Carpet is great. It provides warmth during cold months and a comfortable platform to walk on even without slippers.

Best Robot Vacuum for Carpet

The first time I walked on carpet was in my mom’s house in California.

I would spend hours playing on it but little did I would about the work needed to keep it clean.

Well I was young and naïve but now having a family of my own, I appreciate what technology brings to the table.

Having a new carpet in your house is like coming home to a 5-star hotel every day. Neglecting basic tasks like vacuuming can have negative health consequences to your whole family.

A dirty carpet can be a source of allergies that will affect the whole family.

This is where a robot comes in to play. Yes, these machines can be expensive but you have to view it as an investment to your family’s health.

It won’t be as thorough as an upright but when you use it enough, robot vacuums prevent dirt from piling up under strands of carpet.

Imagine having a helper that won’t complain no matter how many times you ask it to clean. Did I convince you?

Comparison chart

Rank12345
ModelNeato BotVac D5

Neato BotVac D5
Roomba 890

Roomba 890
Neato BotVac Connected

Neato BotVac Connected
Roomba 980

Roomba 980
Neato BotVac D80

Neato BotVac D80
Battery typeLithium IonLithium IonLithium IonLithium ionNickel Metal Hydride
Charging time2 hours3 hours3 hoursN/A2 hours
Run timeup to 90 mins.60 minutes2 hrs (eco mode)

90 mins (turbo mode)
2 hrs1 to 1.5 hours
Multi Room YesYesYesYesYes
Self docking YesYesYesYesYes
Remote controlNoYesApp-basedApp-basedNo
HEPA filterNoYesNoYesNo
Cliff detection YesYesYesYesYes
Self adjusting YesYesYesYesYes
Edge brushesYesYesYesYesYes
Full bin indicator YesYesYesYesYes
Cleaning sessions per week 77777
Width13.2"13.8"13.2"13.8"13.2"
Height3.9"3.6"3.9"3.6"3.9"
Weight9 pounds8.4 pounds9 pounds8.4 pounds9 pounds
Warranty1-year on robot
6 months on battery
1-year on robot
6 months on battery
1-year on robot
6 months on battery
1-year on robot
6 months on battery
1-year on robot
6 months on battery

A little disclaimer…

I must warn you not to expect the moon and the stars from these machines.

Even if manufacturers claim robot cleaners are capable of cleaning without human intervention we have to do our due diligence and prep the area.

Navigation has come a long way since the first robots started to clean homes. But navigation has improved such that consumers can rely on this products to clean their homes with relative autonomy.

The latest robots, namely market leaders Roomba and Neato have improved such that their new products can clean a larger area with greater efficiency.

Roomba in particular has totally revamped their robots navigation system.

Instead of just using a series of IR sensors, they have replaced it with a camera and the S.L.A.M algorithm. This has made their products much more efficient. You could say it is as efficient as a Neato.

Dyson probably has the best navigation among all the robots. But it is also the most expensive and tallest. The latter severely limits its coverage and won’t allow it to go underneath a lot of furniture.

Our Pick: Neato BotVac D5

The BotVac D5 is a great option for cleaning pet hair on carpet because it has a good combination of power and efficiency. It does not have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive D7 but it will do the job.

One reason why I picked this is the price. Currently, this robot vacuum is less than $460 in Amazon, a good price for a high end vacuum.

When the first Neato robot vacuum was introduced, it did not have any side brushes whatsoever until the BotVac.

With the exception of the BotVac D3, all other variants come with a side brush. And this addition greatly helps in terms of cleaning edges.

What makes the BotVac D5 a good option?

Efficient navigation: The BotVac D5 uses a laser distance sensor and S.L.A.M. to help it navigate.

If you’re not familiar with the S.L.A.M. algorithm, it’s the same technology found in Google’s self-driving car. It is this technology that helps Neato map a room and find the most efficient path.

This is a big reason why iRoomba ditched the random pattern because of the threat that Neato poses.

Thorough cleaning: Not only is the BotVac D5 efficient, it is also thorough thanks to the upgraded software inside.

One big issue with other robots that use a more efficient back and forth pattern is these machines lack thoroughness. In most cases it’ll go just once around the room and that’s it.

The D5 does not have such issue because it’ll go around twice, first around the perimeter then the rest of the room.

Alexa compatibility: If you have Alexa at home (who does not?), this robot is compatible with it. This means you can just tell the robot to clean your home without you standing up or pressing a button.

WiFi and Smartphone app: Even if you’re not physical present at home, you can now ask the robot to clean your home using the app that is downloadable wherever you download your apps from. The app also lets you schedule and tells you the battery status and cleaning status through a map.

Some issues

Expensive: I’ll be honest. This robot vacuum isn’t cheap at around $450. You can buy a comparable product for less than $300 with the first generation Xiaomi. But the Neato is better at cleaning edges and corners thanks to the D-Shape design.

The bottom line:

Even if the BotVac D5 isn’t the most powerful or high-tech, it has just enough features to keep carpet clean. It has decent enough power to pick up dirt on low and even mid pile carpet that it’ll keep dirt from piling up. Navigation is more efficient than the Roomba 980 and the 890 which makes this robot suitable inside larger homes.

2: Roomba 890

The Roomba 890 is the latest in the iRobot’s 800 series robots.

It basically has the same features as the 880 (previous pick at number 2) but now it’s got WiFi connectivity and Alexa compatibility. It also uses a Li-Ion battery that ensures better longevity and run time.

This means that this robot is ready for the amenities of a modern home. It’s also cheaper than the 880 at just under $400 which is a big reason why it’s at number 2.

When Roomba introduced the Roomba 880 a few years back, there was one major upgrade – the beater bar.

Prior to the 800 series, all Roomba robots use a combination of a squeegee and bristles.

This combination did well in terms of cleaning but it did require a lot of maintenance.

Roomba introduced what they call the “rubber extractors” first in the 880. Consumer feedback has been positive with the upgrade and it still is present even in their latest robot the Roomba I7.

Watch this video to see the features and how it navigates…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM8n1Tr9zbk

You have the option of purchasing this robot with a virtual wall that’s basically a device that blocks the robot’s path from going into “no go” zones like the bathroom. The new virtual walls that iRobot has two options.

First option is the standard virtual wall option where it will block a straight path up to 2 meters long.

Second option is the halo mode where the virtual wall will block a certain radius. This option is great if you want don’t want the robot to go near areas such as where you store water and food for your dogs.

What makes the Roomba 890 a good option?

Thorough navigation: The Roomba 890 does not have the efficient navigation of the newer 900 series robots but the random cleaning pattern is very thorough. One big plus of a random cleaning pattern is that it will be very thorough in cleaning up dirt.

Improved navigation over the 650: One of the biggest complaints by consumers in the Roomba 650 would be how aggressive the navigation is. When I say aggressive, it means that the robot will bump hard on furniture thus causing scuff marks. iRobot has heard those complaints and dialed the aggressiveness back in the 800 series.

Good cleaning performance on pet hair: If there’s one thing that the rubber extractors excel at, it’s picking up pet hair on bare floor or carpet.

Compatible with Alexa: You can now enjoy the hands free benefits of Alexa because the Roomba 890 is compatible with it. Just say “Roomba clean my house” and the robot will do what you say.

WiFi connectivity: Got guests coming over? No problem, you can now access the robot even if you’re not at home. All you need is a router and you’re set.

Some not so good points

Not efficient: Don’t expect this robot to be very effective at cleaning more than one room at a time. The more room it tries to clean, the higher the risk it has of being lost or stuck somewhere.

The bottom line:

If the BotVac D5 is too expensive then why not have a look at the Roomba 890. It does not the efficient back and forth cleaning of the D5 but it is very thorough. You’ll save around $60 if you buy this rather than the BotVac D5 still get the Alexa compatibility and WiFi connectivity if that’s important to you.

3: Neato BotVac Connected

The BotVac Connected is one of Neato’s latest robot vacuums to date. If you’re after cleaning performance without having to spend $800 for the D7, this is a good option. In terms of performance both the BotVac Connected and D7 are similar but this is a cheaper option at just under $525.

It does not have the no-go zones nor will it save maps of your home’s rooms. But the absence of these features has no bearing with how this robot cleans.

Neato has joined the fray and added WiFi connectivity to their flagship BotVac Connected.

This is after Dyson released the 360 Eye and Roomba 980.

What makes this a good option?

WiFi ready: Like the aforementioned brands above, Neato also has developed their own app compatible with iOS and android to schedule, clean and manually control the robot.

Take note that this is an upgrade of the BotVac D80 series. Along with the WiFi connectivity and the ability to use your phone to control, Neato has also upgraded its battery.

Instead of the NiCad battery that’s prone to fading, the Connected now has a Lithium Ion battery that will not only last longer but also provide better power across the charge cycle.

Good cleaning performance: In terms of cleaning performance, CNet says it performed well and beat other robot vacuums namely the BotVac 85  and Roomba 880 in terms of picking up rice on carpet.

But it lagged behind the Roomba 880, BotVac 85 and even the XV Signature Pro when it comes to picking up sand on carpet.

Watch this video to see how this robot navigates…

One advantage the D-shaped Neato has over the round shaped Roomba is edge cleaning.

Consumers noticed that this seemed to be better than the Roomba 980 at least in cleaning up pet hair.

Another improvement is the addition of an eco-mode that extends the runtime to 120 minutes. This mode reduces the noise at the expense of power but it gives you flexibility just in case the default mode is too loud.

What are the downsides?

Price: This robot will cost over $500 which is a premium to pay for any vacuum.

The bottom line:

The improvements made by Neato give this more runtime, better suction and better usability thanks to the app. But the price is a major stumbling block. You could argue that this would be a better option than a Roomba because of the price.

4: Roomba 980

Prior to the recently launched Roomba I7, the Roomba 980 was top dog in iRobot’s robot vacuum line up. It has the most power and the most efficient robot that they have.

Unfortunately it’s also their most expensive.

However, prices have gone down to the $700 level which makes this a more viable option for cleaning pet hair right now.

The counter rotating rubber brushes are a big reason why the Roomba 980 is a great option. It’s been proven in a number of tests to pick up well on low to mid pile carpet.

One of the biggest downsides of older generation Roombas was navigation. To be more specific how inefficient it was.

All Roomba robots prior to this used a random cleaning pattern takes a very long time time to clean.

What makes this a good option?

Better navigation: It took some time but iRobot has finally addressed this issue with the Roomba 980.

Their older robots utilize a series of IR-sensors that basically tells the robot to stop when it detects an object and then go in another direction.

Even with this low tech feature Roomba was still successful in the past. But change is constant in the tech industry and consumers mature as time goes.

When Neato added a side brush and WiFi connectivity I think that iRobot had no choice but to improve.

The new navigation now uses a top-mounted camera along with the S.L.A.M. algorithm to help it navigate and remember the areas it has cleaned.

Here’s a long-exposure shot on the cleaning pattern of a Roomba 980…

Pattern

Inside the robot are processors with the help of S.L.A.M. draws an internal map of the area it is cleaning. The camera helps it pin-point its exact location in relation to that map sort of like a GPS.

This technology provides better navigation but it may work as well in low light conditions.

New battery: Another improvement would be the battery. This comes with a lithium ion battery that gives it better run time and consistent power. It also extends service life two-fold so you won’t need to replace it as often.

iRobot really has put in a lot of thought into this product.

Wifi ready: In addition to the upgraded navigation and battery, it also is WiFi ready and has an app that allows you to control this robot literally anywhere you have an internet connection.

Underneath are sensors that detect the type of surface it is cleaning. When the sensors detect that it’s carpet, the motor automatically increases suction and the opposite happens on bare floor.

This system helps improve run time. Engadget says that the 980 can run up to 2 hours.

Some potential issues

May not do as well as the Roomba 880: In terms of performance, this $700 premium top-of-the-line robotic vacuum could not outperform the Roomba 880 cleaning rice and sand out of medium and low pile carpet.

One consolation however is that it performed better than the 880 cleaning pet hair.

If you’re curious how it navigates and how it does on carpet, watch this (very long) video on an actual consumer using this on carpet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uW-CuCJsys

The bottom line:

While the improvements in navigation and battery improve the overall performance, it’s hard to justify spending this much on a robotic cleaner if there are options out there that can perform better for much less.

5: Neato BotVac D80

I’ve already shared two BotVac variants here – the Connected and the 80 so what the heck is the D80?

This is an upgrade of the BotVac 80. Looking past the aesthetic, the D80 comes with an upgraded brush that supposedly has better agitation for pet hair.

It has two brush rolls, a spiral for bare floor and combo brush for carpet.

These brushes are interchangeable depending on the need.

One of the cheapest BotVacs right now

This variant is one of the cheapest variants available right now thanks to the presence of newer BotVac robots.

Sadly though, performance reviews done by Megan Wollerton say otherwise.

Based on their tests, the BotVac D85 did not outperform the BotVac 85.

It did not pick up as much rice or sand as the other BotVac 80 but it did a whole lot better cleaning pet hair in medium and low pile carpet.

The bottom line:

While Neato claims there are improvements on paper, it is hard to justify spending the extra $50 for this when you can buy the BotVac 80 for less and still get a better performance and use the $50 to have a date with your wife.

How to choose a robot vacuum for cleaning carpet?

A quick search of “robot vacuum” in Amazon will reveal literally hundreds of results.

So how do you discern which is good and bad.

Here are 5 things you need to look at to see if the robot vacuum is good.

Brand: Go with a more established brand because these robots will perform better and last longer. In the world of robotic vacuums, two brands stand out – Roomba and Neato.

There are also other less known brands that make good products that costs way less. These include ILIFE, Eufy and Ecovacs to name a few.

Navigation: All higher end robots now offer a more efficient back and forth cleaning pattern that will do the job faster. But these machines will cost at least $250.

Robots at the lower end of the price range have random cleaning patterns that aren’t as efficient. If you don’t mind the inefficiency, you can save hundreds of dollars.

Power: Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard metric that determine actual power the robot has. So you’ll have to rely on consumer reviews to see how a robot performs. Video reviews are helpful because it gives you a visual on how the robot navigates and cleans.

Consumer reviews: Even with the proliferation of fake reviews, consumer reviews is a powerful tool to determine if a product is good or not. If you see complaints that are repetitive, that could be red flag.

Price: Before buying a robot, set the amount you’re willing to spend and pick the best option in that range.

Why use a robot vacuum to clean carpet?

In homes with carpet, buying an upright would be top priority but let’s be real here, in-between the kids, pets, dishes and laundry.

How much time do you have left cleaning carpet?

Not much right?

I have a proposal for you. How about a one-time investment on your very own helper that will not complain or overcharge?

Yes, you could have your very own house helper without having to pay $80 to $200 per session just to have a decently clean floor.

You’ll have to fork out at least $500 as a one-time investment and use it as often as you need to keep carpets clean.

Great in-between cleaner for high traffic areas

These are one of the best tools to have on high traffic areas like the living room.

If you have pets, these robotic cleaners will help you remove at least surface pet hair and prevent it from piling up.

Another area these machines would be able to clean that most uprights cannot reach would be areas under furniture.

This is one of the biggest advantages of these machines. The sight of it cleaning under a large king-sized bed makes the price of these machines all worth it.

To wrap up

There you have it 5 of the best performing robot vacuums that will help you keep carpet clean until the next deep cleaning session.

I only included the Neato and iRobot because frankly these are the two brands that produce quality robot cleaners that are good performers overall.

I did not include the Samsung VR9000 because it had a lot of limitations. The futuristic design was too bulky that it had trouble fitting under a lot of furniture.

The navigation looks good on paper but in real life it struggled in areas without much light and it does not have any containment system whatsoever.

Lastly it is too expensive, at close to $750. It is twice more expensive than the BotVac and Roomba but sadly it does not offer twice the performance.

I did not add the Dyson 360 Eye because it’s crazy expensive and too tall to clean under furniture. The technology is enticing though and it arguably it provides the most high-tech navigation and the most powerful motor.

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