home, laser controlled (can clean in the dark), supports voice assistants, supports spot cleaning
The Neato Botvac D6 Connected is an intelligent robotic vacuum cleaner that's a neat size too. It easily copes with complicated areas and works carefully – although at a relatively moderate speed. As long as it's allowed to just get on with its job, it's a fantastic robotic vacuum cleaner.
It's only when you interfere that it gets a bit upset. For example, you can't pick it up and move it from one place to another and then start it again, as this makes the coverage map wrong and can cause problems if you want to send it to a particular room.
We'd also have liked the Botvac D6 to switch itself off after a while when it does get stuck. For example, it could have sent an alert, marked its place on the cleaning map and then gone into standby mode. Instead it sits there using power until you come home and rescue the cleaner from obstacles.
But on the other hand, it rarely ever does get stuck. Once it's learned your home, it navigates accurately through narrow corridors, over high thresholds and thick mats and in and out of chair legs.
One advantage of the Botvac D6 is it packs the dirt into the container well. This means that you don't have to empty it as often as with many other robotic vacuum cleaners. Despite the fact that we primarily used it in a home with three long-haired pets, it doesn't need to be emptied more than once or twice a week. Other robotic vacuum cleaners tested in this home have needed to be emptied every day.
At the same time, there's no support for zone cleaning, which is a bit of a shame because it's something pet owners in particular benefit from hugely. Given the price, we think this should have been included.
We'd have also liked to see physical buttons on the actual vacuum cleaner for spot cleaning and to send it home. As it is, you have to find your mobile phone if the vacuum cleaner gets stuck or if you just want to quickly bring it out for spot cleaning.
Maintenance is straightforward. You simply remove the container and press in a tab to release the lid. This simultaneously releases the filter, which you can clean at the same time.
Something else positive about the D6 Connected is how it deals with thresholds and furniture. It most often runs with its side spinning brush towards these things, which means that it picks up more dirt than many other robotic vacuum cleaners. The powerful motor also means that it continues to pick up dirt even if, for example, part of the machine body is on top of the threshold, leveraging it a bit further from the ground.
It's worth noting that the robotic vacuum cleaner is quite noisy when it's working. And that it only communicates via the app – for example, it has no simplified voice instructions, and in terms of the buttons on the outside of the machine, they are limited to start/stop.
The Neato Botvac D6 Connected is a very good buy because of how good it is at cleaning and because it's highly reliable. Despite this, however, there's quite a lot that the manufacturer could improve to make it more user-friendly. But the cleaning results are so good that it gets a top score anyway.
Great at avoiding forgotten socks
Working time: 2 h (eco mode) Dust container: 0.7 L Size: 8.5 cm (height) Stair sensor: Yes Included: Filter (washable), side spinning brush Miscellaneous: Google Assistant, Alexa, app support, 3D vision
The Electrolux Pure i9.2 (PI92-6DGM) is a big step up for Electrolux when it comes to robotic vacuum cleaners. The software is stable, and the robotic vacuum cleaner copes easily with most cleaning tasks. For example, it’s very good at avoiding getting stuck on toys, socks and cables while vacuuming. Nor does it have any problems with slightly higher thresholds or rugs. On the other hand, deep-pile carpets are problematic.
This robotic vacuum cleaner is also good at moving between chair legs, into corners and under the sofa. It’s both persistent and organised.
Unfortunately the Pure i9.2 doesn’t come with mop support, like many other models in this price class. A mop on a robotic vacuum cleaner is good for removing micro dust and simple stains.
This robotic vacuum cleaner also has a disadvantage in that it’s very noisy when vacuuming. If you’re planning to run the robotic vacuum cleaner when you’re away from home, that’s no problem, but if you’re on parental leave or working from home, the sound profile is likely to have a negative impact.
The major advantage of the Electrolux Pure i9.2 is clearly that it can get in almost everywhere, is quite compact and finds its way around confidently. However, the compact size doesn’t mean that the dust container is small. It’s actually quite big given the size of the robot. But you still have to empty it about every other session, and unfortunately our example didn’t always tell us when it was full. Another disadvantage is that it doesn’t have a very long battery life in standard mode (60 minutes), given its price. If you turn the power down, you do get a more generous 120 minutes of working time.
But that said, the Electrolux Pure i9.2 is still a good purchase, particularly if you’re a messy person who often leaves small objects lying around on rugs and floors. It does a surprisingly good job of avoiding these. Where many other robotic vacuum cleaners would get stuck, this one continues to work.
Dark horse newcomer that comes as a pleasant surprise
Hours of operation: 3 h 30 min Maximum working area: 300 square metres Dust container: 0.45 l + 1 l Size: 31.4x33.4x10.8 cm Sensor stairs: Yes Included: Filter (washable HEPA), edge-sweeping brush, wetroom cloths Other: Docking station that can wash and dry mop cloths and fill the tank with water
The Prosenic M8 Pro is a robot vacuum cleaner whose build quality comes as a pleasant surprise. It’s very reminiscent of a popular competitor that’s performed very well in tests, both in terms of appearance and cleaning results.
It comes with a self-emptying charging station, which sucks the robot vacuum’s dust container empty when it’s finished cleaning. It can’t be used bagless. Like many other robot vacuum cleaners, the charging station finds it difficult to empty the dust container completely, especially if it contains dog hair or larger particles. So you should be prepared to double-check this regularly.
The M8 Pro can handle high thresholds. It’s one of the better cleaners on the market in this respect. The height of the vacuum allows it access under many items of furniture. The movement pattern is well organised. When it encounters a threshold, for example, it knows exactly what movement it should make to get over it on the first attempt. It finds its way out and home without any problems, although it does trundle very slowly on its way home.
It offers three cleaning modes. In normal mode, it does a good job on hard floors. But it doesn’t clean carpet or rugs all that well. The same applies in maximum mode.
Unfortunately, it is preset to Polish and Swedish is not one of the available languages. It would have been better if it was delivered in English. We manage to solve this after pressing a few buttons, but this doesn’t make a good impression. The app is a bit disorganised, but contains the most important features. It also comes with a remote control.
The Proscenic M8 Pro is a surprisingly good robot vacuum cleaner which, in spite of a few quirks, does a really good job.
Excellent for households without animals
Running time: 75 minutes Dust container: 0.5 L Height: 9.1 cm Width: 35 cm Weight: 3.9 kg Side spinning brush: 1 pc Remote control: No Stair sensor: Yes Accessories included: Washable filter, side brush Miscellaneous: App controlled, Google Assistant support, Alexa support
The Irobot Roomba 960 gives a high quality impression the instant we unpack it from the box. The build quality is very good, and the level of user friendliness striking. Starting it up and connecting to the network is fast. The robotic vacuum cleaner communicates via voice instructions so that you understand what it expects from you and what you can do with it.
These voice instructions are also very useful if the Roomba 960 runs into problems while it's cleaning. For example, it clearly announces when something gets stuck in the rollers or the dust collector needs to be emptied.
And the dust collector is also the machine’s biggest downside. You have to empty it pretty much after every session because it says it’s full even when it isn’t particularly, as it doesn’t pack the material in. This is despite the fact that we’ve set “continue to vacuum even if it’s full” mode on the dust collector. So you don’t need much dirt for it to stop and alert you – particularly if you have pets. Over time this gets irritating.
The Roomba 960 is relatively powerful. It vacuums up hair, dust and small bits of gravel. It can climb up onto thicker mats, runs smoothly over them and picks up a reasonable amount of hair – the results are good, but not quite perfect.
But it does struggle with dirt along edging strips and thresholds. It only has to lift up a little from the floor on one side to lose a lot of its suction. In these situations, the artificial intelligence also affects the result. It doesn’t always travel with the side brush side against the obstacle (the threshold or wall, for example), which means that sometimes it has to pass over a particular area several times before it does it the right way round – and finally picks up the more inaccessible dirt. If it had always turned the side brush to the obstacle, the results would have been better from the start.
In terms of intelligence, it does a relatively good job otherwise, particularly when it comes to vacuuming large areas and navigating them efficiently. It can cope with thresholds of up to 1.5 cm without problems.
Support for voice assistants makes this robotic vacuum cleaner a good addition to the smart home. The range of commands is extensive. With a smart speaker in your home – or via the voice assistant on your phone – you can name your robotic vacuum cleaner and then tell it to go out and vacuum using voice commands. For example, “Clean the kitchen, Kryten”.
Another advantage of the Roomba 960 is that it's relatively quiet in action. It's no problem sitting and working in the next room while it’s working.
The iRobot Roomba 960 is a very useful buy for anyone seeking a competent robotic vacuum cleaner, provided they don’t have pets – as this entails emptying the dust collector annoyingly often. The reliability of the machine is striking and the cleaning result is generally good.
Robot vacuum cleaner with a focus on mopping
Working time: 3 hrs Max working area: 300 m2 Dust container: 0.47 L Size: 9.65x35.3 cm Staircase sensor: Yes Included: Filter (washable), side brush, wet room cloth, water tank Miscellaneous: Google Assistant, Alexa, App Support
The Roborock S7 is a robotic vacuum cleaner with a strong focus on the mop function. As well as hoovering, the vacuum mops the surface up to three times during the same cleaning session – depending on your settings.
If you buy the plus variant, you also get a charging station that allows the robot vacuum cleaner to empty its own dust container into a larger container in the station tower. The dirt is sucked into this container. You can also buy the charging station afterwards separately, if you bought the vacuum without it.
One big advantage of the charging station is that, unlike its competitors, the vacuum can be run both with and without a vacuum cleaner bag. Running it without a bag is good for the environment and cheaper for you. We think this is a fantastic idea.
The downside is that the robotic vacuum cleaner often fails to empty the entire container of dirt. This happens almost every session if more than half of the container has dirt in it, especially in environments with dog hair. The robot vacuum cleaner also struggles to recognise when it’s full, which means it then continues to vacuum but without picking any dirt up from the floor. One consequence of this is that the mop quickly becomes very dirty. So any joy that the automatic emptying function should bring is quickly lost by virtue of the fact that you still have to check the vacuum cleaner a couple of times a week.
Despite all that, the Roborock S7 is still a very competent robot vacuum cleaner with a very good mop. It mops more or less on a par with the other robots in its family, but as it goes over the floor twice, the end result is much better. Dried coffee and juice stains don’t disappear completely, but stains from bare feet, muddy paws and the like are totally mopped away.
The movement pattern also provides a thorough cleaning. It struggles a bit when there’s a change of level, but it handles thresholds well in terms of accessibility. Our highest test threshold of two centimetres proved difficult for it to handle on the first try, but after repeated attempts it did succeed in climbing it.
Unfortunately, this vacuum tends to get tangled up with cables, socks and other things – in contrast, for example, to its sibling, the S6 MaxV. But you can tell just from the price that a sensor or camera for such things isn’t included in this robotic vacuum cleaner’s specifications. However, it does have an ultrasonic sensor to detect rugs, which is a good idea for a vacuum focused on mopping.
The app is easy to use and has plenty of functions and settings. This is vacuum cleaner that can do a lot.
If Roborock had achieved better automatic emptying, we’d warmly recommend the S7, especially since you don’t have to insert a bag in the container. Until this is the case however, it’s a better buy without the automatic emptying, even if the container in the robot is a bit too small.
A model of careful cleaning
Running time: 120 minutes Dust container: 0.7 L Height: 9.9 cm Width: 32 cm Weight: 3.4 kg Max. area: 250m2 Side spinning brush: 1 pc Remote control: No (app support) Stair sensor: Yes (and boundary setting in the app) Accessories included: 3 filters, water tank, magnetic strip Miscellaneous: App controlled, maps your home, laser controlled (can clean in the dark), supports zone cleaning, supports voice assistants, supports point cleaning
The Neato Botvac D7 Connected is the flagship model in the popular robotic vacuum cleaner manufacturer Neato’s range. It comes with a magnetic strip that you use to block rooms you don’t want it to go in, two extra filters – and a charging station, user manual and the robotic machine itself.
Installation is super easy. The app gives you text guidance, but there’s also video support if you feel unsure about what the text means.
The Botvac D7 communicates via sound. So it’s clear when it’s off, on and when it’s accepting commands. However, you have to check the mobile phone notifications to understand what the vacuum wants. Many other robotic vacuum cleaners have recorded voice messages instead, but this system of checking your phone works too.
The app is user-friendly. You can update the software, see where the vacuum has cleaned, schedule cleaning and send it off to clean a particular room. In addition, you can block it off from rooms and areas you don’t want it to clean. You can even control it remotely with your phone, a little like a radio-controlled toy car. All of this works exceptionally well.
Unfortunately, you can’t see how full the container is, and you have to check this manually if you aren’t sure whether it’ll be able to vacuum your entire home while you’re out at work. Otherwise it may just stop and not vacuum at all. You can set an automatic warning for this, so that it reminds you, for example after 90 minutes’ operation, that you have to empty the container.
If you’re looking for a reliable robotic vacuum cleaner for when you aren’t at home, the Neato D7 has two hours’ operating time. In an hour it can clean approximately 40 m2. After the first cleaning session, you can see on a map where it has vacuumed and where it hasn’t. This map is created as it learns to navigate your home.
The D7 sometimes stops for 1-2 minutes and just rotates backwards and forwards without vacuuming. Then it starts off again. It isn’t clear what it's doing during this time. Don’t forget this is a beast of an electric vacuum cleaner, so maybe it’s just getting some crunches in while on the job?
The cleaning results are excellent. The side spinning brush carries dirt with it, and because the vacuum moves with the brush in towards furniture and so on, it doesn’t matter that it's lacking a brush on the other side.
The robotic vacuum cleaner has no problem with thresholds up to 1.5 cm high. After this it starts to have problems, but if it hits the right angle it can sometimes manage higher ones. But loose rugs are a problem. For example, rag rugs are only OK on occasion. You have to put something underneath the rug so the robotic vacuum cleaner doesn’t just push it into a heap as it moves forward. Thick, long pile rugs are fine.
The vacuum cleaner has no problem finding its docking station as long as you haven’t picked it up and moved it from where it was. If it gets stuck it has to start again from the same area, because otherwise it gets lost. This is a clear disadvantage.
But the D7’s biggest disadvantage is that it’s so noisy. It makes several noises at once, from the motor, the rotating brushes and from the wheel motor when it’s moving around. So there’s no point trying to get the kids to sleep while it’s running. We think this is a shame given the price.
Where this robotic vacuum cleaner really shines is how powerful and efficient it is, and yet how carefully it cleans your floors. It may be noisy and lack frills, but it does the important stuff really well. If you’re going to have a robotic vacuum cleaner that above all does the vacuuming when you aren’t at home, and which is reliable and communicative, the Neato D7 is a good buy. Particularly if you have a big house.
Good but falls between models
Working area: Max. 240 m2 Cleaning functions: Vacuuming, mopping Navigation: Laser (360 degrees) Dust container: 0.46 litres Maximum working time: 2h 30 min Height: X cm Width: X cm Staircase sensor: Yes Accessories: Wetroom cloth, water tank, side spinning brush and filter Misc: App with no-go zones, no-mop zones, supports both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
The ** Roborock S6 Pure ** is a really good robotic vacuum cleaner that both mops and vacuums. Overall, we're actually quite happy with it, but less so with Xiaomi's model strategy.
The S6 Pure is the simpler variant in the S6 series, with the MaxV as the top model. That’s fine, but at the same time Xiaomi is releasing a new top model in the old S5 series, which in some respects – mainly the mop function – is actually better than the S6 Pure. We think this is pretty confusing and not very logical.
Getting started with the S6 Pure is no problem. The app guides you through the entire procedure, and after a couple of vacuuming sessions you can set rooms based on the map it creates, and connect to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
All of these steps, even after installation, are accompanied by a robotic female voice that clearly tells you what's going on.
In terms of vacuuming, the machine does its job well. There are some problems with corners and edges, where you might find a bit of dirt gets left behind. But for the most part, it works both fairly quickly and efficiently. We also notice that it’s significantly more stubborn than many other robotic vacuum cleaners. It tries to get over thresholds, carpet edges and similar obstacles that are actually a little too high from all possible angles – and usually succeeds. Meanwhile, it doesn’t usually take many attempts by other vacuum cleaners before they give up and call for help.
The same also applies when it’s found its way under a chair or into a corner. It tries out all the angles to escape before asking you for help.
In its quietest mode, the Roborock S6 Pure leaves some dirt behind, but if you turn up the power to medium, the results are a lot better without you having to leave home as a result of the noise.
There’s also an extra water tank and mop to remove micro dust. Not as effective against stains as a regular mop, but it definitely does the job on micro dust.
The Roborock S6 Pure is a really good robotic vacuum cleaner. The sad thing is that the company mostly seems to be competing with itself, with a lot of very similar models and an eccentric naming strategy.
Xiaomi Roborock S6 Pure White (S6P02-00), High Suction Power, Carpets and Surfaces, Water Tank 180 ml, Surface 300m², Programmable via App, Wi-Fi Connected and Alexa Google Home Control.
roborock S6 Pure Black Robot vacuum cleaner black Sprachgesteuert, Fernbedienbar, App gesteuert, compatible, S6P52-00
Xiaomi Roborock S6 Pure White (S6P02-00)
Well-made robot vacuum cleaner
Working time: approx. 90 min Maximum working area: 300 square metres Dust container: 0.4 l Size: 33.8x33.9x8.7 cm Sensor stairs: Yes Included: Filter (washable HEPA), edge-sweeping brush Other: Charging station with automatic emptying
The Irobot Roomba J7+ is a robot vacuum cleaner with a high build quality. One thing we really appreciate is the leather flap on the lid of the automatic emptying station and the rubber strip around the lid, because it locks in odours and prevents the dust bag from leaking into the room if it tears.
The actual robot vacuum cleaner is also robust. The main brush is quite soft, so even larger particles get into the dust container because the flaps move around and let in grit and other things. It has one edge-sweeping brush, which is fully sufficient as it uses this to move along furniture and mouldings. It sometimes throws or tosses aside dirt instead of collecting it.
Unfortunately Irobot Roomba J7 Plus doesn’t have a mop. The price makes the lack of a mop feel stingy.
The cleaning result is good, but we note some issues with this robot vacuum cleaner. For example, it doesn’t always move in straight lines – sometimes it moves lopsidedly. Once or twice it also claimed to be ready before it had finished cleaning, and it failed to find certain rooms.
The app is quite buggy. Sometimes it’s really slow to navigate, and sometimes it freezes so we need to restart it.
The J7+ can self-empty and it’s about as good at this as robot vacuum cleaners in general: a bit hit and miss but generally acceptable.
The robot can see larger objects lying in its path, but only if they’re the right height and exactly in front of the camera – it tends to miss anything at the sides.
Sometimes it sounds like something’s stuck in the Irobot, it makes a loud noise for no apparent reason, even though nothing is jammed in the intake.
Irobot Roomba J7+ is a competent robot vacuum. Even if it sometimes throws out dirt, it’s very careful along edges and does a good job on rugs. Once you’ve devised a cleaning schedule, it will look after itself. But the apparent bugs in the software lowers its score.
iRobot® Roomba® j7+ vacuum cleaner robot
iRobot® Roomba® j7+ connected Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal - Dual Multi Surface Rubber Brushes - Ideal for Pets - Learns, Maps, and Adapts to your Home - Object Detection and Avoidance
iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum – Identifies and avoids obstacles like pet waste & cords, Empties itself for 60 days, Smart Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair
For those of you who have a large home you need to mop often
Hours of operation: 3 h 30 min Maximum working area: 300 square metres Dust container: 0.45 l Size: 31.4x33.4x10.8 cm Sensor stairs: Yes Included: Filter (washable HEPA), side brush, wetroom cloths Other: Docking station that can wash and dry mop cloths and fill the tank with water
Dreame Bot W10 is a robot vacuum cleaner with a huge docking station – the docking station doubles as a wet mop washer/dryer and water tank. So it can fill water into the robot’s water tank, as well as wash and dry the mop cloth between uses. However, it cannot empty the dustbin of dirt.
It does go into the dock and place itself in a wash basin, where it washes the cloth and dries it so that it does not mould. For some reason, it sometimes has difficulty finding its way back to the docking station.
Automatically avoids carpets when mopping The construction quality isn't great. The buttons on the robot vacuum cleaner itself feel a bit fluttery, the laser tower on the top wobbles a little when we pull it. But the large hatch on the docking station is solid and well-built.
You get a really good result from the mopping. It rotates the mop cloths underneath, giving a top-class mopping result. It can not replace your normal mop for more difficult dried-in stains, but if you spray dried-in stains with a little detergent beforehand, it will remove a good amount of it.
The cleaning result is good. It cleans up most things. There is a little left at thresholds and level differences, as with all robot vacuum cleaners, but it has really good suction power and cleans carpets in an acceptable way. It also automatically detects carpets and moves around them, so you don't need to program no-mop zones.
A disadvantage to the cleaning result is, however, the height of the W10, which makes it difficult to get in under low sofas, chests of drawers, etc. Don't expect it to get under all your furniture just because your previous robot vacuum cleaner did. You almost have to measure the ground-height of your furniture and double check that this robot vacuum is not too big.
Despite a huge docking station, it can't empty the dustbin. The second compartment in the station is for dirty water. It’s a bit sad that it can't do the job of emptying the dustbin, especially as the docking station is so big.
The app is easy to use and the robot reacts immediately to commands.
Dreame Bot W10 is for those who are interested in a robot vacuum cleaner with a well-designed solution for mopping. It performs dry cleans like other robot vacuum cleaners, but is among the best robots when it comes to mopping.
No need to tidy up before the robot cleans
Working area: Max. 240 m2 Cleaning functions: Vacuuming, mopping Navigation: Laser (360 degrees) Dust container: 0.46 litres Maximum working time: 2 hours Staircase sensor: Yes Accessories: Wetroom cloth, water tank, side spinning brush and filter Misc: Camera for identifying objects, app with no-go zones, no-mop zones, supports both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
The Roborock S6 MaxV is a robotic vacuum cleaner that both mops and vacuums. It also has a built-in system for detecting obstacles as it vacuums, such as cables, socks etc.
Cables and other small obstacles have long been a major source of problems for robotic vacuum cleaners. Almost all of them tend to get stuck on this sort of item. Xiaomi claim that they’ve come up with the solution – a camera that keeps track of its surroundings in real time and calculates a new route if necessary.
So how well does this work in practice? Better than vacuums without the system, but still far from 100%. We repeated several tests where we placed cables, socks and other odd things randomly on the floor and then started the robot, and we estimate that about half the time it managed to finish cleaning without dragging these items with it. This figure would most likely increase over time as the AI gets more intelligent.
Another interesting detail is that it then marks the obstacles it’s detected on the map in the app, using symbols such as a shoe, a cable or a sock. Here, too, it’s not quite 100%. For example, it mistook a piece of cardboard for a shoe. But it’s interesting to see where it avoids cleaning.
This robot also has built-in mop functionality, which is useful. As always with robotic vacuum cleaners, the mopping it provides isn’t the same as mopping by hand to remove tough stains. Instead, it's more a really good way to get up micro dust.
It’s also very good at getting in everywhere. The S6 MaxV can handle thresholds of up to 2 cm. It can easily get out of tight spaces and always finds its way home.
The cleaning result is OK, but it does leave some dirt along skirting boards and in corners. Above all, it struggles with dirt where there are level differences.
The app has plenty of functions and is informative and easy to use. For example, you can set separate no-go zones for mopping so the robot doesn’t get carpets and other sensitive items wet. You can also adjust the noise level/suction power.
The Roborock S6 MaxV is suitable for anyone who can’t be bothered to tidy up before starting the robotic vacuum cleaner. With other robots, you first have to pick up loose socks and other items. With this robotic vacuum cleaner, the vacuum is often able to navigate around these obstacles. It also has lots of functions and is easy to operate.
Roborock S6 MaxV Robot Vacuum Cleaner and Mop - 2500Pa Suction - Dual Camera and Lidar Navigation
roborock R100006 Saugroboter, Plastic, 66 W, Black
roborock S6 MaxV Robot Vacuum Cleaner with Reactive AI and Lidar Navigation,click the promotion message for 1free UK power cord
Great machine that even empties itself
Running time: 75 minutes Dust container: Automatic emptying (base holds approximately 30 loads) Height: 9 cm high Width: 31 cm Side brush: 1 pc Remote control: No Stair sensor: Yes Accessories included: Washable filter, side brush, 2 vacuum cleaner bags for the base unit Miscellaneous: App controlled, Google Assistant support, Alexa support
The iRobot Roomba S9+ is a top of the range robotic vacuum cleaner that automatically empties itself in a container when necessary. And this works far beyond our expectations. If the robotic vacuum cleaner’s container fills up during a task, it goes home, empties itself and then continues vacuuming.
Another really good function – even if it may seem simple – is “Find Roomba”. When you press a button, the robotic vacuum cleaner gives off a signal until you've found it. This is really handy because it means you don’t have to crawl around on the floor looking for your S9+ under furniture when it gets stuck, which you have to do with a lot of its competitors – and even with some of this machine's sibling models.
So how often does it get stuck? Not very often, actually. If you've left a sock or something on the floor, it’ll get stuck and the robotic vacuum cleaner will just stay there, but that’s true of all models. In general, it's pretty good at getting itself out of tricky situations such as narrow spaces.
Roomba is very proud of the fact that you can send it to different rooms. Either it learns your home over time after you’ve switched on the function, or you can send it out on training runs. We’d advise against the training runs because each one takes an extremely long time and it has to do several before it's gone through all rooms of the house – a process taking several days during which it doesn’t actually do any vacuuming. A better alternative is to let it vacuum its way to a floor layout. Once you've got this established and the rooms correspond to your floor plan (we had to repeat it the first time), this function is worth its weight in gold.
The function isn’t switched on from the outset. We think it should be on as standard so you realise it’s there from the outset.
We love the fact that the S9+ supports voice assistants. This means that you can say to your smart speaker: “Start Roomba” – or whatever wacky name you've called your robot vacuum cleaner. And then Roomba comes out and vacuums without you having to lift a finger.
One minor disadvantage with the S9+ is that it sometimes thinks the hatch on the top isn’t closed. This often happens after it's got stuck and you’re restarting it. You may need to press the hatch again so the sensor registers that it’s closed, and then press start several times despite the fact that the hatch hasn’t been opened.
The Roomba S9 Plus does a good job of moving around the home. It neatly climbs sideways up slightly higher thresholds, and generally finds its way both out and back to its home, even if you pick it up and move it manually.
The cleaning result is good, but we would have expected it to use its side brush more intelligently. If you have an overhang on your kitchen units and so on, it doesn’t always travel with the brush towards them, and because it only has a brush on one side, it only cleans these more complicated spaces sometimes.
Unfortunately, the price is rather extreme given that the S9 Plus isn’t 100% in terms of its AI when it comes to cleaning complicated spaces. If the software had been a little more sophisticated, we would have scored this machine a couple of points more. But the price means that this type of shortcoming just shouldn’t occur.
The Roomba S9+ is suitable for anyone who wants to avoid having to run around emptying their robotic vacuum cleaner too often. This is a great feature that you quickly get used to, and which it’s then very difficult to be without.
iRobot® Roomba® s9+ connected Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal - PerfectEdge® Technology with Corner Brush - Learns, Maps, Adapts - Clean by Object - Personalized Suggestions
iRobot® Roomba® s9+ vacuum cleaner robot, Black.
iRobot® Roomba® s9+ connected Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal - PerfectEdge® Technology with Corner Brush - Learns, Maps, Adapts
Compact robotic vacuum cleaner with good suction ability
Running time: 75 minutes Dust container: 0.7 L Height: 9.9 cm Width: 32 cm Weight: 3.4 kg Max. area: 250m2 Side spinning brush: 1 pc Remote control: No (app support) Stair sensor: Yes (and boundary setting in the app) Accessories included: Filter Miscellaneous: App controlled, maps your home, laser controlled (can clean in the dark) supports voice assistants
The Neato Botvac D4 Connected is very much like the D6 model from the same manufacturer, but is perhaps a more suitable choice for anyone who doesn't have a two-storey home or who has lower cleaning expectations. This is partly because it lacks multi-storey mapping and can therefore only remember one layout. And partly because it lacks a side spinning brush.
The fact that it lacks a side spinning brush makes quite a big difference to the cleaning result because Neato's robotic vacuum cleaners are generally good at using their brush to maximise results, which means that this one doesn't do so well although still better than many competitors. But it feels like a poor choice for a robotic vacuum cleaner by a manufacturer whose main selling point is exactly how well it cleans. Particularly given that even the majority of budget models today have a side spinning brush.
The vacuum cleaner can cope with thresholds of up to 1.5 cm. But it's still not 100% suitable for homes with lots of thresholds. Not because it can't get over them, but because it tends to leave a lot of dirt there.
Both installation and maintenance are straightforward. You empty the container with a simple press of a button, and the brushes are easy to clean.
One major advantage with the D4 – and the other robotic vacuum cleaners in Neato's range – is how well they pack dirt into the container. You have to empty it significantly less often than you would with the competitors' containers.
You give commands to the vacuum cleaner through an easy-to-use app, or for example through Google Assistant. However, the latter means you must have it set on English as it doesn't support any other languages - yet.
It would have been nice for the vacuum cleaner to be able to speak so it could say what was wrong with it when it got stuck, instead of having to use your phone to check the app.
The D4 Connected is otherwise good at navigating around the home and maintains high levels of reliability. It can easily get out of narrow spaces and always finds its way back home.
In terms of price, the D4 Connected falls into the intermediate class – just like its big brother, the D6 – and that price range means we have high demands for the smallest member of the Neato family. And even though it's a really good robotic vacuum cleaner, we don't think it quite lives up to its price tag.
The Botvac D4 Connected is most suitable for anyone with a smaller one-level house or apartment. And ideally without thresholds so dirt doesn't accumulate at these spots.
A compact format robot vacuum cleaner with a futuristic design and a strong motor
Run time: approx. 45-75 minutes Charging time: 120 minutes Dust container: 0.4 L Height: 11.2 cm high, 12.1 cm at dome Width: 23 cm Weight: 2.5 kg Side spinning brush: No Brush width, underneath: 20.7 cm Remote control: No App support: Yes Stair sensor: Yes Accessories included: None
The Dyson 360 is a breath of fresh air in the fast growing robot vacuum cleaner market. It has an eye-catching design with characteristic caterpillar tracks and a high-gloss finish. Even its docking station is attractive. The idea behind this model's compact size is that it should be able to navigate between table legs and through narrow passages unhindered. On the other hand, the Dyson 360 is taller than many similar robotic vacuum cleaners and so doesn't easily fit under low furniture. It can just about squeeze underneath the lowest stair of a normal staircase. On the top of the Dyson 360’s chassis is a small plastic dome with a camera that gives the robot a panoramic 360° view. The robot vacuum cleaner divides the room into several smaller zones and systematically navigates itself around the room in a concentric pattern, in roughly the same way that you use a floor mop. It turns at a 90° angle, meaning that it turns quite often. In fact it actually turns so often that this turning ends up using up a lot of its cleaning time. This has a direct impact on its battery life and means that the robot needs to go and recharge itself relatively often.
You can start, stop and reprogram the robot via an intuitive smartphone app. A detailed map of the route covered is shown once the robotic vacuum has finished cleaning. This works well at letting you see what it has done, but we'd rather the app told us if the robot had gotten stuck anywhere. The noise level of the vacuum is also relatively high as its motor is without doubt one of the strongest we tested. Even the filter is impressive and doesn't need to be cleaned as often. However, a lot of hair gets stuck in the brushes and its dust container is small which means that it quite regularly needs to be emptied. The cleaning results are very good on hard floors, but on coarser carpets the vacuum’s brushes didn’t pick up most of the crumbs that other robot vacuum cleaners in the test easily coped with. Missed areas are particularly common around table and chair legs as the robot doesn't run very close to them, instead passing in a half circle around them. There are also sometimes narrow gaps on the floor which the vacuum missed cleaning as its overlapping navigation isn't always 100% accurate.
The caterpillar tracks on its wheels are undoubtedly powerful and effective at helping the vacuum cleaner up onto long pile carpets. However, we found that it couldn’t cope with normal bevelled thresholds. The hardware in the Dyson 360 has great potential, but its current high price isn't really justified in relation to its performance. With an updated, more intelligent cleaning algorithm and better brushes, the Dyson 360 could possibly be able to wipe the floor of its competitors – but that's simply not the case yet.
Great specifications but only so-so results
Dust container: 0.6 litres Maximum working time: 2 hrs 30 Height: 9.8 cm Width: 33 cm Stair sensor: Yes Accessories: Wet room cloth, water tank (350 ml), 2 side spinning brushes and filter Miscellaneous: Associated app and supports both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
The Neatsvor X600 Pro is a robotic vacuum cleaner that looks extremely good on paper, but in practice doesn’t deliver as well as we’d hoped. However, it does have some bright spots. For example, the app is very easy to use and has lots of functions. Built into it there’s also a remote control so you can steer the robotic vacuum cleaner to a particular point yourself, if it would have difficulty reaching there by itself.
The navigation is pretty reasonable, but the robotic vacuum cleaner sometimes stops cleaning before it’s actually finished the entire area of the home. It’s also so careful around furniture and other obstacles that it’s sometimes too far away from them to actually collect all the dirt.
It does get extra marks for the X600 Pro double side spinning brushes. At the same time, the brushes tend to get stuck under the carpet while the robot body rides over it, which means it can’t always make the climb. This is a problem we haven’t encountered before, and there is potential for improvement here.
The X600 Pro has a massive 6 000 Pa of suction power, which is more than double that of other robotic vacuum cleaners. But there’s no major difference in cleaning results. We aren’t sure why it struggles to pick up all the dirt – whether it’s the distance down to the floor or how the design works on the inside. But in practice it means it makes your home about as clean as any other robotic vacuum cleaner in the same price class.
For example, larger dirt, such as small pieces of gravel, remains on the floor because it pushes it away instead of sucking it up. Dust and dog hair get stuck along thresholds and other level differences.
Given the specification, the cleaning result should have been better, but given its price it performs much like other budget robots. So the score is pretty much level on this point.
This robotic vacuum cleaner has a stair sensor, but even so it still runs too far over the edge on a couple of occasions.
The installation is really very easy when you know how to do it. But the manual doesn’t correspond exactly to the steps to be carried out, and one of the steps isn’t even included So it takes unnecessarily long to set up as a result.
This robotic vacuum cleaner can handle thresholds of up to 1.5 cm. Higher than this and it usually gives up and stops cleaning. This is slightly worse than the best of the competition.
The price tag is inviting, but the competition in the budget class is now really tough. Although this robotic vacuum cleaner has double side spinning brushes, more suction power and a marginally larger dust container than the competition, it still doesn’t beat them in practice, and in some places it falls short.
Cheap robotic vacuum cleaner with an easy-to-use app
Dust container: 0.4 litres Maximum working time: Just under 2 hours Height: 10 cm Width: 34 cm Stair sensor: Yes Accessories: Water tank, 2 side brushes and filter Miscellaneous: Associated app
Ecovac’s Deebot Ozmo U2 is a robotic vacuum cleaner in the lower budget class which, given that low price, is pretty impressive. For example, it doesn’t bump into things at full power, as many other cheap robotic vacuum cleaners tend to do – instead it senses its surroundings and drives more carefully when needed.
It also cleans pretty well. The vacuum is also quite low, so it can fit under a lot of furniture that other, larger, robotic vacuum cleaners can’t. It also manages to pick up most of what gets in its way when it comes to smaller particles and dust. It does struggle with larger objects, however. With two side brushes, the vacuum works well at angles and around chair legs.
The U2 also has a mop function, but this is mostly just a gimmick. The water flow rate is really poor and even if you set it to max there’s no real difference.
Furthermore, intelligence and movement patterns are poor. Even if we set it to vacuum in a controlled zigzag pattern, as soon as it encounters a piece of furniture it loses that pattern and starts cleaning in a completely random manner. It also forgets to clean some rooms, returning home believing its job is done – when it isn’t.
The Ozmo U2 usually manages thresholds up to 2 cm, but can struggle at times to get over on the first try. It sometimes needs several attempts to cross a threshold, and needs to come towards it at a certain angle. It is also quite noisy when struggling with something. On a couple of occasions it also stops completely after driving over a threshold, because it thinks it has fallen down from a height.
The U2 usually finds its way back to the charging station, but this can take an annoyingly long time.
If it happens to drive into the station during vacuuming, it pushes it out of place and risks getting caught in the cable, as the station doesn’t have anything to hold it in place properly.
Installation is simple and the app is user-friendly. There are lots of functions available, such as suction power, room distribution and more. The robotic vacuum cleaner itself is also easy to understand. It has a start button on the top. You will find the dust container built into the water container, and you must remove both at the same time. It would have been better if the dust container had been under a hatch on the top. As things stand, some of the dirt is likely to fall out when you empty it. But it still works OK given the price.
The Ecovac Deebot U2 does a perfectly reasonable job given its low cost. You get plenty of functionality and a decent cleaning result. But there are things that could be improved.
Easy to use but demands attention
Working time: 75 minutes Dust container: 0.4 L Size: 9.2x33.9 cm Stair sensor: Yes Included: Filter, side spinning brush Miscellaneous: WiFi, app support, Alexa, Google Assistant
The iRobot Roomba I7 7158 is a robotic vacuum cleaner that demands a fair bit of attention, but if you offer it the attention it needs you get a relatively quiet and reliable cleaner.
It’s easy to get the Roomba i7 going after you've unpacked it. It only takes a couple of minutes to pair it with your smartphone so you can control it via its accompanying app. And it's here you start to notice that it needs more attention than many other vacuum cleaners. To create maps of your home in the app and be able to choose the zones to be cleaned, the vacuum cleaner needs to do several tours before it's finished mapping the house. During this time, it acts like it's had too many beers, bouncing into pretty much everything in its path.
But after the drunken phase, it gets considerably more careful with your furniture, and in our tests the robot mapped the space very well and divided it up logically. At this point you can simply choose in the app - or via a voice assistant - which rooms need cleaning. Sadly you can't instruct it to clean specific areas, such as under your child's highchair, for example.
Once it's up and running, it certainly makes itself known through its motor noise, but at the same time, it's a relatively pleasant frequency, which means it‘s not as annoying or disturbing.
With the original settings, it sometimes feels like it’s cheating with the cleaning and leaving a good bit behind on the floor. But in the app there’s a function allowing you to vacuum the same area twice. This makes the hoovering process longer, but the result – even along edges – is much better.
However, if you clean a whole apartment or storey with this setting, you have to help out quite a bit. Partly because the robot has to go home and charge during the process (it goes back out and carries on once it's finished charging). And partly because the vacuum cleaner is really bad at packing in the dirt it's collected means you need to empty the container two or three times during a normal vacuuming session. Therefore, you can't schedule it to work while you’re away from home because you need to be nearby while it's working.
At the same time, the Roomba i7 is excellent at moving around and isn’t too fussy if you've left things lying on the floor. It has no problems with thresholds and thicker mats, and it's pretty good at not getting stuck in any electric cables. Of course it does get stuck, but not as often as most robotic vacuum cleaners often do.
Another problem that arises after a few months of use is that it forgets the map. So “clean the kitchen” can mean that it does the kitchen, half of the hall and underneath the living room table before it thinks it's finished. Clearing the map and repeating the learning period remedies the problem for around one month before you have to repeat the process again.
If you see a robotic vacuum cleaner as a kind of helpful family pet that you still have to look after, the Roomba i7 is a really friendly one that can get around your home without being too fussy, and which cleans well. But the amount of attention it requires to do its job is more than we'd like from a robotic vacuum cleaner, particularly considering its price class.
A light and easy-to-carry vacuum cleaner with an attractive and scratch resistant finish
Max. area: 150 m2 Run time: 120 min Charging time: 120 minutes Dust container: 0.6 L Height: 8.9 cm Width: 35.5 c Weight: 2.99 kg Side spinning brush: Two Brush width, underneath: 18.1 cm Remote control: Yes Accessories included: Remote control, cleaning brush, room divider, extra brushes and extra filter.
Miele's Scout RX1 is one of the most popular robot vacuum cleaners on the market and in aesthetic terms it’s one of the few models that could easily double as a piece of interior decor. Its top has a shiny and attractive finish with a rubberised edge that allows the Scout RX1 to avoid scratching furniture and skirting boards in your home while also keeping its own finish fresh. The robot vacuum cleaner orientates itself in the room via a ceiling camera, seven infrared side sensors and three additional sensors. It zigzags over long stretches and then turns around once it runs into a bigger obstacle. After a minor collision with chair or table legs it will run a half circle around them before continuing on the other side. This strategy works quite well most of the time but sometimes means that the vacuum cleaner can get stuck between things laid out in a pattern. For example, it can sometimes bounce between a chair leg and a floor lamp and effectively get stuck. Its unusually low profile does mean that the Miele Scout RX1 can fit under the majority of sofas though and it was also one of the better models in the test at climbing over high thresholds. The cleaning process itself is carried out by two side spinning brushes combined with a broad brush on its underside, which unfortunately requires regular maintenance as hair easily gets stuck in it.
The Scout RX1 has a robust construction whilst also being one of the lightest vacuum cleaners in our test. It weighs barely 3 kg which will be advantageous for those who will be carrying it between the floors of their homes. However, there is sadly no carrying handle for if you have to do this. Some of the Scout RX1's technical functions are also slightly troublesome. For example, you need the manual if you want to interpret the error codes that it displays when something goes wrong. You’ll also need the remote control to program it or to wake it up if it’s displaying an error code. We would have preferred to see a clearer and more intuitive display, or for the robot to be controllable via smartphone as you won't always have the remote control to hand. Another major problem is that the battery will completely discharge fairly rapidly if you don't turn off the vacuum manually if it can’t get back to the charger.
While the Scout RX1 vacuums well on hard floors like parquet, laminate and tiles, on dense Persian rugs and long-pile carpets it struggles and the results are variable. The main advantage of the Miele Scout RX1 is that it’s low in height and is fairly light, making it easy to handle while allowing it to easily go under sofas and other low furniture. This, together with perhaps having the most attractive design of the robot vacuum cleaner models in our test, are perhaps its strongest features.
A high-quality vacuum with a higher price tag
Running time: 90 minutes Dust container: 0.5 L Height: 9.1 cm Width: 33.7 cm Weight: 3.3 kg Side spinning brush: 1 pc Remote control: No (app controlled) Stair sensor: Yes Accessories included: Washable filter, side spinning brush Miscellaneous: Support for Google Assistant and Alexa
The iRobot Roomba E5 looks like the slightly more expensive 960 model from the same manufacturer, but there are still a number of significant differences. For example, the E5 navigates in an irregular way while it's vacuuming. You get a good result if you allow it to work on schedule over a longer period, but to begin with the result is less careful with this solution.
The sound quality on the voice instructions also comes across as low budget. But the fact that it even has voice instructions is a notable victory - and you can clearly hear what's being said. For example, if it gets stuck it alerts you to come and release it. And the same applies if the dust collector gets full as it works away. You don't need to check with the app first to see what's gone wrong.
The dust collector is rather small and the Roomba has problems in that it doesn't pack in the dirt particularly well. So you have to empty the E5 pretty much every day. But this does depend on whether or not you have pets and children, and how large your home is.
Cleaning the filter is simple. We love the fact that you can undo the front wheels without tools and that you can rinse off the underside. But it's a bit of a shame you need to use a screwdriver to clean the side spinning brush.
The Roomba E5 is fantastic at finding its way back to its charging station and docking correctly. Even when we deliberately make its route home more difficult by moving the docking station or setting it up on an angle, it manages to find its way in. And if we happen to knock the robot so it's in the wrong place, it simply backs out and re-docks. We think this is a great feature!
Something else we liked is the Find Roomba function where you can click on this function in the app and the robot makes a noise to tell you where it is. Because it also has a physical button to make it go home, even if it gets stuck you can just release it and send it home without having to find your mobile phone.
One slight negative is its dimensions and the way it navigates, ultimately resulting in getting stuck between chair legs and other furniture. Nor can it cope with thick mat edges – instead it thinks these are walls and navigates around them.
The same price class contains the Neato D4 and Xiaomi S50 – so the competition is fierce. And this is still the intermediate class. Given that it can't cope with thick mat edges, narrow spaces and that you have to run it relatively often for the room to be kept clean, it doesn't feel particularly good value for money.
That's not to say the Roomba E5 is a bad robotic vacuum cleaner – far from it. It's perfectly OK and copes with simpler spaces without problems when you schedule it to clean a little every day, or every other day.
We tested some of the most popular robotic vacuum cleaners on the market, including models from Roomba, Neato, Miele, Dyson and LG. Different manufacturers use different types of technology to enable their vacuums to systematically map rooms and their different layouts and sizes. For example, some models scan the ceiling with a camera while others use lasers or infrared technology to do so. The robots' artificial intelligence will then plan the cleaning process together with readings from a number of different sensors including gyroscopes, stair sensors and impact detectors. Some models work according to a structured and predetermined pattern by dividing the room into a number of cleaning zones. Others work on an algorithm involving random movements combined with this zone division. The vacuum cleaner's orientation ability affects how long the cleaning will take and also how well the machine will find its way back to its base station once it has cleaned the room or if its battery is running out of charge. We studied how long it took for the robotic vacuum cleaners to clean a certain area and how long they could clean before their battery needed to be recharged. User-friendliness was another comparable factor that proved interesting. Some models communicated problems or difficulties very clearly, while others are more difficult to interpret and understand. We also investigated how easy it was to clean the robotic vacuum cleaners’ brushes of dust and hair. A few models are almost maintenance free, while others require you regularly remove gathered hair with scissors, which can be slightly irritating. All of the robotic vacuum cleaners in the test have a docking station powered by a mains adapter and all of the models are bagless and wireless.
Regardless of which model of robotic vacuum cleaner you choose it's important that it filters its exhaust air, particularly for people with allergies. Some of the robot vacuum cleaners in this test have HEPA filters, such as the Roomba and LG models. HEPA is a certification based on air quality standard and the certification is voluntary for manufacturers. Others such as Neato don’t have HEPA certified filters but still capture particles as small as 0.3 micrometres, including mould spores or allergenic particles on pet hairs. In other words they are the same level as those with a HEPA certified filter. For the best long-term cleaning results we recommend that you run a robot vacuum cleaner three or four days a week. It’s also good to sometimes supplement this with regular vacuum cleaning and cleaning with a microfibre cloth in the corners of the room and on skirting boards. But thanks to robotic vacuum cleaners the process of keeping your floor clean has never been easier.