The Best Robot Vacuum for No Effort CleaningThe Best Robot Vacuum for No Effort Cleaning

The Best Robot Vacuum

Or how to convince your mum that a robot vacuum isn’t just for the cat to ride.
Sarah Idle
Words by 
Sarah Idle
Updated 
Aug 3, 2020
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At a glance

There are many reasons why a robot vacuum is appealing. There’s the way it feels like something out of a sci-fi movie. Or the fact you have the chance to go viral with another cat-riding-a-Roomba video. Or maybe it seems like a good idea because you really, really hate vacuuming. Whatever your reason, robot vacuums are a 21st century way to bring technology into your home. 

The best robot vacuum cleaner is easy to set up and operate. It cleans a wide range of floor types well and zooms around your home without knocking into things or getting trapped. It also saves you time. Here are Australia’s top robot vacuums, informed by expert testing and real Aussie consumer insights.

Best for most

Eufy RoboVac 11S

The Eufy RoboVac 11S is proof that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a decent robot vacuum cleaner. Loved internationally, it’s super slim and has 4 cleaning modes, auto return to charger, stair detection and up to 100 minutes runtime. All for around $400.

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Eufy RoboVac 11S
Top
Pick
Best for features

iRobot Roomba i7

You can’t have a robot vacuum guide without mentioning a Roomba. Especially this premium one. The iRobot Roomba i7 is packing a lot of tech. This includes mapping your home, virtual walls, smart home compatibility and an app for smartphone control. The downside? It costs around $1,500.

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iRobot Roomba i7
Best for budget

Hoover Performer Plus

For a robot vacuum on a budget, try the no frills Hoover Performer Plus. It’s got everything you need, including a virtual wall and stair detection. It’s even packing a HEPA filter. The payoff for your $200 investment is no app, no auto recharge, a long charge time and a small-looking dustbin.

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Hoover Performer Plus

How we picked

We thought we’d be spoilt for choice with robot vacuums. But it turns out they’re still quite a new and unproven technology. They fill a niche: you must genuinely hate vacuuming to see any real benefits of them. They won’t deliver the same cleaning power as a standard vacuum, but they’re a lot easier to use – schedule their cleaning and off they go. They’re also a life changer for people with limited mobility. Plus, it’s undeniably awesome to have a micro robot in your home cleaning up after you.

As usual, we started with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. They’ve put a decent number of them through their paces.

We then turned to ProductReview.com.au, Australia's first consumer opinion site, to understand which robot vacuums are used and loved in Australian homes, which we cross-referenced against CHOICE’s tested models.

This gave us 7 robot vacuum cleaners, which we’ve reviewed below.

The 7 best robot vacuums in Australia

Best for most -> Eufy RoboVac 11S

Eufy RoboVac 11S

The Eufy RoboVac 11S is proof that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a decent robot vacuum cleaner. Loved internationally, it’s super slim and has 4 cleaning modes, auto return to charger, stair detection and up to 100 minutes runtime. All for around $400.

Check price

The Eufy RoboVac 11S is proof that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a robot vacuum. It comes in around $400. Which you might think means you compromise on features. Although it doesn’t have an app or virtual walls, it’s not lacking much else. In fact, it’s packing a lot in.

Let’s start with its powerful 1,300Pa of suction to help clean all your surfaces. It also has 3 filters to help remove all nasties. Thanks to its large wheels, it can move easily over different surfaces, from carpets to hard floors. But it won’t roll down your stairs - it’s got stair detection to avoid any costly falls. 

It has a large dustbox (0.6L) so you won’t be constantly emptying it. It has auto return to charger so it won’t ever stop dead in the middle of its clean. It takes 5-6 hours to charge. This gives you up to 100 minutes runtime. 

It offers 4 cleaning modes (auto, spot, edge and single room) and pre-set vacuuming times and days. So, you can set it to clean while you’re not home. Plus, it has smart BoostIQ Technology which automatically boosts suction power within 1.5 seconds when it needs to go a bit harder.

It boasts an infrared sensor to help it avoid banging into stuff and an anti-scratch toughened glass cover to keep it looking sharp.

We love its super slim design. It’s 7.24cm tall which means it can easily get under your furniture. We’re not alone in being fans. It’s recommended by the New York Times, USA Today and Consumer Reports (the US equivalent of CHOICE). The Eufy RoboVac 11 is on ProductReview.com.au where it gets a whopping 5 stars from a handful of reviews. The 11S isn’t but the models are very similar. It’s also been reviewed by CHOICE.

Why buy the Eufy RoboVac 11S

Ultra-slim design

At 7.24cm tall, it should slide easily under your furniture.

Large wheels

Which help it move easily between different floor surfaces.

Stair detection

It won’t topple down your stairs.

Dustbox capacity

At 0.6L, it holds a fair amount of dust.

Auto return to charger

It senses when it’s running low and takes itself off for a recharge. 

Long runtime

Eufy reckons it can run for up to 100 minutes in 1 go.

4 cleaning modes

To help you get the best clean for your needs.

Pre-set times and days

Want to set it to clean on certain days and times? You can.

BoostIQ Technology 

It can automatically add extra power when it needs it.

Infrared sensor 

To help it avoid banging into things.

Loved worldwide

It’s recommended by the New York Times, USA Today and Consumer Reports, among others.

Price

Did we mention it’s around $400?

The not-so-good bits

No app

You do get a remote though.

No virtual walls

So it might make itself comfy in your walk-in shower unless you remember to close certain doors.

Round shape

We think triangular shaped robot vacuums make more sense as they can fit into corners and edges easier. It does have a side brush though, to help clean edges.

In summary

If you want a robot vacuum but you don’t want to splurge, consider the Eufy RoboVac 11S. This super slim vacuum boasts a lot of good stuff. Like 4 cleaning modes, auto return to charger, stair detection, a 0.6L dustbox and up to 100 minutes of runtime. It’s loved internationally and comes in around $400. It’s lacking an app but you do get an easy to use remote instead.

Best for features -> iRobot Roomba i7

iRobot Roomba i7

You can’t have a robot vacuum guide without mentioning a Roomba. Especially this premium one. The iRobot Roomba i7 is packing a lot of tech. This includes mapping your home, virtual walls, smart home compatibility and an app for smartphone control. The downside? It costs around $1,500.

Check price

Can you have a guide to the best robot vacuum cleaners without mentioning a Roomba? We think not. And this Roomba has all the bells and whistles: meet the iRobot Roomba i7. It’s driven by a lot of smart tech. This includes Imprint Smart Mapping which helps the i7 learn your home and rooms. It then adapts its cleaning to suit each room, depending on the floor type.

The ridiculously named “iAdapt® 3.0 Navigation with vSLAM® technology” basically means the i7 maps its surroundings. This helps it understand where it’s been and where it still needs to clean. It has virtual walls (although iRobot calls these ‘keep out zones’) so it only cleans where you tell it to.

As you’d expect with this smart tech, it has an app. The app lets you choose which rooms to clean and when. You can also monitor cleaning activity and view cleaning history. It’s smart home compatible - it connects with Alexa and Google Home. Use your voice to start, stop or dock it. Plus, it can connect to the Braava jet m6 - iRobot’s robot mop. When the i7 is done, it’ll tell the mop to start. 

It has auto return to charger. But, of course, it’s smarter than just returning. It works out how much time it needs to continue cleaning and only charges for that amount of time. So, it’s not doing a full charge when it only needs 5 minutes to finish the job. Clever.

It has a 3-stage cleaning system. iRobot reckons the filter captures 99% of cat and dog allergens but that’s not independently verified. It has a runtime of up to 90 minutes yet charges in only 1.5 hours. The dustbin is pretty small, at 0.4L. 

It’s been reviewed by CHOICE and has a handful of mixed reviews on ProductReview.com.au, where it gets nearly 3 stars. Most reviewers think the price (around $1,500) is too high.

Why buy the iRobot Roomba i7

Smart technology

It’s packing a lot of smart tech to help it clean your home better.

Virtual walls

Keep it out of places you don’t want it.

App

Control it easily from wherever you are, thanks to the app.

Pre-set cleaning

Use the app to set when you want certain rooms cleaned.

Smart home compatible

It works with Alexa and Google Home so you can voice command it.

Works with a robot mop

For an all-in-1 cleaning solution, it can work with iRobot’s robot mop.

Clever auto return to charger

It senses how much time it needs to complete its clean. It then only charges for that amount of time, before picking up where it left off.

Short charge time

It takes just 90 minutes to charge.

Runtime

It runs up to 90 minutes.

The not-so-good bits

Smallish dustbin

At 0.4L, it’s not the biggest dustbin. It might need frequent empties.

Price

It’s an eye watering $1,500.

Middling consumer reviews

It gets less than 3 stars on ProductReview.com. Although this is from a limited number.

Circular design

Again, it’s round not triangular so corners are a bit trickier to clean properly.

In summary

For a robot vacuum cleaner that feels like a real robot thanks to all its tech, you might like the iRobot Roomba i7. It’s packing loads of features, including the ability to map your home, virtual walls, smart home compatibility with Alexa and Google Home and control from your smartphone with the app. It’s got a decent runtime and a small charge time too. Your payoff is a smallish dustbin (0.4L) and a high price: $1,500.

Best for budget -> Hoover Performer Plus

Hoover Performer Plus

For a robot vacuum on a budget, try the no frills Hoover Performer Plus. It’s got everything you need, including a virtual wall and stair detection. It’s even packing a HEPA filter. The payoff for your $200 investment is no app, no auto recharge, a long charge time and a small-looking dustbin.

Check price

Want a robot vacuum without destroying your wallet? Say hello to the Hoover Performer Plus. It has a RRP of just $199. Looking like something from a 80s sci-fi movie, it’s not the sexiest looking thing. But hey, it’s $199.

What really stands out for us is that it has a HEPA filtration system. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter pushes air through a fine mesh, trapping nasties like pollen, pet dander, dust mites and smoke. The industry standard for HEPA filters is that they remove at least 99.97% of particulates measuring 0.3 micron diameter (that’s really small) in a lab setting. Normally, we associate HEPA filters with a high price so this is refreshing. 

It has 3 cleaning modes - spot clean, auto clean and turbo clean. It also has the basic tech you need: a virtual wall and stair detection. It has a runtime of 45 minutes and takes 8-9 hours to fully charge. We can’t find details of the size of the dustbin but it looks pretty tiny.

Not surprisingly for the price, it doesn’t have an app. It’s controlled by a remote instead. Which means you can’t pre-set times and days for it to clean or operate it remotely. The most annoying thing about it? It won’t return itself to the dock when it needs to charge. Instead, you need to pick it up and plug it in. 

It’s been reviewed by CHOICE and gets around 4 stars on ProductReview.com.au.

Why buy the Hoover Performer Plus

HEPA filter

Which we reckon is pretty impressive for the price.

3 cleaning modes

So you can sit back and let it do its thing.

Easy to use

Thanks to the remote control with well labelled buttons.

Virtual wall

To keep it out of places you don’t want it.

Stair detection

It won’t topple down your stairs.

Decent runtime

45 minutes should be enough to give your floors a once over.

Price

It’s around $200, which is great for a robot vacuum.

The not-so-good bits

No app

So you can’t control it remotely or set times and days for it to clean.

No auto recharge

When it runs out of battery, it’ll stop dead wherever it is and you’ll have to play hunt-the-robot-vacuum.

Long charge time

It takes a huge 8-9 hours to fully charge.

Small-looking dustbin

Although we can’t find the capacity listed anywhere, it looks pretty small.

In summary

For a robot vacuum on a budget, try the Hoover Performer Plus. It’s got the essential tech you need, like a virtual wall and stair detection. It’s also packing a HEPA filter, to help keep your home fresh. The payoff for your $200 investment is no app, no auto recharge, a long charge time and a small-looking dustbin. It’s basic and no frills, but easy to use.

The competition

Our top picks not doing it for you? Here are 4 other contenders.

Neato Botvac D Series

Like some of our other picks, the Neato Botvac D Series doesn’t offer app connectivity – but it does have a high RRP of $1,199. Instead, it offers a large in-built LCD screen which allows you to start, stop, pause, and schedule cleaning from there. D-shaped, it can handle walls and corners effectively and it automatically returns to base for charging. A full charge takes 12 hours. It also comes with a 1-year warranty and 2m of boundary markers, which is sort of like a virtual wall but not quite.

It has good reviews on ProductReview.com.au with Aussies particularly impressed by its large dustbin capacity (we haven’t been able to find this capacity).

Choose this if...

You’re not bothered by app connectivity and you’d like your vacuum to come with boundary markers to save you having to use whatever you have lying around to make a virtual wall.

iRobot Roomba e5

Another Roomba because of course. The iRobot Roomba e5 is less expensive than the i7. Like the i7, it has a 3-stage cleaning system and the filter that captures 99% of cat and dog allergens (not independently verified). 

Although it doesn’t have all the smart tech of the i7 - the way it learns and maps your home and the navigation system - it does have a virtual wall, stair detection and auto recharge. You can use an app with it too, although you don’t have to. It’s compatible with Alexa and Google Home. It takes around 3 hours to charge and has a 90-minute runtime. Its dustbin is 0.4L.

It comes in around $1,000, so $500 less than the i7. It’s been reviewed by CHOICE but isn’t on ProductReview.com.au.

Choose this if…

You want a Roomba and you want to spend around $1,000.

Vorwerk Kobold VR200

If you’ve got allergies to things like pollen, pet hair or dust, the Vorwerk Kobold VR200 could be the robot vacuum for you. It’s the only robot vacuum that’s Sensitive Choice approved. What does that mean? It means Sensitive Choice, which was created by the National Asthma Council Australia, recognises this as an asthma and allergy-aware product. To be approved, Vorwerk had to supply research, testing and evidence which was assessed by an independent panel of experts to determine its benefit to people with asthma and allergies. Phew. 

When emptying the dust container, you don’t need to come into contact with the dirt. Instead, you can use your vacuum cleaner to remove the contents. This makes it great for dust allergy sufferers.

Asthma- and allergies-friendliness aside, it’s another slim robot vacuum, like the Eufy RoboVac 11S. It’s just 9cm tall (the RoboVac 11S is 7.24cm). This means it should fit easily under furniture. It also has plenty of smart tech. This includes continuous 360 degree mapping of every room so it can work out where it has and hasn’t cleaned; anti-collision sensors; auto recharge function; and stair detection. It’s also the only robot vacuum we’ve seen that has a carrying handle. 

It has a runtime and a charge time of 90 minutes. The LED display lets you know the battery status. It’ll even tell you when it’s returning to its base for charging. It has 4 cleaning modes (home cleaning, spot cleaning, eco mode and cleaning schedule). We like the D-shape design which we think is better for corners than a circular vac. It’s controlled by a remote, not an app, which is surprising for the price - it’s around $1,500. 

It’s been reviewed by CHOICE and racks up over 3.5 stars from almost 50 reviews on ProductReview.com.au.

Choose this if…

You’ve got asthma or allergies and want a robot vacuum that’s approved for its benefits to asthma and allergy sufferers. Or you want a robot vacuum that’s crammed with good features and are ok with dropping a cool $1,500.

Related: The Best Pet Hair Vacuum for Picking up After your Shedding Furry Companion

Ecovacs Deebot 600

The Ecovacs Deebot 600 is another affordable robot vacuum, coming in around $399. For this, you’re getting 4 cleaning modes, including a dedicated hard floor mode. To clean your hard floors effectively, it follows a back-and-forth cleaning path to ensure no crumb goes un-vacuumed. It also has auto mode, spot clean and a max mode. The max mode boosts the suction up to 2 times on both hard floors and carpets. This gives it an extra power burst to deal with ingrained dirt.

It has stair and obstacle detection. You can also schedule when you want it to run. When it’s running out of juice, it takes itself back to base to recharge. Control it via the remote or an app. It’s smart home compatible and works with Alexa and Google Home. 

It takes about 4 hours to charge, for a runtime of 60-120 minutes. It’s been reviewed by CHOICE and gets almost 5 stars on ProductReview.com.au.

Choose this if…

You want an affordable robot vacuum that boasts multiple cleaning modes and the ability to schedule cleans, which you control via an app or remote.

How we picked

We thought we’d be spoilt for choice with robot vacuums. But it turns out they’re still quite a new and unproven technology. They fill a niche: you must genuinely hate vacuuming to see any real benefits of them. They won’t deliver the same cleaning power as a standard vacuum, but they’re a lot easier to use – schedule their cleaning and off they go. They’re also a life changer for people with limited mobility. Plus, it’s undeniably awesome to have a micro robot in your home cleaning up after you.

As usual, we started with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. They’ve put a decent number of them through their paces.

We then turned to ProductReview.com.au, Australia's first consumer opinion site, to understand which robot vacuums are used and loved in Australian homes, which we cross-referenced against CHOICE’s tested models.

This gave us 7 robot vacuum cleaners, which we’ve reviewed below.

Important features to consider

Most robot vacuums offer the same features; here’s what to look for.  

Stair detection

This helps the robot vacuum sense a ledge or step and pull back, rather than taking an expensive tumble down a drop.

Auto recharging

This is a standard feature, with only 1 robot vacuum we reviewed not offering it (the Hoover Performer Plus). When the battery is low, the vacuum finds its way back to its docking station and recharges. If the vacuum hasn’t finished its clean, it’ll usually pick up where it left off once it’s charged.

App connectivity

This feature allows you to control your vacuum wherever you are which means you can clean your home while you’re not in it. Four of our picks don’t have app connectivity so it’s not a standard feature.

Mapping

The robot vacuum’s ability to map your home correctly influences how well it’ll clean it. Look for how many sensors it offers. If it has an app, it might need your help to accurately map your home. Investing time in setting up your vacuum correctly will pay off with good cleaning results. 

Runtime

Check out how long the robot vacuum reckons it runs for, before needing to recharge. You’ll need to consider if that’s enough time to effectively clean your home. Also bear in mind what it does when it’s recharged – will it pick up where it left off, or start from the beginning, leaving part of your home uncleaned. Pay attention to the charge time too. The Neato Botvac D Series takes a huge 12 hours to recharge.

Obstacle sensing

As well as furniture, if you leave a lot of things on the floor (kids, we’re looking at you) a robot vacuum can struggle to sense and avoid them. Which means before it can clean, you need to spend time picking things up, missing the point of a robot vacuum’s time-saving nature. Or, you’ll have to follow it around, moving stuff out of its way. Again, this is when you need to pay attention to a robot vacuum’s sensors and how effectively it can sense and dodge obstacles. 

Dustbin capacity

Robot vacuums are a lot smaller than standard vacuums, which means their dustbins are too. If you don’t want to empty it frequently, look for a larger dustbin.

Scheduled cleaning

Scheduled cleaning is convenient because it means your robot vacuum can clean your home while you’re not in it. It also means you can set the daily cleaning times and then simply sit back and let the vacuum do the dirty work for you.

What you get if you spend more

These features aren’t necessarily linked to price. So, these are more non-standard features.

Virtual wall

Want to stop your robot vacuum going in certain areas, like a walk-in shower? You can set up invisible virtual walls that create a barrier to entry.

Auto floor adjustment

To get the best clean regardless of the floor type, some robot vacuums automatically change their cleaning mode depending on what they encounter: hard floors or carpet. 

Typically, robot vacuums are good at cleaning hard floors although they may struggle on corners and edges. They’re less good at thoroughly cleaning carpet because they don’t have the suction of a standard vacuum. Your carpet might look clean, but they could be leaving a lot of dirt below the surface which can damage the pile. A robot vacuum can handle a quick tidy-up but for ingrained dirt release, you’ll still need to use a standard vac.

Related: The Best Stick Vacuum for Quick, Convenient Cleans

The bottom line

If you truly detest cleaning or have limited mobility, a robot vacuum can be life changing. But it probably won’t replace your main vacuum cleaner. They excel at quick spot cleans that will pick up visible mess, but probably won’t deep clean your carpet or corners effectively and they’ll be hit and miss with pet hair. However, there’s no denying the novelty factor of having a robot race around your floor, cleaning up mess. 

If you want a robot vacuum but aren’t prepared to pay over $1,000, meet the Eufy RoboVac 11S: it comes in around $400. It doesn’t have an app or virtual walls but it’s got everything else. This includes stair detection, large dustbox (0.6L), auto return to charger and up to 100 minutes runtime. It has a super slim design to fit under your furniture and it’s recommended by loads of places, including the New York Times, USA Today and Consumer Reports (the US equivalent of CHOICE).

After all the bells and whistles? Consider the iRobot Roomba i7 which has plenty of smart tech. This includes Imprint Smart Mapping, virtual walls, an app, smart home compatibility and auto return to charger. It has a runtime of up to 90 minutes yet charges in only 1.5 hours. The dustbin is pretty small, at 0.4L. All this will set you back around $1,500.

For a non-wallet busting robot vacuum, think about the Hoover Performer Plus. It has a RRP of just $199. But it’s packing a HEPA filtration system, 3 cleaning modes, virtual wall and stair detection. It has a runtime of 45 minutes and a whopping 8-9 hour charge time. Remote controlled with no app, the biggest downside is the fact it doesn’t return itself to the dock when it needs to charge.

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