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The best robot vacuums for 2020

Cleaning your home doesn’t have to take all day, especially when you use one of the best robot vacuums on the market. The bad old days of smart vacuums bumping into furniture are over, and new robot vacuums know how to maneuver around obstacles with ease. They can tackle tiles and carpet, and most come with an array of useful accessories as well.

But which one is the best fit for your home? Do you need one that specializes in picking up pet hair, or one with a massive battery to get as much cleaning done as possible in one go? Here are some of the best robot vacuums in 2020.

At a glance

  • Best overall: iRobot Roomba s9 Plus
  • Best robot vacuum for edges and corners: Neato Botvac D6
  • Best multi-surface robot vacuum: iRobot Roomba 960
  • Most versatile robot vacuum: Shark Ion S87
  • Best robot vacuum for pet owners: Ecovacs Deebot 901
  • Best value robot vacuum: Ecovacs Deebot N79S

iRobot Roomba s9 Plus

Best overall

Sure, a robot vacuum makes cleaning your floors a heck of a lot easier. But, you still have to empty the dustbin just about every time you run it. With its Clean Base and compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant, the s9 Plus is the latest model from the esteemed company that’s capable of literally vacuuming without having you lift a finger. Just say “Alexa …” or “OK, Google, ask Roomba to start cleaning,” and your s9 Plus will start cleaning. The best part about it is when it completes the cleaning, since the clean base will suck the dirt and debris into an enclosed bag that holds up to 30 deposits.

In addition to being one of the most user-friendly robots you can buy, the s9 Plus adopts a new flat fronted, D-shaped design to allow for better edge and corner cleaning. Naturally, it’s also outfitted with the latest tech under the hood — consisting of a new 3D sensor in the front bumper that enhances Roomba’s wall detection, a more powerful cleaning head, and intelligent mapping. It can tell where it has already been and where it still needs to clean. The robot can clean your entire home, or you can instruct it to clean specific places. Its sensors can locate the higher traffic areas in your home, and the robot will be extra attentive to those dirtier areas of your floors.

While the s9 Plus is exceptionally expensive, its performance and features are top-notch. If you want the best of the best in terms of robot vacuums, the s9 Plus is the way to go. You can check out our full review of the Roomba s9 Plus here.

Neato Botvac D6

Best for obstacles

Neato Botvac D6 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

You can easily set the Botvac D6 to clean your entire home or spot clean a specific section of a room. Once set up, you can check in on the bot to schedule tasks and similarly receive notifications as rooms are cleaned via the Neato app. You can store up to three different floor plans, making the D6 the ideal robot for a three-story home. The D6 comes with magnetic strips to set up boundaries around the home or apartment. This is a great way to prevent the unit from bumping into your pet’s food dishes and also partitioning play areas to keep the bot from chewing up toys. You can also create virtual “No-Go Lines” in the Neato App that tell the robot which areas to avoid.

The Botvac D6 has a laser-based navigation system, which allows it to scan and map your home and even clean in the dark. It has a large main brush that picks up pet hair and small debris, and an ultra-performance filter to trap allergens. The battery life on the D6 is pretty good too, at 120 minutes, and it has a quick-boost charging feature to let it charge as much as it needs to finish the job. Plus, with Neato’s D-shape build, this robotic vacuum is a boss when it comes to cornering and edging. We conducted a full review of the Botvac D6 if you’d like to learn more.

iRobot Roomba 960

Best multi-surface

iRobot Roomba 960
Few homes are limited to just carpet or hardwood, and not all robotic vacuums are capable of tackling high-pile carpets or linoleum. That said, the Roomba 960 can handle the full spectrum of flooring options in your home. While many models boast a turbo and efficiency mode, these are often options you need to tweak manually as the bot moves about the home, and babysitting your vacuum sort of defeats the purpose of allocating the task to a droid in the first place. That said, the Roomba 960 automatically adapts to its environment, increasing or decreasing the suction for the terrain underfoot at a given time.

Some models — like the aforementioned Botvac D6 — use magnetic strips to establish a perimeter fence to prevent the vacuum from venturing into unwanted areas. The Roomba 960, on the other hand, maps your home using its iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology. Then you can control the cleaning via the iRobot Home App.

Shark Ion S87

Most versatile

Shark ION Robot Vacuum Cleaning System S87 review
Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Shark is known for making pretty solid upright vacuums, but it also has a hit with the S87 cleaning system. The S87 system includes the Ion R85 Robot Vacuum, the Ion W1 handheld vacuum, and a charging base that simultaneously charges both units.

The robot vacuum has powerful suction, a large dustbin, and it includes boundary strips to block off specific areas like pet food areas or doorways. The Shark Ion Robot app lets you create schedules and control the robot. You can also voice control the R85, given it has Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility.

The handheld is lightweight, weighing only 1.4 pounds. It comes with three separate attachments — a pet hair tool, a dusting tool, and a crevice tool. You can use the handheld to clean furniture, dust, or even to clean your car. Although the handheld doesn’t have the greatest battery life, it has powerful suction for such a small vacuum and its addition to the R85 this makes this a truly versatile vacuuming system. Check out our full review of the Shark Ion S87 Cleaning System (here).

Ecovacs Deebot 901

Best robot vacuum for pet owners

Ecovacs Deebot 901 review
Terry Walsh/Digital Trends

The Deebot 901 (read our full review here) combines extra power with very smart features that are great for tech junkies who want to upgrade an old model or finally adopt a robot vac of their own. It integrates with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa for voice controls and offers up to 100 minutes of cleaning per charge for all types of flooring except very thick carpet.

The 901 also uses what we found to be very accurate smart mapping to get a picture of surroundings and avoid collisions while plotting the best paths. The traditional spinning brushes are here, but you can back them up with a suction attachment that excels at removing extra debris, like matted pet hair. This is particularly useful if your pets like to lounge on the carpet but tend to leave a lot of themselves behind.

Ecovacs Deebot N79S

Best value robot vacuum

Ecovacs Deebot N79S

If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to Roomba models, we recommend this affordable Deebot model. It doesn’t have the mapping technology found in higher-priced models, but it does have obstacle detection, app controls and voice controls via Alexa or Google Assistant. If you prefer controlling the vac via the app, you’ll be pleased to see it has options for direct control, or various cleaning modes for different tasks, including an extra suction mode for larger messes. On the normal mode, the Deebot N79S has a 110-minute run time. One battery cycle is enough to clean about 1,100 square feet.

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