6 Great Roomba Alternatives: Cheaper & Better Options To Consider
Let’s face it.
Shopping for robot vacuums isn’t a whole lot of fun (unless you’re me).
Especially considering you are faced with what these days appears to be a whole bunch of options and models to pick from. Despite, the vast (slightly overwhelming) amount of choice, there is one brand that sticks out from the rest, Roomba.
Roomba has almost become a brand that’s become synonymous with robot vacuums in the same way that Hoover did with the standard upright vacuum - they’re certainly the biggest player within the robot vacuum space, that’s for sure. With their selection of models though, there seems to be a little bit of a “premium price” and it is fair to wonder that with the brand they’ve built up, you do pay for it somewhat in their reflected prices.
Now, don’t get me wrong, they produce great, great robot vacuums (and if you haven’t got a robot vacuum yet, trust me, you are missing out a little) and recently I got one myself, the Roomba 880 and quite frankly love it - but I also got hold of an Anker RoboVac 10 series as well to take care of the upstairs - and do you know what, it performs that well - that I basically just interchange them now. I mean, the cleaning performance is roughly the same, if anything the Anker outlasts the 880 - the only real edge that the Roomba has is its ability to perform multi-room cleaning and in fairness does have a few extra clever practical aspects that I like and I’m still chuffed about the 880 on most levels.
It’s just to point out that there are indeed new robot manufacturers out on the block that are doing really good vacuums, at a fraction of the cost and now I’m going to bring you seven viable Roomba alternatives.
#1 Anker RoboVac 10 - A Potential Roomba Killer?
As just mentioned, if you don’t fancy paying an arm and a leg for a Roomba and are on a relatively tight budget (certainly in the world of robotic vacuums) then you’ve got to consider the RoboVac 10 series from Anker which has got to be one of, if not the, “best” budget robot vacuums on the market that still packs a great performance.
Granted you probably haven’t actually heard of Anker in the Robot vacuum space before - because actually this is their very first robot vacuum. They have however been in the electronics business for a while now and built up a solid reputation amongst batteries and chargers.
And quite frankly they’ve made an excellent debut robotic vacuum (you can read my full review here), but the main thing to pay attention to is firstly that it will clean a whole lot more than you would expect it to (pet hair is no trouble) and secondly it’s a little more aggressive than some might like. The good thing about that, is it gets really stuck in where other robot vacuums might be a bit hesitant to go in, on the other hand it does like to bump into stuff.
When you compare the Anker RoboVac 10 vs roomba, it’s clear it doesn’t quite have all the bells and whistles such as Roomba’s clever virtual walls and lighthouses - but what it does excel in, is getting the core basics right. So what you can expect from it, is a pretty impressive battery life for and also a pretty great cleaning performance (although it’s advised that it shouldn’t be used on dark surface or carpets/rugs with that contains “high pile” otherwise it’s known to struggle). Plus, it’s a pretty sweet looking machine too.
All round, a big thumbs up from me.
#2 Chuwi iLife Robotic Vacuums - “All in One”
Like Anker. iLife is another relatively new manufacturer on the block and ideal for those not wanting to fork out an arm and a leg for a suitable “pet hair robotic vacuum”. iLife do have a range of vacuums on offer, but the stand out one is the V3s (there other models are worth checking out too: A4, V5 & V7 and more) - as it specialises in dealing with those who are allergy sufferers and those who have a pet hair issue.
Plus, it even comes well within even some of the tightest budgets and is one of the best value robotic vacuums pretty much around on the market.
Setting it up is a snitch, let it charge up for 12 hours, hit the start button and let it do it’s thing (running at just 55 db). What’s particularly impressive though is this thing is not only a robot vacuum cleaner, it also performs powered sweeping and mopping as well.
Now although it does have an impressive cleaning time of around 100 minutes as well as charging time of just under 5 hours it doesn’t self dock as well as the likes of a Roomba or the Anker robot vac - reports seem to suggest it’s only really successful when it’s in the very same room as the docking station itself (that said, other owners seems to return just fine).
It works well on all floor types and as said it does have a particular cleaning mode for pet hair, so there’s no trouble there either. An all round, decent vacuum and in terms of value for money - there’s little better, as long as your expectations are reasonable - it will certainly exceed them.
#3 Rollibot (Mini & Full Size) - R2-D2 meets vacuum.
There’s actually two sizes of the Rollibot the BL100 (mini) and the BL618 (full size) - it’s like the iLife in that it basically a multi-function based machine where it will sweep, vacuum, mop but it will also sterilize with a UV ray.What this is designed to do is kill off germs and bacteria on your floors.
For some reason it reminds me a bit a sort of a R2-D2 meets vacuum cleaner in the way it roams around your house - and as it gets into a tight situation, you will want to egg it on to try and work its way out of it - and it often will.
Plus, it’s not too badly priced either and it’s no pushover really - you are getting a lot of the old “bang for your buck”. It’s got a decent suction power and has a dual brushes to clean right along the edges of your room. The battery integrated offers it a decent life span of a quoted “100 minutes”, and when it starts get to low on power - it will self dock, returning back to its charging station.
To use it as a sweeping or mopping bot just attach the attachments and you’re away. It comes with a sophisticated HEPA filter making sure the air that’s expelled is clean and free from nasties - plus it’s all backed by a 1 year warranty (the same as a Roomba). The Rollibot isn’t a bad looking piece of machinery either.
You can’t really go wrong with the Rollibot.
#4 Neato - The Long Time Roomba Rival
Neato robotics are perhaps the longest alternative to Roomba that there’s been, they’ve released a range of robot vacuum models over the years (mainly with the XV series) to compete with the Roomba series never really managed to knock them off their perch.
However, a year or so ago they released a new line of robot vacuums (the Botvac range) and the stand out amongst the series is the latest wi-fi enabled version, the Neato Botvac Connected.
Although it’s not exactly on the cheap side of things, it far cheaper than the Roomba 980 (& Dyson 360 eye) which I believe are the only two wi-fi models out there - what this means is that you can basically navigate, schedule and control the settings of the robot vacuum directly from the Neato App - you can have it working whilst you are at work and will drop notifications on its progress.
From the image above, you will notice it is a little bit differently shaped from the other Roomba alternatives in that it’s a D shape. This they claim apparently allows it to get up close and personal to the edge of walls giving it a more thorough clean (with a “50% larger brush than round vacuums” and “cleans within 14mm of walls and deeper into corners”.
It also has a few extra tricks up its sleeve too, it maps out your room efficiently, it uses a spin flow system (with an eco and turbo mode) to offer you either quiet & longer, around 120 minutes, cleaning (whilst you’re in the house) and turbo for maximum performance, about 90 minutes (whilst you’re out) for the the serious leg work. They also claim that it picks up more pet hair “than other robotic vacuums” - so if you are looking for a special robot vacuum to deal with your pet hair other than a Roomba, it’s certainly a stand out option.
What’s a good selling point on the Neato is the bin capacity is a little larger than most, at 0.7 liter which means less trips to the bin to empty it out plus it has been integrated with a high performance filter to capture the bacteria and allergens that get expelled into the air.
In all, as you can see from the Roomba Vs Neato video above, the Neato is more than a match for the Roomba in certain plays and is on footing with similar technology yet comes in a fair bit cheaper when comparing the top models against each other.
A Canadian based company that has been around a while however is much smaller than some of the other manufacturers on this list. They are similar to the iLife range in that it’s more than just a robot vacuum, as it has a mop based feature integrated too.
The model I’ve featured here is “specially designed for pet owners” so can effectively deal with pet hair and dirty paw prints. It’s also integrated with an industry leading 1 liter bin capacity and has a triple layer HEPA filtration system to prevent nasty allergens and bacteria from being expelled into the air.
I guess what’s most impressive is the 4 in 1 cleaning technology whereby it vacuums with 7500 rpm, sweeps and mops whilst also using UV sterilizing and air purifying mechanism - which is essentially the same as the Rollibot vacuum we mentioned above. What’s involved is a 400 NM ultraviolet lamp that acts to sterilize the floor.
You also get an infrared remote control so you can control exactly what the bobsweep gets up to. Plus, it has a scheduling mechanism (although it’s not as intuitive as I’d like) but you can set it up to do it’s own thing. For under 250 bucks though, the bobsweep is actually rather impressive.
#6 Dyson 360 Eye - The Ultimate Robot Vacuum?
Although officially at the time of writing this, it’s not yet released in the US, you can expect it to be one hell of a robot vacuum cleaner. They claim for it to have twice the suction power of any other vacuum and of course like anything Dyson, you’d expect it to be awesome (I mean I literally just got hold of the V8 and I’m loving that)
I mean just looking at it, it looks like something from the future and the amount of time that Dyson has been working on it, we are right to be expecting something great. It’s got all of Dyson’s unique technology from the ultra small, efficient and power digital motors to radial root cyclone technology.
There doesn’t seem to be anything that’s particularly ‘new’ they are bringing to the game though, the integrated app has been done with the Roomba 980, advanced filtration system might have an edge of the Dual filter system incorporated in the latest set of Roombas.
In brief glance of looking into the 360 Eye the major sell seems to be the “intelligent” navigation seems to be “smart” whereas the rest of the robot vacuums (even the ‘advanced’ Roomba 980) are all a bit dumb. Using an integrated 360 degree camera it identifies and maps out where it needs to clean. In all, it appears like a sophisticated piece of kit that I’m really keen to try out. As with anything Dyson though, the robot vacuum ain’t going to be cheap.
Plus, the fact that it does a far better job of vacuuming across all floor types.