I could spend hours considering the features of cookware and food products, but I’ve probably only spent about 1/100th of the same time thinking about and picking out the soap in my kitchen.
Related Article Module: The best hand soaps of 2021
That attitude is changing, though. The growing popularity of natural beauty products has me looking more closely at the ingredients in all the other products I use in my daily life. There are few products I use more every day than soap.
Grove Collaborative soap review
Grove Collaborative, an online marketplace for the best natural home and personal care products, sent me its Autumn Fig Collection ($37.95, currently out of stock) last year, which includes gel dish soap and gel hand soap.
I took to these simple and common household supplies with surprising gusto. The scent played a big role – the sweet and rich fig fragrance managed to be bright and clean rather than cloying, and it was a refreshing change from the generically “fresh” scents of most soaps. To top it off, this fragrance is all-natural, made with a blend of essential oils and other plant-based ingredients.
These soaps cleaned as well as any other I’ve tried before, so it’s not really the effectiveness itself that impressed me. Instead, it was that they were made of safe, plant-based ingredients and promoted eco-friendly practices. The soaps come in refill packs rather than single-use plastic bottles and can be used with Grove Collaborative’s Glass Dish Soap Dispenser (16-ounce, $14.95) and Glass Hand Soap Dispenser (13.5-ounce, $13.95).
The dispensers are made from sturdy, partly recycled glass, so they’re reusable and refillable. Add a silicone sleeve and they won’t slip around on your sink top. Overall, they looked much sleeker than plastic bottles.
The Autumn Fig set also came with a natural soy candle, organic cotton tea towel, and European dish cloth, but it was the soaps that I loved the most because they elevated everyday cleaning rituals and made them safer for my body.
The bottom line
Overall, the gel dish soap and gel hand soap were a great introduction to Grove Collaborative’s standards of sustainability, quality ingredients, and beautiful products. I’ve since ordered again from the site for other home and personal care items like household cleaners and they were also top-quality.
While the Autumn Fig Collection and scent are no longer being sold, there are many similar soaps and collections that also contain natural ingredients and fragrances. You can find all hand soaps here and all dish soaps here.
Glass Dish Soap Dispenser (small)Glass Hand Soap Dispenser (small)Large Hand Soap & Dispenser Set (small)
It protects your baby’s sensitive skin and delivers the cleaning power needed for the whole family’s laundry at an affordable price.
Bringing a new baby home is both an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time. The little one is relying on you for everything including clean clothes and bedding that will not irritate delicate skin.
According to Cleveland Clinic pediatric dermatologist Joan Tamburro, DO; “A child who has skin problems may be more prone to laundry detergent reactions. A family history of atopic dermatitis (eczema) also may put your infant at higher risk.”
As a laundry and housekeeping professional, I’ve been testing products for companies, agencies, and publications for many years. So with the birth of my first grandchild, I was delighted to be able to lessen one anxiety by recommending the best laundry detergent for both the baby and his parents.
The main culprits in commercial laundry detergent that causes skin irritation and allergic reactions are dye and fragrance. By choosing a product that is dye and scent-free, the detergent can be used for not only baby’s clothes but all household laundry.
If you are looking for a reasonably-priced, effective laundry detergent that is safe for your baby’s delicate skin and can be used for the rest of the family’s laundry, All’s free clear liquid detergent is your best bet.
What we like: Performs well for both baby and family laundry, mid-priced, readily available in mass-market stores and online, free of dyes and perfumes
As I was testing and selecting a laundry detergent for our precious new one, I took into consideration the product’s ingredients, cleaning ability, cost per load, and ease of use. As a new parent, the last thing you need is a product that makes the laundry routine any more complicated.
The final verdict after testing more than 10 products was that All free clear liquid will give a baby the protection he needs from irritation, remove all but the worst stains, not break the budget, and can be used to wash clothes for the entire family. It is also the most highly recommended detergent brand for sensitive skin by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians.
It seems others agree with me as well. On Walgreens, all free clear has a rating of 4.8 out of five stars. One reader states, “I’m so sensitive, allergic to everything! This is the only detergent that I can use that doesn’t cause a reaction. Even other “Free” products cause me to react.”
All free clear comes in liquid, powder, and single dose packs. I would recommend the liquid formula, costing about 20 cents per load, because it can also be used to pretreat stains. Just work in a tiny amount of the liquid into the stained area with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and wait about 15 minutes before washing.
The best baby laundry detergent for the environment
What we like: Plant and mineral-based ingredients are environmentally-friendly, detergent works well on baby stains and can be used for laundry for the entire family
Protecting a new baby is always a top priority, but we should never forget that protecting the Earth is also important. After all, our actions today will affect the world that a child faces in the future.
Seventh Generation products adhere to that philosophy and use only plant or mineral-based ingredients. Seventh Generation Baby Laundry Detergent received a 97% rating as a USDA Certified Biobased Product and is never tested on animals.
One member of the What to Expect community, Lakewood Chick, says “We use Seventh Generation Free & Clear for everyone’s clothes, not just baby. I think it works great and it makes me feel much better knowing harmful chemicals aren’t in it.”
After giving it a try on our baby’s laundry, I was delighted with the results. The plant-based enzymes removed tough formula and diaper stains with ease. Over on Amazon, 61% of buyers rated it as a five-star product. The cost at around 25 cents per load is higher but the results are worth it.
What we like: Contains enzymes to tackle tough stains, available in unscented and scented formulas, concentrated formula with an easy-to-handle bottle
Newborns need to be swaddled with soft, irritant-free fabrics from the moment they are born. Fortunately, other than some diaper accidents, they don’t create too many difficult stains. But as they age and are introduced to commercial formulas that contain iron and then those first solid foods, the stains can be a challenge especially if they sit around for several days before being washed.
That’s why I was so pleased to discover that Babyganics contains the enzymes protease to break down protein stains (diaper stains) and amylase to tackle starches and carbohydrates stains. What also makes Babyganics a good choice is that the formula is plant and mineral-based and carries the USDA Certified Biobased label.
Babyganics Baby Laundry Detergent has a five-star rating by 61% of buyers on Amazon. One reviewer is particularly pleased with the 3X concentration since “you don’t have to buy it as often as others compared to its size nor need to hold up a bulky container every time you have to do the laundry (pretty important for tired moms).”
Developed to use in both standard and high-efficiency washers at a cost of around 23 cents per load, I use Babyganics liquid detergent as a stain pre-treater before tossing those dirty bibs into the washer. If you like a bit of scent, it also comes in a lavender scent created with natural essential oils.
What we like: Mineral-based and contains no petroleum-based products, produced in the United States, removes diaper stains and odor
Every parent must make the decision on whether to use cloth or disposable diapers with each having its own merits. If cloth diapers are the final choice, learning how to clean and disinfect them properly is a must. Even if you use a diaper service, there will be times when you need to wash a load of diapers at home.
Rockin’ Green is a small company based in Texas that tackles the challenge of diaper laundry with a mineral-based powdered detergent that removes tough stains but leaves the fabric feeling soft to the touch. Free of dyes and perfumes, the company also offers a Hard Rock formula if you live in an area with hard water that can leave fabrics stiff and scratchy.
On What to Expect, one community member, Smallsteps, reports that ” I no longer have to add tons of other stuff to get my diapers clean and stink free!”
Some 70% of buyers on Amazon give the product a five-star rating. I found that if you follow the proper routine of rinsing and pre-soaking soiled diapers and wash them regularly, for less than 20 cents per load your little one will have clean, odor-free diapers every day.
Carpet cleaners for home use allow you to remove stains and dirt without having to call in a professional.
Some cleaners can be used on multiple surfaces such as upholstery, tile floors, and even in your car.
Our top pick, is lightweight, easy to use, and fast-drying, making it ideal for home use.
Pets, kids, and just general wear and tear can leave your carpeting looking lackluster, but hiring professional carpet cleaners can get expensive and time-consuming. Instead of calling the pros, buying a carpet cleaner can be a sound investment, keeping your carpet (and in some cases, your upholstery) in good shape. In the best cases, a good carpet cleaner can even buy you extra years before you have to recarpet.
We’ve evaluated and selected the best carpet cleaners for their overall performance, versatility, durability, ease of use, and value. The products in this guide can tackle stains, ground-in dirt, and more, leaving your carpeting looking refreshed and revitalized. They’re easy to operate right in your home and available at a variety of price points. There are even a few options that are suitable if you’re tight on space or just need a carpet cleaner that’s quick and easy to use.
The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro is a versatile carpet cleaner that can tackle carpeting, upholstery, and area rugs while also meeting the challenge of cleaning stains in homes with pets. Weighing just 19 pounds, this cleaner is easy to wheel through your home, and its 1-gallon tank capacity allows for plenty of continuous cleaning. It also has an 11-inch wide cleaning path that allows you to cover a significant area in a single pass.
The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro carpet cleaner has many features that make for easy use and impressive performance, and it’s designed to tackle stains with low physical exertion. It’s also designed for the challenges of cleaning up after pets. Its two-in-one handheld pet upholstery tool features both a dry and a wet mode to remove pet hair and odors.
While you can use the Max Clean Mode for embedded dirt and stains, the Express Clean Mode provides a lighter, faster cleaning. According to Bissell, the Express Clean Mode can dry in as little as 30 minutes. This mode is ideal when you’re in a hurry or have to try to keep kids off of the carpet as it dries.
The handheld tool and the cleaner’s generously sized 8-foot hose can go where the body of this carpet cleaner can’t, allowing you to tackle upholstered furniture, tough-to-access spaces in your rooms, pet beds, vehicle upholstery, and more.
When it comes to cleaning and maintaining the unit itself, the brush rollers feature a removable cover, allowing you to easily access the rollers for hair removal and maintenance.
Pros: Offers powerful cleaning, long-reach hose makes cleaning stairs easy, strong enough to remove deep stains, two generously sized tanks allow for longer cleaning between refills
Cons: A little bulky, heavy when filled with water
The Bissell Big Green Machine Professional Carpet Cleaner is a powerful carpet cleaner ideal for tackling cleaning jobs without having to rent a professional cleaner. This machine is equipped with an extra-large power brush, which scrubs and removes deeply embedded dirt and stains both as you push the unit forward and as you pull it backward, saving you time and maximizing efficiency.
With a cleaning path of 10.5 inches, it also allows you to quickly clean larger areas. When you pull the trigger on the handle, the cleaner sprays out a water-and-formula solution that the power brush scrubs into the carpet.
This Bissell Big Green Machine comes with a 25-foot cord and a 9-foot spot cleaning hose, allowing you to access tight spots like carpeted stairs. Its 6-inch-wide Tough Stain Tool allows you to spray and scrub stains in spots the main body unit can’t access, like upholstery, pet beds, and more.
The flow indicator allows you to monitor and recognize when it’s time to add water and detergent. This machine’s large capacity dual 1.75-gallon tanks allow you to clean an entire room before pausing to empty the dirty water tank and refill the clean water tank. Plus, the design of the cleaner, with an anti-tip wide base, helps to keep the machine stable.
While the Bissell Big Green Machine is powerful and similar to rental cleaners, it’s compact enough to be stored away in a closet. It’s one of the heavier carpet cleaners, though, weighing 41 pounds.
Pros: Compact upright design saves space, lightweight, low profile foot allows you to clean underneath furniture and tight spaces
Cons: Smaller water reservoir requires frequent filling, some users found the cleaner doesn’t pick up enough water
If you’re living in an apartment or small house and only have occasional carpet cleaning needs, you don’t want a large, bulky carpet cleaner taking up valuable storage space. The Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Cleaner is compact, has an upright design, measuring 15.2 inches by 10.1 inches by 43.5 inches. It offers a 10-inch cleaning path and can hold up to half a gallon of clean water at a time, yet weighs only 12.5 pounds.
This cleaner is equipped with many valuable features that make it efficient and easy to use. One of its better features is the HeatForce, which applies hot air to the carpet that you’re cleaning to speed drying. It also has an antimicrobial SpinScrub Brush System, a patented system that is treated with antimicrobial materials. As the brushes rotate and clean dirt from the carpet, these antimicrobial materials help to keep odor and bacteria from developing in the brushes and in the carpet cleaner.
The dual tank system is easy to fill, empty, and rinse and keeps the clean water separated from the dirty water for more effective cleaning. One of the most convenient designs is the low-profile foot, which allows you to fit this carpet cleaner underneath furniture to access stains almost anywhere.
The best steam cleaner
The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner utilizes the pressure of steam to offer chemical-free sanitization that can be used on floors, grout, and so much more.
Pros: Chemical-free cleaning, steamer operates on just tap water, heats up in seven minutes, works on multiple surfaces, backed by a two-year warranty, up to 50 minutes of cleaning time
Cons: No suction or vacuum function, steam can be dangerous so careful handling is needed, need to continuously hold down a button to operate steam function
The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner brings the power of steam cleaning to your home at an affordable price. In just seven minutes, this unit heats steam to 275 degrees, allowing you to quickly get cleaning. This low-moisture steam works on all surfaces, including floors, furniture, mattresses, ceramic and tiles, grout, and even car interiors. It’s more than just a carpet cleaner, and its versatile design makes it suitable for use throughout many areas in your home.
This steam cleaner cleans, disinfects, sanitizes, degreases, and deodorizes without using chemicals, relying instead on the cleaning power of pressurized steam. Steam cleaning can loosen dirt and kill threatening substances like dust mites, bacteria, mold, and allergens. Additionally, the hot steam dries quickly. Because this cleaner uses just water, you also don’t have to worry about buying (or running out) of cleaning products.
You can operate the Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner with just tap water and it offers up to 50 minutes of continuous cleaning time. This 18-piece kit includes everything you need to do a full-house cleaning, including a rectangular floor tool, three microfiber pads, a window tool, two extension tubes, one lance, one microfiber cloth, one triangular tool, one triangular tool microfiber bonnet, five nylon brushes, one brass brush, and one AddFresh Fragrance Disc.
The unit weighs just 9 pounds and is on wheels, so you can roll it through the house. It also features a 16-foot power cord and a 6.5-foot steam hose, allowing you easier access to hard-to-reach spaces.
Pros: Cordless and lightweight design; ideal for removing pet stains; built-in scrub brush; versatile enough to use on carpets, upholstery, and auto interiors
Cons: Requires recharging, doesn’t include any power scrubbing features, limited capacity means it’s best for small jobs
Rather than lugging out a heavy carpet cleaner, the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Portable Cordless Carpet Cleaner gives you cleaning power that’s easily portable. Weighing only 4.6 pounds, this little cleaner can go just about anywhere, meaning it can clean stains on carpeted stairs, upholstery, area rugs, and vehicle interiors. It’s cordless and battery-powered, further adding to its agility, and makes cleaning stains an easy, fast process.
This carpet cleaner may be small, but it still does a great job of cleaning up stains. Just spray the cleaning solution, use the built-in scrubber, and then suction the cleaner and stain out of the carpet. You can store the cleaning solution right in the machine, so it’s always ready to go. The fully charged battery offers up to 15 minutes of use, and recharging takes about four hours.
This Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Carpet Cleaner is a go-to in my house. I can tuck it away in a closet until I need it. I particularly like that I can fit it underneath furniture like tables, making it easy to clean up small messes on my rugs without having to move any furniture.
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Some say a clean car drives better – but at the very least it looks better.
As spring nears, everyday drivers and collectors work to keep their cars free of dirt, pollen, bird droppings, and other debris.
As a car collector, these are the products I use and recommend, like soaps, waxes, leather conditioners, and microfiber cloths.
During winter, the extent of cleaning your car probably consists of removing snow and salt so you can actually see where you’re going – but during warmer seasons it’s all about attention to detail.
Dirt, pollen, tree sap, bird droppings, and normal road build-up are just some of the many things that can prevent your ride from looking its best.
Instead of constantly spending money at the car wash, you can piece together an arsenal of products designed to keep your car in pristine condition – and in the long run, you’ll save a lot of money.
I own three classic BMWs: a 1991 325i convertible, a 1991 318is, and a 1993 525i wagon. With each of them being more than 25 years old, I do my very best to maintain and preserve their appearance and these are the products I use every year.
Whether you’re a meticulous enthusiast preparing for a car show or an average person trying to care for your car, these are the products you’ll also want at your disposal. You’ll find everything from car wash soaps and waxes to leather cleaners and microfiber cloths – plus a few other unexpected picks.
Here are the best car cleaning and detailing products:
Chemical Guys Snow Foam Car Wash
If your at-home car washes include using liquid dish soap from the kitchen, you’re doing it all wrong. Chemical Guys’ car wash eliminates dirt and grime with a pH-neutral formula that’s safe on all surfaces of your car. It has a foaming agent for maximum suds and a fresh honeydew scent.
Chemical Guys Microfiber Wash Mitt
To go along with the right car wash soap, you need the right cleaning tool. The Chemical Wash mitt easily cleans your car without scratching your paint. Its made of an extra-plush, soft, and absorbent microfiber material, and is easier to control than a towel.
303 Touchless Sealant (wax alternative)
Waxing your car with traditional paste wax can be a long and tedious process. If you want the protection and shine of wax within minutes, 303 Touchless can provide it. The spray uses a SiO2 (silicon dioxide) base to create a hydrophobic and UV barrier on paint, and it’s also safe to use on windows and wheels. It made my car shiny, smooth, and repelled water longer than other waxes I’ve used.
SuperClean Degreaser has a multitude of cleaning uses, so it comes in handy for many of your car detailing needs. I wouldn’t recommend using it at full strength on your paint, but it works wonders cleaning built-up oil, grime, or dirt on your engine bay, under-body, or exhaust pipes. When diluted, it does a great job at cleaning carpets, floor mats, and chrome pieces as well.
Described as “the ultimate detail brush,” the Brush Hero is perfect for cleaning car parts — most specifically tough to reach areas like wheels. It features a rotating brush head that is powered entirely by water pressure from a standard garden hose. I recently had the opportunity to try it out and experienced amazing results.
Even after washing your car meticulously, there’s still dirt and debris that you just can’t get off. That’s where claying your car comes into play. The Mother’s California Gold Clay Kit comes with two clay bars, Instant Detailer spray, and a microfiber cloth. Simply spray a liberal amount of detailer on the car and use the clay in a sweeping motion.
At first, you’ll feel some resistance (that’s all the fine dirt and debris). Once it’s all clean, your paint will be looking and feeling like glass. Whether your car is relatively new or decades old, you’ll definitely notice a difference.
Turtle Wax Microfiber Towels
If you thought using old t-shirts and bath towels as rags was an ok idea, it’s really not. Although you may not be able to see it immediately, it can scratch the surface of your paint. Microfiber cloths are a safe and effective way to detail your car without creating damage. Instead of using the same dirty cloth over and over, this 12-pack ensures you’ll have a bunch of clean cloths at your disposal.
Zymöl Cleaner Wax
One of the most important, but often-skipped, steps to having an immaculately clean car is a decent coat of wax. Unlike thick waxes that take a lot of time to apply, Zymöl Cleaner Wax goes on easy and it works exceptionally well. Derived from a 120-year-old German formula, the wax cleans your paint (though not as a full car wash replacement) and is gentle and safe.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve seen my dad use Zymöl on his cars. I’ve tried several other waxes for my own, but this is the one I’ve consistently come back to.
Armor All Extreme Tire Shine Gel and Applicator
While most tire shines dry up and wear away after a day or so, Armor All Extreme Tire Shine lasts for weeks. The gel formula adheres to your tires to create a durable shield from the elements. It’s also a great way to avoid messy over-spray on your wheels and fenders that you’d expect from a traditional tire shine.
Turtle Wax Headlight Cleaner & Sealant
Almost all modern cars have plastic headlight covers that get dull over time. Not only do they start to look bad, but they can also drastically reduce your headlight output. The Turtle Wax Headlight Cleaner & Scrub Daddy Restoration Kit can bring your plastic lenses to like-new condition — improving your car’s appearance and your visibility.
California Car Duster
If you’ve ever washed your car only to find it covered pollen the next morning, you know how frustrating it can be. Instead of having to clean your car all over again or let your fresh wash go to waste, use the California Car Duster. It effectively lifts dust with one pass and there’s no need to use any water or cleaners.
Black & Decker Dustbuster Auto Vacuum
Cleaning the inside of your car is just as important as cleaning the outside. With a cordless design and multiple attachments, the Black & Decker Dustbuster Auto Vacuum is perfect for reaching every part of your interior. Its compact design makes it easy to store in your trunk, too.
If you have a leather interior, simply vacuuming isn’t the only detailing step you should take. Leather Honey deeply penetrates into the pores of leather to protect new leather and rejuvenate old leather. In the long run, this conditioner can prevent cracks and tears associated with worn-out leather.
To prevent streaks or watermarks, it’s always a good idea to hand dry your car after giving it a wash. If you’ve ever used a normal towel for this, you know how ineffective it becomes once it’s soaking wet.
The CleanTools Absorber is more absorbent than a towel makes drying anything faster and easier. Just wring the water out when you’re done and put it back in the included storage tube.
Even if you have a dishwasher, there are some kitchen items that aren’t dishwasher safe. For instance, you should always wash your knives by hand. And, you will extend the life of your cookware by cleaning it with old-fashioned elbow grease.
Aside from bamboo knife blocks and silicone mats, the most popular dish rack materials are stainless steel and hard plastic, though both have their pluses and minuses. Some cheaper brands use stainless steel that may rust, while plastic dish racks are more likely to break. For the most part, you’re unlikely to experience these problems with the dish racks we recommend below.
We rounded up dish racks that are foldable, roll-up, and are ideal for different counter spaces so you can simply wash and dry.
Pros: Holds a lot of dishes, several different configuration options, rust-resistant, one-year warranty if ordered on company’s website
Cons: Difficult to assemble
What sets the PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack apart from other racks is its customizability. You can choose where to place the cutting board and three cup holder attachments, microfiber mat, knife and wide utensil holders, and the two drainboards. Also, the top shelf is removable and can be positioned either front to back or side to side. However, the customization can also make it tricky to assemble at first.
Because of the rack’s material, it typically resists rust and other oxidative elements, a plus if you live in a coastal area. Though it can hold many dishes and does a solid job of keeping water off the counter, it may not be fit for smaller kitchens.
In addition, PremiumRacks offers a one-year warranty on all of its dish racks if you order from the company site.
Pros: Can be stored away when not in use, ideal for small spaces, heat-resistant, non-slip silicone design, lifetime warranty
Cons: Small capacity, may not be able to use the sink while dishes are drying
Let’s face it — dish racks are essential for washing and drying dishes, but most take up more counter space than you’d like. The Surpahs Over the Sink Roll-Up Dish Rack combats this with its flexible design that rolls up for storage.
Surpahs‘ silicone construction keeps the unit slip-free and heat-resistant up to 400 degrees. It’s also easy to clean and stays in place, though you may not be able to use the sink when it’s set up atop your sink.
For extra protection, Surpahs backs its roll-up dish drying rack with a lifetime warranty when shopping on Amazon or from the company site.
Pros: Folds up for easy storage, holders for several different kitchen items, rust-resistant; replacement or refund options with OXO Better Guarantee
Cons: The side drain spout makes it difficult to expel all water
The feature that sets the OXO Good Grips Convertible Foldaway Dish Rack apart from competitors is that the spout, legs, and side walls fold up for compact storage either vertically or horizontally. The rack has two utensil holders that are divided into three compartments each, which keeps flatware separated for easy organization. There are six slots for standing plates and cutting boards. Finally, there is also an array of tines for cups and glassware. Water drains directly into your sink thanks to its side drainage spout, though its location may make it difficult for all of the water to be expelled.
For people with limited kitchen space, this is a great, versatile option. Additionally, its various compartments fit most items in your kitchen and make it easier to put them away once they are dry.
Pros: Angled design for easy draining, compact enough to fit in a sink
Cons: Water tends to drip on the counter, limited capacity
The Chef’n DishGarden Dish Rack has a circular design and angled layout that’s ideal for almost any nook and cranny in your kitchen. There are five legs: two front legs that are an inch high, two middle legs that are 1.5 inches, and a back leg that is two inches. This allows water to drain out of the spout, though the dish rack tends to leave water on your counter space.
The prongs are shorter in the back and longer in the front to give the illusion that the whole unit is flat. As a bonus, the rack is small enough to use in-sink, or you can opt to use it with a drying mat.
Pros: Space-saving design, rust-resistant, can hold up to 110 pounds, adjustable feet, comes with three water trays
Cons: May be too tall to fit under kitchen cabinets, no warranty
If you’re looking to save space and maximize the amount of kitchenware you can dry at a time, the iSPECLE Stainless Steel Two-Tier Dish Rack is one of our most unique picks. It’s able to hold 17 plates and pots on top and 18 bowls at the bottom.
The drying rack comes with three water trays (one underneath the top tray, one at the very bottom, and one underneath the utensil holder on the side) to ensure no water spills onto your countertops. The easy-to-assemble adjustable feet make it ideal for uneven surfaces, too.
Though it’s a great space saver, it may not fit spaces where overhead cabinets hang lower than usual because of its height. And, though there’s no warranty, it’s durable and built to last.
Check out our other dishwashing guides and roundups
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The Roomba s9+ is iRobot’s most advanced vacuum yet; it has powerful suction and even empties its own dustbin.
It’s expensive, but it’s totally hands off; it’ll clean your floors for a month without needing any maintenance.
Over time it makes a map of your home and you can instruct it to clean or avoid specific rooms.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
In 2002, iRobot introduced the first Roomba. Since then, the brand name Roomba has become synonymous with “robot vacuum.” Though dozens of other brands have entered the space, iRobot continues to stay ahead of the innovation curve.
In September 2018, iRobot introduced the Roomba i7+, which was the first robot vac that featured a charging dock that emptied the dustbin. Based on feedback, iRobot made tweaks to the design and features of the i7+ and launched a new top-of-the-line model, the s9+, in October 2019.
The Roomba s9+ is innovative because it has increased suction power, a D-shaped design, two long main brushes with unique positioning, and a longer-lasting battery. I’ve tested the s9+ for several months now – it’s the main vacuum I use when not testing other models – and here’s what I like about it.
Design and specs
There are a few design choices that make the s9+ different from other Roombas. The most obvious one is the D shape, which is supposed to help it get deeper into corners. The unit is remarkably small at 12.5 inches in diameter, but the height is comparable to other units at 3.5 inches.
The small body size is impressive considering that it has two of the longest main brushes I’ve seen at 9.5 inches each. The brushes are located closer to the front of the unit than most other robot vacuum models. The forward design and length of the brushes are supposed to facilitate better corner cleaning and make it easier for the robot to pick up debris on a single pass.
Though iRobot doesn’t give precise suction power measurements for its robots, it claims that the s9+ has suction 40 times more powerful than the Roomba 600 Series and four times more powerful than the next strongest Roomba and s9+ predecessor, the i7+.
The Roomba s9+ comes with a Clean Base that charges the robot and empties its dustbin. The box also contains an extra high-efficiency filter, an extra side brush, and an extra dirt disposal bag.
Setting up the Roomba s9+ took longer than most robot vacuums I’ve tested, but I still had it up and going in under half an hour. After unboxing the elements and finding a spot for the Clean Base, I plugged it in and set the vac on the charging dock.
Next, I downloaded the iRobot app and installed firmware updates. The updates took the bulk of the setup time. Once they were installed, I scheduled the s9+ to clean daily, which was an effortless task taking only a few seconds.
I liked that when I scheduled the vac, it let me choose how powerful the suction is. On its lowest setting, the battery lasts for two hours. On the highest setting, it only runs for about 45 minutes. I chose the highest setting, and since I have more space than the Roomba can clean in 45 minutes, it just returns to the dock to charge and automatically finishes the cleaning cycle once it has enough juice.
Connecting to Amazon Alexa was a seamless process. I just added the iRobot skill in the Alexa app, and it was ready to go.
Cleaning with the iRobot Roomba s9+
The most important feature of any robotic vacuum is its performance. How well can it pick up debris on a variety of surfaces? To test this, I pour a tablespoon each of flour, kitty litter, and coffee grounds along with pet hair on low-pile carpeting and hardwood flooring. Then, I run the vacuum on high for two cleaning cycles, measure the contents accumulated in the robot’s dustbin, and compare before and after photos to estimate how much of the debris the vacuum picked up.
On hardwood, the Roomba s9+ did better than any vacuum I’ve ever tested. All of the kitty litter, pet hair, and coffee grounds were gone, and I only found a trace of flour left over. The performance on carpeting was only slightly less impressive. Gone were the coffee grounds and pet hair. Only around 5% of the kitty litter and 10% of the flour were left behind.
I also tested how well the s9+ does at cleaning corners by sprinkling a teaspoon of flour into hardwood and carpeted corners. Though the D-shaped vac came within an inch of the carpeted corner, it only picked up about 30% of the flour. This is likely due to the powerful main brush not coming into direct contact with debris. On the other hand, on hardwood, the unit did much better, picking up around 85% of the flour and coming within 1.5 inches of the corner.
The s9+ rarely gets stuck. On our testing course, which contains cords and other obstacles, it did not get stuck at all. And, in my daily use, it tends to only run into issues when one of my messy family members leaves clothes on the floor. The s9+ will try to suck them up, and I’ll get a notification that the main brushes need to be untangled. This is easy enough to fix.
In addition to performing well, the Roomba s9+ is packed full of features that work as advertised. My favorite feature is the Clean Base, which serves as the charging dock and empties the vac’s dustbin. The dust is collected in a disposable dirt bag, which you only need to replace every month or two when the app notifies you.
The iRobot app is among the best robot vacuum apps I’ve used. You can use it to do basic tasks, like schedule cleanings, as well as more complex functions. For instance, once the s9+ maps your home, which can take several cleaning cycles, you can schedule it to clean specific rooms at certain times. I also liked that I could set no-go zones that the unit would automatically avoid.
Cons to consider
The biggest negative with the Roomba s9+ is how loud it gets. On its highest suction setting, my sound meter measured 77 decibels, which is comparable to heavy city traffic. The vac was better on its lowest setting at 64 decibels – about the same as a normal conversation. In my testing, I’ve found stronger suction is usually correlated with louder operation, and that appears to hold true with the s9+.
It took at least four cleaning cycles for the s9+ to be able to map the layout of my home. This was annoying because, in the meantime, I couldn’t set no-go zones, and I had some areas with several wires that the vac would get caught up on. Fortunately, I was able to set no-go zones eventually, and the robot did a good job of obeying them.
What are your alternatives?
I just completed an update to our guide to the best robot vacuums so visit that for our most up-to-date recommendations. I’d like to add that Roomba just introduced its most affordable self-emptying Roomba, the i3+ (currently $549.99 on Amazon). At nearly half the price of the s9+, you sacrifice some mapping capabilities and suction power, but it’s still an impressive device that performs better on carpeting than any of the other vacs I’ve tested.
The bottom line
Despite these minor negatives, I think the Roomba s9+ is one of the best robot vacuums available. I especially like that it empties the dustbin itself so I don’t have to remember to stay on top of that between cleanings.
The s9+ is one of the most expensive robot vacuums available. Even the most affordable robovacs are luxury items and do not replace traditional upright models. So, we mostly just recommend the s9+ to consumers who have significant expendable income and want a low-fuss device that automates the chore of vacuuming. The s9+ is also a great option if you simply must have the most innovative gadgets. It’s the top-of-the-line model from the top name in robot vacuums.
Robot vacuums are usually deeply discounted during the major sale days, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day. So, if the s9+ is just outside of your price range and you don’t mind waiting, keep your eyes peeled for deals.
Pros: Features a useful app with virtual no-go zones, large main brushes, charging dock that empties the unit’s dustbin, does better on hardwood floors than any other vac we’ve tested, good performance on carpeting
Cons: Didn’t clean carpeted corners well in our tests, loud, takes several cleaning cycles to create a floor map
A robot vacuum can remove the small but time-consuming task of vacuuming from your never-ending to-do list. However, you’ll want one that’s powerful, relatively quiet, and doesn’t require constant attention.
That’s why I’ve tested 25 robot vacuums to find the best ones and consulted health experts and engineers on how to use them properly. A robot vac needs maintenance like any other small appliance, so while using it takes just a press of a button, all our experts stressed the importance of regularly cleaning brushes and filters, and running the vac when no one is in the room to keep the indoor air quality clean and avoid resuspended particles. We get into details over here.
The Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum performs well on carpet, hardwood, and in corners. It can map your space for more efficient cleaning and mops floors for extra convenience.
Pros: Excellent on hardwood and in corners, good on carpeting, does not get stuck, has mopping capabilities, can be scheduled and set no-go zones in the app, Alexa compatible
Cons: Gets loud on the highest suction setting, larger than most vacuums making it hard to get into tight spots
The Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum performed well in every test we put it through. On carpeting, it picked up more than 90% of the flour, coffee grounds, kitty litter, and pet hair I laid out for it. On hardwood, it did even better picking up everything except for a little flour. The S6 gets within half an inch of corners — the deepest of all the vacuums we tested.
The vacuum also rarely gets stuck. It returned to its charging dock after a cleaning cycle without getting stuck along the way approximately 75% of the time. In fact, it even somehow managed to keep going despite a floor strewn with Nerf darts after an epic battle with my kids.
The Roborock S6 comes with a variety of extras, including an adjustable water tank that can be installed in place of the dustbin and a mop cloth to mop your floors. The mop function worked well and I appreciated that you can adjust how much water the tank dispenses so you’re not creating mini floods everywhere. I recommend running the mop after vacuuming to minimize the chance of spreading dirt and dust around your floor. There’s also a damp-proof mat attachment on the charging dock so your floors don’t have prolonged direct contact with moisture. Unfortunately, extra brush heads aren’t included.
If you like smart gadgets, the Roborock app can be scheduled for cleaning sessions via the app or Amazon Alexa. You can also adjust the suction power and set how many passes the unit completes in a certain space. After a few runs, the S6 will have enough data to make a map of your home so you can set no-go zones.
Including scheduling, the set up of the S6 took about 15 minutes. All you need to do is charge the vacuum on the dock, pair the vac with the app, and you’re ready to go.
There are a couple of things to consider with the Roborock S6, specifically noise and size.
On high suction power, it recorded 70 decibels, which is similar to city traffic. However, it does sport a Quiet mode, which is only around 56 decibels according to the manufacturer; I wasn’t able to measure the noise output of this robot vac by the time I had to send it back to the company. At 14 inches in diameter and four inches high, it was also the largest vacuum we tested. This means it will have trouble getting under low-clearance furniture and into other tight spots. These aren’t deal breakers if you’re able to compromise noise in favor of power and convenience.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective vac that cleans well on a variety of surfaces, gets deep into corners, and runs quietly, the Moosoo MT-720 Robot Vacuum is your best bet.
Pros: Good performance on carpet and hardwood, excellent corner cleaning, quiet operation, compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa, low-profile design
Cons: Gets stuck easily, can’t set no-go zones
After an initial round of testing, we realized many of our top picks are quite expensive. For the most recent update of this guide, we tested five budget models. Of the models that performed well, the Moosoo MT-720 has the lowest price. It replaces the Eufy RoboVac 15C Max as our budget pick because the MT-720 does a better job of getting deep into corners.
The MT-720 comes with an extra filter, extra side brushes, a cleaning tool, and a remote control, which worked well. Setting up the vacuum took five minutes.
The app lets you schedule the vacuum to clean at the same time every day or mix it up. You can also choose smart, wall follow, spiral, random, and manual control cleaning modes. The app creates a map of the area cleaned, but you cannot set no-go zones as you can with other room mapping robot vacs.
The MT-720’s performance was good on hardwood and carpet, picking up almost all of the coffee grounds, kitty litter, and pet hair. In corners, it did an outstanding job, coming within an inch of the corner and picking up 70% of the flour on carpeting and 85% on hard flooring. At 12.5 inches in diameter and 3.25 inches high, the vac is small enough to get into tight spaces that other models might miss.
Counterintuitively, the strong suction didn’t translate into loud operation. On high suction, the sound meter registered 66 dB, or a little louder than a business office. On low, it was 59 dB, which is quieter than normal conversation.
The biggest negative with the MT-720 is that it tends to get stuck easily. During testing, it regularly got stuck on the one-inch threshold between the living room and kitchen of the testing area.
In my testing, the 240mL water tank was large enough to complete at least two passes over the 500-square-foot test floor. With the app, you can choose from four water flow levels to reach a balance of moistness and quick drying, and two mopping patterns. The deep scrubbing option is good for a more thorough cleaning, but for the most part, quick scrubbing is my go-to for regular mopping — and even then, it’s a very thorough cleaning.
When the Ozmo Pro Mopping System encounters carpeting, it automatically avoids it so you don’t get wet carpeting. In testing, I found the carpet detection sensor worked well.
As for the robot vac itself, the Ozmo T8 AIVI has HD video and a microphone so you can keep tabs on your pets or check for open windows and doors from your phone. I didn’t find the home surveillance features particularly useful but they could be handy for people who are often away from the home and concerned about security.
The more useful feature is the auto-empty station. With this dock, you don’t have to empty the dustbin after cleaning sessions — the charging station does it automatically. You just need to replace the disposable pouch every month or two.
On both carpeting and hardwood, the Ozmo T8 AIVI was among the best at removing all of the debris types we tested. Plus, it remains fairly quiet at just 67 decibels on the highest Max+ cleaning setting and 58 decibels on Quiet mode.
However, the vac consistently got stuck on the one-inch lip between my living room and kitchen. It also wasn’t able to come within two inches of corners so you may need to do occasional touch-ups using a hand vacuum or broom.
When it comes to set up, the process was seamless. I plugged in the dock to charge the vacuum, connected the app, updated the firmware, and set a schedule for cleaning. Once the vacuum mapped out my floor plan after a couple of cleanings, I was able to set no-go zones to keep the T8 AIVI away from sensitive areas.
The unit is on the bigger side measuring 13.75 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches high. This was just low enough to fit under my chairs and couches, but if you have radiators or low-clearance furniture, you may want to measure to make sure there’s enough clearance or set no-go zones. The main brush of the vacuum is around 6.25 inches long, which is about average.
The best robot vacuum for hardwood floors
The D-shaped iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum did the best in our hardwood floor tests and features a self-emptying dustbin, impressive app that lets you set no-go zones, and large main brushes that pick up debris on the first pass.
Pros: Cleans well on hardwood flooring, good performance on carpeting, rarely gets stuck, comes with a charging dock that empties the dustbin, large main brushes, has a useful app with virtual no-go zones
Cons: Loud, poor performance in carpeted corners
As iRobot’s top-of-the-line model, the Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum is another feature-packed vac. Like the Ecovacs T8 AIVI, the s9+ empties itself and is supported by an app that allows you to effortlessly schedule cleanings, set no-go zones, and customize your cleaning experience, including pairing it with the iRobot Braava Jet M6 (sold separately) to mop after it finishes its vacuum cycle.
In testing, the Roomba s9+ performed the best of any robot vac on hardwood flooring, likely due to the two large 9.5-inch main brush heads — the biggest we tested. After the cleaning cycle, there was only a trace of flour left. Its D-shaped design came within an inch and a half of the corner, picking up everything it could reach. On carpeting, the performance wasn’t as impressive, but it was still solid with only about 10% of the flour left, 5% of the kitty litter, and no coffee grounds or pet hairs to be found after testing. The unit didn’t get stuck in our testing area either.
At 77 decibels (about as loud as a busy city street) on high suction power, the s9+ was by far the loudest model we tested, and even in Quiet mode, the vacuum is a not unnoticeable 64 decibels (a little louder than a normal conversation).
Additionally, the vac got within an inch of the carpeted corner, but it left behind about 70% of the flour, which suggests it doesn’t do as well picking up fine debris on carpeting, especially in areas the main brushes have trouble reaching.
Installation was easy, but it took about 25 minutes. Most of that time was spent installing firmware updates after connecting to the app. I liked that the s9+ comes with plenty of extras, including an additional filter (which needs replacing every two months), side brush (every three months), and dirt disposal bag for the self-emptying base (every month or so.)
These extras mean you get several months of use before you need to replace parts that wear down. The app features tutorials on how to care for your Roomba, including the seamless purchase of replacement parts.
The overall unit is around 12.5 inches in diameter and the 3.5-inch height should also fit under most furniture.
The best robot vacuum for carpet
With its strong suction and large main brushes that adjust to stay in contact with your carpeting, the iRobot Roomba i3+ Robot Vacuum is a great solution for carpeted homes.
Pros: Excellent performance on carpeting, cleans well on hardwood, pairs with the app and Alexa, comes with an automatic dirt disposal base, doesn’t get stuck easily
Cons: Loud, virtual wall barriers cost extra, not impressive in corners
In our carpet tests, the i3+ picked up all of the coffee grounds, kitty litter, and pet hairs we laid out, and left behind only about 5% of the flour — the best performance of all the robot vacs we tested. In corners, it came within an inch of the wall but left behind about half the flour. The i3+ performed better on hardwood floors, picking up all of the coffee grounds and pet hair, and only left behind 5% of the kitty litter and about 10% of the flour. The robot vac didn’t get stuck going back to its base after it completed its cleaning sessions.
Whereas some robot vacuums sense carpeting and boost suction, the i3+ provides consistently strong suction, and when it detects excess dirt, it will automatically perform multiple passes to ensure it gets all of the debris. There are two main brushes measuring 6.75 inches and each one adjusts and flexes to keep in constant contact with carpet and hardwood so it picks up more debris quickly.
Though it doesn’t come with a tool for cleaning the brushes and dustbin, the i3+ comes with an extra filter and disposal bag, which only needs to be replaced every month or so. Plus, setup is a breeze only taking about 10 minutes, including connecting to the user-friendly app. With the app, you can easily schedule your unit and connect to Alexa or Google Assistant.
Unfortunately, the app doesn’t allow you to set up no-go zones, so you have to buy virtual wall barriers. It’s a small 2 by 4.5 inch-high battery-powered device that creates a virtual barrier up to 10 feet long or a 12-inch radius that the Roomba avoids. In my experience, the barriers work as advertised, but at around $40 each, I’m more likely to use common household objects to create physical barriers to keep the Roomba out of areas I want to protect.
The other negative with the i3+ is how loud it is. My sound meter recorded 68 decibels, and you can’t adjust the suction power for a quieter clean.
The overall dimensions of the vacuum are larger than most at 13.25 inches in diameter and 3.75 inches high. This can make it hard to get into tight spots, though I didn’t experience any issues in my testing.
The best robot vacuum for pet hair
The Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum picked up all the pet hair on carpet in our tests and has a great assortment of mop attachments and accessories. The company is also committed to helping homeless pets and helps them find loving homes.
Pros: Excellent job on hardwood and corners, picked up all of the pet hair in our tests, great mop attachment and accessories, app connectivity, small size, quiet operation
Cons: Can’t set up no-go zones, gets stuck easily
In general, the robot vacuums we tested did an excellent job of picking up pet hair. However, the Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum is created specifically for pet hair and has a 5.75-inch tangle-resistant main brush, a useful mop attachment, and powerful suction. Specs aside, a portion of each sale also goes to the Bissell Pet Foundation, which is committed to finding loving homes for pets.
The Bissell SpinWave picked up all of the cat and dog hair we laid out on carpeting and hardwood and did a great job on hardwood and in corners. On the hardwood, it only left a trace of kitty litter and flour. In corners, it came within two inches of each and picked up more than 60% of the flour on both the carpet and hardwood. When you consider that it’s among the quietest vacs we tested – 58 decibels on Quiet mode (slightly quieter than a normal conversation) and 65 on high suction – its performance is even more impressive. If you have particularly skittish pets, the low-decibel output is less likely to startle your fur friends.
The vacuum also included a lot of useful extras and attachments that can help any pet parent, such as a mop tank attachment, spinning mop pads, and a trial-size bottle cleaning formula. Plus, you receive an extra filter, an extra set of side brushes, and a cleaning tool that helps remove hairs from the brushes and clean the filter.
In testing, the mop attachment worked seamlessly. You just fill the tank with water and some of the cleaning formula and attach it to the vacuum in place of the dustbin. The mop pads spin to scrub away stuck-on debris while the soft surface avoidance sensor keeps it away from area rugs or carpets.
The SpinWave has a quick set up taking all of five minutes, including installing the app and connecting the unit. With the app, you can schedule cleanings and customize the suction strength based on your preferences. Unfortunately, though, the app doesn’t let you set up no-go zones.
At 12.75 inches in diameter and 3.25 inches high, it has a smaller and lower frame that can squeeze into small areas. The biggest limitation we found was it tended to get stuck easily. In our tests, it consistently got stuck on the one-inch threshold leading into the kitchen. We had to put up a physical barrier to get it to stop trying.
What else we tested
We’ve tested 25 robot vacuums and counting, here are the ones that didn’t make our top picks.
What else we recommend and why
Eufy RoboVac 15C Max ($259.99): Formerly our pick for the best affordable robot vacuum, the 15C Max offers an impressive suite of high-end features for its reasonable price, including smart connectivity and powerful suction on carpeting and hardwood. We dropped it from our guide because the Moosoo MT-720 performed similarly, including doing a better job in corners, and it’s currently $11 cheaper. However, the 15C Max doesn’t get stuck as easily. If that’s important to you, you may want to choose this model instead when on a budget.
Ecovacs U2 Pro ($299.99): Of the eight vacuums I’ve tested since the last update, this was the best. It did excellent cleaning hardwood and carpeting and rarely got stuck. The U2 Pro also comes with a mop attachment, which didn’t do a good job of cleaning up dried Tang on linoleum. Despite good performance, it couldn’t compete with our current top picks, and was too expensive for consideration as our best budget pick. Other negatives include loud operation, poor corner cleaning, and boundary strips for setting no-go zones are sold separately.
ILife A10 ($279.99 with coupon/$349.99 without): If setting no-go zones is important to you, then the A10 might be a good option. After it maps your house, you can set up virtual barriers in the app. This model also does an outstanding job of cleaning hardwood and carpet. But, there are plenty of cons: The A10 barely picked up any flour in carpeted corners, it runs loudly, and it gets stuck easily.
Proscenic M7 Pro ($479): I enjoy the automation afforded by self-empty charging docks, and the M7 Pro has one that works well. You can also set no-go zones in the app. Plus, the vac didn’t get stuck easily and performed well on carpeting and hard flooring. Yet, it had trouble cleaning corners and was loud. Plus, with a height of four inches, it doesn’t fit under low-clearance furniture.
Moosoo R3 ($249.99 with coupon/$299.99 without): If you mainly have hardwood flooring, the Moosoo R3 may be a smart choice for you, especially if you can get it on sale. It performed excellent on hardwood in our tests, ran quietly, and you can set no-go zones in the app. The vac did well on carpeting too, but it had trouble cleaning corners. And, it got stuck easily.
Proscenic 850T ($209 with coupon/$239 without): When it comes to cleaning hard flooring, the 850T is outstanding. It picked up almost all of the debris on hardwood in our testing, got deep into the corners, and got all of the grounds, hair, and litter on the carpet. However, it left 20% of the flour behind, got stuck easily, and runs loudly. Plus, in my long-term testing, the vac regularly disconnected from the app and required my attention to run on schedule.
Roborock S4 ($339.99): There’s a lot to like about the Roborock S4. However, the main reasons it didn’t make our top picks are because it’s loud, doesn’t come with many extras, and at 3.75 inches high, it doesn’t fit under low-clearance furniture. It’s pretty similar to our top pick, the S6, but lacks many of the features, such as a mop attachment. However, the S4 was excellent on carpeting, hardwood, and in corners, and it rarely got stuck. This is a more affordable alternative to the S6 if you’re not interested in a mop attachment.
Roborock S6 MaxV ($699.99): For the most part, Roborock is doing a terrific job in the robot vac space. We recommend the S6 MaxV because of its excellent performance in our carpeting, hardwood, and corner tests. It also has video surveillance and a two-way microphone if you’re looking for additional home security, no-go zones, and a useful app. But it has the same large dimensions as the S4 and it kept getting stuck on the one-inch lip leading into the kitchen of our testing course. It isn’t as loud as the S4, but louder than others we’ve tested.
iRobot Roomba i7+ ($799.99): The Roomba i7+ was the first robot vacuum to feature an automatic dirt disposal charging dock. Since then, iRobot has introduced two other models that improve upon the i7+. Though this Roomba has great high-end features, its performance doesn’t justify its price. It only did a satisfactory job on carpeting and hardwood, and it got stuck fairly often. If you find the i7+ on sale, we recommend picking it up. Otherwise, consider the s9+ or i3+ instead. Read our full review.
Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge ($239.99): Eufy usually makes more affordable robot vacuums, so at this price, the G30 Edge is considered the company’s top-end model. The variety of extras — no-go zone strips, a user-friendly app, and Alexa and Google Home compatibility — make it worth the price, but you’ll have to compromise some power. It performed poorly on carpeting and in corners during our testing, and it was in the middle of the pack on hardwood. Despite the underwhelming performance, it remains a good value for the price.
Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S ($149.99): This model didn’t perform as well as the RoboVac 15C Max, doesn’t have the same Wi-Fi connectivity, and can’t be paired with an app. It’s a good basic vacuum that does well on carpeting — which is surprising since it didn’t perform well on hardwood floors or in corners. You can often find it on sale for under $200, which we recommend grabbing if you’re in the market for a more affordable robot vac. Read our full review.
What we don’t recommend and why
Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S ($149.99): At one time, the RoboVac 11S was our budget pick, but after putting it through our testing alongside other affordable options, we no longer recommend it. The 11S doesn’t have Wi-Fi connectivity, which has become standard in the industry at every price point. The vac performed well on carpeting but left a lot of debris behind on hardwood and in corners. You’d be much better off with the Moosoo MT-720. Read our full review.
Proscenic M6 Pro ($299 with coupon/$369 without): After testing two other Proscenic models that I recommend, I was surprised by how poorly the M6 Pro cleans. It left significant debris behind on carpeting, hard flooring, and in corners. The vac also got stuck easily and ran loudly. Plus, the app is slow to respond to finger taps and commands.
Yeedi K650 ($129.99 with coupon/$149.99 without): The attractive price doesn’t make up for the fact that the Yeedi K650 does a poor job cleaning any surface. It also gets stuck often, is noisy, and doesn’t have many of the features we like, such as the ability to set no-go zones.
iRobot Roomba e5 ($299.99): This appears to be iRobot’s attempt to make a budget Roomba, but it’s the worst-performing Roomba I’ve come across in my years of testing. It didn’t come with any extras – not even an additional filter. You can schedule it easily in the app and it’s compatible with Alexa and Google Home, but you have to buy virtual wall barriers separately. Also, it gets stuck easily and doesn’t clean well on hardwood.
Neato Botvac D7 Connected ($479.99): We’re dropping the Neato Botvac D7 Connected from our guide this time around because it’s relatively big, got stuck about half the time during our original testing, and it only comes with two extra filters and a magnetic barrier, which isn’t necessary since you can set no-go zones in the app. We think there are more affordable alternatives that perform better and are more feature-rich in our guide. Read our full review.
Eufy RoboVac 11S Max ($249.99): The 11S Max is an update to the 11S, but we feel the original 11S is better. Ultimately though, if you’re spending this much, the 15C Max performed much better in our testing. The 11S Max did poorly on carpeting, hardwood, and in corners. It also relies on a remote controller rather than app connectivity, which means you need to turn to and keep track of another device.
Roborock E35 ($349.99): At one point, we recommended the E35 as a good robot vac at this price, but since then, we have tested several others in this price range that outperform and have better features. The E35 doesn’t do well with hardwood or corners and is big and loud. Read our full review.
Roborock S5 Max ($549.99): The S5 Max is loud, big, and it did poorly in corners and on carpeting in our tests.
I’ve been reviewing vacuums for the past few years, writing numerous buying guides and reviews, so I leaned on my background when developing our testing methodology. I also consulted three experts and took their advice and expertise into consideration — Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at the Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Institute of South Florida; Andrea Ferro, Ph.D., a professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Clarkson University and the current president of the American Association for Aerosol Research; and Jill Notini, the Vice President of Communication and Marketing for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.
In addition to using each robot vacuum daily for at least several weeks, I tested each one for its suction on various types of flooring including corners, ability to maneuver around obstacles, noise, and special features. Our testing methodology has gotten more comprehensive over the years, so for any models that I’d previously tested but didn’t have the vacuums on hand anymore, I extrapolated the data as best as possible based on previous testing and manufacturer info. Those vacuums are the iRobot Roomba i7+, Neato Botvac D7 Connected, Eufy 11S Max and 15C Max, and Roborock S4, S6, and E35.
Here are the main attributes we look for and how we test them
Size: I note the specs of the overall unit, main brush, and side brushes. This gives me an idea of how well a vacuum can clean floors and carpet — the larger the brushes, the more they can usually sweep up. The main brushes are often somewhere between 5 to 10 inches long and side brushes are usually 2 to 3 inches long. Of the vacs I’ve tested, only Roomba models have two main brushes; others just have one. I’ve noticed that longer brushes tend to facilitate faster cleaning. If this appeals to you, consider a unit with a longer brush, such as the Roomba s9+.
Carpet cleaning: I poured a tablespoon each of flour, coffee grounds, and kitty litter on 18-inch-square sections of carpeting. To make sure I had enough pet hair, I also collected pet hairs from my rat terrier and two cats to place on carpeting. I ran the vacuum on its most powerful mode for two cleaning cycles and compared before-and-after photos to estimate the percentage of each material picked up or left behind.
Hardwood floor cleaning: This is the same test as the carpet cleaning test, but on hardwood flooring.
Corner cleaning: To test corner cleaning abilities, I poured a teaspoon of flour in an approximately four-inch-radius in a corner on hardwood and carpeting. I took pictures of the messes before and after running the robot vac for two cleaning cycles to compare how much flour was left over. I also measured how close to the corner the vac was able to reach.
Obstacle avoidance: You don’t want your robot vac to get stuck while it’s cleaning or when it’s returning to its charging dock, both of which force you to hunt it down while it’s sending you notifications or making annoying error sounds. I tested the vacuum in an approximately 500-square-foot room with several obstacles, including stairs, a one-inch threshold to a kitchen, and a table with chairs.
Loudness: I used a sound meter to measure the decibel output of each of the robot vacuums from 12 inches away as they ran on the highest and lowest settings. For vacuums I no longer had in my possession for testing, I relied on manufactures’ info and my previous notes.
Brushes: I noted the lengths of the main and side brushes as they’ll likely indicate performance in our cleaning tests.
Robot vacuums work using a combination of suction and brushes. There are two types of brushes on a robot vacuums: the side brush and the main brush. Units have either one or two side brushes that are about three inches in diameter and protrude from the forward portion of the vac. They move in a circular motion, get into corners, and feed debris to the main brush. There appears to be little difference in the performance of vacuums with two side brushes versus those with one.
The main brush is between five and ten inches long, located under the unit, and is made of a rubber-like material. The vacuum sucks debris into the main brush which spins to feed the materials into the dustbin. Of the vacs I’ve tested, only Roomba models have two main brushes. Other models just have one. I’ve noticed that longer brushes tend to facilitate faster cleaning. If this appeals to you, consider a unit with a longer brush, such as the Roomba s9+.
Extras: I note if the vacuums included extras such as filters and side brush replacements, mop attachments, a cleaning tool, and more.
Special features: All of the vacuums featured some method for scheduling and returning to their charging dock on their own, so those weren’t useful differentiators. Auto-dirt disposal, voice control, and home surveillance aren’t universal, so you may want to consider if those are important. (There’s more information on those and other features here.)
What we’re testing next
We’re constantly testing new vacuums to update our guide. Below are a few models we are currently testing or will be testing soon:
LG CordZero ThinQ ($1,199.99): Whereas most robot vacuums are good for daily light cleanings, LG bills this CordZero ThinQ as “powerful enough to be your primary vacuum.” The vac has an inverter motor that adjusts to the debris levels and a large main brush that picks up more on the first pass. It also has cameras for obstacle detection and avoidance and home surveillance. The biggest negatives appear to be the expensive price and the 5.6-inch height, which may keep it from fitting under furniture.
Samsung JetBot 90 AI+ (price not yet available): Samsung just announced the release of an AI-based robot vac at the 2021 CES trade show and we’re looking forward to testing its smart-learning capabilities to avoid obstacles. It also has cameras and can be connected to the brand’s SmartThings hub for another layer of home security.
Samsung Electronics R7040 ($312.94): The R7040 was in a previous version of our guide based on positive reviews by other sites, but we weren’t able to get a unit in time to test in this round. We’re looking forward to seeing how its unique flat front-edge design works in corners.
Trifo Lucy ($699.99): In addition to powerful suction and an outstanding app, Lucy has HDR video, a two-way microphone, and the ability to detect noise and people in your home as part of a home security set up. I’m interested to test its vacuuming abilities alongside the home security features.
Why we don’t measure Pascal Pressure Unit
A robot vacuum’s suction power is measured in Pascal (Pa). Generally speaking, the higher the Pa, the better, but that’s a misleading metric of comparison.
When I talked to engineers at iRobot about a year ago, they told me that there are several ways to measure suction power, but there are no industry standards. They viewed the reported Pa measurements as essentially useless, hence why it’s nearly impossible to find suction power for iRobot vacs. It’s also difficult to find the Pa for Ecovacs, though Eufy and Roborock report the measurements for their models.
Due to the inconsistent reporting from manufacturer s, we don’t include Pa as a part of our testing methodology and criteria.
How to shop for a robot vacuum
While using a robot vacuum is easy enough, shopping for one can be overwhelming. Here are the main aspects to look for when considering which one to buy.
Size: If you have furniture that’s hard to move or low-clearance pieces like sofas or bed frames, you’ll want to pay attention to the height of a robot vacuum; the other dimensions are usually within the range of reason for a normal household. For example, I have several radiators in my house with a 3.5-inch clearance that slim vacuums can get under, while just-slim-enough models sometimes get stuck, and too-thick models bump up against and go elsewhere. If you want your robot vacuum to get under your low-clearance furniture, make sure you choose a model that is slim enough to do so.
Features: It’s important to think about what features you actually need. For instance, if you work from home and are rarely away, HD cameras aren’t useful since you can keep tabs on your home with your own eyes. If your floors are covered with carpet, you don’t need your robot vac to mop. I also almost never use voice control out of personal habit, but if you use Alexa or Google Assistant for everything, then compatibility with those services is a must.
Extras: You can easily purchase extra filters or brushes for robot vacs, but we think having them included with the unit is better. All of our top picks include useful extras like brushes or dirt disposal bags.
Price: Robot vacuums go on sale often, and the discounts are steepest during Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. We expect most of the models we recommend in this guide to go on sale so it pays to wait until those sale days.
How to use a robot vacuum
Robot vacuums make keeping your house clean easier, but there’s still some regular maintenance needed to improve the performance and longevity as well as help your indoor air quality.
Run your robot vac when no one is around: Andrea Ferro, Ph.D., a professor at Clarkson University and president of AAAR, and Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at PCSI, both recommend running your robot vacuum in unoccupied areas. The robot vacs can kick dust, pollutants, and microbes back into the air as it vacuums floors, which can lead to subpar indoor air quality. “Every vacuum, including a robot vacuum, has the potential to release some dust, particles, and allergens back into the air, but the benefits still outweigh the risks,” said Peña-Hernández.
And run it regularly: Ferro and Peña-Hernández agree that you should run your robot vac at least once per week and more if you have pets and heavy-traffic areas. Ferro even suggests that daily cleaning isn’t a bad idea. I generally set my vacuums to run in the early morning before I wake up or when the level of my house where the vacuum is running will be unoccupied, especially since I live in a large house with three pets and no HVAC system.
Clean the dustbin and filter: If you’re regularly vacuuming your space, you’ll need to make sure to empty the dustbin and clean the filter. According to Peña-Hernández, you should clean the vacuum’s filter at least once a week, or twice a week if you have a pet.
You’ll also need to replace the filter and brushes every few months. Manufacturers usually give guidelines in the vac’s user manual on how often you should replace these components, but a good sign that it’s time to replace your filters or brushes is if they appear to be damaged or if your vac just isn’t doing as good of a job of cleaning as it once did.
Fortunately, many models come with extra filters and brushes, but eventually, you’ll have to purchase replacements. Manufacturers usually link to their parts store in your robot vac’s app, but you can also usually find parts on Amazon so it’s worth shopping around. Just make sure that you are buying the right parts for your model.
Use it in addition to a traditional vacuum: Despite how far robot vacuums have come in the last decade, they won’t replace your stick and upright vacuums anytime soon.
Do you still need another vacuum if you have a robot vac?
While the dream is to set your robot vacuum on a schedule and have it do all the floor cleaning for you, it’s just not the reality at the moment. Robot vacuums don’t clean as much dirt and debris as upright vacuums. “I think you’d still need a stick or upright vacuum for spots that the robot vac can’t reach,” Ferro said.
Robot vacs function best as maintenance cleaners. Having them run a couple times a week will make your floors less gunky, especially if you have pets. But these vacuums also need babysitting. You need to clear their path of anything that might get tangled in their wheels, and some have trouble getting into or out of tight spaces. Their bins are fairly small, so you’ll need to empty them more regularly than an upright or stick version.
Even squarish robot vacuums — as opposed to round ones — aren’t perfect at getting into corners. Some are too tall to fit under certain types of furniture. They obviously avoid stairs, too. Upright vacuums typically come with attachments that are useful for cleaning things like drapes or furniture, which robot vacs can’t handle.
“Research indicates that robot vacuums are not meant to replace upright vacuums,” Peña-Hernández said. “That likely has to do with their smaller motor size. They’re good for touch-ups and in-between uses.”
When it comes to robot vacuums, expect maintenance not miracles.
How have robot vacuum cleaners improved?
Since iRobot’s first Roomba came on the market in the early 2000s, robot vacuum technology has improved a lot. You can now find square-ish models in addition to round ones, and the mapping technology is much better.
Cameras and optical sensors can help with obstacle recognition, and LiDAR-based navigation uses lasers to detect objects. These capabilities aren’t perfect, but vacuums are now more adept at finding their way back to charging docks than they were even a few years ago. Another new feature is self-emptying bins, which suck the debris out of the robot and into a canister in the charging dock.
Many robot vacuums are now smart, letting you start a cleaning session from an app or by asking a smart speaker. Some, like Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum, let you block off entire rooms in an app, so you don’t have to worry about them getting stuck on your kid’s clothing piles. With cameras and connectivity come some privacy concerns.
Some interesting features aren’t universal, such as auto-dirt disposal and home surveillance. To get more guidance on these features, I spoke with Jill Notini, Vice President of Communications and Marketing for AHAM.
A few of the new features she’s excited about — and that are found in many if not all of the models in our guide — include:
Advanced navigation: “Many of today’s models have the ability to map a home and remember how to get around objects and stay out of tough spots. You can also program the robots to vacuum specific areas of the home.” You can also set no-go zones that the vacuum should avoid on your phone via the app.
Mopping ability: “Robots are evolving into floor care multitaskers,” said Notini. “In addition to vacuuming, some models now have the ability to mop, both wet and dry.”
Voice control: “Robotic vacuums can now respond to voice commands, either directly or through an outside system like Amazon Alexa.”
Remote operation: “You can start, stop, or control your robotic vacuum with your mobile device.”
Cameras: “Cameras have been incorporated into some models to help the robot map the room and allow you to get a robot’s eye view of cleaning and keep an eye on your house while you’re away.”
Fall prevention: “Even with all of the new features and technological advances, robotic vacuums still have not gained the ability to climb stairs. Many models now utilize sensors to prevent themselves from taking a tumble down the stairs or off a higher level.” All of the robots in our testing were able to sense cliffs and avoid falling down stairs.
Automatic dirt disposal: One of the most useful features that’s becoming more ubiquitous is the charging dock that automatically empties the vacuum’s dustbin. Even the largest bins need to be emptied with regular use so it’s a maintenance task you’ll need to perform once a week — at best. But with the self-emptying dock, the chore is no longer necessary. You just throw away and replace the disposable dirt bag every month or two.
Can a robot vacuum prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus?
“Currently the CDC recommends that we take precautionary measures for vacuuming during the COVID-19 outbreak although there are no reported cases of COVID-19 associated with vacuuming,” Peña-Hernández said. “It recommends using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation, and not vacuuming areas with people in it.”
How do you clean a robot vac?
Though robot vacuums automate cleaning your floors, they are not completely hands-off. There are several care and maintenance steps you should take to ensure your vac operates properly for many years to come. Manufacturers provide clear instructions for how to clean and maintain your robot vacuum in the user manual or app.
Here are some general maintenance tasks:
Empty the dustbin: Depending on how dirty your home is, you will want to empty your robot vacuum’s dustbin after every use. If you run your vac on a daily basis and don’t have pets, you can get away with doing this chore once a week.
Clean the filter and dustbin: This is a weekly task. Cleaning the filter is important because the vacuum doesn’t clean as well when the filter is dirty. Most models’ filter and dustbin can be cleaned with water. I usually clean and thoroughly dry the dustbin while letting the filter air dry. While the filter is air drying, I insert the extra filter that most units come with. Whatever you do, make sure the filter and dustbin dry completely before you use them again.
Clean front wheel, brushes, sensors, and charging contacts: You should do this every two to four weeks. Most robot vacuums come with a cleaning tool with a brush on one end and a cutting blade on the other. Use these to cut out hairs that are wrapped around the brushes and wheel and to brush away debris. Use a soft dry cloth to dust the sensors and charging contacts per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Additionally, after about two months of use, it’s time to replace the filter. The front caster wheel and brushes — both the main brush and side brushes — should be replaced every year or so.
Can you fix a robot vac?
This depends entirely on the problem. In my years of testing robot vacuums, I’ve probably ran into every problem a robot vacuum can experience: falling down stairs (surprisingly uncommon), running through pet accidents, attempts at taking up crocheting, etc. I’ve learned that these machines are resilient.
That said, any attempt to fix a problem with your robot vacuum should start with consulting customer service. After I determined there was no chance I could clean the pet waste off my robot vacuum, I reached out to the manufacturer. And, even though the warranty specifically states these accidents aren’t covered, they still provided me with a replacement unit for free.
The most common problem I face is the vacuum finding my wife’s yarn and wrapping it around its wheels and brushes. When this happens, you can usually work the thread free if you’re patient. I usually just cut it free.
Check out our guides to more great vacuum cleaners
Stainless steel is extremely durable and resistant to water damage and rust. But it can also show every fingerprint, smudge, and water spot that is not properly wiped away. If you use the wrong type of cleaner, there is no way to restore the finish.
Ammonia, chlorine bleach, and oven cleaner are all particularly damaging, as are scouring powders and steel wool. And if you live in an area with extremely hard water, the minerals will leave spots. In other words, despite its hardiness, stainless steel requires a high level of upkeep.
For tougher stains, I need to call in backup. Luckily, I’ve tested enough stainless steel cleaning products to determine which ones get the job done.
Here are the best stainless steel cleaners in 2021
Pros: Wipes conform to tight spaces, useful for quick clean-ups, disposable, removes fingerprints and smudges
Cons: Darkens some types of metal like aluminum, wipes will dry out quickly if the canister is not properly closed
Any surface is easy to clean if you do it frequently, and this rule applies to stainless steel. In between deep cleaning, Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes are perfect for quick, everyday cleanups like cooking splatters and fingerprints on refrigerator doors.
The wipes are offered in a convenient, resealable pop-top canister to keep them from drying out — similar to other household cleaning wipes you may already have. To use, simply wipe in the direction of the metal’s grain and then buff with a soft, dry cloth to prevent streaks. Smudges, water spots, and stains will be gone.
I also love to use these wipes to remove greasy smears and splatters on my outdoor grill. And nothing will fit into the tight spot where handles join a stainless-steel panel like Weiman Wipes. When I attempt to clean those spots with some liquid cleaners, the cleaner runs down the panel before I can get my cloth in there to clean.
Pros: One-step cleaning, works well to remove smudges
Cons: Petroleum-based product, should never be used near a gas flame or hot appliance
Almost every stainless steel cleaner recommends using the product to clean away smudges and stains and then coming back with a soft, dry cloth to buff away any streaks the cleaner has left behind. With CLR Stainless Steel Cleaner, the second step is eliminated — no buffing is needed.
My microwave is mounted at eye-level which means the top of the appliance is above my head. Cleaning anything above my head is not a favorite chore so I like a one-step process. Just a good shake of the can, a quick spray with the cleaner, and one pass with a microfiber cloth leaves the finish shiny and streak-free.
While the product is scented, it is very light and dissipates quickly. The steel can is also recyclable.
Pros: Plant-based formula, safe to use around children and pets, leaves appliances clean and streak-free
Cons: Most expensive stainless steel cleaner per use, not readily available in mass-market stores
With a gentle herbal scent and plant-based ingredients, Therapy Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish is an excellent choice if someone in your home has chemical sensitivities. The company makes one of the few stainless-steel cleaners that actually list every ingredient on the label: filtered water, coconut oil, sorbitan monooleate (emulsifier), lavender vanilla essential oil blend, acrylates copolymer (emulsifier), and methylisothiazolinone (preservative).
The starter kit includes a 16-ounce spray bottle of the cleaner and a 14-by-14-inch microfiber cloth. Simply spray on the solution and, working with the grain of the metal, wipe away grime and smudges. Finish by buffing with a dry area of the microfiber cloth. After cleaning, a bit of the coconut oil remains on the surface to protect the shine and repel fingerprints.
Therapy is formulated to use on refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, sinks, outdoor grills, and microwaves. It should be noted that Therapy is slightly more expensive than the other cleaners on this list.
Pros: Cleans stainless steel using natural ingredients, inexpensive to use, can be used to clean many other surfaces around the house
Cons: Vinegar aroma
Is there anything that vinegar can’t clean? If you don’t mind the scent of vinegar and have a little leftover oil in the kitchen, your stainless-steel appliances will gleam after using this simple mixture.
I’m recommending Heinz Cleaning Vinegar because it is slightly more acidic than regular white distilled vinegar, which makes it more effective in removing grease and food splatters. I keep it in a labeled spray bottle to make cleaning easier. Just spritz the vinegar onto the surface of the stainless steel and wipe the appliance down using a microfiber cloth (following the grain of the metal, of course). You will be amazed at how clean it looks.
Then, to help protect the finish from holding onto every single fingerprint (and nose-print from the dog), use just a teeny bit of Pompeian Pure Olive Oil on a soft cloth for a final coating. You can actually use any type of oil you have on hand; mineral oil, vegetable oil, even WD-40. The key to success is using as little oil as possible (and, again, buffing it in with a microfiber cloth).
Tips for keeping stainless steel appliances clean
Wipe appliances down regularly between deeper cleanings
Since equipping my kitchen with stainless steel appliances, I have been testing various cleaning products and techniques. One tip I swear by is wiping down the appliances daily with just a dry microfiber cloth; often, this allows me to skip other cleaning products altogether.
Wipe with the grain
Like wood, stainless steel has a grain so always wipe with it, not against it.
Always use a microfiber cloth
Using a microfiber cloth instead of paper towels is also another helpful tip as these cloths reduce streaks and pick up small food particles and dust. Simply spray the cleaner directly on the appliances surface and wipe for an easy streak free shine.
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Dyson vacuums are popular because of their impressive performance and convenience.
However, the above-average price makes them out-of-reach for most consumers. We see sales on these much-sought-after devices regularly.
Well-designed, super-convenient, and easy-to-use, it’s no wonder why Dyson vacuums are some of the most sought-after products in the home space. In fact, Dyson vacuums routinely rank among our favorites.
However, Dyson’s higher-than-average price can often be a significant barrier for most shoppers. Luckily, these vacuums regularly see discounts. Right now, you can get up to $100 off select models from Dyson’s online storefront.
These are the best Dyson deals happening right now