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, they rarely get tired of cleaning.

I’ve been testing robot vacuums for six years and have run well over 60 robot vacuums all over my house in my quest to find the best. These are my current top picks if you’re looking for the best of the best: a robot vacuum that can do it all without getting stuck and with limited intervention from you. I’ve also got some options to fit specific needs, such as mopping, tackling small spaces, or besting pet hair without breaking the bank. If you’re looking to spend less than $400 on a robot vacuum, check out my budget robot vacuum guide. Here, we’re going to look at the premium options.

While there’s been a lot of innovation in robot vacuums in recent years, we’re still a long way from that Rosey the Robot dream of a robot that can handle all the household chores (or stairs). But they’ve got floors down. Today, there are robots that can mop well, charging docks that empty the bin for you, and a slew of new “hands-free” models that can also refill their water tanks and wash their mops so you don’t have to. The biggest improvements, however, are in better mapping and obstacle avoidance, two crucial skills that mean most robot vacuums today will get the job done.

Despite all these innovations, there still isn’t one robot that excels at both mopping and vacuuming. For most people, the vacuum is the thing to focus on; I consider mopping a bonus feature. My personal preference is a powerful vacuum for my main rooms and a dedicated mopping robot for rooms like the bathroom and kitchen.

The good news is that robovacs are constantly on sale; I wouldn’t pay the list price unless you want the absolute newest model. The general range is around $400 for a standalone vacuum with good features and between $1,300 and $1,900 for an all-singing, all-dancing bot that can clean itself and use AI to avoid common household clutter in its quest to clean your floors.

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

With the best AI-powered obstacle avoidance, excellent navigation skills, and superior cleaning power, the Roomba j7 is the bot to beat. It can be a bit rough with furniture, but it is aggressive at getting your floor clean.

Dustbin capacity: 419ml / Self-empty dock option: Yes / Auto-refill mop option: Yes / Mapping: Yes / AI-powered obstacle avoidance: Yes / Suction power: Not published / Remote check-in: Yes / Keep-out zones: Yes, virtual / Brush style: Dual, rubber / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts

Despite the huge increase in competition, iRobot’s Roomba j7 is still my favorite robot vacuum. Its dual roller brush design, impressive cleaning ability, superior obstacle avoidance, and user-friendly app make it the best choice for most people. The fact you can regularly find it on sale for as low as $300 makes it a slam dunk. And I really like its well-designed auto-empty dock, which will cost you a couple hundred dollars more.

While the new j9 line adds increased suction power, longer battery life, and the option of an impressive new auto-empty / mop refill charging dock (more on that in a bit), the j7 and its mopping-capable counterpart, the j7 Combo Plus, perform almost as well for a significantly lower price.

The j7 and j9 models share the same software capabilities and the best AI obstacle avoidance of any vacuums I’ve tested. This means they rarely get stuck and will actually finish the job of cleaning your home. They also have the best brush system, featuring two long, nubby rubber brushes that rotate in opposite directions to dig up dirt from carpets and collect pet hair without getting tangled the way most bristle brushes do.

For about $200 more, you can take away the chore of emptying the j7’s decent-sized bin by investing in the j7 Plus, the j7 robot vac with a self-empty dock. This is one of the most reliable, nicest-looking, self-empty docks I’ve tested. It doesn’t get clogged.

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.

While most robots use lidar to map your home quickly, Roombas use vSLAM, which takes much longer for the initial mapping. Once set up, however, it’s far more reliable than the other mapping software I’ve tested. The Roomba app has never lost my map, either, which is something that happens frequently with lidar bots. The j7 can also auto-name rooms for you, identify furniture, and update on the fly.

I can ask it to clean specific rooms or areas, such as in front of the fridge or behind the couch. I find this helpful when there’s a spill mid-food prep or for a quick cleanup after a meal. It works with voice control, too, so a quick “Hey Alexa, ask Roomba to clean up around the dining table” gets the job done.

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. Here is where the j9 Plus series may be a better option for you, as it features the option for three levels of suction if you want a quieter clean. Its auto-empty dock (on the j9 Combo Plus model I tested) is also slightly quieter when emptying its load.


The j9 Plus is one of Roomba’s latest robot vacuums and features increased suction power, AI-obstacle avoidance, advanced mapping, and a self-emptying dock.

The j9 also has an exclusive software feature that “remembers” which rooms are dirtiest and seeks them out. However, as with similar AI-powered cleaning features I’ve tried on other robots, I found this of limited use. It may improve, though, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

Another reason to consider the more expensive j9 over the j7 is if you want your Roomba to mop. While I prefer the mopping prowess of the Dreame X30 or the Narwal Freo X Ultra, if you’re set on a Roomba, then the new Roomba j9 Combo Plus is the best Roomba for mopping and vacuuming.

The j9 Combo Plus uses a retractable mopping arm first seen on the j7 Combo Plus but adds the ability to refill its own tank. It also has a smart scrub option that tells the robot to wiggle its butt to scrub your floors — which works surprisingly well. While smart scrub is also coming to the j7 Combo, the auto refill and smart scrub features are compelling, making the j9 Combo the most capable combo option from iRobot.

The j9 Combo Plus’s auto-empty / auto-refill dock is the best-looking multifunction dock you can buy. It will look fine sitting in your living room, which is not something I can say for any other mop-focused model. It has an integrated table on the top that you can use for decorative items, as you don’t have to lift the top to refill the water (as you do with other multifunction docks).

Finally, 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.

Read my full review of the Roomba j7 / j7 Plus and Roomba Combo j7

Best robot vacuum / mop

The high-end DreameBot is the least hands-on vacuum / mop you can buy. It can remove and reattach its oscillating mopping pads, wash and dry them, refill its water tank, and empty the bin. It can also do the splits with its mops to clean your baseboards better. The newer X30 Ultra has some improvements, but on balance, the L20 is still the best value.

Dustbin capacity: 350ml / Self-empty dock option: Yes / Auto-refill mop option: No / Mapping: Yes / AI-powered obstacle avoidance: Yes / Suction power: 7,000 Pa / Remote check-in: Yes / Keep-out zones: Yes, virtual / Brush style: Single, rubber / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts

The DreameBot L20 Ultra is the best robot vacuum / mop hybrid for the price. While its successor, the X30 Ultra, adds more suction power, a bigger battery, and the ability to extend its mops a little further out, the L20 is the best bang for your buck at under $900 (on sale) compared to $1,700 for the newer model.

The L20 and X30 are the best of the new breed of self-cleaning, self-emptying robot vacuums. These have charging docks that not only empty the robot’s onboard bins but also drain and refill the mop’s water tank. Unlike the Roomba j9 Combo Plus, they can also clean and dry the mop pads with hot air. The L20 uses room-temperature water to wash and hot air drying, whereas the X30 adds hot water washing.

What I love about the new DreameBots is that they automatically remove and reattach their mop pads depending on whether they are vacuuming or mopping, solving the problem of how to vacuum and mop without getting your rugs wet. The robot will do this procedure multiple times during cleaning to ensure carpets are vacuumed, and floors are mopped. Genius.


While most of Dreame’s competitors are competing to lift their mops even higher than the last bot to avoid rugs (which the DreameBot can also do), this still runs the risk of getting water on high-pile carpet. Roomba solves the problem by lifting its mop over its body, but it has a skinny little mop pad compared to the spinning, oscillating ones on the DreameBot.

If you have a mix of carpeted rooms and hardwood floors with high-pile rugs, the Dream L20 is the best robot vacuum for you. It has auto carpet-sensing capabilities and will also lift its mops up 10.5mm to go over low-pile rugs, so it doesn’t need to head home just to clean the doormat.

The DreameBot has another neat trick: extending its mop pads to better clean baseboards; it was hands-down the best bot I tested at getting right up against walls and into corners. My kitchen baseboards have never been cleaner.

Its towering base station has a sleek design and hides a huge 4.5-liter water tank, which only required refilling once a week in testing compared to two or three times for other models. The X30 has a slightly redesigned smaller dock, but Dreame frustratingly took away the buttons on the dock, which you can use to quickly send the bot out or recall it, so I prefer the L20’s dock.

The lidar-based DreameBot maps and remaps your room as it goes, adapting to any changes — although this did result in it getting a bit confused at times. It has AI-powered obstacle avoidance that was mostly effective when it came to cables, socks, and pet waste, although occasionally, it did rumble over something it shouldn’t. The j7 is smarter, cleaning up a small pile of Cheerios, where the DreameBot gave them a wide berth.

Like the Roomba j7, you can use the onboard camera as a home patrol security camera to check in remotely. It’s all local on your phone, there’s no cloud, but you can manually initiate recordings and take photos.

There are some downsides. The L20 uses a single small rubber roller, but its 7,000 Pa of suction power did a good job of getting up the dirt (the X30 bumps that up to 8,300 Pa, but I didn’t see a noticeable difference in pickup). The auto-empty dock was also prone to clogging, which was not a problem I had with the X30, and its removable panel to access the bin was very fiddly.

A cheaper, smaller option

A great robot vacuum that can mop well without a huge auto-empty dock, the Roborock S8 is an excellent choice. With dual rubber roller brushes, 6,000 Pa suction, and a flat mop that vibrates 3,000 times a second to simulate some good old-fashioned scrubbing, the S8 is a mean cleaning machine. It can sense carpets, lift up its mop, and has Roborock’s best obstacle avoidance, but as there’s no camera it’s not the best overall.

Best midrange robot vacuum / mop


The new X10 is a great robovac with excellent AI-powered obstacle avoidance, powerful oscillating mops, a user-friendly app, and good mapping capabilities. Its rubber bristle brush means it is not as good as my top picks at getting up dirt and debris, but it’s a terrific price for a bot with all these functions, and as a bonus, its dock is compact and not a major eyesore.

Dustbin capacity: unknown / Self-empty dock option: Yes / Auto-refill mop option: Yes / Mapping: Yes / AI-powered obstacle avoidance: Yes / Suction power: 8,000 Pa / Remote check-in: No / Keep-out zones: Yes, virtual / Brush style: single rubber/bristle hybrid / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home

The Eufy X10 Pro Omni is a hybrid of the Eufy Clean X9 Pro mopping robot vacuum and the Eufy X8 Pro self-empty robot vacuum. It’s the first Eufy with a multifunction auto-empty / wash / fill dock, and unlike many bots in this price range, it comes with AI-powered obstacle avoidance.

With 8,000Pa suction and oscillating dual spinning brushes for mopping, the X10 has all the same basic functions as the top-of-the-line, all-in-one bots. But it’s not quite as good at any of them, which is sort of the definition of “midrange.”

The Eufy performed excellently in my mopping tests, even managing to eradicate dried stains with its 1kg of downward pressure. Thanks to an onboard water reservoir, it didn’t have to head home to fill up frequently as some mopping bots do. It also has heated mop drying to help prevent the base from getting stinky — a first in this price range. (There’s no hot water washing.)

An edge-hugging mode makes the robot swing its behind into the baseboards to help mop edges, and with its square-ish shape, it got into corners better than most of the round bots. But its 12mm mop pad lift over carpet wasn’t effective, resulting in its pads getting hung up in a few places.

The X10 has superb object recognition, allowing it to suck up Cheerios and piles of oatmeal while deftly navigating fake dog turds and cables. However, its navigation sometimes got screwy; it would go into a corner and stay there for a while trying to figure itself out.

While its vacuuming is good, particularly on carpet and tile surfaces, the single rubber / bristle roller brush lets it down and is a good illustration of my point that it’s not all about suction power; it’s also about the brushes and how you use them. The Eufy’s brush is supposedly anti-tangle — a cutting tool inside the robot should shred the hair — but this wasn’t effective.

One fun feature is Smart Track cleaning. This lets you nudge the robot with your foot, and it will start following you, cleaning as it goes. When you get to an area you want cleaned, you can hit the on-device spot clean button. This is a nice change from having to rely on an app to get your robot to go where you want it.

The Eufy Clean app is very easy to use, and the lidar-powered mapping was fast and accurate, dividing my rooms correctly on the first try. There are lots of customization options — including room-specific cleaning, zone cleaning, and customized cleaning — but the app is clear and well laid out.

A cheaper option

Roborock’s Q Revo robot vacuum sitting on a hardwood floor with its charging dock.Roborock’s Q Revo robot vacuum sitting on a hardwood floor with its charging dock.Roborock’s Q Revo robot vacuum sitting on a hardwood floor with its charging dock.Roborock’s Q Revo robot vacuum sitting on a hardwood floor with its charging dock.

This bot can do most of what the Eufy does, with lower suction power, no AI obstacle avoidance, and no heated mop drying. But it is a very capable bot that vacuums, mops with oscillating pads, and self-empties and refills itself. It has a compact dock and works with the excellent Roborock app, which offers more features than Eufy’s. It can also lift its mops over carpet and uses a rubber brush that’s less prone to tangling than the Eufy, but its obstacle avoidance isn’t nearly as good.

Best mopping robot

A superior mopping bot with a superior price tag, the Narwal is smart enough to know when it needs to go back and mop more and is the best bot for keeping your hard-surface floors spotless. Its vacuuming is good, too, and a unique onboard compression bin means no loud auto-emptying. But its obstacle avoidance is spotty (there’s no camera), and the app is a challenge.

Dustbin capacity: 1L / Self-empty dock option: No / Auto-refill mop option: Yes / Mapping: Yes / AI-powered obstacle avoidance: Yes / Suction power: 8,200 Pa / Remote check-in: No / Keep-out zones: Yes, virtual / Brush style: Single, conical rubber bristle hybrid / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts

There aren’t many robot vacuums that bring something totally new to the space, but Narwal has been quietly innovating for a few years now and has finally produced a really good hybrid vacuum and mop. The Narwal Freo X Ultra is the best mopping robot I’ve tested — one that also makes for a very good vacuum.

Some of its innovative features include dirt sense — which analyzes the dirt level in the water and prompts it to remop, if needed — and its ability to adapt the pressure of its mop based on the type of floor material, applying more pressure to tile and less to hardwood. “Freo” refers to the bot’s ability to make cleaning “decisions,” including going back to clean dirty floors. This type of machine learning is popping up in a number of robot vacuums, but Narwal has had it in its models for a couple of years now and offers one of the more impressive implementations I’ve tested.

The Narwal’s spinning, triangular mop pads rotate at 180 RPM with 12n of downward pressure (higher than the Eufy X10), which makes them effective at getting up dried mud and tackling sticky orange juice. The robovac can also swing its behind to get closer to baseboards, much like the Eufy X10, but its triangular-shaped pads mean more mop comes into contact with the wall.

The Narwal also features a zero-tangle rubber / bristle brush that’s conical shaped, allowing hair and fiber to wind down to the end and get sucked into the bin. This is more effective than X10’s attempt at “cutting” hair off the brush, and no tangles were detected during testing.

Its charging dock is sleek, albeit huge, with a real Wall-E vibe. It has a touchscreen control panel, though, sadly, it’s less functional than the one of the previous model. It also houses two huge four-liter water tanks for stowing dirty and clean water, plus an auto-injection detergent bottle (which the Eufy doesn’t have).

There’s no spot for an auto-empty dust bin; instead, Narwal’s onboard bin can compress the dust, so you won’t need to empty it for up to 60 days. This is similar to how long most auto-empty docks go between needing to have their bags replaced, but you don’t have to deal with the noise of them emptying. In two weeks of testing, it wasn’t close to full, but I’ll report back after two months. Like those in most auto-empty docks, you dispose of the bag when it’s full. If you prefer non-disposable options, the bot comes with a standard non-compression plastic bin, too.

The Freo X Ultra is one of the quietest bots I’ve tested. Even at full power, it was so quiet that I had to check that it was actually working. However, Narwal’s obstacle avoidance is not great; there’s no camera, and it routinely eats cables. Its three lasers can identify objects as small as a sock and move around them, and it did pass my fake pet-poop test.

The app is very hard to follow, though, making it tricky to access all the bot’s features. Mapping was fast, but it didn’t recognize all my rooms on the first go. It did better the second time, though splitting up rooms and naming them in the app was painful. The lack of a camera also means its navigation is spotty, and sending it to clean specific rooms wasn’t always successful.

A cheaper option

This mopping beast has excellent AI-powered obstacle avoidance and superb mopping skills. For a home full of hard flooring, especially tile and laminate, it’s a great option. It also vacuums, but there’s no auto-empty option, so you have to do some dirty work.

Best robot vacuum for carpets and pet hair

It’s not fancy, but the Q5 Pro has a huge bin and big wheels to get up on higher-pile carpets easily. It has a small removable mopping reservoir for when there are dirty paws on the floors, but its main job is to suck up dirt and pet hair, and it does very well at both.

Dustbin capacity: 770ml / Self-empty dock option: Yes / Auto-refill mop option: No / Mapping: Yes / AI-powered obstacle avoidance: No / Suction power: 5,500 Pa / Remote check-in: No / Keep-out zones: Yes, virtual / Brush style: Dual, rubber / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts

My recommendation for families with pets who don’t want to spend a small fortune on an auto-empty robot vacuum is to buy a good bot with a big bin. These are getting harder to find now that every bot wants to be a multitasker and also mop (the water reservoir takes up valuable dustbin room). So, I was very pleased with Roborock’s recent entry-level robot, the Q5 Pro; it’s my new favorite for pet hair.

This relatively inexpensive vacuum has a huge 770ml bin on board, along with dual rubber brushes that are better at getting pet hair out of rugs than single brushes. The rubber is also less prone than bristles to getting tangled with hair, and combined with 5,500 Pa suction power, this vacuum does a really good job on very dirty floors. It does have a removable mopping pad with a small water tank built into it, which is useful for getting up the fine dust left behind by the vacuum, but it isn’t going to scrub your floors. It will, however, keep the pet hair at bay.

Don’t confuse this with the cheaper Roborock Q5, however. That bot has a smaller bin, lower suction, shorter runtime, and only one roller brush. It’s worth spending the extra for the Pro.


The Q5 Pro Plus pairs the bot with the redesigned Roborock auto-empty dock if you really don’t like emptying the robot’s onboard bin, but you’ll pay almost double for the privilege. The dock is relatively compact and lightweight compared to previous versions. But considering the size of the Q5 Pro’s bin, you’d only have to empty it three times before the dock’s 2.5-liter bag is also full.

The Q5 Pro doesn’t have AI-powered obstacle avoidance, although it will dodge shoes and larger objects. It does have a huge 5,200mAh battery that will run for about four hours. It uses the excellent Roborock app and has all the same software features of the higher-end S8 family, including lidar mapping and navigation, digital keep-out zones, room-specific cleaning, zone-cleaning, and voice control.

Best robot vacuum for small spaces

The smallest robot vac on the block, the K10 Plus is a mini auto-empty vac that can do a bit of mopping. But its main trick is being small enough to get into places most robot vacuums will never venture. It’s perfect for small spaces like home offices, bedrooms, and studio apartments.

Dustbin capacity: 150ml / Self-empty dock option: Yes / Auto-refill mop option: No / Mapping: Yes / AI-powered obstacle avoidance: no / Suction power: 2,500 Pa / Remote check-in: No / Keep-out zones: Yes, virtual / Brush style: Single, rubber bristle hybrid / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri Shortcuts — Matter support announced

One thing all the robot vacs I’ve recommended so far have in common is size. They are all large circular robots that, while mostly adept at navigating around chair legs and under sofas, do struggle to get into tight spaces. At almost 14 inches wide, bots like the Roborock S8 aren’t getting in that nook between the toilet and the bathtub or under the desk where your chair legs meet the trash can. Enter the SwitchBot K10 Plus.

The tiniest robot vacuum you can buy, the K10 Plus is a cute little dust sucker that can nimbly navigate around almost any piece of furniture you throw in its path. Just 3.6 inches high and 9.8 inches wide, it pairs with a teeny tiny auto-empty dock (12.5 inches high and 10 inches wide) that somehow hides a whopping four-liter dust bag. So, while it’s little, you won’t be emptying its bin bag any more often than its bigger competitors.


Its 2,500 Pa suction is fine for an office or bedroom, and this little guy moves really fast. It’s also very quiet: it has four vacuum levels, and the lowest was tolerable even while I was working in the same room. There’s a removable mopping pad that uses disposable wet wipes — no water. These are fiddly to attach and don’t stay on well. It also won’t mop and vacuum simultaneously and didn’t do well with dried-on dirt, making the mopping function here more of a spit and polish than a deep clean.

The robot uses lidar mapping and has room-specific cleaning and digital keep-out zones. There’s no AI-powered obstacle avoidance here (and no camera), so while it went around shoes and furniture legs, it did get hung up on cables and socks. It also couldn’t handle rug tassels. But, for keeping a bedroom or home office clean or navigating a tightly packed studio apartment, this bot packs a lot of power in a small package.

How I test robot vacuums

I tested six new robot vacuums for our latest update and re-tested five more, running each one in my home for at least a week, some for longer, to judge how they deal with everyday household grime and life.

I put each through a gauntlet of phone chargers, socks, a pencil, and fake pet poop to test obstacle avoidance. I threw in Cheerios to see if they knew to vacuum them up rather than avoid them, and I also scattered oatmeal and flour to see how well they dealt with picking up fine debris as opposed to flinging it everywhere.

I ran each over both thick and low-pile carpets and watched to see how they handled rug tassels, skinny chair legs, and room transitions.

For mopping prowess, I tested them on hardwood floors with dried milk, fresh OJ, and ketchup. I monitored how quickly they filled up their bin / auto-empty dock and how efficiently they used water and cleaned their mop pads (where applicable).

To test the apps and software features, I set schedules, hooked them up to voice assistants, and played with any advanced features in the app. I also evaluated their mapping skills, tested them on multiple floors, and tried out any unique features (such as home security camera capabilities, AI-cleaning programs, and auto-mop removal).

Other robot vacuums I tested

Some highlights of my testing of other robots for this update.

  • I’ve been testing the flagship Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni ($1,499.99) for about three months, and while its vacuuming and mopping capabilities are excellent, its software and lidar navigation system need work. A complete redesign of the Deebot X1 Omni, the X2 has a square shape, 8,000Pa, and can lift its mops 15mm. Its auto dock, which empties the bin, washes and dries the mops and drains, and refills the robot’s water tank, is also smaller. While it ably avoided cables and pet poop in testing, the bot constantly got lost and repeatedly stopped, telling me its brush was tangled when it wasn’t (and hefting that thing over to check is not easy, especially as the lid falls off). It also takes seriously wide swings along its route, leaving huge gaps of the floor unvacuumed.
  • The rounder, lower-priced Ecovacs T20 Omni ($1,100) fared better. It has many of the same features — including the onboard voice assistant — but with lower suction power and lower mop lift. It also doesn’t use a camera, so its obstacle avoidance isn’t as good. It doesn’t have an onboard water tank on the robot, so it has to go back to its dock to refill a lot, but at $650 on sale (at the time of writing), it’s a good option if you want a high-end robot vac without a camera. However, in my years of testing Deebots, the Ecovacs app routinely loses my maps, which is very frustrating.
  • The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra ($1,599.99) also ditches the camera, so it is similarly less effective at obstacle dodging, but it did suck up the Cheerios my pick in this category (the DreameBot L20 Ultra) carefully avoided. Its dual roller brushes are also far more effective than its predecessor, the S7 Max Ultra ($1,299). But for this price, you should get the best. I also don’t like the Roborock’s dock, and while it’s been redesigned to be sleeker than the S7 Max, it’s still too wide and chunky compared to the competition. The new S8 Max V Ultra ($1,799.99) coming out next month has a nicer-looking dock and brings back the camera, so it should have better object avoidance (more on this below).
  • The Shark Matrix Plus 2-in-1 ($699.99), also known as the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1, was my previous runner-up pick for a midrange option that self-empties its bin, vacuums, and mops. It mops very well, doing a swingy, scrubbing movement with its rear end when in “Matrix mode.” However, you have to manually fill and attach the mop reservoir and empty the bin when it mops, as it only self-empties in vacuum mode and can only avoid larger objects.
  • The Roborock Q8 Max Plus ($599.99) is the bigger brother to the Q5 Pro (my pick for pet hair), adding better obstacle avoidance (still no camera) and better mopping. But it has a smaller bin to make way for a much bigger water reservoir for mopping (350ml). If you like the idea of the Q5 Pro but want better mopping, this is a good option. That said, you’ll probably want to invest in the auto-empty bin, which will make the smaller 470ml dustbin easier to manage.

What’s coming next

  • Dyson’s first robovac in the US in almost a decade, the 360 Vis Nav ($1,200), is available now, but I haven’t completed testing it yet. You can read my early impressions in this hands-on, but its impressive suction power, giant fluffy brush, and lower profile compared to the Dyson 360 Eye are all impressive. However, no auto empty dock, no AI-powered obstacle avoidance, and short battery life are big cons at this price point. And as for that color…
  • Roborock also has a new flagship vacuum launching on April 22nd. The S8 Max V Ultra ($1,799.99) features 10,000Pa suction, an extendable side brush to get into corners, and camera-powered AI-obstacle avoidance (which was last seen on the excellent S7V Ultra Max). It will also support the new Matter standard and be the first Roborock with an onboard voice assistant. Roborock also has the S8 Max Ultra coming for $1,599.99, which ditches the camera and offers 8,000Pa of suction. A new charging dock will add the option of hooking the mopping system directly into your plumbing.

Image: Ecovacs

  • Ecovacs’ new Deetbot X2 Combo ($1,599) has just arrived. The cleaning station includes a souped-up X2 Omni with 8,700Pa suction and Matter support, but the big change is that it comes with a handheld vacuum that attaches to a single auto-empty station. That’s one way to say your robot vac can tackle stairs. Hopefully, they’ve made some tweaks to the navigation system, too.
  • The Matic is a $1,800 robot vacuum that doesn’t need a cloud connection and uses cameras to navigate, allowing it to roam more “naturally.” It’s the first robo vac mop I’ve seen that can suck up wet spills as well as dry, and the company says it will soon have gesture detection — so you can point to where you want it to vacuum. The next shipments are slated for July; I got an early look at CES — here’s some video of it in action.
  • The SwitchBot S10 is a multi-tasking robot that hooks into your plumbing for a virtually hands-free sweeping and mopping experience. The $1,200 robovac is slated to launch on May 5th. I got some hands-on time with it last year at the IFA tech show, but I haven’t tested it yet. One of its coolest features — that it can refill a SwitchBot humidifier — sounds like it won’t be available at launch.

Photos by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Update April 4th, 2:42PM ET: Updated to include new picks, details, and a section highlighting other models we tested (as well as several forthcoming robot vacuums).


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