Is a Budget Robot Vacuum Worth It?

By Michael Fisher·May 6, 2018· 3 min read

Is a budget robot vacuum worth it?

What To Expect From A Budget Robot Vacuum Cleaner

When you decide to buy a robot vacuum cleaner, you probably would have a look at expensive models and at budget ones. What to expect from a cheaper robot vacuum cleaner? Why shouldn't you be afraid to buy one?

[Update, May 2019] Today we can see many new models with the same features for a cheaper price than about six months ago. The market is fast-growing and manufacturers offer more and more producing robot cleaners with a lower price tag. 

The market starts at $100. Let's say a budget price ends at $300 so we are going to talk about this price range: $100-$300.

  • Do not expect mapping or smart navigation from a robot cleaner with a price of $200. The only model that comes with these features is the latest ILIFE A8. Also, the option when a robot recharge and then resume from the place it stops depends on mapping so you will not get a robot for this money with the "recharge & resume."

  • The robot that costs about $100-$300 will probably have a random cleaning pattern which is not bad. It only means that you probably need to run the robot more often so it will go over the spots it misses the first time. Moreover, all the robots come with sensors that help to avoid obstacles and don't let the robot to fall down from the stairs. Also, the ones that have a docking station (the cheapest cleaners don't), automatically get to recharge when the battery is out of energy.

  • Lately, the market is full of affordable models equipped with a gyroscope that helps the device to remember your home layout. These machines move in straight lines, you can even find a powerful vacuum for around $300 out there such as the Roborock Xiaowa E20. However, most of them are not suitable for thick carpets. 

  • What is good about a budget model - cleaning time. Most of them last longer than most of the expensive units. Because of that cheap machines are equipped with less powerful motors which means they probably will perform worse on carpeting surface (we are talking about medium and high-pile carpets, thin carpets are no problem for the most of devices).

  • Bare floor is the type of floor even the cheapest machines work good on. Do not afraid to get a cheap robovac if your home is mostly about hardwood floor, tile, marble or whatever. The difference between robots can be in a mopping feature. Some machines can not only sweep but also wet mopping a floor. If you need this option - have a look at 2-in-1 units.

  • Some of the basic machines don't have an app so they can be controlled manually by pressing the buttons on its lid. Some of them such as Ecovacs Deepbot N79S even compatible with Alexa. Today, mostly all robots support Wi-Fi and have an app so if it's important - you have this option in budget machines.

  • Budget devices are quieter. Because of the less powerful motor, the noise level is reduced. Yes, your budget unit maybe will not perform on carpeting surface as good as more expensive one, but it definitely will be less noisy.

  • In case something broke (and a warranty doesn't cover it) it would be much easier to say goodbye to a $300 cleaner than to $1000 one, right?

  • Cheap robots are more equipped with extras such as filter, side brush, etc.

  • If you are looking for a robot vacuum under $300 that can clean thick carpets have a look at the Roborock Xiaowa Lite and Roborock Xiaowa E2. The Shark Ion R85 also works fine.


What are the best budget robot vacuums?

  • The Roborock Xiaowa Lite (C1) is the best robot vacuum under $200 for carpet. It has strong suction, carpet boost which we only have seen in expensive models, and large wheels that are able to climb an obstacle up to 20 mm height. We recommend having a look at it since it is definitely worth buying.

  • The Roborock Xiaowa E2 is the second generation of the Lite version. It has mopping and mapping and is more efficient than its older brother yet costs a little bit under $300 on Amazon.

  • The Eufy 35C or 30C would be another great deal. For a price of around $300 you get a decent robot vacuum with strong suction that is able to get rid of pet hair, clean thin carpets and handle bare floors.

To Wrap It Up

A budget robot vacuum cleaner can work longer than the most expensive ones. It performs worse on medium-pile and thick carpets but can still do a great job on a thin one. Bare floor is not a problem at all. A cheap device certainly works quieter. You even can find a robot that is compatible with Alexa for a price of $200.

A cheap robot vacuum can be a decent machine that can become your best friend nevertheless you might never know you can get one at such a low price.

Would you buy a budget robot vacuum cleaner and why? Write in the comment section down below.

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