Best Robot Vacuums Types

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on February 20, 2020
updated on February 28, 2020

You’re in the right place

  • If you want to know what your money can get you as far as a robot vacuum is concerned; 
  • If you want to know whether what you’re paying is commensurate with the value you’re getting;
  • If you want to know (assuming you’re overpaying) whether there are cheaper, quality alternatives.
  • If you want to know how much is too much to pay for a robot vacuum.

For this article, robot vacuums will be considered under three levels of beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I’ll be associating each of these levels with some key highlights to include the degree of automation, level of intelligence, usability, vacuuming strength, and cost of ownership. Also, I’ll be throwing in relevant product samples when and where necessary.

3 robot vacuum types to consider

Beginner robot vacuums

The beginner vacuum cleaners are the first robot vacuum type to be considered. The following are some of their offerings.

  • Automatic recharging
  • Strong suction
  • Random navigation
  • Physical barriers

As a result of limitations in suction, navigation, and mapping, the beginner robot vacuums

  • Are best suited for homes with a simple layout
  • May not support multi-floor cleaning (mostly hardwood ONLY) and multipurpose cleaning (mostly vacuuming of dirt and light debris)
  • Don’t support efficient cleaning. Beginner robot vacuums can’t clean or may not be able to give full coverage in an area more than 800 sq feet
  • Don’t support customize cleaning
  • Are more hands-on. Entry-level robot vacuums require too much babysitting; whether that be for constantly rescuing the machine from under furniture, keeping an eye on the bin or charge level, or trying to keep it away from pet spaces, kids playroom, or other unwanted areas, in the process of which a lot of time and energy is used up.

Verdict

The beginner automatic vacuum cleaners have the basics covered without all the bells and whistles of the advanced options. Better yet, they are relatively affordable (typically selling between $150 – $299).

Of note, however, is their starter features. The filters on the beginner robot vacuums and bristle style center brush (vs. rubber style brushes of the advanced robot vacuums) for one explains why they might not be suitable for pet hair vacuuming. Moreover, their weak suction also means the beginner robot vacuums may struggle with carpets. The random nature of mobility also calls to question their effectiveness and user-friendliness.

The beginner robot vacuums might be worth it, though, depending on the user, their availability, and the intended use. Consider Roomba 690, Eufy 11S or Goovi 380 if you’re interested in items from this category.

Intermediate robot vacuums

Robot vacuums at the intermediate level are the second robot vacuum type to be considered. The following are some of their offerings.

  • Intelligent navigation
  • Automatic recharge and resume
  • Stronger suction
  • Mapping (no map creation or saving)

As a result of their impressive capabilities, the intermediate robot vacuums

  • Support multi-floor cleaning (hard floors + thin carpets + rugs)
  • Can give coverage in spaces up to 2000 sq feet
  • Are better at handling rooms with problematic layouts
  • Are less hands-on. They require less babysitting, which helps to save time, energy while reducing maintenance work.

Verdict

Robot vacuums in the intermediate cadre, although not cheap ($300 – $450), are a better spend of your money. Notable improvements over the beginner robot vacuums include the ability to map an area and to automatically resume cleaning. These upgrades put the intermediate robot vacuums up there as a more reliable option. Do keep in mind there are fewer items in this category. The Roomba 960, Roborock E25 and E35 are my favorites.

Advanced robot vacuums

Robot vacuums at the advanced level are the third and final robot vacuum type to be considered. The following are some of their offerings.

  • Intelligent navigation
  • Room cleaning
  • Room mapping (map creation + saving)
  • Super strong suction
  • Self-cleaning rollers

As a result of their brilliant cleaning capabilities, the advanced robot vacuums

  • Are better at cleaning carpets (high-pile/thick carpets inclusive)
  • Are more hands-free, which means reduced upkeep
  • Support multi-floor cleaning (hardwood, tile, laminate, linoleum, carpets, and rugs)
  • Support automatic recharging and resuming
  • Support quick and thorough cleaning
  • Support uninterrupted cleaning
  • Support pet hair cleaning
  • Support zone cleaning
  • Support cleaning in a large house (∼3000 sq feet) with changing and complicated layouts
  • Support voice control via Google Home or Alexa
  • Support virtual barriers

Verdict

Robot vacuums in the advanced category have premium price tags, no doubt (think $500+). On the upside, they have multipurpose applications coupled with smart, useful, and usable features and functions. Therefore cleaning is faster, efficient and convenient. Consider the Roomba i7, Roborock S5 Max, or Deebot 950 if you’re interested in items in the advanced category.

Final thoughts

The goal of this article is to help align expectations with reality. Robot vacuums in today’s update were broken down into three levels of basic, intermediate, and advanced.

1. With efficiency and power being the talking points of the mid-level and advanced robot vacuums. Don’t forget their biggest drawback–PRICE. There are robot vacuums in this category selling for more than $2000 if it helps to mention. I won’t spend more than $700 on a robot vacuum, and even then, this robot vacuum had better be the Roomba i7+. I’d also think it’s safe to spread one’s budget over a couple of robotic vacuums or activate a robot-mop partnership.

2. Maybe wait for holiday deals if a robot vacuum is selling outside your budget. There are ongoing deals too. You may as well check out this page for affordable and reliable alternatives to some of the popular robot vacuum models.

3. And robot vacuums in the starter category. While I don’t recommend them as highly as those in the intermediate and advanced categories. They could still make sense, however, especially if you don’t have a lot to spend on a cleaning tool or if getting involved in the cleaning process sounds like fun. Follow this Amazon link to see current prices on some of the best beginner robot vacuums from top brands to include Roomba, iLife, Eufy, and Roborock.

4. Lastly, you may notice some details (bin size, battery life, obstacle detection, app, and voice control) are missing in the reviews of the robot vacuum types. Because variables, in particular, bin size, battery life, and mopping, aren’t a fair basis of comparison given that their performance is often linked to the manufacturer or product design. Even so, functions such as scheduled vacuuming, obstacle & cliff detection, app & voice control are pretty much a standard on robot vacuums these days regardless of where they stand in the pecking order. That, plus if you consider that battery life and bin size have capable representation in the auto-empty, auto-recharge & resume, and smart top functions of the intermediate & advanced robot vacuums.

Further reading

How to choose the best robot vacuum for your cleaning needs

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