Robot vacuum mapping makes a precise map of the layout of the area you are using it within. The map subsequently ensures that when cleaning the area, no spots are missed, making the path it uses the most effective. This mapping with also ensure that the area already cleaned is not cleaned again.
Unlike cheap robot vacuums, robot vacuums that have mapping capability will follow a self-created map. This ensures that there is more efficient navigation, which not only allows the job to be achieved more quickly but also ensures that the same area is not vacuumed twice. This effectively makes the battery last longer.
These devices often have apps that you can view on your smartphone. These allow you to see the map of the area the robot has already mapped. Some of the apps also give you the ability to see real-time updates on the robot working, allow virtual boundaries to be set, and even specify zones that need cleaning, as well as many other cool tricks.
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Robot vacuum mapping: What’s on the market?
Robot vacuum cleaners are prevalent, but not all of them have mapping capabilities. The easiest way to notice whether a vacuum has mapping is the price. Mapping vacuum cleaners are more expensive than ones without. Due to the special sensor, the one allowing them to create that map, the cost is higher.
Broadly speaking, there are three categories of robot vacuums:
These robot vacuums are the most exact, enabling you to have the best map possible. Robot vacuums with this technology have a Laser Distance Sensor (LDS) mounted on the device. These devices scan the surrounding area by rotating, ensuring you get a truly clear and accurate map of the area wanting to be vacuumed.
These robot vacuums are fairly accurate in the way they map but do have one distinct downside: they don’t work in the dark. Robot vacuums with this technology use a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor. These devices take pictures of the area, and thus ensures it is mapped.
These robot vacuums are the cheapest on the market and are not as accurate in either mapping or in navigation. Robot vacuums with this technology use gyroscopes and accelerometers to measure object orientation and distance, respectively.
The above three types of sensor can be used in conjunction with each other, giving you a robot vacuum with a combined number of sensors.
In this article, we’ve done the hard work for you, picking the robot vacuums with the best mapping on the market in a Top 5 format. The models we’ve picked work on both carpet and bare floors.
We’ll let you pick the best one for you based on your preferences, needs, and budget.
Why haven’t you included some of the high-end models in your article?
You won’t find the Roborock S5 Max or the iRobot Roomba s9+ in this list. There’s no doubt that these devices are some of the best, but by ensuring that there were models picked from a range of brands, you can get a greater spread of ideas.
Looking at reviews from current customers, the iRobot Roomba i7+ scored higher than the s9+, so the i7+ was included. Similarly, the Roborock S6 MaxV is like the S5 Max, so only one was included. Roborock sells great mapping robots, and they are compared below.
I have a large home, which one would be best for me?
The robot vacuums in this list all have Recharge & Resume. This means that when the robot’s battery is low it will return to its dock to be recharged. When the robot is recharged, it will resume cleaning automatically from the place it stopped. Because charging the robot could take many hours, having a robot that can finish the cleaning within one charge is best. Due to this, it’s best to consider the maximum working time and the battery capacity if you have a larger house.
A ~200 sq. meters house, complete with furniture, ensuring a space of approximately 100 – 150 sq. meters, will be cleaned with a battery life of about 120 minutes.
On low-suction mode, and with cleaning time of 180 minutes, the best devices for your needs if you live in a small house would be: 360 S6 Pro, Roborock S6 Max V, and DEEBOT Ozmo T8. These all have a 5,200 mA battery.
One of the wonderful things about robot vacuums is the ability to calculate the cleaning time you will need. They will all, on average, clean 1 sq. meter/minute. Don’t forget that parts of your house are covered with furniture, meaning the area to be cleaned is less than the house size.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ has a great advantage. The charging dock is self-emptying, meaning that in larger houses, with more dust, or with pets, you do not need to worry about the dustbin. That said, if you compare the battery life with its competitors, you can see that it is weaker, meaning that it’s use for larger homes could be debatable.
What about carpets? Are robot vacuums good for that?
This article includes robot vacuums that favorably perform on most-types of carpet. Low- or middle-pile carpets should cause no issues, but high-pile carpet is not recommended. They will struggle to move.
The video comparison from Vacuum Wars showed similar performances in terms of cleaning on carpet. It’s important to remember, however, that normally, in non-test conditions, no-one has this much dust in their house, and you are therefore unlikely to see a difference.
The wide roller brush on the Neato Botvac D7 allows it to vacuum, in one pass, larger areas. The iRobot Roomba i7 has less powerful suction but has a double-roller extraction that is unique, ensuring a more thorough clean despite the suction issue. With a suction power of 2,200 and 2,500 Pa, the 360 S6 Pro and the Roborock S6 MaxV are impressive too, ensuring that more pet hair, dust, and dirt that may be embedded can be sucked out.
The question is: Can robot vacuums give a comparable performance to a normal vacuum cleaner or an upright vacuum such as the powerful Dyson? No, but that certainly doesn’t make them useless. These robot vacuums can be programmed to clean at specific times, perhaps when you are at work, or during some errands. If you are in the home, a press of a button is enough to get the robot going on its daily clean. Even if a manual vacuum has gone over the area, you’d be surprised about the dirt a robot vacuum could subsequently pick up.
If I have bare floors, which is the best robot vacuum for me?
Laminate, tile, and hardwood flooring are easy to clean with robot vacuums. Both the iRobot Roomba i7 and the Neato Botvac D7 perform well on bare floors as they both have high suction. The downside to these machines is that they can’t wet mop.
Don’t worry, there are a few that can!
The 360 S6 Pro, Roborock S6 MaxV, and Ecovacs DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI have a mopping attachment and water tank, ensuring that they can not only perform well on bare flooring, but can also mop it as well. They all have electric water output control, ensuring there will be no dripping water when the robot is idle or charging. You can also use the app to control the water flow.
The water sensor on the 360 S6 Pro lets you know when the water container must be refilled.
If you are likely to use the mopping function regularly, a bigger water tank for your robot vacuum makes sense. The Roborock S6 MaxV is the best one for this, with the biggest tank. This will ensure you can have it mop for longer before a refill.
If scrubbing the floor is something you’re more interested in, the Ecovacs DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI has an extra you can buy which is a vibrating mopping pad.
Can these replace ‘real’ mopping? Isn’t it just a robot vacuum with no pressure, moving a wet mop about? Well yes, but it’s help can’t be underestimated. It will not be able to replace mopping manually, as it doesn’t have the correct pressure to work on difficult stains, but what it will do is ensure you need to manually mop less frequently…and isn’t that what we would all love?
I’m a pet owner, which robot vacuum cleaner is best for me?
The 360 S6 Pro and the Roborock S6 MaxV both have similar designs.
The Roborock S6 MaxV has a tangle-free design that is in 3-stages, ensuring less hair is wrapped around the wheels and main brush.
The 360 S6 Pro has parts that can be detached, ensuring it is easier to remove the hair from the brush. This is particularly helpful at the oft-tangled edges.
That said, the silicone rollers of the iRobot Roomba i7+ don’t need to be cleaned after each journey around your home, making them ideal for people with pets.
Any of these devices will work for people with pets. They’re all equipped with different brushes but perform in a comparable way. The only difference being that the iRobot Roomba i7+ will need its brushes cleaned less frequently.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ has the added self-emptying bin, so is a good pick for those with a few dogs, as that bin can quickly fill up with pet hair.
The DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI can also be added to with the purchase of a charging dock that is self-emptying (available this summer according to Ecovacs).
Filtration: Which is the best robot vacuum for that?
Depending on the filter type, HEPA filters can capture between 95 to 99% of allergens and pollens (larger than 0.3 microns). All the models, apart from the Neato Botvac D7, are equipped with an HEPA filter. Neato does, however, claim that its filters can capture up to 90% of allergens and dust mites. Roborock states their robots sport an E11-grade HEPA filter, meaning they can catch 95% of particles with diameters of 0.3 microns or larger.
Washable filters are equipped in the Roborock S6 MaxV and 360 S6 Pro, but we don’t recommend washing these filters even though they can be. If dust particles are not washed out, the filter will not be as breathable, therefore losing functionality.
Charging Bases that are Self-Emptying.
iRobot have launched a clever charging base, enabling the dustbin to be automatically emptied. You must only clean the bin once every 30 days, even with daily use of the robot vacuum. The i7+ is iconic in that it can empty the dustbin itself – the first of its kind on the market. The iRobot Roomba s9+ includes a self-emptying bin, too.
The Ecovacs DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI does support a charging dock that is self-emptying, but it is not yet on the market. Ecovacs have touted it for a summer release.
Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice control
Each of the robot vacuums we have spoken about support Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa commands. You can stop, start, and send the robot to its dock.
The iRobot Roomba i7 does have the added capability that you can tell it to clean a specific area of your home. For example: “Roomba, clean the living room”.
I have an app. What can I do with it?
If you have a robot vacuum that is capable of mapping, one of the best things about it is that you can interact with it via its accompanying app. From looking at the map itself to remote viewing of the journey, you can do many things with an app! Let’s see which robot can do what.
Remote viewing and object recognition using front camera
The Ecovacs DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI and the Roborock S6 MaxV both have front cameras. These cameras make it easy to avoid small objects after they are recognized. These two vacuums are more resilient in cluttered areas where there are kids’ toys, cords, or small objects.
They both also allow you to remotely view the area that your vacuum is in, allowing you to see what is going on in your house! If you’re looking at the map, any recognized objects will show up on it, allowing you to have a look and see the potential issue.
How do I stop a robot vacuum cleaner from going into places it may get stuck?
Virtual boundaries are your friend here! These are ‘no-go’ zones that you have designated that the robot should not enter. They normally allow you to draw a rectangle on your map, and that area will be unable to be entered by your robot vacuum cleaner.
Every robot on this list uses this feature, but there are a couple that we want to pay particular attention to.
The Neato Botvac D7, Roborock S6 MaxV, and the DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI are special. With these three robots, you can draw no-go lines instead, which are perfect for dual level homes…after all, you don’t want the robot to fall down the stairs!
This feature is an important one. In short, it will stop the robot from going into carpeted areas when the mopping function is on.
No-Mop zones can be drawn on the Roborock app to show the S6 MaxV where to miss when it is mopping. When the mopping pad is removed, that area is then marked as “inactive”. The 360 S6 Pro and DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI also have functions like this.
The Roborock S6 MaxV and the 360 S6 Pro can both recognize when they are working on carpet, and can thus increase suction versus the suction used on hard flooring, but their areas of no-go would still need to be set for carpet when using a mop function.
Where the DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI excels in this area, is that it can detect carpet automatically when the mopping pad is attached and avoid that area entirely.
What’s the difference?
No-Go zones work in both mopping and vacuuming mode, whereas no-mop zones are only valid when a mopping attachment is attached to the vacuum.
Electronic water tanks on robot vacuums: Why buy them?
You can set the water amount that drips from the vacuum during mopping. This will ensure you get the best results when mopping. Some brands allow you to turn off the suction too when you are mopping.
Can you get the robot vacuum to clean a specified room?
Yes. This can be achieved by asking it to clean a specified room using the zoning feature. With this, you sketch a rectangle to program the area you want cleaned. This is helpful when you only want to clean a certain area rather than the whole house.
If you have the option for room cleaning, you can select a room on the map that needs cleaning instead.
When the robot has created a map, it will divide that map into specific rooms. Different models have different variations on this.
You can rename the zones with the iRobot Roomba i7+, which is particularly good as you can link this with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa as we previously said. This means you can use “Roomba, clean living room” and it will know where you want it to go.
The Roborock S6 MaxV, 360 S6 Pro, and DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI allow you to merge and change the size of the areas you have divided. With the Neato Botvac D7 you can only choose one room.
When you have created the map and rooms, you can then choose the number of rooms that require cleaning via the app (and voice as well, if using the iRobot Roomba i7+). The kitchen can be scheduled for cleaning at a specified time, too.
Is it possible to see where the robot vacuum cleaner has cleaned already?
The Roborock S6 MaxV, 360 S6 Pro, and DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI allow you to watch as the map for your vacuum is created. In all the apps, you can also see the robot’s movement in real-time, ensuring that you can see where it has been.
Am I able to move the robot vacuum cleaner myself?
Yes! It works similarly to a remote-controlled car. You can use the apps to do this, and all the models support it.
I have a multi-level house, can the robot vacuum cleaner work with that?
The Roborock S6 MaxV and the Neato Botvac D7 can store four floor plans, and the DEEBOT Ozmo T8 AIVI can store three.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ and 360 S6 Pro can store ten floor plans and can tell where they are if they are put centrally in a room it has been in before.
Maintenance – What do you need to do to keep the robot vacuum cleaner clean itself?
Sensors: These need to be occasionally cleaned of dust so they can function correctly.
Side brush: Ensure that the hair that may be wrapped around it is removed periodically.
Dustbin: After each cleaning, the dustbin will need emptying on most models. The iRobot Roomba i7+ has a self-emptying base, meaning it will be automatically emptied when it returns to be charged.
Wheels: Ensure that the hair that may be wrapped around the wheels is removed periodically so that the robot vacuum cleaner can move!
Main Brush: Ensure that the main brush is clear from dirt, small particulars, and hair after every cleaning. Having something stuck in the main brush will mean it does not function correctly. The iRobot Roomba i7+ has silicone rollers which have a tangle-free design, meaning they require little maintenance, but it is still worth checking sometimes.
App: Make sure it is up to date.
We hope this has been helpful and you have great fun with your new robot vacuum cleaner – a terrific addition to any home!
Our Recommended Robot Vacuums
360 S6 Pro
With up to 3 hours use after only one charge, the 360 S6 Pro is a contender for the best robot vacuum cleaner on the market. The price tag is definitely a draw here, especially given how good its suction is.
Large houses aren’t an issue for this vacuum cleaner, with its great battery power. One of its assets is the brush that can be side tips that can be detached. This means that any hair that gets jammed in the mechanism can be removed easily. Despite the strong suction, it remains a part of the quieter models that the market has to offer.
One of the wonderful things about the robot vacuum cleaners is its ability to mop. Controlling the output of the water is also easy with the accompanying app. There is a 200 ml tank for water, which is always attached, but will only be used when a mopping pad is attached. The vacuum will send an alert when the tank needs refilling.
This robot vacuum cleaner also works with no-mop zones, ensuring your carpeted areas are safe from water. You will need to set these up during the mapping phase of your new purchase, but after that you’re good to go!
The 360 S6 Pro is a great fit for you if:
Your home has many hardwood floors. As the 360 S6 Pro lets you know when water is low, the robot vacuum cleaner is great for large multi-tiered houses.
For these features, the 360 S6 Pro is a more affordable option than some of the others on the market.
Roborock S6 MaxV
The fantastic Roborock S6 MaxV is an excellent robot vacuum cleaner. It has a great app which covers many features, enabling you to manage the way you want it to work for you. It has the best navigation capabilities on the market, with two cameras – allowing it to avoid any objects that it recognizes. Whether it be pets, waste, chairs, shoes, or power strips, this vacuum can recognize them all!
With strong suction, sweeping, and mopping capabilities this is a great all-round robot vacuum cleaner, working well on both low- and medium-pile carpet, as well as hardwood floors.
The always-attached water tank enables an approximate coverage area of 200 sq meters (2,152 sq ft). As you can set the water output via the app, this allows you to custom design your mopping style. You can set up a ‘no-mop’ zone that will ensure certain carpeted areas of your home will not be soaked!
The Roborock S6 MaxV is a great fit for you if:
You have a multi-tiered home. It has a camera at the front, ensuring that furniture is not an issue. It works well on most surfaces – only having trouble on high-pile carpet – and also works at a much faster speed than others on the market, with great coverage over different layout types.
iRobot Roomba i7+
This robot vacuum cleaner is the most expensive, but with the number of features within it, the cost is more than worth it.
The charging base with it’s self-emptying function is arguably the best function of this robot vacuum cleaner. With a storage space big enough for 30 journeys, it allows you to empty the base only once a month; and as the robot will return to its dock when it is full, you don’t even have to worry about calling it back!
Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices are fantastic to use with this robot vacuum cleaner. It will understand and follow voice commands that tell it the room you require cleaned. The iRobot Roomba i7+ has the first camera-sensor in the industry that enables a ‘keep-out zone’ feature.
In areas of high traffic, the iRobot Roomba i7+ will boost suction as it detects more dirt. It also sports dual silicone rollers – excellent for removing pet hair from your home!
The device might not be great if you have too many hardwood floors, as the maximum power setting only works on carpet. Due to its battery life, which is shorter than some other models on the market, we don’t recommend the iRobot Roomba i7+ for larger homes.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ is a great fit for you if:
Are a pet owner and have a smaller home. The self-emptying bin is excellent, and the return to dock feature when it’s full makes it necessary for those whose homes get dirty quickly due to animals. Due to the battery life, we recommend it only for smaller homes.
Ecovacs DEEBOT T8 AIVI
The industry’s robot vacuum cleaner that is the longest-lasting is the Ecovacs DEEBOT T8 AIVI. It has an inlet with tangle-free suction, making it perfect for resisting hair.
One of the best features is its ability to avoid carpet if it is in mopping mode; and when it is in vacuuming mode, it will boost its suction, which will help you achieve a better cleaned home.
When you are using the app, you can set the different levels of water used in its mopping tasks. This will also allow you to program areas where it shouldn’t clean.
The robot vacuum cleaner is best on carpets that are low- and medium-pile. It will save up to a maximum of three maps, enabling you to program for a multi-tiered home.
You can buy a bin that is self-emptying, as well as a water tank that vibrates. These are extras that must be brought separately from the base unit.
The Ecovacs DEEBOT T8 AIVI can recognize and avoid objects, and supports video that is live-streaming via the camera that is built-in, meaning you can watch just where your robot is going if you wish.
The Ecovacs DEEBOT T8 AIVI is a great fit for you if:
Don’t care about the cost, as the expense is one of the highest in the market.
If your home is complex in its layout, the Ecovacs DEEBOT T8 AIVI is a good pick. You can program areas that will be no-mop, ensuring you won’t have to deal with wet carpets due to a wayward robot vacuum cleaner!
The water tank that is vibrating really helps with hardwood floors that are particularly dirty, ensuring that you get the best clean you can. This is particularly good for pets and mud!
The bin is self-emptying, and the robot vacuum cleaner is Lidar-guided.
An all-round good pick!