8 best robot vacuums 2022 in the UK, for every type of floor

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Found the perfect floor covering but struggling to keep it clean? If your life is hectic, or you simply have better things to do than vacuum, let a robot vacuum take care of all that daily dust.

Although increasingly advanced, these mini gadgets aren’t yet powerful enough to replace your regular vacuum cleaner (sorry). But, they have light maintenance covered, which cuts down on the time you’ll spend on more thorough cleanings.

Picking them up can be very effective, even lifting pet hair, and they’re adept at tackling corners and reaching under furniture. They can’t climb stairs, but smart sensors prevent them from falling.

Our expert tester put a range of technologies to the test to find the best robot vacuums for all floor types. Their reviews are below, but these time-saving machines can be pricey, so let’s go over the key things to consider before you buy.

How to choose a robot vacuum cleaner

Different models offer different features, at different price points. It’s only worth paying for the ones you’ll use, so here’s what to look for:

Cartography and prohibited areas

Many robot vacuums map out your floor plan before cleaning, so they know where to clean in your home. You can also dictate the cleanest spot, creating no-go zones via the compatible app or using the included magnetic strips. Some of the more affordable models on our list don’t have these features, but as long as you’re there while they clean, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Smart Connectivity

Every robot vacuum we tested comes with an app you can use to control it. They’re all compatible with Alexa or Google Home, so you can talk to them if you prefer. If you’re not concerned about smart features, consider one of the Eufy models – all three in our roundup also come with a remote control.

Capacity

Compact robot vacuums can usually carry less than a liter of dust, which means they will need to be emptied regularly. That said, some high-end gadgets have auto-emptying functionality, with disposal technology built into their docking stations. iRobot claims its j7+ and s9+ models (both tested by us) can hold up to 60 days of debris.

How we test robot vacuums

Our home testing expert tried out a range of leading robot vacuums on hard floors and carpets. They judged each model by how much specially formulated dust it picked up in a set number of sweeps. Next, they ground Battersea Dogs and Cats Home pet hair into a mat to assess the heavy-duty pick-up.

They put each vacuum to work in a carefully designed test room, noting how well it navigated obstacles and mapped dimensions. Finally, they looked at its technology, considering how intuitive its app was and how well it responded to voice control.

These eight robot vacuums carry our seal of approval:

Best robot vacuum cleaner

iRobot Roomba j7+ series

This Roomba came close to rivaling our stick in pickup power – everything from crumbs to pet hair disappeared in its wake. It responded quickly to voice commands, and our tester liked that it snaps and sends you a photo if it can’t get over an obstacle.

Its auto-empty feature has proven effective, and its app notifies you when the docking station bin needs to be emptied. It took over half an hour to clean our average-sized test room, but it did it thoroughly.

Choosing between this vacuum and the top-end s9+ below was tough – they both achieved similar performance in testing – but the more affordable price earned the j7+ our top spot.

Key specs
Number of cleaning modes: Automatic and one-time cleaning
Mapping technology: Yes
Loading time: 3 hours
Operating time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Container capacity: 1.7 liters (dock storage capacity)

The smartest robot vacuum

iRobot Roomba s9+ (S9558)

What could justify the extra £500 you’ll pay for iRobot’s crown jewel? Well, it’s equipped with advanced technology that helps it develop and learn the most effective cleaning route around your home.

It can sense when it needs to be emptied, pausing its cleaning routine to return to its docking station and automatically get rid of its dust, before resuming cleaning. It does the same if its battery runs low, returning for a recharge, and its software is compatible with future iRobot updates, keeping it at the forefront of cleaning.

It also shares a few features with the j7+, like alerting you to any spots it can’t clean via the intuitive app.

Key specs
Number of cleaning modes: Automatic and one-time cleaning
Mapping technology: Yes
Loading time: 3 hours
Operating time: 2 hours
Container capacity: 1.7 liters (dock storage capacity)

Best robot vacuum for an affordable price

Eufy By Anker 30C T2118

If you’re not ready to drop nearly £800 on our winning Roomba, consider this more affordable but equally impressive Eufy. It can’t map, but it comes with magnetic strips to mark out no-go areas and picked them up well in testing.

More importantly, he was a professional cleaner – he picked up crumbs and pet hair with aplomb and left all crevices untouched. Its circular design meant it struggled to reach corners, but it scored points for user accessibility; as well as an app and voice control, it also comes with a remote control.

Key specs
Number of cleaning modes: Auto, Spot, Edge and Quick Clean
Mapping technology: Yes – boundary strips
Loading time: 5 to 6 hours
Operating time: 100 minutes
Container capacity: 0.6 liters

The fastest robot vacuum

Eufy by Anker X8

Reduce your hosting to-do list with this nippy vacuum cleaner; clean our test room in just 18 minutes, it can freshen up your home before guests arrive, freeing you to focus on cooking. He missed a few spots in his haste, but his pickup was generally strong, dusting the edges and removing most crumbs and pet hair.

The latter got a little tangled on the brushes, but our tester liked that it mapped out while it cleaned and obeyed our no-go zones. However, it won’t tell you when it needs to be emptied, so make a point of checking it regularly.

Key specs
Number of cleaning modes: Automatic cleaning, room, zone and spot
Mapping technology: Yes
Loading time: 4 to 5 hours
Operating time: 180 minutes
Container capacity: 0.6 liters

Ideal for intermediate cleanings

Medion MD18871 robot vacuum cleaner

A great entry-level robot vacuum, this gadget is ideal for quickly freshening up your home between deep cleanings. Clear instructions made it a breeze to assemble and our tester was impressed with how clean his room was; it took half an hour, but the dust, crumbs and pet hair were all completely removed.

Its build quality didn’t quite stand up to that of higher-end models – the dust bin flap didn’t close properly after use – but it’s a relatively budget-friendly choice.

Key specs
Number of cleaning modes: Auto
Mapping technology: Yes
Loading time: 3 hours
Operating time: 120 minutes
Container capacity: 0.6 liters

Ideal for carpet

Eufy by Anker 15C Max

If you’re looking to give your new plush rugs the robot vacuum treatment, note that this Eufy devoured most of our dirt in testing, including pet hair. Its brushes proved too powerful for hard floors, blowing dust instead of sucking it into the cartridge, so check out the Neato below if that’s your main floor style.

It cleared our test room in a respectable 25 minutes, taking turns and crevices in its stride, but its navigation was pretty hit or miss. It lacks mapping and no-go capabilities, so hit up a WFH day where you can keep an eye on it.

Key specs
Number of cleaning modes: Auto, spot, edge and single room
Mapping technology: No
Loading time: 5-6 hours
Operating time: 100 minutes
Container capacity: 0.6 liters

Ideal for hard floors

Neato D9 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Instead of blowing it away, this Neato reliably cleaned dust and debris from our tiled floors. It has also proven effective on carpets, making it ideal if your home has a mix of hard and soft floors.

It struggled a bit with obstacles, getting stuck around a table leg, but it alerted our tester through the app. His route wasn’t particularly systematic, but again the app came in handy, recording his movements to help us spot missed areas.

Key specs
Number of cleaning modes: Auto
Mapping technology: Yes
Loading time: 2 hours
Operating time: 200 minutes
Container capacity: 0.7 liters

Best Cheap Roomba

iRobot Roomba 698

iRobot’s prices can be eye-popping, but for just under £240 you can enjoy the great pick-up power, intuitive app and reliable voice control of the top-end Roombas in our roundup.

Unsurprisingly, its lower price requires some compromise; while it passed our carpet and pet hair tests, it did scatter dust on hard floors. It also lacks mapping or no-go capabilities. As a result, it wasn’t the most effective whole room cleaner, missing some edges and corners.

Key specs
Number of cleaning modes: Automatic and one-time cleaning
Mapping technology: Yes
Loading time: 3 hours
Operating time: 90 minutes
Container capacity: 0.6 liters

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