When you're juggling work, family, or other priorities, cleaning can be the last thing on your mind. However, you can't ignore the mess piling up on your rugs or carpet forever, especially since it can already be difficult to remove debris from high-pile textiles. While a traditional upright or canister vacuum requires your time and energy, a robot vacuum can automate the cleaning process and even operate when you're not at home, which can be a huge time-saver. Although many robot vacuums struggle to move on carpet, there are a few that can do a decent job.
We've tested over 15 robot vacuums, and below are our recommendations for the best robot vacuums for carpet you can buy. These picks are selected not only based on their performance but also their feature-set, design, and price. Check out our recommendations for the best robot vacuums and the best robot vacuums for pet hair. If you're looking for a different type of vacuum for carpets, check out the best vacuums for carpets.
The iRobot Roomba S9 is the best robot vacuum for high-pile carpet that we've tested. This well-built robot can easily climb onto shaggy, high-pile carpets or rugs and move around without much of an issue. It also offers an outstanding battery performance as it can last over two and a half hours on its lowest cleaning mode before it returns to its charging dock.
It does a good job on high-pile carpet as it can pick up pet hair as well as quite a bit of sand and baking soda. It also has a great performance on low-pile carpets, especially since it can pick up a lot of sand on this surface type too. When using its companion app, you can set boundary markers to keep it from entering certain rooms as well as schedule periodic cleaning times. If you want to expand your setup down the line, you can also purchase a charging station with a dirt bin separately, which allows it to automatically empty its own dirt compartment each time it docks at the station.
Unfortunately, it has several parts that need regular maintenance. It also has quite a few recurring costs that can add up over time. Still, if you're looking for a robot that can outperform most other similarly-typed appliances on thick, shaggy rugs, this is one of the best robot vacuums for carpet that we've tested.
The best robot vacuum for low-pile carpet that we've tested is the Neato Botvac D7. This robot vacuum delivers superb pet hair-cleaning performance on low-pile carpet and clears quite a bit of coarse, sand-like material, though it may take an extra pass to fully clear small, fine debris like baking soda. It's decently easy to maintain too, which is somewhat unusual for a robot vacuum.
It's impressively well-built, with high-grade plastic construction and durable rubber wheels that enable it to roll smoothly, even on uneven surfaces. It supplies roughly anywhere between 100 to 120 minutes of continuous runtime, depending on the power mode you choose, which should be more than sufficient for most cleaning tasks. Its companion app lets you set virtual boundary lines, schedule cleaning times, check cleaning route coverage, and even remote-pilot the vacuum for added control.
Unfortunately, it has high recurring costs, as many components need to be replaced regularly. It also can get stuck when trying to maneuver around low obstructions like electrical cords and rugs. Otherwise, its versatile performance and great build quality make it a solid option for cleaning low-pile carpets.
If you want an even more hands-off cleaning experience, take a look at the iRobot Roomba i7+. This robot vacuum isn't as easy to maintain as the Neato Botvac D7 and has higher recurring costs, but it can empty debris from its internal dirt compartment into an external dirtbag built into its charging station, which slightly reduces its maintenance needs. It can also maneuver around obstructions like electrical cords more effectively than the Neato and does a decent overall job on low-pile carpet, though its battery life of a little over 70 minutes isn't quite as impressive.
Get the Neato if you want an easier-to-maintain vacuum with superior battery performance, but consider the iRobot if you don't want to worry about emptying a dirt compartment as frequently.
The best robot vacuum for carpet that we've tested in the budget category is the Roborock E4. It easily clears pet hair from carpets and doesn't lose very much suction as its dirt compartment fills. While it struggles a little more with debris like sand and baking soda, it gives a decent performance overall. Also, despite the cheaper price point, it has an impressive build quality.
It has remarkable battery life, lasting more than three hours on a single charge if you use the lowest power mode. Even at max power, it gives you nearly two hours of continuous cleaning. It's also good at maneuvering itself, as it easily fits under couches and low furniture. Also, although it lacks the laser navigation system that some more expensive models use, it cleans rooms in an efficient pattern, and its companion app can even create a map of the area it just cleaned.
However, it takes quite a bit of work to maintain since several parts need to be taken out and serviced regularly. It also incurs quite a few recurring costs since several parts, including the brushroll and HEPA filter, have to be replaced periodically. Still, if you're looking for an affordable, hands-off way to clean the carpets in your home, this is a good option.
12/21/2020: Slight changes to the text; no change in product recommendations.
12/03/2020: Added the Shark IQ Robot to Notable Mentions.
10/22/2020: Replaced the Neato Botvac D7 with the iRobot Roomba S9 as 'Best Robot Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet'. Moved the Roborock S6 to Notable Mentions and added the Neato Botvac D7 as 'Best Robot Vacuum for Low-Pile Carpet'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best robot vacuums for carpet for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our robot vacuum reviews, ranked by their high-pile carpet performance. 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.