The best robot vacuums of 2017 for pet ownersBy Jonathan Chan
Dogs and cats shed. It's a fact of life—like how the sky is blue, or that Wednesday is the longest day of the week.
If you're plagued by stray pet hair, maybe it's time to get a robot vacuum. These automated cleaners can be set to run on a schedule so the only thing you have to do is empty the bin once in a while.
The only problem is choice. The number of robot vacuums on the market has exploded over the past few years, as has the number of features they offer. Nowadays, there are robots that respond to voice commands and even one that doubles as a wet mop.
We were confused, too—which is why we've tested dozens of robot vacuums since 2014. In our tests, we learned that dealing with pet hair is about three things: navigation, agitation, and power. The best robot vacuums can find their way around a room, root pet hair out of carpet fibers, and vacuum it up. If you own a pet, these are the robot vacuums you should consider.
Updated July 27, 2017
Neato Botvac ConnectedBest Overall
The Neato BotVac Connected is one of our favorite robot vacuums. It's truly a "go-anywhere" robot, boasting massive wheels and a brushroll designed for rooting through deep carpets. These features translated to the BotVac Connected being one of the few robots we've tested that was able to pickup pet hair on every surface of our obstacle course, including a thick throw rug. Its unique D-shape allowed the Neato to clean right up against walls, which more circular robot vacuums couldn't deal with.
It even lets you control it through Alexa voice commands, and from your smartphone when you're not home. That means you can tell the Neato to clean up after Fido when the in-laws call you at work to tell you they're planning a last-minute visit.
While the Neato impressed with its power and connectivity, we also took note of its gentleness. At 7.3 pounds, this model is relatively hefty, but it never hit our test furniture hard enough to leave a scuff. This is important because one of the major drawbacks of the BotVac connected is that it lacks a virtual barrier. The only way to keep away from dog dishes and water bowls is with a magnetic strip you place on the ground.
Still, the Neato BotVac Connected is best overall because it hits the sweet spot between price, performance, and features.
iRobot Roomba 980Best For Cat Owners
When it comes to robot vacuums, iRobot is really the king of the hill. The cream of the crop on that hill is the iRobot 980. Like the Neato, it's Alexa-enabled, Wi-Fi connected, and designed to clean multiple rooms while still finding its way back to its charger. For pet hair specifically, the 980 has tangle-free brushes, so you won't have clean it as often as other models.
This iRobot didn't get the top spot on this list because, unlike the BotVac, it sometimes had trouble transitioning from bare floors to a tall rug. However, it does have one huge advantage that many cat owners are going to appreciate: omnidirectional virtual walls.
Basically, the 980 comes with two virtual walls that can be set to Halo Mode, which creates a no-go circle four feet in diameter. We suggest you put one near the water and food bowl and one near the litter box, two places you never want an accident. If you already own an iRobot, the Dual Mode virtual barriers work with most models, and can be purchased separately.
Where To BuyClick for price Amazon Buy
Eufy RoboVac 11
If your dog is the furriest thing on your floors, the Eufy RoboVac 11 is worth checking out. It's a highly affordable model that usually costs around $220. The Eufy is perfect for anyone who wants to figure out if a robot vacuum and their pet are compatible. Cleaning wise, the Eufy makes up for its lack of high-end features with brute force, bouncing around rooms for two hours before returning to its dock.
The RoboVac 11 has a few drawbacks. It has no virtual walls or magnetic strips to ward it off from unwanted areas. Also, during testing, the Eufy was entirely unable to clean high-pile carpet. That means it will do best in homes with bare floors, not thick carpets.
Where To Buy$999.99 Dyson.com Buy
Dyson 360 Eye
The Dyson 360 is the most expensive robot vacuum in our roundup, retailing for around $999. It's as close to the power and functionality of a full-sized vacuum as you're going to get. It has the dual-fiber brushes that can handle hardwood floors and carpets, as well as the same 100-watt motor found on Dyson's cordless models.
Why is this good for pet owners? Well if your floors are covered in pet hair, you're going to want that extra power—the difference between moving pet hair around and actually cleaning it up. This Dyson was also able to muscle its way onto every surface and get to work.
We wouldn't recommend a $1,000 robot vacuum for everyone. But if you've tried another robot vacuum and found it left behind too much fur, the Dyson is worth trying. Aside from the price, the 360 Eye has one other drawback. Its navigational camera requires light to work, so no night time cleaning.
LG Hom-Bot VR65502LV
The LG Hom-Bot combines style and substance. Not only did it ace our pet hair tests, it looked good while doing it. During out week of testing, the Hom-Bot sought out pet hair on bare floors, thin carpets, edges of rooms, and thick throw rugs.
With a 100-minute running time, this LG can cover an entire floor in a single charge, especially since this model has a software that maps the room to increase its cleaning efficiency. While this is a great robot vacuum, it lacks a few of the amenities found on other models, such as virtual walls, while still costing as much.