Is it just us, or is everyone else sick and tired of endlessly cleaning the house, including vacuuming and mopping the floor? Luckily for us, there’s this handy little invention known as robot vacuums. These gadgets have been around for more than a decade, but they are mostly random-moving and ineffective in picking up dirt as compared to manual vacuuming. That said, progress has been tremendous, and in recent years the cleaning effectiveness of certain robotic cleaners rivals that of manual cleaning. Some stellar products even do the job better than we can! With a mapping system that “sees” and remembers the layout of the place including obstacles, these robots plan the most efficient path to clean all open spaces systematically.
So what’s the best robotic vacuum cleaner you can get today? From budget ones to high-end ones, here’s a selection based on five different bots’ effectiveness, efficiency, ease of use and local after-sales support.
1) Best Overall Robot: Corvan picaBot Pro+ (from RM2,498)
The latest laser mapping picaBot Pro+ robot vacuum from Corvan isn’t just a vacuum, but a mop too! Comparing it to the other four other models listed below, they all had to be “rescued” in cluttered rooms, whereas the picaBot navigated closely to the obstacles but also around them, cleaning available open spaces most efficiently. The picaBot has an adjustable suction, which gives it an impressive pickup rate of hair, dust and dirt. It also utilises a smart home app, fully decked out with zone cleaning, virtual walls and scheduling. Best of all, the picaBot is its ability to mop effectively with a large 300ml electronic controlled water tank while vacuuming, which is uncommon for most robot cleaners, especially on this list. For added safety and a squeaky clean feeling, you can also add disinfectant, or floor detergent. Especially useful for multiple rooms or large areas, the picaBot Pro+ can operate up to a staggering 3 hours to clean up to a whopping 3,000 square feet in a single charge! Corvan, the distributor of picaBot, also has excellent service reviews across multiple platforms. If you’re looking for a robot cleaner that could last a long time, go with the picaBot Pro+! However, its design is rather minimalistic. Though sleek, it is definitely not luxurious like the Roomba i7+ or the Neato D7.
Pros: Excellent dirt pickup, precise real-time mapping, smart home connectivity, effective mopping, compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Cons: Minimalistic design, no self-clearing of dirt bin.
2) Best High-End Robot: Neato D7 Connected (from RM4,788)
The D7’s superior suction power picked up more fine dust, flour, and pet hair than the other models. The laser navigation system, which uses the same mapping technology as the picaBot, has rather impressive accuracy, cleaning every corner of the house. Neato is the first to use the distinctive D-shape design since its launch in 2010, and its unique D-shape allowed it to clean better along the edges. The square front allows the longest main brush to be placed right at the forefront of the robot, giving the D7 the widest cleaning track and its ability to clean deep into corners. The blade-and-bristle combo brush also proved to be a great tool to pick up lots of dust and hair from both hard floors and area rugs. With an extremely user-friendly interface, personalised cleaning has never been easier! Unlike the iRobot S9+, the D7 Connected is unable to empty its own dirtbin. However, the built-in laser navigation mapping allows it to have a more complete coverage than the S9+, which is still using the camera mapping technology. The D7, like the picaBot, works equally well in both daylight and darkness.
Pros: Precise laser mapping technology, complete coverage, superior suction power, compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Cons: Expensive, no self-clearing of dirt bin.
3) Best Designed Robot: iRobot i7+ (from RM5,967)
Sleekly designed, the iRobot i7+ robotic vacuum cleaner is aesthetically pleasing and also quieter compared to the earlier Roomba models. Its camera mapping technology captures pictures of ceilings to identify unique features as reference points so that it can determine its own position. Keep Out Zones (like virtual walls on the picaBot) enables you to control areas that you want the robot to avoid. A true “smart” appliance, the i7+ empties its own dirtbin at the cleaning base, but be prepared to fork out an additional RM90 every month for disposable dirt bags. As aforementioned, it uses images of the ceiling as its mapping system, therefore it is not suitable to use in the dark, or in places with high ceilings. However, it has a pickup rate second to none, picking up dust, hair and other debris in one pass. Remember to check and remove hair that can pile up at the rollers and cleaning base inlet! If you hear a loud noise, that’s the robot emptying it’s own bin, so don’t worry!
Pros: Self-emptying dustbin, impressive carpet cleaning, smart navigation, compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Cons: Expensive, mediocre battery life, unable to operate in darkness, expensive monthly dirt bag replacement.
4) Most Sophisticated Robot: Samsung PowerBot R9250 (RM3,099)
The Samsung Powerbot R9250 has many high-end features, including Wi-Fi and smart home connectivity. The R9250 is able to clean varied surfaces, including hardwood, tile floors and carpets. Its CycloneForce technology sets it apart from the other robot vacuums, which reduces the amount of dust clogging the filter hence reducing the need to constantly change its filter. Best for cleaning low- and mid-pile carpets, it also has large wheels to climb over higher obstacles like door frames. Apart from the app, it also comes with a remote control for more control options. Though some view it as a hassle to manage an additional piece of gadget, the included virtual guard (similar to iRobot’s Virtual Wall) works fine to mark off areas you don’t want it to access. On the downside, the R9250 is bulkier than the other cleaners with a height of 5.3 inches, and it was unable to clean under certain furniture. Similar to the i7+, the camera-based Samsung Powerbot does not work so well in low-light and/or high ceiling environments. It does not come with a side brush to clean along edges, and tends to bump into obstacles harder than the other robotic vacuums.
Pros: Good suction, large dirtbin, good climbing ability, cleans well on carpets.
Cons: Bulky, noisy, unable to operate efficiently in the dark.
5) Best Budget Robot: ILife V5s Pro (RM764)
Random-moving robot vacuums may be running out of favour especially since there are so many other more sophisticated appliances out there, but they remain a popular choice for first time users, thanks to a more affordable price. The iLife V5s Pro with its random moving pattern causes it to bump into obstacles and have a “hit and miss” cleaning effect. As a result, it sometimes misses areas completely, though it does a decent job cleaning-wise. In an attempt to combat this issue, it alternates between various patterns on top of running longer to increase the chance of covering a wider area. On the bright side, it picks up dirt fairly well on hard floors if allowed to run longer in a small room. Therefore, it’s best to use the V5s Pro in single room apartments or small areas. Just like the picaBot Pro+, the V5s Pro also comes with a mopping function. Though not as effective as the picaBot’s mopping system, it is a decent supplement to its weaker dirt pickup due to lower suction power.
Pros: Affordable, quiet, compact, able to mop.
Cons: Random movement, low suction power, no app connectivity.