My Favorite Cleaning Robots

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The best cleaning robots make your life easier by doing housework while you do something else.

Female on sofa lifts legs as one of the best cleaning robots vacuums popcorn off the floor

As I sit typing this, I’m also cleaning the house. That is to say, my robot vacuum and mopping robot are doing it. In a few minutes, the robot litter-box will also clean itself. For someone who grew up watching Rosie the Robot Maid on The Jetsons, this is a dream come true. I still wouldn’t mind having a flying car like theirs, mind you. But I’m patient. We’ll get there.

Still, the fact is that I haven’t vacuumed or mopped a floor or scooped the litterbox in months, thanks to my cleaning robots. I can’t tell you how amazing that is. So, while a robot vacuum costs more than a regular vacuum, it pays for itself by freeing up your time. The same goes for a mopping robot or a robot litter box — you’ll spend more to buy a robot that handles your chores, but you’ll gain free time as a result.

Are Cleaning Robots Worth It?

Some cleaning robots are more hype than help. For example, the window-cleaning robot that also scrubs tile sounds amazing, but the reviews say it’s not nearly as helpful as they’d hoped. That’s how floor cleaning robots were in the beginning, too. Now, they’ve improved so much they’re indispensable. So maybe window-cleaning robots will get there one day soon?

The cleaning robots below are ones I’ve bought to use in my own home. As you’ll see, I started with low-end ones because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something I turned out not to use much. As I got used to letting robots do some of my housework, I felt better about upgrading to fancier models for daily use. Now I use the older ones to clean my office, and they’re still going strong.

What Can Cleaning Robots Do?

Frequent vacuuming and mopping are two of the most important ways to reduce household dust. But who wants to do it every single day? Your robot does and, unlike kids, it won’t ask for treats or expect payment.

If you’re willing to start with higher-end models, cleaning robots can map your entire home and sync with your smart home assistant. Then, you can simply tell your Alexa or Google Home device to mop the kitchen after dinner, for instance, or vacuum the entryway where the kids just tracked in dirt. Or, run them manually with the press of a button or program them to operate on a schedule.

Who Needs Cleaning Robots?

Obviously, people who don’t have the time to clean their floors — or who absolutely hate doing it — will love turning over the task to a robot or two. But those aren’t the only ones who can benefit from using a cleaning robot.

Cleaning robots are fantastic for older people or those with physical limitations! I bought my robots because I have severe arthritis in both hands. When I’m having a flare-up, it’s almost impossible to keep my floors or cat’s litterbox clean. I gave one to my mom for her 79th birthday because the older she got, the harder it was for her to push a vacuum. She loved watching her robot zoom around cleaning while she did crossword puzzles.

People with bad backs or knees can benefit from using a cleaning robot. Most vacuum or mopping robots have low profiles, which means they can get beneath furniture you might otherwise skip. You know, like under your bed. If you’ve got a bad back, it’s wonderful not having to bend over to clear out those dust bunnies.

And if you’re struggling with finding the motivation to clean your house, a robot can turn things around. Rather than watching your home grow more cluttered and chaotic, you can turn over vacuuming and mopping to your robots. It’s pretty remarkable how that can help.

How Long Do Cleaning Robots Take to Work?

Cleaning robots take longer to vacuum or mop your floors than it would take to do it yourself. But that’s time that you aren’t spending on those chores. That means you’re free to do other things — or nothing at all. It takes the robot vacuum in my home roughly 2 hours to clean the main floor’s 1600 square feet, which is a mixture of hard flooring and area rugs. The mopping robot takes about half that time.

I’ve scheduled my main floor’s cleaning robots to run after I’ve finished my daily cleaning routine and have headed to my home office for work. By the time I’m done for the day, my house is spotless. It’s awesome.

How Often Should You Run a Cleaning Robot?

If you have a robot vacuum, it’s easy to keep up with the general rule of cleaning wall-to-wall weekly and high-traffic areas at least once mid-week. With kids or pets, your high-traffic areas might even need daily cleaning to keep dirt from permanently staining carpet or scratching hard floors.

Owning a robot vacuum with mapping technology lets you schedule it to clean entire rooms and also touch up specific areas more often. You can also sync a robot mop to run immediately after the vacuum. For entry-level robot vacuums, you can run them daily but be sure to empty and maintain them regularly.

My Favorite Robot Vacuums

When I bought my first vacuuming robot back in 2012, it was unbearably loud, got stuck on curtains and toys, and cost what felt like a small fortune. It also died after a year. I waited six years to replace that thing, and the technology improved quite a lot by the time I bought my next one.

Entry Level Robot Vacuum

So, in 2018, I got this iLife robot vacuum that cost half of what I’d paid for my first one. It’s a great little vacuum robot that’s still going strong three years later. I like its low profile and how easy it is to clean. It comes with spare side brushes and a spare HEPA filter, which is helpful since you need to switch filters every few months. Unlike my original robot vacuum, the iLife has never got stuck on a cord or tried to eat my curtains.

Self-Cleaning Robot Vacuum

All the time at home in 2020 meant messier floors than ever. I’d forget to run the robot vacuum and, since I hadn’t run it, I couldn’t run the robot mop, either. After seeing a Black Friday deal, I upgraded to the iRobot Roomba i7+, a robot vacuum that’s self-cleaning and maps my house. Now, I can tell it to do specific rooms daily and other rooms less often. And, since I got it as part of a bundle, the mopping robot runs as soon as the vacuum is done. I don’t have to remember a thing!

This model of Roomba is lots quieter than either of my previous robot vacuums, except when the bin is emptying, and then it sounds like an old-fashioned vacuum cleaner. So, now the iLife robot vacuum is in charge of cleaning my basement home office every few days. It still does a fantastic job!

My Floor-Mopping Robots

Mopping is one of my least favorite chores. But, because I have hard flooring everywhere and both pets and kids, frequent mopping is crucial to keeping my home clean. I was thrilled to turn this task over to a robot.

Entry-Level Robot Mop

When I saw this robot mopping the floors of a local store, I had to have one. I love that the iRobot Braava 380t mops almost silently in overlapping Y-shapes since that removes twice as much dirt. And the pads are washable. So, unlike Swiffers, you don’t have to buy new pads every time you clean. Even better, you can use any mild cleaning product in it — including my homemade floor cleaner.

Smart Mapping Robot Mop

When I upgraded my robot vacuum, I decided to upgrade my mop, too. My first one is still working fine, but I kept forgetting to run the mop as soon as the robot vacuum finished. And with hard flooring, you’ve got to do them one after the other, or the mop will turn any dust on the floor into streaks. So now it cleans my office, too.

Then I upgraded to a wi-fi connected mopping robot with mapping technology. Now, as soon as my robot vacuum finishes its task, the iRobot Braava m6 mop heads to work. Unlike the 380t, this one doesn’t clean in a Y-shape, but it makes overlapping back-and-forth motions, then squirts a spray of floor cleaner on the next spot and keeps going. It also has washable pads, or you can buy disposable ones if you prefer.

Tips for Using a Floor Mopping Robot

  • Deal with dirt first. You’d vacuum or sweep before using a regular mop, and should do so with the robot mop, too. If you’re buying a pair of cleaning robots, make sure they work together and that they both have smart mapping technology. (This is the bundle I bought.*)
  • Use it often. Any mop will leave streaks if your floor is filthy. That’s true with a robot mop, too. The more often you use it, the less mess it has to clean, and the happier you’ll be with the results.
  • Don’t worry about floor mats, carpeting, toys, curtains, or cords. New robot mops will scoot around them. Mine doesn’t even mess with my faux cowhide rug.

Living the Dream

With all of these cleaning robots doing my least-favorite chores, you might think I do nothing but sit around watching Netflix these days. I wish. I’m still waiting for someone to invent a robot that dusts and cleans bathrooms. Until then, I’ll content myself with knowing I’ve got the best cleaning robots on my team and so much more free time thanks to them.

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6 Comments

  1. I totally intend to buy myself a vacuum robot for my 40th birthday this year :-p We’re a pet-free household these days, but even though I’m not constantly sweeping up pet fur I still feel like the dust-bunnies are multiplying and trying to take over.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It is one of my very favorite possessions. I got the one for pet hair, so it’s louder than the others but wow does it work. It’s cleaning my living room right now! Hope you love yours as much as I love mine — and Happy Birthday, youngster!

  2. I noticed that the mopping robot you recommend also vacuums. Do you not recommend one robot for both duties or do you find that one for each function is better? Pet hair is definitely an issue for me with two papillons, so I need one that can vacuum after those little fur babies. lol It would be nice to only have to buy one robot though. Your thoughts? Thanks for your articles…they have changed my life!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Jackie,
      Sorry for any confusion. The mopping robot doesn’t vacuum — it’ll “sweep” the floor with a dry pad much like a Swiffer Dry, but it doesn’t actually suction up the dirt. Like you, I deal with a lot of pet hair (a French Bulldog plus two cats). That’s why I use the vacuum robot in the morning then run the mopping robot at night.
      Best,
      Katie

  3. Hi Katie. You mentioned a robot litter box. Can I ask your recommendation for which is better? With 3 cats I really need one.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I used the Litter-Robot for years but no longer do. It’s a great help if you have young, healthy cats and enough space for it.

      But as my cats got older, they started having bowel problems. With all of the robot litterboxes I’ve tried, I found that such problems turn into really difficult cleaning problems. The ones that rake the litter get the pooh stuck in the rakes where it smells and gets hard to clean. With the Litter-Robot, the mess would leave smears and clumps in the hood, and then my cats would brush against it, resulting in pooh on their fur. So I’m just using a disposable, recyclable litterbox (from Kitty Poo) and silica litter.

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