Self-emptying robot vacuums from iRobot, Roborock, and Shark are under $500

Self-emptying robot vacuums from iRobot, Roborock, and Shark are under $500
Self-emptying robot vacuums from iRobot, Roborock, and Shark are under $500

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Roomba j7+ on auto empty dock

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Credit: iRobot

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UPDATE: Mar. 8, 2023, 3:30 p.m. EST This story has been updated to include the best deals on robot vacuums from iRobot, eufy, and more.

  • BEST BUDGET DEAL: The iRobot Roomba 694(Opens in a new tab) is the cheapest Roomba on our list and can schedule cleanings through an app — $179 $274.99 (save $95.99)

  • BEST SELF-EMPTYING DEAL: The Shark EZ(Opens in a new tab) is cute, compact, and holds a month’s worth of debris — $299.99 $399.99 (save $100)

  • BEST ROBOT VACUUM/MOP DEAL: The Roborock Q7+(Opens in a new tab) is the brand’s cheapest self-emptying hybrid with room mapping — $549.99 $799.99 (save $250 with on-page coupon)

Only three things are certain in life: Death, taxes, and a few days each month when you need to vacuum but just don’t have time. Whether you detest the chore or hope to make your home upkeep a bit breezier, a robot vacuum is a lifesaver. Shop models on sale below.

Robot vacuums under $200

Why we like it

A non-discontinued Roomba below $180 is a Black Friday-like deal that we’ve been seeing pretty often in 2023. The baseline 600 Series offers a standard clean that you can trust to keep floors tidy on a daily basis. Schedule cleanings and get custom cleaning suggestions in the iRobot app.

  • Dirt Detect tech gives extra attention to dirtier areas

  • 90-minute battery life

  • Loosen and lift strategy on carpet

More robot vacuums under $200

Robot vacuums under $500

Why we like it

Less than $300 is a decent price for a self-emptying robot vacuum, especially from a brand like Shark. The EZ model doesn’t map your home but still maintains wall-to-wall coverage by cleaning in methodical rows, returning to charge then resuming cleaning when necessary.

  • Schedule cleanings through app

  • 75-minute battery life

  • Self-emptying dock holds 30 days’ worth of debris

More robot vacuums under $500

Robot vacuums under $800

Why we like it

Samsung’s website and Amazon are constantly duking it out for the best price on Samsung’s most advanced robovac. Amazon is currently winning with a 48% price slash that definitely makes this vac worth it.

Like the Roomba j7+, the Jet Bot AI+ uses an array of 3D sensors to identify small obstacles that other robot vacuums usually eat, like cords and pet waste. Like the Roomba s9+, the Jet Bot AI+ has one flat edge that offers pristine corner cleaning and wall trailing. What sets the JetBot AI apart is an onboard security and pet camera that can live stream directly to your phone.

  • Room mapping, zone cleaning, and small obstacle avoidance

  • 90-minute battery life

  • Self-emptying dock holds up to two months’ worth of debris

More robot vacuums under $800

Robot vacuum and mop hybrids and dedicated robot mops

Why we like it

Roborock debuted three new robot vacuums in 2022. Of the Q Series, the mid-range Q7+ is the most affordable model that self-empties and mops. It vacuums with more-than-decent suction and simultaneously mops, lifting the pad when carpet is detected. The main difference between the Q7+ and the Q7 Max+ is a gravity-fed electric water tank, which probably isn’t enough to make the current $100 price difference between the two worthwhile.

  • Room mapping and zone cleaning

  • 180-minute battery life

  • Self-emptying dock holds up to seven weeks’ worth of debris

More hybrids and robot mops on sale

What to consider when buying a robot vacuum

Suction power is key

A vacuum is the one purchase that you hope sucks a lot. Suction power is typically measured in Pascals (Pa), with most current vacs ranging between 1,500 Pa and 3,000 Pa. Stronger sucking will be needed to pick up heavier pieces of debris (be sure to set a no-go zone around Legos) and to pull matted-down pet hair from rugs.

Know your floor type

Carpeting and high pile rugs will probably require stronger suction than hard floors, as well as special features like an extra-wide or self-cleaning brush roll to prevent hair from wrapping and clogging. Folks in homes with multiple floor types might consider a bigger, sturdier robot vacuum that can hurl itself and its wheels over mats, rugs, and transitions from carpet to hard floors.

Consider automatic emptying

Because robot vacuums are typically under four inches tall, their onboard dust bins are also small — which means they frequently require emptying. (Dustbins fill up particularly quickly in homes with pets.) A self-emptying vacuum takes that job out of your hands, emptying itself into a larger dustbin in its charging dock. These larger bins can typically hold weeks of dirt without needing to be cleaned or dumped out.

Think about your home’s layout

Every robot vacuum is equipped with sensors and drop detection. But if your home has lots of rooms, lots of turns, or lots of close-together furniture, you’ll have fewer navigation issues with an advanced model that uses intelligent mapping to remember exactly how your home is laid out, including labeling of specific rooms, mental notes of staircases, and ability to deploy zone cleaning.

Pay attention to low-profile furniture

No one should have to be scared about what’s accumulated under their couch over the past year. A robot vacuum measuring three inches or less in height should be able to scoot under most low-hanging couches and beds.

Assess battery life and square footage

One of the main complaints people have about their robot vacuum is that it craps out in the middle of the floor. Larger spaces require more time to clean, and it all depends on how annoyed you’ll be if it only finishes a few rooms at a time. Average run times for the list below range between 90 and 200 minutes, which translates to about 500 and 2,800 square feet covered on one charge.

Look for app control

WiFi-enabled robot vacuums can be synced with a smartphone app to control scheduling, manual start, and cleaning settings, as well as telling your vac to make its rounds when you’re not home. Low-end models that don’t connect to WiFi will usually come with a separate remote. If you’re used to asking Alexa or Google to turn off the lights or tell you the weather, a model with voice integration will blend in nicely.

Frequently Asked Questions

The control of an upright vacuum comes with its own type of satisfaction. But if you’re not one to classify cleaning as cathartic, a robot vacuum could erase that huge, agonizing task from your chore list. (And did we mention the joy of having “first-day clean” floors all the time?)

But whether robot vacuums are worth it or not comes with a caveat: It can’t be just any robot vacuum. A cheap robot vac that doesn’t do the job right — scattering dust, bumping into walls, getting stuck on area rugs — might actually create more work for you.

Leah Stodart

Leah is a shopping reporter at Mashable, where she covers shopping trends, gift ideas, and products that make life easier. She graduated from Penn State University in 2012 and is watching horror movies or “The Office” when she’s not shopping online herself. You can follow her on Twitter at @notleah(Opens in a new tab).

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