How CNET tests robot vacuums

We take a look at robotic vacuums many various methods in our lab to seek out out simply how nicely they function.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Our technique of evaluating robot vacuum cleaners is easy, but deliberately grueling. Each robotic mannequin performs in a different way, and the efficiency of every vacuum often adjustments relying on the kind of floor it is travelling over. Generally there are massive surprises. That is why we put within the hours and hours of lab time, so we may give shopping for recommendation with confidence. 

We run assessments to judge robotic vacuums for cleansing energy and navigation effectivity. The primary trial is to determine how well a robot covers the floor whereas it cleans. We constructed an industry-standard testing room as specified by the International Electrotechnical Commission, only for this goal. The IEC is a global requirements physique accountable for managing robotic vacuum testing procedures, amongst different issues, for vacuum producers. 

Obstacles in our take a look at room mimic what robotic vacuums run into in the actual world.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Inside this room are objects designed to simulate typical obstacles a robotic vac encounters for navigation because it cleans. These obstacles embody wall edges, desk and chair legs, couches, different furnishings and so forth, plus naked tile and hardwood flooring, in addition to carpet. 

Here is a protection picture of the iRobot Roomba S9 Plus because it moved via our take a look at room. You possibly can see the Roomba S9 coated the ground nicely, apart from one slight part within the heart (left, backside).

Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET

We mount LED lights on the highest of every vacuum cleaner. The size of the lights correspond to the measured nozzle width of every explicit robotic vacuum that we take a look at. 


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Because the robots transfer via the room whereas cleansing, a digicam overhead captures a long-exposure picture of your entire room in low mild. That picture will then have a light-weight path, created by the LEDs, that exhibits the precise areas the place the robotic traveled (and its nozzle place) throughout its operating time. We are able to additionally see areas of the ground the vacuum might have missed or gotten caught.

The Roborock S7 used its lidar navigation system to nice impact. It moved via our take a look at room with logical and orderly precision.

Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET

You possibly can see the navigation outcomes of all of the robotic vacuums in our take a look at group within the gallery under.

Just lately a number of robotic vacuum makers have claimed that their machines are sensible sufficient to acknowledge stable pet waste. To check whether or not robotic vacuums can do that, we place three items of prank canine poop inside a walled take a look at pen. Each bit is created from three totally different supplies (arduous plastic, mushy rubber, silicone). We mark the placement of every faux waste pile with portray tape. 

The iRobot Roomba J7 Plus was capable of easily keep away from our canine poop fashions persistently. 

Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET

We then put every robotic inside and report the motion from above. If a robotic doesn’t come into contact with any of our take a look at turds we contemplate {that a} profitable run.

The Samsung Jet Bot AI Plus persistently failed our stable pet waste take a look at. It will finally run over or push certainly one of our canine poop fashions.

Gianmarco Chumbe/CNET

The second kind of take a look at reveals precisely how a lot bodily particles a vacuum is ready to decide up off of the ground. To imitate dust of small particle measurement, we use a combination of play sand and landscaping sand. For greater particle soil, we use grains of raw black rice. Robots then run in straight line mode throughout three sorts of flooring (low-pile carpet, medium-pile carpet and hardwood naked flooring).

We take a look at robotic vacuums on three sorts of ground surfaces.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

We management for the particular nozzle width of every vacuum, too. We constructed an adjustable device to soil our take a look at flooring. It lets us lay down a strip of exact space of soil to match the nozzle dimensions for each robotic. The mass of soil is not chosen at random both. We measure a proportional quantity that is associated to the flooring materials, kind of particles, plus every vacuum’s nozzle width.

Our custom-built device lets us match soil space to a robotic vacuum’s nozzle width.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

We conduct three cleansing runs (at minimal) on every ground kind. We additionally carry out cleansing assessments with sand and rice individually. That involves no less than 18 assessments per robotic vac. We weigh the robotic’s mud bin each earlier than and after every run. From there we will calculate the share of particles pickup for each cleansing run and the common quantity of soil a machine manages to take away. Moreover we run anecdotal (visible) pet hair assessments for every robotic, on all three ground varieties. 

We run robotic vacuums in a straight line throughout the particles pickup assessments.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET | How CNET assessments robotic vacuums


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