The Best Robot Vacuums for Hardwood Floors of 2021

Keep your hardwood floors effortlessly clean with the right robot vacuum.

By Jasmine Harding | Updated Oct 26, 2021 12:43 PM

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

The Best Robot Vacuum Options

Photo: amazon.com

Robot vacuums for hardwood floors get your wooden floors sparkling clean without leaving any damage in their path. Modern robot vacuums have come a long way from the motorized suction bumper cars of decades past. Nowadays, robot vacuums have a number of onboard features to better clean hard flooring, so you can come home to spotless floors any day of the week.

A good robot vacuum for hard floors picks up dust and dirt from every corner of the room without scattering debris or ruining sensitive hardwood flooring. Read on for the best robot vacuums for hardwood floors to keep your flooring mess- and scratch-free.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Roborock S4 Max Robot Vacuum
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum
  3. UPGRADE PICK: iRobot Roomba s9+
  4. BEST FOR CORNERS: Neato Robotics D6 Robot Vacuum
  5. BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: eufy by Anker, BoostIQ RoboVac 11S
  6. BEST FOR LARGE SPACES: roborock E4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
  7. BEST FOR PETS: iRobot Roomba 981 Robot Vacuum
  8. BEST VACUUM AND MOP: roborock S7 Robot Vacuum and Mop
The Best Robot Vacuum Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Robot Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

In general, hard floor surfaces are easier for a robot vacuum to clean than carpets. Most high-quality robot vacuums are well suited to clean hardwood floors without causing damage. Features like soft wheels, multisurface adjustment options, and gentle sweeper brushes can help a robot vacuum better clean hardwood floors. The good news is, most quality vacuums from reputable brands will include these features.

To choose the best robot vacuum for your home, consider square footage, vacuum size, suction power, cleaning modes, noise level, and additional convenience features.

Square Footage

A robot vacuum can clean spaces large and small, but some will be more efficient than others. When choosing a robot vacuum, take your home’s square footage into account, especially if you have a large floor plan.

Robot vacuums have limited battery life and dust bin capacities. Most vacuums can run for 60 to 90 minutes or so before needing a charge, which is long enough to handle most smaller floor plans. For larger floor plans, look for a vacuum that can run for 100 minutes or longer on a single charge. The same logic goes for the vacuum dust bin: Look for a larger capacity (ideally over 600 milliliters) for larger homes. A self-emptying feature is also helpful so the vacuum can empty itself and continue its job.

For smaller homes, you might not need a long battery life or large dust bin capacity, so you could opt to forgo these features for a more budget-friendly price.

Size

Most robot vacuums look like a large puck, measuring roughly 13 or 14 inches in diameter and 3 to 4 inches tall. Due to their small size, robot vacuums tend to have small dust bin capacities, usually around 500 milliliters.

If you have lots of tight spaces or low furniture in your home, look for a small and low-profile vacuum. Smaller robot vacuums tend to be more agile and are less likely to need rescuing from between two pieces of furniture. A slimmer pick can clean under low furniture.

Larger robot vacuums may be slightly more unwieldy than their compact counterparts, but they can have the space for a larger motor or larger dust bin. A vacuum with these features is a better pick for larger spaces.

Suction

Hard floors are easier for a robot vacuum to tackle than carpeted surfaces, which grip onto hair and dirt. High-quality hard floor or multi-floor robot vacuums have the suction power to capture everyday debris from all hard floor surfaces. Most also have a sweeper brush to pull litter toward the suction path and make sure the vacuum doesn’t scatter debris.

A robot vacuum’s suction power is measured in Pascal Pressure Units (PA) and can range from 1,000 to 4,000 PA. While some vacuum companies use this as a selling point, it is not a huge concern for vacuuming hardwood floors—either end of the spectrum should have enough suction to remove debris from hard surfaces, especially when paired with a good brush design.

The suction power of a robot vacuum won’t measure up to a traditional full-size vacuum. Robot vacuums have a much smaller motor. Their lower suction power and the fact that they can miss spots makes robot vacuums a better choice for daily sweeping up, not for deep cleaning.

Cleaning Modes

To tackle a range of cleaning jobs, robot vacuums have various cleaning modes. Auto modes are the simplest and just release the robot to do its thing. Spot cleaning modes bring the robot’s focus to a dirty spot that needs extra TLC. Some vacuums also have Turbo or Quiet modes; the former boosts suction power, while the latter turns it down to vacuum quietly.

Cleaning modes can be controlled on the vacuum, using a remote control, or through a smartphone app, depending on the vacuum’s capabilities. Smart vacuums can be worth the splurge for many; they can also allow for map controls from your phone, scheduling, no-go zones, and remote control.

Combination vacuum and mop robots feature both dry and wet cleaning modes to get hardwood floors sparkling clean.

Mapping and Navigation

Mapping and navigation features can make a robot vacuum much more efficient than its non-mapping counterparts, which bounce around a room by using collision sensors. Instead, mapping robot vacuums can learn and remember your floor plan to make sure they cover every part of a room.

Mapping vacuums can be set up to avoid furniture and obstacles in the room. Some robot vacuums also allow for exclusion zones, so you can instruct it to skip a room or even an area within a room. Smart mapping is a convenient feature that allows mapping and navigation control from a smartphone.

Sensor robot vacuums still have their place. They’re a budget-friendly option that will still get your floors cleaner than before, but they’ll take longer to complete a room and are more likely to miss a spot.

Noise Level

Robot vacuums tend to be quieter than their full-size counterparts (one of the benefits of a smaller motor). Robot vacuums usually run between 60 to 80 decibels, ranging from the volume of a normal conversation to the sound of an upright vacuum.

If you plan to run the vacuum when you’re out of the home, noise may be a minor concern. But if you spend a lot of time at home, you might wish for a quieter option. Some vacuums also have a lower-power quiet mode feature for when you need a less noisy run.

Many brands don’t advertise their decibel rating, so if you’re looking for a quieter option, check the vacuum’s reviews or seek out a vacuum that is advertised as quieter than the competition.

Special Features

With all the smart-home products on the market nowadays, it’s no surprise that robot vacuums can come jam-packed with smart features. WiFi-enabled smart robot vacuums connect to a smartphone app to give you control right at your fingertips. They can offer remote controls, scheduling, no-go zone options, cleaning history, detailed maps, and more.

If emptying your robot vacuum sounds like too much of a chore, look for a self-emptying option. These robot vacuums tend to be pricier, but they’re a good choice for those who truly want to forget about vacuuming as much as possible.

Looking for a product to clean hardwood floors from start to finish? A combined robot vacuum and mop is your ideal tool. These handy machines vacuum up debris and then mop hard floors—no effort needed.

Our Top Picks

A robot vacuum is the perfect cleaning companion for keeping your floors debris-free. They’re happy to work every day, so you can come home to pristine floors even when you’re busy. The best robot vacuums for hardwood floors are reliable and easy to use, which is true of all the options listed here.

Best Overall

The Best Robot Vacuum Option: Roborock S4 Max Robot Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

The Roborock S4 Max Robot Vacuum combines many of the best features of modern robot vacuums, including a bevy of smart mapping functions and an excellent battery life. While it isn’t the most affordable vacuum, it has a reasonable midrange price for a host of premium features.

This vacuum’s main draw is its detailed navigation features. It gives full control from your phone with several cleaning modes, smart multilevel mapping, cleaning zones, no-go areas, targeted room cleanings, suction control, and reminders for scheduling and maintenance. Since this vacuum uses lasers to read the room, it can also map and function in low-light settings (unlike some camera-based robot vacuums, which need light to navigate).

The strong suction works on all hard floor types, including hardwood, and it comes with an automatic carpet boost feature to tackle carpeted rooms. With an impressive 180-minute runtime, this little vacuum can tackle several rooms in one charge.

Product Specs

  • Product dimensions: 13.5 inches by 3.8 inches
  • Runtime: 180 minutes
  • Capacity: 460 milliliters

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Smart controls
  • Excellent mapping capabilities

Cons

  • Small dust bin capacity relative to runtime

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Robot Vacuum Option: iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

Looking for a more affordable option? The iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum is an economical pick that still includes a range of features. Unlike some other budget-friendly picks, this vacuum has the added benefit of Wi-Fi connectivity. Smart connectivity gives it extra features you won’t find on other regular budget robot vacuums, like remote control, scheduling, and voice assistant integration.

A three-stage cleaning system picks up dust, dirt, and hair from hardwood floors and carpets, using dual multisurface brushes, an edge-sweeping brush, and powerful suction. It gets around the room using advanced sensors rather than smart mapping. Semi-random navigation is to be expected at this price point, but this vacuum will still get your floors clean without breaking the bank. Plus, this one comes with a useful dirt detection feature to give messy areas extra care, so it won’t miss important spots.

Product Specs

  • Product dimensions: 13.4 inches by 3.54 inches
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Capacity: 350 milliliters

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Smart connectivity
  • Dirt detection sensor

Cons

  • Lacks smart navigation features
  • Small dust bin capacity

Upgrade Pick

The Best Robot Vacuum Option: iRobot Roomba s9+
Photo: bestbuy.com

The iRobot Roomba s9+ costs a pretty penny, but it’s jam-packed with attractive features. This vacuum is powerful, smart, and thorough. With excellent mapping capabilities, it can remember multiple floor plans after its first few runs and gives you full control from your phone. Once it has your home memorized, it’s easy to set it to clean or skip certain rooms or zones on your preferred schedule.

A 3D obstacle sensor scans its path constantly to detect edges and avoid running into furniture or getting stuck in tight spots. A D-shaped design, corner brushes, and large rubber brushes reach into corners and edges to sweep up every passing crumb. The main draw of this vacuum is its self-emptying feature, which means even less maintenance work. The charging base holds up to 60 days’ (or 30 bins’) worth of dirt.

Product Specs

  • Product dimensions: 12.3 inches by 3.5 inches
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Capacity: 400 milliliters (onboard)

Pros

  • Self-emptying
  • Powerful suction
  • Smart features and navigation
  • Attractive look

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Loud
  • Charging base requires replacement bags

Best for Corners

The Best Robot Vacuum Option: Neato Robotics D6 Robot Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

Room corners and edges can be easily missed by many robot vacuums. The Neato Robotics D6 Robot Vacuum is designed to provide a thorough clean all around the perimeter of a room.

Similar to the iRobot Roomba s9+, this vacuum has a D-shaped design, but without the hefty price tag. The D shape allows it to fit inside corners using its main brush, side brush, and an allergen-trapping filter for a more complete clean.

Using laser smart mapping, this robot vac creates a detailed map of your home and can memorize up to three floor plans. Connect to the Neato app to set features like multi-floor mapping, schedules, and no-go zones. With 120 minutes of continuous runtime, it can reach every corner of each floor in one charge, even in larger homes.

Product Specs

  • Product dimensions: 13.21 inches by 12.56 inches by 3.92 inches
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Capacity: 700 milliliters

Pros

  • D-shaped design
  • Onboard filtration
  • Multi-floor mapping

Cons

  • Tall design

Best for Small Spaces

The Best Robot Vacuum Option: eufy by Anker, BoostIQ RoboVac 11S
Photo: amazon.com

The eufy by Anker RoboVac is quiet, slim, agile, and affordable to boot. Measuring only 2.85 inches tall, it can seek out dust bunnies in spaces other robot vacuums can’t reach. Its height is a full inch shorter than some other vacuums on this list, so it can reach under low-clearance furniture for a more thorough clean. Since it measures 12.8 inches in diameter, it’s also a tad smaller than most robot vacuums, which means it can maneuver more easily in small spaces.

Beyond its slim design, this vacuum is also one of the quietest options out there, operating at the same volume as a microwave when used on hardwood floors. This means it won’t disturb the peace, even if you’re in the same room.

One feature this vacuum lacks is smart controls, but that’s the trade-off for the affordable price. It operates using semi-random navigation but has several cleaning modes so you can get a better clean.

Product Specs

  • Product dimensions: 12.8 inches by 2.85 inches
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Capacity: 600 milliliters

Pros

  • Slim design fits under furniture
  • Quiet operation
  • Large dust bin capacity

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi connectivity

Best for Large Spaces

The Best Robot Vacuum Option: roborock E4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

Large floor plans can be hard for some robot vacuums to tackle. The Roborock E4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is built for these big jobs. This robot vacuum features a 200 minute runtime and a 640-milliliter dust bin. These features allow it to power through large rooms and contain all of its debris along the way. If the battery does run low, the vacuum will dock itself, charge, and return to where it left off.

This vacuum uses precision sensors and onboard gyroscopes to create an internal map of your home and choose a logical cleaning path. Along with its anti-tangle brushes and wheels, this helps the vacuum clean thoroughly without getting stuck. While it doesn’t have smart mapping features, it can connect to your smartphone so you can set schedules and cleaning modes, spot clean, or view the cleaning history.

Product Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 inches by 3.5 inches
  • Runtime: 200 minutes
  • Capacity: 640 milliliters

Pros

  • Long runtime
  • Large dust bin capacity
  • Anti-tangle brushes

Cons

  • Lacks smart mapping

Best for Pets

The Best Robot Vacuum Option: iRobot Roomba 981 Robot Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

Between fur, loose kibble, and tracked dirt, pets can create quite the mess on hardwood floors. The best robot vacuums for pets can help keep messes in check when you don’t have the time to. The iRobot Roomba 981 Robot Vacuum has a number of features to dislodge pet fur and dander.

Dual multisurface rubber brushes gently dislodge hair from all surfaces from hardwood to carpets. This vacuum also automatically boosts suction power on carpets to make sure stubborn fur is captured. A high-efficiency filter makes sure allergens stay within the vacuum rather than releasing them back into the air.

Of course, these features are in addition to an already smart robot. While this vacuum doesn’t have smart mapping, it uses sensors to create a map of your floors to clean in neat rows, so it won’t miss a spot.

Product Specs

  • Product dimensions: 13.9 inches x 3.58 inches
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Capacity: 500 milliliters

Pros

  • Non-tangling multisurface rubber brushes
  • High-efficiency filtration
  • Logical cleaning pattern

Cons

  • Large size
  • Lacks smart mapping

Best Vacuum and Mop

The Best Robot Vacuum Option: roborock S7 Robot Vacuum and Mop
Photo: amazon.com

If you really hate cleaning your floors, a combined robot vacuum and mop can be your saving grace. The Roborock S7 Robot Vacuum and Mop is a practical choice for full-floor cleaning. It has many of the features of a highly efficient robot vacuum, including powerful suction, laser mapping, and smart map features like multilevel mapping and no-go zones. After it’s done vacuuming, it can mop your floors.

This robot mop features a vibrating mop head that scrubs up to 3,000 cycles a minute to better get rid of stains. A 300-milliliter water tank helps to clean up to 2,150 square feet of flooring, and the long 180-minute battery life gets the job done all in one go.

This nifty device comes with one standout feature that makes it a reliable choice: It has a carpet-detection sensor that automatically lifts the mopping pads when the vacuum detects carpets or rugs to prevent those areas from getting wet.

Product Specs

  • Product dimensions: 14 inches by 4 inches
  • Runtime: 180 minutes
  • Capacity: 470 milliliters (dust bin) and 300 milliliters (water tank)

Pros

  • Vacuums and mops
  • Carpet-detection feature
  • Long runtime

Cons

  • Large size
  • Expensive

Our Verdict

The Roborock S4 Max Robot Vacuum is our top pick due to its bevy of smart mapping features, long runtime, and ability to work in low-light conditions. It’s a little bit pricey, though, so if you’re looking for a more affordable pick, opt for the iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum, which has limited Wi-Fi connectivity features and a dirt detection sensor for a lower price.

How We Chose the Best Robot Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

Modern robot vacuums have become more affordable and more reliable—there’s never been a better time to try one of these dirt-banishing machines. We researched dozens of robot vacuums and scrutinized product specs to find the best picks for hardwood floors.

When it comes to cleaning, every home has different needs. To cater to a variety of shoppers, we included different vacuums to suit a range of common desires, like picking up after pets or dual-purpose vacuuming and mopping.

We looked at the vacuum design, runtime, capacity, and additional convenience features, like mapping capabilities, cleaning modes, smart connectivity, and more to find well-rounded and practical vacuums. Each product on this list has a standout feature that sets it apart from the rest and makes it a worthwhile buy, whether it’s excellent battery life or a super-slim design.

There are a lot of robot vacuums on the market today. To ensure reliable picks, we chose options from reputable brands like Roomba and Roborock that have built their own brand authority. These brands have gained consumer trust due to their focus on research and innovating new products, so you know their products are intentionally designed and reliable.

FAQs

With so many options on the market, choosing a robot vacuum can feel overwhelming. But once you’ve found the right pick, you and your floors can be in effortless dirt-free bliss. Read on for some frequently asked questions and answers about using a robot vacuum on hardwood floors.

Q. Do robot vacuums work well on hardwood floors?

Yes, robot vacuums are an excellent option for hard flooring like hardwood floors.

Q. Do vacuums scratch hardwood floors?

No, a good robot vacuum should not scratch hardwood floors—at least on its own. If sharp debris gets caught under the vacuum’s wheels or sweeper, it can scratch sensitive flooring. To prevent this from happening, make sure to clear any sharp debris before using a robot vacuum.

Q. What is the best way to clean hardwood floors?

For gleaming floors, first gently sweep or vacuum the floor (using a traditional vacuum or robot vacuum) to clear debris from hardwood floors. Next, mop gently using a wood-safe cleaner.

Q. How do you set up a robot vacuum to clean your house?

It depends on the vacuum; some can be turned on and left to run free, while others will need a connection to a smartphone app to set up customizable features. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to set up your new robot vacuum.