Robot vacuums were once only found in the pages of classic science fiction, or in "Jetsons"-like dream homes. Today they are real appliances, with models boasting an array of sophisticated sensors, CPUs, lasers and even AI-enhanced software.
These are three of CNET's favorites, each for a different budget.
WHAT iRobot Roomba S9 Plus
THE COST $1,299.99
AVAILABLE FROM irobot.com
The iRobot Roomba S9 Plus is extremely pricey but delivers powerful suction and superb dirt and dust removal.
On hardwood floors, this Roomba picked up an average of 93% of our test sand, though it struggled a bit cleaning sand from low-pile carpeting and area rugs. The Roomba robot vac removed an average 71% of sand from our medium pile carpet, the best of any device we tested, and it lets you use voice commands to immediately clean a room using Alexa or Google Voice Assistant.
The robot zipped through our test room in a short average time of 25 minutes. You can link the S9 Plus to the Roomba app and your home Wi-Fi, too. Best of all is the Roomba S9 Plus' CleanBase docking station, which charges the robot's battery and empties its dustbin automatically.
WHAT Neato D7
THE COST $599.99
AVAILABLE FROM neatorobotics.com
For less than half the list price of the Roomba S9 Plus, Neato's D7 vacuums up dirt, dust and messes almost as well, making it the best robot vacuum at a midrange cost. This robotic cleaner picked up a greater amount of sand (36%) across low-pile carpet and rugs than the Roomba did. It narrowly beat the S9 Plus for cleaning power on hardwood bare floors, too, collecting an average of 95% of the sand we put down. The vac cleaned dirt, dust and sand from midpile rugs less effectively though, notching a pickup average of 47% while cleaning.
While the Neato can't match the Roomba's prowess at removing pet hair or emptying its own dust bin, the D7 navigates more efficiently around furniture yet covers more ground, thanks to smart robot vacuum built-in lidar laser navigation mapping. You can also control the cleaning robot using the Neato app as a remote control, as well as link it to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
WHAT Eufy Robovac 11S Max
THE COST $249.90
AVAILABLE FROM us.eufylife.com
Here's a robotic vacuum that proves you don't need to blow your budget to purchase a solid robot vacuum cleaner. It removed an average of 71% of our test sand from hardwood floors, however, it didn't work as well cleaning carpets, earning sand-pickup averages of 21% and 27% on low-pile and midpile, respectively.
And thanks to this vacuum's basic navigation system, it took more than an hour to negotiate our test room. Still, the Eufy used its runtime wisely. The vacuum covered the space well, cleaning up and leaving almost no spots untouched. The Eufy is also self-charging.
The following CNET staff contributed to this story: senior editor Brian Bennett and copy editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com.