Do you want a Roomba, but can’t afford one? Or are you looking for any robot vacuum that won’t cost you an arm and a leg? We’re here to help.
Roombas are cool and sophisticated enough to get any neat freak excited. They’ve certainly caught our eyes — but they’re also quite pricey.
Why should you have to go without a robot vacuum, though? They’re convenient, effortless, and have revolutionized vacuum cleaning. The good news is that you don’t have to eat ice for dinner just so that you can afford one. In this guide we’re going to show you all of the best roomba alternatives.
Why Should You Buy a Robot Vacuum?
In a time before mainstream smart technology, Roomba was first introduced to the world and took it by storm. Homemakers everywhere were charmed by (and maybe even a little afraid of) its futuristic technology. Cleaning without manually operating a vacuum is something we’re all on board with, and Roomba made us aware of this.
The crazy thing is that iRobot, Roomba’s manufacturer, is not the inventor of the robot vacuum. Electrolux is, and their robot hit stores an entire year before Roomba did (1).
Perhaps hype is the reason why Roomba took center stage. We wouldn’t be surprised if the hype is what keeps it in the lead. In our opinion, Roombas are fantastic, but functionality trumps form.
So forget about Roombas for a second, and take some time to familiarize yourself with robot vacuums as a whole. Once you learn what they do, you’ll have no reason to throw money at a brand alone.
1. Robot Vacuums Require No Effort
Cleaning is — quite literally — a chore, so the greatest appeal of robot vacuums is that they do the work for you. They put a stop to the sweating and straining that comes with cleaning your floors. You don’t even have to be at home to use them.
Robot vacuums free up your time and can be so useful that you don’t even have to think about cleaning. You can schedule most models to automatically get going without any further intervention from you.
Some robot vacuums can even gauge how vigorously to clean, according to how dirty your floor is. With the exception of set up and maintenance, you don’t have to lift a finger.
2. Maintenance Is Easier
We’d love to tell you that you’ll never have to fuss over a robot vacuum, but it will still demand a little bit of your attention. That said, maintaining a robot is so much easier than with traditional vacuums.
Since they have a mind of their own and could experience a few bumps along the road, they’re built to last. They’re not as likely to break, fail, or burn out, and their quality overall is superior. Robot vacuums are also far easier to empty than traditional vacuums.
Plus, most of their functions are automated, so you won’t have to spend time fiddling with attachments or settings either. Sure, you may have to rescue it from a dark corner every once in a while, but that beats manually vacuuming any day.
3. They’re Better for Pets
Traditional vacuums can be deafening, and we’ve seen many animals who can’t handle the sound of them. Robot vacuums, however, make little to no noise, so they won’t frighten your pets.
This can go further, though. If you need peace and quiet — for any reason — you should get a robot vacuum. They won’t distract you from your work, studying, or rest.
4. They’re Greener Than Traditional Vacuums
You don’t have to plug robot vacuums in to use them. Instead, most robot vacuums are self-charging, which means that you don’t even have to worry about disposable batteries. They’re an energy saving solution that will spare you money too.
Some of them do have disposable bags, which defeats the purpose of going green. But they’re still better for the environment. Plus, robot vacuums tend to have bigger dust bags that won’t need replacing as often as with traditional vacuums.
5. They’re Healthier (and More Accessible)
One of the worst things about traditional vacuums is that they can hurt your back. Back strain is a common problem, and the more you clean, the more at risk you will be. Since you don’t have to manually operate robot vacuums, this won’t be a problem (2).
Another benefit that stands out is that they’re perfect for those who are incapacitated or can’t clean. If you’re injured, sick, or disabled, robot vacuums take on a whole new level of useful. They’re also much better for those with allergies with many incorporating HEPA filters (3).
6. They Take Up Less Room
Traditional vacuums can be heavy, chunky, and difficult to store. Storing robot vacuums is easy thanks to their compact size. Storage won’t require any heavy lifting or dismantling either.
This is a huge advantage for people with smaller homes or limited space. They’re portable too, should you ever need to carry them with you.
How to Choose a Roomba Alternative
The advantages we mentioned aren’t exclusive to Roombas. Most, if not all, robot vacuums function the same way.
So, don’t select a Roomba just for the sake of being trendy. Still, don’t settle on another brand just because it’s cheap. Before you buy a Roomba alternative, ask yourself a few questions to make sure it’s right for you.
1. Are You Tech Savvy?
Your proficiency with technology should influence the model you choose. Different robot vacuums have different usability, and you shouldn’t get one that will fly over your head.
Some robot vacuums are operated with a simple remote control. Others communicate with smartphones or even AI assistants, like Alexa. Often, you may have to set up your robot’s communication first.
While the smarter robot vacuums do have that extra touch of convenience to them, it’s not to say that they’re better. One that works with a remote will do just as well as one that can be controlled by your phone.
2. What Do You Need It For?
As with any vacuum, what you need it to clean matters. Some robot vacuums are better for hard floors, while others are better for carpets. Likewise, some are better for pet hair and dander, while others work more effectively on dust.
Pay attention to the capabilities of the vacuum you want. It will impact how well it cleans your home, and you wouldn’t want to waste money on one that’s inefficient.
3. Will Your Home’s Layout Accommodate One?
Robot vacuums work by sensors. So, if your home contains a lot of furniture, its navigation could leave spots uncleaned. You must also consider the size of the robot you want if you’re hoping that it will clean under your furniture (4).
Smart as robot vacuums are, programming them to handle stairs simply isn’t possible right now. But, don’t worry too much about them tumbling down your steps. Their sensors will pick up on boundaries to prevent them from falling.
If you have a multi-story home, it shouldn’t stop you from buying a robot vacuum. That’s if you don’t mind buying (or continuing to use) a traditional vacuum cleaner alongside your robot.
4. How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
Not going for a Roomba doesn’t mean you should cheap out entirely. So, if the price of a robot vacuum seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you spend too little on one, you might find that it’s ineffective, faulty, or a hassle to use.
Ridiculously cheap robot vacuums are probably of lesser quality. They may not be as robust or have the same sophisticated technology that better brands do. Instead, go for something mid-range if you can. It won’t be overrated, and will work just fine.
Will a Robot Vacuum Suit You?
We understand that you want the convenience, but it may cost you. Besides, robot vacuums are nifty, but they’re not always needed. In some instances, you might find that traditional vacuums do more for you.
Before we show you our top picks of robot vacuums, have a quick look at some of their drawbacks. Keep these in mind. It could prevent you from spending unnecessarily.
- You have to vacuum-proof your home: Robot vacuums can sense walls, stairs, and furniture, but they can’t tell the difference between dirt and valuables. If it’s in your robot vacuum’s path, it will get sucked up.
- They have blind spots: These machines aren’t good at cleaning difficult spots, so corners and other tight places might be overlooked.
- Some are unsuited to multiple rooms: Not every robot vacuum can be programmed to clean your whole house. You’ll have to take it one room at a time if that’s the case.
- They only work on level surfaces: If your floor is bumpy or uneven, many robot vacuums won’t be able to work around it. Lengthy, overlapping, or excessively fluffy carpets may also prove to be problematic.
- They could damage your cables: Robot vacuums can’t sense wires, cables, or cords. They will travel over them and could damage them. There’s also a chance that they’ll pull whatever is plugged in, and this could ruin or break your electronics.
The Best Roomba Alternatives of 2020
Now that you have a good understanding of what makes a good robot vacuum, we’re going to show you our top picks.
We’ve made our choices after hours of diligent product research and scouring customer reviews. These devices work just as well as a Roomba will, but it will be easier on your wallet.
1. Coredy R300
This vacuum has almost everything you need to make the most out of robotic vacuuming. Its list of features is impressive and customers love it, as do we.
For starters, it has powerful suction at 1400 Pa — more than most other robot vacuums. It can pick up dust and stubborn dirt or debris and has up to 110 minutes of run time.
In terms of its functionality, this is a multi-floor machine. Its auto-adjust features know which brushes, height, and suction to use depending on whether your floor is hard or carpeted. It has safety features too.
Its anti-collision technology prevents unnecessary hits, and it has as anti-drop technology to keep it safe from stairs. The pressure-sensitive bumper assists in navigation, so it won’t have trouble finding its way around your furniture.
It’s got a timer you can control with a remote to schedule it. This is a self-charging machine that will demand little attention and maintenance from you.
The Coredy R300 has no trouble switching from hard floors to carpets, and has been designed to roam seamlessly between the two. It’s best suited for medium pile carpets, and there are four cleaning modes to choose from.
As for accessories, you’ll get four side brushes and a cleaning brush. It comes with two filters, one of which is a high-efficiency filter. You also receive a charging station, an adapter and a remote control with batteries included.
Why We Love It
You might not use a robot vacuum for deep cleaning, but this model has stronger suction than most other machines. Since you’ll leave it to its own devices, it’s good to know that it’s got enough power to do a solid job.
The anti-collision, anti-drop, and bumper system make this machine a little more durable than you’d expect. You won’t have to worry about it crashing into furniture, or falling down steps. It saves you money on maintenance, replacements, and repairs.
We like that this one comes with a great selection of useful accessories. The side brushes and cleaning brush add more power to your cleaning. This vacuum also comes with everything it needs to run — even the remote’s batteries.
The dual filters make it a great choice for those with allergies too.
Keep In Mind
Not Suitable for Pet Homes
We’ve noticed that customers aren’t satisfied with this machine when it comes to pet hair. It doesn’t have an under-side brush, so it’s ineffective at collecting hair from carpets. Your best bet is to stick to hardwood floors with this one.
This machine won’t deafen you, but it’s louder than most other robot vacuums. It could be due to the extra suction, so we won’t judge it too harshly on this.
|Dimensions||12.8 inches by 12.8 inches by 2.7 inches|
|Special features||Auto-adjusting height, anti-collision technology, anti-drop technology|
|Accessories||4 side brushes, cleaning brush, extra high-efficiency filter, charging dock, adapter, remote control, batteries|
2. Eufy RoboVac 11S
Back in 2018, this machine won the Best Robot Vacuum award, which says a lot about its usability and sophistication. This is an upgrade to a previous model, and so has better specs. The dustbin is bigger, suction is stronger, and the build is more compact than the ones before.
This vacuum is a self-charging machine that won’t have trouble finding its way home. It can climb over low steps and door ledges too, making it a multi-room vacuum. It’s also been designed to work best on hardwood floors.
Eufy’s exclusive BoostIQ technology automatically adjusts the suction to prevent damage to hard floors. It works fast too. This function kicks in within a little over a second.
It can clean in bouts of 100 minutes and makes very little noise. Several included safety features prevent it from crashing and falling.
This machine uses a triple filter system to give you a thorough clean, which is handy for pet owners. Other accessories include a remote control with batteries, a charging base, and adaptor. You will also get a cleaning tool, four side brushes, five cable ties, and an extra set of filters.
Why We Love It
We love that this vacuum can find its way over door ledges and small steps. Other robot vacuums might be confused by this, and can’t be set up to enter different rooms. This handy feature means that you will spend less time setting it up or keeping tabs on it.
Automatic Suction Control
Since this vacuum is meant for hardwood floors, this is an excellent feature. You don’t have to control the suction of this machine. It detects how hard it should clean your floors, and adjusts its suction in a second.
It will preserve the condition of wooden floors by preventing abrasions on the surface.
Triple Filter System
This is great if you are sensitive to dust, pet hair, or other allergens. The triple filter system leaves your floors and the air cleaner and fresher. We think it’s a lovely courtesy that you get an extra filter thrown in as well.
Keep In Mind
Not Intended for Carpets
Designed for hardwood floors, this machine won’t do well on carpets or rugs. This isn’t a deal-breaker for us, but it could be inconvenient for you, especially if you have pets.
Not Suited for Small Homes
Don’t get us wrong, you don’t need a mansion to accommodate this machine. The only problem is that it won’t charge unless it has at least six feet of free space around it. Not everyone has that amount of space.
|Dimensions||12.8 inches by 12.8 inches by 2.85 inches|
|Special features||Automatic suction control, anti-crash technology, anti-drop technology, quiet clean|
|Accessories||Four side brushes, cleaning tool, charging base, adapter, remote control, batteries, Five cable ties, extra filter|
3. Coredy R500
We have to give Coredy another spot on this list. This model is just as impressive as the first, with similar features.
Its suction is on par with our top pick, sitting at 1400 Pa. It’s a quiet, but powerful machine. You can control the suction with the remote control, which we think is cool.
This little guy can clean for up to 120 minutes at a time, and you can run it on both carpets and hard floors. It’s got five different modes to suit floors (or fabrics) of varying toughness. It hasn’t left out the protective features — you still get the anti-collision and anti-drop technology.
You can schedule this one with its remote, and these are more or less the same. One key difference is that this machine doesn’t have a dual filter, though it still incorporates a high-efficiency one.
It also includes a main brush and four side brushes. The remote control, batteries, charger, adapter, and docking station are bundled in too.
Note, though, that this model is best suited for tough dirt and smaller homes.
Why We Love It
Five Cleaning Modes
Having a say in how your vacuum cleans is always appreciated. Whether it’s automated or controlled with the remote, the five modes are better for your floors. For one, adjusting the machine to your floors means they’re less likely to be scratched or damaged.
There are quite a few robot vacuums without suction control, so we think that this is a great feature. You can easily adjust how hard your vacuum works with the remote. This may give your surfaces extra protection, or help to combat stubborn dirt.
You don’t have to worry about this robot going out of bounds or falling. Its edge detection, anti-drop system, and anti-collision technology will keep it out of harm’s way. This is especially useful if you have lots of furniture for it to work around.
Keep In Mind
It Struggles with Fine Dirt
We noticed that this vacuum is better at picking up stubborn dirt and debris than it is fine dirt. This is a handy feature in carpeted or pet-friendly homes. However, it could prove frustrating to those looking for light cleaning abilities.
It Might Get Lost
A few customers have complained that this robot loses its way, panics, and then spins around aimlessly. It could be that since it’s better suited for smaller homes and a wider range confuses it.
|Dimensions||12.6 inches by 12.6 inches by 2.8 inches|
|Special features||Suction control, anti-collision technology, anti-drop technology|
|Accessories||Four side brushes, a main brush, charging dock, adapter, remote control, batteries|
4. ILIFE A4s
If you’re looking for a robot vacuum that will effectively deep clean your home, give this one a try. It’s engineered to last long and to provide you with control of its cleaning. Customers say that this is one of the best for pet-friendly homes.
It’s a convenient machine too. You can leave it to its own devices or program it to a schedule. It’s self-charging and one of its defining features is that the battery will last for 140 minutes of run time.
The vacuum uses the Gen 3 CyclonePower system to boost its suction for deep cleaning. It includes a tangle-free brush roller that works well on carpets — extra useful for pet owners. If you need a boost for stubborn dirt, switch it to Max mode.
It’s not lacking in safety. We love the anti-bump and anti-drop technology that help it navigate around your furniture. It cleans efficiently under furniture too and will effortlessly find its way around obstacles like shoes or potted plant.
Included with this vacuum are a remote control with batteries, a cleaning tool, extra high-performance filters, and additional side brushes.
Why We Love It
Robot vacuums with tangle-free technology aren’t as common as you might think. So, the brush roller for this vacuum makes it an excellent choice for carpeted homes and pet owners. It’s a multi-floor vacuum too, so everyone wins.
The battery on this machine lasts longer than most others on the market. This is especially handy if you have a large room that needs more time. It’s self-charging, and will automatically return to its station if the battery runs low.
We like that you can give this machine a boost if you’re tackling a stubborn mess, or going beyond light cleaning. Combine that with the long-lasting battery and you have a machine that works well, even for deep cleaning.
Keep In Mind
Doesn’t Work on All Carpet
While this is a good vacuum for carpeted floors, it’s designed to clean thin carpets with its bristle brush. Thick carpets and dark colored flooring can prove difficult for this machine.
It Could Harm Your Floors
Since this machine focuses on concentrated cleaning but has no self-adjusting features that we can see, it might harm sensitive surfaces. To avoid this, be careful with the Max mode, and try to keep an eye on it.
|Dimensions||12.2 inches by 12.2 inches by 3 inches|
|Special features||Max mode, anti-bump sensor, anti-drop sensor|
|Accessories||Tangle-free brush roll, a set of side brushes, cleaning tool, charging dock, adapter, remote control, batteries, extra filter|
5. Ecovacs Deebot N79S
We’ve chosen this model as the most convenient because of how easy it is to control. You can use it through Alexa and Google Assistant, or through Ecovacs’ app. The latter gives you five cool features including scheduling, controls, cleaning modes, and updates on the machine and its accessories’ status.
This machine has four cleaning modes. Auto will take care of your entire floor, Edge pays attention to boundaries, and Spot will focus on a concentrated area. Max mode doubles the suction in case of stubborn dirt.
With 110 minutes of runtime, it returns to its post automatically when its battery runs low, and is self-charging.
Included with this vacuum are four side brushes, a main brush, cleaning tool, and high-efficiency filter. You’ll also get a remote control with batteries and a charging dock.
Why We Love It
Alexa and Google Assistant Compatible
If you have an AI home assistant, this vacuum is an excellent choice. Its compatibility with Alexa and Google assistant spells less hassle for you. The voice commands mean that you truly won’t have to lift a finger to operate it.
Even if you don’t have a virtual assistant, you won’t miss out. The Ecovacs app gives you access to remote control and status updates to your machine and its accessories. This makes maintenance a whole lot easier.
Four Cleaning Modes
The modes on this vacuum are specific and helpful. You can adjust it to one particular area of your floor, which means less confusion from your vacuum. We also like the Max mode, for when you need double the power.
Keep In Mind
Some customers note that though it’s Alexa compatible, the commands are somewhat outdated. The same applies to Google Assistant.
Single Floor Machine
This little vacuum doesn’t do so well when switching from one floor to another. If your floors aren’t level, it won’t travel seamlessly and may get stuck.
|Dimensions||33 inches by 33 inches by 7.8 inches|
|Special features||Ecovacs app, Alexa and Google Assistant compatible|
|Accessories||Tangle-free brush roll, a set of side brushes, cleaning tool, charging dock, adapter, remote control, batteries, extra filter|
|Coredy R300||Best All-Rounder||1.4 kPa||12.8″ x 12.8″ x 2.7″||9 lbs||Auto-adjusting height, anti-collision technology, anti-drop technology||4 side brushes, cleaning brush, extra high-efficiency filter, charging dock, adapter, remote control, batteries|
|Eufy RoboVac 11S||Best Smart Robot||1.3 kPa||12.8″ x 12.8″ x 2.85″||5.73 lbs||Automatic suction control, anti-crash technology, anti-drop technology, quiet clean||Four side brushes, cleaning tool, charging base, adapter, remote control, batteries, Five cable ties, extra filter|
|Coredy R500||Best For All Surfaces||1.4 kPa||12.6″ x 12.6″ x 2.8″||9 lbs||Suction control, anti-collision technology, anti-drop technology||Four side brushes, a main brush, charging dock, adapter, remote control, batteries|
|ILIFE A4s||Best For Pets||1 kPa||12.2″ x 12.2″ x 3″||4.9 lbs||Max mode, anti-bump sensor, anti-drop sensor||Tangle-free brush roll, a set of side brushes, cleaning tool, charging dock, adapter, remote control, batteries, extra filter|
|Ecovacs Deebot N79S||Most Convenient||1.3 kPa||33″ x 33″ x 7.8″||7.05 lbs||Ecovacs app, Alexa and Google Assistant compatible|
Tips for Using a Robot Vacuum
Robot vacuums are easy to accommodate if you have the right space for them. These useful tips will make their cleaning go smoother, and prevent mishaps if you’re not around to control your vacuum:
- Charge it fully before use: To get the most out of your battery, make sure your device is fully charged before you put it to work. Keep its charging port clean for more efficient charging.
- Avoid damp or wet spots: Robot vacuums and water don’t mix. Only use them on dry surfaces, and make sure water bowls are out of its way.
- Store them in mild temperatures: Excessive exposure to heat or cold could mess up your batteries. Store it somewhere cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight.
- Keep your charging station within reach: Robot vacuums are mostly self-charging, but they have to find their way to their charger. Leave your docking station where the robot will find it.
- Lift your furniture: Robot vacuums might struggle to navigate around or under chairs. You can make its job easier by placing your chairs on your tables. Letting them lean against walls or stacking them could help too.
- Protect your cables: There are various ways to keep your wires safe. Hanging them is best, cable clips come in handy, or you can also line your shoes along them (with the laces tucked in). Otherwise, wrap them in a rug to hide them from your machine.
- Check your specs: You should do this regardless of which vacuum you buy, but some features aren’t necessarily common in robot vacuums. For example, if you’re prone to allergies, make sure that the model you choose has an approved HEPA filter.
The Rise of the Robots
Robot vacuums still have a way to go before they overtake traditional vacuuming, but they’re cool and worth a try. We’ve shown you our favorite alternatives to Roomba to prove that brand isn’t always everything. Our choices work just as well, and won’t burn a hole in your bank account.
Beyond saving you money, they’ll save you time too. They’re healthier for your back (and your pet’s ears) and will make cleaning less stressful.
Which one of our top picks do you like the most? Are you ready to make the switch into futuristic cleaning? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.