7 best self-emptying robot vacuums to shop on Prime Day 2024

How we tested

Mashable shopping reporters, editors, and product testers have reviewed dozens of robot vacuums, and we’re always in the process of testing more. Specifically for this guide, we most recently tested the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra, Eufy X10 Pro Omni, Roomba Combo j5+, Narwal Freo X Ultra, Shark Detect Pro, and the Dyson 360 Vis Nav, a few of which replaced some of our older recommendations (and a few of which didn’t quite make the cut).

When reviewing a robot vacuum, we test the bot on a combination of floor types: Hardwood, bathroom tile, thick carpeting, furry rugs, bath mats, and other surfaces all being fair game. To test a robot’s agility, we intentionally litter the floor with some combination of cat toys, tasseled blankets, laundry, and cords. In addition to testing obstacle avoidance features, we also assess the robovac’s overall cleaning ability. And for this category in particular, we check the self-emptying bin to see how user-friendly and reliable these features are.

Additional factors taken into account during testing include:

Smart mapping and general navigation accuracy: A big component of how proficiently a robot vacuum does its job is how intimately it knows the setup of your living space. After making their initial “navigation/mapping” run, we gauged how well the vacuums were able to maneuver around furniture, slide between different floor types, and, in general, clean all the required floor space. Compatible apps for the robovacs demonstrated whether or not the mapping was actually “smart” and accurate — and we made sure to keep in mind the differences between LiDAR (laser) and VSLAM (camera) navigation/mapping in the robots.

Noise: A commonality between self-emptying robot vacuums is that they’re pretty damn loud. As Mashable reporter Leah Stodart once said in a vacuum review, “the transfer of debris from the bot’s dust bin to the dock’s dust bin can be quite loud and startling to nearby people or pets.” We paid attention to just how significant these noise levels were for each vac and whether it was something that could interfere with day-to-day living in the long run, especially for those who share walls with neighbors.

Functionality of app: Each of these robovacs has a companion app with which users can easily control them, in theory. The most impressive apps included the ability to create “no-go zones” or zones where the vacuum would boost its suction power; to schedule a cleaning ahead of time; and to see the progress of the vacuum in real-time (as well as detailed metrics on its performance after a successful cleaning run). We also tested how well the app cooperated with the vacuum in question.

Actual vacuum performance: This one is pretty intuitive. It revolved around us asking a few key questions — did the vacs actually do what they were supposed to? Did they make neat rows on carpets for a thorough cleaning? Did they suction up all the dust bunnies lurking in a room’s corners or the layer of pet hair building up during shedding season? Did they take care of bigger, intentional messes, like large remnants of Graham Crackers or tortilla chips or purposefully spilled rice, soil, or corn starch? When in doubt, we looked at the irrefutable evidence found within their dust bins and the auto-empty dock dust bags.

Obstacle avoidance: For robot vacuums that claim to be able to detect and avoid problem-causing obstacles (read: pet waste and tangled cords), we made sure to verify this IRL. The feature is typically reflected in a higher price point, so it was important to see if the robot vacuums could actually skirt around obstacles without getting flustered — or if human intervention was needed to help get them unstuck, thus demoting them to the level of any ol’ non-obstacle-avoidant vacuum.

Price point/value and the competition: For every tested robot vacuum, we compared its price to that of the closest competitors currently available on the market — and evaluated whether its extra features (or lack thereof) could justify the price discrepancy. Keeping in mind the fact that many of the models in this roundup are frequently on sale, we performed a cost-benefit analysis by asking one last question: Did this wow us enough to drop X amount of money on it?