A cheap robot vacuum is an affordable and low-effort floor cleaning solution for anyone short on time. Robot vacuums take most of the work out of cleaning floors—puttering around and sucking up dirt and dust as they go. Most are low maintenance, needing simply to be emptied regularly and have their filters and parts cleaned occasionally. Otherwise, they’re pretty much independent cleaning helpers.
This convenience can be expensive, however, with some robot vacuums costing over $1,000. But for shoppers on a budget, there are economical options that get the job done without the hefty price tag. While they might lack the smart features of pricier models, the top models on our list offer great bang for their buck. They balance user-friendly operation with a reasonable price of around $300 or less, and most importantly, they keep floors tidy. Read on to see the features to look for and our picks for the best cheap robot vacuum models.
How We Chose the Best Cheap Robot Vacuums
Cheap doesn’t mean poor quality. We didn’t look for the absolute cheapest robot vacuums, which may be less reliable and durable, but rather models that balance performance and affordability. There’s a wide price range when it comes to robot vacuums, with models that cost anywhere from about $100 to over $1,000. We stuck to the bottom 30 percent of that range, around or under $300, aiming to balance price, reliability, and features. Because robot vacuums generally last about 5 years, we chose budget-friendly models from reputable brands that often offer warranties and will still be in business for future purchases of parts or filters.
Cheap robot vacuums often cost less because they typically have fewer features than pricier models. The best options are still user-friendly, though, and many models have smart features controlled through apps. When it comes to our top picks, the more capabilities for the price, the better the robot vacuums ranked. For those who want extra features, many vacuums on our list also come with scheduling, remote on/off, and remote monitoring features. Of course, based on product specifications and user reviews, we only included budget robot vacuum models that did their jobs well, keeping hard (and often soft) floors nice and tidy.
The iRobot Roomba 694 made it on our list of best Roombas, snagging our Best Bang for the Buck award because of its great performance at an entry-level price. This robot vacuum is a smart one; like other Roombas, it connects to the iRobot app for remote controls, scheduling, and voice command through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
While this Roomba doesn’t have mapping capabilities, it does have sensors to avoid damaging furniture and Cliff Detect sensors to prevent the robot from tumbling down stairs. It performs well on both hard and soft flooring since it has multisurface brushes and an auto-adjust cleaning head. A Dirt Detect feature detects dirtier areas of the floor and cleans them more thoroughly as well.
Out of battery power? No problem! This robot vacuum automatically heads back to its charging station when its battery runs low, which can take up to 90 minutes. Best of all, it does all this cleaning relatively quietly, operating at a quieter run volume than the other Roombas we tested.
- Smart: Yes
- Mop: No
- Height: 3.54 inches high
- Multisurface brushes effectively clean hard floors, carpets, and rugs
- Dirt Detect Technology detects dirtier spots and cleans them more thoroughly
- Automatic recharging adds to hands-off cleaning functionality
- Lacks a carrying handle
- Does not have any mapping capabilities and requires manual repositioning if stuck
Get the iRobot cheap robot vacuum at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, or iRobot.
More Cheap Robot Vacuums Worth Your Money
- Eufy RoboVac 11S, available at Amazon or Walmart.
- ILife V8s Robot Vacuum Cleaner, available at ILife.
- OKP K4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner, available at Amazon.
- Eufy RoboVac G30, available at Amazon or Walmart.
What to Consider When Choosing a Cheap Robot Vacuum
Robot vacuums are prized for their convenience, and with more affordable options available now than ever, there are plenty of choices for budget-conscious shoppers. To find the best fit for your home, consider flooring type and the vacuum’s suction power, size, and user-friendly features.
Any good affordable robot vacuum should perform well on hard floors. To help, robot vacuums have brushes and rollers that direct dirt, dust, and hair toward their suction.
These parts are effective on hard flooring but can be less so on carpets and rugs, especially higher-pile options. For carpeted homes, look for a robot vacuum with multisurface brushes that tackle messes on carpets and rugs as well as hard floors. Unlike full-size vacuums, robot vacuums generally don’t have the option to turn off the brush roll, so look for an option with dual hard- and soft-flooring brush rolls.
Robot vacuums have less suction power than their full-size counterparts. They’re in a much smaller package, which means less space for a powerful motor. Though relatively uncommon, some robot vacuums have adjustable suction power. This can take the form of manually adjustable suction settings or dirt-detection systems, which ramp up the suction over particularly dirty areas.
Some robot vacuums list their suction power measured in pascals (Pa). Higher suction power can mean a better clean, especially on carpets and rugs. However, vacuums with lower suction can still do a great job tidying a home by taking advantage of other features, like their brushes, rollers, and battery life. Not all brands share a suction power rating, but if a product does, it should complete most jobs as long as it has a minimum Pa rating of 500.
Most robot vacuums are relatively small, circular devices. Diameter isn’t important for most shoppers—unless your home has many tight spaces. However, it does make sense to pay attention to the robot vacuum’s height. A slimmer robot vacuum will fit better under furniture, so it’s an important consideration for those with low couches, dressers, or shelves.
Where size matters more is in a robot vacuum’s dustbin, which affects its cleaning capacity. Robot vacuums have a small dustbin and need to be emptied every few uses, if not after every use in larger homes. For more coverage, look for a dustbin capacity on the larger side, over 500 milliliters.
Many cheap robot vacuums have semi-random navigation systems, detecting obstacles by bumping them and moving around them. Pricier robot vacuums have mapping capabilities, some as simple as vacuuming a room row by row, while others can map out an entire home and create no-go zones. Those with the room in their budget might want to spend a little more for the latter, especially in larger homes where bump-and-go robot vacuums might miss some spots.
Nowadays, most robot vacuums, including cheap models, are smart—able to be switched on and off and monitored through a smartphone app. The app can show the robot’s cleaning progress, battery life, and when filters or parts might need replacing. Some cheap robot vacuums also work with voice commands, connecting to common voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
All robot vacuums have base stations where they can juice up on energy. If you’re willing to spend a little more, consider a model with a self-emptying station. An auto-empty station suctions the dirt and dust from the robot vacuum when it’s full, allowing for longer periods between manual empties.
Shoppers who want the ultimate cleaning convenience might want to consider a robot vacuum and mop hybrid. These little units have both features to keep floors nice and clean. They usually come at a higher price, but a few budget-friendly models are available.
Once you have a robot vacuum, it’s hard to imagine life without one. These automated cleaning helpers can really help you stay on top of daily messes, picking up dust, crumbs, and pet hair at the tap of a button. Learn more about robot vacuums by considering the frequently asked questions ahead.
Q. What is the best robot vacuum under $200?
The ILife V8s robot vacuum cleaner is the best robot vacuum under $200. It’s a vacuum-and-mop combination robot that will keep floors sparkling clean for cheap.
Q. How long do robot vacuums last?
Robot vacuums last for around 5 years, on average. To improve longevity, stay on top of maintenance by emptying the dustbin, clearing hair and debris from the rollers or brushes often, and cleaning or replacing filters and recommended parts as needed.
Q. Can you use a robot vacuum every day?
Absolutely! A robot vacuum is perfect for everyday messes. They’re not as powerful as traditional vacuums, so they’re not the best deep-cleaning tools. Instead, they’re better for helping to consistently clear your floors of daily dirt, dust, and crumbs.
Q. Why do robot vacuums not work on dark floors?
Some robot vacuums use infrared sensors for drop protection (to detect where the stairs are, for example), a technology that doesn’t perform well on dark flooring. This can cause some models to stop running on dark flooring if they confuse it for an edge. Many robot vacuums, however, still work perfectly fine on dark surfaces—you just need to find the right model. Check the product specifications, reviews, or contact the manufacturer to make sure if you have lots of dark flooring in your home.
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