When it comes down to it, a robot vacuum needs to be three things: agile, thorough, and versatile. This Roomba robot vacuum is all that and then some. It’s the best robot vacuum you can buy for its ability to navigate, clean both hard flooring and carpet, and its repairability.
During our tests with the vacuum, we found that the e5 could handle dust, pet hair, crumbs, fine debris like salt — really, anything we threw at it — with ease. Here's why we named it our best overall robot vacuum.
Agility and Navigation
The Roomba e5 never got stuck during our test runs and returned to its base after completing its jobs. It left our floors (especially the carpets) cleaner than other vacuums in its price range did. The only minor complaint we have with the e5 is that we wish it was equipped with better navigation tech. More expensive robot vacs use cameras, lasers, and advanced algorithms to get around.
The e5 is a bump-and-run robot, meaning it will travel in a straight line until it hits something. Then it turns around, adjusts itself, and moves forward. It repeats this process until its battery dies. When that happens, it’ll automatically go back to its base, recharge, and resume exactly where it left off later on (in the event there’s more ground to cover.)
The e5 is packed with almost all the sensors you’d possibly need. It has a cliff detection sensor to keep it from falling down stairs and a dirt-detect sensor, which is exactly what it sounds like. When your robot finds more dirt than usual concentrated in one area, it will go back over the spot and clean it until the spot is completely clean.
Suction Strength and Cleaning Performance
The e5 provides five times the suction of Roomba’s more affordable 6 Series robots (currently Wirecutter’s top robot vacuum pick) and it features improved dual rubber brushes that are unrivaled.
We may sound silly raving about two rubber brushes, but most brush rolls with bristles get ungodly amounts of pet/human hair tangled on them, which can really affect performance — or worse, stop cleaning completely.
It has a large, 500-milliliter bin and the only Roomba bin that’s larger is the 960 Series — which we recommend for pet owners.
Ease of Use
Since you can schedule cleaning with the app, the vacuum will clean automatically without you even having to think about it. If you'd prefer, you can press the large circle clean button on its topside to start the robot vacuum up.
We found the iRobot app to be incredibly easy to use. You can monitor cleaning activity, view cleaning history, and troubleshot any issues you have with the app. The e5 even pairs with your Google Assistant or Alexa-powered smart speaker so you can instruct the vacuum to clean or return to its base with your voice.
If you've been comparing robot vacuums, you've probably noticed how much they vary in price. While the iRobot Roomba e5 certainly isn't the cheapest robot vacuum on the market, it's also several hundred dollars cheaper than the most expensive models, too. We've tested models on both ends of the spectrum and feel as though the e5 encompasses everything you'd want and need in a robot vacuum. It cleans fantastically, is reliable, and rarely gets stuck.
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