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3 robot vacuum cleaners to avoid

Want some help around the house? Don't count on these poorly-performing robot vacs.

worst robot vacs sad face
Last updated: 25 November 2020

Need to know

  • Our experts put 23 robot vacuums to the test in our lab, assessing their performance on hard floor, carpet, pet hair and more.
  • We've found that robot vacuums don't usually perform as well as regular barrel or stick vacs, especially on carpet.
  • Consider becoming a CHOICE member to access our full robot vacuum reviews.

When robotic vacuum cleaners first appeared on the market, they heralded a future unburdened by tiresome household chores. But while we all fantasise about putting our feet up as a robot takes care of business, the truth is they're not quite ready to replace human-held vacuum cleaners.

That's not to say robot vacs don't have a place in the home. For light, touch-up cleaning, they can earn their keep. However, there are a few things to note before you commit to purchasing an AI cleaning machine.

Check out our robot vacuum reviews to see all the models we tested.

Things to consider before you buy a robot vacuum

If your home is largely carpeted, you may want to spend your money on a regular vacuum cleaner instead, as robot vacs generally do a poor job here. They're much more suited to superficial cleaning of hard floors. 

"In a home with carpeted floors, a robot vac is fine for a tidy-up, but the carpet will need a regular going-over with a standard vac," says CHOICE expert Chris Barnes.

Robot vacuums are also not hugely effective at picking up pet hair and their navigation of objects and corners is somewhat clumsy. But despite their flaws, they remain hugely popular, which means companies are constantly competing to advance the technology and make better, more intelligent versions.

If you're already sold on the futuristic dream of a robotic cleaner, just be sure to give the following low-performing models a wide berth.

The lowest rated robot vacuums

05-Kogan-SmarterHome-G60-Robot-Vacuum-Cleaner-with-Mopping-Function_-3

The Kogan SmarterHome G60 scored the lowest in our test. In other words: avoid.

Kogan SmarterHome G60 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

  • Price: $219
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 26%
  • Dirt removal from hard floor score: 33%
  • Dirt removal from carpet score: 9%

Terrible at cleaning carpet and below average on hard floors, this robot vac is disappointing all round and is the lowest scorer in our test.

Not only that, but Kogan is a company that's generally best to approach with caution: we awarded Kogan a Shonky in 2019 for putting profit before customer returns. 

If you experienced any problems with this robot vac after purchase, don't expect much help from Kogan. The company has form for shirking its responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law. 

07-Kmart-Anko-Robotic-Vacuum-Cleaner_-3

While Kmart sells some affordable gems, their vacuum cleaners just don't deliver, including the Anko Robotic Vacuum Cleaner.

Kmart Anko Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

  • Price: $179
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 40%
  • Dirt removal from hard floor score: 75%
  • Dirt removal from carpet score: 8%

Kmart makes some pretty good products at cheap prices. This isn't one of them. While it's pretty good at removing dirt from hard floors, it barely touches dirt on carpet, and doesn't do much for pet hair removal. It's also not programmable and doesn't do well cleaning corners and edges. 

While Kmart is great for coffee machines and saucepans, it unfortunately doesn't do well when it comes to vacuums. Our expert tests have revealed that Kmart vacuums on the whole are pretty mediocre, and the robot vacuum is no exception. 

Check out some of Kmart Anko's best and worst products.

hoover performer plus 3240 robot vac

The Hoover Performer Plus 3240 scored a measly 13% for removing dirt from carpet.

Hoover Performer Plus 3240

  • Price: $199
  • Choice Expert Rating: 45%
  • Hard floor dirt pick-up performance: 73%
  • Dirt removal from carpet score: 13%

Despite being fairly good at cleaning hard floors, this clumsy robot vac trundles around bumping into objects and largely fails at getting into those hard-to-reach places, although stair detection means it will refrain from tumbling over ledges. 

Scoring a measly 13% for removing dirt from carpet, this budget-friendly option is really only convenient if you have a pet-free, hard-floored home.