This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for a UK audience.
It would surprise more people than you think that “roomba” is actually not the general term for a robot vacuum. Interchangeability is approaching Hoover territory, demonstrating just how much the iconic iRobot has influenced the world of small home appliances.
Although the 20-ish Roombas have appeared since the first Roomba debuted in 2002, the lineup of iRobot models has at no time been less chaotic than a Google search would lead you to believe. Speaking of the basic lineup, we are referring to the vacuums that are currently available for purchase on the iRobot website.
Admittedly, things get confusing when older models that iRobot itself discontinued are still available for purchase at various stores. There’s also an intriguing little arrangement between iRobot and select retailers that includes exclusive show-stop versions of existing Roombas with slight but notable price differences.
Speaking of sales on Roombas, they happen all year round. Roombas are definitely at the pricier end of the range in comparison brooms from Roborock, Shark, and eufy, which typically offer similar advanced features, such as room mapping or automatic emptying, at lower price points than the iRobot. But you can always find flagship Roomba models on sale for £100 to £200 less than the list price, making them an easy-to-digest buy.
What should you know before shopping for a Roomba?
Before we delve into the differences between existing Roombas, consider these general Roomba elements that apply across the board:
All modern Roombas—including every single one in our guide—are WiFi-enabled, app-connected, and Alexa-compatible. In the iRobot Genius app, you can schedule recurring cleanings, start an automatic cleaning from your phone, and if your model supports it, send your Roomba to a specific room or area. Every time iRobot updates the Genius, every Roomba receives the update (even if you purchased it before the update). The latest version offers personalized cleaning suggestions based on where you worked hardest during previous rounds, like suggesting you clean up the kitchen after dinner time each night.
All Roombas publish a file Three-stage cleaning system Loosens and removes dust and dirt from carpets while relying on a side cleaning brush to push debris from edges and corners into the robot’s cleaning path. Dirt Detect is an adaptive way for even the simplest Roombas to sniff out dirty areas of the floor and work harder on them.
The plus sign in the Roomba’s title indicates the inclusion of a self-emptying clean base. The clean base is where you’ll charge these models as well as dump the debris you’ve collected into a larger case for a few weeks at a time. (Without the Clean Base, Roombas still self-charge and know they’ll return to their dock when they’re done cleaning.) i Series Roombas can be purchased on or without a self-empty dock.
Keep these things in mind when shopping for a Roomba. There are a lot of models to consider, so knowing these points will help you make sense of everything on offer.
What is the best Roomba?
The best Roomba robot vacuum will depend on multiple factors. There is no exact model that is best, but there is a selection of devices to suit every user and home. We’ve lined up some of the best to make your purchase a little easier.
These are the best Roomba robot vacuums in 2023.