The Best Cheap Robot Vacuums of 2019

A robot vacuum isn't a miracle appliance. Sometimes vacuums get stuck or smear a wet mess (yes, like dog poop). The dust bin needs to be emptied occasionally and even great vacuums will struggle with heavy dirt and hair. My point is that robot vacuums may reduce housework, but they don't eliminate it.

You can find a decent robot vacuum for less than $100. These low-end models clean well enough, but they need to be manually charged and the tradeoff isn’t always worth it. People with pet hair allergies might prefer a vacuum that works by itself throughout the day.

Self-charging vacuums are one step closer to being a set-it-and-forget-it appliance. Some vacuums have intelligent features like room mapping, stair detection and Alexa compatibility. These high-end models can cost between $400 and $1,000, but that added expense won't necessarily get you a vacuum that cleans better.  That said, pricier vacuums tend to work better on carpet.

No robot vacuum is truly quiet. Some make a snoring sound on hard surfaces. If you live in an apartment with hardwood floors, your downstairs neighbors might complain if you buy a loud model.

Here are the best-reviewed robot vacuums that have sold for $250 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $217 | Great Deal: $140

Eufy's robot vacuum is very quiet and cleans hardwood floors well, according to several Amazon customers. This vacuum has no rhyme-or-reason to its cleaning pattern and gets stuck sometimes, according to critical reviews. For best results, consider prepping your home by adjusting chairs and furniture.

Good Price: $154 | Great Deal: $119

ILife's V3s robot vacuum is great for dog hair and especially effective on hard floors, according to several Amazon reviews. Some reviewers said this model is ineffective on carpet and noisy to run.

Good Price: $166 | Great Deal: $125

Many Amazon customers described ILife's A4s robot vacuum as effective-yet-maddening-to-watch (because it bounces around while it cleans). This vacuum is supposed to return to its charging dock, but it often cleans until its battery runs out, according to several reviews.


John DeFeo