We Put the 12 Best Roomba Alternatives To the Test, With Cleaning…
In this review, SPY gadgets writer Erin Lawrence compares the best Roomba alternatives of 2022. Erin has tested dozens of robot vacuums for SPY, and additional testing information was provided by other SPY product reviewers.
If you’re in the market for a new robot vacuum, you’ve likely heard of Roomba. Much like Kleenex, Jell-O, Google and other products that have morphed into interchangeable terms for an entire product category, a Roomba is now synonymous with robot vacuum cleaner. Roomba, made by the iRobot company, gets credit for being the original and, for many years, the best robot vacuum cleaner out there. But once you set yourself up as a market leader, the competition comes calling.
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Today, the robot vacuum arms race has led to some seriously impressive self-emptying robot vacuums, and Roomba has more competition than ever in both the budget and premium categories. Brands like Ecovacs, Roborock and Samsung now make advanced robo-vacs, while budget brands like Shark and eufy by Anker have some great budget options.
iRobot introduced the very first Roomba vacuum in 2002 and since then there are many new brands selling autonomous floor cleaners. While many of those upstarts have adapted and even bested iRobot’s technology, adding smarter mapping and navigation, cameras and introducing smart mopping, iRobot has remained stubbornly opposed to fundamentally changing its design. The brand seems mysteriously and staunchly opposed to innovating beyond a simple, single-purpose robot vacuum.
That being said, we wanted to see if the latest robot vacuums were better than Roomba, which is why we looked at the best of the Roomba alternatives of 2022. Because most people searching for Roomba alternatives are hoping to pay less, not more, we looked for the top robot vacuums under $650 for this review. While we tried to stick with vacuum-only alternatives (like Roomba), but it turns out that’s hard to do, since many manufacturers are adding extra cleaning power (like mopping) while still keeping the prices down. As the cost of this added technology comes down, it’s actually becoming more common to see it in mid- and lower-priced floor bots.
All Hail the Mighty Roomba
Roomba vacuums offer some of the most cutting-edge cleaning and performance features, along with some of the most intuitive tech and app features that you’ll find in a robot vac. It’s got some of the best obstacle avoidance technology of any robot vacuum out there, including the new poop recognition and avoidance for pet owners. The one drawback is that Roombas tend to be some of the most expensive bot vacs on the market, and the price of this bot, while it’s come down substantially, is still quite high.
iRobot Roomba j7+
Buy: iRobot Roomba j9+ $729.00 (orig. $799.99) 9% OFF
1. Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro+
Why We Chose It: Ecovacs makes some pretty great vacuum and mopping bots. Its N8+ model has an auto empty dustbin included and large mopping tank with a washable pad. The N8 Pro+ also has what’s known as TrueDetect, a smart 3D obstacle avoidance feature. It goes around objects like shoes and cords so you don’t need to worry about dropped objects tangling up your bot. In my testing, this robot was consistently great at cleaning both dirt and dust and spills that needed mopping. It’s also a nice sleek package too that doesn’t take up a lot of space.
Read More: The Best Robot Vacuums of 2022
Buy: Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro+ $599.99 (orig. $649.99) 8% OFF
The Ecovacs app lets you schedule a clean, or see where the robot is cleaning in real-time. You can also use your phone and the app as a virtual remote control too. I’m impressed to say the DEEBOT N8 PRO+ was great at seeing and going around troublesome objects. I can also say that in my testing the DEEBOT N8 PRO+ never got stuck or tangled up, and it handled flooring transitions up to 2 centimeters extremely well.
2. Roborock S7
Why We Chose It: This bot is a great overall cleaner that excels at mopping in particular. You can also upgrade to the ultimate self-cleaning (and mop-washing) auto Empty Wash Fill Dock (if you do it’s known as the Roborock S7 Max V Ultra) if your budget allows. This floor cleaning system is part of a new legion of robots that go the extra mile, not just cleaning but maintaining themselves too.
Full Review: Roborock S7 Robot Vacuum
Buy: Roborock S7 $649.99
Roborock has delivered with the S7 robot vacuum and mopping combo. This botvac will both vacuum and mop, and it’s smart enough to lift its mopping plate a few millimeters off the surface when it rolls onto carpets to keep from dampening rugs. In my testing I marveled at how well the robot recognized carpets and lifted that mopping plate every time. Advanced obstacle recognition rounds out this multi-talented bot, and in my use with it the bot was able to avoid troublesome objects that tend to tangle and stall other robot vacuums.
Dual vacuum and mop
Lifting mopping plate
Good mopping capabilities
Big battery, long runtime
3. Shark AI Robot Vacuum
BEST BAGLESS OPTION
Why We Chose It: This is the only vacuum robot on our list that offers a bagless central dustbin as part of its self-emptying base station, meaning you don’t have to shell out extra for bags.
Buy: Shark AI Robot Vacuum $508.00 (orig. $649.99) 22% OFF
Shark’s entry into the robot vacuum plus self-emptying base station category is a surprising hit. While it’s priced in the more affordable range, it has surprising power and vacuumed surprisingly well in my tests. It won’t win any design contests for its utilitarian style, but it cleans well for a vacuum-only robot. It offers cleaning time estimates in the Roborock app so you can select any rooms or areas you want cleaned and the app will tell you how long it will take, a feature that tends to appear only in pricier robots.
Full Review: Shark AI robot vacuum
Smart, accurate mapping
Adjustable power and suction
No extra vacuum bags to buy
Uncomplicated but with all the features you want
4. Yeedi Vac 2
BEST VAC + MOP
Why We Chose It: Yeedi’s designs tend to copy other brands but the technology is all there and they have bots that can both vacuum, or vacuum and mop. I really like the all-around cleaning power of this version, the Yeedi Vac 2 Pro. This robot’s unique innovation is its scrubbing mopping plate which is able to power off dried on dirt from hard floors.
Full Review: Testing the Yeedi Vac 2
Buy: Yeedi Vac 2 $449.99
Yeedi is one of those brands that doesn’t get a lot of headlines but makes robot vacuums that are affordable and have most of the features shoppers want. The scrubbing mopping plate on this version does an outstanding job of powering dirt off floors during my review period, and the vacuuming is effective too. For the price, this is an amazingly well-rounded bot that will not only deliver on the vacuuming you need but also the mopping you didn’t know you wanted.
Most wet-dry vacuums are a disappointment, but we were impressed by this robot vacuum.
5. DreameBot D10+
BEST FOR LARGE HOMES
Why We Chose It: This dual vacuum and mopping robot has strong cleaning power, long-lasting runtime and efficient automatic emptying. It will clean nearly 3,000 square feet on a single charge them return to base and recharge and empty its onboard dustbin. Plus, it’s got mopping too.
Buy: DreameBot D10+ $399.99 (orig. $499.99) 20% OFF
While the mopping technology is nothing special it does a good job of wiping up small spills and keeping dust at bay. It also has extremely fast mapping prowess and as I found out in my in-home review, it can create a smart map of your home in an astonishing eight minutes. From there you can label your rooms, create dedicated intensive cleaning zones, adjust water flow, suction and noise level. Plus its sleek white design blends nicely into a lot of modern homes.
6. Samsung Jet Bot AI+
Why We Chose It: When it comes to obstacle avoidance, the Samsung Jet Bot AI+ scored top marks. The bot has the ability to take a look around your room with a built-in camera and uses the scan function to plot the most efficient cleaning route and one that can avoid hazards that could tangle the bot up.
Buy: Samsung Jet Bot AI+ $528.29 (orig. $799.00) 34% OFF
Buy: Samsung Jet Bot AI+ at Samsung $799.99
This is the one vacuum in the list I have not tried myself, but our editor John Velasco has and he loves it so I wanted to include it here. With really strong suction that is great for carpeted areas and a decently long 90 minutes of run time, this robot has a great foundation. The self-empty station holds multiple weeks of dirt and it’s easy to use from a mechanical perspective and using the app. As a bonus, it’s also on the quieter side following our testing. John scored it a solid 100 in terms of its ability to clean dirt debris and pet hair off the floor.
Super effective cleaner
Handles emptying with ease
Great AI navigation for cleaning efficiency
Camera doubles as roving security
7. eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S
BEST UNDER $200
Why We Chose It: For the best Roomba alternative under $200, you’ll want the excellent eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S. This ultra-slim robot vacuum is affordable yet fully capable of cleaning up everyday messes and pet hair.
Buy: eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S $185.99
Rocking one of the slimmest robot vacuum profiles (only 2.85 inches from top to bottom), the eufy RoboVac 11S will have no trouble getting underneath most of the furniture in your home. When you add in 1300Pa of suction power, drop-sensors to avoid a fall down the stairs, and the trademark BoostIQ feature that automatically amps up the suction when the 11S moves from hardwood to carpeting, you get one of the best Roomba alternatives under $200 you can get your hands on.
More Roomba Alternatives To Consider
While the products above are the best Roomba alternatives we’ve tested, there are other, much cheaper bots out there that rank quite high with buyers. While SPY product testers haven’t been able to review all of the bots below, these still have some great features and are worth considering, if only to compare them to the models above.
8. Ecovacs DEEBOT 500
BUDGET SMART VACUUM
Why We Chose It: Compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, the DEEBOT 500 can be put to work with just a few spoken phrases — a feature you usually don’t see for $150. Another unusual add-on for the price is a decent companion app for your phone or tablet. Once your vac is connected to WiFi, the Ecovacs Smart App allows you to build customized schedules for your bot, remotely start and stop cleaning and change between cleaning modes.
Buy: Ecovacs DEEBOT 500 $139.00 (orig. $279.99) 50% OFF
9. Pure Clean Automatic Vacuum Cleaner
FOR PET HAIR
Why We Chose It: Extremely versatile and highly convenient, the Pure Clean is great for covering hardwood floors and for hitting all those hard-to-reach areas in your home. With a slim body and extra low profile, it’s able to clean areas that are otherwise avoided. The anti-fall sensors help it detect and avoid falling down stairs, and the excellent onboard HEPA filter can trap airborne pollutants and all that pesky pet dander hanging around your home.
10. iLIFE V5s Pro Robot Vacuum & Mop Cleaner
BUDGET BOT WITH MOPPING
Why We Chose It: Slightly higher up on the robotic food chain is the iLIFE V5. Sporting an extra powerful internal motor with the ability to automatically adjust to whatever surface it’s cleaning, this Roomba alternative is also able to mop and scrub your laminate floors.
11. iLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Why We Chose It: This vacuum’s three-step cleaning program offers unparalleled results. With the ability to adjust to any surface, the iLife offers a smarter way to clean. Plus, the internal motor is significantly quieter than other leading robotic vacuums, making it a great Roomba alternative for under $200.
12. iRobot Roomba 692
Why We Chose It: Okay, okay, we did say this was an article about Roomba alternatives, but if you’re a brand loyalist this may be appealing. While most Roombas tend to cost around $500 or more, the company’s 600 series is a family of vacs that hover right around $200. The 692 model features WiFi connectivity for mobile controls with the iRobot app, as well as voice assistant support for Alexa and Google Assistant.
This model also features Roomba’s 3-Stage Cleaning System, which combines dual multi-surface brushes, edge sweeping brushes, and powerful suction for one of the most thorough budget-cleanups on the market.
Buy: iRobot Roomba 692 $289.00
How We Choose the Best Robot Vacuums
For each of the best Roomba robot vacuum alternatives, I extensively tested them in my home. I’ve run them on carpet, rugs and hard floors to see first-hand what they’re good at and what they’re not. Some of what I end up liking in a robot vacuum may seem like personal preference, like looks and design, but we do score our robot vacuum reviews and rank them each according to the same criteria as noted below.
Cleaning power & suction: how well does it pick up dirt, dust and debris? Bots that pick up more or cover areas better score higher.
Mopping: does it have a mop and is it effective?
Auto Emptying station: can the robot dump its own internal dustbin?
Obstacle avoidance: does it get stuck on hazards like charging cords, socks and common household items? Robots that can avoid getting tangled score higher.
Easy to use app: robot vacuums should be easy to use and hassle-free to set up, control and set scheduled cleanings
What to Know When Shopping for a Roomba Alternative
Many robot vacuums (regardless of the brand) can cost a lot. Of course, higher prices often translate to more and better features, better cleaning and better reliability. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a Roomba alternative under $650 isn’t going to do a great job for your house.
Some shoppers may have their reservations about going with an entry- or mid-tier robot vacuum, and we’re here to confirm these concerns are certainly not unfounded. There are indeed a number of perks you may miss out on by opting for a bot vac that falls under $650, or even under $200, which we’ve also included below:
Lower caliber home-mapping or navigational tech
Less advanced cleaning features, such as the ability to adapt to different floor surfaces (no carpet boost, for example)
Shorter battery life
Less attractive designs
While it’s important to understand what you’re giving up, this isn’t to say that there are not some tremendous budget-level vacuums out there. For your consideration, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up several of the best Roomba alternatives for under $500. And with all of these, you may not have the advanced features of the newest Roomba, the i7+, but your place will still be dust bunny-free after use.
A Word About Auto Empty Base Stations
Many robot vacuums are available both with and without an automatic emptying base station, and the Roomba j7+ also has one, so many of the options we chose have one also. While opting for a robot vacuum without this handy base can cut costs, it’s usually worth it to splurge and upgrade to a version that has one.
These base stations charge the bot but will also empty the robot’s onboard dustbin whenever it’s full, or each time it returns to base, meaning the onboard dustbin stays clear, allowing for more airflow on each cleaning lap, and thus better suction. Plus, they often have sealed dustbags you simply pull out and toss away, so you never need to touch dirt. It may seem like a splurge, but with lower cost vacuums without an auto empty station, you will need to remove and dump the dustbin after each outing, so plan for that regular maintenance.
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