How to choose a robot vacuum - Ecovacs deebot ozmo

Keeping your floors clean can be a struggle, especially in a busy home. Robot vacuums are  a great way to take some of that daily load off of your plate. This guide discusses how to buy a robot vacuum for your home, and will cover everything from additional features (like mopping and auto-scheduling) to choosing a robot vacuum for a large versus a small space.

Top robot vacuum considerations for home use 

Robot vacuums are a great way to decrease your household’s chore load without having to hire a cleaner every week. You’ll likely still need to own a “regular” vacuum, but a robot version offers different benefits to help keep your home in beautiful condition.

Manual vacuums are ideal for deep cleaning and targeted cleaning in your home. Their wand attachments for items such as upholstery and baseboards help them get into every nook and cranny, but manual vacuuming can be an exhausting, frequent chore. Many of us simply don’t have the time or energy to vacuum as regularly as we’d like!

Robot vacuums are a solution to that problem. They don’t clean floors as deeply as a powerful manual vacuum, and they often cannot reach every area of a home. However, what they do offer is labour-free regular cleaning that never gets missed when you’re tired or busy, making them an excellent way to keep your floors comfortable and clean on a regular basis.

I personally like to vacuum every one to two days as I’m quite allergic to my cat. Having a robot vacuum in the house easily eliminates an hour from my chores every week. Plus, it keeps my floors sparkling clean all week long!

Look for features such as customizable noise and suction levels, app-controlled maintenance help, scheduled cleaning sessions, and the option for a wet/dry vacuum and mop when you make decisions on how to buy a robot vacuum for your home.

App controlled robot vacuum - Shark

Why you might want an app-controlled robot vacuum 

I have, at some point, become our resident vacuum guru to my friends and family. I have to admit: I’m not mad about it. It’s pretty fun! But one of the things I hear a lot from their different households is that they’re frustrated with the mental load of having to remember when and where to vacuum.

Not only is manually vacuuming your whole house difficult while you juggle cooking, cleaning, going to work, and raising your kids, but having to initiate that process can be a struggle, too. In households where one partner does the majority of the cleaning but the other helps with heavier tasks like vacuuming and taking the garbage out, I often hear that having to take on the mental load of managing the task stays on the primary house caretaker, so it doesn’t even truly feel like a task has been taken off their plate.

Robot vacuums that offer app control are a great way to help manage that kind of stress. A detailed app can handle scheduling and push maintenance reports right to your phone, so you only need to intervene when your vacuum specifically requests help. Aside from those interventions, robot vacuums and robot mops like the iRobot Braava Jet M6 featured in this review function totally independently. They can even be scheduled to clean when you’re asleep or out of the house, so you don’t have to see or think about it. Plus, when it comes to robot mops, new models from brands like Ecovacs have introduced a washing and drying function to their docks—so you don’t even have to rinse out your mopping pads after a cleaning session.

iRobot Roomba and Braava Jet

How to buy a robot vacuum for a large home 

When considering how to buy a robot vacuum for your larger home, I always recommend choosing a self-emptying robot vacuum with a cleaning base and app control. The size of a standard debris container for a robot vacuum is very small; enough to clean a small one bedroom apartment, but not a family home.

If you want your robot vacuum to eliminate daily vacuuming from your chore load, a self-emptying model like those offered in the iRobot + range or Shark Self-Emptying range is essential. (Erin’s review of the iRobot Roomba i7+ is a great introduction to similar models.) I have a friend who lives in a 2,000 square foot condo and has a robot vacuum without a cleaning base, and that vacuum needs to be emptied three times throughout the course of the day every time it cleans the condo unit. (Three times!) It’s easier than manually vacuuming, but without app control and automatic self-emptying, the process isn’t completely hands-off.

Another feature to look for if you live in a multi-story home is a robot vacuum with an app that can store multiple maps. These models will be able to navigate your space more quickly, cleaning not only your main level but also other levels with a bit of manual assistance. (You’ll need to carry the vacuum up or down any stairs.)

Robot vacuum mapping

How to buy a robot vacuum for a small home 

For smaller homes and apartments, features like self-emptying and multi-map storage are handy—but they’re not as necessary. As you add more features into your vacuum setup (especially a self-emptying base), the price tag of your vacuum naturally goes up. So, in a smaller home, a simpler model can be a great choice.

I love recommending basic vacuums with app-controlled suction settings for a small home. You can find these features from brands like Yeedi and iRobot, and they’re great in small spaces. Robot vacuums with strong suction can sound especially loud in smaller spaces, and the hard floors and ceilings common in apartment buildings amplify that sound even more. (I recently reviewed the Yeedi K650 and loved how it worked in my apartment for the price point.)

As an added bonus, these more basic models tend to be more affordable, which makes them great for small budgets, first apartments, gifted vacuums, and student spaces. Most models will need manual emptying about once a week in an apartment with hard floors.

Choosing a robot vacuum in a home with pets

Buying a robot vacuum for a home with pets 

One final thing to take into consideration when buying a robot vacuum is the composition of your household. If your household is a little messier overall, you might want to invest in a newer model of vacuum that can detect and avoid things like cords on the floor. There isn’t anything inherently bad about having a messy house, and it’s very normal for well-loved, lived-in spaces to get messy—but taking that into consideration when you make your purchases can help your days go smoothly.

iRobot’s Roomba j7+ is one such vacuum with object detection. I’ve reviewed it here at Best Buy, and can’t wait to see its object-identifying capabilities grow. For now, it can avoid getting tangled in things like charging cords and (most importantly) is designed to avoid potential messes like pet poop in the house. The upcoming BONA BV351AA vacuum will also have AI-aided object avoidance features, as Christine noted following CES 2022. The BONA adds UV sterilization to make it an exceptionally smart robot vacuum.

With their different features and varying levels of “smartness,” it’s never been easier to figure out how to buy a robot vacuum for your home.

Shop robot vacuums online at Best Buy today. 

Rae Chen
Rae Chen covers everything from handbags to speakers here on the Best Buy Plug-in Blog. They can also be found at, where they've been writing about beauty & wellness since 2007.