Smart Home

Robotic Vacuums Are a Waste of Money and Here’s Why

Matthew Hughes 15-04-2016

Nobody enjoys doing household chores, which is why there’s been a proliferation of smart home devices that make it possible to avoid doing them completely. You can now even get “smart valves”, which automatically water your plants 5 Smart Devices To Help Manage Your Garden Turns out, a smart garden is completely possible, thanks to the devices we are going to take a look at today. Read More .


It doesn’t stop there. Vacuuming, for example, is a job increasingly being borne by robotic vacuum cleaners The Best Affordable Robot Vacuums for Your Home Buying a robot vacuum cleaner needn't hurt your bank balance. Here are the best affordable robot vacuums for your home. Read More . These traverse your home by their own accord, sucking up all the dust and debris in their path. You’re probably familiar with (and have lusted over) the iconic iRobot Roomba iRobot Roomba 760 Review and Giveaway Who doesn't like a clean house? Actually, let me rephrase that - who doesn't like a self-cleaning house? Imagine a world where you needn't lift a finger to sweep or mop your floor. We'll be... Read More , which has been on the market for almost 15 years now.

The appeal of these devices is undeniable. But they’re not for everyone. You should think long and hard before buying one. Here’s why.

House Owners Beware: They Don’t Do Stairs

Yep. 15 years of development, and they can’t climb stairs. That’s not for lack of trying; getting robots to climb stairs is a pretty big challenge, and save for a couple of pre-production prototypes, nobody has been able to pull it off without making serious compromises with maneuverability and form-factor.

This means that unless you own an apartment, you’re going to have a vacuum cleaner on hand for the stairs which, it could be argued, fundamentally defeats the purpose of owning a robotic vacuum cleaner.

As a side note, it’s worth adding that while no Roombas have the ability to climb stairs, many of the newer models ship with sensors that allow them to clean the upper flights of houses without cascading down a flight of stairs.


This is probably for the best, especially when you consider that the cheapest ones cost around $300.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaners Have Less Suction

If you read a review of a Roomba in the technology press or an Amazon comments section, you’ll see one common complaint – robotic vacuum cleaners aren’t terribly powerful at sucking up dirt. This is a no-brainer. They’re much smaller than normal vacuum cleaners, and rather than depending on a mains power source, they have to use (and conserve) a battery pack.

Advocates of robotic vacuum cleaners argue that this isn’t a problem, since robotic vacuum cleaners are designed to run more frequently than you would ordinarily vacuum a home. While you might drag out your Dyson every three days or so, you could potentially schedule your Roomba to run multiple times a day.



But I’m not terribly convinced by this. I own both a dog, and a top-of-the-line Dyson DC40 vacuum cleaner, which cost £200 (around $400 in the US) brand new. When my dog sheds fur, my vacuum struggles to capture every last strand. I have to go over the same spot again and again with a measure of forcefulness. I struggle to see how a much weaker robotic vacuum cleaner would cope.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaners Struggle With Clutter

Let’s clear up one myth about robotic vacuums. They only suck up dust and debris. They won’t pick up your dirty laundry, or move that stack of books on your floor. For them to be truly effective, you need to proactively ensure that your floor is clear.

While this won’t be a barrier for some people, it certainly will for some college students I know.

Robot Vacuum Cleaners Require Maintenance

Robot vacuum cleaners aren’t totally hands-off. You still need to perform regular maintenance in order to keep them working properly and to prevent them from breaking.


Take the Roomba, for example. In a 2013 article, CNET recommended users remove and clean the brushes and the bearings once a week, and to remove the chassis and remove any internal debris once a month. That’s a lot of work.

I imagine it could be quite scary too, especially if the user isn’t mechanically inclined. It goes without saying that the average vacuum cleaner doesn’t require the same level of maintenance.

Robot Vacuums Are Expensive

Finally, let’s cut to the chase. Robotic vacuum cleaners are still extremely expensive, and are out of the price range for many people. This is strange, given that they are a mature technology that has existed on the market for over 15 years. Doubly so when you consider that there are a plethora of Shenzhen-made knockoffs that have flooded eBay, the Amazon marketplaces, and Ali Express Is AliExpress Legit and Safe to Buy From? What is Aliexpress? Is it safe to shop on? Are there any security vulnerabilities? Our Aliexpress review finds out if it's legit. Read More .

At the top of the market is the iRobot Roomba 980, which costs just shy of $900. In terms of cleaning performance, this generally matches other Roombas, but this has increased mobile connectivity, and drastically improved navigation.


iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot Buy Now On Amazon $399.00

The cheapest Roomba you’ll get is the 620, which costs around $300. This offers essentially the same functionality, but with some minor omissions. There’s no scheduling function, for example, and it won’t tell you when the dust bin is full and requires emptying. You have to check manually.

British household name Dyson has also entered the robotic vacuum cleaner fray with the Dyson 360 Eye. Their offering is a high-end affair, and costs more than $1,200. It also seemingly has solved the performance issues inherent with many rival robotic vacuums, but at a cost of size. It’s so big and heavy, it has to propel itself through tank tracks. This significantly enlarged size means that it struggles to get underneath furniture.

Then there are the non-name brand robotic vacuum cleaners 6 Top Robot Vacuums You May Be Able To Afford These days, you can find robot vacuums for less than $200, making them great for yourself or a good gift for a techie friend. Read More . The Performance Brands MARK-8 is a great example of a device that has an enticing price, but disappointing user reviews.

Performance Brands MARK-8 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies Performance Brands MARK-8 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies Buy Now On Amazon

When you scrape the bottom of the barrel, you come across things like $23 O-Cedar O-Duster Robotic Floor Cleaner. This is basically a lint cloth attached to a motor and a collision detector. Avoid these like the plague.

O-Cedar O-Duster Robotic Floor Cleaner O-Cedar O-Duster Robotic Floor Cleaner Buy Now On Amazon $109.00

Robot Vacuums Don’t Necessarily Have To Suck

If this sounds like I’m overtly negative about robotic vacuums, think again. For some people, they represent a worthwhile purchase. These people probably have deep pockets, and live in apartments. They probably aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty, and replacing the occasional brush or ball-bearing.

But if you live in a house, and if you’re content with your current vacuum, you might want to think twice before you get a robot vacuum cleaner. Their value proposition just isn’t all that strong.

Do you own a robotic vacuum cleaner? Love it? Hate it? Tell me in the comments below.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Shannon
    November 23, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Oh my goodness, I couldn't disagree more with this article! I appreciate that everyone has a different experience but this is certainly not true for everyone. To me, the points in this article are either untrue or not a large consideration. I have a Neato robotic vacuum, and the thing is absolutely amazing. (Maybe Neato is that much better than Roomba?) It is one of the greatest improvements of my home to date. Yes you have to pick up the floor before vacuuming - but wouldn't you do this anyway if you were going to use a regular vacuum? As far as cleaning the roller, I had to do this with my regular vacuum as well (all the hair). There is absolutely no feeling like coming home from running errands to a magically clean house, with all of those carpet lines in the carpet from fresh vacuuming. We have a ginormous house and this keeps up with our family of 8 amazingly. I am so excited about my Neato vacuum I can hardly contain it!

  2. Karen Page
    September 27, 2019 at 1:22 am

    I just bought an iRobot Roomba Vacuum and found out it was a waste of money I have two dark colored carpets over hardwood floors and dark linoleum in my kitchen and when it comes to that they will not clean anything dark their sensors think they're stairs and they will not work and I cannot get my money back from iRobot they are a waste of money I have tried covering up the sensors like I have seen in some deals where they advertise if you cover my up and they can't see it then you can vacuum with him but it didn't work the white paper didn't work to covered or the electrical tape so I've got a small portion of my floor that will cover it is Oak floor unless I remove all my carpets and like I said my kitchen is dark colored so it won't even clean that that's all I have to say thank you

  3. Vince.
    August 22, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    I never realised there was a myth that robot vacuum cleaner could pick books up from the floor. I would have thought it was obvious that they couldn't do that. I have just about the cheapest robot vacuum cleaner imaginable, about £40 off of ebay, and it has to cope with the most difficult circumstances imaginable in that I live on a boat but it's certainly been well worth the money I paid for it.

  4. Julian Choi
    July 26, 2019 at 11:45 am

    The robot cleaner is an invention with much to be desired. That's why I have been reluctant buying one, until I recently bought a low-priced Chinese model. At about $20, I am pretty much happy about this product which dramatically lessens my hands for house-vacuuming chores.

  5. John Ey
    June 13, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    My Roomba is idiotic. complete waste of money as we have hardwood and tile, I can do the job this thing can in about 1 min with a commercial size broom sweeper. The dumbest flaws:
    1. it does not clean a rectangular room in an organized fashion. It just wanders randomly in different directions until it bumps into objects/walls. It cleans over the same paths multiple times and completely misses others. They should program the travel like a paintbrush, start at one end of the room and work it's way down, don't wander off until each section is cleaned.

    2. gets completely lost and has terrible logic, it should be able to recognize/memorize the shape of the room based on where it's hitting the walls. No, our 900 series Roomba can't even do this, proof is that it gets so lost that it can't even return back to home base when the battery is low, because it doesn't know which room its in. The EASY solution would be to include an app for your phone where you just walk or sketch out the rough layout of the floor plan and the Roomba can use that as a map.

    3. Crappy battery life and no suction. Apparently because it must be thin enough to get underneath furniture. So the question is, why the hell do I care if its clean underneath my couch and my bed? Am I going to crawl underneath there ever? why stop there, why not make it thin enough to get under my stove and my fridge too? Make the dam things 2 feet tall with real battery and vacuum suction, so they can handle carpet and get the floor clean where I walk where it MATTERS.

  6. Sam
    March 1, 2019 at 7:39 am

    I own a dyson and a roomba 680. Very busy household with 3 cats a rabbit and 3 kids. I don’t think I could survive if my roomba broke down. Have had it for over 2 years now and my dyson hardly gets used, perhaps once a week to do the stairs and the thick pile rug in my bedroom that the roomba can’t do. Roomba is on at least 3 times a day in my household and it’s so clean you could never tell there is that much traffic. The only issue it has is I have a rug in my main room, it can’t clean the gap between the floor and where it climbs onto the rug. I have a floor mop that I just run around the rug for it and then leave it to sweep that up and get on with the rest of the work. Don’t get me wrong it’s not able to do everything for me but it saves me a lot of time, even with the weekly maintenance for it...I’m usually able to finish other chores while it finishes off the flooring for me. All in all it’s one of the best investment I’ve ever made and I’m in love with my’s even cleaning the floors now while I type this! If you are thinking of getting one (a decent one though), I wouldn’t think.....just go get it.

  7. marco
    January 18, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    I got one for $110 on amazon with a 3 year warranty.... It works fine on hard floors. Picks up dog hair I don't have to worry about trying to get to every day... Not a waste of money at all...
    I wouldn't waste my money if I had carpet, it likely wouldn't be strong enough to do anything.. But my concrete floors it works fine.

  8. Maria
    November 3, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    I was a skeptic as I am not a gadget person. I purchased mine with a store loyalty points and a smaller amount of $ out of pocket when I was to have surgery on my right hand that would have it on light duties for 4-6 weeks. I have timber stairs that I use a cloth on.
    I use my Roomba980 on the carpet upstairs and a Spider 2.0 on the floorboards downstairs.
    My floors and carpet has never been cleaner. So yes they are expensive but I would now pay full price out of pocket for one. A version lower than 980 would be fine for hardfloors. My sister has the 680 and it has been working had for her for 3 years.

    Roomba- I don’t have a pet and with a shedding rug my Roomba bin had to be emptied several times the first vacuum. If I had a pet I’d have the Roomba on most days to keep the hair under control.
    It is noisy on the carpet.
    It goes under beds and vacuums the tiledfloors in the bathrooms. It raises the pile of my carpet in a way that takes me a long time and many passes with my handheld Dyson. I rarely use my Dyson now. I use my Dyson when I want to quickly vacuum something as I’ve made a mess and guests are coming or I don’t want the kids to trample.

    Spider 2.0
    I was surprised this cheaper device was so effective. It does not climb on rugs that are not very low pile. But it is smaller and gets between all the chair and stool legs. It has a larger bin and a larger ‘hole’ that it sucks into. It’s not a carpet vacuum it’s a sweeper for hard floors. It does clean my very narrow piled hallway rug. And it’s quiet! It’s light and less scary than the Roomba due to it’s simpler design.

    Having them has meant I have more time to keep the bathrooms under control, dust including skirting boards and keep the house looking clean. Now I’m considering a lawn robot. :)

  9. Danzig
    September 13, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    On carpit I can see how it can struggle but it does great on hardwood floors. I have 2 dogs and if we dont vacuum every few days the hair is visible all over and also gathers in tufts in the corners of the house. I run the roomba 690 every day and it's made a huge difference. I have to empty it daily because of all the hair.

  10. Candis
    August 9, 2018 at 12:40 am

    Thank you. I found the information provided here to be very helpful. I've decided that this is currently a waste of money for me. I was hoping that by now, at least one of these products would have evolved in efficiency and practically enough for me to justify the expense.

  11. Mark
    July 16, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    You may fail to see how the poor little Roomba can pick up the dirt that your powerful vacuum takes several goes to pick up.

    The answer is that, unlike you, the Roomba doesn't get bored. If it takes 20 goes to pick it up, it'll do so...

    ... and again tomorrow, while you're at work.

    You appear however, to have the attitude that "unless this completely replaces my other vaccum, it's not worth having."

    My attitude is "I used to have to vacuum by hand twice a week. Now I can vacuum once every two weeks." For me, getting rid of 75% of the chore makes it worth having.

  12. Audrey BOYER
    June 13, 2018 at 10:47 am

    You have vacuums for pet's hair, carpet...etc. Plus, once you've made a big clean in your house, you can set up the robot to vacuum everyday or every 2 or 3 days. Which means it doesn't matter if the vacuum power isn't as powerful as a usual vacuum. Because the dirt won't have time to stuck on the floor.

    • adam
      July 7, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      This is an absurd response, and demonstrates ignorance of physics. Dirt does not become somehow more “established” with the passage of time.

      • APB
        July 19, 2018 at 4:16 pm

        Well, that's not entirely accurate. Dirt that is loose and quickly cleaned up is much easier to pick up than dirt that has been trampled for days and starts to stick to the floor. I have 3 boys and live on a country farm with lots of dirt. When it's not swept or mopped up within a short amount of time, it definitely creates more work later. I'm assuming that's what Audrey above was alluding to. ;)

  13. Lacey
    May 20, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    These aren’t meant to be your only vacuum, just to keep it from getting put of hand in between. No stairs, no carpet here. Someone with enough clutter for it to be a problem isn’t really all that interested in being clean, not meant for them anyway. My furniture is so low that a regular vac won’t get under it, so another non-issue for me. If it keeps the dog hair and dust from buildiing up, that is all I need. I still have to vacuum amd mop weekly, but it keeps things looking better.

  14. Robert P. Wills
    May 14, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Nope. Nope. And Nope.

    Remote vacuums- I have two Roomba Schedulers - "Master" and "Blaster" that do a great in-between-cleaning job. They are about an 80% solution. AND you can buy earlier generation Roombas (and other brands) on the cheap online. Batteries are sold by several companies on eBay and Amazon for around $20 (free ship) which means you get easily a year of in-between vacuuming.

    Are they 100% effective? No. BUT as a way to spot clean the house on your way out, they are excellent. In fact, my bins which always have stuff in them and I run them every other day, is the proof.

    So as for me and my house- I love the little guys.

  15. MikeA
    March 27, 2018 at 10:40 am

    You're absolutely right. They suck and not in a good way. I was an early adopter of these vacs. My main gripe is the tank tracks left on the carpet. When the vac is finished the carpet literally looks like sh*t. Believe it or not, the older models from 17 years ago worked better, because they had smaller less obtrusive wheels (not tank wheels like the newer models) and the mapping algorithm left a pleasant swirl pattern on the carpet. The newer models employ a new mapping algorithm that tries to cover every square inch with extra sensors, but the algorithm is all over the place (jumping from room to room without finishing the first room, leaving a chaotic pattern of tank tracks on the carpet when its finished). Yes, there are more bells and whistles, and I especially like the ability to recharge and then finish. But overall, the newer models of these robovacs suck. After being a 17 year Roomba user (going through two models - the oldest being about 12 years old) I am sending back my latest 2018 model and going back to using a canister vac.

    In my opinion, this technology has gone backwards in the last 17 years.

    • Karen
      August 12, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      I am returning my Roomba tomorrow. It does fine on what it actually picks up, but it took two passes through one room and never went back. It left loose debris sitting on the tile floor because it never passed over it. It sometimes moved over my low area rug and sometimes didn't, meaning part of the rug never got vacuumed. It ran out of steam and hid under a piece of furniture before everything was vacuumed. It pushed a heavy water bowl for the cats a few inches, spilling water. It also couldn't find its dock.

  16. SJ
    March 12, 2018 at 4:43 am

    I am in love with my iRobot. I can’t believe how much easier it has made my life and it does such a good job.

    My floors have never been cleaner and it makes me so happy when I come home from work each day to have a clean floor, and I’m more inspired to keep stuff off the floor so it can do its job.

    I’m not sure anyone has ever touted robovacs as an antidote to housework, but they really help. You should try one!

  17. M.N.
    February 7, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Hi, I wrote a comment on February 4th, 2018. Why are you not approving it?

  18. Mnmarkycat
    January 30, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Try one out, then you have the right to publish an article.

    Floors have never been so good. Sucks up a cats worth of fur every day.

  19. Brontegirl
    January 17, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Your point that the Roomba doesn't pick up laundry or clutter is kind of ridiculous. Wouldn't you still have to do that for a regular vacuum? The reason I like my robot vacuum is that once I am done picking up clutter and laundry, I can do other things while my robot vacuums. I've noticed my roomba gets in places that I probably wouldn't bother with my regular vacuum. True I still have to vacuum the stairs but that's why I still have my regular vacuum. The roomba vacuums under my China cabinet, under my couches and all the places that I wouldn't clean easily with my regular vacuum. I still need to dust the top of baseboards since mine are large. Still need to vacuum stairs. Those are minor details compared to all the nooks and crannies the roomba gets into. I still use a regular vacuum once a week because I use it on stairs, blinds and ceiling fans. Not having crumbs all over the floor is very nice. It would me two hours to vacuum my whole house not including moving clutter if I use a regular vacuum. Half that is vacuuming floors. The roomba takes about 3.5 hours to do floors including recharging in between. Why wouldn't I choose to save myself an hour each week and enjoy a clean home every day? Seems like a relatively small price to pay for time savings and a clean house's I've had a roomba since the beginning and have noticed the models generally last about five years. When they finally die, the company stands behind their product and generally offers a great deal on a newer model.

    By the way, while my home is being vacuumed, I can work, go for a walk, sleep. Totally a luxury worth it to me!

  20. Jim Galli
    January 5, 2018 at 5:44 am

    I own a roomba 980 and my wife and I Love it. It does an exceptional job and with two kitties it keeps our home nice and clean.

  21. Bill W
    January 1, 2018 at 12:53 am

    It's good that you hedged your bet with "for some people" but even there you're wrong. We don't live in an apartment; we have a fairly large house. The entire downstairs is hardwood and tile, so it's ideal for a robot vacuum. We also have a dog that sheds like a banshee and it really bugs my wife to see dog hair on the floor. Because she's a moving target, the robot vacuum is perfect because it spends almost two hours getting into every nook and cranny at night while we sleep, and then goes to recharge before we wake up.

  22. Robert M
    November 15, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Clearly you never owned one since my roomba Discovery from 10 years ago had the ability to detect and avoid stairs. Also, No one ever claimed them to be an upright vacuum replacement however if you have hardwood floors than you know the annoyance of crumbs on the bottom of your feet even a short while after vacuming or sweeping. My Powerbot runs every single day while im at work so I can come home to fresh vacuum marks on the carpets and no crumbs on the hardwood from the kids morning breakfast. I personally love my robot vaccuum and wouldnt give it up for the world. Also they can be had for much cheaper than $300. Deebot N79 w/Wifi is $199 on amazon, Eufy runs for about $220 and I just picked up my second Powerbot with room mapping for $139 on an amazon special. Do your research before bashing a such a great invention.

    • Stephanie S.
      January 10, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      LOVE my deboot n79!!! Babies napping, I’ve picked up all the toys and now I get to sit and relax for the rest of naptime while my deboot does all the cleaning. Whoever wrote this also doesn’t understand the never ending daily vacuuming I’d have to do daily with a boy and a dog making messes

      • sam brody
        January 29, 2018 at 4:59 pm

        Deebot is amazing! I have 3 teens & a cat, runs at 7am and 3:30pm. My floors are always clean and arguments over whos doing what are down 90% in my house :)

        Also I have a 2,000 sqft home so saying you need to live in an apartment is ridiculous.

  23. Kitty
    November 5, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Your reviewed a device you have never even tried?? Based on “I think” and “it would seem”.
    You are a joke.

  24. VivaTheRoomba
    October 28, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Is this P.O.S. article supposed to be a joke? "They don't do stairs"??? Apart from you god damn moron, nobody on this planet imagined they did! Did your stupid ass get dumped by a robot vacuum cleaner, why are you so angry with them dude?

  25. Farty
    August 19, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Said the person who probably doesn't own a corgi.

  26. Farty
    August 19, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Said a person who probably doesn't own a Corgi.

  27. Steffen
    August 13, 2017 at 10:42 am

    This is possibly the worst article I've ever read. You can't review a product without trying it, and you definitely can't do it while drawing conclusions based on nothing but bad guesswork. The best point in your entire article and the only one with any notable weight behind it is the part about stairs and seriously who cares? Get one for floor 1 and another for floor 2 or simply move it if you don't want to spend the money. Your vacuuming load is now reduced from 250 square meters to however many square meters your stairs are, I'm guessing like 3 maybe?

    And about the clutter, are you seriously making it a bad thing that you have to avoid throwing your laundry on the floor? How about your wonderful Dyson, does it just magically pick up and wash your dirty floor laundry for you? Or is it possible that you still have to keep your floors clean and it therefore makes no difference whether you use the robot or manual?`

    If someone paid you to write this load of crap I hope they got their money back because I've never seen a more worthless piece of misguided opinion in my entire life.

  28. Lee
    August 4, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Forgive me, but I HUGELY disagree. We moved to a rural area from the 'burbs with two kids, two grandparents, two 100-pound dogs and my husband & I. I was losing my mind over the amount of dirt, grass, sand, dog hair, etc... coming inside. I have a ridiculously expensive Miele canister vac (not because we're wealthy, but because of allergies) that is worth every penny, except I was vacuuming everything every two days and still not keeping up. I was frustrated and miserable to the point of tears. I happened to see a review of the Eufy Robovac 11 and it was on sale for USD $150. I had zero expectations of any good outcome and figured I would probably be returning it to Amazon, but I was desperate. It was the best money I've spent in decades. I put buying the Eufy as a change your life moment right up there with having my children. We have all hard floors and no stairs to worry about. Maybe this makes a difference? I wash all the parts of the Eufy every morning (allergies) with water, including the filter (you're not supposed to do this, but it works fine). The time savings from the amount of vacuuming I was doing compared to the time spent maintaining the Eufy is enormous. The kids even do a better job keeping the floor picked up because they don't want Bob (they named the Eufy) to choke. If the $200 cheapo model works this well, I can only imagine how much better the $400 or $900 robot vacuums function.
    For the record, my SIL then got a Eufy also. One cat, one Labrador, two kids and a carpet/tile mix of flooring. The Eufy Robovac 11 is not made for carpet. She uses it anyway and loves it. She does additionally vacuum the carpet with a regular vacuum cleaner, but the Eufy helps the floor stay in better shape in between vacuumings.
    I can't tell from reading the article above whether you've ever had a robot vac in your home before. It didn't sound like you had... or maybe that's just the way you wanted to write the article. Before you decide that they aren't worth the money, you ought to try one. I never, ever, ever, ever want to be without one again. Ever.

  29. Marc
    July 21, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I love my roombas I buy them used on ebay and fix them up for penny's on the dollar I have 5 roombas and 3 scoobas that mop the tile floors I use the them 2 a day sometimes my house could not be cleaner i have to vacuumand 2 moping at least ones a day and they keep up with the dog hair great and my lab sheds like crazy in the summer.

  30. Kurt Myers
    June 22, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I suppose someone has to write the negative opinion, if nothing else just to stir the pot.
    Have Roomba 980
    Worth every penny.
    Yes, have to pick up clutter, geeeze what a strain. ?
    If anything it makes us more aware of our surroundings and more conscious of keeping our personal space more tidy,
    a much nicer end result than dirty socks on the floor and beer bottles that need to be moved.
    We have 3 animals, Roomba does as good or better job than our full size Oreck and it does it every day, which to be honest i would not do with the Oreck. Our floors, a combination of hard wood and carpet, have never been cleaner.

    • Geeman
      September 15, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      I also have the Roomba 980, worth every penny. I actually think it does a better job than my upright vacuum, the suction is much stronger then I thought prior to my purchase. The only work it takes is removing clutter from its path, too easy, and empty its bin after completion, couldn't be more simple. I have a 3,600 sq ft home, 2 floors, it does an entire floor while we are at work, I empty the bin, the change floors the next day. Saves me a ton of time, does an awesome job. I use the App which is super convenient and shows a map of the entire area its clean, you can also check the status of the job any time for anywhere. The person who wrote this article needs to give it a try.

  31. Karen Norris
    June 13, 2017 at 3:13 am

    I strongly disagree. I have the Eufy, and I love him. I live in a 2200 square foot one level house in Sandy Florida with 2 dogs and a cat. I paid $150.00 for the unit and he runs on a schedule just as well as his expensive cousin Roomba. Yes you still have to drag out the Dyson once a week for rugs and furniture, but my floor has never been cleaner.

  32. Ian Hagen
    April 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    I'm a bit disappointed by the article. The writer makes it clear that s/he never used a robotic vacuum cleaner and yet jumps to several conclusions based merely on guessing.

  33. Brian Seybert
    April 5, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Thanks for the information on robot vacuum cleaners. I live alone with one small dog in a single level home. Although I am mechanical this doesn't look like something worth the investment especially when you indicated it has been on the market for at least 15 years!!! I am sure it is fun to watch until you need to clean the bearings or other mechanical parts that need to be serviced. Think for now I will continue to use my old faithful Kenmore vacuum that's never let me down. Thanks for saving me: $800.00

    • Geeman
      September 15, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      You missing out trust me ... I bought one last December, best Christmas I've gotten in many years by far. Roomba 980

    • Robert M
      November 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      If you are unsure of spending that much on a robovac, why not try a less expensive model. I would highly recomend The Ecovacs Deebot N79 for $199 on amazon or if you want the fancy mapping and status reporting the model I have is the Samsung Powerbot r7040 which can be had for $300-$350.n Best purchase you will make. Just make sure not to leave clothes or cords on the floor and you will be fine. Also the maintenace is minimal as the brushes easily come out and they usually include a hair cutter. You wont regret the purchase!

      • MikeA
        August 12, 2018 at 10:09 pm

        The cheaper vacs are a crap shoot. The ones I ordered arrived DOA.

        • Robert McAleer
          August 14, 2018 at 12:04 am

          Yes some cheap vs are garbage. Specifically the N79 Ecovac is the only one I would recomend.

    • sam brody
      January 29, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      I have 3 teens and a cat (single father) I own a Deebot N79 ($199), it takes care of an entire 2,000 sqft house. It is amazing!

      The person who wrote this article had absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

  34. pattaa
    March 31, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    This article stinks.

  35. Mark
    March 26, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    We have a single story house, 3 dogs, and tile floors throughout. We love that it does the tedious work. I clean the rotors about every 3 months and its no big deal. This article is misleading in a way.

  36. Ben
    January 16, 2017 at 1:46 am

    Why can't someone bring out a full sized machine? These toys are underpowered, require constant emptying and are unreliable. I would pay $3K for a descent one if it existed.

    • Saurabh
      March 2, 2017 at 7:28 am

      Because a full sized machine wouldn't fit under sofas, tables, chairs etc.

      A manual vac is constantly titled vertical or horizontal by the operator to fit under these spaces.

      For a full sized self operating robot vac to do that, it would have to get into the expensive world of balancing gyroscopes to be able to self tilt, cameras or sensors + collision prevention software to make sure it didn't knock anything over when tilting, massively increased battery usage for all the times time it tilts and adjusts etc. ... it's a much more complicated engineering problem than simply a small but weak vacuum disc that slides under everything.

  37. PaulC
    January 3, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    The Roomba 980 so far is a wonderful machine. Automatically cleans the entire ground floor on a timer then goes back to recharge, a quick hop up the stairs and press the button and let it do all the rooms upstairs.

    For the stairs, it takes me 2 minutes with a hand-vacuum, but then I have the Dyson rechargeable so it's really easy.

    Having wooden floors, I also have the Roomba mopping robot, so on the floor with the bathroom, after the Roomba's finished, I set it off and it mops the floors upstairs and I drop the Roomba back on its charger downstairs.

    Then I set the mopper to do the ground floor. I don't have to do that every day, but my floors are amazingly clean.

    And the Roomba 980 gets hair and dirt out of a carpet that even the Dyson failed to do, so it's pretty darn good.

    All this may seem long-winded (along with this post) but in fact it takes a few minutes of the day and lets me get on with tons of other stuff in the meantime. As days go by, that time really adds up.

  38. Mike
    January 2, 2017 at 5:02 am

    my 980 dies all the time, well after the talking with Alex H via phone, he told me to reset the roomba 980 by taking the battery out, and then put it back in, and it did nothing, and said the supervisor said there still trying to figure this out. Well after we ended the call, I placed the 980 on home base and it was charging, and right away I hit clean and it started showing a full battery charge? and it cleaned until it stopped again, while the app said it was still running, even though the 980 was dead with a full charge. Then I had to the same thing as I stated before on this note, this time it cleaned the the floors. what is going on with this $900.00 machine. it wants to clean, then it doesn't. and every time it dies, with no lighted errors or clean light or battery light on, just sitting there dead. I loosing my patients with this very expensive item that only wants to work when it wants to. I surely hope you guys can figure out what is going on with this hi dollar machine. I'm really starting to think this was a big money waste.

  39. Dave Steele
    December 21, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    This article regarding robot cleaners is a bit off. I have the roomba 980 and that dang machine runs every day and cleans the daylights out of my place. I don't care if it doesn't do stairs. I know the limitations. However, 2 dogs and 2 cats produces a stomach churning amount of hair. I never realized how much stuff was still on the floor until the roomba purchase. I do not regret it. I loved it so much I bought one for each floor.

    I do not work for roomba. I am not paid for this post.

  40. Kirk
    December 5, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Some of your information is pretty outdated. the video showing Roomba maintenance is for models they don't even make any more. Roomba's are great for people that cannot push or pull a vacuum, it is also good for people that are busy (everyone!). Roomba's also do a good to great job of cleaning since they do it much more often than anyone normally would. Let me add that almost all robotic vacuums other than Neato, Roomba, Samsung are garbage - and they won't suck (literally) and they will break down within a few months. Roombas are built like tanks, as for the old ones; other than a little extra cleaning most of them are still going strong!

  41. al
    July 16, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    For me the Roomba is a life changer. Honestly, I had a hard time getting off my butt to clean the house and with two cats, it was a mess usually. The roomba has turned my home semi respectable and I do very little.

    Also you mention "clutter" as though it's a lifestyle that people actually aspire to achieve. When I got my roomba yes it forced me to "de-clutter" parts of my home (I have 6200 square feet and use the roomba on the main floor where I have guests... about 2000 square feet of it.) So now, the life I live is considerably better organized in some ways... this is a plus, not a minus.

    Finally, yes... I have stairs and need the regular vacuum. In fact, I have a vacuum on each and every floor to avoid having to carry them up and down the stairs all the time. You don't have a home this size with only one vacuum. A regular vacuum is never far... here are some other places the roomba won't work for and I use the regular vacuum: Furniture, corners (Roomba's don't get into corners too well), persian rugs... and basically anyplace where the roomba won't go.

    A robotic vacuum is NOT a replacement for a normal vacuum... it's an enhancement and it does in fact save me hours upon hours of time.

  42. Bryan Wolfe
    June 29, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    I actually have the 980 and love it. No cat here, so I can't test for that. It's a great solution for a household that wants to floors cleaned on a regular basis. These isn't a good solution for someone who only vacuums 1-2 times a month.

  43. Anonymous
    April 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    "This means that unless you own an apartment, you’re going to have a vacuum cleaner on hand for the stairs..."
    I guess you've never heard of a single-story house? No? Older people don't climb stairs very well, either.

    • Matthew Hughes
      April 30, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      I believe they're called bungalows.

      • Anonymous
        April 30, 2016 at 11:14 pm

        Or ranches.

  44. Clyde Byrd
    April 27, 2016 at 4:39 am

    This review misses a very big point. I have 2400 square feet of hardwood floor to vacuum. My Roomba saves a TON of work and does an excellent job and picks up more dirt that we every imagined that we produce.

    It can't do stair! OMG! That is a small issue when compared what it can do.

    • Laura Hammond
      February 27, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      Hi Matthew, you brought up a bunch of great points, they're all valid flaws to the current generation of robot vacuums, but Clyde makes a good point here.

      The Roomba (and other robotic vacuums) excel in keeping the floor clean in between your manual cleanings. While they can't completely replace your upright vacuum and some sweat, it really reduces the frequency with which you have to vacuum yourself.

      I think realizing this is the main reason why some people hate the Roomba while others can't imagine how they got by without them all these years.

      my blog:

  45. mur_phy
    April 19, 2016 at 6:24 am

    In addition to a Tristar which is likely the second best vacuum available, a central vacuum Filter Queen, a Dyson upright and a Dyson battery operated, we also make use of the Roomba and currently the two most used are the Roomba and the Dyson Battery. With a multi level home it is nice to have a tool that works in many places but also to have tools located in a variety of locations for quick and easy usage without having to drag any item too often up and down stairs.
    Was I surprised at the ability of the Roomba? Absolutely but the price was not major and it was worth the trial and it has proven to be a very decent product. Yes, the user has to move a few things around but that is the case with almost any vacuum. As Senior Citizens, we find the Roomba a nice addition to the arsenal of vacuum cleaners available to be used as required and have no regrets about the purchase.

  46. John
    April 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Our Neato works great for us, does the entire main floor every 3 days and always removes around a full hopper of dirt each time. Total cost of the robot and maintenance is most definitely less than my time and effort I'd be putting into vacuuming the floor every 3 days.

  47. Al Jimenez
    April 17, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Big Big Negative!!!: After having two of them I can say that batteries are another issue. If you forget to charge them they will degrade and are expensive to replace. These need to be NiCad batteries so are not the same as you laptop or phone batteries. They have a battery memory so if they are not drained properly and charge properly they will degrade fast.

  48. Anonymous
    April 16, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    I've been contemplating a Roomba but am hoping it would be much more efficient than you say. That being said, I will most certainly take the first Household Helper Robot on the market, and if it can cook, so much the better. Bring them on, techies!

  49. makeUserOfReader
    April 16, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Several years ago, I bought a refurbished Neato. It has its pros and cons.

    As the article states, you have to clear the clutter for the robot. Neato is especially needy. Its wider than Roomba so you have to move out chairs and other large objects so that it can traverse the floor (one benefit to being wide is that cleans the floor faster). Neato also doesn't know its own height, so it can get itself stuck under furniture. Clearing the clutter and adjusting the magnetic strips (places not to go) so that Neato can perform its job reduces much of the time savings that is supposed to come with a robotic vacuum.

    One area where Neato excels is suction. The "Robotic Vacuum Cleaners Have Less Suction" does not apply to Neato. You can run it on a seemingly clean floor and you'll find lint and other micro particles in the filter. It cleans your floor to a degree beyond eyesight level. I don't have any measurable basis of proof, but I would estimate that it goes deeper than a vacuum cleaner.

  50. Peter
    April 16, 2016 at 4:17 am

    being a working father of 2, my wife also working, we don't have much time to clean the floor. iRobot Roomba has been an awesome helper. Coming home to a much cleaner floor feels great and it's not true that it has lesser suction. Have you seen the carpet of dust it manages to collect after each run? So kind of disagree on this, yes, it is more expensive but isn't time more important. more time to spend with family, less time on housework.

  51. Anonymous
    April 15, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    "Robot Vacuums Don’t Necessarily Have To Suck"
    Yes, they do. Otherwise they will not do their job of picking up the dirt. Ha, ha, ha!

  52. Woman
    April 15, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    I don't live in an apartment, we built our house, really. No stairs, but 3 dogs, my roomba does a great job, I have no complaints.