The 6 Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuums, Tested and Reviewed

The Samsung Jet Bot AI+ Robot Vacuum impressed us with its performance and maneuverability.

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Real Simple / Henry Wortock

A self-emptying robot vacuum is a step up from a traditional robot vacuum since it makes the vacuuming process almost completely hands-free. Instead of having to manually empty your vacuum, the robot vacuum automatically releases the contents of the dustbin directly into its docking station.

“Self-emptying is a very good feature and allows the customer to empty the dust container once in weeks,” says Steve Dodge, CEO of SoCal Robot Repair. (For context, regular robot vacuums often need to be emptied after every use.)

To find the best self-emptying robot vacuums, we tested 11 models in our Lab and evaluated them based on factors like ease of emptying, effectiveness, maneuverability, noise level, and more. We also received expert tips from Dodge on how to choose one for your household’s needs.

Our top pick is the Samsung Jet Bot AI+ Robot Vacuum With Object Recognition for its impressive ability to pick up all of the debris we threw on hard floors and carpets, bevy of smart features, and flawless maneuverability.

Here are the best self-emptying robot vacuums.

Our Top Picks
Best Overall Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum:
Samsung Jet Bot Robot Vacuum at Amazon
Best Budget Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum:
Yeedi Vac Station Robot Vacuum and Mop at Amazon
Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum for Hardwood:
Roborock S7+ Robot Vacuum at Amazon
Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair:
Ecovacs Deebot N8+ at Amazon
Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum/Mop Combo:
Ecovacs Deebot T10+ Robot Vacuum and Mop at Walmart

Best Overall Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum

Samsung Jet Bot AI+ Robot Vacuum With Object Recognition

4.5
Samsung Jet Bot AI+ Robot Vacuum with Object Recognition

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want to be able to control and watch their robot vacuum via an app.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a robot vacuum with a longer battery life.

Out of all the self-emptying robot vacuums we tested, we were most impressed with the Samsung Jet Bot AI+ Vacuum. Its performance was stellar during our testing: It picked up all the items we left on our bare floor and rug and was able to transition back and forth over both surfaces successfully. “This vacuum maneuvers flawlessly,” says our tester. “It did a wonderful job avoiding socks, cables, and ‘poo.’ The vacuum worked its way around furniture with ease.”

This Samsung robot vacuum also stood out for what our tester described as “endless” smart features and settings. The hands-free transfer of the dustbin’s contents into the docking station prevents the release of more than 99 percent of dust into your home. From your smartphone, you can program where you want the vacuum to clean and where you want it to avoid, and if you’d like to track its progress, you can watch via a live video as it moves through your home.

However, one downside to this robot vacuum is its battery life. It can last for up to 1.5 hours on a single charge, which is among the shortest on our list. (This is likely due to the built-in cameras and sensors that make it so effective.) It’s also the most expensive option on our list. However, one tester notes that “every single part of this machine is high quality," while another says “it cleans the floors better than [their] previous regular vacuum.”

Price at time of publish: $1,299

Product Details:  

  • Battery Life: 1.5 hours
  • Dustbin Capacity: 0.2 liters
  • Water Tank Capacity: N/A
  • Charging Time: Not listed
Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuums

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Budget Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum

Yeedi Vac Station Robot Vacuum and Mop

4
Yeedi Vac Station Robot Vacuum and Mop

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want an affordable robot vacuum that doesn’t need to be emptied often.

Who it isn’t for: People who are worried about debris getting tangled in their robot vacuum.

This affordable model from Yeedi costs less than half of our best overall pick, making it a great option for people who don’t want to spend upwards of $1,000 on a self-emptying robot vacuum. Its price is especially great considering the Yeedi Vac Station’s extra features. Our tester loved the self-emptying bin for its ease of use (it empties automatically when entering the docking station) and lack of mess when removing the dust bag from the docking station. Plus, you can leave the dust bag in the docking station for up to 30 days, preventing you from having to replace it very often.

In terms of performance, we found that you do get what you pay for. This robot vacuum wasn’t able to pick up the debris we left on the ground right away, and when it did pick up the hair, it got tangled in the brush roll and wheels. It did, however, maneuver around our home quite well and easily avoided obstacles. This vacuum comes with a built-in mop feature that also had varied results in our tests. It was able to wipe up coffee easily but left a sticky residue after cleaning up the syrup. Overall, our tester says the Yeedi Vac Station “worked well for the price point,” and even though “it wasn’t perfect, with time it would get the floors clean.”

Price at time of publish: $500

Product Details:

  • Battery Life: 3.3 hours
  • Dustbin Capacity: 0.42 liters
  • Water Tank Capacity: 0.24 liters
  • Charging Time: 6 hours
Yeedi Vac Station Robot Vacuum and Mop, Self-Emptying 3 in 1

Better Homes & Gardens / Henry Wortock

Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum for Carpet

Samsung Jet Bot+ Robot Vacuum With Clean Station

4.2
Samsung Jet Bot+ Robot Vacuum With Clean Station

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a self-emptying robot vacuum that’s effective at cleaning rugs and carpets.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a robot vacuum that can easily identify objects and navigate around them.

With its small size, you may not think that a robot vacuum would be able to clean thick carpeting very well, but the Samsung Jet Bot+ Robot Vacuum showed us that it’s possible. Our tester found that this Samsung model was able to roll along our rug easily and got it “very clean,” which couldn’t be said for some of the other robot vacuums we tested. It was also able to transition from the rug to the floor with no issues, and it picked up a variety of messes on our hard floors, including pet hair, cereal, and sand in only two minutes.

The Samsung Jet Bot+ Robot Vacuum has a hands-free, self-emptying mechanism that occurs in the docking station, which features a multi-layered filtration system that traps almost all of the fine dust it collects. Like our best overall pick, this one also comes with an app that allows you to watch the vacuum as it moves through a map of your house, among other things. One major downside is that it wasn’t as good at identifying stray objects left on our floors. It ran over our socks and our imitation dog droppings, the latter of which smeared all over our floors. However, these results aren’t out of the ordinary for robot vacuums without object avoidance capabilities.

Price at time of publish: $800

Product Details:

  • Battery Life: 1.5 hours
  • Dustbin Capacity: 0.2 liters
  • Water Tank Capacity: N/A
  • Charging Time: Not listed
Samsung Jet Bot+ Robot Vacuum With Clean Station

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum for Hardwood

Roborock S7+ Robot Vacuum With Auto-Empty Dock

Roborock S7+ Robot Vacuum With Auto-Empty Dock

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who need a self-emptying robot vacuum that’s best for hardwood floors.

Who it isn’t for: People who are primarily concerned about cleaning up pet hair.

During our testing, we found the Roborock S7+ to be very effective at cleaning hard floors, as it had no trouble picking up the sand and Cheerios on bare surfaces. It was also able to pick up human hair, but it did drag it around a little at first before it sucked it up. The self-emptying robot vacuum also doubles as a mop, but this feature left a lot to be desired. “This would be acceptable for tackling the initial mess, but I'd want to do a more serious mopping job,” says our tester.

Our tester found that the self-emptying mechanism emptied “very easily and very well.” This pick also sets itself apart from other self-emptying robot vacuums in that you don’t have to empty it for up to eight weeks, making it one less cleaning task you have to do regularly.

It’s also worth noting that this robot vacuum “ate” two socks during our tests. This product works with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, and it even has a child lock, the latter of which isn’t a common feature in other self-emptying robot vacuums we tested.

Price at time of publish: $950

Product Details:

  • Battery Life: 3 hours
  • Dustbin Capacity: 0.4 liters
  • Water Tank Capacity: 0.3 liters
  • Charging Time: Not listed
Roborock S7+ Robot Vacuum and Sonic Mop with Auto-Empty Dock

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair

Ecovacs Deebot N8+

4.8
ECOVACS Deebot N8 Pro+ Robot Vacuum and Mop Cleaner

Amazon

Who it’s for: People with pets who are buying a robot vacuum specifically to tackle fur.

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t need a robot vacuum with a mopping feature.

Without the right cleaning tools, it’s easy for pet hair to feel like it’s everywhere in your home. Rest assured that with the Ecovacs Deebot N8+, that simply won’t happen. During testing, this robot vacuum was able to pick up hair with ease, on hardwood floors and carpeting alike. The vacuum’s self-emptying mechanism also made cleaning up that pet hair even more hassle-free, according to our tester.

In addition to sucking up pesky pet hair, our tester found that this vacuum was able to “pick up nearly everything off the floor in a timely manner.” We also noticed similar results on carpets and were pleased to discover that no hair got tangled in the brush roll or stuck in the mechanism while going across the rug to the floor. Like a few other models on our list, this self-emptying robot vacuum has mopping capabilities. This feature performed “much better than expected” in our tests and scored well in terms of maneuverability.

Unfortunately, the vacuum did get stuck on some cords and took them along on its cleaning journey. Overall though, our tester says the Ecovacs robot vacuum is a “great value for the price” and that they would recommend this cleaning product to friends and family.

Price at time of publish: $700

Product Details:

  • Battery Life: 1.8 hours
  • Dustbin Capacity: 0.42 liters
  • Water Tank Capacity: Not listed
  • Charging Time: 6.5 hours
Ecovacs Deebot N8+

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum/Mop Combo

Ecovacs Deebot T10+ Robot Vacuum and Mop

4.4
Ecovacs Deebot T10+ Robot Vacuum and Mop

Best Buy

Who it’s for: People who want a robot vacuum/mop combo that can clean for more than two hours without needing to be charged.

Who it isn’t for: People who need a more affordable self-emptying robot vacuum.

It’s not easy to find a robot vacuum/mop combo that’s able to get both of its jobs done well, but we feel like we came pretty close with the Ecovacs Deebot T10 Plus. Our tester gave it a perfect rating for its ability to clean our hardwood floor and rug, saying that “it picked up almost everything” on the floor, with the exception of some strands of hair.

For its mopping capabilities, this pick received the same score for being able to clean up coffee and syrup “very well” with “little residue left.” Our tester did note that there was more syrup residue than coffee leftover, which was pretty common among the robot vacuums with mops that we tested. It did, however, end up sucking up one of our USB cords, so this one isn’t perfect when it comes to sensing stray items on the floor.

This combo model is able to vacuum for a little over three hours and mop for three hours, depending on the settings, which is a lot longer compared to most of the self-emptying robot vacuums we tested. Plus, the dust bag is quite big (3.2 liters) and hypoallergenic, so when it seals, sneeze-inducing dust won’t release and affect your home’s air quality.

Price at time of publish: $950

Product Details:

  • Battery Life: Up to 3.2 hours
  • Dustbin Capacity: 0.4 liters
  • Water Tank Capacity: 0.24 liters
  • Charging Time: 6.5 hours
Best Self-Emptying Robots

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the Samsung Jet Bot AI+ Robot Vacuum With Object Recognition. This self-emptying vacuum picked up all the debris we scattered on our rug and hard floor, and it moved around and under furniture with ease. It also successfully dodged objects on the ground and came with some impressive smart features, including the ability to livestream its performance to your smartphone thanks to its built-in camera.

Our Testing Process

We tested 11 self-emptying robot vacuums in our Lab and assessed them based on setup, effectiveness, noise level, maneuverability, features, ease of emptying, and overall value. Our first test involved taking the robot vacuums out of their boxes and evaluating how quickly and easily we could assemble the product.

Next, our testers evaluated the effectiveness of the robot vacuum by putting debris—wig hair, faux fur hair, Cheerios, and sand—on the hard floor and rug to see if it could completely suck up those materials in a two-minute time period. If the vacuum couldn’t, we noted how many additional passes it took and if any of the debris got stuck in the machine, like the in wheels and brush roll.

Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuums

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

For the robot vacuums that have a mopping feature, we tested each model’s effectiveness by putting coffee and syrup on our floor and seeing how well it was able to clean the mess in a two-minute time period. We noted if it took multiple passes and if there was any smearing or leftover sticky residue. Our testers also judged the maneuverability of these machines by seeing if they could easily slide under furniture, go between chair legs, and transition from the rug to the floor (and vice versa) without any issues. We also left out a USB cable, a sock, and chocolate pudding (to simulate pet waste) to see if the robot vacuums could detect them and successfully avoid them.

Finally, our testers evaluated the ease of emptying each robot vacuum. We noted if the robot vacuum successfully emptied its own contents by itself without any errors or malfunctioning. We also considered the size of the dustbin and bag, how many days you could leave the dust bag in the docking station, and if emptying the dust bag made any mess.

How to Shop for Self-Emptying Robot Vacuums

Capacity

Capacity is an important factor to consider when shopping for robot vacuums because it determines how much debris it can hold and how much can be stored in a dust bag before it needs to be replaced. Because of their very small size, robot vacuums can only hold so much (upwards of two cups). Before you buy one, assess how much debris would need to be picked up from your floors. If your floors are more likely to be riddled with frequent little messes, such as those from kids or pets, then it’s best to go with a robot vacuum with a larger dustbin. But according to Dodge, there isn’t a large range of dustbin capacity between robot vacuums, so don’t spend too much time searching for the largest. The dustbin capacities of the models on our list range from 0.2 to 0.42 liters.

Another thing to consider is how often you want to change the dust bag. The dust bag, located in the docking station, is usually able to hold a lot more, so you don’t need to empty it frequently. In fact, most manufacturers specify how many days you can leave the dust bag in the docking station before it needs to be emptied. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy having to empty dust and debris, get a robot vacuum with a docking station that only needs to be emptied every couple of months. However, Dodge says that households with furry friends shouldn’t wait too long to empty the dust bag, as pet messes can quickly cause a smell.

Best Self-Emptying Robot Vaccums

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Battery Life

The average battery life of a robot vacuum on one charge is between 1.5 to 2 hours, according to Dodge, although it depends on the vacuuming mode you’re using, the type of floor, and the condition of the battery. If you want your robot vacuum to clean the entirety of your apartment or home, choose one with a longer battery life. But if you’re only programming it to run in dirtier areas of your home, such as your dining area or kitchen floors where bits of food are bound to fall on the floor, you may not need a robot vacuum with a very long battery life.

Extra Features

Self-emptying robot vacuums come with so many extra features that make the experience of owning one all the more convenient and fun. For some, you can download a smartphone app and control where the robot vacuum does and doesn’t go in your home. You can also create a map of your home on that app and watch as the vacuum moves about your home. Others can be connected to devices equipped with Amazon Alexa or Google Home so you can control the vacuum with voice commands. These additional features often come at a higher price though, so if you don’t feel like you need them, there’s no need to spend the extra money.

More Self-Emptying Robot Vacuums to Consider

Roomba i7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum: Although our tester was satisfied with how well this robot vacuum cleaned the floor and rug (minus its inability to pick up Cheerios and some hair), they were disappointed with the self-emptying mechanism, which failed to empty out all its contents into the docking station’s dust bag.

Neabot NoMo Q11 Three-in-One Robot Vacuum Cleaner: This affordable robot vacuum—which doubles as a mop—did an okay job at moving around our space and getting rid of messes. It sucked up our loose cables and a rogue sock, but it was only able to clean up 50 percent of the debris we left on our floor.

Best Self-Emptying Robot Vacuums

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Questions You Might Ask

How does a self-emptying robot vacuum work?

These types of robot vacuums automatically empty the dustbins into their docking stations. Within the docking station is a dust bag that collects all the debris. Instead of emptying the dustbin every time you vacuum, all you have to do is simply remove the docking station’s bag when it’s full and replace it. This feature is usually designed to filter out and trap fine dust particles that would otherwise release into your home’s air, making it a great option for people with household allergies.

How long does it take to charge a robot vacuum?

According to Dodge, the charging times of a robot vacuum can vary. “For the first charge after purchase, or battery replacement, it may be up to 16 hours to charge a robot in full,” he says. “Day-by-day charging usually lasts about 2–3 hours.”

Be sure to check your instruction manual to confirm, as some of the robot vacuums we tested claimed to take between four and seven hours to completely charge. We know this all seems like a long time, especially if you are used to using a normal vacuum. To maximize your battery life, always keep your robot vacuum in its docking station, where it can charge. That way, if you have a sudden mess that needs cleaning, you can deploy your robot vacuum without having to wait for it to charge.

Are self-emptying robot vacuums worth the price?

It depends on your household and how much time you want to spend cleaning. “The most important advantage of a vacuum robot is the absence of a human being in the cleaning process,” says Dodge.

That said, we think self-emptying robot vacuums are worthwhile investments for people who want to minimize the amount of time spent cleaning. They would also work well for households that experience frequent small messes to the point where someone would have to pull out a regular vacuum nearly every day to clean them up.

Dodge says that a robot vacuum’s power is equivalent to a medium-sized regular vacuum, so it is best used to get rid of the short hair and regular dust that accumulate around the house. So if you’re looking to chuck your regular vacuum in lieu of a robot vacuum, don’t. In fact, the biggest mistake Dodge sees people make with robot vacuums is not knowing that there are limits to their cleaning abilities.

“A vacuum robot isn’t an industrial vacuum. It can support cleanliness in your home but can’t clean up a big mess, like after some renovation or big party,” he says. “If you purchase a vacuum robot, first clean the house with regular means then start to regularly use the robot.” As such, investing in a self-emptying robot vacuum is great for homes with children and pets, as well as high-mess areas, such as kitchens and dining rooms, that would otherwise be hard to keep clean.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Rachel Center, a product reviews home writer for Real Simple. We researched the best self-emptying robot vacuums and tested 11 of the most popular options in our Lab, evaluating them on ease of emptying, value, effectiveness, maneuverability, noise level, and more. We also spoke to Steve Dodge, CEO of SoCal Robot Repair, for expert tips on how to choose a self-emptying robot vacuum.

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. If that's the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible.

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.

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