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 25 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. It's a very well-built vacuum, with a hard plastic body and durable-feeling rubber wheels. It has no problem sucking up pet hair from low-pile carpets and also picks up a good amount of large debris like sand, although it may need more than one pass through a room to clear fine material like baking soda.
The battery performance is incredible, as it provides roughly an hour and a half to two hours of continuous use, depending on what setting is used. You can manually set it to 'Eco' mode, which is quieter and extends the battery life, or 'Turbo' mode, which increases the suction power and brushroll speed. The vacuum uses smart pathing to clean in an efficient pattern and has a variety of automation features that are available through a companion app, including the ability to set virtual boundary markers to keep it out of certain areas.
Unfortunately, it tends to get stuck on obstacles like rug tassels and electric cords. It also has several parts that need to be replaced regularly, so it incurs high recurring costs. On the other hand, it's easier to maintain than many robot vacuums, and its performance on carpets makes it one of the best robot vacuums for pet hair that we've tested.
If you want to avoid emptying your robot vacuum's dust bin as much as possible, you may want the iRobot Roomba i7+. This model has a shorter maximum batter life than the Neato Botvac D7, but it delivers a similar performance on low-pile carpets, and its dock has an external dirtbag built into it. When the vacuum's small internal dustbin is full, it returns to the dock automatically and empties it into the more spacious dirtbag, then resumes cleaning. It has an excellent build quality and does a better job of maneuvering itself around obstacles like electric cords. It also recharges more quickly than the Neato. However, it's more difficult to maintain and incurs higher recurring costs since the external dirtbag needs to be thrown away and replaced when full.
If you want the option that's easier to maintain or with better battery performance, go for the Neato. If you want the extra convenience of a vacuum with an automatic dirt disposal feature, go for the iRobot.
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.
Feb 19, 2021: Verified that we're still recommending the best products and that they're in stock.
Dec 21, 2020: Slight changes to the text; no change in product recommendations.
Dec 03, 2020: Added the Shark IQ Robot to Notable Mentions.
Oct 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.