iRobot Roomba 614
Reliable, repairable, and good on rugs
This tried-and-true robot vacuum is much more durable and repairable than similar bots from other brands and is better at cleaning rugs too. It’s a nimble navigator that rarely gets stuck, though it works best when it only has to clean three or four rooms at a time.
Reliable, repairable, and connected
This is essentially the same bot as the Roomba 614—plus Wi-Fi connectivity that enables remote control from a smartphone app, scheduling, and integration with some popular smart-home voice assistants.
We’ve been testing Roomba 600 series robots at Wirecutter since 2012, and no other affordable robots are as durable as these. Even if a part does break down after a few years, it’s easy to swap in a new part at home, and iRobot has an excellent track record for keeping spare parts available for every model the company has ever made. The Roomba 614, 675, and other 600 series models are also better at cleaning rugs than other affordable bots, because they’re the only ones with two brush rolls. The navigation system is semi-random, so the bot looks pretty silly as it bonks around under furniture and occasionally drives in circles, but it’s perfectly effective for cleaning smaller spaces. (One of our upgrade picks will work better in a larger space.) And it rarely gets stuck under furniture. These bots are a little bit taller, louder, and rougher than other affordable bots like the Eufy RoboVac 11S, but we think most people will find that the added durability is worth it.
Eufy RoboVac 11S
Quiet, nimble, and affordable
This affordable robot vacuum is the quietest we’ve ever tested and fits under more furniture. While it works best in small spaces, it rarely gets stuck and does a good job on bare floors and short-pile rugs. However, it’s not as durable as a Roomba.
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No other robot vacuum blends into the background like the Eufy RoboVac 11S. It can clean almost every nook of your house, yet you’ll barely notice it. That’s largely because it sounds more like a fan than a vacuum, so even if you’re at home while it’s running, it shouldn’t get on your nerves. It’s also unlikely to get stuck and quit midway through a cleaning session. While it can’t clean plush rugs as well as the Roomba 675, it’s strong enough to keep bare floors and short-pile rugs tidy. Like most affordable robots, it relies on a semi-random navigation system, which works well in smaller spaces but can struggle in larger homes. The main problem—and the reason that it’s no longer our top pick—is that it doesn’t seem to be nearly as durable as the Roomba 600 series, according to some reader feedback, and most of its major parts (like its wheels and brush transmissions) can’t be replaced even if you wanted to repair it. Eufy makes several similar models, including the RoboVac 11S Max, RoboVac 15C, RoboVac 30, and RoboVac 30C Max, which offer additional features like Wi-Fi, extra suction, and tape you can use to place boundaries your robot won’t cross. Our advice: Try to buy Eufy bots when they cost less than $230 or, if possible, even $200. Prices on Eufy bots can swing wildly, and a representative from Eufy told us that you shouldn’t pay full price because discounts are always around the corner.
Supersmart bot, great price
This robot vacuum can quickly and gracefully navigate large spaces, and it offers a robust and flexible barrier-setting feature via smartphone app for a lot less money than anything we’ve seen so far.
The Roborock S4 is one of the most efficient navigators we’ve tested, able to gracefully avoid most obstacles and quickly cover a lot of ground. That makes it great for large homes—and for owners who can’t stand to watch their bot aimlessly bonk around. It’s one of the few bots (so far) that lets you both set up invisible do-not-cross lines and tell it to clean specific rooms in your home (while skipping others) through an interactive map in a smartphone app. That would all be impressive in a robot at any price, but the Roborock S4 is also one of the most affordable robots with any interactive mapping features, let alone all of these in one package. The downsides: We’re not sure how durable Roborock bots are (it’s a newer brand), and while it’s an adequate cleaner overall, it doesn’t tackle rugs as well as other bots at this price.
iRobot Roomba 960
Excellent cleaner, smart enough
The 960 has a track record for reliability and offers excellent carpet-cleaning performance—especially with pet hair. Its nimble nav system consistently and thoroughly cleans big spaces, though this bot is missing a few advanced features.
The Roomba 960 builds on the same base as the nimble, sturdy 600 series that we recommend. But it adds a camera and a few other sensors to the nav system to create a map of your floor plan as it cleans, so it looks smarter than the cheaper Roomba (and Eufy) and won’t miss any big spots even if it’s tackling a massive home. It’s an overall excellent cleaner and particularly good at getting lots of hair out of thicker rugs, plus it can connect to Wi-Fi. The downside is that unlike a lot of other robots in this price category now (including the Roborock S4), the Roomba 960 doesn’t have any kind of interactive mapping feature—you can’t set up no-go lines or divide your floor plan into individual rooms. So it feels a little bit behind the times.