How to Buy a Great Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Cleaning performance on hard floors and carpet

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Hard floors

Most of the robot vacuums we’ve tested are very good at cleaning hard floors – albeit not always in the corners and edges.

For a house with mostly hard floors, most of the robot vacuum cleaners we’ve tested will do a reasonable job of keeping the floors clean when run on a daily basis, though a more thorough cleaning with a standard vacuum (or a broom) will still be needed occasionally. 


Despite sophisticated technology – navigation software, stairs detection, cameras to detect dirt – robot vacuum cleaners are still comparatively poor at removing dirt from carpets.

Robot vacuums can’t generate the suction of a standard vacuum and while they can leave the carpet looking clean, below the surface a lot of dirt is left behind. Over time, this can damage the pile. 

In a home with carpeted floors, a robot vac is fine for a tidy-up, but the carpet will need a regular going-over with a standard vacuum to get most of the dirt out.

What about pet hair?

In our tests, we’ve found robot vacuums can pick up a reasonable amount of fluff (such as pet hair) along with some dirt, but on the carpet, they also seem to push the remaining dirt even deeper into the pile.