Units by different manufacturers employ varying ways of cleaning, some with brushes, some with UV rays, some with mopping action. The units have built in programming which utilize ultra-sound or lasers to navigate the surface to be vacuumed.
Bestselling Robotic Vacuum
With over 10,000,000 units sold, iRobot’s Roomba system is the market leader. The Roomba 880 is ideal for people with pets or allergies. The unit sits at the higher end of the price range for robot vacuums. Utilizing the exclusive AeroForce Cleaning System, the 880 delivers a perfect mix of debris extraction combined with vacuum suction.
Dirt, particulates and allergens are funneled into a sealed HEPA-filtered bin. Virtual Wall Lighthouse technology commands the Roomba to completely finish one room prior to moving on to the next space.
When the rechargeable battery starts to wane, the Roomba 880 know itself well enough to return and connect to the home base for recharging.
Virtual Wall Lighthouses (included) can act as entry gates or blocks; placed at the entrance to a room, depending on the setting, the Lighthouse welcomes the Roomba in when it has finished the previous room, or acts as a guard to prohibit entry to rooms you don’t want attended. Programming options allow you to pre-set times and days to initiate tasks, up to seven times per week.
In the box with the 8.4 pound unit you’ll find a battery, charging station, two Virtual Lighthouses with batteries, remote control with batteries, and an extra HEPA filter. The Roomba comes with a one year limited warranty.
Best Robot Vacuum under $500
If a vacuum in the middle price range appeals to you, you’ll want to look at the Neato Botvac 80. The bag less unit easily navigates its way around carpeted or bare floors.
Exclusive, patented Neato technology uses lasers to plot and complete each room, instead of just bumping into walls to turn around.
Neato Botvac’s have a unique edge cleaning tool, a side brush making sure everything in the vacuum’s path is picked up. A larger dust bin and 50% larger brush make the Neato ideal for scooping up pet hair and other particulates.
The unit allows you to schedule daily cleanings, or simply start it and let it go from room to room on its own, returning to the charging base when needed and heading back out to its unfinished tasks when charged.
Exclusive technology lets the Neato ‘gently bump’ obstacles once and then continue on its way.
Included in the box is the vacuum, charging base and cord, combo blade/brush, filter, side brush, battery and room markers.
The Neato has a one year limited warranty on the unit, and a six month warranty on the battery; additional accessories (blades, filters, batteries, room markers) are available for purchase.
Top Robotic Vacuum to Buy
The Mieli RX1 Scout, is packed with exclusive technology that helps it work harder and run more efficiently. Mieli has been producing home appliances for over one hundred years, and the collective engineering, design and production experience shows in this unit.
The long life lithium battery can clean for two hours or up to 1600 feet before needing a recharge. A built in gyro senses when the unit needs to change directions, and seven front and back sensors prevent the vacuum from bumping into furniture or falling down stairs.
Mieli’s exclusive Triple Cleaning System features a wide front brush accompanied by two side brushes and strong suction.
The Scout uses a unique ceiling camera to map out a room and retain knowledge of areas already covered, prior to moving on to a new cleaning task. As opposed to other brands which use a ‘bump and turn’ guidance system, Mieli’s exclusive camera allows the vacuum to move back and forth in straight lines for a more thorough cleaning.
There are four different cleaning modes, plus the remote control; you can set the vacuum to go from one room to the next until finished, just do the corners and return to base, hit one spot area and move on, or choose “turbo mode” for two times faster performance. The remote allows you to completely control the mode, time, charging, or direction.
A magnetic strip can be placed in doorways to prevent the Scout from entering a new room.
Best Robotic Floor Cleaner
At the low end of the pricing range, the Bobsweep Pethair Robotic Floor Cleaner provides advanced technology at an entry level price. It includes one of the highest density brushes in the industry, as well as one of the widest.
Unique to the Bobsweep is its multi-tasking ability, it can vacuum and mop, utilizing technology to decide which is appropriate for the floor surface it is covering, and adding sterilizing to its coverage via a built-in UV light.
It also has one of the segment’s largest dust bins, holding a full one liter of debris.
There is a one year limited warranty and five years of subsidized repairs offered.