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Best Robot Vacuums with Obstacle Avoidance and AI

Over the past two years, Vacuum Wars has done around ten robot vacuum reviews of models with obstacle avoidance. The tests these robots were put through are designed to assess their overall capabilities, but with this article we will look specifically at which robot vacuums perform the best with obstacle avoidance.

First, for those who just want to know which robots are the best at using artificial intelligence (AI) to avoid obstacles, the five best are listed below. Robot vacuum reviews are being posted for these, and many more robots, too.

Top 5 best obstacle avoidance robot vacuums

Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra

Roborock S7 MaxV

Best Overall

Dreametech Bot Z10 Pro

Dreametech Bot Z10 Pro

Runner-up and Budget PIck

Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni

Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni

Good Obstacle Avoidance & AI

Samsung Jet Bot AI Plus

Samsung Jet Bot AI+

Great Artificial Intelligence

iRobot Roomba Combo j7+

iRobot Roomba j7

Top Roomba Robot

What we tested for

We wouldn’t recommend a robot vacuum just because it could avoid pet waste (although that’s an awesome feature), cords, and other unexpected objects, no matter how good it was at those tasks. A robot vacuum needs to do much more than just those.

Robot Vacuums with Obstacle Avoidance
The robot vacuums with obstacle avoidance and AI we tested. © Vacuum Wars

So, while we created new tests to gauge object avoidance systems, we also incorporated a number of other key robot vacuum performance metrics, too. Those metrics included how well they cleaned on carpets and hard floors, their pickup ability with debris of various sizes, their features, as well as how owners rated them.

Results

Our final scoring involved new tests we developed that were specifically designed to test robot vacuum obstacle avoidance and AI as well as several criteria which we believe to be important to any robot vacuum.

Looking for a more basic robot vacuum? We’ve compiled our list of the Best budget robot vacuum cleaners you can buy in 2024 – check it out!

While the Roborock S7 MaxV was the overall winner, five brands made it into the top five finishers with Dreametech, Samsung, Ecovacs, and iRobot all represented.

The Dreametech Bot Z10 Pro made an impressive showing. Not only did it capture second place, but it was also our budget choice too.

Roborock S7 MaxV: Best robot vacuum with obstacle avoidance and AI

Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra
Our pick for best robot vacuum with obstacle avoidance: Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra.

When we factored in all the criteria for the best robot vacuum with obstacle avoidance the Roborock S7 MaxV came out on top. The S7 MaxV Ultra excelled at just about everything with one obvious shortcoming – its price.

The S7 MaxV is available in three different packages. In each, the robot vacuum and mop itself are identical. What’s different is the docking station and its capabilities. The more sophisticated the dock, the more expensive it is.

One package includes the S7 MaxV as a standalone robot vacuum and mop and it comes with a simple charging dock. A second option, the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra, is one of the most sophisticated docking stations on the market. Beyond charging the robot, it also empties its dustbin, washes its mopping pads, and refills the robot’s water tank.

Roborocks ReactiveAI Cameras and Sensors
Cameras and sensors used by Roborock’s ReactiveAI object recognition system. © Vacuum Wars

The final variation is in between the two we’ve described and is called the S7 MaxV Plus. The Plus version’s dock charges the robot and empties its dustbin. It is priced between the other two options while closer to the Ultra.

Dreametech Bot Z10 Pro: Best obstacle avoidance robot vacuum value

Dreametech Bot Z10 Pro
Runner up and best value-priced robot vacuum with obstacle avoidance: Dreametech Bot Z10 Pro.

When pricing was factored into the equation, the Dreametech Bot Z10 Pro was the clear winner. Unlike our overall winner, there is only one Z10 Dreametech model, the Z10 Pro. Like the middle-of-the road S7 MaxV, it both charges the robot and empties its dustbin.

Comparing the price of the two, we’ve seen the Z10 Pro sell for nearly ½ the price of the comparable Roborock S7 MaxV variant.

But price wasn’t why the Z10 was picked as our budget robot with obstacle avoidance. It’s because it scored well in all the tests and did so with that more approachable price tag too.

How we tested obstacle avoidance equipped robot vacuums

We mentioned earlier that we developed new tests to better evaluate robot vacuum obstacle avoidance. We created the tests based on strong points, shortcomings, and curious behavior we have observed when using robot vacuums with these systems.

Sensors for Obstacle Avoidance and Navigation - Samsung Jet Bot AI
Samsung’s Jet Bot AI has several sensors for navigation and obstacle avoidance. © Vacuum Wars

All the robots we tested

In this round of testing, we included ten robot vacuums, each with obstacle avoidance and most with artificial intelligence of some kind. The ten robots were:

Robot Vacuum VacuumMop
Dreametech Bot Z10YesYes
Ecovacs Deebot N8 ProYesYes
Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVIYesYes
Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 960YesYes
Ecovacs Deebot X1 OmniYesYes
iRobot Roomba j7YesNo
Roborock S6 MaxVYesYes
Roborock S7 MaxVYesYes
Samsung Jet Bot AIYesNo
Shark AI VacmopYesYes
Robot vacuums with obstacle avoidance that we tested.

Six Standard Objects test

This test involves six objects spaced out evenly on a hard floor. Each of the objects is something we would expect robot vacuums with obstacle avoidance to have programmed in their image library and therefore able to identify and avoid.

The objects were a few cords, novelty pet waste, a cloth, and a small toy vacuum. The test was to see how good the robotic vacuums were at not only getting stuck, but avoiding contact with the objects.

Top performers

  • Roborock S7 MaxV – perfect score, tie for 1st
  • Samsung Jet Bot AI – perfect score, tie for 1st
  • iRobot Roomba j7 – 2nd
AI and Obstacle Avoidance Equipped Robot Vacuum and Mops
Some of the AI and obstacle avoidance-equipped robots we tested. © Vacuum Wars

The Pet Waste test

In this test, the same layout was used as in the six standard objects test, but each of the six items was simulated pet waste.

Top performers

We’re providing five top performers for the pet waste test, as there was a five-way tie for first place with each robot getting a perfect score. Our fake pet waste looks pretty real – this must be something engineers worked hard on with their AI algorithms and object library training.

  • Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni – perfect score, tie for 1st
  • iRobot Roomba j7 – perfect score, tie for 1st
  • Roborock S6 MaxV – perfect score, tie for 1st
  • Roborock S7 MaxV – perfect score, tie for 1st
  • Samsung Jet Bot AI – perfect score, tie for 1st

High performer

The Deebot X1 Omni not only did well with obstacle avoidance, it did well all around! Check out our Deebot X1 Omni review if you’re in the market for a premium robot vacuum and mop and our comparison of the S7 MaxV Ultra and Deebot X1 Omni.

The Cones test

The cones test is the same as the Pet Waste test but with cones. Once again, it is the same layout.

In the end, this test was a better reflection of how aggressive each robot was as opposed to being a great gauge of its object avoidance and artificial intelligence.

Confused Robot Vacuum with Obstacle Avoidance
Non-standard objects and patterns pose challenges for obstacle avoidance tech. © Vacuum Wars

The Torture test

We also set up a seven object torture test. This test included both common objects, like shoes and socks but also objects that most likely weren’t programmed into any of the image libraries the robots used.

For this test, the pattern was also more random with some obstacles closer to others. We also included two rugs with objects placed on them. One rug was solid red with red items. The other rug had a pattern with a contrasting item placed in its center.

High Scoring AI-based Obstacle Avoidance - Samsung Jet Bot AI
Samsung’s Jet Bot AI demonstrating its excellent obstacle avoidance capabilities. © Vacuum Wars

Top performers

There were no perfect scores in the obstacle avoidance torture test, but there was a clear first, second, and third place.

  • Samsung Jet Bot AI – 1st
  • Roborock S7 MaxV – 2nd
  • Dreametech Bot Z10 – 3rd

The Blue-on-blue test

In this test, three different blue items were placed on a blue carpet with a complicated pattern.

Robot Vacuum Obstacle Avoidance Testing
A robot vacuum completing a new obstacle avoidance test. © Vacuum Wars

This test was based on some behavior previously seen where a robot would avoid an object on hard flooring, but run into or over it on a more complicated surface such as carpet.

Top performers

In the top four finishers, there were two ties, so we have four robots below.

  • iRobot Roomba j7 – perfect score, tie for 1st
  • Samsung Jet Bot AI – perfect score, tie for 1st
  • Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI – tie for 2nd
  • Roborock S7 MaxV – tie for 2nd
Robot Vacuum Real World Use
A robot vacuum pushing an object around while cleaning. © Vacuum Wars

The Timed test

This final new test was to see how efficient each robot vacuum was. First, each robot mapped out a room without any obstacles. Next, three obstacles were added to the room. Finally, the robot was tasked with cleaning that room.

Each robot was timed to see how long it took to complete the test.

Top performers

  • Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni – tie for 1st
  • Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI – tie for 1st
  • Dreametech Bot Z10 – 2nd

Results of obstacle avoidance tests alone

We aren’t making our final picks based solely on the obstacle avoidance tests. We also took into consideration several key aspects that make a robot vacuum a good one.

If we only look at the results from the new, obstacle avoidance-specific tests, first place would go to the Samsung Jet Bot AI, which won by a decent margin. Second place would go to the Roborock S7 MaxV. Rounding out the top three would be iRobot’s Roomba j7.

Roborock S7 MaxV Vacuuming
Our top pick excels at everything that makes a robot vacuum good. © Vacuum Wars

Conclusion

We’re glad we took the time and created some new ways of evaluating robot vacuums with obstacle avoidance. By incorporating other key characteristics in the best robot vacuums we think we have found a good foundation for future tests.

At the end of the day, one thing is very clear – no robot vacuum is perfect at obstacle avoidance. That might be the most important takeaway for anyone shopping for one at this time. What’s exciting is how far they have come from the first robot vacuums and how fast they are evolving.

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