The best Automatic vacuums never get bored or distracted, and they don’t mind working every day. In most homes, they keep the floors tidy with barely any effort—pet hair and crumbs just disappear before you even notice a mess. After testing dozens of automatic vacuum models over the past several years, we think most people should look first at the simple, tried-and-true iRobot Roomba 614 or the Wi-Fi–connectable Roomba 675.
best automatic vacuum
Roborock S6 MaxV
Navigation: LiDAR, plus vSLAM | Brushes: 1 | Side brushes: 1 | Exclusion zones: Yes, virtual | Suction: 2,500 Pa | Run time: Up to 3 hours, claimedADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
- Won’t smear pet waste all over your home
- Also mops floors
Just released in June of 2020, the Roborock S6 MaxV is the first robot vac available with a poop avoidance system. That’s not what they call it, but that’s the bottom line. ReactiveAI obstacle avoidance can identify common obstacles based on learning developed using thousands of images. With our offices still closed, we weren’t able to run the S6 MaxV through our full battery of tests, although we thoroughly tested poop avoidance, mapping, and app functionality—rest assured no robot vacuums or carpets were harmed in this test.
The S6 MaxV navigates using a combination of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), vSLAM (visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), as well as infrared imaging in the dark. LiDAR is similar to RADAR, but uses a laser instead of radio waves to locate objects or features. With the vSLAM using images from the S6 MaxV’s two cameras to visually identify objects and features, the two systems together create sophisticated maps. When we set the robot vacuum loose in our test room, we watched via the app as it identified walls, obstacles like furniture, doorways, and smaller obstacles left on the floor. Once it created the map, it started to sweep through the room in an orderly, efficient fashion. It learns every time it vacuums, and we could see it was getting more efficient with subsequent cleanings. The S6 MaxV correctly identified both the novelty rubber poop and the cigars, avoided them, and left an icon showing the location on the map in the app.
The S6 MaxV can also mop. We found it equally as methodical mopping as it was vacuuming, and it vacuumed as it went, so there was less dirt to pick up. We tracked muddy footprints on our laminate floor, let them mostly dry, then directed the robot vac to mop the room. That’s a bit beyond what it was intended for, but it left no trace of the mud on the 8 x 8-foot section of floor.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
The app, which we were able to pair with the vacuum and setup very easily, has a host of useful features. Through it, you can store up to four floor maps, create cleaning schedules, set which rooms are cleaned first, and identify no-go zones for vacuuming and mopping. In the course of mapping and cleaning, the S6 MaxV takes thousands of photos—all of which are processed and deleted locally. But if you have the “obstacle photos” setting turned on, those individual photos will be available in the app. Nothing else is duplicated, stored, or sent to the cloud.
If you have pets that occasionally have accidents or just leave shoes in the middle of the floor, the S6 MaxV will give you peace of mind when away. There won’t be any nasty surprises coming home to poop smeared on the carpet or laces wrapped in the vacuum brush.
iRobot Roomba i7+
Navigation: vSLAM | Brushes: 2 | Side brushes: 1 | Exclusion zones: Yes, virtual | Suction: 1,700 Pa | Run time: Up to 2 hours, claimedCOURTESYiRobot Roomba i7+IROBOTamazon.com
$999.99 $799.00 (20% off)SHOP NOW
- Automatically empties itself
- Compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant
- Charging base is big
The Roomba, from iRobot, was the first commercially viable robotic vacuum all the way back in 2002. With the current Roomba i7+, the company has remained at the forefront of autonomous vacuum technology and performance.
Navigating with vSLAM, the i7+ constantly logs unique landmarks in your home to understand where it’s been and where it hasn’t. It was also the fastest and most efficient model we tested, working very effectively and vacuuming in a pleasing, orderly fashion. With smart mapping turned on via the iRobot Home app, the i7+ learns the floor plan and builds a map so you can set it to schedule, prioritize, or skip rooms with Keep Out Zones. These don’t have to be entire rooms either, the app lets you zone off just about any area—dog bowls, a row of shoes in the mud room, or the fringed area rug.
In our test on 8 x 8-foot carpet, the i7+ sucked up sawdust, flour, rice, and kidney beans, completely, in 17 minutes. On laminate floors, it did equally well, although loose items like kidney beans tended to get scattered by the edge sweeper a little before they were picked up. When the battery gets low, the i7+ returns to its base for a recharge and to empty its bin into a disposable vacuum bag. When we checked its onboard bin after emptying, there was always just a little debris that didn’t make it into the base. However, we aren’t really complaining because it will continue to clean, empty, and clean again until the bag in the base is full—and that’s about the only time it needed our attention.
We were able to schedule/start vacuuming through the app, by pressing the button on top, or by voice command when the i7+ was linked to Alexa and Google Assistant. The app lets you monitor and interrupt scheduled cleaning, as well as initiate impromptu vacuuming.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
Eufy RoboVac 30C
Navigation: Bump and go | Brushes: 1 | Side brushes: 2 | Exclusion zones: Yes, magnetic strips | Suction: 1,500 Pa | Run time: Up to 100 minutes, claimedCOURTESYEufy RoboVac 30CEUFYamazon.com$279.99SHOP NOW
- Good value
- Relies on physical magnetic strips for exclusion zones
Eufy’s Robovac 30C uses a simple “bump-and-go” navigation technique, which is as random as it sounds. It heads in one direction then changes course when it knocks into something. Because of this, the 30C takes longer to clean than the others with mapping and advanced navigation features. With it costing one third to half the prices of those, though, that’s not unexpected.
When we the 30C loose in our carpeted, 8 x 8-foot test corral, it picked up all the flour, dried rice, beans, and sawdust we spread out in 20 minutes. However, it continued cleaning for another 31 minutes before we used the app to send it back to its charging base. It does this because it bases cleaning by time, as it doesn’t know how big a room is. It functioned similarly on laminate flooring, picking up the same material in 31 minutes, with just a slight bit of flour residue in one small spot. It’s important to note: We found that debris like rice or dried beans can scatter when a vacuum’s brushes hit them on hard floors, so cleaning often takes longer on these surfaces. When we tested the 30C around obstacles, the corners of a thick doormat gave it some trouble, but it managed to extricate itself. Surprisingly, despite the bump-and-go navigation, the 30C was fairly gentle around the legs of chairs.
The 30C comes with a remote control with which we were able use all features except scheduling. To do that, we had to download Eufy Home’s free app. Scheduling is pretty basic though—just select a day and a time. When the scheduled time arrives, the 30C starts in the most recent vacuuming mode. To set exclusion zones, you have to lay down the provided magnetic strip, which we found worked adequately. The Robovac 30C is a relatively inexpensive and effective, albeit simple, vacuum. It’s best for individual rooms or smaller homes due to the longer time it takes the bump-and-go navigation to clear an area.
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―BEST FOR PET OWNERS―
Samsung Powerbot R7260 Plus
Navigation: Visionary Mapping 2.0 | Brushes: 1 | Side brushes: None | Exclusion zones: Yes, virtual | Suction: n/a | Run time: Up to 1.5 hours, claimedCOURTESYSamsung Powerbot R7260 PlusSAMSUNGamazon.com$659.36SHOP NOW
- Gets into corners well
- Wide brush
- Can push light furniture on hard floors
Samsung’s Powerbot, unlike other robot vacuums, is flat across the front instead of completely round. Inside the flat front, a rotating brush extends just about the full width of the vacuum—making it about twice as wide as any other robot vacuum. Which means it can reach square into corners without the need of the side brushes found on other models.
When we started testing in our 8 x 8-foot corrals, we noticed the Powerbot used a very specific corner strategy, when it followed a wall into a corner, it would back up while turning 45 degrees and then drive forward while turning another 45 degrees. Doing this, it vacuumed square into corners from both walls and was very effective. Other than the corners, the Powerbot worked its way through a space in a neat pattern, being sure to cover every inch of the floor. We did note that it had a lot of, well, power. It pushed on things it bumped into on hard floors more than the other vacuums—especially when backing up. This didn’t seem as bad on carpeted surfaces though. As far as cleaning the floors, the Powerbot did equally well on carpet and laminate surfaces, leaving just a stray bean on one and a couple of grains of rice on the other.
When we tested the Powerbot with obstacles like chairs and floor mats, it took a little more time around the chair legs. At one point, it seemed confused and couldn’t navigate out, but it eventually managed. It appears this might be due to the squared-off front of the vacuum, as it requires more delicate maneuvers to avoid catching the corner. We noted that as it passed over different surfaces, it adjusted suction power, bumping it up on carpet and down on hard floors.
Samsung provides a full function remote with the Powerbot, which we used to direct the vacuum to specific spots, as well as cycle through virtually all settings and features. We found setting cleaning schedules more flexible in the app, where you can set the days of the week individually, while the remote offers a one-time cleaning or daily cleaning. Additionally, it comes with a setting specifically for pet hair. That, with the powerful suction and it’s ability to get into corners, makes it a strong option for people with furry family members.
Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy a new vacuum.https://www.youtube.com/embed/BO-4WsRd8oY?rel=0
Deciding on the perfect vacuum for your home can be tricky. There are a lot of styles, functions and high-tech features to choose from. So which one is right for you? This guide has been created to make your vacuum shopping experience as easy as possible. So let’s dive in!.Shop Vacuums
There are a few different types and styles of vacuums that we are going to address in this buying guide. We are sure you will find just the one to fit all of your cleaning needs.
This style of vacuum is going to be the most popular type of vacuum that can be found in many households today. It’s the best go-to vacuum for removing dust and dirt from carpeting, and is able to clean large areas of carpet quickly. They also work well on area rugs and hard floors.However, it is good to note that not all upright vacuums can be used on hard floor surfaces, since doing so might cause damage to some floors and vacuums. If this is an important factor it’s smart to do research on the brand of vacuum you are looking into, to make sure it works well on hard floors too. A brush on/off switch is recommended, as it will help protect the finish on bare floors.Some other things to look for when deciding on your upright vacuum are onboard attachment, bag-less or not, and the weight of the unit. Upright cleaners come in a variety of styles and sizes, each varying in weight. Some uprights include edge cleaning, which picks up dirt under the entire area of the head. This is a helpful feature especially when cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting. Suction control is another useful feature to look at when cleaning draperies and upholstery.Shop Upright Vacuums
Canister Vacuums are portable and easy to use. They are well suited for people who clean a variety of surfaces but are most popular for those who have little carpeting and like to vacuum their hard surfaced floors. They tend to be lighter than other vacuum designs, plus they have a highly maneuverable power head that can reach tight spots with ease.Canister vacuums have the motor and bag in a separate unit, which is usually mounted on wheels to help with maneuvering. The canister itself is connected to the vacuum head by a flexible hose. By using a revolving brush system or brush agitator, it can dislodge dirt particles from the carpet so they can be picked up easily; this comes in handy when picking up things like pet hair. Without a built-in revolving brush, canister vacuums use straight suction to clean. Most canister vacuums have a bag that needs to be replaced, however there are bag-less models available, which eliminates the additional cost of buying dust bags.Bottom line, this style is perfect for vacuuming hard-to-reach spots and furniture; it’s also great for cleaning cars and drapes as well.Shop Canister Vacuums
Handheld & Stick Vacuums
These types of vacuums are the smallest and lightest options available, they are often cordless and operate on batteries. They also offer lots of convenience when it comes to a variety of cleaning tasks around the house.Handheld vacuums are perfect for cleaning closets, vents, blinds, upholstery or car interiors, and made mostly for above-the-floor cleaning. They’re best used for tasks such as cleaning up small spills, getting cobwebs out of corners or vacuuming dirt out of windowsills.Stick vacuums are very similar to upright vacuums. The design is the same, but stick vacuums tend to be a lot lighter in weight and usually do not come with any attachments. If you have a multilevel home, a stick model vacuum is great to keep on the second floor and eliminate the need to carry your main one up and down the stairs. Not to mention, there are certain models out now which have been designed with handheld features, making it easy to clean stairs, ceiling fans and more.Shop Handheld & Stick Vacuums
Robot cleaners are completely hands-free, battery-operated vacuums. They seek out and suck up dirt, debris and dust from carpets and hard surface floors. They are a great choice for light, daily cleanings and extremely popular with pet owners, allergy sufferers, busy households, or just anyone who wants their floors to stay constantly clean.A robot vacuum is self-propelled and programmable, so you don’t have to do any extra work when it comes to vacuuming. These nifty gadgets use sensors to avoid obstacles and stairs, while smart enough to still easily clean underneath furniture. If you’re someone who simply does not have enough time to vacuum regularly, a robot vacuum can help you solve this problem.Shop Robot Vacuums
Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums
Commercial and garage vacuums are often referred to as shop vacs. They offer extra power when it comes to professional-sized messes. These vacuums are the perfect type when it comes to cleaning up things such as sawdust in basements, dirt and water in garages, or any other mess, wet or dry. Many labor workers use them on job sites as they can handle that kind of debris. To choose the right commercial or garage vacuum, one must think about how they will use it and where it will be stored.Smaller models will be easier to move around, but they will not be able to handle larger messes.Shop Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums
Carpet cleaners come in a variety of different styles ranging from uprights to portable spot cleaners, even smaller handheld carpet cleaners, all of which are capable of cleaning and disinfecting furniture, drapes or rugs.Even if you vacuum your carpets pretty regularly things such as dirt, pet dander, bacteria and dust mites remain deep in your carpet’s fibers. To fix this issue, carpet cleaners use moisture and heat to loosen the dirt and stains that a regular vacuum can’t suction. Not to mention, they can also disinfect carpets by killing unwanted germs. If you’re looking for a deep clean, a carpet cleaner is your best bet.Steam cleaners have become very popular in recent years because they are considered the healthy and “green” alternative to cleaning. Many steam cleaners look like upright vacuums, they have a large tank that dispenses hot water with a cleaning solution, while another tank holds the dirty water. If you or anyone in your home suffers from allergies and chemical sensitivities, a steam cleaner is a healthy way to deep clean a variety of surfaces without aggravating allergy symptoms. You and your family can live healthier and breath better by using a steam cleaner on a regular basis.Shop Carpet/Steam Cleaners
Central Vacuum Systems
Central vacuum systems are the most durable options available. Although they may be a bit more expensive up front, the lack of maintenance and longer lifespan often make up for the cost and then some. Unlike traditional vacuums, the motor and collector of a central vacuum system is installed into the home, typically in the basement or garage. From there, vacuum piping runs through walls, crawlspaces, or other out of the way areas of the home to floor or wall-mounted inlet valves in a handful of locations around the house. By attaching a hose to these inlets, like those used by canister vacuums, you’re able to vacuum all of the areas of your home without lugging around a heavy canister or upright vac. The hoses are typically 30 feet long, allowing you to vacuum multiple rooms from a single inlet. These systems also offer all the same kinds of attachments you’d find on traditional types of vacuum cleaners, from wands to crevice tools to pet brushes.Installing a central vacuum system offers a number of benefits over traditional models. In addition to their longer lifespan, central vacuum systems also provide far greater suction capabilities when compared to other types of vacuum cleaners. More powerful motors translate to greater cleaning potential, allowing you to pull more particles out of thick carpets or upholstery.
Central vacuum systems are also significantly quieter than their portable counterparts. Without the motor roaring next to you as you clean, the only sound is that of fast-moving air. Additionally, central vacs promote cleaner air quality by extracting and containing dust particles, allergens, and other contaminants, whereas other types of vacuum cleaners can end up releasing their smaller particles back into the air, often when being emptied.There are a handful of qualities to look for when deciding between central vacuum systems. First and foremost, you want to be sure to use a trusted brand. While you may save a few dollars opting for a cheap system, you’ll likely end up paying more in the long run with service calls and/or a shorter lifespan. For the best indicator of suction strength look at the Air Watts specification, with higher numbers signifying stronger suction. You also need to make sure the system offers enough suction to cover every corner of your home. Choosing a model that boasts a coverage area greater than the square footage of your home is a good idea as these numbers are calculated with perfect conditions in mind.Lastly, you’ll need to decide between bag systems, those that use filters, a hybrid of the two, or a cyclonic system.
Bagged systems use a bag inside their collector canister to contain debris. Although they don’t require outside venting, using a vent will reduce noise and odor. Filter systems similarly don’t require venting but benefit from it. These systems use one of a handful of filter types to protect dirt from contaminating clogging the motor, filing a canister or bag that needs to be emptied every three to six months. Cyclonic systems are the only ones that require outside venting. Most of the dirt is captured with the canister with a small percentage of tiny particles venting outdoors. Hybrid systems, those that use filters and bags are a great choice. They help keep the motor running clean and offer an easy to dispose of container for debris.Shop Central Vacuum Systems
Useful Features to Consider
Before settling down and picking a vacuum that will work best for you, take a look as some additional features that may be important or become important long-term:
Bag-less designs probably offer the utmost convenience by allowing you to simply detach the container unit from the vacuum. You can then quickly dispose of any dirt inside, without having to pull out and replace a bag. However, bag designs are still nice because they can usually keep dust contained a lot better, since the bag itself seals the dust away. This prevents any further messes from occurring when cleaning out your vacuum. Not to mention, if allergies are a concern the bag is definitely a smarter choice.
If you have a combination of hard surfaced floors and carpets, or lots of hard floors, a multi-surface vacuum is the best way to go. Multi-surface vacuums allow you to turn the brush roll on and off, so you can avoid scratching your hard floors when transitioning from carpets.
Filters are a must-have for anyone who is sensitive to dust or pet hair, as well as allergic to pollen. HEPA filters are considered to be the best because they remove particles such as dust, dander and allergens from the air. Some vacuum models feature a filter that needs to be replaced regularly, while some have started to include reusable filters that allow you to remove, clean and replace the same filter as necessary. Reusable filters would be the ideal kind to use, as they are a great money-saving option.Shop Vacuums
Vacuum Accessories & Attachments
If you’re looking to do more than just vacuum the floors around your home, you may need to consider certain vacuum accessories and attachments. In order to properly clean drapes, sofas and chairs, dust shelves, and get to all the nooks and cracks in your home, you’ll need the right attachments.A crevice tool is great for cleaning corners and tight spaces. A dusting brush can be used to gently dust shelves and tables, as not to scratch them. An upholstery tool is perfect for vacuuming your furniture without causing any damage. Turbo brushes can offer a deeper clean for longer carpets.
The Main Vacuum Types
There are five primary shapes of vacuum cleaners, each performing a slightly different function, although some combine those forms in order to provide more bang for your buck. Being aware of the expectations you have of your vacuum cleaner can help you more intelligently and decisively pick one of the following.
Handheld vacuums are perfect for getting those painfully hard-to-reach areas that desperately need a cleaning. The most common example for use is in vacuuming cars, since, as the name suggests, this model can be held in only one hand. Its versatility makes it a dream for suctioning up dirt and debris in a variety of tight places, but it would not serve well for general flooring cleaning, which would take a long time to clean with a handheld. This type of vacuum cleaner comes in all sorts of different forms with equally different price tags.
Canister vacuum cleaners are a happy medium between the upright model and the stick model. They are powerful like the upright cleaners, but feature a slender frame, like the stick cleaners. In this case, a separate canister is attached to a long wand which can be used to maintain not only carpeted areas but also bare flooring as well. This style of vacuum cleaner tends to be one of the most expensive options, given its technologically-forward and multi-functional design.
These cleaners are perhaps the most popular and sought-after forms of vacuum cleaners. When you imagine a vacuum cleaner or see one advertised in media, the image you picture is probably that of an upright machine. These models provide the most powerful clean-up for your house, and offer the comforting benefit of usually easy-to-understand functions and accessories, since most people have used an upright vacuum cleaner at least once in their lifetime. Most models provide settings that allow these vacuum cleaners to be used not only on carpeted surfaces but also bare floors.
While perhaps the least powerful of the vacuum models, stick vacuums have a knack for getting into narrow places and doing a tremendous job on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting. This type of vacuum features a long stick-like handle and a slender construction. The slimness of this model makes it a perfect addition to any closet space, as it tucks neatly into most corners after its purpose has been served.
5. Autonomous / Robot
Robot vacuum cleaners have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mainly due to the fact that they require little effort on your end. These vacuums are able to roam freely around your home, sucking up any small mess in its way. They not only save you time, but they are also able to reach places that larger vacuums wouldn’t be able to, such as under the couch. One main drawback of robot vacuums is that they typically come at a steep price.
Location, Location, Location
Do you have primarily hardwood floors throughout your house? Are these floors covered with area rugs, or are they bare? Is your home filled with wall-to-wall carpeting? These are considerations you must make before taking the leap and purchasing your very own vacuum cleaner.
If you have bare floors, you’re better off with models that provide a number of attachments and which don’t have quite as much heft as some of the others. Using a regular upright vacuum on flooring like hardwood poses a number of problems, which includes scratching your smooth and coveted floors and being counterproductive by scattering debris across their surfaces. Some upright vacuums do provide settings that function better on non-carpeted areas, but for the most part your best bet would be with a model like the canister vacuum, which can also take care of your area rugs if you have any. These vacuums usually come with a bare-floor brush, which makes keeping your floors squeaky clean and scratch-free a piece of cake.
On the other hand, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s definitely worth considering a model with different advantages than a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood flooring and tiling. You won’t need to worry about scratching the surface of your carpet, and in fact, you’ll want something powerful that pulls up all the lingering debris from the carpet strands. In this instance, an upright cleaner is a great way to go. There are all sorts of extra conveniences that upright vacuums have recently come out with, including a dirt sensor which makes sure you get that last speck of grime.
Know the layout of your flooring and what sorts of surfaces you’ll be dealing with to ensure your needs will be met with your new vacuum cleaner.
To Bag or Not To Bag
The general consensus is that, whether you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, your house will be clean either way (as long as you keep using it). However, there are a few small differences that may make or break your decision to buy one or the other.
If you or any of your family members are sensitive to allergens or have asthma, the bagged vacuum is probably more for you. Dust exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied and most bags are guaranteed to trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting. You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis, although these are typically available at most supermarkets.
If you are environmentally-minded and prefer to not have to deal with replacing bags, the bagless vacuum is more for you. These vacuums usually have a see-through canister which gives you perfect access to seeing how full the vacuum is, which can help you determine when you need to empty it out.