Keep your hard flooring free of crumbs (and scratches).
By Miller Kern and Leah Stodart on August 9, 2023
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Arguably the most flex-worthy of all floor types, hardwood deserves attention both in terms of compliments and in terms of cleaning. It’s basically begging for the daily care that you may not feel like providing, but that a good robot vacuum will.
A hybrid is usually the way to go with hardwood Any avowed hardwood floor enthusiast is likely to be just as meticulous about dried shoe prints, wine spills, or that stubborn thin layer of dust as they are about visible, chunky debris. A robot mop’s wet scrub tops off a robot vacuum’s dry sweep with a satisfying shine, lapping up minuscule particles as well as spot-cleaning spills when necessary.
Here are our top picks for the best robot vacuums for wood floors in 2023:
Read our full review of the Roomba Combo j7+.
Who it’s for:The Roomba Combo j7+ is for folks who are down to pay a little extra to skip scanning the floor for phone chargers or socks before sending their robot vacuum on a cleaning run.
The j7+ isn’t the vacuum for high-pile carpets, but its performance on low-pile and hard floors (and an ability to easily switch between those surfaces) is reliable, especially with Dirt Detection that triggers multiple passes across serious messes.
Why we picked this:The Combo j7+ is the first truly hybrid model from iRobot, and its value lies not only in its cleaning (which is certainly satisfactory) but in its object avoidance. The Combo j7+ looks nearly identical to the original, but with the addition of what looks like the spoiler on a sports car. That’s the retractable mop.
iRobot’s PrecisionNavigation allows the j7+ to perceive obstacles that other robot vacuums plow right into. Those smarts extend to sensing carpet in mop mode, too: Instead of letting the mop hover and risking drips, the Combo j7+ lifts its mop on top of the vacuum itself. It’s the botvac to get if you’re nervous about pet waste being smeared or about a shoe being dragged across the floor.
Read our full review of the Roborock S7.
Who it’s for:We recommend the Roborock S7 for people who’d prefer the water stains and footprints on their tile to be treated to a deeper clean than just the light wiping of a cloth.
Why we picked this:The mopping feature on many hybrids is a glorified mop dragging. If you’d prefer your tile be treated to a deeper clean, Roborock’s sonic mopping actually deploys some elbow grease, scrubbing up to 3,000 times per minute to go after dried-on stains and footprints. You won’t have to worry about getting your carpet or rugs wet — VibraRise tech automatically lifts the mop and adjusts suction power if carpet is sensed.
Between that mindful mopping, strong suction, and accurate LiDAR mapping, the Roborock S7 is major for folks dealing with both carpet and hard floors. With its self-empty dock (a wise bundle for people with shedding pets), the S7 and S7+ are budget-friendly triple threats. Because Roborock has several newer models now, the S7 models can almost alway be found with $250 or more discounts.
Who it’s for: The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is ideal for those who want a true hands-off cleaning experience, including not having to touch soggy mopping pads. But as the priciest contender on anyone’s list, the S8 Pro Ultra probably isn’t a necessary upgrade for small spaces that won’t use a ton of mopping water on one round, or anyone who already has the S7 MaxV Ultra.
Why we picked this:Roborock takes autonomous care of your hardwood floors past just the mopping itself. Its latest flagship hybrid, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra, empties its own dust bin, refills its own water tank (swapping dirty water for clean when necessary), and not only washes, but also dries its own mop pads, correcting the biggest downfall of the older S7 MaxV Ultra. The dock, though still obnoxiously sized, has also undergone a chic redesign to better disguise the triad of water tanks. Boosted suction on carpet is also more intense: 6,000 Pa versus the older model’s 5,100.
At $1,599.99, the S8 Pro Ultra is currently the most expensive robot vacuum on the mainstream market. Its menu of specs is almost identical to that of the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni, which is frequently on sale for less than $1,000 after a year on the market. But even on sale, we’d probably still advise opting for the $1,599.99 Roborock to avoid the IRL frustrations that come with the X1 Omni.
Who it’s for:We suggest the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 if your main concern with a robot mop is whether it actually scrubs (and can do so with more than water) and can be sent to specific rooms in a map on command. The AI Ultra 2-in-1 will be particularly appealing to anyone who doesn’t want to spend more than $500, as even the model with a self-emptying dock can be found under $500 on sale.
The AI Ultra 2-in-1 is probably best for homes without a heavy rug situation, as the bot requires you to manually point out rugs or carpets in the app and can’t vacuum while the water tank is attached.
Why we picked this:Shark wasn’t a competitive player in the hybrid game until a release in the winter of 2022. The latest Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 rocks improvements galore over several predecessors (like adding a mop to Shark’s smartest model) and can be purchased with or without a self-empty dock.
The Matrix Clean system shines during both wet and dry cleaning. In Matrix mode, you can see the AI Ultra 2-in-1’s mopping pad pulsate back and forth across hard floors — if you watched for a minute straight, you’d see it vibrate 1,000 times. Matrix mode also impacts the movement of the vacuum itself: once you’ve designated a spot, the AI Ultra 2-in-1 will mop in large circles to ensure it doesn’t miss a spot. The vac completes the same crosshatch pattern during dry vacuuming, loosening and lifting debris from multiple angles and delivering 30% better carpet cleaning compared to the older RV Shark models.
Who it’s for: This packed budget model is a stellar find for folks who would like to try the triple threat that is room mapping, mopping, and automatic emptying, but who definitely don’t want to spend more than $500. With patience and the acceptance of clearing obstacles off the floor before starting a cleaning, the Yeedi Vac Station could be a game changer.
Why we picked this:Autonomous wet and dry cleaning plus auto-emptying is typically a pricey checklist, but this Yeedi makes the whole process hands-free for less than $400 on sale (which it almost always is).
The presence of room mapping is also impressive at such a practical price point, despite undercooked quirks like only having the capacity to hold a map of one story at a time. The shaky navigation is less annoying when you can still enjoy the convenience of targeting specific rooms and setting virtual boundaries in the app.
Frequently Asked Questions Given the velcro-like grasp that carpet fibers can have on debris, most robot vacuums do perform better on smooth flooring like hardwood than on carpet. But the fact that hair, crumbs, or kitty litter have nothing to get stuck in can also pose a problem: debris slides across the floor like a tumbleweed, and not every combination of suction power and side brushes is competent enough to grab that debris instead of pushing it around.
All robot mops (including hybrid robot vacuum-robot mops, like the ones listed below) are able to mop with just water, alleviating concerns about topcoat-damaging ingredients like vinegar, ammonia, or other alkaline products. Brands like iRobot, Shark, and Roborock do offer a dedicated hard surface cleaning solution that better breaks up grime and leaves a fresh smell behind if you’d prefer an amplified clean. Aside from the solutions designed for these specific vacuums, instructions typically strongly advise against adding any other type soap to the water tank to avoid messing with the vacuum’s interior parts.
As for worries of nicks in your maple, robot vacuums are purposefully designed to work on hardwood floors without scratching them. They have rubber wheels and gentle rubber brushes that pull in dirt without gnawing at your floors. Most recent models, even ones that aren’t super advanced otherwise, also have carpet detection features that will avoid using their most intense, potentially-scratchy suction on floors that aren’t plush. Connected robot vacuum apps also typically allow for manual toggling of cleaning intensity in the areas of your choice.
The latest robot vacuums aren’t the lazy bumper cars that you may have heard about or experienced earlier. The right ones are beasts.
Many higher-end robot vacuums do have heightened dirt detection features that help them to scope out problem areas that require extra attention. Smart robot vacuums that navigate based on a self-made map of your home actually know where they’re going and can be sent to certain rooms on your command. Otherwise, the method is essentially a random “hope this works” pattern that covers less than the side-by-side lines you would probably do if you were the one controlling the vacuum. Though the robots try to hit every spot with this method, they’re bound to miss every now and then.
Leah Stodart is a Senior Shopping Reporter at Mashable. She covers shopping trends, gift ideas, and products that make life easier, specializing in vacuums, TVs, and sustainable swaps. She graduated from Penn State University in 2016 and is watching horror movies or “The Office” when she’s not shopping online herself. You can follow her on Twitter at @notleah.
Miller Kern is the Deputy Reviews Editor at Mashable, where she’s been covering products and shopping since 2019. If there’s a hot new product or a trend going viral on TikTok, Miller’s ready to put it through the wringer to see if it’s worth the hype.