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Last Updated: 19/09/2020
You don’t need to break the bank to add a robovac to your home cleaning routine. Having reviewed every worthwhile robot vacuum on the market, we are well-positioned to shine a spotlight on the best budget robot vacuums. Naturally, the various models in this feature do not rank among the most feature-packed robotic cleaners around but, most importantly, they get the job done.
If your budget extends over and above the £150 limit here, you may well be better served by our guide to the best robot vacuums overall. While value for money does always play a part in our ratings and rankings, there are no price limits there, and you can begin to bring mobile apps, virtual walls and other, more advanced features into consideration.
Robovacs at this price point go about their business with the minimum of fuss. To make it into this feature, they need to replace an upright for standard cleaning adequately. In effect, if a robot vacuum cannot get up the majority of dirt and dust throughout the home, you won’t find it here. With that in mind, a quick browse will indicate that there are robotic vacuums out there that are even cheaper than these. While they exist, you could roll around on the floor and pick up more dirt than the suitably named ‘dirt cheap’ models. The cleaners featured here will not disappoint in their cleaning prowess, and they also prove that while advanced features may not be possible, they still have a few tricks up their respective sleeves that are sure to impress for the price.
The Best Budget Robot Vacuums
AmazonBasics Slim Robot Vacuum – The Best Budget Robot Vacuum Overall
The AmazonBasics Slim Robot Vacuum was always likely to give a strong showing in this category. While value for money is not the be-all and end-all of our robot vacuum reviews, it plays a part, and it was enough on this model for it to mix with exclusive company. It’s not the most powerful robot vacuum, nor is it the quietest. However, we’re firm in our belief that you won’t find better value for money on robot vacuums under £150 – let alone under £100.
The AmazonBasics model also catches the eye because, going purely by the numbers in the comparison table above, it would be easy to justify this model landing in third place rather than first. After all, there can be no denying that it has the lowest suction power on paper and the smallest dust box, while also tying in a couple of alternative categories. However, this model is evidence that there is more to the performance of a budget robot vacuum cleaner than just numbers.
The 0.3-litre dust box does indeed fall short of our benchmark, but once you have a routine in place, you probably won’t need to empty it more than once a week, even if you use it to clean every day. Further to this, the jump from the 850 Pa suction on the AmazonBasics model to the 1,200 Pa on the competition is not as significant as it seems. Neither will take your breath away, but both will get the job done – even with ‘inferior’ suction, this robot vacuum will leave no more dirt behind than any other model featured here.
Regardless of falling behind in some categories, the Amazon effort pulls ahead in others. It is the thinnest and lightest of the featured models, the importance of which is difficult to quantify without knowledge of individual circumstances. Those few millimetres can be the difference between getting under a particular piece of furniture or leaving that area of the floor uncleaned, and the reduction in weight could be the last burst of encouragement you need to do upstairs and downstairs as a single job.
AmazonBasics Slim Robot Vacuum Highlights
- A cheaper option for pet owners. While the AmazonBasics robot vacuum doesn’t include a true HEPA filter, the double-filter setup brings it close to perfect without the associated pricetag. What has always stood out to us is the sheer creativity of the design. Suction power is rarely as much of a concern for pet owners as some might assume – pet hairs get sucked into the dust box just as easily as any other kind of dirt. The problems arise when you have to spend ages clipping tangled hair out of the roller brush. More expensive models get around this with unique brush designs, but Amazon goes the other way, eliminating the roller altogether. Crucially, this has no material impact on the cleaning capabilities, and while there are clearly better options out there for pet owners, they cost more than three times as much, and no other budget robot vacuum can touch this one for cleaning up after pets.
- Outstanding manoeuvrability for a robot vacuum at any price point. It’s not often we focus on the wheels when talking about a robot vacuum, but quality options can make all the difference. The AmazonBasics Slim Robot Vacuum is quite possibly the cheapest worthwhile robot vacuum on the market, but the wheels are even better than some that cost many times the price. If you’ve got any concerns about your robovac getting up on the welcome mat or moving over borders between rooms, those worries will soon evaporate.
- Feels like a well-optimised robot vacuum. On some budget robot vacuum cleaners, it feels like the designers have intentionally cut down on features or even removed options to keep the price low. The Amazon robot vacuum feels like it was designed to perform at a specific price point, and this is where it shines. Budget robovacs cannot handle thick carpets and larger homes by default, so this one was crafted to have enough suction for hard floors and thin carpets, and enough battery life to propel it around small and medium homes – without going overboard on either.
The AmazonBasics Slim Robot Vacuum is the Best Budget Robot Vacuum For:
- Anyone that wants to cut down on their upright vacuum usage. If you have dropped hundreds of pounds on the latest Dyson or another potent manual cleaner, it will come as no surprise that budget robot vacuums are not equipped to replace them altogether. However, the Amazon robovac is capable of filling in the gaps with actual results, and your upright can stay in the cupboard for a little longer.
- Prospective buyers that have never owned a robot vacuum before. As mentioned, there are higher-priced robot vacuums out there that leave every model in this feature squarely in the dust by way of features – but if you have never relied on them before, you won’t miss them. When you buy a robot vacuum on a budget, you need to be happy with a good clean and see anything else as a bonus, and the AmazonBasics Slim delivers. As well as being reassuringly robust, it gives new owners an insight into pet capabilities, connectivity and scheduling, enabling a more informed decision if and when they decide to upgrade.
- Anyone looking to give a robot vacuum as a gift. We have shamelessly borrowed this point from our feature on the overall best robot vacuums, which covers more than just budget models. However, it rings true here – especially as a fair few of our readers will have a budget in mind because they are buying for someone else. Simply put, the Amazon effort will not let anyone down, and will not disappoint. It does everything a potential owner would have in mind from a robovac and wins the day because it finds the true sweet spot between price and performance.
Deik Robot Vacuum Cleaner – The Best Budget Robot Vacuum for the Price Conscious
Back in the days of robot vacuums where Roombas reigned supreme and unrivalled, the thought of a sub-£100 robovac that gets the job done was little more than a pipe-dream. However, Deik has proven that it is possible with their snappily titled Robot Vacuum Cleaner. Generally speaking, it is tempting to shy away from robovacs that go without model numbers or any form of identification, as that is often a hallmark of a cheap imitation that will fall flat as soon as you expect it to clean anything. However, the Deik Robot Vacuum Cleaner is different.
Deik itself is a general household company with a product range that comprises upright vacuums, bathroom scales, pots and pans and more. An automatic cleaner was always going to be a natural fit in the product range, and the end result is the cheapest robot vacuum that is worth your time and effort.
Going by the product images, the Deik is technically 40% off all the time. However, it has been that way for long enough that we consider this an excellent robotic vacuum cleaner for the price that just manages to squeeze under the £100 barrier. Indeed, if you see it for over £100 when you’re in the market, we’d suggest waiting a few days for it to return to what we consider as being normal – even if the marketing material suggests otherwise.
We stay abreast of the price of the Deik not because of any specific effort on our part. Instead, it features regularly on the live best-seller lists that we feature here on the site, so it rarely escapes our attention. It would be easy to assume that it fares so well in sales rankings because of the price alone but, crucially, it boasts the performance to match.
£40 or so does not sound like a massive amount of money when considering an investment in a cleaning appliance that can last you for years to come. However, it is a testament to the quality of the Deik Robot Vacuum Cleaner that it manages to rival the other vacuums in this feature while knocking almost a third off the price as standard.
Deik Robot Vacuum Cleaner Highlights
- Unbeatable suction power for the price. We attempted to manage expectations regarding power ratings in our coverage of the ILIFE V3S Pro above in saying that there is no significant practical difference between the 850 Pa on that model and the 1,200 Pa on the Deik. That is true on hard floors and thin carpets, but if you have relatively small areas of carpets of medium thickness, the increase can be worth it. You’ll need to double your investment to find a robot vacuum with more suction than this one, and it leaves the cleaning capabilities in absolutely no doubt.
- The largest dust box in this feature, and among the largest you’ll find on a robot vacuum. It is unusual to find the cheapest robot vacuum leading the pack at any price range in a category, but you will be hard-pressed to find a robot vacuum with more than a 0.9-litre dust box. We could be cynical and say that the lack of technology and features leaves plenty of empty space that may as well be filled by the empty box, but the fact remains that this model requires emptying far less frequently than just about any other. Crucially, while it may be cheap, it does support scheduling, unlike the Lefant M300. Homes that do not produce much dirt and dust on an ongoing basis could conceivably leave this robot vacuum to it for a month with no further involvement or work unless you want to take it to another floor.
- Adjustable cleaning power for different surfaces. A choice of varying cleaning modes is a rare sight indeed on a budget robot vacuum, but the Deik Robot Vacuum Cleaner can adjust depending on where it is used. It can be tempting to go all out, all the time, but you can preserve the battery life and reduce noise with lower settings that are often adequate in many scenarios.
The Deik Robot Vacuum Cleaner is the Best Budget Robot Vacuum For:
- Anyone that wants an impressive robot vacuum while spending as little as possible. As noted already, if you decide to pay less than the price of the Deik Robot Vacuum, you’re basically wasting your money. As well as the relative lack of features on other models, the cleaning capabilities mean that you might as well drive a remote control car around your house for all the good it does. This robovac represents the true entry-level to the concept and still manages to pack in some impressive features elsewhere.
- A hands-off, independent clean. The size of the dust box may be a result of nothing else taking up the space inside this unit, but the remote control, scheduling function and capacity ensure that this is a robot vacuum cleaner that can be left to the job and only emptied periodically. For context, the only robotic vacuum that comes to mind that can be left alone for as long as this one is the Roomba i7+, and that cheats by emptying itself into a separate, larger dust box built into the base unit. Oh, and there’s also the small matter that it costs over £1,000.
- Someone that needs some support for their upright vacuum. If you still vacuum regularly in a conventional manner or, god forbid, enjoy doing it, then the Deik is a handy assistant. You can take care of the main clean while your Deik buddy goes around every now and again to take care of that fine layer of dust that ends up on the floor each day for no apparent reason. No budget vacuum will enable the owner to ditch their upright altogether, but if you’ve spent heavily on your main unit, it makes sense to make whatever savings you can on the robotic assistant without compromising on quality – and the Deik Robot Vacuum Cleaner will be right up your street.
Lefant M300 – The Best Budget Robot Vacuum for Anyone that Keeps it Simple
Lefant, like both ILIFE and Deik, is a Chinese company that seeks to establish itself as a major contender at the lower end of the robot vacuum market. Their strategy resembles ILIFE more so than Deik, with the latter focused entirely on a single model. There is a natural upgrade path in the ILIFE range, as users can move on to the V5S Pro and even further than that for a price. In the same manner, Lefant fans can introduce robot mopping and other features when they move on to the likes of the M500. Crucially, neither of those upgrades makes the cut here, as neither is less than £150 and so our next representative in the list of the best budget robot vacuums is the Lefant M300.
If you’re specifically seeking a budget robot vacuum, you’re probably already at peace with the idea of a no-frills approach. While the V3S Pro and the Deik Robot Vacuum get fancy with their remote controls and scheduling, the M300 adopts the bare-bones approach.
While it comes to an overall comparison between this unit and the others, we feel that it is something of a middle ground. For example, it beats out the ILIFE in suction power while tying with the Deik, and then improves on that model for battery life while being equal with the V3S Pro.
The obvious missing piece is the remote control and, as we focused rather heavily on in our Lefant M300 review, that means more than just one less item in the box and having to bend down to turn the vacuum on. It also gets rid of any capacity for scheduled cleans, so when you want the M300 to take care of the housework, you’ll need to be nearby to tell it to do so.
Lefant M300 Highlights
- Free Move technology. It is rare to find a budget robot vacuum cleaner with unique technology inside, but where the Lefant M300 does beat the competition is in its ability to get itself out of sticky situations. No matter how much you pay for your unit, the fact remains that robot vacuums can get stuck. If your home and furniture lend themselves to making this possible then any robot vacuum that can make a concerted effort to get free can be worth the investment. We will not pretend that Free Move technology rivals the mapping functionality on more expensive models like the Neato Robotics D7 and Roomba 981, but it does feel a little more intelligent than anything else in this feature when getting in and out of tight spaces.
- Simplistic design that ensures things rarely go wrong. The lack of a remote control will put off some potential budget robot vacuum buyers – that’s for sure. However, you may be in the market for a cheap robot vacuum specifically to keep things simple. The fewer features and functions on any electronic device, the less there is to go wrong. With just a single button to press and everything else happening under the hood, the Lefant M300 ranks among the more robust robot vacuums to reside at this price point.
- Plenty of spares in the package. Things rarely go wrong on the M300, but when they do, you should have no trouble getting them sorted in a timely manner. This robot vacuum may be cheap, but the manufacturer has certainly not skimped on the spare parts. As well as a main unit and base that is ready to go right out of the box, you’ll also receive four extra side brushes and a replacement version of both filters. This ensures that your initial outlay is small, and you won’t even need to think about ongoing expenses for a long time to come.
The Lefant M300 is the Best Budget Robot Vacuum For:
- Homeowners with a significant amount of clutter. There is no avoiding the fact that if there are certain no-go areas in your home, either because you want to leave them untouched or because there is a good chance that your robot vacuum gets stuck, a budget model may not be the best idea. Instead, a cheaper robot vacuum with support for boundary strips, such as the Eufy RoboVac 30C, might be the way to go. At twice the price of the Lefant M300, however, it might be okay to stick with a model that stands the best chance of getting out of those situations. As mentioned, the Free Move technology used here does not rival boundary strips, virtual walls or app-based mapping, but it is about as good as it gets for this kind of price.
- Prospective buyers on a budget with medium-pile carpets. Budget robot vacuums typically struggle with anything more than thin carpets, but the M300 boasts enough ground-clearance and cleaning power to deal with slightly thicker alternatives. We’d peg the cleaning performance across hard floors and thin carpets at around level for each of the robot vacuums in this feature, but if you have just one or two rooms where a more intense clean is required, the M300 may be worth giving up the remote control for.
- An office robot vacuum on a budget. Robovacs are not just for home use, and we’ve seen a noticeable uptick in the number of business users who make the lives of the cleaner easier by keeping on top of dust on the floor. If you’ve got the corporate credit card and money is no object, we’d say go right for the Roomba 981. If it’s your company or you’re struggling for approval, the M300 is the right choice. This is one rare occasion where the lack of remote control does not matter too much. We prefer it this way as there’s no wasted time working out who had it last or that it’s in the locked drawer of the receptionist that has gone on holiday for a fortnight. Crucially, the M300 has the battery life, power and dust box capacity to make it around a reasonably-sized office in a helpful manner.
The Best Budget Robot Vacuum – In Summary
If your budget stretches to £150 and no further, then the ILIFE V3S Pro is the best robot vacuum you can get your hands on today. It may not appear to be the star of the show on paper, but the relatively unique approach taken by the manufacturer ensures that it makes the most of the features and functionality it has available.
As we expanded on in our coverage of the ILIFE above, this is the robovac that, more than any other on the list, feels like it was designed with a price in mind. ILIFE’s design team would have been well aware of the potential limitations of a budget robot cleaner, and it comes across that they built with efficiency in mind. More suction requires a more powerful motor, for example, so why spend more to bring that 850 Pa suction up to 1,200 Pa when 850 is enough to get the job done. They would have known that Wi-Fi and mobile apps were out of the question, so they made the remote control and associated functionality as good as it possibly can be. Robot vacuums for pets are often expensive, so they tackled the part of the design that would serve to keep costs down while providing a real benefit to pet owners.
Even when we only consider the cheapest robot vacuums that are worth your money in the first place, the ILIFE V3S Pro still manages to win out in terms of value for money.
If you are determined not to break the bank and strictly want a useable robot vacuum for the lowest possible price, you need look no further than the Deik Robot Vacuum Cleaner. It puts up the numbers that enable it to perform well in side-by-side comparisons, and we must mention once again just how impressive it is for a budget model to lead any category, regardless of the reasons. If you want an affordable robot vacuum to cut down on your own workload, the dust box on the Deik will feel so fantastic that you will soon forget that it only manages to be so big because there is nothing else to put there.
Finally, the Lefant M300 is the least exciting of the affordable robot vacuums featured. Nevertheless, it is once again more than capable of getting the job done. It is deeply average, but in a good way that suits any budget. Suction power, capacity and battery life are all ‘good enough’, and it also stands out through not only reducing your initial outlay but also limiting what you might need to spend in the future thanks to the lack of breakable components and plentiful spares within the package.
Featured Products in the Best Budget Robot Vacuum Buyer’s Guide
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