We are going to be looking at 5 of the best Roomba alternatives that are not too expensive but will carry it in terms of performance.
The cheapest Roomba available right now is the 690 and if you were to buy it online, it would cost around $300.
All of these options will cost less.
When it comes to robotic vacuum cleaners, there is one brand that many people trust – iRobot.
They are one of the few pioneers in this field and have been in the field for decades.
There is no doubt that their products perform well thanks to a combination of well-thought-out design, decent motor, acoustic sensors that detect dirt and WiFi connectivity.
The downside to iRobot is the price.
Their best-spec Roomba 980 sells for nearly $800 on Amazon. Even the cheapest 960 is close to $600, so it’s best to pay for a robot cleaner.
But here’s the good news, you don’t have to pay such an amount to buy a suitable vacuum cleaner. In fact, you can buy one for a fifth of the price thanks to these new manufacturers that came out just a year ago.
We are going to talk about the 5 different Roomba alternatives that will perform almost as well but without having to pay a premium.
Don’t forget to check out my guide on WiFi robot vacuums if you want something with an app that you can access remotely.
Don’t let the “Made in China” label stop you from buying them because the quality has improved!
xiaomi robot vacuum cleaner
ILIFE V5S Pro
EuFy RobotVac 11
Popsweep Bobby Pet
|Shipping time||Unavailable||Unavailable||280 minutes||6 hours.||350 minutes|
|the show length||160 minutes||2.5 hours||120 – 150 minutes||100 minutes||100 minutes|
|remote control||Application based|
|bin full indicator|
|Cleaning sessions per week||7||Unlimited||7||7||7|
|an offer||12.01 inches||13.58 inches||13.2 inches||13.8 inches||12.99 inches|
|Height||3.15 inches||3.15 inches||3.9 “||3.6 inches||3.18 inches|
|Weight||5.62 EGP||8.4 pounds||4.52 EGP||6.7 EGP||5.95248 EGP|
|Guarantee||One year||One year||One year||One year||One year|
How to choose a good replacement for Roomba?
Before buying the first Chinese product you find online, there are a few guidelines you should take into consideration.
Not all Chinese brands are bad. In fact, there are a few really outstanding ones based on my tests. Two of these brands are Xiaomi and ILIFE.
Call me crazy but I would say these products are very close to iRobot in terms of quality and cleanliness.
I recently compared Xiaomi and Samsung PowerBot R9040 which costs around $200.
And not only did Xiaomi perform better than the PowerBot in terms of pickup, but it was also efficient.
This is the most important factor to consider before even shopping for one. Setting a budget will eliminate options that are outside your price range.
For the purpose of this article, you don’t need to spend more than $350 to buy something decent. I already talked about Xiaomi a while ago. And this is a good sample of why you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money to buy a robot cleaner.
You can get a decent robot vacuum for under $90. But it will not have a charging base and a remote control. Performance should not be an issue. I’m talking about the ILIFE V1 robot that works almost the same as the Roomba 650.
Mobility can be the difference between a good robot and a bad robot. Cleaning a robot with a poor navigation system will take a long time and may not return to the dock.
Part of good mobility is being able to avoid obstacles and not crash into them. This will prevent scuffs on the furniture and make the robot more efficient in cleaning the room.
Now most of the products I will show here will not be able to clean more than two rooms at a time because they use the infrared navigation system.
But even the Roomba 650 can’t clean multiple rooms, so that’s not a problem.
Sophisticated robots use advanced software and navigation sensors capable of tracking their locations and cleaning multiple rooms. But these will cost upwards of $500.
Some of these bots include Neato BotVac, Roomba, and Dyson.
If this is a major concern for you, expect to pay a little more.
In this age of smartphones, WiFi connectivity is a must. That’s how fast technology is advancing and the robot vacuum isn’t far behind.
The Big Three have already added this to their list of features. I’m talking about Dyson, Neato, and Roomba and I expect more to follow on the set.
Connecting to a WiFi network will allow you to access the bot even if you are not physically present. All you need is a router and an internet connection to access this.
It is a more comfortable game in which you can schedule or operate the bot even when you are busy in the office.
The app also shows you important information about the bot like battery life. On some brands, you will also see a history of previous cleaning cycles and the shelf life of consumables such as the filter, battery, and side brush.
A good robot should have good enough suction power and agitation to clean surface dirt even on carpets.
Don’t expect a deep clean from a robot as that is simply impossible. These machines use small motors with limited suction but enough power to perform daily cleaning tasks.
Our pick: ILIFE A6
ILIFE is a Chinese start-up company specializing in robotic vacuums. It is one of many Chinese products that have come out of nowhere.
And I’ve tested several of those – Jisiwei, Alfawise, Xiaomi, Minsu and ILIFE. Among the 5, ILIFE and Xiaomi stand out because of their performance and quality that can match more expensive brands like Neato, Samsung and iRobot.
A6 is the latest ILIFE robot vacuum that uses the latest motor, brush and battery which has resulted in better overall performance and quieter operation.
This is actually quieter than the V5S Pro and A4S with ear test.
One of the biggest improvements I made was moving away from the bristle brush and replacing it with this…
This new design uses rubber that has a long squeegee like contraption that pushes dirt toward the suction chamber.
The bottom design remains the same. It has two side brushes that make cleaning edges and corners of A6 above average.
It still uses the same IR-based navigation as the older Class A A4 and A4S robots. But ILIFE has improved collision detection to the point that the robot will avoid hitting an object.
As long as the robot “sees” the obstacle through the sensors on the bumper, it will not hit it hard.
In terms of how it moves, it still goes in a random direction. But the efficiency has improved compared to the A4S based on initial tests.
To see the features of this bot, please watch this video…
Other improvements include improved uptime and engine optimization. This robot comes with a larger lithium-ion battery that works for approximately 3 hours.
It also uses second generation brushless motors which should last longer than the first generation motor.
The only thing that the A6 has over the Roomba 650 and other robots at this price range is the addition of a virtual wall.
This device basically prevents the robot from going into the restricted areas. These include the garage, bathroom, laundry room, and the like. It provides an extra feature not found in the more expensive iRobot.
Improved shock absorber sensor
Another big improvement is how this robot avoids hitting furniture. The sensors inside the bumper do a much better job of detecting obstructions.
On the older A4, it still tended to bump against furniture quite hard. But this is no longer a problem with the A6. The upgraded sensors will tell the robot to slow down and not hit hard objects.
He might still bump into things
Note that there are cases where the bot can still bump into things. But in these cases the sensor does not “see” the obstacle because it is a low or narrow instrument.
For larger furniture, you don’t have to worry about scuff marks.
But all of these upgrades come at a cost — about $230 at GearBest and $250 at Amazon.
Note: You will get an even better deal if you use the coupon code “GB9%” at GearBest.
We chose the A6 because it’s like getting the Roomba 800 but at a fraction of the price. The new motorized brush removes bristles so they are no pain in brushing. And performance isn’t far off thanks to the powerful motor and dual side brushes.
2: Xiaomi Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Xiaomi is another tech company that is challenging iRobot and Neato.
In fact I have copied most of the features of Neato BotVac and then some.
Both of these robots use the same laser-guided navigation system and the SLAM algorithm to help determine their location.
Another similarity is the smartphone app and WiFi connection.
This allows consumers to access remotely as long as they have a router, a WiFi connection at home, and a smartphone.
But in my opinion, Xiaomi has a better app with more features that include better scheduling, real-time updates during the cleaning cycle, history of previous cleaning cycles and much more.
Neato BotVac has a simpler app with fewer features.
The biggest downfall for me would be that you can only schedule it once a day. Being simpler makes it more stable and faster. But I will take advantage of the richness of the features of the Xiaomi app any day.
Cleaning performance will not be far off either. They both use the same style cleaning brush and Engadget says Xiaomi got the motor from the same supplier as the Roomba 980.
It uses a brushless DC motor that is more powerful than the Roomba 980 and BotVac D8500. So this bot packs a punch and will clean like Neato in the least.
One of the negative things I see is the narrow beater bar which may make it less efficient than BotVac. But when you consider the price difference, this could be a deal maker for some of you who are leaning towards Xiaomi.
One of the reasons I love this product is the efficient navigation that cleans the room in a fraction of the time compared to a robot with an infrared sensor.
It will go around the perimeter of the room first. It then runs toward the center in a predictable back-and-forth pattern in the same way that the Neato BotVac cleans it.
If you want a functional robot, that has all the bells and whistles but can’t afford or don’t want to spend more than $600 for such, the Xiaomi robotic vacuum cleaner is a great choice. It has the same features as Neato BotVac Connected but with a more advanced application. But it will cost less than $320.
3: ILIFE V5S Pro
If your home does not have any carpet, there is no good reason to buy a vacuum cleaner with a motorized brush. Having a whisker bar is nice but it takes time to clean up.
And based on my cleaning tests, having a motorized brush doesn’t necessarily mean better performance on your bare floor.
Great for hard floors
The ILIFE V5S Pro is a great choice for homes that mostly have hard floors because it doesn’t have any motorized brush.
And if you are looking for something to clean tiled floors, it also comes with a mop and water tank for this.
Basically, you will get two products in one – a vacuum cleaner and a mop. Given that the iRobot Braava costs, you’ll easily save a few hundred dollars.
It doesn’t have the advanced wiping action that the Braava does but will do a decent job of maintenance cleaning tasks like wet wiping.
If you buy this from GearBest, the price will be the same as the iRobot Braava Jet and it will give you more functionality.
Watch this video to find out what this product is all about. Make sure to watch it to the end because I have included a cleaning test…
If you’ve watched the cleaning test, it was very effective and did a very good job of picking up 48g of the 50g grime you scattered on the floor.
It did a slightly better job than the A6 I did a few days ago.
Improved water tank
This variant is an upgraded version of V5S. One of the biggest improvements made by ILIFE is the water tank.
The new design now has a built-in valve that prevents it from leaking when the robot is turned off. So there is less risk of forming a puddle of water.
This helps a lot in terms of ease of use and preventing accidental drip that could damage the robot if water gets inside the electrical parts.
long term time
Another improvement in the V5S Pro is the battery. This new variant is equipped with four lithium-ion batteries that improve the runtime up to 150 minutes or about 2.5 hours.
It has a longer runtime compared to Botvac Connected and Roomba 980 which runs for a maximum of 120 minutes.
Double side brushes
Like the ILIFE A6 and A4S, this variant also comes with dual side brushes that really show their value when cleaning edges and corners.
These two brushes divert dirt towards the suction chamber and increase cleaning efficiency.
ILIFE V5S Pro is a great choice for homes with bare floors only. It does not contain any motorized brush which means one item less maintenance. The power is more than enough to clean any hard floor surface like hardwood or tile plus you get the mopping function to meet your tile mopping needs. However, it lacks the complex back-and-forth scanning movement found in Braava.
4: Yuvi Robovac 11
A quick check on Amazon reveals that the Roomba 650 costs about $300 and the next robot I’m about to show you will work similarly but cost about $100 less!
Eufy is a subsidiary of Anker, a popular electronics company that specializes in power banks and USB charging ports.
The Eufy RoboVac 11 is the updated version of the Anker RoboVac 10 and has been called the “Best Affordable Vacuum Cleaner of 2016” by review.com.
What improvements does this version have compared to the old RoboVac 10?
While the cleaning performance remains the same.
Major improvements include a larger battery (longer runtime), a larger dust bin and an upgraded motorized brush now with a “double-V” design which means it has a squeegee and bristles as opposed to the bristle-only design.
Speaking of cleaning performance and navigation, watch this video to see how it goes and how to clean…
The amount of dirt scattered is plenty but it shows you that this robot is capable of cleaning at least such messes on the bare floor.
It bumps into things and there is a danger of scuffing. Note this if you have scratched furniture easily.
Similar design to ILIFE A4S
When I first saw this product, I noticed that it looks very similar to another Chinese brand product – ILIFE A4S.
Both have a similar case at the back and a similar design. The biggest difference will be the motorized brush design as the Eufy has a slight advantage with its composite design while the A4S only has the bristle design.
Furniture can be scuffed
One potential problem with Eufy is its tendency to bump into furniture and potentially damage it.
This is one area that ILIFE (especially newer variants) has an advantage with is the upgraded sensors that prevent the robot from hitting furniture hard.
Eufy is another budget option that works almost as well as the Roomba 650 but won’t cost much. Unfortunately like the 650, the Eufy does not slow down and may cause some scuff marks on your furniture. And it doesn’t have any virtual wall to prevent it from going to areas you don’t want. If you don’t mind these limitations, this alternative is a good alternative.
5: ILIFE V8S Pro
The V8S Pro is the newest robotic vacuum from ILIFE in their line at the moment and perhaps the best.
This variant has the largest dirt box, most powerful motor and best mobility of all ILIFE robots.
One of the reasons it doesn’t rank as highly as the A6 is the price. This robot vacuum cleaner currently costs around $256 at Amazon and $280 at GearBest.
I’m totally amazed that this isn’t as common in the US but it should be.
It might lack some important features that brands like Eufy have like compatibility with Alexa and the smartphone app.
But when it comes to cleaning performance, this robot should be around as a good alternative to
What makes ILIFE V8S Pro a good choice?
Better Mobility: When ILIFE first came out, all of their robot vacuums used a random navigation pattern similar to iRobot.
While previous ILIFE robots have performed well, they have been very ineffective. The new V8S Pro changes that due to the upgraded navigation.
Nope, don’t expect it to be as smart as Xiaomi or Neato BotVac because it doesn’t have a SLAM algorithm. It will also work until the battery reaches 20% and is recharged.
But if you compare this with other vacuum cleaners in the same price range, you will find that it has better mobility.
big bin: This variant also has the largest container when compared to other IILIFE robots at 0.75 liters. It’s even bigger than Roomba. A larger container means that you will have to empty it less often. The design of the container is now different from the V7S Pro, in that instead of top-loading, it is now pulled from the rear.
Cleaning performance: Another reason to buy this is how to clean this robot. They’ll maintain their own niche even against more expensive vacuums like the Roomba or Neato—products that cost more than a few hundred dollars. If you don’t mind the lack of Alexa or WiFi connectivity, this is a great alternative.
What are the potential issues?
No Alexa or WiFi: This bot does not have any Alexa connectivity and you will need to be physically present at home to operate it. It has a scheduling system but that’s only once a day for seven days a week.
You won’t get any of the premium features found in vacuum cleaners priced at $500 and up.
not smart: Don’t expect this robot to go back there and resume cleaning after you recharge it. It does not have the SLAM technology that more expensive robots like Roomba, Xiaomi, and Neato have.
There is no doubt that ILIFE V8S Pro is a good performer when it comes to cleaning floors. It has an intelligent and efficient navigation system that will cover more area versus a robot with random patter.
The biggest problem in my opinion why it is not as popular as other bots in the same price range is the lack of WiFi and Alexa compatibility.
A lot of homes in the US now have Alexa and compatibility with this is a big factor in whether consumers buy this or not.
There you have it, 5 different robot cleaners that are good alternatives to Roomba just in case you can’t afford one.
Each of these products offers something different at a price point that won’t break the bank.
Why ILIFE A6?
A6 is the latest version of ILIFE that uses the latest generation 2 engine which has more power and produces less noise.
ILIFE has also upgraded the lithium-ion batteries so that this robot runs for nearly 3 hours!
Something not many brands can be proud of. It also has a virtual wall that prevents the bot from entering areas it shouldn’t. Also, dozing is something you don’t have to worry about with the A6 as it will slow down and avoid hitting things that the sensors can detect.
Xiaomi is the most technical robot on this list. It has laser-guided navigation and SLAM algorithm.
At its current price on GearBest, this might be the best deal in the industry.
The app alone makes the Neato app stand out from the crowd. It has more options like the ability to schedule multiple times a day, real-time updates, cleaning history and much more.
And while it doesn’t have any sonic sensors that detect dirt, it’s much more effective, and in my opinion, these sensors have the potential to get in the way of how to clean the robot.
If you have hard floors
For homes that only have a bare floor, the ILIFE V5S Pro is a great choice as it does not have any motorized brush.
It has enough power to clean any hard floor surface. And it can cover a larger area because it will work for nearly 3 hours.
Don’t sleep on Eufy
Eufy is another good option that will work well on carpets and bare floors. However it lacks refinement when it comes to collision avoidance. Unlike the latest ILIFE robots that will slow down and avoid hard bumps, Eufy does not slow down and may scratch your furniture.
In essence, it is similar to Roomba 650 with its powerful cleaning algorithm only cheaper.
Finally, ILIFE V8S Pro is another good alternative to Roomba due to its more efficient cleaning mode and overall good performance. It has the largest dustbin of the 5. However it lacks WiFi and Alexa compatibility which is why I put it below the Eufy. At the current price point I would have expected it to have the same features.