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vSLAM vs Lidar

Coby McKinley Profile image

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Updated September 29, 2022

If you’re shopping for a premium vacuum cleaner, you should compare Roomba to other brands regarding motion sensors. You can learn the navigation methods that top-tier robot vacuums offer by comparing lidar and visual SLAM technology. Picking the right tech for your robot vacuum ensures an efficient navigation path around your household. Stick around to learn if vSLAM vs Lidar is the best for you.


  • vSLAM robot vacuums use cameras and algorithms to scan a room and navigate the space.
  • Lidar-based robot vacuums use lasers to build an accurate map of your room and avoid obstructions.
  • vSLAM robot vacuums are cheaper than models with laser navigation systems and are easier to repair.

Robot Vacuums: Lidar vs Camera

Convenience is a major factor in the robot vacuum vs. regular vacuum debate, and mobile robot vacuums offer near-effortless cleaning and smart navigation. After all, the leading robot vacuum for laminate floors should compete with the top-rated kitchen vacuums.

Comparing major brands like ILIFE vs. Xiaomi will help you understand the key features of robotic vacuum cleaners. But first, let’s define some terms.

Insider Tip

Ensure your robotic vacuum cleaner has smart navigation and cleaning schedules for maximum convenience.

Lidar stands for light detection and ranging, and it is a laser navigation system. Robot vacuums with laser sensors use a light-sensor point cloud to map a room and boundaries. A Lidar robot vacuum disperses a cloud of infrared lights and measures the exact distance from objects by timing how long it takes for the light to bounce back.

vSLAM (visual simultaneous localization and mapping) uses optical sensors to scan your room’s ceiling and furniture within view. Additionally, vSLAM vacuums use algorithms for object detection and room mapping. The visual SLAM algorithms develop accurate maps of your space, creating virtual boundaries.

Accurate Navigation

Lidar-based robot vacuums offer a higher level of accuracy compared to vSLAM models. Thanks to the light sensors, Lidar models can map and clean dark areas. Due to their reliance on cameras, VSLAM models often lose accurate localization in dark rooms and aren’t great for cleaning during nighttime.


Pick up clutter from your floors, or your robot vacuum will have near-random path navigation, taking longer to clean your home.

Efficient Cleaning Technology

Thanks to their accurate measurements, Lidar robot vacuums deliver more efficient cleaning cycles than vSLAM models. Lidar models are less likely to bump into furniture and map indoor environments faster than vSLAM vacuums.

Affordable Model

VSLAM robot vacuums use less expensive equipment than a Lidar-based model due to their reliance on cameras instead of lasers. Additionally, vSLAM-based models are generally easier to repair thanks to the simpler components compared to Lidar robot vacuums.

STAT: A 2019 Statista poll showed that more than 14.2 million households owned a robot vacuum, an increase of 1.2 million over polling from 2017. (source)


While Lidar robot vacuums offer more accurate room scans than vSLAM models, both are a safe choice for your home and furniture. Each option feature alternative sensors to prevent falls or bumps into furniture like coffee tables and chairs.

vSLAM vs Lidar FAQs

How fast can robot vacuums map a room?

IRobot vacuums take about 90 minutes to complete a mapping run, and iRobot recommends three to five mapping runs for the most accurate map of your home. Budget models should take about two hours to complete a mapping run.

Do robot vacuums use artificial intelligence?

Most robot vacuums use basic AI to learn about unknown environments and avoid barriers. Advanced models feature modern AI to avoid objects like cords and pet messes automatically. That said, these robotic vacuums still need additional sensors to travel safely and clean.

Do robot vacuums clean in straight lines?

Yes, most robotic vacuum cleaners operate in straight lines while cleaning your space. That said, your robot vacuum can move in other ways to navigate around objects and move from room to room.
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