Cordless vs. robot vacuums: which one should you buy?

When it comes to keeping your floors clean, robot vacuums and cordless vacuums are among the best products you can buy. Robot vacuums have become increasingly popular over the past few years – thanks to their ability to clean your home autonomously – but cordless vacuums offer a lot of advantages over their robotic counterparts.

Deciding between the two isn’t easy, and thankfully it’s hard to make a wrong decision. Both are well-equipped to clean your floors, but you’ll have to make some major compromises for each class. So which one is better? Robot vacuum or cordless vacuum?

Here’s a closer look to help you decide what’s best for your smart home.

Cordless vacuums provide better cleaning

The Dyson V15 cordless vacuum is being used in a number of different ways in a white living room.

Robot vacuums have made massive strides, but there’s no denying that cordless vacuums generally give you a better cleaning experience. Their large size allows them to generate impressive suction and airflow numbers, making them capable of pulling all types of debris out of your carpets. They also come with additional attachments, so you can clean furniture or nooks and crannies throughout your home.

Many robot vacuums advertise impressive suction numbers, but they can’t match the cleaning ability of cordless vacuums. Of course, this can vary widely depending on specific models, but in general, cordless vacuums give you a more robust cleaning experience than robot vacuums.

Robot vacuums are more convenient

EchoVox Deebot T10 Omni docked.

There’s something to be said about coming to a house that’s already been evacuated. The big appeal of robot vacuums is that they’re essentially an extra pair of hands — once you go through the mapping process and set up a schedule, they’ll clean your house without any additional input. If you find yourself constantly forgetting to vacuum or are tied up with other chores, adding a robot vacuum to your home is a great decision.

Cordless vacuums are more affordable

Shark Rocket Cordless Stick Vacuum.

All the fancy technology packed into robot vacuums makes them surprisingly expensive. Premium models often cost more than $1,000, while you can get a great cordless vacuum for less than $500. That’s quite a big price difference, so if budget is a big concern, a cordless vacuum is a better choice. You can definitely find robot vacuums for under $500, but they may not be as automated as you’d like (meaning you’ll still need to interact with them after each cleaning cycle).

Robot vacuums can also mop


If you’re looking at the best robot vacuums, you’ll notice that many of them resemble mops. Not only will they automatically mop your hardwood floors, but they will retract their mops when traveling over carpet, allowing them to vacuum and mop in one go. For homes with multiple types of flooring, this can save a lot of time.

Of course, it is possible to find cordless vacuums/mops, but most of them are hard to recommend due to their less-than-stellar performance. Robot vacuum and mop combos, meanwhile, perform both tasks reasonably well without sacrificing one for the other.

Is a robot vacuum better than a cordless vacuum?

The X2 Omni is cleaning under a bed.

Robot vacuums and cordless vacuums are both excellent products, but neither is better than the other. Although they’re both designed to keep your floors clean, the similarities end there.

Cordless vacuums are ideal for homes that require superior cleaning and for those who don’t mind tackling the task manually. Robot vacuums are equipped with automated cleaning for homeowners—even if it may not be the best possible clean. Consider getting a robot vacuum if you want to free up time in your schedule and consider getting a cordless vacuum if you need a better cleaning experience.

Strangely, many homes combine both products to keep their floors looking as pristine as possible. For example, you could run your robot vacuum three times a week, then do manual cleaning with a cordless vacuum on the weekend. This makes it easier to eliminate pet fur and allergens hidden in your carpets, and is especially ideal for homes with multiple children (or pets) roaming around the halls.

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