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There are some people in this world for whom cleaning is an enjoyable task. But reader, I am not one of those people.
Sure, I love that sense of rejuvenation that comes with a thorough clean, but the actual chore of sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping? I’ll put it off as long as possible, creating more work for myself when I finally get around to picking up the vacuum.
Fortunately, we live in a world where evolving technology is making our lives easier in almost every way – and one of the new gadgets at the forefront of all that innovation, which seem to have been created with lazy cleaners like me in mind, is the robot vacuum.
They aren’t anything particularly new – the first one was originally created in the late ‘90s, believe it or not – but robot vacuums are now accessible to the everyday person, with models starting from the low hundreds and offering an impressive range of abilities.
BEST ROBOT VACUUM
Interested in automating your cleaning, but not sure where to start? Read on for our guide to the best robot vacuums to put your money towards, from the no-frills models all the way to the ingenious mopping, auto-emptying and voice-activated options – and including the Best Of team’s reviews of the best-selling ECOVACS DEEBOT T9+ and U2 Pro.
The Coredy R580-W may be one of the cheaper robot vacs on the market, but it still packs in plenty of nifty features. With five cleaning functions – spot cleaning, edge cleaning, max cleaning, single room cleaning and manual cleaning – it’ll keep your whole home tidy, and the wet-dry mopping function adds an extra level of cleanliness. It’s compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for added convenience, and the HEPA filter is ideal for those with allergies. You can use the smart app to schedule cleaning and monitor real-time cleaning, and add boundary strips if you want your vac to avoid certain areas.
The R580-W has a 4.3 out of five-star average rating, and to really sell you on it, listen to this reviewer who named their robot “Dustin Bieber” (points for creativity): “This is my first robot vacuum, and it will certainly NOT be my last. I’m so glad I took the plunge. The investment risk was worth it. The amount of dust it picks up every time is amazing – we’re pretty clean and tidy, no kids, pets, or clutter in case you are wondering”.
This robot vac from MyGenie has a super affordable price tag, and still boasts a 4.2 star average rating. It can be controlled via your phone or tablet, and features intelligent roaming sensors, dual side brushes, and powerful suction for a thorough clean every time. Obstacle-avoidance technology prevents it from falling down stairs or bumping into furniture, and it’s ideal for pet hair too.
One reviewer left five stars, writing, “Amazing value for money. Picks up an amazing amount of dust and in particular dog hair. Needs to be emptied after each use but it is highly recommended!”.
The DEEBOT T9+ certainly isn’t the cheapest model – but it comes with plenty of useful bells and whistles to justify the cost. Equipped with powerful dual vacuum, mopping functions, an auto-empty station and mobile air freshener, it also features 3D detection and obstacle avoidance technology that allows it to accurately map every corner of your home. The OZMO Pro functionality allows it to simultaneously sweep, vacuum and mop floors with minimal noise; and at the end of each clean it empties itself into a sealed disposable dust bag that holds up to 30 days of mess without leakage. It boasts a 4.5 star average rating, but we gave it a whirl for ourselves to see if it could live it to the hype.
ECOVACS DEEBOT T9+ REVIEW
Dani Maher, Best Of Reporter
“My two-bedroom apartment isn’t huge, but I’m the type of person who always puts off vacuuming longer than I should. So when I got the chance to test the ECOVACS DEEBOT T9+, my lazy self was very eager.
Set-up was easy – just follow the instructions to connect your robot to the app on your phone. In preparation for the first clean, I removed any major obstacles from my floors, hit the auto clean button on the app, and we were off to the races. The first time you run the vac, it’ll take extra time to map out the entire space, but I was really impressed by its accuracy. It easily navigated around furniture without bumping anything, differentiated between carpet and hard floors and automatically adjusted suction power, squeezed under beds and couches with ease, and avoided falling down the large staircase to my door (phew). When it was finished, I could view an impressive floor map and make adjustments to instruct it where it can and can’t go – no need for add-on magnetic tape like some other models, which was amazing.
It picked up an impressive amount of debris, leaving my floors near to spotless, with the exception of a few particularly tight spaces it couldn’t squeeze into – but those were easy to go over with a dustpan and brush. I was even more impressed by the mopping function, which effectively picked up any remaining mess and left my floors shining (and thankfully not sopping wet, definitely a bonus).
The auto empty function is handy, because it means I don’t have to empty the unit for up to a month. I think I’d be just as impressed with the vacuum without it, but it does add convenience.
Another bonus? I can connect my ECOVAC to my Google Assistant, which means that with a simple “Hey Google, vacuum the living room” I could set off my robot in a specific area without lifting a finger – guys, the future is here and I’m loving it.
The only area of difficulty was on a light rug I have under my dining table. It struggled to climb over the edges because they don’t stay very flat, but that’s a challenge with my regular vacuum too, so the ECOVAC isn’t to blame – and it navigated my other, heavier rugs (like the one pictured above) with ease.
Overall, I’m impressed by the DEEBOT T9+ and will continue to use it to keep my apartment tidy. There’s no excuses now – I can vacuum every other day while focusing on other chores or relaxing with a book. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to keep their home clean without the effort.”
The RoboVac 35c’s three-point cleaning system combines three brushes and strong suction to loosen and extract dirt for a spotless clean. It can be operated either via the touch control panel, the EufyHome app (where you can set boundaries), or using a compatible Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice assistant. Drop-sensing technology avoids disaster in the face of stairs or ledges, and the unit operates for up to 100 minutes at a low volume – plus it will return to its docking station when it needs to recharge.
It has a 4.5 star average rating, with one five-star reviewer writing, “Works very well, scheduled to clean every day [while we’re] not home! Helps heaps as we have two dogs that seem to drag a lot of dirt inside and dog hair”.
Yep, it’s another ECOVAC – but can you blame us for double-featuring the most popular robotic vacuum brand in Australia? The DEEBOT U2 Pro can remove up to 99 per cent of bacteria, and features an extra large dustbin, strong suction and tangle-free main brush. Direct it with your phone or smart speaker, and its advanced navigation paths won’t miss a spot, with up to 150 minutes of vacuuming on a single charge.
It has plenty of stellar reviews, but Best Of Editor Mariela has given it a whirl too – and here’s what she thought.
ECOVACS DEEBOT U2 PRO REVIEW
Mariela Summerhays, Best Of Editor
“My tiles are constantly covered in crumbs. With three young children under eight, there are maybe a whole ten minutes directly after sweeping the floor when its clean, before promptly being made into a mess again. Throw in a shedding cat, and its more than I can stay on top of.
The ECOVACS DEEBOT U2 Pro sounded just the thing I needed. And the verdict? If, like myself, you are short on leisure time, with a full-time job and young children to contend with (or even a fur baby), you’ll no doubt love having this new addition to your home.
My husband and I have worked its cleans into our daily schedule – each night, we get the kids to pick up their toys they’ve inevitably strewn all over, then replace our former sweep and mop of the tiles with a television show viewing. We’ve scheduled our robot vacuum to do a clean of our ground floor when we sleep – at just over 100 square metres, the DEEBOT U2 Pro can manage all rooms with the one charge, then return to its charging station upon completion. Though it takes just short of a couple of hours, we are asleep and in no hurry. The navigation technology is quite remarkable – as pictured above, I have several bar stools lining my kitchen counter, and the robot vacuum expertly weaves through their legs, picking up everything that has fallen between my children’s dinner plates and mouths.
If you are looking for a spot cleaner – just something to go over the floors under your kitchen island after cooking, for example – it may not be worth your time, waiting on the robot vacuum to reach a particular area or setting up boundaries with magnetic strips. In that case, you might prefer to just pick up a broom.
But for taking time back from your week nights, and knowing that still, your floors are as hygienic and clean as possible without too much cost and effort, this is the product for you.”
The iRobot Roomba is one of the pioneer brands of automated vacuuming – and their latest models continue to impress. The i7 uses a three-stage cleaning system with dual multi-surface rubber brushes and 10X suction to clean all matter of floor surfaces. It learns, maps and adapt to each room, letting you know which rooms are clean, and you can control it all via the app.
It has a compelling 4.6 star average rating, with one reviewer leaving five stars and writing, “This vacuum is a game changer. It vacuums when I’m not at home, I’m able to select what rooms to vacuum and when and organise it remotely while at work. I couldn’t be happier”.
The latest model from Roborock, the S7 uses sonic technology to scrub floors up to 3000 times a minute(!), eliminating dirt and stains. The auto-lifting mop cleverly detects incompatible surfaces so it can navigate across carpets without wetting them, which is a definite bonus, and the powerful suction combines with a tangle-free brush for your convenience – and of course, you can control it all via the app.
The Neato D7 has a 4.3 star average rating from more than 1,400 reviews, which makes its high-end price tag a lot more appealing. It features LaserSmart technology for intelligent navigation, zone cleaning to vacuum specific areas on demand, virtual no-go lines for customisation, and turbo mode to work on tough debris. Its unique D-shaped design helps it reach into corners and along walls, and smart home integration means it can be controlled via your phone, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, Google Home and more.
“This lil fella has made my life so much easier and more productive!” wrote one of many five-star reviewers. “(It) toils away while I move about the house taking care of the business of a household…starts working on the ground floor when I get up in the morning, while I shower, make the bed etc. I listen to him taking care of business while I’m in the basement doing laundry. So glad to have this tech in my life!”
If you’ve got a particularly messy pet, you need a robovac up to the task. The Electrolux PURE i9.2 features 3D vision navigation and a cleverly designed shape that allows it to nestle into every tight spot and corner. You can remotely control it via the app, and the main brushbar and side brush provide a thorough clean every time
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A ROBOT VACUUM?
When purchasing your robot vacuum, these are the factors to take into consideration:
• Price: The cost of a robot vacuum can vary from the lower hundreds to the lower thousands.
• Battery runtime: A larger battery life will allow your robot vac to get through the whole house on a single charge, so consider that if you have a large space.
• Capabilities: Your bog-standard robot vacuum can offer plain and simple suction cleaning, but fancier models offer mopping too – ideal for those with hard floors.
• Dustbin capacity: For larger houses, a larger dustbin capacity is preferred, so you don’t have to empty it mid-clean. Some models, like the ECOVACS DEEBOT T9+, also have auto-emptying functions on their charging bases, where they empty into a larger dustbin that you can dispose of at your convenience.
• Smart features: Depending on your spend, you may get additional smart features with your vacuum that allow you to control it remotely via your phone, edit your floor map to choose where it can and can’t vacuum or mop, and even schedule cleans or spot clean specific areas.
ARE ROBOT VACUUMS WORTH BUYING?
If you’re someone like me who finds yourself picking up your vacuum less frequently than you should, waiting for debris and dust to really build up while you try to find the time to commit to cleaning, a robot vacuum is absolutely worth buying. I can set off my robot vacuum and focus on work, more pressing chores, or even just catch up on TV while it does all the heavy lifting, leaving my place far cleaner with far less time between cleans.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I RUN MY ROBOT VACUUM?
This is totally up to you. If you live in the type of house that accumulates mess quite quickly – that is, if you live with children or pets – then running your robot vacuum every day might be ideal for helping you keep things tidy. Otherwise, you can run your robot as frequently or infrequently as you like – the benefit being that you never have to set aside a chunk of your time to do it, unlike with manual vacuuming!