These are the best robot vacuums for keeping small spaces sparkling clean
BEST DEALS ON ROBOT VACUUMS (updated Jan. 19, 2022):
I live in a studio apartment that’s about 20 x 9 feet, plus a bathroom, and honestly, I’ve always thought my place was too small to house a robot vacuum. I mean, one arm of my sofa practically touches my bed while the other side of the couch is mere inches away from the fridge. Gotta love that zero-bedroom life.
I rely on my Swiffer and Shark Rocket stick vacuum that I can shove into my coat closet to clean the floors in my small apartment. But, it turns out you actually can have a robot vacuum in small spaces. Robot vacuum bases do need ample room around them so the vacuum sensors can find their way home, but this just means you might have to get creative about placement. Or hey, maybe you have that one awkwardly empty area that’s the perfect size for a robot vacuum base. Now you know what to put there.
Some robot vacuums are clearly better for small homes and apartments — the iRobot Roomba i7+ with its self-emptying behemoth of a base is probably not the best choice when you’re trying to be economical with your space.
Other, smaller robot vacuums actually do a sufficient job with little room to work. And it’s not just crappy little robot vacuums from random brands you’ve never heard of on Amazon. iRobot and Shark make robot vacuum models that work for any sized home.
When to shop for a deal on robot vacuums
Robot vacuums receive more front-page attention in Black Friday ads each year, but even more deals are exclusively scattered across the internet. We’re tracking them from October all the way to Cyber Monday and beyond, including early Black Friday robot vacuum deals that are already live. Keeping your options open is the best way to guarantee a vac that has the features (automatic emptying, mopping, specific room targeting) at the budget you’re comfy with (whether that’s under $300 or over $1,000 if it’s really nice).
Do robot vacuums work in small spaces?
If your home is jam-packed with furniture and you don’t have much exposed floor space, you’re probably better off not getting a robot vacuum. They need sufficient space to be able to maneuver around and find their way back to their charging stations. But if you have some floor space to work with, a robot vacuum can actually do a good job cleaning.
And the nice thing about cleaning a smaller space is you don’t have to worry about the vacuum’s run time or battery life. It likely won’t take long to sweep the entire floor, and your robot vacuum can probably do the whole route without using a full battery charge. That also means you won’t have to empty the dustbin as often as you would if you lived in a big house. Modest living has its perks!
To make the most out of your space, put the robot vacuum base underneath side tables or other furniture with ample room below it. Just make sure the vacuum can return for charging without issues.
Most robot vacuums have scheduling features, so you can set your robot vacuum to run while you’re out of the house or a time when you won’t be walking around in your home if you want to avoid the robot vacuum nipping at your feet. And to get the best results, make sure you don’t have any loose items lying around on the floor.
What to look for in a robot vacuum for small spaces
When looking for a robot vacuum for small areas, you have to think about the layout of your space. If almost every inch of floor space is covered with furniture, you’re going to need a robot vacuum with a short profile that can actually maneuver under and around furniture without bumping into stuff or getting stuck underneath the bed or couch.
Robot vacuums sweep in either a random pattern or in neat rows, but with a small home, you probably don’t need to shell out the extra cash for neat rows because depending on your setup, you won’t have a ton of open space that would require meticulous, row-by-row cleaning.
Some of the cheaper, smaller robot vacuums aren’t great for carpet, but leave hardwood floors so clean you’ll actually want to walk barefoot on them. If you have carpet in your home, look for a robot with powerful suction and a deep-cleaning brush roll. For hardwood floors, there are some robot vacuums that also have mopping functionality. This is awesome for saving space because you get two appliances in one.
Are robot vacuums worth it?
I don’t mind vacuuming as a chore, and in my tiny home it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes, so I’ll stick with my upright vacuum for now. But the appeal of a robot vacuum is absolutely there.
Deciding whether a robot vacuum is worth it is really a personal preference. They definitely add some convenience to your life by taking over the manpower of vacuuming your floors. And with app control and remote scheduling, you can clean your floors without even being at home. But robot vacuums can get quite pricey and you don’t have full control over where and how they clean.
Make sure to get one that is powerful enough to suck up your messes and low-profile enough that it’s not the focal point of your home to really make a robot vacuum worthwhile.
What is the best robot vacuum for small spaces?
Our top pick for the best robot vacuum for small spaces is the Shark ION AV753 because of its ultra-slim profile. It can easily work its way under furniture to get every exposed bit of floor you have in your home. Plus, it’s just a downright powerful and impressive robot vacuum that truly gives you the most bang for your buck.
It’s not the only robot vacuum that impressed us, though. Check out all of our picks for the best robot vacuums for small spaces.