If you don’t love cleaning, you might be interested in tips to avoid some chores. One way to bypass a bit of vacuuming and still keep up with home maintenance is to use a robot vacuum cleaner. These little machines do a decent job. And among the most popular is the iRobot Roomba. This robot vacuum brand makes four popular models that have earned excellent Consumer Reports reviews and cost less than $600.
iRobot Roomba is among the best-known robot vacuum brands
Consumer Reports has found that robot vacuum cleaners have improved greatly in the past few years. CR even had to change its tests to make them more difficult. “We’re challenging these bots to work larger, more complex spaces — making sure they don’t snag on your carpet tassels and cables and don’t get stuck in awkward places,” says Susan Booth, who oversees the vacuum testing for Consumer Reports.
In addition to looking at predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, the new tests evaluate how well the robot vacuums clean different types of flooring surfaces and how well they navigate tight corners. Consumer Reports also examines the data privacy and security for robot vacuums that are connected to the internet.
Though these machines still aren’t as good as upright vacuums, they can be a big help for keeping a home clean. CR’s rankings of robotic vacuums list seven iRobot Roomba models in the top 10. There’s a reason that robot vacuums from this company are popular: They’re great products. But they can also be expensive. So here’s a look at four models that cost less than $600.
iRobot Roomba i3+
The iRobot Roomba i3+ earned an overall score of 72 out of 100 from Consumer Reports. It has an average carpet score of 3 out of 5. This score measures how well the vacuum cleans a medium-pile carpet. It has a bare-floors score of 5 out of 5. This score looks at how well the vacuum cleans laminate flooring. The iRobot Roomba i3+ also earns a perfect 5 for its navigation abilities. It receives a slightly lower 4 out of 5 for predicted reliability.
This vacuum has one side brush and a self-emptying docking station. It also has Wi-Fi/cellular connectivity. It’s great at cleaning along edges and picking up pet hair. It’s also very quiet. However, it has a relatively small dirt bin, and it sometimes scatters debris, Consumer Reports warns. This vacuum also earned Consumer Reports’ “Recommended” label. It’s priced between $549 and $599.99.
iRobot Roomba i3
The iRobot Roomba i3 also earned an overall score of 72. This model has the same scores as the i3+. Consumer Reports didn’t test this model but expects it to function the same as the i3+. It works the same way but doesn’t have the self-emptying docking station. CR also recommends this model, it costs only $349 to $399.99.
iRobot Roomba 960
The iRobot Roomba 960 has an overall score of 71 from Consumer Reports. It matches the i3 and i3+ with a perfect 5 in both bare floors and navigation. But it performs even better on carpeting, receiving a 4. It also earned a 4 in predicted reliability.
The 960 has one side brush and Wi-Fi/Cellular connectivity. It adapts easily to various floor surfaces, says Consumer Reports, but it is slightly taller than some models and might not fit under all furniture. Again, this vacuum snagged Consumer Reports’s “Recommended” distinction. It retails for $484 to $499.99.
iRobot Roomba e5
Last, the iRobot Roomba e5 has an overall score of 70. It earned a 5 in bare floors and 4 in carpet, navigation, and predicted reliability.
It has one side brush plus Wi-Fi/cellular connectivity. A big perk is that this model is super-quiet. However, it also has a small dirt bin, Consumer Reports says. Overall, though, the Roomba e5 is a deal, priced between $297 and $349.99. CR even labels it a “Best Buy.”
So, for less than $600, you can keep up with floor cleaning without running the vacuum yourself. iRobot offers several excellent Roomba models.