The popularity of robot vacuums, also known as robo-vacuums, in South Africa has skyrocketed in recent years.
Once a luxury product that only the wealthy could afford, there are now many options at different price points to appeal to a wider market.
In this article, we look at some of the best robot vacuums in South Africa and how they perform, according to online customer reviews and feedback.
Is it worth buying a robot vacuum?
Do robot vacuums live up to the hype? Like any “gimmicky” appliance, there are pros and cons to consider before you make the commitment.
Pros of robot vacuums
The top benefit of a robot vacuum is that it vacuums, and sometimes even mops, automatically. This means your house can be cleaned even when you’re not there.
Robot vacuums can reach places regular vacuums can’t, such as under beds and sofas. Many models have programmable features to make scheduling the vacuuming time and route easy.
Daily automatic vacuuming is a good way to effortlessly keep on top of dust and pet hair, making a robot vacuum a good choice for allergy sufferers.
Cons of robot vacuums
The main con is their efficiency. A small vacuum is never going to match the power of a large one. Many people find them too weak.
Even with more models on the market, robot vacuums are still expensive compared to traditional vacuum cleaners. For many people, they’re still a luxury.
Despite their charm, robot vacuums are machines and they can get stuck and lost. An automatic vacuum cleaner isn’t any good if it falls down the stairs on a regular basis.
What features to consider when choosing a robot vacuum
To get the best results from a robot vacuum, find one that has all the features you need.
You might get away with a smaller, cheaper model if you have a small apartment, for example.
Look for these features when deciding which robot vacuum to buy.
Consider the suction power of the vacuum you’re interested in. You’ll need more suction power if you have pets or carpets.
Ideally, find a robot vacuum that can clean the entire house on a single charge. If your home is large, choose a robot vacuum with the best battery life.
If you suffer from allergies or have pets, invest in a robot vacuum with good filters. Without them, the vacuum will put a lot of dust in the air because it runs so frequently.
Floor sensors tell the vacuum what type of surface it’s on. If you have a combination of carpets, tiles and wooden floors, you’ll need a robot vacuum that can tell the difference.
The robot vacuum’s brushes guide the dirt underneath the vacuum so it can be suctioned up. Look for a robot that has the right brushes to effectively clean into corners and along skirting boards.
If you want an all-in-one cleaning robot, consider a robot vacuum that has an optional mop feature.
Top-rated robot vacuums in South Africa
These are some of the top-rated* robot vacuums available in South Africa in 2024.
Best overall robot vacuum: Hobot Legee 7
The Hobot Legee 7 is one of the top-rated robot vacuums on Takealot and YuppieChef. This 4-in-1 robot vacuum has front suction, sweep, spray water, and mop functions that work simultaneously.
The Hobot Legee 7 is good at navigation, avoiding obstacles and cleaning hard-to-reach areas. It uses app control via Apple and Android to give you complete control over the cleaning process.
- 4-in-1 function
- eight cleaning modes
- app control
- washable filter
- smart mapping
- 20 mm obstacle climbing.
“Magnificent!!! Would give it a 6-star rating if it was possible. Worth every penny.”
Best budget robot vacuum: Bennett Read Alphabot Max Robotic Vacuum
The Bennet Read Alphabot Max has excellent reviews, especially for its reasonable price. It offers vacuuming and mopping functions with built-in memory for auto-mapping.
Image: Bennet Read
The Alphabot Max can get into most areas, including under furniture and has a three-stage filtration system to capture fine dust and particles.
- 2,600 mAh lithium-Ion battery
- Smart Life app control
- HEPA filter
- fall-guard and anti-collision sensors.
“This little machine is insane. The amount of time you get back in your life just by having this thing is unthinkable. I will advise anyone to get a robot vacuum in their house.”
Best automatic robot vacuum: Ecovacs Deebot X1 OMNI
The Ecovacs Deebot X1 OMNI offers truly hands-free cleaning. It has vacuuming and mopping functions with automatic emptying and refilling of the mopping water.
The AI recognises and avoids up to 30 different obstacles in the home. The disposable dustbag can hold up to 60 days of dirt.
- automatic emptying and refilling
- YIKO voice assistant
- four-stage deep-cleaning system
- disposable dustbag
- AI-based recognition and avoidance
- onboard real-time camera.
R27,000 to R29,000
“What a pleasure to press a button and get a clean floor again. This vacuum cleaner does not bump into all the furniture, for washing, it returns for clean water and picks up where it left off without much noise and at the end it empties the dust and dirty water.”
Best robot vacuum for allergies: Miele RX3 Scout Robot Vacuum Cleaner
The Miele RX3 offers multiple brushes and a four-stage cleaning system to ensure efficient cleaning on any type of floor and in all areas, even hard to reach spaces.
The AirClean Plus filter removes all dust, pet hair and other allergens to keep the air in your home fresh and odour-free.
- AirClean Plus filter
- efficient dust pickup with Quattro Cleaning Power
- powerful suction
- four-stage cleaning system
- five operating modes
- 120-minute running time.
“This robot vacuum cleaner is impressive. […] Its cleaning ability is excellent; the long side brushes enable it to clean well into corners and along edges.”
Best battery-life robot vacuum: Ecovacs Deebot T8 AIVI Robot Vacuum
Ecovacs Deebot T8 AIVI has a large water tank and a 5,200 mAh battery for a long runtime of three hours.
Image: Incredible Connection
This robot vacuum is also a tech lover’s dream, with smart home integration and AI-object recognition built in.
- larger battery
- three-hour runtime
- voice control
- PC Mag editor’s Choice Award
- vacuum and mop features
- smart home compatible.
“I love this thing! After almost a year it’s been awesome. I have all wood/laminate floors… no carpet. It ran for 3 months every day without me needing to do anything.”
Available from Incredible Connection.
*These ratings are based on online reviews and customer feedback, not independent testing by Chelsea Cleaning. Prices subject to change.