4 of the Best Robot Vacuums for the Money 2021

written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on February 5, 2021
updated on July 19, 2021

So you want to buy one of the Roomba i7+ or Ozmo t8+ for $800. What if I tell you there’s a certain Proscenic m7 Pro with comparable features and cleaning ability…BUT for only $500? $300 in savings, that is. Not to mention, for every Roomba 980 at around $500, there are alternatives, such as the Roborock e4 and the newly released Wyze bot, that work just as well, and again, at half the price. 

It turns out today’s update is about robotic vacuum cleaners that offer a huge bang for the buck. Featured items will be reviewed based on how they compare to similar products from competing brands in terms of pricing, features, and functionality

Without further ado, here are four of the best robot vacuums for the money.

Proscenic m7 Pro self-emptying robotic vacuum cleaner

proscenic_m7_pro_self_emptying_robotic_cleaner
proscenic m7 pro

Appearing #1 in this list of the best robot vacuums for the money is the Proscenic m7 Pro. 

So the Shark IQ would’ve been the closest challenger since it’s within range price-wise. Even so, its self-cleaning base uses a bag-less system, which helps to reduce expenses on consumables. 

Unfortunately, the Shark has unresolved mapping issues. Navigation isn’t that great either leading to increased tendencies of jamming, plus it could struggle under low light conditions.

Continue reading: Shark IQ self-emptying robot vacuum (full review)

Moving on and talking about the Roomba s9+, this one even has far more issues than the Shark. Error 31, for one. It neither helps that it’s twice the price of the Shark and the Proscenic m7 Pro.

The Ozmo t8+ seems to be a bit more refined EXCEPT it’s pricey, similar to the Roomba.

Now if you’re wondering, no, the point isn’t whether the Proscenic m7 Pro is perfect because it isn’t…as you’d see if you follow this link. The point however is, why buy an unstable, pricey Roomba s9+ when you can get a Proscenic m7 Pro with comparable features, better performance, and at half the price?

Continue reading: proscenic m7 pro LDS robot vacuum cleaner (full review)

At the intersection of price and performance, get the Proscenic m7 Pro smart vac if you:

  • Are looking for an alternative to the expensive and erratic Roomba s9+ or Shark IQ bot.
  • Want an auto floor cleaner that is smart, reliable, efficient, and less hands-on.
  • Want to minimize your risk of ending up with an expensive paperweight you can’t use or return.

Neato d4 robotic vacuum cleaner

neato_d4_robotic_vacuum_cleaner
neato d4

Next up on this list of the best robot vacuums for the money is the Neato d4 vacuuming robot.

Starting off with the not-so-good, the Neato d4 runs on 2.4Ghz only. That, and you may still run into some connectivity problems. Some users have also pointed out failings in its navigation where it gets stuck on random stuff. No zone cleaning or multi-level support. 

To be honest, there are alternatives with improved offers from the competition. These however do have disadvantages too. 

Take the Roborock s6 for example, which wins in the functionality/usability aspect, and maybe in features too considering it supports three-floor plans and zone cleaning with a run time up to three hours (vs. 75 minutes in the Neato). Talking of actual vacuuming, while the Roborock s6 is very quiet with spot-on navigation, don’t set your expectations too high if you have anything but low pile carpet or dogs with long hair. On top of it, the Roborock s6 as of the time of writing is at least $100 pricier than the Neato. 

The same info as in the Roborock s6 also applies in the 360 s7 Pro smart vacuum–which is simply another Neato d4 alternative–in terms of capabilities and pricing. 

It turns out the Neato d4 has its shortcomings like most robot vacuums. It does however have a pricing advantage (typically selling under $300) and does such a great job cleaning without compromising on built quality.

For a bit of context, the Neato robot vacuum has the ability to plan cleaning missions in advance just like most items in its category. That way when it’s out and about knows what is where and as such can clean more intentionally. You can also use the app to select where you don’t want the bot in.

Other key highlights of the Neato d4 robot vacuum that makes it worth the money include;

  • 1400 Pa suction for deeper brush penetration and better agitation on carpets
  • 20cfm max airflow plus a front-loaded brush design for improved pickup performance
  • 700ml dustbin for prolonged cleaning and for reducing the frequency of emptying
  • 64dB max noise level for nondisruptive conversations during the day
  • A Lidar based navigation that supports cleaning at night
  • Its low profile (only 3.92 inches tall), wider center brush, and 0.75in max barrier cross height supports improved reach and coverage
  • The Automatic Recharge & Resume function for uninterrupted cleaning
  • The Carpet Boost function allows for battery efficiency and carpet deep cleaning
  • A D-shape design for improved pick up in corners and along walls

Considering, therefore, its affordability and vacuuming skills as detailed above, get the Neato d4 smart vac if you:

  • Are looking for an alternative to the more expensive Roborock S or 360 series.
  • Want a floor robot that is smart and less hands-on.
  • Don’t have a large (~1200 sq ft) or multi-level home.

Roborock e4 robotic vacuum cleaner

roborock_e4_robotic_vacuum_cleaner
roborock e4

Still talking about the best robot vacuum for the money, at #3 on this list is the Roborock e4 floor bot.

With a straight line cleaning pattern, topnotch vacuuming skills, and the ability to self recharge and resume. 

Keep in mind that the Roborock e4 automatic cleaner unlike the first two mentions in this list doesn’t have Interactive Mapping due to a lack of camera or laser vision–it instead uses a floor tracker called Electric Eye and Gyro. Interactive Mapping lets created maps be available for editing/manipulation/saving leading to the ability to execute selective or restrictive cleaning. 

Note that the non-availability of the Interactive Mapping feature in the Roborock e4 is more of a thing of economics rather than a design flaw. This model was created for people who have open floor plans with fewer obstacles or who don’t have kids or pets that could make (much of) a mess. If this is SO you, the Roborock e4 is going to be a worthwhile purchase considering it doesn’t have a map that can get screwed over with firmware updates (it rarely receives one anyway but believe me when I say this is a thing in models that do) as such it just works, and reliably so, which makes it easy to use and less demanding. 

Besides the modest offerings of the e4 means you’ll be spending less on consumables (no auto empty dock or dirtbags to worry about), this machine is also very gentle and effective on hard floors, added to its thoroughness on low and medium pile rugs. But even this isn’t what makes it a better value for money. 

Compared to a similar product–Roomba 960 from iRobot–Roborock e4 offers a longer run time, with everything else intact, of course, for about $200 less than the 960. You could also add a mop attachment if you want. Also, while there’s a certain Wyze bot at $199, about $100 less than the Roborock e4–it doesn’t look like Wyze bot is ready for prime time just yet. Not to mention, Roborock is an established brand in the robot vacuum space with ongoing support for their products, in addition to readily available parts and active online communities.

Too long didn’t read: Get the Roborock e4 robotic cleaner if you…

Roomba 675 robotic vacuum cleaner

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roomba 675

Roomba 675 concludes this list of the best robot vacuum for the money.

As for the Roomba 675 and other items in its category which I’ll get into soon, they use sensors–vs. laser in the likes of the Proscenic or Neato and camera in the Roomba–to navigate around the house. No Mapping function for real-time floor tracking which rules out selective and restrictive cleaning (optical blocks, sold separately, are used for preventing the bot from going off-limit). As a result, there’s no rhyme or rhythm to their mobility. In turn, reach and coverage may suffer. That’s because persistence–as against the intelligence of the high-end models–is what items in the Beginner category leverage for achieving clean floors. Similarly, the Roomba 675 doesn’t have auto-recharge and resume or auto-empty functions. 

Make no mistake given the above information to think that the Roomba 675 is a waste of money, it isn’t. Only that it’s meant for a specific user base and vacuum situations. For example, if you have an open floor plan with fewer obstacles or don’t have kids or pets that could make (much of) a mess. The Roomba 675 is also going to be a worthwhile purchase considering it doesn’t have a map that can get screwed over with firmware updates (it rarely receives one anyway but believe me when I say this is a thing with the models that do) as such it just works right out of the box. 

Besides the modest offerings of the 675 means you’ll be spending less on consumables (no auto empty dock or dirtbags to worry about), this cleaning machine is very gentle and effective on hard floors, added to its deep cleaning ability on low and medium pile rugs. But even this isn’t what makes the Roomba 675 a better value for money. 

Within the $200 price mark, as do similar products from competing brands (Goovi d380, Deebot n79s, and iLife v3s Pro), the Roomba 675 is however more durable (mine is seven years and still going strong) plus parts are modular which helps for easy repair. What’s more, Roomba’s parts are readily available plus there’s an (unofficial) active and supportive Reddit community.

Too long didn’t read: Get the Roomba 675 robotic cleaner if you…

  • Don’t mind the cleaning path it takes as long as it gets the job done–which it usually does, although not systematically.
  • Live in a home with a simple layout (~ 800sqft). If you have a larger floor plan, consider the Proscenic m7 Pro robotic vacuum or any of its alternatives as previously mentioned.
  • Don’t live in a multi-level home. If you do, consider the Proscenic m7 Pro robotic vacuum or any of its alternatives as previously mentioned.
  • Have hardwood floors, tile, stone, laminate, etc., and/or low through medium-pile carpets.
  • Don’t have a complex layout or rooms. If you do, consider the Proscenic m7 Pro robotic vacuum or one of the Roborock s6 maxv or Deebot Ozmo t8 aivi.
  • Don’t have thick carpets or rugs. If you do, consider the Roomba 960 or 980 robotic vacuums.
  • Aren’t interested in no-go lines, room cleaning, zone cleaning, or room-specific cleaning. If you do, consider the pricier Roomba i7 smart home robotic vacuum.
  • Have short hair or one or two pets that don’t shed as much. If you have long thick hair or pets with one, consider the Roomba e5 (also a random bot but with the signature brushless silicone rollers), Roomba i3+ (with the self-emptying base), or Roomba i7+ (also with the self-emptying base in addition to the smart mapping function and camera guided navigation).

Conclusion

The idea behind today’s post is to surface robot vacuums that offer the most value at a reasonable amount. Consequently, four products (one apiece from iRobot, Neato, Roborock, and Proscenic) featured alongside comprehensive reviews, suitable use cases, and alternatives where and when it makes sense. 

As you try to stay within your budget though, keep in mind that robot vacuums are in categories, which is reflective in their offerings and pricing. 

There’s the Proscenic m7 Pro (#1 on the list) at around $500 which offers a full package of convenience and efficiency given its Lidar-based navigation, smart mapping, auto top-up, and auto-dirt emptying functions.

Sitting at #2 is the Neato d4 robotic floor cleaner. For $200 less, the d4 is basically the Proscenic m7 Pro without zone cleaning, map saving function, and auto-dirt emptying station. 

The Roborock e4 came in at #3, and while you’d be saving a couple of hundred bucks vis-a-vis the Proscenic–you’ll miss out on map saving and custom cleaning. On the upside, the Roborock e4 is an intelligent machine with plenty of power for carpets plus it’s more reliable given it doesn’t receive firmware updates that could break functionality.

The Roomba 675, the last item on the list, is the one I mentioned that isn’t for everybody. Maybe it will meet your needs if you don’t have pets or kids and live in a small (~800sqft) open setup. Worth mentioning though is the fact that with this bot you’ll win the price war, but usability leaves a lot to be desired.

Further reading

Cheap Robot Vacuum Reviews: The Full, Updated List