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.
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.
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.
Top Robot Vacuums that Empty Themselves
Now that we’ve covered off some of the features we addressed when comparing each product, let’s jump into our list of recommendations:
Roomba S9+ – Best of the Best
Top of the range vacuum with best-in-class laser navigation and a unique shape designed to help it tackle edges.
- Run time: 75 mins
- Price: ££££
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.
iRobot Roomba i7+ – Best Mid-Range
This might be a mid-range device from iRobot but it still provides one of the best deep cleans thanks to it’s automatically adjusting head unit.
- Suction power: 1700pa
- Run time: 75 mins
- Price: £££
The i7+ can be seen as the smaller brother of the S9+, it has slightly fewer bells and whistles but compensates for this with a friendlier price tag that see’s it get my recommendation of best value for money self-cleaning robot vacuum.
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.
Shark IQ – Bagless and Self Emptying
Shark’s foray in to robot vacuums is going well and their latest innovation is a self emptying vacuum that can go for months at a time without interruption.
- Run time: 90 minutes
- Price: £££
Shark are one of the few players in the robot vacuum marketplace that comes from a traditional vacuum background, so they have a ton of expertise to draw from.
There new Shark IQ model comes with the XL base which allows the robot to self empty. The base can hold around 30 empties, so you won’t have to intervene as often. Unlike some of the others on this list, the base is also bagless and it cleans the roller brush for you, less maintenance makes for an easier life.
The mapping technology uses infrared cameras, similar to the Roomba i7+ and the technology works pretty well although it can take a lot of cleans to fully complete the map. However, once the map has been created, you can select rooms and zones for cleaning via the SharkClean app.
As far as cleaning capability, it’s not quite on par with the two Roomba self-cleaning robots shared earlier and it particularly struggles with larger particles. Having said that, it will still give your home a thorough clean for a great value price. We’re sure you’re be happy if you buy this bot.