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 35 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 best robot vacuum for high-pile carpet that we've tested is the Neato D8. This robot vacuum delivers very good performance on high-pile carpets, where it clears pet hair without difficulty and an impressive amount of larger material like sand. It can take a couple of extra passes to suck up fine material like baking soda. Its HEPA filter can also trap allergens as it cleans.
This vacuum has a LIDAR navigation system that enables it to develop increasingly efficient cleaning routes, along with a wide variety of automation features. You can use its app to see a map of its coverage area, establish no-go zones that the vacuum won't enter, change its suction power mode, or check cleaning session history. It's small enough to maneuver under couches and tables and feels very well-built.
Unfortunately, while its battery performance is excellent overall, its maximum runtime of 70 minutes is markedly shorter than that of the older Neato Botvac D7, but this can vary in the real world. It has quite a few parts that need regular replacing, too. Still, its strong cleaning performance, impressive build quality, and broad selection of automation features make it one of the best vacuums for high-pile carpet that we've tested.
The best robot vacuum for low-pile carpet that we've tested is the iRobot Roomba S9. This premium robot vacuum has little trouble sucking up pet hair and larger debris like sand on this surface type. Its performance with fine debris like baking soda is less impressive, and it may take an extra pass for it to clear everything, however. Thankfully, suction performance remains consistent as its dirt compartment fills up, which is good when dealing with larger, more spread-out messes.
This vacuum feels amazingly well built, with a high-grade plastic exterior and sturdy rubber wheels that enable it to roll smoothly on carpeted floors. Its iAdapt 3.0 navigation system plots increasingly efficient cleaning routes of its coverage area, and you can use its companion app to set up virtual boundary lines or schedule cleaning sessions for individual rooms. Depending on your choice of suction power and usage habits, it supplies roughly anywhere between 50 to over 150 minutes of runtime on a single charge, though this can change in the real world.
Unfortunately, many parts need to be cleaned periodically or even regularly replaced, so user maintenance requirements are demanding, and recurring costs are high. It's also a relatively heavy vacuum, making it difficult to pick up and carry to another room. Otherwise, if you're looking for a hands-free way of keeping low-pile carpets clean, this is a good option.
If you're looking for a vacuum that's less demanding in terms of regular maintenance, consider the Neato Botvac D7. It isn't as well-built as the iRobot Roomba S9 and struggles more with clearing fine debris like baking soda or larger material like sand on low-pile carpets, but it has fewer parts that need regular cleaning. Battery performance is exceptional, as this vacuum can supply roughly anywhere from 100 to over 120 minutes of runtime depending on the chosen suction power mode, though this can vary in the real world. It has a broad array of automation features, which you can access through its companion app. You can set up virtual boundary lines, check cleaning map coverage, or even remote-pilot the vacuum if it ends up getting stuck. Unfortunately, it's more likely than the iRobot to get stuck when trying to maneuver around low-lying obstructions like electrical cords. In addition, recurring costs are high, as many parts need regular replacing.
Get the iRobot if you want better overall performance on low-pile carpet and superior maneuverability, but consider the Neato if less demanding maintenance requirements are a priority.
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.
Jun 17, 2021: Replaced iRobot Roomba S9 with Neato D8 as 'Best Robot Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet'. Replaced Neato Botvac D7 with iRobot Roomba S9 as 'Best Robot Vacuum For Low-Pile Carpet'. Replaced iRobot Roomba i7+ as 'Alternative With Automatic Dirt Compartment' category with Neato Botvac D7 as 'Easier To Maintain Alternative'. Added iRobot Roomba i7+ to Notable Mentions.
Apr 19, 2021: Verified that the best products are still being recommended and that they're in stock.
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.
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.