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Robot Vacuum vs Regular Vacuum

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Updated July 29, 2022

If you’re shopping for the best vacuum possible, you may have considered a robotic vacuum instead of a traditional vacuum. A typical robot vacuum cleaner touts automatic dirt disposal and solid suction power, but do they have more cleaning power than conventional vacuums? And what advanced features will you get from an affordable robot vacuum that an upright vacuum might not have?


  • Robot vacuums are great for the daily maintenance of hardwood floors and low carpets.
  • Use a regular vacuum for a more powerful clean, especially if you need to clean your home quickly.
  • A standard vacuum can do it all, but a robotic model offers stress-free dust and pet hair cleaning.

If you want the most effective cleaning performance across different types of flooring, read our guide to robot vacuums vs regular vacuums.

How Robot Vacuum Cleaners Stack Up Against Normal Vacuums

Robot vacuums are feature-rich, convenient, and great for hardwood floors, as you’ll find in our comparison write-up of the Roomba 960 vs 980. The more expensive models give you app control, floor plan smart mapping, and a programmable cleaning schedule for the most convenient service. All that said, you may still want an upright vacuum cleaner for plush carpets or mats of pet hair. Additionally, you can choose between a corded or cordless vacuum if you dislike power cords.

Insider Tip

Make sure to empty your robot vacuum’s dirt reservoir once a day. After a few days of dirt, your robot vac will stop leaving the docking station.

Cleaning Time

Pick a normal vacuum if you need to rid your hardwood floors of pet hair quickly. Even expensive robot vacuums take up to 5 hours to clean a 1,500 sq. ft. space. If you’re in a hurry or need a detailed cleaning solution, go with a cordless stick vacuum or upright model. That said, if you want thoroughly clean carpets, you should compare a steam cleaner and a traditional vacuum cleaner. But, if you want to clean a swimming pool, then you’re better off with a top-rated pool vacuum robot

Cleaning Power

A standard canister vacuum will have much more powerful suction than a low-end robotic model. A modern robot vacuum cleaner on the higher end of the spectrum will have a cleaning mode for low-pile carpet and hardwood floors, so the best robot vacuum for pet hair can still get the job done at vacuuming fur. Of course, a decent upright vacuum is the better pick if you’re dealing with large quantities of pet hair or debris.


A robotic vacuum can give you a clean floor while you sleep, automatically returning to its base station when finished. You can schedule cleaning cycles through the dedicated robotic vacuum app. That said, your robotic vacuum will have to use the charging dock station multiple times to clean your entire house. Just like a cordless handheld vacuum, you can purchase battery packs for some models. A conventional vacuum is faster, but it requires you to do all the work.


Never let your robot vacuum run over water. Moisture can damage the internal components of the vacuum and might interfere with the base station.


Are bagged vacuums better than bagless for pet hair?

There is no meaningful difference between bagged and bagless vacuums for containing pet hair. That said, pick a bagless model to save money over time.

Who are robot vacuums for?

Robot vacuums are most popular among pet owners. In addition, anyone who wants a generally clean home without much effort.

Can a Robotic Vacuum Replace Your Upright?

A traditional vacuum and robotic model work best when used together. The robot vacuum takes care of light maintenance, and you can use the upright model when you want an extra clean house.

STAT: According to EnergyStar, upright vacuum cleaners have a 70 percent market share in the United States. (source)

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