Brooms were used for centuries in homes for regular floor cleaning until it was discovered that vacuums can do better. Sweeping simply pushes and blows dust around that ends up settling back on surfaces or household items.
A hardwood floor is a precious thing to have in a home and a good cleaning makes it last for years to come. While vacuuming is an effective way of dealing with pet hair, dust, and fine debris, it is no longer fashionable to simply push the machine around. How quaint of an idea!
With robotic cleaners you can vacuum from the comfort of your office chair or while sleeping.
Robotic vacuums have been shown to be efficient and effective thanks to the technological innovations. Many people prefer them over traditional vacuums mainly due to convenience they offer.
Operating them while away is a big plus. You could be away from home and, via a phone app, you can direct the cleaning of your house.
The big question is: Which robot vacuum is best for hardwood floors?
Best Robot Vacuums for Hardwood Floors
OUR TOP PICK
This is an affordable version of the Roomba 980 that retails at around $600, which is about $200 cheaper than the iRobot Roomba 980 model.
With many similarities in key features, there are only a few differences. The iRobot Roomba 960 is lighter than the 980 due to different motor types used. The 980 version has a longer battery life of around 90 minutes unlike the 960, that works up to 75 minutes.
If you have a larger area to be cleaned or a thicker pile carpet, iRobot Roomba 980 is the right option.
The iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum supports an app-based Clean Map feature where you can control and track the cleaning process. The iAdapt 2.0 feature utilizes sensors and a top mounted camera for effective navigation.
The presence of acoustic and optical sensors makes the robot effectively detect dirty areas. The robot vacuum is also equipped with cliff sensors that prevent it falling from high levels such as stairs. The virtual wall uses infra-red signals to block the robot from areas you don’t want it go.
Roomba 960 docks to recharge and goes back to where it left off to continue with the cleaning. It efficiently sucks up dust, small debris, and pet hair as it moves in a predictable pattern. In the process, the high efficiency filters trap 99% of allergens from the air. When the dustbin is full, it alerts you so that you can empty it.
The iRoomba Home App that connects through the internet to your robot gives you the advantage of controlling it while you are not around. Through the app, you can schedule the time and the day cleaning will commencing.
The app notifies you when there is an issue such as a mechanical problem or when the dust bin is full. The app has a log that can give you statistics on the area covered and time taken.
When we tested the iRobot Roomba 960 robot, it effectively sucked up dust, debris, and pet hair. The 980 was effective also and did splendid work on carpets as compared to the 960, which is much more effective on a bare floor surface and low pile carpets.
Simple, regular maintenance is required. Replace the worn out sensors, side brushes, and filters. It is also good to check the undercarriage to ensure that the robot is not tangled with hair and threads. The robotic vacuum comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Light and thus easy to carry around
- Has a long battery life for good coverage
- Docks to recharge on its own
- Traps allergens from the air
- Easy to control and operate when away
- Has camera and sensors for good navigation
- Has strong suction power on hard floors and carpet
- Less efficient on thick pile carpet due to use of older motor type found in the 700 and 800 Roomba series. This limit the carpet boost functionality that is found in 980.
- The battery life is short, especially if you have a multiple floors to be cleaned. But the 75 minute run time will be enough if you have a medium sized home or dealing with one room at ago.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly, versatile robot vacuum for your bare floor or low pile carpet, it is worth going for iRobot Roomba 960 Robot. With the same app-based control and navigation system as the famous iRobot Roomba 980, you can prevent dust and debris from piling up in your house.
Roomba is an impeccable trademark in robot vacuums. The release of iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum has justified their incorporation of technology in vacuum cleaners.
The i7+ is an intelligent robotic vacuum makes cleaning easy. There is no more need to worry about the dust and pet hair you find all over the floor when you return home from work.
The self-emptying vacuum does everything while you are away or sleeping. The automated, sophisticated features of the i7+ Roomba robots are amazing. The Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal that can hold up to 30 bins can have an entire home cleaned without you moving a finger.
The robot will dock to empty its own dustbin when full or recharge when it runs out of power before it returns to cleaning. That means that you can go weeks without supervising the cleaning process.
Although retailing at $1,099, it has the most cutting-edge features that have revolutionized everything about vacuuming bots. The Wi-Fi connected iRobot Roomba i7+ can clean specific rooms based on voice commands executed through the Alexa or Google assistant.
The user-friendly iRobot app has a smart mapping system that can map and adapt to your house as it cleans. That gives you the power to label and mark the areas where you want the robot to clean on any specific day or time that you set.
The app also keeps a log of every activity, so you can track how everything was done and the amount of time spent.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum produces less noise than previous versions, much to the delight of dogs. When we tested, it did an excellent job collecting dust and pet hair on both hardwood floors and carpet. The corners were almost completely reached with only 1 inch remaining in the corner.
Navigation was also perfect as the sensors detected objects very well. The vacuum cleaner did not get tangled with fibrous debris but we were just cautious and removed all the threats and clothes from the room.
The i7+ can comfortably fit under the couches and furniture due to its flat and compact design. The clean base is slightly tall but that is a non-issue since it can be stationed anywhere comfortably.
Maintenance of the i7+ is easy thanks to the iRobot store. Worn out filters, side brushes, and rubber brushes can be replaced by simply visiting the iRobot store through the app.
It is also easy to clean the robot through the step by step instructions provided by the app. This is after the app has alerted you on when to clean the core elements such the dustbin, filters, and brushes.
The Roomba i7+ comes with the following
- The vacuum
- Clean Base system
- 2 Dirt disposal bags
- Virtual wall barrier
- Extra high-efficiency filter
- Extra side brush
- Highly intelligent with voice command features
- Automatic dirt disposal makes it the most convenient cleaner
- Good navigation without getting tangled
- User friendly thanks to mapping technology
- Makes less noise, thus friendly to children and pets
- Strong suction power and good cleaning capabilities
- The flat and compact design makes it fit under furniture
- Good customer support, thus easy maintenance
- When there is any problem, you will be notified through the app and be given instructions on how to solve it
- Sometimes there is miscommunication between the robot and the Clean Base system. The app may alert you on the clog in the Clean Base system and after checking you may find none.
- There was also an alert on the bumper being stuck and we had to fix it before the robot docks to empty itself.
Although this model is pricey, the model has the most luxurious features that you cannot find in any other robotic vacuums cleaner.
The sophisticated features give you all the comforts of modernity, and if all goes well you will not think about how much you spent to have the iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum.
Good things are pricey, and if you have the power to afford this bot then it's an excellent choice. Nevertheless, if you are budget minded, you can still have a robot vacuum cleaner under $1000 that has cool features found in high end bots.
This is a budget robot that comes with cool features found in pricey brands. Examples of these features are self-charging, quiet operation, and Google or Alexa voice command.
With maximum suction power and 120 minute runtime, this is the best robotic vacuum for your hard floors and carpets.
ECOVACS DEEBOT 661 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner has the following key features:
- Excellent Controls: The robot has Alexa and Google assistant voice commands that make it possible to schedule and trigger cleaning while you are away from the house using your smart phone. The ECOVACS Smart App has cutting-edge features such as direct control, status updates, accessories, and cleaning modes, among others.
- Thorough Cleaning: It is equipped with two side brushes and a main brush that lift and vacuum debris from the floor and corners as well. With increased suction power of up to 2X, it handles tough messes. It also has different cleaning modes such as Auto mode for the entire floor, Spot mode for small areas, and Edge mode for the edge of the floor.
- Long Battery Life: With up to 120 minutes of runtime, this robot can clean your entire home without stopping. It also docks to recharge when out of juice and returns to clean where it left off.
- Has filters that collect allergens and other small particles.
- Equipped with sensors that allow it to navigate well around obstacles. Cliff sensors prevent it from stumbling over objects and stairs.
- Can access areas such us under the furniture.
- Good cleaning
- Not pricey, thus budget friendly
- Great controls through the app
- Long battery life
- Not sharp in sensing objects ahead
- Does not empty itself
Considering the price, this is a nice robot for cleaning your home. It might not have smart navigation features found in high end robots, but it will serve you well.
It is therefore worth having if you are budget-minded.
This is another intuitive and efficient robot vacuum by Shark Ninja that is technologically advanced.
With Wi-Fi connectivity, it is easy to control while you are away from your home thanks to the Shark ION Robot app. It comes with a remote control, so it is possible to control when there is no internet connection.
We found Shark ION Robot Vacuum to be one of the best budget robot vacuums for hardwood floors retailing under $300.
This is a key feature that enables you to operate the robot through voice commands facilitated by Google and Amazon Alexa.
You can also instruct when and where to clean while you are away as long as you have an internet connection. Everything is done through the Shark ION Robot app that is installed in your smart phone.
This model has adjustable modes of suction based on your desires or the type of floor you are cleaning. For regular, everyday cleaning, the normal mode is the best.
You can set to a quiet mode when you want minimum noise. This mode is suitable for bare floors. The max mode is set when you want to clean thick pile carpet. SHARK ION Robot Vacuum R85 has a higher sucking power compared to Shark ION R75 robot vacuum.
SHARK ION Robot Vacuum R85 has a Self-cleaning Brush Roll that makes it easy to maintain.
Equipped with tough bristles strategically positioned on the brush roll, the robot effectively lifts hair and dirt without getting tangled. It is the best for pet owners. The two side brushes are well-adapted to collect dust and debris from baseboards and wall edges.
Due to normal wear and tear, replacing filters and side brushes is easy. You'll also want to clean the underside of the sensors once in a while to make them more effective.
Also, check the undercarriage to ensure that everything is intact and the brush rolls and wheels are not tangled with threads. The robot has a shock absorbing bumper protection that offers cushion when it accidentally bumps into furniture or hard obstacles.
Most robotic vacuum cleaners are not self-emptying. That means you should be ready to empty the collected dust, debris, and hair into the garbage.
However, with this model, it takes longer before the dust bin is filled up due to its large capacity.
The bin is also easy to remove and fix it back after emptying. The underside of the bin is transparent and also has a fill line. That makes it convenient to know when it is filled.
Despite the large dirt bin that makes the robot appear tall, it can still comfortably maneuver under furniture like the couch and bed.
With the Shark Smart Sensor, SHARK ION Robot Vacuum R85 navigates the room effectively as it avoids objects. It also has a cliff sensor that makes it avoid areas like stairs.
There are other sensors that also dictate how the robot moves. For example, when it is out of power, it effectively goes to the base for charging without any problem.
The bot comes with passive magnetic strips that are used as virtual walls. They are used to create boundaries to limit areas where you want the robot to operate.
Excellent Battery Life
Most robotic vacuums have a run time of between 60 and 90 minutes. Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 fits that bill, with a one hour working time on a fully charged battery.
That is enough time to complete cleaning a standard home. The robot docks when it has run out of power, and recharging the battery takes three to four hours.
Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 comes with the following
- The vacuum (Shark ION robot body)
- 2 side brushes
- 1 HEPA filter
- The charging dock
- BotBoundary strips
- A remote control with batteries
- The product manual
- 1-year warranty
- Can be operated when you are away
- Has strong suction power with different modes of operation
- Easy to maintain thanks to self-cleaning brush rolls
- Comes with a spacious dust bin
- Has good navigation abilities
- The robotic vacuum is not self-emptying and you have to manually empty the dirt bin when it’s full.
- The battery life is low, especially when you are cleaning an entire home.
There is still room for improvement but the Shark ION Robot Vacuum R85 is excellent for cleaning your home when you are around or away.
It is budget friendly compared to its versatility. At under $300 with such advanced control features, it is worth having.
Neato Botvac D5 Connected Laser Guided Robot Vacuum is a budget vacuum for hardwood floors under $600 that has intelligent controls and navigation features.
With strong suction power and long battery life, the robot qualifies as one of the best out there. In terms of performance and key features, this robot has a lot of similarities with it Neato Botvac D7 or D6 Connected that costs around $200 more.
- Neato Botvac D5 utilizes LaserSmart Technology that makes it intelligently navigate and map your home, creating a floor plan for easier cleaning.
- It moves in straight lines to cover large cleaning areas quickly. With laser-guided technology, it is also able to clean in the darkness.
- D-shaped design lets it access tight areas such as the corners and under the furniture without difficulty.
- Equipped with a large core brush and side brushes that easily collect dust, debris, and pet hair.
- The ultra-performance filters effectively trap 99% of allergens, dust mites, and small, invisible particles.
- It has long battery life of 90 minutes and thus is suitable for cleaning an entire home or large surface areas without recharging.
- The robot docks to recharge when out of power and goes back to clean from where it left off.
- Neato Botvac D5 Connected uses the Neato app and therefore can be operated while you are away. It can also be scheduled to automatically start working in terms of days and time. The app also shows settings, bot information, and a schedule and activity log.
- Can be controlled easily using a phone by a voice command through Google or Alexa.
- Can be used on carpet, tile and hardwood.
- Solid and compact
- Effective for cleaning edges and underneath furniture
- Long battery life
- Strong suction power
- Easy to use and control through app
- Automatically docks without any problem
- Small dust bin
- Not self-emptying
- Slightly noisy
Neato Botvac D5 Connected is an impeccable robot vacuum that cleans effectively, has app control, and has excellent battery life. Under $600, this robot outsmarts the many others within the same price range. We therefore find it worth having it in your home for regular cleaning.
Best Robot Vacuum for Hardwood Floors Buying Guide
What to look for in a robot vacuum for hardwood floors
There are various types of robot vacuums on the market, and the price mainly depend on the key features that include the following:
The device's working time is an important aspect to look at. Most robotic vacuums operate between 60 and 120 minutes before recharging.
A big home will require a bot that has long battery life. Some robots automatically dock when out of juice and resume from where they left off after a complete recharge.
The rate of sucking dust and debris matters a lot. Some robot vacuums have the ability to suck up dust, pet hair, and debris at a higher speed than others.
Higher suction power implies that the vacuum is effective on any surface, including the area rugs such as thick pile carpet. With less suction power, more time will be used only to clean a small area.
Robotic cleaners use laser sensors, infrared sensors, or cameras to detect objects and comfortably navigate a room. They also have a movement pattern. Random movements often consume more time for less than straight pattern movements.
With smart mappings and navigations, modern robots take less time to cover large areas of cleaning than their predecessors. Sensors also help direct the bot around the room. They also help locate dirt and also prevent the robot from tumbling.
Control and use
Robot vacuums that have smart and varied control features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, a remote control, Bluetooth, and mobile app control are the best to work with.
Intelligent features gives you leeway in controlling while you are away from home and let you schedule a cleaning day or time.
This is an important feature to consider, especially when you are going for a heavy duty device. It is good for your robot to clean without breakdown.
A robotic vacuum should also come with a warranty so that the manufacturers are liable for mechanical and electrical damage.
Nature of your floor
Various vacuum cleaners are designed for specific types of floors. Hardwood floors are the most delicate and therefore require a cleaner that will not cause damage like scratches.
Traditional vacuums with beater bars and those with unpadded tires should not be used on a hardwood floor. The texture and size of the brushes is also something to consider. For a hardwood floor, they should be soft and gentle.
Some vacuums can produce lots of noise. This is something to consider especially if you have kids and pets in your home.
A good bot should be as quiet as possible when working. Sometimes you may want to schedule cleaning at night while people are asleep.
Price varies based on features. Vacuum cleaners with sophisticated features, such as the iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot — which retails above $1000 — offer luxury to match the price.
Basic single room cleaners such as Roomba 690 goes for less than $300. Nevertheless, you can still find a nice bot at a budget price.
What Is the Difference Between a Robot Vacuum and the Rest?
There is a big difference between a robotic vacuum and traditional canister stick vacuum. Robotic vacuums are automatic and intelligent.
They are equipped with sensors and sophisticated control features that make them clean on their own without or with minimum physical interaction with the operator. Traditional stick vacuums need to be manually operated and be pushed around.
Unlike corded and cordless stick vacuums, most robot vacuums come with charging docks and can recharge themselves when they run out of battery power before resuming their work.
Corded vacuums need to be connected to a power source with a power cable. Cordless stick vacuums use rechargeable batteries that need to be recharged or replaced when expired.
Robotic vacuums use an easy-to-remove dustbin for collected dust, debris, and hair, and will alert you when filled up so that you can eject it and empty it into the garbage.
Advanced ones such as iRobot Roomba i7+ are self-emptying. Stick vacuums have a bag or canister that you need to monitor and empty when full.
Robot cleaners are designed to access low areas such as under the furniture comfortably due to their flat design. Upright vacuums may not easily reach such areas and you may need to remove the furniture before you continue cleaning.
Robot vacuums are also small and compact and thus takes less storage space, unlike upright vacuums that are large and bulky.
Robot vacuums and most cordless vacuums for hardwood floors comes with HEPA filters that prevent allergens from spreading through the air. The filters trap allergy-causing particles and lock them in the bin.
Some robot vacuums are equipped with different modes of power based on the nature of the surface. Latest developments have led to a robotic vacuum mop cleaner that can also automatically mop the floor after vacuuming and can replace its own dirty water.
An example is the world’s first self-cleaning robot mop and vacuum by Narwal Robotics.
Self-emptying robot vacuums are taking center stage. That means everything is done without you moving a finger. With the ability to dock and recharge when out of power and resume cleaning from where they left off, they are just excellent.
What Are the Advantages of Robot Vacuums?
- Can be operated remotely using a smart phone app or Bluetooth, offering a lot of convenience
- Most have memory banks and can remember what to do
- Design favors them to operate in tight areas like under the couch
- Are small and compact, and thus easy to transport and store
- Have sensors and cameras that make them navigate with ease
- Can be adjusted to different modes depending on the nature of the floor
- Can dock and recharge when out of power
- Easy to operate through smart control features
How to Maintain a Robotic Vacuum – Tips
Good care and proper maintenance of your vacuum ensures perfect cleaning and long years of service.
- While the robot has sensors for navigation, it is good to clear the room and remove objects that can tangle with the robot. Examples include things like toys, wires, threads, papers, and more
- Empty the dustbin when filled up to prevent overflowing. However, some sophisticated robot vacuums are self-emptying.
- Regularly check the undercarriage to make sure the wheels and brushes are no tangled or jammed by strings or threads.
- Replace the worn out parts such as the brush rolls, filters, and battery.
Robotic vacuums with smart control and navigation features are convenient to have in homes. While some are pricey, others are pocket friendly and but can still serve you well.
Remember to consider key features such as battery life and suction power before settling on a bot. While price is always an important consideration, recall that sometimes something cheap now becomes expensive later.