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Robot vacuums have been a major step forward in the automating of mundane household tasks. They continue to evolve, and the next generation of robot vacuums include a selection of self-emptying devices that take us even closer to that dream of a fully automated experience.
In this helpful guide we’ll share some top tips on what to look out for when purchasing your new device and we’ve reviewed the best vacuum cleaners that can empty themselves to make your life easier.
- Quick Summary
- Is a Self-Emptying Vacuum Cleaner Truly Automated?
- Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum Cleaners UK
- Self-Emptying Vacuum Comparison Chart
- Buyers Guide for Self Emptying Robot Vacuums
In a rush? Here is a quick summary of my top 3 devices, keep reading to find my full recommendations and product reviews.
Best Overall: Roomba j7+• vSLAM mapping with room-by-room cleaning and Alexa commands
• Great on carpet and hard floors
• New AI-based object avoidance
Best Cleaning Performance: Roomba S9+• Excellent deep cleaning ability with high suction and airflow.
• D-shape body is very effective at edges and corners.
• Self-emptying base is the same as found on the i7+.
Budget Pick: Proscenic M7 Pro• Cheapest self-emptying vacuum available in the UK.
• Laser mapping and room-by-room cleaning.
• Deep cleaning and pet hair ability not up to the same standard as Roomba.
*Base sold separately
Is a Self-Emptying Vacuum Cleaner Truly Automated?
Whilst a self-emptying vacuum cleaner is the closest you’ll get to avoiding the cleaning without hiring a cleaner, there is still some manual maintenance required to keep things running smoothly.
You’ll need to regularly change the filters, check the brushes and change them when necessary, and of course the bin in the base will need emptying. The best self-emptying vacuums shouldn’t need your intervention more than once a month, if that.
Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum Cleaners UK
These are the best self-emptying robot vacuum cleaners currently available in the UK:
- Best Overall: Roomba J7+
- Runner Up: Ecovacs Deebot N8+
- Best Cleaning Performance: Roomba S9+
- Mid-Range Pick: Roomba i7+
- Budget Pick: Proscenic M7 PRO (with Automatic Station)
- Coming Soon: Ecovacs Deebot OZMO T8 (with Auto Empty Station)
Keep reading for my full reviews of my recommendations with the full pros and cons of each.
At the end of the article is a full comparison chart with side-by-specs laid out.
Best Overall: Roomba J7+
The J7+ is the latest self-emptying vacuum from iRobot and it’s a step up from the rest of the market.
Like the i7+ which it seems to replace, it has vSLAM to create a map of your home for room-by-room cleaning schedules and no-go zones that can be set in the app to limit where it can go.
It has precision vision navigation which is a camera-based navigation system that uses AI to improve its object avoidance. iRobot have even gone to a big effort to ensure it avoids pet poop. It can even send a photo of the obstacles to you so that you can decide how it should proceed when it encounters the same object in future.
The cleaning performance lives up to the high standard we’ve come to expect from Roomba vacuums. Their patented dual roller system picks up all sizes of dirt very well and performs well with pet hair. The two front brushes don’t scatter light debris like some other brands do.
Even the self-emptying base has had an upgraded design. It’s smaller and more compact although the actual bin capacity hasn’t changed, and it can still hold the same amount of debris.
Runner Up: Ecovacs Deebot N8+
In the runner-up spot is the Ecovacs Deebot N8+. This self-emptying robot vacuum is much cheaper than the Roomba but still has many great features including mapping your home, no-go zones, mopping, and more.
Unlike the Roomba which uses vSLAM (visual cameras), the N8+ uses lidar to map your home with lasers. You can save multiple maps for different floors in your home, and you can buy separate bases for each floor if you wish.
It works well on both hard floors and carpet. Whilst it picks up large debris very well, its deep cleaning ability isn’t up to the same standard as the Roomba j7 which is why it’s in the runner-up spot.
It also has mopping abilities; you’ll need to attach a mopping pad when you want it to mop. The electric pump allows you to change the amount of water that it uses with the setting in the app. It will clean most stains from the floor although it may take a few runs to get heavier stains.
Unlike the more premium N8 Pro+, the N8+ doesn’t have obstacle avoidance sensors on the front. I would recommend the N8 Pro+ instead but it’s often out of stock and hard to get hold of here in the UK.
Best Cleaning Performance: Roomba S9+
The Roomba S9 was already one of iRobot’s top of the line robot vacuums, but the S9+ adds a whole new dimension with their self-emptying base.
The S9+ has a unique D shape that gives it better edge cleaning performance and a powerful motor that gives it excellent abilities when it comes to picking up small debris.
It features the auto adjust cleaning head that changes the height based on the surfaces but also has the ability to change the suction power for that extra help on thick carpets. That being said, it’s not as good at picking up larger debris and tends to scatter particles as it cleans.
The vacuum is clearly very intelligent and works its way around the room in a very logical way similar to what a human would do. It begins with zig zags up and down the main area, then returns to any missed spots and along the edges. It’s one of the slimmest robot vacuum cleaners from Roomba so would be great for a home with low furniture.
The Roomba app is one of the best around, most likely because they were the first to launch so it’s improved over time. In the app you can schedule cleans and see a map of your home that can be divided up and it will remember multiple floors. Whilst we do like that it provides notifications about errors or when the bin is full, it doesn’t provide maintenance alerts which would have been a good feature.
Mid-Range Pick: iRobot Roomba i7+
The i7+ was the previous flagship device before the j7+ but it’s still a great pick and now much cheaper than the j7+ and the S9+.
The i7+ has a similar cleaning ability as the S9+ as it features the same auto adjust cleaning head to adapt to different floors, however it doesn’t have the ability to automatically change the suction power. iRobot went with the more traditional circular shape for this one which isn’t as great around the edges.
The i7+ uses infrared sensors instead of laser, so it’s not as intelligent when it comes to picking a logical route, however it’s mapping capabilities are still better than most robot vacuums and the app shows a map of areas that have been cleaned.
The i7+ comes with a dual purpose virtual barrier that can be used as a straight virtual wall or a circular radius no-go zone, this is great when the robot is learning your homes floor plan or when you have a temporary no go area.
We’ve already covered how great the iRobot app is with all the basic functions covered off but with other helpful features like letting you know when the Roomba is stuck or had any issues.
The self-cleaning base appears to be the same as the one found on the S9+ that we mentioned earlier so you’ll already know that it has a powerful suction to completely empty the vacuums bin, however it does require traditional vacuum bags.
Budget Pick: Proscenic M7 PRO (with Automatic Station)
Proscenic might be a brand best known for it’s cheaper robot vacuums, but that hasn’t stopped them launching one of the first non-roomba devices with a self emptying base in the UK.
The M7 PRO is one of their most premium vacuums, but still incredibly affordable considering it’s features. It has full laser navigation that will create a floor plan in the companion app for room-by-room cleaning. If you want to take control, the included remote allows you to manually control the vacuum which is always fun.
The Proscenic M7 PRO has basic Alexa and Google Assistant support, however, you cannot set names for each room so this feature cannot be accessed by voice as with the two previous Roomba’s.
Unlike the Roomba’s, the M7 PRO also has a built-in mop. This is ideal if you have hardwood floors, however, it has a small water tank and only provides a light mopping so I wouldn’t buy the device especially for this feature.
Keep in mind that you will also need the Proscenic Automatic Station (sold separately) for the self-emptying feature. Like the Roomba i7+ and S9+, it uses traditional vacuum bags in the base which makes it easy to empty once full. The base is slightly smaller than Roomba’s clean base.
Coming Soon: Ecovacs Deebot OZMO T8 (with Auto Empty Station)
The Ecovacs Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI has been on my list of best robot vacuum cleaners for some time now, so I was super excited to hear that Ecovacs were launching a new Auto Empty Base that would allow it to empty itself.
First, a little bit about the vacuum itself. It’s notable for using a hybrid visual camera and laser navigation system. Each has it’s own benefits so the hybrid system gets the best of both worlds and I believe will be the future of robot vacuums.
The vacuum does an excellent job at picking up debris of all sizes and has an integrated mopping system that actually works well (unlike the Proscenic above). It allows you to set precise water flow for each room and will give your floors a good clean rather than a light dusting.
Now to the self-emptying base which is why we’re all here after all. The ‘Auto Empty Station’ as it’s officially known is already on sale in the US and should be launching here in the UK soon. It will hold 30 days of dirt in a hypo-allergenic vacuum bag and is only compatible with the T8 AIVI which is Ecovacs’ top-tier robot vacuum.
Self-Emptying Vacuum Comparison Chart
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the key specs for each self-emptying vacuum shared in this guide:
|Roomba j7+||Ecovacs DEEBOT N8+||Roomba S9+||Roomba i7+||Proscenic M7 Pro||Ecovacs T8 OZMO AIVI|
|Best Overall||Runner Up||Best Cleaning Performance||Mid-Range Pick||Budget Pick||Coming Soon|
|Self Emptying||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (base not included)||No|
|Run Time||75 Mins||110 Mins||75 Mins||75 Mins||150 Mins||175 Min|
|Recharge & Resume||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Buyers Guide for Self Emptying Robot Vacuums
Here is a guide to the criteria we keep in mind when reviewing and recommending the robot vacuum cleaners below:
The amount of suction will determine how well your robot manages to pick up smaller dust particles from your carpet or hardwood floor. This can be measured in air watts or pascals (pa) but most manufacturers use pascals. It’s not the only determining factor in cleanliness as having a cleaning head that adjusts its height according to the surface also plays a major role and can help it move over thresholds and rugs.
A robot vacuums mapping ability comes down to the combination of sensors and the technology that turns them in to a map. Generally speaking, laser sensors, sometimes known as lidar, are better at mapping and are similar to what a self-driving car uses. That being said, the combination of infrared lasers and a gyroscope can also produce great results with good software.
Related Post: How Robot Vacuums Work
As we’ve already alluded to earlier, you’ll still need to ensure you perform routine maintenance on your robot vacuum so that it functions well. But who has the brain capacity to remember that right? Luckily for you, most robot vacuum cleaners have maintenance alerts that will tell you when something needs doing.
If you’re buying a robot vacuum that empties itself, then we’re guessing you want to put in as little effort as possible. That’s where you’ll want to ensure the robot is compatible with your smart home assistant of choice so you won’t even have to get your phone out to tell your robot to clean.