Consumer Reports: Robotic Vacuums Aren’t as Good

Robotic vacuums aren’t ready to replace traditional ones, though a $450 model does a respectable job.

Here’s one job I don’t think people would mind a robot taking over: cleaning house. But the good news for professional housekeepers is that the vacuum cleaner of the future still isn’t quite ready.

In its new review of three models of robotic vacuums, Consumer Reports says, “No robotic vacuum can match the deep cleaning you’ll get with the best upright and canister vacuums.”

Nonetheless, one stood out above the others in its tests, which involved dumping paper, cereal, rice and sand on carpet and bare floors. Here’s what CR found:

  • Neato XV-21. This $400 gadget was the noisiest and least effective of the three, struggling to clean up paper and frequently getting itself stuck between chair legs.
  • LG Hom-Bot Square LRV790R. This one was the quietest, and the most expensive at $800. It had trouble cleaning up paper and cereal, and navigating around power cords and narrow objects.
  • iRobot Roomba 760. It’s $450 and picked up virtually everything. “A random pattern with more passes over the same spot helped account for its cleaning, though that also meant the Roomba roved around our 12-by-16-foot test area four to five times longer than the other two before it returned to its charging base,” Consumer Reports says.

Consumer Reports also suggests that robotic vacuums may not work well in areas with shag carpeting or area rugs.

Do you have a robotic vacuum? Are you happy with it, especially at prices like these? Let us know below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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  • A couple of friends have robot vacuums and they swear by them. They say they do the same job as their manual work, and to the same quality. This inspired me to think about buying one, but the reviews online seem to reach a similar conclusion to yourself. Therefore, I think I’ll wait until they are cheaper and have advanced a little.

  • sandy w

    I had a Roomba & loved it. I don’t have the time to vacuum every week, so the Roomba kept the house looking respectable until I had time to clean. Caution: I had a mouse in the house; the cats chased it behind the Roomba while it was on the charging station. The mouse got zapped & shorted the Roomba so it never held its charge & had to be thrown out. (Mouse was not killed but it sure did scream!)

  • Joyce Johnson-Bendowski

    I have the Roomba 760 which I purchased due to having hepa filters and ability to pick up pet hair.
    I run “MAX” every other day in a different room. She does a great job and since I’ve been using her, my lamp shades are not nearly as dusty…lol I love the fact she gets under the beds with no problems and sucks up whatever is there. When her dust bin gets full, a red light comes on and she beeps. Highly recommend as a day-to-day cleaner but not if you expect deep cleaning. I do not have carpet but do have throw rugs which she cleans without any problems.

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