Best Robot Vacuum And Mop Combos
The Roomba i3 Evo Plus adds the auto-empty bin to the i3 and is the best value Roomba that can empty its own bin.
The best robot vacuum you can buy right now
I’ve tested close to 50 robot vacuums. Here are the best, from budget robot vacuums to vacuum / mop hybrids with and without auto-empty docks and other fancy features.
By Jennifer Pattison Tuohy , a smart home reviewer who’s been testing connected gadgets since 2013. Previously a writer for Wirecutter, Wired, and BBC Science Focus.
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Robot vacuums are impressive devices that will clean your floors well without complaining (much). As prices have dropped, these busy little bots have become less of a luxury and more of a necessity. They can reach places most standup vacs never see (under beds and sofas) and, thanks to better batteries and robot brains, rarely get tired of cleaning.
I’ve been testing robot vacuums for five years and have run close to 50 robot vacuums all over my house in my quest to find the best. There’s been a lot of innovation in this space, which is slowly getting us closer to that Rosie the Robot dream. Robot vacuums that can actually mop are now a thing, auto-empty docks take a lot of the hassle out of cleaning your robot (although you do still need to do this), and better mapping and obstacle avoidance skills mean robot vacuums largely do get the job done. But we’re still far from a robot that can handle all your housework.
What I look for
Superior cleaning power
It’s not all about suction. In my testing, the brush is the big factor in how well a robot will clean your floors. A large rubber roller brush is much better than a small bristle brush at picking up debris. It’s also less prone to getting tangled up with hair. And two brushes are better than one.
A big bin (or an auto-empty option)
A big bin means you don’t need to empty it as often. 800 ml is the largest I’ve seen, but anything over 500 ml is decent. With many bots now pulling double duty as mopping robots, plus the popularity of auto-empty charging bases, it’s getting harder to find small robot vacs with big bins, but they’re still worth considering. I love auto-empty bases, but sometimes you don’t have space for them, especially if you like your robot to live under your bed (this is a useful thing, not a kinky thing).
These robots are quite an investment, and the ability to buy replacement parts to keep them going for longer is a big bonus.
A robot that maps your house will get into every nook and cranny better than one that bumps and rolls around. Mapping also lets you send the robot to clean specific rooms rather than the whole space and add virtual walls to prevent your bot from going where you don’t want it to. These are crucial if you have delicate objects or areas in your home that regularly trap robots. Most robots use variations on simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology.
A good app has easy controls to stop and start your vacuum, scheduling options (including do not disturb-hours), plus good mapping features. My biggest frustration with apps is maps that are fiddly to update and / or crash and must be rebuilt constantly.
Good battery life
This is not as important now that nearly all robot vacuums can “recharge and resume” — take themselves back to their dock when they’re low and recharge before picking up where they left off). However, you want at least 120 minutes of runtime (180 is the best). It’s nice if the bot can clean the whole house in one go. Noisy robots that are constantly running will get shut off by annoyed family members.
An auto-empty dock
A nice-to-have rather than a must-have, this turns the charging base for your robot into a motorized emptying station that sucks out the dirt from its bin. (Warning: this process is very loud!) This saves you from having to pull out the bin after every few runs and empty it yourself. Instead, you’ll have to replace the bag (and buy new ones) when it gets full, generally about once a month. Many standalone robots now have an auto-empty dock option you can add later, although buying them together is generally cheaper.
AI obstacle avoidance
Another nice-to-have feature, AI obstacle avoidance helps your robot “intelligently” avoid clutter (and a potential poop apocalypse if it encounters pet waste). These models use cameras (worth noting) to see objects in their path and decide how to approach them. Robot vacuums with AI avoidance are less likely to get stuck when cleaning, meaning you’re more likely to come home to a clean floor rather than a beached bot. It also means you don’t have to tidy up before the robot runs, as it can navigate around shoes, socks, and other common clutter.
As for price: everyone and their uncle is making robot vacs now, so the market is completely oversaturated. This means you should only be paying the list price if you really want the newest model — and you want it right now. Otherwise, please don’t buy a robot vacuum unless it’s on sale.
You can expect to get a decent basic floor sweeper for under $300, a mapping auto-emptying model for $400 to $600, and a top-of-the-line bot for $800 to $900. For those who want to do the least work, you’re looking at over $1,000 for one that sweeps, mops, and cleans itself while also avoiding smearing pet poop all over your floors. (Yes, this happens. Yes, it’s happened to me).
The good news is that there are a lot of options, and whether you have a 3,000-square-foot home and three shaggy dogs or a small, stylish apartment you share with a goldfish, there’s a robot vacuum to suit your needs.
Best robot vacuum overall
iRobot Roomba j7
The Roomba j7 is an AI-powered robot vacuum that detects and avoids common robot traps, such as cords, cables, and pet waste. It works with a stylish clean base that will clean the dirt out of its bin so you don’t have to.
Dustbin capacity: 419ml / Auto-empty dock option: yes / Mapping: yes / AI obstacle avoidance: yes / Remote check-in: yes / Keep-out zones: yes, virtual / Brush style: dual, rubber / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts
iRobot’s Roomba j7 is the best of the best, offering excellent cleaning power, an impressive app, plenty of extra features, easy repairability, and a stylish design for under $600. Its dual rubber roller brush system is the best out there for actually getting dirt off your floors. Most other bots use single brushes and don’t get everything up the first time. If you have pets, children, or just lots of foot traffic and find it hard to keep up with your floors, the j7 will do the dirty work for you.
While this is a pricey bot, it’s the first Roomba with AI obstacle avoidance. This means it uses both a camera and some processor-powered smarts to see and avoid potential obstacles, such as power cables, shoes, socks, and pet waste. The real benefit here is that you don’t have to tidy up before you run your vacuum (although cluttered floors won’t get as clean). It also means that it rarely gets stuck during a job, so you won’t come home to a beached bot and a half-clean house. I’ve tested a number of “AI” bots, and the j7 avoids debris the most reliably.
The Roomba j7 is a superb vacuum that looks good (for a vacuum) and works well. You can get the robot on its own or with iRobot’s Clean Base auto-empty dock — that model (pictured) is called the j7 Plus.
A 2023 update added the option to use the AI camera as a home security camera, letting you check in on your home through the app when you’re away. Remote Check In is optional, live stream only, and there’s no audio. This is a feature on a few high-end vacuums, and I find it useful for checking if I left a door open or finding where my cat is hanging out for the day. I wish I could use it to check if I left the stove on, but the angle means you can only see knee-high.
For about $200 more, you can take away the chore of emptying its decent-sized bin by investing in the j7 Plus, the j7 robot vac with an auto-empty dock. This is one of the most reliable (it doesn’t get clogged), nicest-looking auto-empty docks I’ve tested. The design is compact, with some welcome aesthetic touches, such as ribbed matte black plastic casing and a leather pull tab to access the bin area, so it doesn’t look too alien in your home. It also includes a cubby to store an extra bag, though I wish you could fit more than one in there. (If you already have the j7, you can buy the dock separately for about $250.)
The Roomba j7 is a mapping robot that can learn your home’s floor plan and identify the furniture and appliances in it. So I can ask it to clean specific areas, such as in front of the fridge or behind the couch. I find this really helpful when there’s a spill mid-food prep or for a quick clean-up after a meal: “Hey Alexa, ask Roomba to clean up around the dining table.”
While most mapping robots allow you to create virtual keep-out zones — areas the robot shouldn’t venture into — this Roomba uses its AI smarts to suggest trouble spots, making creating keep-out zones a one-tap job.
The j7 uses two rubber roller brushes and a large side brush.
I like that you can link the robot to other smart devices in your house. For example, you can set it to clean when you lock your front door or close your garage. Using the geofencing feature in the iRobot app, I had the j7 start running when I leave the house and stop when I arrive home. This works well, with the robot generally docking as I walked into the house.
The biggest downside is that Roombas are noisy. The j7 is one of the loudest vacuums I’ve tested, and you can’t adjust suction power for a quieter run as you can with almost every other robot vacuum.
A big reason I recommend Roombas is how easy they are to repair, a crucial factor for an expensive gadget you’d like to use for many years. My in-laws still have a Roomba they bought in 2007, and it works great. While parts are costly, they are readily available, including mechanical bits like wheels and the entire cleaning module. This is not the case for many of the other bots I tested. Roborock, for example, doesn’t sell spare parts beyond bags, bins, and brushes on its accessories site; you have to ship the robot to the company for any repairs.
If you are looking for the best clean for your buck and want to avoid the possibility that the robot won’t finish its run because of stray clutter, the Roomba j7 is the one to go with. Its cleaning prowess is largely unmatched thanks to the decades of experience iRobot has in this space, and it’s one of the easiest robot vacuums to use. The app is simple and uncluttered, with new features added frequently.
If you are looking for a robot that vacuums and mops, one of Roborock’s mopping robots will suit you better than iRobot’s j7 Combo, which is a j7 with a mopping pad. It doesn’t do enough with its mopping feature to justify the extra price. However, if you have a lot of high-pile rugs, the j7 tackles these better than Roborocks. In that case, I’d recommend getting the j7 and a separate mopping bot for your non-carpeted floors. iRobot’s Braava Jet m6 is a good option that can be programmed to mop after the Roomba vacuum is done. It’s often sold in a bundle. But beware, Braava Jets can’t handle high transitions at all.
Read my full review of the Roomba j7 / j7 Plus and the Roomba Combo j7
Best budget robot vacuum
iRobot Roomba i3 Evo
The best bang for your buck, the Roomba i3 Evo cleans just as well as the j7 but won’t avoid clutter and doesn’t have app-enabled clean zones or keep-out zones. If you can live without those, you’ll be very happy with this bot. You can also pair it with an auto-empty station for $200 more.
Dustbin capacity: 419ml / Brush style: dual rubber / Auto-empty dock option: yes / Mapping: yes / AI obstacle avoidance: no / Remote check-in: no / Keep-out zones: physical only / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts
While the Roomba j7 is the best bot if you want all the bells and whistles, the Roomba i3 Evo is the best pick for a more affordable robot vacuum. There’s no AI obstacle avoidance or app-enabled clean or keep-out zones, but it does have smart mapping (so you can control exactly which rooms it cleans and when) and a physical spot-cleaning button for doing small areas on the fly. It’s almost as powerful as the j7 and just as repairable, so it should last you longer than a cheaper vacuum from another company.
The mapping feature allows you to set a schedule for cleaning certain rooms or send it off at any time to clean just the kitchen or living room. This makes it less intrusive since it doesn’t try to clean the whole house on every run — so I didn’t find it dead in a corner as often after an annoyed family member shut it off.
For several hundred dollars less than the j7, the i3 has similar software features, the same suction level, and a slightly smaller battery. You can get it with an auto-empty dock for a list price of $550 (i.e., probably lower). The physical design is also very similar to the j7 under the hood, with two multi-surface rubber roller brushes to get more dirt up. These rubber brushes don’t get tangled by long hair the way bristle brushes can.
However, the i3 tends to bump into things more often than the j7, resulting in a few toppled chairs during testing. It isn’t the right bot for you if you have delicate items like vases on pedestals. It is a beast, however, and can tackle any floor surface you throw at it, managing most transitions with ease.
The Roomba i3 Evo Plus adds the auto-empty bin to the i3 and is the best value Roomba that can empty its own bin.
But there’s no option to add keep-out zones in the app; you’ll need to buy iRobot’s virtual walls if there are places you don’t want the robot to go. These are little towers that emit a 10-foot barrier or a four-foot circle. They cost $99 for two, so if you need more than a couple of keep-out zones (and closing a door won’t work), it’s worth going for the j7 instead.
The i3 has an attractive woven plastic gray top — a nice change from most of the shiny black plastic you find in this category (a magnet for dust, fingerprints, and scratches). It still gets stuck on common robot traps such as phone charging cables, cat toys, and the skinny feet of a lounger chair in my house. You need to tidy up a bit before setting it free, but it does better with large cables and rug tassels than many other robots. (iRobot has anti-tangle tech that makes the bot reverse course if it starts to get tangled.) This works pretty well for bigger items but, sadly, not phone charging cords.
It’s worth noting that the Roomba i4 is the same robot vacuum as the i3 Evo, so pick up whichever offers the best price.
Best midrange robot vacuum/mop
Roborock Q Revo
The price is high, but this is the first sub-$1,000 bot that can do everything, just not quite as well as the top-of-the-line options. It vacuums, mops, self-empties, fills its mop reservoir, and cleans and dries its oscillating mops, plus it looks nice. It can map, has virtual keep-out zones, and works with voice assistants. But there’s no AI-powered obstacle avoidance, so you have to clean up your clutter, and its single roller brush isn’t as effective as the double ones on the j7 and S8.
Dustbin capacity: 350ml / Auto-empty dock option: yes / Mapping: yes / AI obstacle avoidance: no / Remote check-in: no / Keep-out zones: yes, virtual / Brush style: single rubber / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts
The Roborock Q Revo is an excellent bot that does everything you could ask for, but not quite as well as its top-of-the-line sibling, the Roborock S8. Which is sort of the definition of a “mid-range.” But if you want a good robot vacuum and mop that gets the job done but still leaves a bit of work for you (you’ll need to pick up those socks), the Q Revo is a great choice.
It’s cheaper than the Roomba j7 that can mop (the $1,100 J7 Combo) and is better at mopping. It also does more (including cleaning its mop and refilling the tank), and unlike the i3 Evo Plus, it has keep-out zones. So, if those features are important to you, the Q Revo is a good option. It’s expensive for a mid-range bot but has features only found on much more expensive bots, making it an overall bargain.
These include a big battery, two spinning mops that can lift up over carpet (so you don’t have to remove them to vacuum the whole house), and an auto-empty, wash and fill dock for a list price of under $900. This means it will empty the vacuum’s bin, fill its mopping reservoir, and wash the mops. Most other models that do all this cost over $1,000.
Best Robot Vacuum And Mop Combos
I’m on the hunt for a very efficient robot vacuum and mop combo. Emphasis on the mop part.
I live in an apartment with three cats. I find myself vacuuming and mopping everyday.
I was attracted to the Narwal at first but have definitely changed my mind on that robot after reading countless reviews.
So far, I see Roborock, Bissell, and maybe a few others that might be worth it. I genuinely just want to buy a good product with emphasis on the mopping part. I prefer to empty it as little as possible and would love to have the smart mapping feature so I can tell it to specifically go clean the bathroom. However, I know it’s hard to have all the boxes checked to a certain extent. So, mopping is (again) the most important feature to me. I would say smart mapping is second.
Any ideas/suggestions? Price range isn’t too much of a concern. Don’t think I’d want to pay over $1k but would consider if it’s worth it and long lasting.