How to pick the best iRobot vacuum for you
Check out our top Roomba recommendations
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Robot vacuums? Yeah—we have strong feelings about them. At this point, you’re hopefully picturing the Reviewed staff as Quint in “Jaws,” the hardened fisherman with hands-on shark experience whose determination to track down the killer shark is on par with our will to find the best robot vacuum for your needs.
OK that’s dramatic, but you get what I’m saying—we know robot vacuums, and when it comes to the best robot vacuums, you’ll find a lot of Roombas on our lists. iRobot has been making its flagship Roomba for nearly 20 years, and in that time, they’ve come out with a range of models and features ideal for homeowners and apartment dwellers. And namely, for those of us who love the convenience an automated vacuum can provide.
But with so many models on the market, how do you pick the best one for your needs? We break down which features to consider, how much you should spend, and which Roomba robot vacuum we recommend for you.
Know which features you need
Start your hunt for the perfect iRobot vacuum by asking yourself what you find most important in this cleaning tool. Are you looking for a device you can easily control from your smartphone? Do you need one that can cohabit with a toddler? Consider the following before you start hunting for a robot vacuum:
- Do you have pets? Look for a robot vacuum made with pets in mind. You need one that can trap fur, dander, and potentially litter without getting clogged or sputtering debris right back out on the ground. It’s also important to note that if you have a young pup, smart vacuums and dog poop do not mix—seriously, look it up (or, honestly, don’t).
- Do you have children? A robot vacuum could be a great way to clean up dropped cereal and mid-day snacks, but if your child is prone to spilling, get a vacuum that can handle wet messes (or at least won’t break if it goes over a puddle). Roomba models can't clean wet messes, but they do pair with the Braava Jet Mop, which can.
- Do you spend a lot of time away from home? If you’re gone during the day, consider a robot vacuum you can control from your smartphone and program to clean when you’re not home, allowing you to return to a sparkly clean abode.
- Do you have hardwood or carpet? Many robot vacuums can adapt to both, but if your entire house is hardwood, find a robot vacuum that can specifically tackle that surface. Roomba models with rubber brushes, like our favorite i7+, work best on carpets.
- Do you want to use voice controls? Nearly all Roomba models from iRobot feature Amazon Echo and Google Home compatibility, meaning you can walk in and ask Alexa to clean your living room while you cook dinner.
- Do you hate emptying dirt trays? Obviously if you’re investing in a robot vacuum, you want cleaning to become easier, but you still need to empty the vacuum once it gets full—unless you get a self-emptying robot vacuum, which can trap dirt in a self-sealing bag that will further prevent you from having to touch icky debris.
An important thing to remember about robot vacuums is that while we recommend them, they’re not completely self-sufficient. Depending on the model you get, you may have to do some prep work before cleaning, like picking up small toys, moving wires, and emptying the vacuum’s dust bin.
Set a budget—and stick to it
You can get some of the best affordable robot vacuums for less than $300, but for high-end models, be prepared to spend $1,000 or more. After you decide which features are best suited for your lifestyle, decide what your budget needs to be. If you’re not sure how much to spend on a robot vacuum, start hunting and see how prices change as you add or remove features that are important to you.
Most importantly, keep in mind that while you can get a good vacuum at a lower price point, the best on the market will cost more money. If you’re excited about the benefits a robot vacuum can provide, consider investing in a more expensive model that will offer more. And if you’re looking specifically at a Roomba, the company offers monthly financing on more expensive models, so you don’t have to pay for an entirely new vacuum at once.
Our top Roomba recommendations
We’ve extensively tested robot vacuums in our labs, so we’ve gotten the opportunity to engage with many of the Roomba models iRobot has to offer. Once you’ve set your budget and know what you need most in a robot vacuum, check out our recommendations.
1. The best robot vacuum: iRobot Roomba i7+
The i7+ ticks off nearly every feature you could possibly ask for in a robot vacuum: It’s compatible with smart speakers; it seals debris in bags and self-empties; and it can follow a robust virtual map, even avoiding specific rooms where necessary. This is our top recommendation if you’re on the market for a robot vacuum, but be ready to pay for all those great features—this model is nearly $1,000.
2. The most affordable Roomba: iRobot Roomba 675
You won’t get the variety of features offered by the i7+, but you will get an impressive robot vacuum with the iRobot Roomba 675. It offers smart features (like WiFi connectivity and programmable features via a smartphone app) and allows you to schedule cleanings. The 675 can cover corners and can link to smart speakers, but it won’t be as effective as the i7+ at tackling pet dander, and it won’t self-empty like its beefier sibling. However, it costs less than $250, making it a great affordable option.
3. The best robot vacuum for pets: iRobot Roomba i7+
When we tested the best robot vacuums for pet owners, we were impressed with the features of the iRobot Roomba i7+. While the i7+ performed great in our tests, we think this model is the best robot vacuum for cat owners. I own two cats, which means on any given week, I’m trudging through tumbleweeds just getting from one room to another.
The i7+ captured an impressive amount of pet hair (75% of all pet hair we put on the floor). But it not only captures lots of pet hair, it also seals it in a secure bag, making this a great robot vacuum for pet owners. Plus, the rubber brushes are specifically designed to not get tangled with pet hair (wish I could say the same about literally any pair of pants I own).
4. For the cleaning enthusiast: iRobot Roomba i7+ and Braava Jet m6 mop bundle
My husband loves cleaning—and I mean he really loves it, whether he’s sweeping the floor or wiping down the windows. It’s not that he necessarily enjoys the act of cleaning, but more he enjoys having a tidy home. If I came home one day with a robot vacuum and robot mop bundle that tag-teamed cleaning our floors, I think he would faint, then invent some kind of “best wife” award that I would humbly accept.
This bundle combines our favorite robot vacuum—the i7+—with the Braava Jet m6 mop, which work together through a process called teaming. The two devices map your home and self-navigate, with the Roomba telling the mop when it's done vacuuming so it can begin mopping. Plus, when you buy the two machines together, you save 10% on the overall cost.
5. For when you want to upgrade: iRobot Roomba s9+
The s9+ is the latest Roomba model, and it comes with all the features we love from the i7+, plus—according to the iRobot website—even more cleaning power. It features the same smart mapping technology as the i7+, and thankfully comes with the same self-emptying base.
While it’s largely similar to the i7+, the s9+ features a new technology called PerfectEdge, which is meant to provide a deeper clean along edges. It also comes in a D-shape and features a specialized corner brush, helping further perfect how the device cleans corners. The s9+ also comes with a new anti-allergen technology that claims to trap pollen and mold allergens.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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