Skip to main content

Do you need a regular vacuum if you have a robot vacuum?

The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra connected to plumbing.

Robot vacuums are a great addition to any home. The best products on the market are capable of vacuuming and mopping without any manual input, giving you an easy way to automate your floor-cleaning needs. Some will even empty their dustbins and wash their mops — making them shockingly autonomous. But should you still own a regular vacuum if you have a robot vacuum? After all, robot vacuums aren’t cheap, and owning both types of products might seem superfluous and expensive.

Unfortunately, robot vacuums are not yet at the point where they can clean your entire home, making it important for all families to hold on to a regular vacuum. Here’s a closer look at robot vacuums and why they’re not a complete replacement for your upright or cordless vacuum.

Robot vacuums can’t reach all areas of your home

The Furbuster vacuum in use on a dog bed.
Black + Decker

Things have improved over the years, but robot vacuums still can’t clean every inch of your house. This includes stairs, furniture (such as couches or doggy beds), cramped spaces under tables, and other areas of the home that might be too small for the robot — such as behind a sectional or up against baseboards. Some robot vacuums are better than others at reaching these difficult locations, with newer models employing swinging mops and brushes to better clean awkward spaces. However, they’re still not perfect and are bound to miss a bit of floor space.

This makes it crucial to keep a traditional vacuum on hand so you can clean every spot in your home. Many users will clean these cramped spaces manually while the robot is running, ensuring the house is spotless by the time the cleaning cycle is finished.

Robot vacuums aren’t as powerful as traditional vacuums

Cleaning pet hair from the floor with the Bissell CrossWave Hydrosteam wet/dry vacuum.

While the best robot vacuums now offer over 10,000 Pa of suction, they’re still not quite as powerful as traditional vacuums. This is especially true when comparing them to plug-in upright vacuums, which often pair heaps of power with large brushes that can better pull pet fur and other debris from carpet. That means it’s important to manually vacuum your home every so often to ensure you’re getting the deepest clean possible. This is especially true for households with pets, as an occasional manual vacuuming will help improve the overall performance of your robot vacuum by preventing it from getting gunked up with excess fur.

Traditional vacuums are better for spot cleanings

iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ with Home app in foreground

If you accidentally knock a planter pot on the ground or there’s another small mess to clean up, you don’t need to clean the entire house and can instead just vacuum the impacted area. And while some robot vacuums are now capable of performing spot cleans, they’re much slower than regular vacuums. From launching the mobile app and selecting the cleaning area to the robot actually performing the task and emptying its bin, the process is surprisingly lengthy. Instead, homes with a traditional vacuum can plug it in and get the mess cleaned in seconds.

Consider a combo unit

The Ecovacs Deebot T30S Combo in its dock.

If you like the idea of buying one product to tackle all your floor-cleaning needs, consider looking at the handful of combination products available on the market. A few manufacturers are now bundling robot vacuums with cordless vacuums — giving you an easy way to snag products to clean every inch of your home. The Ecovacs T30S Combo is a notable example, as it’s powerful, relatively affordable, and empties the dustbin for both the robot and cordless vacuums, allowing you to keep both your floors and hands clean.

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
Blink Mini 2 vs. Ring Stick Up Cam Plug-In: Which budget security camera is best for you?
The Blink Mini 2 placed on two books.

Blink and Ring are two of the best-known security companies, and they're responsible for many of the best security cameras on the market. The Blink Mini 2 and the Ring Stick Up Cam Plug-In are popular choices for frugal shoppers, as they carry reasonable price tags, yet offer most of the features you'd expect from a well-rounded camera. But if you only need one, which is right for you -- the Blink Mini 2 or the Ring Stick Up Cam Plug-In? Here's a look at both to help you decide.
Pricing and monthly fees

The Blink Mini 2 is one of the most affordable security cameras money can buy. It clocks in at just $40, though Blink often slashes its price to just $30. If you'd like to use the camera outside, you can bundle in the Weather Resistant Adapter for a total of $50.  The Ring Stick Up Cam Plug-In is more expensive at $100, though with the launch of the Stick Up Cam Pro, it's typically available for $70.

Read more
Are robotic pool cleaners worth it?
The Airper Seagull SE robotic pool cleaner at the bottom of a swimming pool.

The worst part of owning a swimming pool is taking care of it From filter maintenance and skimming debris from the surface to managing chemicals and more, you'll likely find yourself hanging out around the water more often than you're actually in the water. Robotic pool cleaners are designed to alleviate this pinch point of pool ownership by giving you back your time and automating most of your tasks.

But are robotic pool cleaners worth it, or are they a gimmick that still require heaps of manual input? Here's a closer look to help you decide if one would be a good addition to your backyard.
Budget-friendly devices are often a hassle

Read more
This new robot vacuum competes with rivals nearly twice its price
The Yeedi C12 Pro Plus in its dock.

Ecovacs is a popular name in the world of robot vacuums, but its lineup is often remarkably expensive. The X2 Combo, for example, costs $1,600. However, the company has a sub-brand named Yeedi that offers more affordable products, and its new Yeedi C12 Pro Plus looks like a great alternative for frugal shoppers.

The Yeedi C12 Pro Plus is currently available for just $350 ahead of its June 1 launch, though its regular $600 price tag is leagues better than the $1,600 X2 Combo or $1,900 Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra. But despite the lower price tag, Yeedi packed the C12 Pro Plus with impressive features. The robot produces up to 8,000Pa of suction, uses dual comb teeth and an updated roller brush to limit tangles, and runs for up to 300 minutes before needing to recharge at its docking station. Once vacuuming is done, it'll automatically empty its dustbin.

Read more