These newest vacuums from 2023 clean up well, and they’re on sale


Roborock S8 Pro Ultra robot vacuum and mop
Enlarge / Roborock S8 Pro Ultra robot vacuum and mop

Chuong Nguyen

If Thanksgiving prep has taught me anything over the years, it’s that I absolutely detest laboring over the clean up process—both before guests arrive for dinner and after they leave. While a good vacuum doesn’t entirely obviate the chore, it does help make the job easier. Strong suction means that you don’t have to go over the same area multiple times, and if you opt for a robot vacuum and mop combo, you can mostly automate the process except where deep cleaning or spot cleaning is required.

With the most advanced models from Dyson, Roborock, iRobot, and more this year on sale for Black Friday, you can hopefully spend less time fretting about the state of your home and more time enjoying the holidays. Here are some of the top ones that we’ve tried that are on sale.

Roborock S8 Pro Ultra

Roborock S8 Pro Ultra robot vacuum and mop.
Enlarge / Roborock S8 Pro Ultra robot vacuum and mop.

Chuong Nguyen

(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

With a name as confusing as Apple’s top-of-the-line iPhone range, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra feels like the kind of smart home assistants that Hanna-Barbera envisioned in the animated The Jetsons TV series. I call my Roborock the “Rosie” of the house. Infused with AI and plenty of LIDAR sensors to avoid obstacles around the home, the S8 Pro Ultra is a fully automated solution to house cleaning. Obstacle avoidance has been improved significantly from the prior generation Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra, which was already among the best-in-class at navigation. Coverage and mapping for cleaning floors is excellent and the best I’ve personally observed this year.

The included dock comes with three tanks, to help facilitate the device’s set-it-and-forget-it operational philosophy. One tank holds all the dirt and debris collected by the vacuum; a second water tank refills the mopping canister on the vacuum; and a third tank collects all the dirty mopping solution that from the vacuum. I find myself replacing the clean water tank and emptying the dirty tanks once every few months.

The dual-function mop and vacuum feature makes this assistant useful in homes with carpets and hard floors. When the robot vacuum encounters carpets and rugs, the mopping pad gets lifted to avoid wetting your carpets. Unlike Ecovac, which requires manual removal and insertion of the mopping pads, this approach makes the S8 Pro Ultra truly autonomous, save for when you have to change the tanks on the dock. New this year is a built-in dryer for the mop at the dock, which helps keep the mopping pad from drying. This was an optional add-on with last year’s S7 MaxV Ultra.

Vacuuming performance is also top notch, picking up over 95 percent of particles we threw at it across hard surfaces and carpeted floors. We tested the vacuum with rice, sand, and candy, and the Roborock did a great job with the latter two, cleaning up 97 percent of the junk in our controlled test. With sand, it did a good job, with a score of 92 percent.

Roborock’s companion app allows you to select zones for cleaning and comes with robust settings and options. Privacy-conscious users will be happy to know that the S8 Pro Ultra, unlike its predecessor, relies exclusively on sensors, rather than a webcam for mapping. Though a notable omission compared to the last generation model, mapping and navigation was not affected.

If you don’t want to splurge on this year’s best, going with last year’s Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra will still give you plenty to love. The new model comes with dual-roller brush heads, which was originally invented by iRobot, but doesn’t improve on cleaning by any noticeable margin. The S7 MaxV Ultra has all the bells and whistles, with a slightly degraded AI for obstacle avoidance, but at a more wallet-friendly price. You can opt to add the optional mop pad dryer to match the S8 in this area as well.

The good

  • Auto mop washing and drying now built-in
  • Excellent mapping and navigation with sensors
  • No cameras for privacy-conscious users
  • Great vacuuming and mopping capabilities
  • Triple-tank base makes this a hands-off solution for many homes

The bad

  • Expensive!
  • Dirty water tank is smelly if not emptied out regularly; may attract bacteria
  • Accessories, such as bags for emptying debris at the dock, are added costs
  • Mop riser doesn’t go high enough for high-pile carpet, meaning you’ll still end up with soggy carpets

Dyson Gen5 Detect

Dyson Gen5 Detect.
Enlarge / Dyson Gen5 Detect.

Chuong Nguyen

(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

With cordless vacuums, Dyson is the brand to beat. With promises that its vacuums “never lose suction power,” the Gen5 Detect system extends Dyson’s lead in this market. Compared to the prior V15 model, the all-new Gen5 maintains the same design aesthetic as its predecessors—but it comes with an even heftier starting price to cover the improvements Dyson added this year, including a built-in crevice tool, improved battery run time, and better suction.

In our controlled vacuum test covering hard floors and carpets, the Gen5 Detect was able to remove close to 98 percent of pet hair and the same performance with larger particles and debris, including sand, rice, and candies (M&Ms and Skittles) on the highest suction power. Performance on hardwood was slightly better than on carpet with this vacuum model. Performance here is only marginally better than the prior generation Dyson V15, so we’d still recommend the older model if you want to save a chunk of money. Both vacuums come with laser technology to help you visually identify dust on the hard floor tool, allowing you to zone in on areas where extra spot cleaning may be necessary.

One major difference between the Gen5 and the V15 is that the newer model comes with a dedicated on/off button, allowing you to push it once and let go. The trigger-style button on the V15 means you have to hold down the button to vacuum. The Gen5 may therefore be the better option for older people or those with more limited hand mobility. Both models come with an LCD screen to display how many particles have been suctioned up, and a button to toggle between different modes, including auto, eco, and a boost mode for highest suction performance. More suction means less run time between recharges, so keep that in mind. The Gen5 also comes with longer battery life, at more than an hour between charges—which is the longest on any Dyson cordless vacuum that I’ve used.

If you need mopping capabilities, you can try upgrading to the new V15s Submarine, which comes with a mopping head. Unfortunately, according to Dyson you can’t just buy the Submarine mop head and use it on the Gen5 or older V-series vacuums, including the standard V15. If you’re vacuuming on a budget, you can save money going with the slightly older v15 instead of the Gen5 unless you find the latter on sale.

The good

  • Excellent suction power
  • Plenty of attachments
  • Superb cleaning performance on all floor types
  • New design with on/off button eliminates the need for the trigger to be held down for vacuuming
  • LCD screen displays useful information for cleaning

The bad

  • Does not work with mopping attachment from v15s Submarine
  • Can create cleaning OCD!
  • Attachments are pricey if you want to replace or add more

iRobot Roomba Combo j9+

The Roomba Combo j9+.
Enlarge / The Roomba Combo j9+.


(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

As the successor to iRobot’s leading Roomba Combo j7+, the Combo j9+ brings some notable improvements to an already winning robot vacuum formula. Like its predecessor, the new Combo j9+ is superb for homes with mixed floors. Unlike rivals from other manufacturers, the mopping pad doesn’t just lift up a few millimeters, which could result in soggy rugs and carpets. Instead, iRobot uses stainless steel arms that lift the mopping pad above the vacuum when carpet is detected. This alone makes the iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ a favorite in my parents’ home.

iRobot added a faux wood top to the device this year, making it feel a bit homier compared to the more futuristic Stormtrooper-esque vibes of the competing Roborock. The dock also comes with a large auto-fill reservoir this year, holding about a month’s worth of water for the robot vacuum’s mopping element. Unlike other brands, iRobot’s dock doesn’t come with a self-emptying tank; nor does it come with a mop pad washer and dryer. Though this may seem like a step down when compared to the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra, the company claims that such features can lead to bacterial build-up, so the omission of these elements can make the overall setup more sanitary. These claims aren’t unfounded, as the dirty water tank on the Roborock does start smelling, even if it isn’t full.

There are also plenty of under-the-hood improvements to the Roomba, like a Smart Scrub feature that can deliver twice the scrubbing power of its standard mopping setting; Dirt Detective, which tracks and cleans the most soiled areas in a home first by automatically adjusting the cleaning power and strength as needed; and iRobot’s obstacle avoidance feature. Given there are plenty of hardwood surfaces in my parents’ home, the thing they enjoyed most was the new scrubbing feature, which applies pressure while the mop moves back and forth. The feature can remove the kinds of caked-on stains left by juice spills, for example. Other vacuums just glide over the surface with their mops or use a combination of a glide with some ultrasonic element; iRobot’s implementation seems to be the most effective if mopping is a priority for your home.

And if you’ve ever used a robot vacuum in the past, you’re probably all too familiar with noisy docks. In general, when docked, the dock will use suction to pull the collected debris from the vacuum into a vacuum bag stored in the base. The process can be extremely loud, and it sounds very jarring in quiet homes. iRobot has made significant improvements with the Combo j9+, making it one of the least noisy docking bases on the market.

The good

  • Perfect for houses with mixed floors as the mopping attachment rises above the vacuum to prevent soggy carpets when vacuuming
  • Quiet docking base
  • Smart mopping and vacuuming feature is extremely effective at cleaning
  • Intelligent obstacle avoidance feature
  • Dual rollers make vacuuming more effective than competing models with single rollers

The bad

  • Expensive!
  • Not quite as autonomous as there’s no mop washing and drying feature nor is there a dirty water tank

More vacuums on sale for Black Friday

  • Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute vacuum for $400 (was $650) at Dyson
  • Dyson V15 Detect Absolute vacuum for $550 (was $750) at Dyson
  • Dyson Outsize Plus vacuum for $450 (was $600) at Dyson
  • Roborock S8 Pro Ultra for $1,200 (was $1,600) at Amazon
  • Roborock S7 Max Ultra for $950 (was $1,300) at Amazon
  • Roborock Q Revo for $680 (was $900) at Amazon
  • Roborock Dyad Pro Combo Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner for $460 (was $650) at Amazon
  • Roborock Q5 Pro+ for $480 (was $700) at Amazon
  • Roborock Q7 Max+ for $500 (was $870) at Amazon
  • Roborock Q5 Pro for $320 (was $430) at Amazon
  • Roborock Q8 Max+ for $600 (was $820) at Amazon
  • Roborock Dyad Pro Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner for $350 (was $450) at Amazon
  • Roborock Q7 Max for $330 (was $600) at Amazon
  • iRobot Roomba 694 for $159 (was $275) at Amazon
  • iRobot Roomba Combo i5+ for $349 (was $422) at Amazon
  • iRobot Roomba j6+ for $607 (was $800) at Amazon
  • iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550) for $469 (was $598) at Amazon
  • iRobot Roomba s9+ for $600 (was $1,000) at Amazon
  • iRobot Roomba i4 EVO for $300 (was $400) at Amazon
  • iRobot Roomba Combo j5 for $349 (was $600) at Amazon

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *