The Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuums OF 2020 [Reviews & Guides]

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on July 25, 2020
updated on October 11, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

Do you hate the dirty air you inhale when you go to empty the dustbin of your robotic vacuum cleaner? Or maybe you have pets and are tired of frequently emptying the minuscule dustbin?

If you’re looking for floor robots that automatically and hygienically empties their dustbins while resuming missions where they left off–and it doesn’t whether you’re upgrading or it’s your first time–you’re in the right place.

From comparing floor robots WITH the automatic dirt disposal function, with those WITHOUT (including why the former is better)…

…to analyzing the methodology of the self-emptying function (alongside other relevant details when and where)…

…and finally to reviewing the best self-emptying robotic vacuum cleaners.

Here’s everything you need to know to get started and be successful with a self-cleaning floor robot. 

Don’t want to, or have the time, to read the whole article (recommended though)? Use this link to skip to the review section.

Vacuuming robots WITHOUT the self-emptying function vs. vacuuming robots WITH the self-emptying function

Vacuuming robots generally have small dustbins, some the size of a certain Shark IQ at 160ml. In a house with a lot of crumbs from two teens and the hair of two dogs and two cats, there’s a need for frequent emptying. Besides this method of dumping is less convenient especially for people with allergies, vacuuming will also be interrupted/prolonged. Not only that, you have to be home while it’s running to keep emptying it. 

That changes with a self-cleaning robot.

With a self-emptying robot, you could vacuum while leaving the house and not bother about the app telling you 2-3 times per cycle to empty the bin. Time is saved, cleaning jobs are quicker, not to mention the bliss of coming home to a clean carpet. The best part is the actual dumping which is very convenient since there’s a filter in the clean base. And except for the Shark IQ, most self-emptying floor robots use disposable airtight dirtbags.

How does a self-dumping robot work?

The bin of the i- or s-series Roomba detects a full bin and locates its dock; other robots without the full bin sensor (say the t8 pro or the Proscenic, Neabot, or Honiture) will notify via the app and attempt to continue cleaning. Once the robot is on its auto empty station–whether by itself or initiated through the app–a strong flow of air kicks in, sucking out all the debris from the small dustbin while automatically resuming the mission where it left off. This process is loud but brief.

Why does the cleaning dock of a robot make such a loud roar, and how loud is this sound?

There’s a motor inside of the cleaning dock creating a strong force (hence the noise) and facilitating air movement. 

They’re all loud and in fact, the automatic emptying station, in any case, is louder than the loudest robot on high power mode. 

Interestingly, noise level, tone, and length vary from one robot to the other. The Roomba, Shark, and Proscenic sound like a jet engine, and evacuation typically lasts 10 – 15 seconds. Ecovacs t8 pro is quieter and runs slightly longer (around 20 seconds).

Loud but brief, if you think this would be an issue, and you don’t have sick/live-in pets, consider running the machine while you’re out of the house.

THE Automated dirt disposal system of a floor robot: bagged vs. bagless + other relevant info

The auto empty station a robot returns to (which doubles as the charging station for items with this feature) has small bags installed (as seen in the Roomba i3+, i7+, s9+, and Ozmo t8 pro) or otherwise a spacious hollow (as seen in the Shark IQ).

The bagless system of the Shark has the advantage of zero costs on dirtbags but the disadvantage of poor air quality. 

The bagged system of the iRobot and Ecovacs, on the other hand, has the advantage of improved air quality and overall hygiene, with recurring costs on dirtbags. There are cheaper knockoffs, but OEM dirtbags start at around $12 for a pack of three, with each bag estimated to hold about thirty trips of dirt, assuming everyday vacuuming.

In addition to cleaning out other parts of the robot such as the filter, extractors, side brush, and wheels, keep in mind the costs of consumable parts of the robot. 

A sensor in the clean base notifies when the bag fills via the app and will act accordingly with the robot parts that need replacement.

Lastly, the clean base of a robot only works with the unit it’s advertised/ships with. It won’t work with other models, not even one from the same manufacturer.

Are the bags of a smart home robot reusable, or are there any plans to sell reusable bags?

Unfortunately, the dirtbags of a self-cleaning robot aren’t reusable; they’re made to be a one-time use aka disposable. I currently don’t know of any plans to sell reusable bags and there are also no reusable bagged alternatives (except, of course, the bagless option of the Shark IQ). It neither helps that the best of attempts I have seen with trying to make those bags reusable turn out to be a dusty mess of floaties not to mention the wasted time and effort.

It’s normal to switch bags quite a few times if you live in a large house while the robot cleans under beds, couches, or furniture… or if it’s the first time in a long time. The more it works, though, the less and less there’s to pick up, so the longer the bags last.

The best self-emptying robotic vacuum cleaners compared

Before getting into details about each item, here’s a quick overview by Tech Reviews and More. In the video, the Ozmo t8 pro, Roomba i3 & s9 Plus, and the Neabot nomo were compared based on the ability to rid their bins of nerds, jelly beans, cotton balls, etc. Results indicate a tie between Ozmo t8 pro and the Roomba s9 Plus. The evacuation process of a robot may sometimes depend on the debris type, so you want to remember that. Anyway, here’s the video comparison of five of the best self-emptying robotic cleaners:

Video by Tech Reviews and More

Below is a list of the items mentioned in the video above alongside purchase links.

Product titlesProduct imagesPurchase links
Ecovacs Ozmo T8 AIVI (main unit)
Ecovacs_Deebot_Ozmo_T8_robot_vacuum
Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI
Check current price on Amazon
Ecovacs Ozmo T8 AIVI (self-emptying bin)
the self-emptying bin of the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo t8
image from Ecovacs
Check current price on the Ecovacs website
iRobot i3 robot vacuum
iRobot_i3_robot_vacuum
iRobot i3 robot vaacuum
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i3 self-emptying bin
iRobot_i3_self-emptying_bin
iRobot i3 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i3 Plus (total package)
iRobot_i3_Plus
iRobot i3 Plus
Check current price on Amazon
Neabot nomo robot vacuum (total package)
Neabot_robot_vaacuum
Neabot nomo robot vaacuum with self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot s9 robot vacuum
iRobot_s9_robot_vacuum
iRobot s9 robot vaacuum
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot s9 self-emptying bin
iRobot_s9_self-emptying_bin
iRobot s9 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot s9 Plus (total package)
iRobot_s9_with_self-emptying_bin
iRobot s9 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i7 robot vacuum
iRobot_i7_robot_vacuum
iRobot i7 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i7 self-emptying bin
iRobot_i7_self-emptying_bin
iRobot i7 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i7 Plus (total package)
iRobot_i7_Plus
iRobot i7 Plus
Check current price on Amazon

Eight of the best self-emptying robotic vacuum cleaners

Ozmo T8 pro

The Ozmo t8 is the first self-emptying floor robot to receive a mention on this list.

For what’s worth, the t8 and the t8 AIVI are one and the same, the only difference being the camera vision of the latter which the former lacks. The Ozmo t8 pro is the total package that includes a vibrating mop attachment and the auto empty docking station. 

Typically selling separately from the main unit and currently at $299 on the Ecovacs website, the clean base of the t8 is a bagged system with dual extraction ports and powerful suction. Therefore evacuation, although a bit longer, is very thorough. 

Quickly. here’s a video demonstration of the self-cleaning ability of the clean base of the Ozmo deebot t8 self-cleaning robotic vacuum:

video from VacuumWars

Here’s another video. Stress test actually, but there are some little details in there to catch:

Unfortunately, the t8 doesn’t have the full bin sensor. Besides, if you’re getting the main unit WITHOUT the automatic dirt disposal base, probably with plans to get the base at a later date, keep in mind the 420ml dustbin size of the t8. It’s also quite expensive at around $800. 

Regardless, and as you may have noticed from the video, the auto emptying function of the t8 works excellently thanks to its dual extraction ports, powerful suction, and maybe slightly longer run time (about 20 seconds compared to about 15 seconds on the Proscenic and Roombas)? If you have a busy house with lots of dirt to vacuum, and/or want an advanced, feature-rich robot (obstacle detection and avoidance, home security system, vibrating mop attachment, etc), the t8 is a perfect choice.

Pros
  • Advanced & feature-rich
  • Empties well and reliably
  • Cleans in nice, straight lines
  • Has a bagged clean base to help reduce allergy symptoms/improves air quality
Cons
  • Pricey
  • No dirt detect or full bin sensor
  • Ongoing expenses on dirtbags
  • Charging station vs. charging station + emptying tower
Product titlesProduct imagesPurchase links
Ecovacs Ozmo T8 (main unit without camera vision)
Ecovacs_Deebot_Ozmo_T8_robot_vacuum
Deebot Ozmo T8
Check current price on Amazon
Ecovacs Ozmo T8 AIVI (main unit with camera vision)
Ecovacs_Deebot_Ozmo_T8_aivi_robot_vacuum
Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI
Check current price on Amazon
Ecovacs Ozmo T8 AIVI (self-emptying bin)
the self-emptying bin of the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo t8
image from Ecovacs
Check current price on the Ecovacs website

iRobot i- and s-series self-emptying robots

Roomba i3 Plus

The i3 Plus or the i7 Plus are options available in the i-series. Only the s9 form the s-series. Products of iRobot, they all have the automatic dirt disposal functionality. Hence, the decision to merge them into one review.

Simply put, the cleaning docks of the i3 Plus, i7 Plus, and the s9 Plus works reliably well. 

The first thing of note is that the Roomba self-cleaning robots have the full bin and dirt detect sensors for preventing bin overflow, maintaining peak performance, and prolonging the useful life of, and ultimately saving you money on, parts like filters and brush rolls.

Then, there’s their suction power of the clean tower to talk about. This does enough clearing out all the crud and pet hair out of the smaller dustbin while keeping the same tightly contained in the onboard non-reusable bag. Two dirtbags, estimated to hold about thirty runs of dirt, ships with a package of any of the i- or s-series of the Roomba. Additional dirtbags are available at around $5 a bag…assuming you’re buying directly from iRobot. There are cheaper knockoffs, though, that work just as well.

Sequel to the effectiveness of the self-cleaning function iRobot stands behind their product. Like most items with mechanical parts, although far and in between, there have been reports about the base of the i7 Plus or the s9 Plus failing to evacuate or the disappearance of the clean button in the app. iRobot provides helpful tutorials (like this oneHere’s another one) for basic troubleshooting. If those don’t work, iRobot customer support takes over. If there’s no headway still, iRobot may send out a replacement.

Remember that the dock of the i-series doesn’t work with the s9 Plus (and vice-versa) given the design and hardware of the robots. However, self-dumping methodology/mechanics (explained below) remains unchanged.

Roomba s9 Plus self-emptying robot vacuum
Roomba s9 Plus

While the emphasis is on the auto disposal bin, there are a few details (features, hardware, design, software, etc.) about the I and S Roomba models that could influence pricing and performance, or that might be of interest. 

S9 Plus, for example, and the most expensive in the line up at over a thousand bucks (the main unit the s9 at around $800 and the self-emptying dock at around $399) has 40× the suction power of any Roomba and one of the best airflow numbers in the industry (22 cfm) for carpet deep cleaning plus a D-shape design for better coverage in corners and along walls. 

Similarly, the i7+ selling at around $800 (the main unit the i7 at around $600 and the self-emptying dock at $299) in addition to its auto-evacuate function has a more advanced camera-guided navigation, smart mapping, plus other functions to include area cleaning, multiple floor mapping, no-go zone, and room cleaning… just like the s9 Plus.

The i3 Plus on the other hand, for a few hundred dollars less, uses the inferior Gyroscope for routing and doesn’t support smart mapping.

Clearly not cheap; add in the expenses on dirtbags. On the plus side, either the i3 Plus, i7 Plus, or the s9 Plus is a great choice considering their vacuuming and emptying exploits, and their suitability for different categories of users and situations/needs (dust, pet hair, human hair, carpets, hard floors, large or split levels, etc).

Pros
  • Empties well and reliably
  • Have the full bin & dirt detect sensor to prevent overflow/premature emptying breaks/interrupted sessions while maintaining peak performance and efficiency
  • Have a bagged system to reduce allergy symptoms and for improved air quality
  • Dirt disposal bags hold quite a lot. iRobot says about thirty runs. Depending on pile level and how often you run the machine, that can translate to one bag every two or three months.
  • Responsive customer support
  • Readily available parts and tutorials
Cons
  • Pricier ($600 – $1200 for the main units and/or total package, and between $199 and $499 for the self-emptying docks).
  • Ongoing expenses on dirtbags
  • Loud (at 72dB, applies more to the s9 Plus)

Below is a list of (and purchase links to) the three Roomba self-emptying robots and their auto empty stations as reviewed above.

Product titlesProduct imagesPurchase links
iRobot i3 robot vacuum
iRobot_i3_robot_vacuum
iRobot i3 robot vaacuum
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i3 self-emptying bin
iRobot_i3_self-emptying_bin
iRobot i3 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i3 Plus (total package)
iRobot_i3_Plus
iRobot i3 Plus
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot s9 robot vacuum
iRobot_s9_robot_vacuum
iRobot s9 robot vaacuum
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot s9 self-emptying bin
iRobot_s9_self-emptying_bin
iRobot s9 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot s9 Plus (total package)
iRobot_s9_with_self-emptying_bin
iRobot s9 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i7 robot vacuum
iRobot_i7_robot_vacuum
iRobot i7 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i7 self-emptying bin
iRobot_i7_self-emptying_bin
iRobot i7 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i7 Plus (total package)
iRobot_i7_Plus
iRobot i7 Plus
Check current price on Amazon

Shark IQ R1001AE

Shar iq  r101ae self-emptying robot vacuum

Next to be reviewed on this list of the best self-emptying automatic vacuum cleaner is the Shark IQ r1001ae. 

If you can’t afford the hefty price of the i7 Plus or the s9 Plus and don’t like that the i3 Plus doesn’t have the mapping function, well, you have another option in the Shark. This one with a bagless auto dock and at a much-reduced price path logically, have a timer-based sensor and empties flawlessly.

It’s loud (at 70dB) plus the dustbin (timer-based) is a tiny 160ml. That means several (premature) trips to its home dock. The Shark IQ currently doesn’t support room cleaning, virtual barrier, or map saving/multi-floor mapping. On top of it, given a 969 ft² floor coverage, the Shark IQ robot will most likely meet your needs if you have a single level home with only a handful of furniture or obstacles.

Pros
  • Relatively affordable
  • No ongoing expenses on dirtbags
  • Empties well and reliably
  • The automatic dirt disposal base holds quite a lot. Shark says about thirty runs
  • Has a timer-based bin detect sensor to prevent overflow while maintaining peak performance and efficiency
Cons
  • Depositing debris from the bigger dustbin may not be as convenient especially for people with allergies
  • Premature emptying breaks (as a result of the timer-based bin sensor) could extend cleaning time
  • Has reduced coverage (969 ft²) only suitable for a small space

CHECK CURRENT PRICE AND REVIEWS OF THE SHARK IQ R1001AE (TOTAL PACKAGE) AT AMAZON

Proscenic m7 Pro/Neabot/Honiture q6

Proscenic m7 Pro self-emptying robot vacuum cleaner
Proscenic m7 pro self-emptying robot vacuum

iRobot self-emptying robots as earlier mentioned are big on performance but pricing not so much. You may then be wondering if there are alternatives that at least strike a balance between price and performance. Enter: the Proscenic m7 pro, Neabot, and the Honiture q6.

At around the $500 price mark, you could get one of these and they do enough for you not to worry about vacuuming floors for weeks. 

Unlike the first featured items which were all iRobot’s, the m7 Pro, Neabot, and Honiture q6 are three different products from three different brands. The decision to merge them comes from the fact that they share plenty of similarities in design, hardware, functions, and pricing. 

All bagless systems, of course. 

As for the main units, all three are round-shaped, can each cover a total cleaning area of at least 2500 ft², have two side brushes, and a front wheel, with the same positioning of the internal dustbin and extractor.

One handy remote comes with the m7 pro, Neabot or q6 for basic controls and settings. Their respective apps provide further customization and control options. Additionally, they all support room and multi-floor mapping, mopping, plus their movement is laser-guided.

Per their mapping, navigation, cleaning, and coverage as highlighted above, you honestly can’t look past one of the Proscenic m7 pro, Neabot, or Honiture self-emptying robotic cleaners particularly if price and air quality are important factors.

Pros
  • Empties OK
  • Relatively affordable 
  • Quiet in normal mode
  • Cleans in nice, straight lines
  • Bagged clean base helps to reduce allergy symptoms/improves air quality
  • Dirt disposal bags hold quite a lot. Proscenic and Neabot say about thirty runs. The bags of the Honiture hold twice as much. 
  • There are cheaper knock-off dirtbags
Cons
  • No dirt detect or full bin sensor
  • Ongoing expenses on dirtbags
  • Product, customer support, and replacement parts may not be readily available

Below is a list of (and purchase links to) the m7 pro, Neabot, and Honiture self-emptying robots as reviewed and their auto empty stations.[

Product titlesProduct imagesPurchase links
Proscenic m7 pro (main unit)
Proscenic_M7_Pro_robot_vacuum
Proscenic M7 Pro
Check current price on Amazon
Proscenic m7 pro self-emptying bin
Proscenic_m7_pro_self-emptying_bin
Proscenic m7 pro self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
Neabot nomo robot vacuum with self-emptying bin (total package)
Neabot _nomo_self-emptying_robot_vaacuum
Neabot nomo robot vacuum with self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
Honiture q6 robot vacuum with self-emptying bin (total package)
Honiture q6_robot_vaacuum
Honiture q6 robot vaacuum with self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon

Explained: the possible incomplete evacuation of the bin of a self-emptying robot 

While the external bin of most self-emptying robots had been built to completely clear the internal, onboard dustbin, some debris, in particular long pet and human hair, may occasionally get left behind. 

The size of the smaller bin or the design/hardware of the bigger bin can be argued. From experience, self-emptying bins of the Roomba and the t8 have reduced tendencies, and as earlier mentioned, this happens mostly with large debris and hair vacuuming situations.

Currently, all robots are susceptible to incomplete evacuation. Improvements can be made via an update but until then your best bet would be to vacuum more regularly–or with a certain Proscenic, via its app, command a re-evacuation.

Conclusion

What’s the best self-emptying robot vacuum? The Ecovacs Ozmo t8.

Utilizing strong suction and airflow, two extraction ports, longer run time, and a bagged system, the bigger dustbin of the t8 pro is very effective and convenient. It’s quieter too, plus the main unit has the mopping function and advanced obstacle detection and avoidance. The t8 pro is worth taking a look at if the budget isn’t a factor or if time and air quality are important to you. Skip to a review (or click here for current prices) of the Ecovacs t8 self-emptying floor robot. 

Equally pricey, the clean bases of the iRobots (i3+, i7+, and s9+) are great alternatives to the Ecovacs t8 pro. The brushless design of their rollers makes them especially suitable for hair and rug vacuuming situations. Click here to skip to a review of the iRobot self-emptying floor robots.

Much more affordable, if you don’t mind holding the dust collector over a trash can, then maybe consider the Shark. The Shark is the only self-emptying robot vacuum with a bagless model.

Finally, while there are knock off dirtbags on Amazon and some other places online, the self-emptying base of any robot vacuum will only work with the model it ships with.

Further Reading

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