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Robot vacuum cleaners are one of the most popular smart home products as we go in to 2021.
They are getting smarter and smarter, with most top end products now incorporating mapping, voice control and using AI to navigate and clean unlike anything we’ve seen before.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the key considerations when buying a robot vacuum and share our view on the top devices currently on the market in the UK.
Are Robot Vacuum Cleaners Worth It?
Robot vacuums are still slightly more expensive than traditional upright vacuum cleaners on average, so are they worth the extra cost?
Well, personally I hate household chores so I am more than happy with my decision to buy a robot vacuum. Whilst it hasn’t removed the need for an upright vacuum altogether, it has certainly reduced the frequency that I need to get it out.
If you opt for one of the very best robot vacuums such as the Roborock S6 and the Ecovacs Deebot OZMO T8 below, you could get away with never vacuuming again, unless you have stairs that is.
These are the best robot vacuum cleaners in the UK:
- Best Overall: Roborock S6 Pure
- Premium Pick: Ecovacs Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI
- Best Self-Emptying: Roomba i7+
- Best for rugs and thresholds: Dyson 360 Heurist
- Best under £500: Neato D7
- Best under £300: Eufy 15C MAX
Below are our in-depth reviews of each product to highlight the pros and cons, plus why we think it deserves a place in our recommendations.
Best Overall: Roborock S6 Pure
The Roborock S6 Pure is part of their flagship S6 line that are the most intelligent robot vacuums currently available in the UK. This is thanks to both lidar (laser navigation) and visual cameras working together to provide accurate mapping of up to 3 floors in your home and detecting obstacles.
Roborock says that the model can run for 3 hours on its 5200mAh battery before it returns to the charging dock. At 3.8 inches tall and 13.8 inches wide, it’s larger than the average robot vacuum. It boasts 1 floor brush, 1 side brush, a 480ml capacity dust bin, and a microfiber mop.
The impressive 2,000 pascals (pA) of suction power works wonders on both hard floors and carpets, picking up even the smallest particles of dust. It’s not as powerful as the more expensive S6 MAX V but offers better value for money.
The robot can switch between vacuuming and mopping on its own thanks to a built-in 180ml water tank. You will need to set up no-mop or no-vacuum areas before sending it out on mopping duties. You can also set different suction power or water levels for each room.
Other features include Alexa and Google assistant integration and the ability to remotely view the robot via the app. It’s a bit of a gimmick but useful if you need to check in on your home or a pet.
Premium Pick: Ecovacs Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI
The Ecovacs Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI might be a bit of a mouthful to say (let’s go with OZMO T8 for ease), but it will make cleaning your home an absoloute doddle.
Like the Roborock S6, this vacuum also uses a combination of laser and visual cameras to map and navigate your home. AVIV is an acronym for artificial intelligence and visual interpretation which means that it uses AI to see what’s in front of it and manoeuvre around obstacles.
It has 1,500 pA of suction power, which is slightly lower than other top end devices, however the high levels of air flow are also a big contributing factor to cleaning performance and I can confirm that it does a stellar job at picking up debris of all sizes.
The OZMO T8 not only vacuums well, but it has a very advanced mop that allows you to adjust how much water it uses in each area of your home. It’s still not a replacement for elbow grease and a regular mop, but it certainly leaves your hardwood or vinyl floors looking shiny.
It has a huge 3 hour battery life which Ecovacs claim can clean up to 300sqm in one go. It has a 420ml dust bin which is about average, however there is a self-emptying base launching in the UK very soon so it will be a full rival to Roomba’s i7+ mentioned below.
As you’d expect from such a premium device, it has Alexa and Google Home support, ability to store multiple floor plans and set room-by-room schedules and it features a HEPA filter for allergens that allows it to capture every tiny particle, as small as 0.3microns and up to 99% of them.
Best Self-Emptying: Roomba i7+
iRobot are the most established name in robot vacuums with their Roomba range. Of their current line up, the one we have to highlight is the Roomba i7+, a high end vacuum (although not their most premium) that comes with their Clean Base that allows the vacuum to automatically empty itself.
It’s also the ideal robot vacuum to have if you own pets. The pet filter feature is very effective in cleaning up pet allergens. It’s also proficient at cleaning fine hairs.
The Roomba i7+ has a low profile that allows it to navigate easily under low furniture. As with all of their products, it uses their dual rollers in place of standard bristle brushes, these are much better at avoiding hair tangles.
It uses vSLAM to map out your home for a personalised experience. You can name each room or area of your home and instruct the Roomba to clean it using just your voice thanks to Google Assistant and Alexa integration. You can also set virtual barriers in the app and change all of the settings.
It’s intelligence doesn’t stop at mapping, when it automatic mode, it can adjust the height of it’s cleaning head for different floor types and can change the suction power according to how dirty the floor is thanks to it’s Dirt Detect feature.
It has an averagely sized 3300 mAh battery that will last 90 minutes on low power, however with recharge-and-resume this doesn’t matter as it can always pick up where it left off.
For Rugs and Thresholds: Dyson 360 Heurist
The Dyson 360 Heurist is 2nd generation Dyson. Its distinctive feature is the tank treads instead of wheels that help it get across thresholds and up on to rugs with ease. It’s taller and narrower than most robot vacuums which means it can weave between objects such as chairs and tables with ease, although won’t be able to go under lower furniture. It also has handles by the side for picking up.
As you’d expect from a Dyson product, it excels at suction power. They have used their patented cyclone technology that you’d normally find in their regular vacuum cleaners which makes it incredibly powerful. It does well with small particles, however, larger particles and fine hair particles aren’t its strong point. They can get tangled in the bristles of its brushes or block the filter sometimes.
As for navigation it uses vSLAM (visual cameras) which tends to be slightly less accurate than lasers, although better at navigating obstacles. It has a 360 camera on top (hence the name) and LED lights that help it see in the dark.
Once you have mapped your home, you can choose schedules for each room or mark out no-go areas on the map which the robot will avoid during cleaning.
The Dyson runs at high power mode for 45 minutes and low power mode for 75 minutes. The short battery life is helped by the fact that it can resume from where it stopped cleaning before stopping to recharge. The robot is integrated with Google Home and Alexa and that allows you to start the cleaning via voice commands.
Best under £500: Neato D7
If value for money is a key requirement, then the Neato Botvac D7 Connected won’t disappoint. It’s been around for a number of years, but Neato keep updating it with new features to keep it current. It has the signature D shape of the Neato brand which gives it excellent edge and corner cleaning abilities, plus it’s short enough to fit under low furniture.
Neato have long used lidar for navigation which is contained in the circular turret visible on top of the robot. This is very accurate and gives you extra functionality in the app such as zone cleaning and no-go lines.
The Neato doesn’t have a mop or self emptying base, but as far as cleaning ability, it will rival many of those reviewed here and works particularly well on hardwood floor.
It has a 130 minute battery life and is one of the few vacuums at this price level to feature auto-recharge and resume. It also has a huge 700ml dustbin.
In addition to Google Assistant and Alexa support, the robot also supports the IFTTT (If This Then That) recipes. This allows for advanced integrations, for example it could stop cleaning when your doorbell or phone ring. You can also control the bot from your Apple Watch which might be a bit of a gimmick.
Best under £300: Eufy 15C MAX
Any robot vacuum under £300 falls in the budget price range so you should expect less features than the mid or high end vacuums. That being said, the Eufy 15C MAX doesn’t disappoint and has most of the basic features you’ll need.
It does have an app, although with no floor plans the functions are more limited than other vacuums such as scheduling and start/stop.
Despite not having any ability to map your floor plan, it still manages to use optical tracking to remember where it has been so can clean in logical straight lines and gains good coverage.
How does the 15C MAX fare with the basics of cleaning your floor? Well, not too bad. It manages to pick up most light debris and certainly outperforms all of the other budget robot vacuums we’ve reviewed and the BoostIQ works well to increase suction when required. The large 600ml dust bin is also a nice feature.
However, even with a whopping 2,000 pA of suction, it’s deep cleaning wasn’t quite up to the standard of the high end vacuums so you’ll need to get the regular vacuum out every once in a while.
Run time is 100 minutes on low power, and this should be enough for a cleaning session in a small-mid size home. There are dedicated modes for spot cleaning and edge cleaning which is helpful. Overall, it’s excellent value considering it’s price.
Buying a robot vacuum cleaner is no easy task, there are so many features to consider and different brands claiming to be the best. So, what should you look out for?
- Cleaning performance and floor types: Key features that will affect cleaning performance include suction power (measured in pA which means pascals), the shape of the device with D-shape generally better for edges and corners, and how well it can cope with different floor types.
- Combo vacuum and mop: Some robot vacuums have a built-in mop for hardwood or vinyl floors, but you should ensure no-mop zones are available if you have both hardwood and carpeted areas.
- Mapping (cameras vs lasers): One of the key features that determines a robot vacuum is their mapping capability. The most basic models will not have any mapping and will simply bounce around your home randomly until they have covered it all. A better vacuum will use either lasers (lidar) or visual cameras (vSLAM) to create a floor plan that you can then segment in to rooms. The very best devices will use both lidar and vSLAM along with AI to get around.
- Battery life: If you have a larger home, then battery life will be a key consideration to ensure it can do a full clean. Most robot vacuums clean for an average of 90 minutes which is fine for small to medium-sized homes, but for larger homes look for 2 hours or more. Alternatively, look for recharge-and-resume technology which allows the vacuum to recharge then return to the same point to continue the clean.
- Budget: As with everything in life, you get what you pay for. Anything under £300 is considered a budget device so you may have to make compromises. Generally £300-500 will get you a mid-tier device that’s usually good value for money, whereas the more advanced features cost in excess of £500 and sometimes into four figures too.
Of course, there are plenty of other features that make each device stand out including self emptying bases, room-by-room cleaning and HEPA filters.