The best roomba iRobot makes, the combo j7+ is a self-emptying robot vacuum cleaner with an intelligent mopping function that automatically switches modes when it moves from hard floors to rugs and carpets.
Although they’ve improved a lot in recent years, even the best robot vacuum cleaners won’t beat a good zip around with a traditional cordless vacuum.
But what these little robo-helpers excel at is maintaining a baseline level of tidiness between more-thorough cleans, meaning you can enjoy dirt-free carpets and hair-free floors for longer.
More-advanced models come with a mopping attachment, which lets the robot tackle kitchen and bathroom floors more effectively. Depending on the robot vacuum you choose, you might have to swap the mop attachment in and out, or it could be fully autonomous, switching modes on the fly as it detects the floor type it’s on.
Pretty much every robot vacuum will connect to Google, Alexa or Apple’s smart home platforms, so you can build a cleaning schedule or trigger the vacuum from your phone while you’re out and about.
Many are also able to “learn” the layout of your home and plan more-efficient routes, some can avoid obstacles, others wander aimlessly, a few can even empty their own bins, and some are able to detect and navigate around hazards such as loose charging cables, shoe laces and dog poop (you can imagine the mess that would make).
How we tested
We tested each robot vacuum cleaner over many months and in different homes (some with pets), paying close attention to how each robot performed in new surroundings. As well as allowing the robots to clean routinely, we subjected them to some more-rigourous tests too: spilling cornflour and rice in their path to measure their effectiveness at dealing with different types of mess.
As well as testing their hoovering skills, we rated each robot’s app and how easy they were to set up and maintain. Also considered were the costs of any replacement parts – all robot vacuums wear out over time and require fresh filters, brushes, dust bags and rollers.
The best robot vacuum cleaners in 2023 are:
- Best robot vacuum cleaner overall – iRobot roomba combo j7+: £899, Amazon.co.uk
- Best budget robot vacuum cleaner – eufy robovac 15C max: £243.30, Amazon.co.uk
- Best robot vacuum cleaner for pet hair – iRobot roomba s9+: £899, Amazon.co.uk
- Best robot vacuum cleaner for carpets – Neato D10: £457.61, Amazon.co.uk