By now, you’ve probably heard about robot vacuums – and maybe you’re wondering if they’re really worth it. After all, a lot of them are more expensive than upright and canister models.
You’ll be pleased to know that you don’t always have to spend a fortune on robot vacuums. There are plenty of affordable ones you can choose instead.
A robot vacuum has quite a few benefits over other types. This includes the possibility to save you both time and energy.
What Is a Robot Vacuum?
Like traditional vacuum cleaners, these suck up the dirt from different types of carpet and flooring. However, unlike the more conventional canisters or uprights you’re probably used to, robot vacuums aren’t operated manually.
Instead, they have sensors that guide them. They work autonomously and don’t need to be pushed or pulled.
What happens when a robot vacuum encounters a wall or a piece of furniture? It will turn and begin moving and working in a different direction.
Why Should You Buy a Robot Vacuum?
A self-guiding cleaner certainly sounds cool. But is that enough reason to consider getting one? If you’ve never owned a robot vacuum, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.
These are some of the benefits you can look forward to, even with a budget model.
1. Saves You Time
Do you have a busy schedule and no time to clean? With a robot vacuum, you can leave your device to get the work done, without you there to push it along.
It’s an autonomous device that can vacuum on its own. All you have to do is select the cleaning mode and personalize the scheduling settings. Then, whether you’re home or not, the robot will get the cleaning done.
2. Clean All Flooring Types
A good thing about robots is that they don’t just clean a single type of flooring. Like most vacuum cleaners, they will refresh your carpets, agitating the fibers to remove dust and debris. But they aren’t limited only to rugs.
Most robot vacuum cleaners will also do a great job on hardwood and tile floors. A lot of models can automatically adjust for the surface as they clean. This includes changing the suction power or brush roll.
Also, you’ll find some robot vacuums have climbing wheels to transition smoothly between flooring of varying heights.
3. Ideal for Those With Mobility Problems
If you suffer from back or joint problems, vacuuming can be excruciatingly painful work (1). The good news is that robot vacuums do the job for you. Use a remote control to customize your cleaning schedule, and sit back and relax while the work gets done.
4. Use Less Electricity
When you use an upright or canister vacuum, it has to be plugged in. It’s continuously using electricity as you clean. But, since a robot vacuum uses rechargeable batteries, it may even help to lower your electric bill (2).
5. Customize to Your Needs
You’ll find that a lot of robot vacuums offer different cleaning modes. This is great for gearing it to your specific needs. For example, if you have ground-in dirt, you can use spot cleaning.
For walls and corners, on the other hand, select edge cleaning. The specific modes will depend on the unit you buy, but most have between two and four different settings.
6. Clean Hard-to-Reach Spots
The floor or carpet underneath your furniture is a narrow space usually off-limits to larger canister and upright devices. However, these areas are not a problem for robot vacuums. They typically have a slim and compact design to glide into hard-to-reach spots.
With accessories such as sweeping side brushes, robots can get into the nooks and crannies around your home.
This includes edges and corners that traditional vacuum cleaners can’t reach. Without a robot, you are usually stuck cleaning these areas by hand.
Choosing the Best Budget Robot Vacuum
Like most technological gadgets, you can find robot vacuums to suit practically every budget. Of course, some budget models might not be as advanced as the more expensive ones. But this doesn’t mean they’re less effective at cleaning.
Here is a list of features often included even in lower-cost models. Keep these in mind when thinking about which one you want to buy.
1. Noise Level
Do you have young kids or pets? Your children’s naptime can be the perfect opportunity to get some housework done. But it won’t help if a loud vacuum cleaner wakes them from their nap. Likewise, you don’t want a noisy machine that might scare your dog (3).
The best way to avoid this happening is by choosing a robot vacuum with a low decibel rating. Ideally, look for one with a noise level of under 60 decibels (4).
A device with a lower level should let your children sleep, and your pets remain calm. It may also allow you to relax and watch television without being disturbed.
One of the reasons why you may be purchasing a robot vacuum is so you don’t have to do the work yourself. They can save you a lot of time, especially if you have a big home. In this case, therefore, you want to be sure to get one with staying power.
The feature to look for is a long runtime on a single battery charge. Affordable robot vacuums can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 120 minutes before needing a recharge. A higher runtime, though, means more cleaning will be done.
3. Smartphone App
A remote control is excellent for controlling your robot vacuum when you’re inside the house. This is a standard feature with many models. What’s even better, is if it has a smartphone app too.
You can only operate the device from within your home with a remote control. However, with a smartphone app, you can start cleaning and check up on your robot vacuum when you’re at work or out shopping.
Some even let you schedule cleaning to take place at specific days and times. So, you can arrange to come home after a long day to a house with clean floors and carpets.
4. Virtual Walls or Boundary Strips
Do you want to keep your robot vacuum contained in one area? Are there particular rooms (ones with napping babies, for example) that you want it to avoid?
In this case, you may want to look out for a model that offers virtual walls or boundary strips. This prevents the unit from leaving a designated area – it’ll turn around when it reaches a no-go zone.
Virtual walls are often created with a smartphone app, requiring a Wi-Fi enabled robot vacuum to work.
Boundary strips, on the other hand, are accessories included with your device or bought separately. You place them on the floor to mark where the vacuum shouldn’t go.
5. HEPA Filter
A high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filter is an excellent feature to look for if you’ve got allergies. This filter can capture microscopic particles from your home, including bacteria, pet dander, and pollen.
A robot vacuum with a HEPA filter will release less dirt and dust back into the room (5). This reduces allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, skin irritation, and wheezing.
6. Dustbin Capacity
Since these vacuum cleaners are much smaller than traditional models, their storage capacity is also less. The size of the dustbin on a robot can range from as little as 0.2 liters up to 0.6 liters.
So, it’s best to look for a large dustbin capacity to make your life easier. This saves you from frequently stopping the robot vacuum to empty it. You may also want to consider how easy it is to empty.
Dustbins located on the side of a robot vacuum tend to be easier to empty. They slide out with minimal mess, and you can grip them properly. Plus, a dustbin underneath has a higher chance of spilling dust since they can be difficult to remove.
The Best Affordable Robot Vacuums of 2020
Because you deserve to find affordable robot vacuums, our team has located the top five. Before recommending products, we research them extensively, reading their specifications. We’ve also analyzed reviews from customers who have used the product, to find you the best.
1. Smart Navigation Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Do you want to make sure you capture everything – from small dust particles to large debris? In that case, you may want to choose this robot vacuum.
We’re very impressed with the suction power of this model, delivering 1800 pascals of vacuum pressure.
The unit is powered by a 2500 mAh lithium-ion battery. This provides up to 100 minutes of runtime on a single charge, and recharging will take four hours. A solid blue line will show when the battery is at full capacity.
The incorporated HEPA filter ensures that fine dust particles are captured.
This robot vacuum is suitable for hard floors and carpet, transitioning between the two easily with climbing wheels. There are four cleaning modes – edge cleaning mode, spot cleaning, single room model, and s-shaped cleaning mode.
When the vacuum runs out of battery, it’ll automatically return to the charging dock. It’s also self-navigating, to avoid obstacles in its path. We love that there are anti-drop sensors to avoid falling down stairs or any gaps.
The two wheels mean that it can transition smoothly from laminate, tile, or hard floors to low pile carpet. Plus, it can climb up to 16 millimeters.
If you’ve got sleeping children, you may not want the robotic vacuum to enter their room. Thankfully, this model includes boundary strips which will limit where it goes. Place them at the door entrance, and the machine will turn around and move in another direction.
It has a large dustbin for bigger cleaning jobs, with a capacity of 0.6 liters. Included with your purchase are four side brushes, a charging dock, and boundary strips.
- Powerful suction.
- You can create no-go zones.
- Four cleaning modes.
- It might be noisy.
Why We Love It
This one has the most powerful suction on our list. It boasts 1800 pascals, which may pick up outside dirt, food, and dust particles.
You Can Create No-Go Zones
With boundary strips, you can limit where your robot vacuum goes in your home. They’re easy to set up – just attach them to your floor.
Four Cleaning Modes
We love that this unit has four cleaning modes to choose from. You can select one to suit your needs, whether you’re doing a quick clean-up or a more thorough weekly vacuum.
Keep In Mind
It Might Be Noisy
This robot vacuum is around 65 decibels. You may find that this is quite noisy if you have a quiet home. It’s certainly louder than some other models. So if quiet is a priority, this might not be the best choice for you.
|Charge Time||Four hours|
2. ILIFE V3s Pro Robotic Vacuum
Another budget robot vacuum we love is this one from ILIFE. It’s an ideal unit for pet owners.
For one, it has the manufacturer’s AirAway technology for additional filtering. It also has two long spinning brushes to capture hair from shedding pets. Additionally, the HEPA filter may help to trap pet dander and other allergens.
It can clean any floor surface, including hardwood, tile, and thin carpets. The vacuum is powered by a substantial 2600 mAh battery.
You can choose from four different cleaning modes. These include auto, spot, edge, and schedule.
The auto clean follows a random pattern to vacuum your home, while spot is good for ground-in dirt. For walls and corners, though, you may want to opt for the edge cleaning mode. You can also create a specified start-time on the schedule option.
Everything can be done directly from the remote control. Simply select the mode you want and press “clean.”
You don’t have to worry about this robot vacuum bumping into furniture or falling down the stairs. It has built-in obstacle-drop sensors on the front to safely guide the device. With a height of three inches, it also has a low-profile design.
The runtime on this model is around 100 minutes. That’s more than enough for cleaning lots of rooms in your home. When the robot vacuum runs out of battery, it’ll automatically return to the dock and start charging again.
It recommends that you empty the dustbin and clean the filter after each use. And, you should replace the filter every month to ensure the most effective cleaning.
- Deals with pet hair.
- Choose from four cleaning modes.
- Features climbing wheels.
- Doesn’t have a smartphone app.
Why We Love It
Deals With Pet Hair
The combination of AirAway Technology, long spinning brushes, and HEPA filter can benefit pet owners. Say goodbye to your furry friend’s shedding worries!
Choose From Four Cleaning Modes
There are four cleaning modes to tackle any situation – auto, spot, edge, and schedule clean. You can enjoy the ability to customize your cleaning experience.
Features Climbing Wheels
With the climbing wheels, this robot vacuum can transition between floor types. They have a reach of up to 15 millimeters.
Keep In Mind
Doesn’t Have a Smartphone App
We’re disappointed that this robot vacuum doesn’t have a smartphone app. This is something that would improve the user experience and make it easy to monitor and create schedules.
|Charge Time||Not Specified|
3. iRobot Roomba 614 Robot Vacuum
If you have a lot of stubborn dirt in your home, you may want to check out this Roomba. It has innovative Dirt Detect technology which recognizes areas that need to be cleaned. It then concentrates on this area to scrub it thoroughly.
There’s also an edge-sweeping brush to tackle those hard-to-reach spots. It’s designed to work at a 27-degree angle and gets into corners and along the edge of walls without problems.
On the top of the unit are three buttons – spot, clean, and dock. You choose the one you need. There’s no remote control or smartphone app for this vacuum.
We like that you don’t have to worry about this Roomba crashing into anything. It has 360-degree smart sensors and can make more than 60 decisions per second. There are also “cliff detect” sensors to avoid high drops.
This robot vacuum can clean carpets and hard floors with its three-stage system. The multi-surface brushes loosen and trap dust and debris before they are sucked into the dustbin.
Also, the auto-adjust cleaning heat will adapt the height for different surfaces.
Like others on this list, the Roomba also automatically returns to the base for charging. Before then, though, you can expect around 60 minutes of non-stop vacuuming. It charges relatively quickly too — only takes three hours to become fully charged.
- Patented Dirt Detect technology.
- Auto-adjust cleaning head.
- Features smart navigation.
- Doesn’t have a remote control.
Why We Love It
Patented Dirt Detect Technology
One of our favorite features on this unit is the Dirt Detect technology. It’s patented by Roomba, and especially suitable for high traffic areas in your home. It works well on stubborn, ground-in dirt.
Auto-Adjust Cleaning Head
This model can transition between situations without a problem. The auto-adjust cleaning head can change the height for different flooring types, such as laminate and low-pile carpet.
Features Smart Navigation
Smart navigation can keep this robot vacuum on track without any accidents. The Roomba can make 60 decisions per second, such as avoiding obstacles and drops and moving in different directions.
Keep In Mind
Doesn’t Have a Remote Control
This robot vacuum doesn’t have a remote control. You have to use the buttons on the top of the unit to operate it. Unfortunately, this is a lot less convenient than being able to control it from across the room.
|Charge Time||Three hours|
4. PURCRC26B Automatic Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Does someone in your family have allergies? To prevent sneezing, skin irritation, and general sickness, you may want to consider this robot vacuum.
It has a HEPA filter, which helps to capture and trap pathogens, dust mites, pollen, and dander. This improves the air in your home and make it safer for your family.
We like the minimalistic design of this modern robot vacuum. On the top, it only has one button to turn it on and off.
The suction on this model is good, at 1200 pascals. It pulls in debris easier with its dual rotating side brushes and the underbrush.
The runtime on this model is up to 55 minutes of non-stop cleaning. A full charge will take around four hours to complete. All types of flooring are fair game with this device – from tile and hardwood to short pile carpets.
Its cleaning modes include a random cleaning mode, spiral movement for ground-in dirt, and one for along the walls. You can easily select one to suit your needs with the included remote control.
This model has a low profile, which is suitable for gliding underneath beds and other low furniture. These are places you don’t want to miss if you’re trying to capture dust in your home. It’s only 2.9 inches high, which is an advantage in getting to those hard-to-reach spaces.
It’s also lightweight at 4.7 pounds, which means you can easily transport it around the house.
One thing you won’t have to worry about is this robot vacuum crashing into objects. It has sensors that will detect obstacles in its path and force the device to move in another direction.
The protective bumper may help if, for any reason, the robot vacuum does suddenly encounter an object. It also has anti-fall sensors to avoid sustaining damage falling from ledges or stairs.
You’ll receive four side brushes and two filters when you purchase this robot vacuum. It also includes a one-year warranty to give you extra peace of mind.
- Features a HEPA filter.
- Low profile design.
- Includes a protective bumper.
- Small dustbin capacity.
Why We Love It
Features a HEPA Filter
The HEPA filter will help to cleanse the air in your home. It can capture allergens and might help to prevent respiratory reactions.
Low Profile Design
This one can effortlessly glide under furniture to vacuum. It has a height of 2.9 inches – small enough to clean under sofas, beds, and tables.
Includes a Protective Bumper
We like the protective bumper on this robotic vacuum. It keeps it safe from damage and acts as a backup if the sensors don’t detect an obstacle.
Keep In Mind
Small Dustbin Capacity
Unfortunately, the dustbin can only hold around 0.2 liters of dirt. This is lower than other robot vacuums on our list, so you’ll have to empty it more often.
|Charge Time||Four hours|
5. ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S Robot Vacuum
If you have a large home, you may be looking for a robot vacuum with a high runtime. In that case, this is the model you should check out. It operates for up to 120 minutes on a single charge.
Of all the models on our list, this has the longest runtime. When it does finally run out of battery, it’ll return automatically to the charging dock.
This robot vacuum is small enough for gliding underneath furniture such as sofas, chairs, and tables. It can get rid of dust and dirt that you don’t even know is hiding there.
One of our favorite features on this model, is the max mode, allowing you to increase the suction power by up to two times. It’s great for scrubbing ground-in dirt and completing deep cleans around the home.
To clean your hard floors, this unit has a main brush and two side brushes for edges. You can choose from three cleaning modes – auto, spot, and edge mode.
It also has obstacle detection and anti-drop technology. You don’t have to keep an eye on the robot vacuum. It’ll use its sensors to avoid furniture and sudden drops on stairs or landings.
You can enjoy direct control through the included remote. This lets you schedule the cleaning, receive status updates, and choose the cleaning mode.
A fun feature of this vacuum is that it can be controlled with voice commands. All you need is either Alexa or Google Assistant and a WiFi connection. You can also download the ECOVAS smartphone app, which will let you arrange your cleaning remotely on your smartphone.
You’ll receive a charging dock, four side brushes, two high-efficiency air filters, a remote control with batteries and a cleaning tool.
A one-year warranty comes with the unit.
- Long runtime.
- Features max mode.
- Obstacle detection and anti-drop technology.
- Occasional problems with scheduling.
Why We Love It
120 minutes of runtime is enough to clean many rooms in your home.
Features Max Mode
Max mode is perfect for cleaning high traffic areas. It increases the suction power by up to two times to capture debris and stubborn dirt.
Obstacle Detection and Anti-Drop Technology
A lot of people worry that their robot vacuum will crash into objects. That shouldn’t be a problem with this unit. It has advanced obstacle detection sensors and anti-drop technology to avoid any accidents around the home.
Keep In Mind
Customer Problems With Scheduling
There have been some complaints about the scheduling feature. Some users have reported that the robot vacuum doesn’t always comply when they schedule a cleaning time.
|Charge Time||Not specified|
|Product||Award||Runtime||Charge Time||Battery||Remote Control||Smartphone App|
|Smart Navigation||Best Suction||100 min||4 hrs||Lithium-ion||Yes||No|
|ILIFE V3s Pro||Best For Pets||100 min||N/A||Lithium-ion||Yes||No|
|iRobot Roomba 614||Best For Ground-In Dirt||60 min||3 hrs||Lithium-ion||No||No|
|PURCRC26B Automatic||Best for Allergies||55 min||4 hrs||Ni-MH||Yes||No|
|ECOVACS DEEBOT N79S||Longest Runtime||120 min||N/A||Lithium-ion||Yes||Yes|
Technology Takes Over
Are you fed up spending your free time vacuuming? Perhaps it’s time to choose one of these best affordable robot vacuums. It can save you from manually using an upright or canister model, allowing you more time to have fun.
A robot vacuum is suitable for most types of flooring and uses less electricity than traditional ones. It can also be customized to your needs. Don’t forget, most of them can slide underneath the furniture to collect hidden dust bunnies.
Some useful features to watch out for include a low noise level, long runtime, and a smartphone app. A HEPA filter is a great addition if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies.