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3 robot vacuum cleaners to avoid

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

worst robot vacs sad face
Last updated: 27 April 2022

Need to know

  • Our experts tested 18 robot vacs from popular brands including iRobot, Ecovacs,  Roborock, Eufy and more
  • We assess how well they clean hard floors, carpet, pet hair, corners and more
  • Consider joining CHOICE to see our full reviews and best performers

When robot 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 for good, the truth is most aren't quite ready to replace human-held vacuum cleaners.

The truth is most aren't quite ready to replace human-held vacuum cleaners

To sort the best bots from the bad, our experts have meticulously tested 18 popular models from brands including iRobot, Ecovacs,  Roborock, Eufy and more.

Ranging in price from $249 to a whopping $2899, each model is assessed for carpet cleaning, hard floors, corners, pet hair and other key criteria. We found some impressive units and some woeful ones that just didn't compute for cleaning – we're talking scores around just 50%.

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One of our expert robot-vac testers, Antonio Bonacruz.

Things to consider before you buy a robot vacuum

If your home is largely carpeted, you may want to spend your money on a conventional 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 aren't hugely effective either at picking up pet hair, and their navigation of objects and corners can be 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

1. Ecovacs Deebot U2

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Ecovacs Deebot U2: an indifferent performer, even on hard floors only.

  • Price: $249
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 47%
  • Dirt removal from hard floor score: 77%
  • Dirt removal from carpet score: 15%

If you only have hard floors and you're happy with an 'OK' peformance, this might be an acceptable buy for the low price. But we do test other robot vacuums that perform much better on hard floors that cost an extra $150–200. It's good at detecting stairs and also has a mopping function (which we don't test) but it's very poor at cleaning carpets and poor at picking up pet hair. 

2. Eufy G10 Hybrid RoboVac T2150

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Eufy G10 Hybrid RoboVac T2150: scored just 11% for removing dirt from carpet.

  • Price: $499
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 52%
  • Dirt removal from hard floor score: 86%
  • Dirt removal from carpet score: 11%

This robo vac promises a few positives – it's very good at cleaning edges and hard floors, and has a long battery life too. But if you have pets or carpet, you're going to wish you didn't kiss that 500 bucks goodbye. 

It scored just 11% for removing dirt from carpet and can also get stuck going over the same spots, which doesn't seem like a very smart robot to us.

Our testers noted that the instructions say the product is for hard floors only. But the marketing is confusing, with images on the packaging showing the vac being used on carpet too. 

In short, don't get sucked in. Read the full review

3. Aposen Robot Vacuum, 1800PA Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (Slim) A550

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Aposen Robot Vacuum, 1800PA Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (Slim) A550: long in name, short on performance.

  • Price: $398
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 57%
  • Dirt removal from hard floor score: 90%
  • Dirt removal from carpet score: 10%

This robot vac has some plus sides – it's excellent at cleaning hard floors (although it did leave a trail of dirt in places) and very good at cleaning edges. Plus, it has a long battery life and is 'smart', so you can control it with your voice using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant ("Robot vac, come over here please!"). 

But if you have pets or carpet, it has similar problems to our other worst performers, scoring just 10% for removing dirt from carpet.

As with the Eufy model, our testers noted that the instructions say the product is for hard floors only. But, again, the images on the packaging show the vac being used on carpet. 

On the plus side, it has a slim design so can fit under low coffee tables and some types of furniture.

Read the full review

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.