Three of the Best Mapping Robot Vacuums To Buy in 2021

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on December 30, 2020
updated on January 3, 2021

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Bump-and-go vacuuming robots often struggle to find their charging station consistently, skip rooms, while getting stuck. Mapping was released to address these issues EXCEPT it works better on some models than the others. Thankfully you’re in the right place if…

  • You don’t want to waste money on a robot vacuum that takes forever or generates unusable, inaccurate floor maps (and mind you without a fully functional map keep out zone, zone cleaning, scheduling features, etc. won’t work).
  • You don’t want to waste time with a unit that deletes its map or force reset multiple times.

The following are the top three floor mapping robots to buy–include details about which one is most affordable or suitable for specific vacuuming requirements such as pets’ hair, carpets, hardwood floors, and/or busy households with complicated floor plans.

Roomba i7 (+) room mapping robot vacuum

Roomba_i7_smart_mapping_robot_vacuum_cleaner
Roomba i7

Appearing #1 in this list of best mapping robot vacuums is the Roomba i7

The i7 uses a top-mounted camera powered by SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) except there’s no object detection and avoidance feature unlike the S6 MaxV (#2 on the list). Navigation is decent nonetheless (albeit with some difficulties, most notably in completely dark environments) plus actual floor tracking returns complete and accurate floor maps. 

Up to ten floor maps are allowed for saving which don’t disappear or break. Even better, saved maps lend to simple adjustments and customizations. Or in other words, you can name/merge rooms, set up in-app barriers for where you don’t want the bot in, on top of being able to select specific rooms/areas or plan cleaning in advance. What’s more, saved floor plans are continually and automatically updated, as such the bot knows if and when furniture or other objects move within the house.

Unrelated but maybe worth mentioning, the center brush of the i7 is brushless plus the big dustbin is available as an accessory or a bundle (i7+).

Roomba_i7_Plus_smart_vacuum
Roomba i7 Plus

Related: Full review of the Roomba i7 robotic vacuum cleaner

Great but not flawless, consider the Roomba i7 floor mapping vacuuming and mopping robot if you:

  • Are tired of resetting floor maps, losing cleaning schedules, or calling in support
  • Want a machine with a stable and functional floor mapping system
  • Want a device with the auto-dirt emptying function
  • Don’t mind leaving the lights on when vacuuming at night
  • Live in a multi-level home
  • Don’t have a complex layout or rooms with lots of obstacles
  • Have hard floors (hardwood, tile, laminate, ceramic floors, etc.), carpets, or long hair

Roborock S6 MaxV room mapping robotic vacuum cleaner

Number #2 on this list of smart mapping robotic cleaners is the S6 MaxV from Roborock. 

Unlike the Roomba i7, the Roborock S6 MaxV doesn’t sell with the external bin but mapping and navigation are topnotch. 

Besides the top-mounted Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) enabled laser system, the Roborock S6 MaxV features twin front-loaded cameras for object detection and avoidance. Actual home mapping returns complete and accurate floor maps in a timely manner

Up to four floor maps are allowed for saving and they don’t disappear or break

Saved floor plans are continually and automatically updated that way the bot knows if there’s a change in the home’s layout. 

Considering its multi-floor support, getting a second bot is unnecessary. The charging dock of the S6 MaxV is lightweight as such easy to carry up and down the stairs. Or this may not even be necessary considering the Roborock S6 MaxV automatic cleaner has an incredible battery life (up to 180 minutes on low power settings) and range (up 3000sqft per charge).

Even better, saved maps lend to simple adjustments and customizations. Or in other words, you can name/merge rooms, set up in-app barriers for where you don’t want the bot in, on top of being able to select specific rooms/areas or plan cleaning in advance.

Unrelated but maybe worth mentioning the Roborock S6 MaxV vacuums and mops.

Related: Full review of the Roborock S6 MaxV robotic vacuum and mop cleaner

Being a total package of intelligence, effectiveness, and convenience, consider the Roborock S6 MaxV floor mapping vacuuming and mopping robot if you:

  • Are tired of resetting floor maps multiple times, losing cleaning schedules, or dialing in support
  • Want a machine with a stable and functional floor mapping system
  • Plan to clean at night without leaving the lights on
  • Live in a large, multi-level home
  • Have a complex setup with lots of obstacles
  • Have hardwood, tile, laminate, ceramic floors, etc
  • Have dog/cat breeds with short hair or that don’t shed as much

Roomba i3 (+) or Roborock E4 floor mapping robotic vacuum cleaner

Roomba_i3_mapping_robot_vacuum
Roomba i3
Roborock_e4_room_mapping_robotic_cleaner
Roborock e4

Roomba i3 and Roborock E4 conclude this list of the best mapping robot vacuums. 

The Roborock E4 supports optional mop attachment with the auto clean base available as an accessory in the Roomba i3. Everything else is pretty much the same. That is both devices map floors using Gyro. While you can see and track where the bot had been or where it currently is–it’s impossible to interact with the map. That translates to an inability to do room naming & cleaning, schedule room level vacuuming, or use in-app barriers. No obstacle detection and avoidance, either. Plus, mobility could use some improvements. 

On the upside, the Roomba i3 and the Roborock E4 are significantly cheaper. They follow a Z shape pattern similar to the Roomba i7 and the Roborock S6 MaxV (S-shaped if it helps to mention).

Related: Full review of the Roomba i3 robotic vacuum and mop cleaner

Related: Full review of the Roborock E4 robotic vacuum and mop cleaner

Featuring robust mapping capabilities added on to their impressive cleaning skills, get one of the Roomba i3 or Roborock E4 robovacs if you:

  • Are looking for the most affordable mapping robot vacuums
  • Are looking for the best mapping robot vacuum for hardwood floors
  • Want to clean in the night without leaving the lights on
  • Live in a home ~ 1200sqft
  • Don’t live in a multi-level home
  • Don’t have complex obstacles or rooms
  • Don’t have thick carpets
  • Aren’t interested in no-go lines, room cleaning, zone cleaning, or room sequencing
  • Have short hair or pets that don’t shed as much
Product titlesProduct imagesPurchase links
iRobot Roomba i3 robot vacuum
iRobot_Roomba_i3
iRobot Roomba i3 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot Roomba i3 self-emptying bin
iRobot_Roomba_i3_self-emptying_bin
iRobot Roomba i3 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot Roomba i3 Plus (total package)
iRobot_Roomba_i3_Plus
iRobot Roomba i3 Plus self-emptying robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
Roborock e4 robot vacuum
Roborock_e4
Roborock e4 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon

Conclusion

Avoiding the non-mapping floor robots is good. Buying a robot vacuum with mapping technology is better. As you can see there are pros to owning a room mapping automatic floor robot. Thanks to their genius mind and brain, cleaning is faster, intensive, and less demanding. Not to mention this is achieved without taking time away from other more important tasks especially since they help eliminate the need to lug out the Shark or Dyson by doing such a detailed and thorough job.

The Roomba i7, Roborock S6 MaxV, Roomba i3, and Roborock E4 featured as the best mapping robot vacuums on the basis of reliability and usability of their mapping function. There are links to read detailed reviews about each item assuming you’re interested. Also, some common situations and cleaning needs were clearly highlighted. 

If it bears mentioning again, get one of the Roomba i3 or Roborock E4 if you’re on a budget or if the price is a factor. 

The Roomba i7 with the self emptying tower makes perfect sense if you have pets that shed a lot, long hair, or have large carpeted areas. 

Finally, get the Roborock S6 MaxV if you have a complicated setup or pets prone to accidents.

Further reading

Learn more about how the mapping feature of a robotic vacuum cleaner works, including how it compares to the non-mapping option and the top three mapping technologies (VSLAM, LIDAR, and Gyro), their strengths, and weaknesses.