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Best robot vacuum of 2020: iRobot Roomba, Neato, Eufy and many more vacuum models

por Tracie Lyon (2020-06-08)


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A robotic vacuum cleaner that does all your cleaning and vacuuming for you at home sounds like a fantasy. But with the sophistication of today's robot vacuums, which are packed with smart features, electronic eyes, smart sensors and even lasers that offer enhanced computing and cleaning power, that fantasy can be your reality. 

The prices have ballooned, so that fantasy does come at a cost. Some robotic vacuum models will even set you back a staggering four figures. Spending that much is extravagant, but it does net you next-level vacuum cleaning with dirt and dust busting power. Those cleaning features include dustbins that empty themselves, multiple room and floor plan mapping, turbo mode, plus elegantly designed hardware.

To zero in on the best robot vacuum cleaner, I spent over 120 hours (that's a lot of time) torture testing a group of 10 robotic cleaning vacuums. Among them are brand-new models that have recently launched, flagship models, as well as compelling options offered across numerous online retailers. I excluded older models that likely won't be sold for much more time.




The best if you're loaded



iRobot Roomba S9 Plus





Tyler Lizenby/CNET If someone were to give you a blank check and told you to buy the best robot vacuum, this is the bot to get. The iRobot Roomba S9 Plus costs a whopping $1,399. For that staggeringly steep sticker price though, this bot delivers powerful suction and superb dirt and dust removal cleaning power. 

On hardwood floors it picked up an average of 93% of our test sand, the highest amount in our test group. The Roomba struggled to work a bit cleaning sand from low-pile carpeting and area rugs, earning a low average dust and sand pickup of 28%. 

That said, the Roomba robot vac removed an average 71% of sand from our midpile carpet while vacuuming. Again, this is the best result that we saw on this specific test. It also cleaned up more pet hair, pet dander and allergens than any vacuum in this test group, and the bot navigates and maps multiple rooms and floors. iRobot has also updated its app to let you designate "keep out zones" to designate areas you want the S9 Plus to avoid when cleaning. The app also lets you use voice commands to immediately clean a room using Alexa or Google Voice Assistant.

The robot zipped through our test room in a short average time of 25 minutes, too. You can link the S9 Plus to the Roomba app and your home WiFi as well. Best of all is the Roomba S9 Plus' CleanBase docking station. The charging dock both charges the robot's battery and empties its dustbin automatically, making cleaning even easier and keeping you from worrying about battery life. Now that's convenient. Read our first impressions of the Roomba S9 Plus.



$1,000 at iRobot





The best midrange robot vacuum



Neato Botvac D7 Connected





Tyler Lizenby/CNET For half the price of the Roomba S9 Plus, the $647 Neato's Botvac D7 Connected vacuums up dirt, dust and messes almost as well, making it the best vacuum cleaner for carpet robot vacuum at a midrange cost. On average this robotic cleaner picked up a greater amount of sand (36%) across low-pile carpet and rugs than the Roomba did. 

It narrowly beat the S9 Plus for cleaning power on hardwood bare floors, too, collecting an average of 95% of the sand we put down. The vac cleaned dirt, dust and sand from midpile rugs less effectively though, notching a pickup average of 47 percent while cleaning. 

While the Neato Botvac Connected can't match the Roomba's prowess at removing pet hair or empty its own dust bin, the Botvac Connected navigates more efficiently around furniture, yet covers more ground, thanks to built-in lidar laser navigation mapping. You can also control the cleaning robot using the Neato app as a remote control, as well as link it to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The app allows you to designate areas of your home as off-limits to cleaning, too. Read our Neato Botvac D7 Connected preview.



$600 at Best Buy

$599 at Walmart





The best value



Eufy Robovac 11S Max





Tyler Lizenby/CNET Here's a cleaning machine that proves you don't need to blow your budget to purchase a solid robot vacuum cleaner. Even though the Robovac 11S Max costs just $220, it cleans floors effectively. That's especially the case when cleaning hardwood bare floors. 

It managed to remove an average of 71% of our test sand from this type of surface. The bot didn't work as well cleaning carpets, earning sand pickup averages of 21 and 27% on low pile and midpile, respectively. 

And due to this vacuum's basic navigation system, it took well over an hour to negotiate our test room. As far as time goes, that's a lot. Still, the Eufy used its runtime wisely. The vacuum covered the space well, cleaning up while leaving almost no spots untouched. The Eufy is also self-charging, so again, no need to worry about battery life or factor that into overall cleaning time. It's the best robot vacuum for value. Read more.



$220 at Amazon



How we test robot vacuums

Our method for evaluating robot vacuums is straightforward, yet grueling. There are two types of tests we run. The first trial is to figure out how well a robot covers the floor while cleaning. We built an industry-standard testing room, as specified by the International Electrotechnical Commission, just for this purpose. The IEC is an international standards body responsible for managing robot vacuum testing procedures, among other things, for vacuum manufacturers. 



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Obstacles in out test room mimic what robot vacuums run into in the real world.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Inside this room are objects designed to simulate typical obstacles a robot encounters for navigation as it cleans. These obstacles include wall edges, table and chair legs, couches and other furniture, and so on, plus bare floors of tile and hardwood, as well as carpet. 



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Here's a coverage photo of the iRobot Roomba S9 Plus as it moved through our test room. You can see it covered the floor well, except for one slight section in the center (left, bottom).

Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET

We mount LED lights to the top of each vacuum cleaner. The dimensions of the lights correspond to the measured nozzle width of each particular robot vacuum we test. 








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As robots move through the room while cleaning, a camera overhead captures a long-exposure image of the entire room in low light. That photo will then have a light trail, created by the LEDs, that shows the exact areas where the robot traveled (and its nozzle position) during its runtime. We can also see areas of the floor the vacuum may have missed or gotten stuck.



This is the coverage pattern created by the Neato Botvac D7 Connected. Its movement through our test room was very orderly, logical and effective.

Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET

You can see the navigation results of all the robot vacuums in our test group in the gallery below.