Until recently, robot vacuums were out of reach for the average consumer, especially compared to more affordable traditional models. However, the selection of budget-friendly options has grown substantially in the past few years, so there's no shortage of relatively affordable robot vacuums with differing feature sets and designs to better suit your cleaning needs. While many cheaper robot vacuums struggle with some cleaning tasks, especially when clearing bulky material or dealing with messes on carpets, some do at least an overall fair job.
We've tested over 50 robot vacuums, and below are our recommendations for the best cheap robot vacuums. These picks are selected based on their price, performance, and feature set. If you don't have a lot of carpeting or rugs, you can also try the best robot vacuums for hardwood floors. Otherwise, you'll find more options among the best robot vacuums we've tested, period. Or, if you're also considering a vacuum of the non-robot variety, try the best cheap vacuum cleaners overall.
The ILIFE A4s is the best budget robot vacuum we've tested. As expected for a vacuum at this price point, it's saddled with a pretty basic bump-navigation system and lacks any room mapping capability, so you can't send it to specific rooms or set up virtual boundary lines the vacuum won't cross. That said, it doesn't embarrass itself when it comes to actual debris pickup performance: it does a great job on bare floors and does quite well when clearing away pet hair, though it struggles a little on carpets. It's worth noting that especially large debris can clog its suction inlet.
This vacuum is a solid option if your home Wi-Fi is unreliable. There's no companion app for pairing the vacuum with your smartphone; instead, you can control the vacuum directly using the included remote control.
The Eureka Groove is worth considering if you're looking for a hassle-free way to keep your floors clean but want to spend as little as possible on a robot vacuum. Like the ILIFE A4s, it has a rudimentary bump-navigation system that's far from the most efficient on the market; it's prone to getting stuck around obstacles like coat racks or chairs, and it tends to clean the same space more than once. While a smartphone app is available, the included remote control provides the same level of overall functionality; you can change cleaning modes, adjust suction power, command it to return to its charging dock, and even make directional inputs. This is great if your home internet coverage is unreliable.
Battery performance is on the lower end of the scale; in its most powerful setting, it runs for a little over an hour, which might not be enough to clean large areas that need extra attention. Regarding raw debris pickup performance, it also lags behind the pricier ILIFE. It struggles even more with larger debris on hard floors and has a hard time on carpet.
The Wyze Robot Vacuum is an excellent choice if you're looking to increase your budget. It may be pricier than the other robot vacuums on this list, but it has some notable advantages. Unlike the ILIFE A4s or Eureka Groove, it has a LIDAR mapping sensor, allowing for quick and precise room mapping, even in the dark. It does a considerably better job than either when making its way around obstacles like tables or chairs. It also has a long max battery life of over two hours, though recharging takes quite a while. You can use its companion app to set up virtual boundary lines and schedule cleaning sessions for specific rooms using the coverage map.
It delivers exceptional performance on bare floors and easily clears away pet hair on most surfaces. Unfortunately, its dirt compartment is also tiny and needs regular emptying, and it isn't compatible with a self-emptying dock. One feature it's missing compared to some pricier models is an automatic suction power adjustment feature, so you'll need to adjust that manually on some surfaces. However, it won't be too big a concern if you mostly have bare floors.
Jan 19, 2024: Replaced Shark AI Robot with ILIFE A4S as 'Best Budget Robot Vacuum' pick due to current pricing. Added Eureka Groove as the 'Best Robot Vacuum Under $150' pick. Removed Roborock E4 from Notable Mentions due to current availability.
Jul 27, 2023: Due to current product availability and pricing, we replaced Neato D8 with Shark AI Robot as the 'Best Budget Robot Vacuum' and swapped Shark ION Robot AV753 Series for Eureka Groove as the 'Best Robot Vacuum Under $150' pick.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap robovacs for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you'd like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of all our robot vacuum reviews priced under $300. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.