It’s been over a decade in the making, but can Dyson’s new robot – the 360 Eye – really clean your home effectively? And does it truly have ‘twice the suction’ of rival robots from Samsung, Neato and iRobot?
We’ve got the answers, thanks to our first ever test of robot vacuum cleaners. We put eight new robot vacuum cleaners from big brands through our tough tests, and only one did a good enough job to be named a Best Buy.
At the other end of the scale, two robots were so terrible at navigating round obstacles, and picked up such a tiny amount of dust – just 4% of what we put in their path – that we named them Don’t Buys.
Find out which robot came out on top, and whether pricey models like the Dyson 360 Eye, iRobot Roomba 980 and Samsung Powerbot VR9300 are worth buying, by heading to our robot vacuum cleaner reviews.
Robot vacuums vs normal vacuum cleaners
We didn’t just want to find the best robot around, we also wanted to know how robot vacuums measure up to ordinary vacuum cleaners in terms of cleaning power. For £800, you’ll want to know that your new robot is picking up a decent amount of dust from your floors, not just the dirt you can see.
The best robot vacuum cleaner we tested sucked up 50% of the dust we embedded into thick carpet, whereas the best standard and cordless vacuums can suck up more than 80%. That’s still decent, and if convenience is key a good robot vacuum is a worthwhile buy, as you can schedule it to clean every day – which is more often than you are likely to clean with a conventional model. Just be sure to get a top-scoring robot vacuum.
Is a robot vacuum right for you?
Robot cleaners are best suited to homes with relatively open-plan floor spaces. A good robot will be able to get around most of your home unaided, but if you have stairs, steps or high door thresholds, you may only be able to clean certain areas at a time.
You’ll still need to whip round with a full-sized vacuum every so often, particularly to tackle stairs, corners and crevices. But a decent robot will keep your floors looking tidy in between.
If you’ve got lots of awkward corners or stairs to get around, you might find a cordless vacuum cleaner more suitable. You can see our verdict on all the latest models by visiting our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews.
Which? 2016 robot vacuum cleaner reviews
We challenged each robot to navigate it’s way round an obstacle-filled room, to make sure they wouldn’t get tripped up on common pitfalls such as deep pile rugs, cables, lamps and chair legs.
The best models quickly and efficiently covered the floor space, while the bad robots missed large patches, got stuck or took hours to finish a room. You can see a video showing exactly how each robot got on in our test room by visiting our robot vacuum reviews.
We also measured how much dust and debris each robot could suck up from different floor surfaces, including thick Wilton carpet. The best models will leave your floors looking spotless, while the worst are next to useless, picking up just 4% of the dust in their path.