Robot vacuums have always been best-suited for hardwood floors since bare, even surfaces are easier to maneuver on and have fewer small crevices for dirt and debris to get trapped in. On this kind of surface, a robot vacuum can be an invaluable cleaning aid for many homeowners since they take the stress and the effort out of cleaning and shouldn't get stuck. Still, some perform better on this surface than others, as the best robot vacuums for hardwood floors should be able to clear everything from pet hair to large chunks of debris on this kind of surface with ease.
We've tested over 10 robot vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations of the best vacuums for hardwood floors to buy. These are based not only on their performance on bare floors but also on their design and price. For more buying recommendations, take a look at our list of the best robot vacuums for pet hair, the best robot vacuums, and the best hardwood vacuums.
The best robot vacuum for hardwood floors that we've tested is the Roborock S6. It delivers superb cleaning performance on hardwood floors, where it clears everything from pet hair to pieces of rice as well as bulkier material, such as pieces of cereal. For the most part, there isn't a dramatic drop in performance as its dirt compartment fills up, which is great when it's completing a longer cleaning job.
It comes with a mop attachment that allows you to clean up sticky messes, though we don't test this feature. Battery life is fantastic, as you can expect roughly anywhere between two to three hours of continuous runtime, depending on its current suction mode. You can use its companion app to set virtual boundary makers, schedule cleaning times for individual rooms, and even check to see if certain parts are due for service or replacement.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few parts that do require regular replacement, so recurring costs can add up. Due to the relatively high number of parts that need to be inspected, routine maintenance can also be a bit of a hassle. Still, if you're looking for a robot vacuum that can tackle a variety of messes on hardwood floors, this is a good option.
If you're looking for a robot vacuum that doesn't need to be emptied of debris quite as often, take a look at the iRobot Roomba S9. While this premium robot vacuum has higher recurring costs than the Roborock S6 and is slightly more demanding in terms of maintenance requirements, it does have a bigger dirt compartment. It's even offered with an external dirt bin built into its charging station that it automatically returns to for hands-off debris disposal, though you have to empty this external dust bin once it reaches max capacity. While it performs worse on bare floors than the Roborock, its performance in this respect is still excellent, and it should do a better job of dealing with debris on the occasional rug.
Get the Roborock if you prioritize cleaning performance on bare floors, but take a look at the iRobot if you don't want to deal with the hassle of emptying a dustbin quite as often.
The best budget robot vacuum for hardwood floors that we've tested is the Roborock E4. It easily clears different kinds of messes on surfaces like linoleum and hardwood. It sucks up pet hair as well as debris like rice and cereal with very little sign of performance dropping as its dirt compartment fills up. Better still, it has a HEPA filter to trap allergens as it cleans, which is great if you have a heavily-shedding pet.
Its maneuverability is impressive, as it's low enough to move under couches and tables and climb over obstructions like electrical cords. It has a sturdy-feeling plastic construction and offers superb battery life, supplying roughly anywhere between two to over three hours of continuous runtime, depending on the suction setting used. Its companion app lets you schedule cleaning times, manually adjust its floor mode, or even remote-control the vacuum.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of parts that need to be serviced regularly, though accessing them is simple for the most part. Quite a few of its components are disposable and need routine replacement, so recurring costs can add up over time. Otherwise, its exceptional bare floor performance and budget-friendly pricing help make it one of the best robot vacuums we've tested.
11/16/2020: Slight changes to the text for accuracy and clarity; no change in product recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best robot vacuums for hardwood floors 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's the list of all our robot vacuums for hardwood floors, ranked by their performance on bare floors. 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.