Robot vacuums aren't new but they have gotten a whole lot better over the past decade. We put 3 robotic vacuums to the test, the iRobot Roomba 980, the Neato Botvac Connected and the Miele Scout RX1. We teamed up with vacuum expert, Eric Cross, from Anderson Vacuums in Engelwood. Here are the results broken down by vacuum.
The Neato was up first and did a solid job. We pour down 20ml of crushed cereal and after the Botvac was finished we collected about 15ml from the bin. It did leave some crumbs behind around the feet of the stool we placed in the middle of the room.
The thing I liked best about the Botvac was that map created by the LIDAR on the top of the vacuum. It pops up on your phone and shows exactly where the vacuum cleaned and where it didn't.
The Roomba is the old hack when it comes to robotic vacuums. iRobot launched the first Roomba over a decade ago and it shows. The latest and greatest Roomba 980 is an impressive machine. It did a great job around the corners of the stool and even collected a full 20ml of the cereal. The Roomba also has a mapping feature in the smartphone app. In my tests it wasn't as detailed as the LIDAR map from the Neato but was detailed enough to see where it cleaned and where it didn't.
Despite the list price the Roomba 980 seems to be going for $100 off right now at most retailers.
You may not have heard of Miele before but in the world of vacuums they are a highly respected company. You'll likely only find Miele vacuums at licensed dealers. The RX1 is a good robot vacuum option.
In our tests the Miele was MUCH quieter than the other two vacuums but also didn't seem to have as much suction strength. None the less, it did a great job collecting the crumbs as it went around the room. I think the Miele would be great for cleaning wood floors or if you need a quieter robot vacuum to use at night or while you're home during the day.
The best deal on the Miele RX1 that I could find was on Amazon for $507.92.
They're getting smarter!
The cool thing about smart home technology is that even after you buy it, it keeps getting better. Recent software updates and app make both the Roomba and the Neato compatible with the Amazon Echo. This means that you can start your cleaning by simply saying, "Alexa, ask Neato to start cleaning." It's a cool hands-free way to get the vacuum off and running.
Which one would Eric pick?
Eric likes the Miele but also understands it's limitations because it doesn't have the same suction as the other 2. Between the Roomba and the Neato he picked the Roomba. He liked how well it cleared around the corners of the stool legs.