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?
Robot vacuums can keep carpets tidy and looking good, but they are not a replacement for a deep-cleaning old-school vacuum cleaner.
Why is this so?
That’s what I’ll deal with in this article.
And I’ll also give you a list of the best carpet-cleaning robot vacuums.
Let’s dive in.
Do Robot Vacuums Work On Carpet?
If you have carpeted areas in your house and you want to get a robot vacuum, there are a number of things you should know about before choosing your robovac:
- 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.
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 effectively clean a carpet 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 useful 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 normal vacuum cleaner for that deep clean that gets out the dust that’s accumulated deep in the pile.
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.
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 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 carpet, you need to be looking 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).
Automatically adjusted cleaning height
Most houses that have carpet also have areas of floor with a hard surface, 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?
After hours of research in forums, chat groups, and review sites, I’ve picked these 5 robovacs as the best for cleaning carpet. They are listed in no particular order.
iRobot Roomba s9+
I haven’t been able to find out the suction power of the iRobot Roomba s9+ because iRobot doesn’t publish the suction power of its robot vacuums.
Instead, they give you a scale based on the suction power of the entry-level 600 series. The Roomba S9+ has 40 x the suction power of the 600 series. That’s a lot of suction power!
If your carpet is ⅝ inch high or lower, the Roomba S9+ will give you the best deep clean of any robot vacuum.
- Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal
- 3-Stage Cleaning System lifts, loosens, then eliminates debris
- PerfectEdge Technology optimizes cleaning in corners and along edges
- Tell it where and when to clean
- Uses vSLAM navigation to learn the layout of your home and build personal Smart Maps
- Set ‘Keep Out Zones’
Image credit: Shop iRobot
The Roborock S7+ is another 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 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
Ecovacs DEEBOT OZMO T8 AIVI
The suction power of the Ecovacs DEEBOT Ozmo T8 is 1,500 Pa, which is a bit on the low side for carpet cleaning. However, in a test involving embedded sand on a mid-pile carpet, the Deebot picked up 66.65% of the sand (Best Cordless Vacuum Guide), which is not too bad.
The OZMO T8 has very reliable carpet detection and automatically switches to the highest power setting as soon as it drives onto carpet.
- dual-spectrum mapping system
- LIDAR sensor for precise room mapping
- Front-mounted camera that lets it see and avoid small obstacles like shoes or pet waste
- Avoids carpet when in mopping mode
- Battery lasts up to 170 minutes on a charge in auto-cleaning mode
- Auto-boost suction: automatically increases suction when it detects carpet
- Has a run time of two hours on high-power suction mode
- set up virtual boundary lines and no-go zones
- Set specific cleaning settings for individual areas
Image credit: Ecovacs
Yeedi Vac 2
The Yeedi Vac 2 packs an impressive 3,000 Pa suction power. It also has an ultrasonic sensor that automatically boosts its suction power when it’s on carpet.
- In mopping mode it avoids carpet
- Generate a permanent map of your home
- Set up virtual boundary lines or direct the vacuum to clean specific rooms within your home
- self-emptying (transfers debris to external dustbin on docking station)
- Low tangle v-brush
Image credit: Yeedi
Do robot vacuums work on carpet?
The answer is that 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 robovacs 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 robovac detects carpet and ramps up the suction power when it is cleaning carpeted areas.
Any of the five robot vacuums featured in this article will keep your carpets clean and tidy. But I do recommend that you also use a normal corded vacuum every few months, to get out the deeply embedded dust.