BEST DEALS ON ROBOT VACUUMS (updated Nov. 18, 2021):
Shark IQ Robot Vacuum AV970 — $344.99
iRobot Roomba j7+ — $699.99
ionVac SmartClean V4–Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum — $199
Roborock E4 Robot Vacuum — $269.99
Pets can be mediocre roommates.
Their presence makes your life better — but significantly messier, too. And unlike in a passive-aggressive roommate group chat, you can’t tell a pet to clean up after itself.
Whether they have a favorite floor spot for rolling around, or prefer to spread the love (fur) around the house, it’s impossible to follow their trail with a vacuum and lint roller. Sending a robot vacuum to tidy your floors on a regular schedule can cut you a major break on your chores.
Robot vacuums have become a staple category for Black Friday. And great news for folks celebrating their first holidays with a pandemic pet: 2021 could be a particularly auspicious year to find a good robot vacuum deal. Illustrated by new model releases from 2020 and 2021, cheap robot vacuums are getting smarter and vacs with high-end features like LiDAR mapping and automatic empty are getting cheaper (like the Ecovacs N8+ on sale for $399.99 at Best Buy).
The chances of finding one that meets your requirements and budget on sale are high, so keep tabs on Black Friday robot vacuum deals (including early ones) on our Black Friday robot vacuum deals page.
What makes a robot vacuum good for pet hair?
You’re the human here, but the types of floors in your home will probably be a big part of your decision.
Virtually all robots can master hardwood floors (as well as laminate, tile, and vinyl). Smooth surfaces don’t take a spiderweb-like grasp on pet hair like carpets do. The hair may blow across and collect in furballs, but it’s relatively easy for any robot vacuum to grab with a rotating brush, push it into the line of suction, and scoop it up. If your home’s corners are particularly popular hangout spots for furballs, a D-shaped robot vacuum can detail those walls and 90-degree angles better than a circular vac.
A living space that contains a combination of hard floors and carpet or rugs will prove to be a little more challenging. The robot vacuum you choose should be able to detect different floor types and be able to hoist itself over the spots where they switch over without getting tripped up. Most vacs on the market today are smart enough to enact some sort of boost mode to work a little harder on carpets, though suction power itself plays a bigger role when it comes to extracting pet hair from carpeting. Veer toward a model harnessing with 2,000 (preferably closer to 2,500 Pa) of suction.
Stronger vacuums collect more debris in every trip, and households dealing with shedding probably require more trips to tackle the extra debris. Naturally, these dust bins will fill up faster than a vacuum cleaning a petless household once a week. A self-emptying vacuum alleviates the need for you to empty the dustbin on the daily, letting you off the hook for one to three months at a time.
Pet owners with allergies will appreciate the streamlined emptying process for another reason. The automatic emptying process involves sucking the contents of the dust bin directly from the vacuum into the canister on the loading dock, containing the blast of dust that typically clouds the trash can during manual dumping. Allergy sufferers can also look for vac models that house HEPA filters.
Do robot vacuums scare pets?
No one *wants* their robot vacuum to be loud, but noise level should be a heavier consideration in households with skittish pets. Some models are louder than others, depending on the strength of the motor or, on more high-tech models, a noise-dampening design. If your pet reacts well (or doesn’t react) to the dishwasher, a hairdryer, or a blender, the low roar of most robot vacuums should be tolerable.
A robot vac that reliably follows boundaries might be helpful to avoid knocking into a water bowl or slurping up corners of a dog bed. Most low-end vacs come with adhesive magnetic strips that create a physical border around danger zones, but virtual no-go zones on nicer vacs that utilize laser mapping are far more reliable — and one less thing to chew on.
Let’s get down to our list of best robot vacuums for pet hair in 2021.