Best robot vacuums 2024: Our reviewer lists the models he's been most impressed with over the last 12 months

Robot vacuums come in all shapes and sizesRobot vacuums come in all shapes and sizes
Robot vacuums come in all shapes and sizes | Other

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Robot vacuums might seem like an expensive luxury, but they can cost as little as £100 and still save you a lot of time - here are the best ones to consider

Letting a robot take over some of our more boring household chores is such a joy. Put your feet up, log in to an app, set your little staff member going, and sip on a cup of tea while your floors are vacuumed and polished to perfection.

Owning a robot vacuum cleaner needn't be as expensive as you think, we've found a really good one for less than £100. And they're just great for keeping on top of the detritus that builds up on your floors, particularly if you have pets.

Consumer technology writer Gareth Butterfield has reviewed dozens of robot vacuums, and he lives with them all for as long as possible, with his two fluffy dogs helping him to put them through their paces every few days or more.

It's important to bear in mind that even the very best robot vacuum cleaners and mops are no substitute for a proper deep clean. So you'll still find yourself reaching for a proper vacuum every few weeks or so. They can't cover stairs, either, and dog hair embedded in carpet is always going to be a job for a proper hoover, or even a decent scraper.

But for basic upkeep, or even the occasional spill and some muddy footprints, these robots are such a great time-saver.

There are hundreds on the market to choose from, so Gareth has picked out the ones that have impressed him the most in the time he's spent testing them.

Best price: £799, from Amazon

The Eufy X10 Pro OmniThe Eufy X10 Pro Omni
The Eufy X10 Pro Omni | Eufy

I've lived with one of these for about four months, and it's simply the most comprehensive package available. All the key features are there, you've got a self-emptying base station, LiDar control, mop heads, and an object avoidance system. But Eufy Clean's latest flagship takes things a stage further.

Unlike very few robot vacuums on the market, it has oscillating mop heads, which offer a deeper clean. The base station also cleans and then dries these mop heads, and tops up its on-board cleaning tank.

This brings all of the features you could want from a robot vacuum cleaner into one package, for the first time. And then there's the price. At £799, it's not cheap, I grant you that, but it's half the price of some of the top-spec robot vacuums. To get all this from a mid-priced robot vacuum is quite special.

The app is good, with plenty of customisation options, but perhaps the only criticism I'd level at the X10 Pro Omni is it has taken quite a while to properly learn where all the nooks and crannies are in my house. And it still occasionally misses out on cleaning right to the edges in my kitchen.

But in every other respect, it works incredibly well. And it's a superb all-rounder. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Best price: £99.95, from Amazon

The Lefant M210The Lefant M210
The Lefant M210 | Amazon

When I first tested a Lefant robot vacuum cleaner I was genuinely surprised. I expected a device that costs less than a tenth of some of the premium products to put in a paltry performance, but I was bowled over by its quality and the thoroughness of the job it did.

The Lefant M210 has a suction power of 2,100Pa, and it boasts an anti-tangle brushless system which is a handy thing when it comes to pet hair.

It links up to a pretty good app and even talks nicely with your Alexa or Google smart home system.

Its on board dust container is a very generous 500ml, which means you'll empty it less frequently, and it's surprisingly slim compared to many models, which means it's great for sneaking under sofas and sidebaords.

You obviously shouldn't expect quite as much cleaning power as a £1,000 robot, and it does have a few little software quirks, but it cleans so much better than it strictly should for this money, so it's easy to recommend it to someone who perhaps wants to try out living with a robot vacuum without breaking the bank.

Best price: £319.99, from Amazon

The SwitchBot K10+The SwitchBot K10+
The SwitchBot K10+ | Amazon

My upstairs is smaller than my downstairs, and it's filled with lots of obstacles to navigate, including double beds, clothes-drying racks, and the desk and clutter in my home office. So when the nice people at SwitchBot offered to let me test their new K10+ robot vacuum cleaner, I jumped at the chance. It's perfect for my situation, because it's tiny. It's getting on for half the size of conventional robot vacuum cleaners, and this means it can zip in and out of tight spaces, and past more obstacles than anything else on the market.

Its size doesn't seem to leave it at any sort of disadvantage when it comes to cleaning power, either. It works just as well as some of the bigger units I've tested, and it comes with a self-emptying base station, which tucks away neatly into a corner of our spare room.

The mop head is just a static dry pad, so you have to use disposable wipes if you want it to clean rather than dust. Don't expect miracles of the mop, then, but it's fine for general upkeep of my bathroom. All the other floors upstairs in my house are carpeted, and it does a fine job of keeping on top of those.

The only thing that's not small about the K10+ is the price. It's £319.99 on Amazon at the moment, which is quite a lot of money, but SwitchBot's first stab at this booming sector has been so impressive, and I still use it every few days to keep my first floor looking first class.

Best price: £1,249, from iRobot

The iRobot Roomba Combo J9+The iRobot Roomba Combo J9+
The iRobot Roomba Combo J9+ | iRobot

Brace yourself for this, iRobot's flagship Roomba robot vacuum costs £1,249. And, amazingly, it's not the most expensive robot out there. But it is one of the absolute best.

I put the Combo J9+ to work in my house over the autumn last year, and it performed brilliantly. iRobot doesn't rely on LiDar like most modern robots, but it still did a superb job of mapping my house, and avoiding obstacles. It even sends me pictures of the hazards it's spotted along the way. In my case, that's usually confused dogs.

In terms of cleaning power and performance, the suction power of the vacuum itself is superb. And the mopping feature is pretty good too, thanks to its smart scrub feature that can pick out and deep clean dirty parts of your floor.

The mop head itself is static, but it does lift away to help the unit climb over thresholds and rugs. As for the base station, it's a design masterpiece, aimed at fitting in to your home decor unobtrusively. Not only that, but it cleans the mop and empties the dust container every time the robot returns for a charge.

As an overall package then, it's just superb. iRobot has been in this business for a long time and it shows. If it wasn't for the Eufy X10 Pro Omni's much cheaper price, and those oscillating mop heads, I'd still be hooked on the Combo J9+ now.

Best price: £699, from iRobot

The Braava Jet M6The Braava Jet M6
The Braava Jet M6 | iRobot

If all you need is a mop, then there aren't many options. But iRobot has perfected the mop-only robot in the form of its Braava Jet M6. Perhaps you vacuum regularly and just like to give your floors a regular wipe. Or maybe you already have a robot vacuum you're happy with and you want to add a further tool to your arsenal. That's one of the reasons you might choose a device like this.

The other reason is that I haven't found a single combination robot vacuum that will mop as well as the Braava Jet M6. And I've tested plenty. Because it's a dedicated tool for the job, and its sole purpose is to clean hard floors, it's just brilliant at it.

It whirrs away from its small base station, squirts the floor with a cleaning solution, and then mops over it. On all but the very toughest patches of mud, it does a brilliant job of cleaning tiled, laminate, or wooden floors, and it's remarkably simple to use thanks to iRobot's excellent app.

Its unusual square size means it fits neatly into corners, and emptying and cleaning it is a doddle.

If you like to sanitise your floors regularly, take a look at one of these. You won't regret it.

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