Do robot vacuums work on carpet?
Robot vacuums have come a long way in the last 15 years. They can now build virtual maps of your house, they can vacuum in straight lines, like someone mowing a lawn, and they can return to their charging base when their battery gets low, all on their own.
But there’s one question that still hangs over robot vacuums: can they clean carpets effectively?
They certainly can clean carpets, and in this article, I’ll be looking at which brand of robot vacuum cleans carpets best.
Let’s dive in.
Do Robot Vacuums Work On Carpet?
Robot vacuums do work on carpet. How well they work depends on a few factors:
- Hard surfaces vs carpet
- Thickness of carpet pile
- Suction power in robot vacuums
- Automatically adjusted cleaning height
Let’s look at these issues one by one.
1. Hard surfaces vs carpet
Robot vacuums use a sweeping motion to clean so it should come as no surprise that they work better on hard surfaces than on carpets.
Imagine, for a moment, trying to sweep a carpet. It wouldn’t be very effective, would it?
What you need to clean a carpet effectively is downward pressure combined with high suction. And those are two things that robot vacuums don’t have and cannot do.
Having said that, robot vacuums are still helpful on carpets. They can pick up pet hair and keep your carpet looking clean and tidy.
But every few months you will still need to go over your carpet with a regular vacuum cleaner for that deep clean that gets out the dust that’s accumulated deep in the pile.
2. Thickness of carpet pile
The pile on your carpet is another factor you need to think about when considering a robot vacuum.
Generally, the shorter the pile, the more effective a robot vacuum will be. The deeper the pile, the more trouble a robot vacuum will have. And if you have a really shaggy carpet, a robot vacuum may not be able to handle it at all.
3. Suction power in robot vacuums
The suction power of your robot vacuum is another key factor when buying a robot vacuum to be used on a carpet.
As a general rule, robot vacuums don’t have anything like the suction power of a normal vacuum cleaner. But the more expensive vac bots have suction power that is orders of magnitude greater than what you get in a cheaper model.
So if you have a carpeted house, you almost certainly need to be looking at robot vacuums in the higher price bracket.
When buying a robot vac for a carpet, you need to look for a machine with a suction power of no less than 2000 Pa (Pa stands for Pascal Pressure Unit – the higher the number, the higher the suction power).
4. Automatically adjusted cleaning height
Most houses with carpet also have areas of floor with hard surfaces, so you need to make sure that your robot vac can detect different surfaces and adjust to them.
Most top-range robot vacuums now have the ability to clean hard and soft surfaces. Many have a feature called ‘carpet boost’ where they adjust their cleaning height and suction power once they detect carpet.
Best Robot Vacuums for Carpet
So, which are the best robot vacuums for carpets?
The two best-performing brands of vacuum cleaners for carpeted areas are Roomba (iRobot) and Roborock.
The best robots for carpet cleaning are iRobot Roombas. Their dual counter-rotating rollers provide the deepest cleaning of any robot vacuum so far.
A Roomba will do a great job at picking up dust and pet hairs, especially if you use it on a daily basis. But for a serious deep clean, you will need to use a standard vacuum (such as a Dyson( every 3 to 4 weeks.
I know my Roomba is cleaning the carpet because I have to change the station bag every week – and there’s plenty of stuff in that bag!
The two best Roombas for carpet are the j7+ and the s9+.
iRobot Roomba j7+
At about $1,600, the iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum is the second most expensive robot vacuum from iRobot. Powered by a high-efficiency cleaning system, the Roomba j7+ has great suction power and captures dirt, dust, pet hair, and allergens with its dual multi-surface rubber brushes. Its front-facing camera adds another layer of technology, allowing the j7 to avoid obstacles.
- Identifies and avoids obstacles like pet waste and cords
- Empties itself for 60 days
- Smart Mapping
- Compatible with Alexa
- Ideal for Pet Hair
- schedule multiple cleanings per day
- empties its bin so you don’t have to for months at a time
- Uses iRobot Genius Technology and PrecisionVision Navigation to recognize and avoid common objects
- Imprint Smart Mapping allows you to control and schedule which rooms are cleaned and when
- Stores multiple maps for easier cleaning on each level of your home
- Keep Out Zones and Clean Zones (both customizable) allow you to tell the Roomba the exact areas to clean and to avoid
- Clean individual messes (spot cleaning) with a voice command to Alexa or Google Home
- iRobot Genius creates personalized cleaning suggestions, such as cleaning more frequently during pet-shedding or allergy seasons.
- Set your robot to automatically start cleaning when you leave and stop when you come home
- Dual Multi-Surface rubber brushes flex to adjust to different floor types
- 10x the power-lifting suction of the Roomba 600 series
iRobot Roomba s9+
The iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal, released in 2019, is known for its powerful cleaning performance. It features a unique “D-shaped” design that allows it to clean corners and edges more effectively than round-shaped vacuums.
- 40x the suction power (compared to the Roomba 600 series)
- Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal
- 3-Stage Cleaning System lifts, loosens, then eliminates debris
- Automatically increases suction to clean even deeper into carpets with power boost technology
- PerfectEdge Technology optimizes cleaning in corners and along edges
- Careful Drive Mode detects objects in its path and cleans around them without jostling or nudging
- Spot cleaning with a simple voice command to Alexa or other voice assistants
- Uses vSLAM navigation to learn the layout of your home and build personal Smart Maps
- Set ‘Keep Out Zones’
- Empties itself for up to 60 days
- Smart Recharge and Resume means the robot charges only as long as needed
- Set it to automatically start cleaning when you leave and stop when you come home
Image credit: Shop iRobot
Which is better for carpets?
The Roomba s9+ is better than the j7+ for cleaning performance and also has the convenience of a self-emptying base
Roborock vacuums perform well on carpet and they are particularly good on mixed surfaces. But if carpet-cleaning ability is your sole criterion, then get a Roomba.
However, Roborock outperforms Roomba in navigation and efficiency.
So it just depends on what your priorities are. But both Roomba and Roborock perform well on carpet.
The Roborock S7+ Robot Vacuum and Sonic Mop with Self-Empty Dock is a powerful robot vacuum, with suction power of 2500 Pa.
This is a hybrid cleaner (cleans hard and soft surfaces), but unlike other hybrid cleaners, it cleans both surfaces in one run.
Other hybrid cleaners will detect carpet and avoid it when doing a mopping run. But that means you have to do two runs: a vacuum run and a mopping run.
Not so with the S7+: it lifts the mop cloth out of the way, meaning you can combine vacuuming and mopping in one run.
- Uses ultrasonic sound to recognize carpet with great accuracy
- Uses ‘VibraRise’ to boost suction when cleaning carpet
- Uses Roborock’s HyperForce™ suction system
- On carpet tests, scores an average pick-up rate of 90.54% (Tom’s Guide)
- Suitable for houses with several floors (can save up to 4 maps)
- Identifies areas as carpet on the Smart Map
- Equipped with special knobs that roughen the carpet slightly to loosen dirt
- Bin lasts more than 30 days
Image Credit: Roborock
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra
The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra Robot Vacuum and Sonic Mop with Auto-Empty Dock is possibly the most powerful robovac on the market, with a suction power of 5100 Pa.
This level of suction makes it a very good choice for carpets with deep pile, where you want to get rid of dust, dander, mites, and other nasties hiding below the surface.
- Dual laser sensor
- Top-mounted LIDAR
- Uses Reactive AI 2.0
- 3D Live stream camera
- Set No-Go Zones, Invisible Walls, and No-Mop Zones
- Recognizes five obstacle categories to avoid: power boards, footwear, wires, and larger pet waste
- Allows up to four maps
- Automatically empties the bin and recharges at its station
- Mopping feature for hard flooring
Image credit: Roborock
Do robot vacuums work on carpet?
Robot vacuums don’t have anything like the suction power of old-school corded vacuum cleaners. And that’s why they generally don’t perform as well on carpet as they do on hard surfaces.
But the technology is improving and some of the top-range robot vacuums now handle medium pile carpet quite well. If you have carpet in your house, make sure you get a robot vacuum with suction power of at least 2000 Pa.
You also want to make sure your robot vacuum detects carpet and ramps up the suction power when it is cleaning carpeted areas.