Can Robot Vacuums Go Over Rugs and Thresholds?

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Robot vacuums have come a long way since their invention over two decades ago. The most recent models are overcoming many of the challenges that have previously held them back, with laser mapping, self-emptying capabilities, and adjustable suction that changes with the type of flooring.

One of the key elements that has put many people off robot vacuums in the past is their ability to cover all parts of your home. After all, you don’t want to pay hundreds, if not thousands, for a robot that gets stuck in a doorway or can’t clean your rug. But, things are changing as you’ll find out in this article.

So, can a modern robot vacuum go over rugs? Yes, robot vacuums have the ability to go over rugs, but this entirely depends upon the model that you have. Some products have higher ground clearance, suspended wheels, and height-adjustable cleaning heads which aid with thresholds.

How Do Robot Vacuums Go Over Thresholds?

A robot’s ability to go over thresholds will depend upon the clearance height between the base of the robot and the floor. There are a couple of ways that manufacturers can improve the robot’s ability to go over thresholds, including height adjustable cleaning heads and suspended wheels.

Height adjusting cleaning heads are primarily designed to allow the cleaning head to be closer or further away from the floor, depending upon the type of floor being cleaned, but they also have the added benefit of helping the vacuum to get around and move between different areas of your home.

More advanced robot vacuums (and therefore more expensive) have suspended wheels. This means that the wheels are free to move up and down which helps transition across different floors. It’s best where the wheels are independently suspended, allowing each one to move up and down without the other one.

However, if you have e a cheaper robot vacuum it may struggle with higher thresholds such as those between rooms.

Can Robot Vacuums Go From Hardwood to Carpet?

Yes, robot vacuums are able to navigate between different parts of your home, provided the threshold between them isn’t more than the stated specs. Most vacuums will manage thinner carpets with shorter fibres, however they can struggle to move across shag carpets or those with tassels around the edges.

If you have varying types of floor in your home, you should look for vacuums with automatic height adjustable cleaning heads or automatic suction power adjustment. This will ensure that your vacuum is able to perform optimally for each surface, without any intervention required from you.

If you have a robot and mop combo device, these can sometimes struggle going between hardwood floor that needs mopping, and carpets that don’t. Sometimes the cheaper devices can leave a trail of wet marks on your carpet so we recommend vacuuming and mopping separately.

Which Robot Vacuums Are Best at Going Over Rugs?

The best robot vacuum cleaners for going over rugs and thresholds are:

  • Dyson : Has tank-tread style tyres that help it navigate over thresholds and rugs.
  • Roborock  : can go over thresholds up to 2cm (all vacuums except S4 – full specs)
  • Roomba : can go over vacuums up to 1.6cm and has auto-adjust cleaning head (full specs)
  • Eufy : can go over thresholds up to 1.5-1.6cm depending upon the model (see Eufy comparison)

How to Make Sure Your Robot Vacuum Doesn’t Get Stuck

If you want to make life easier for your robot vacuum so they don’t get stuck at thresholds or between rooms, here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Set no-go zones – If you have a robot vacuum with mapping, you can usually set virtual no-go zones from within the app. Even without mapping, cheaper robot vacuums often come with boundary strips to create physical no-go zones.
  • Use a threshold ramp  – try adding a lip to any steps or thresholds in your home such as this wooden one or this rubber one to help your robot get around.
  • Avoid rugs with tassels – even if your robot has the capability for getting on to your rug, any tassels or fringe around the edge may cause it some issues.
  • Keep your cables tidy – Loose cables can cause a dilemma for many robot vacuums so you should keep these as neat as possible to minimise problems. We recommend this cable tidy to keep your wires nice and secure.
  • Avoid shag rugs – Most robot vacuums seem to struggle with shag rugs, either getting on to them or manoeuvring through their thick fibres, watch the below video from Robot Masters if you want to see how they fair.
  • Know where your robot vacuum is – If your robot vacuum does get stuck and it happens to be a Roomba, finding out where it’s location is easier than ever thanks to voice assistants. Using the Roomba skill for Alexa, you can simply ask where it is without spending time hunting your home for it.


My Roomba won’t go over a black rug – what should I do?

Like most robot vacuum cleaners, Roomba’s have cliff sensors on the bottom. These emit an infrared light and record how long it takes to bounce back off the floor, if it takes longer than usual then the Roomba will know that there is a drop and can change its course.

Unfortunately, black rugs can absorb the infrared light so it doesn’t bounce back as it usually would on a rug and the vacuum thinks there is a drop. There is no way to turn these off in the app, so the best solution is to cover the sensors with some white paper and Sellotape. Unfortunately, you can’t do this if you have actual drops in your home such as stairs as the Roomba will fall down them. In this instance, the black carpet will have to go or be cleaned manually.


I have been building up my smart home since 2016 so I'm a bit of a smart home expert by now. On this blog, I share my favourite smart home devices that I've tested along with tips and tricks I learn by watching countless YouTube videos, scrolling through forums, and tinkering around with my own smart devices. I've always been a Google Home user but I'm starting to think Alexa might have the edge, what do you think?