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I despise sweeping and vacuuming.
But I also have two kids under the age of 5 and a long-haired cat who sheds profusely — so they’re unavoidable. Every night I spend at least 10 minutes sweeping and dust-busting the floor, and every few days I spend 20 minutes or so doing a more thorough clean. That’s (very conservatively) two hours a week — upwards of 100 hours a year — I spend engaged in cleaning activities I hate. So naturally, I’d been eyeing a robotic vacuum, but the prices (upwards of $200 typically) kept me from pulling the trigger.
But then I started doing the cost-benefit analysis in my head: Over the course of a year, you’re only paying about $6 a week for a $300 robot vacuum. And paying $6 to get back 2 hours a week or time seemed well worth it to me. So on Prime Day I pulled the trigger and bought this iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum — and it’s been a game changer for my household.
When my son throws chunks of food on the floor, I leave it there. When my cat tosses her food out of her bowl or leaves a pile of fur on the carpet where she was napping, I don’t touch it. Then at around 9:30 pm before I head to bed, I open my Roomba app and with a touch of the screen have Robota (that’s what my daughter named the Roomba) clean the floor for an hour. In the morning, I wake up to a clean floor (and she’s docked herself right back in the corner). I was surprised at how thorough the cleaning was too: Roomba has smart sensors and cameras that guide her around and under furniture (let me tell you, I’ve never cleaned that far under my sofa!), on both carpets and wood floors. She’s picked up everything from smashed banana to cat hair to dried pasta. And the Roomba has what they call “dirt detect sensors” so it goes over certain very dirty spots multiple times (for us, that’s under the dinner table and by the cat bowl). Is she perfect? Nope. But neither am I when I clean. (Read more about the Roomba 690 robot vacuum here.)
Of course, Roomba’s not the only game in town, so Marketwatch did some research on what expert reviewers say are the best robotic vacuums under $350 besides the Roomba. Here’s what we found.
eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S, About $230 on Amazon
This robotic, remote-controlled vacuum, which cleans for up to 100 minutes before it automatically recharges itself, is Wirecutter’s pick for the best robotic vacuum. “This affordable robot vacuum is quieter and fits under more furniture than any others. And thanks to its nimble, persistent nav system, it’ll rarely need your attention,” Wirecutter writes. It cleans both wood floors and carpets, and Wirecutter adds that it is “one of the least likely to get stuck and quit cleaning mid-session” and that “it’s strong enough and persistent enough to pick up more debris than bots that cost two or three times as much.” Learn more about the eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S here.
Samsung POWERbot R7040 Robot Vacuum: About $340 on Amazon
Consumer Reports calls this wi-fi enabled robotic vacuum a “great vacuum for your money,” noting that it gets excellent ratings for its ability to clean bare floors and carpets and is very easy to use. Onboard cameras and sensors tell it where to clean and avoid obstacles; you can remotely control it through your smartphone, Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant; and it has a handy rubber blade that extends out to hard-to-get-to spots like corners and edges of the wall. Learn more about the Samsung POWERbot R7040 Robot Vacuum here.
Eufy 30C Robot Vacuum: About $290 on Amazon
Both Consumer Reports and Wirecutter rave about this WiFi-enabled vacuum, with Consumer Reports writing that “our testers note that they couldn’t even tell it was on or running, which makes it a great choice for those who might need to run a robotic vac while they’re home.” What’s more, they call it “one of the cheaper vacuums that really does the job” adding that it is excellent at cleaning bare floors and is compatible with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Learn more about the Eufy 30C Robot Vacuum here.