Robot Vacuum VS Traditional Upright Vacuum - Which is Better?

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We purchased our first robot vacuum during the Black Friday sales in 2020, and it was one of the best purchases we have made, but is it better than an upright vacuum? 

In this post, we will be specifically comparing the iRobot Roomba 675 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum to our Shark® Rotator® NV341 Slim-Light Lift-Away® Vacuum, which is no longer available (we purchased it in 2014 and it's still going strong!), but the NV501 appears to be the newer version of the one we have.

Robot Vacuum

  • You don't have to vacuum.
  • You don't have to be home to vacuum.
  • Connects to Google Home, so all we have to say is: "Hey Google, start vacuuming."
  • It's cordless.
  • It can easily clean under to the bed and sofa.

  • Fills up quickly, but this can be solved by getting a robot vacuum that's self-dumping.
  • Not as powerful. We noticed it doesn't clean the carpets as thoroughly as our upright can.
  • It can't do stairs.
  • It randomly cleans, but there are other robots that will follow a set pattern.
  • Can't clean the sofa.

Upright Vacuum


  • It can clean carpets thoroughly.
  • It can clean stairs.
  • It has a large canister, so we don't have to empty it as often.
  • It can be used to suck up spiders.
  • Has attachments to clean sofa.

  • You have to vacuum.
  • You have to be home to vacuum.
  • It's corded.
  • It can't easily fit under the bed or sofa without moving furniture around.

The Verdict

Even though I love our robot vacuum and use it almost daily, I still believe in having an upright vacuum if you have carpets and carpeted stairs. If your house is completely hardwood floors or maybe if you don't have pets, and the stairs aren't carpeted, then maybe a robot vacuum is all you need.

Our house is mostly hardwood so we use the robot vacuum almost daily, but we have a few big rugs and carpeted stairs, so we use our upright to deep clean those once a month or so. We also have two cats and two dogs, so we have more of a need to vacuum more often.

If you have sofas, you will still want at least a handheld vacuum of some sort to clean in between and underneath the cushions as a robot vacuum will not be able to clean those areas.

I did not list the following in the pros and cons lists above as they applied to both vacuums:
  • Noise - They are both loud.
  • Brush Rolls - They need to be cleaned. Hair gets wrapped around those things like crazy! 
  • Bagless - Both are bagless and have reusable canisters.
  • Small Messes - The Roomba has a "spot clean" function so it can do a specific mess just like an upright.

Post a Comment


  1. I've never thought of getting a robot vacuum but it does have some plusses! I like having the upright. We have about 1/2 hardwood, 1/2 carpet upstairs and all carpet downstairs. The robot would be nice to run in the kitchen/dining room daily!

  2. These are both good options. I have two vacuums, one for upstairs and one for down. I'd love a Roomba for the main floor.

  3. Although I hate vaccuming I would get so annoyed if the robot didn't clean every surface. This was a really good review to read.

    1. There are new robot vacuums that will clean in a set pattern so it's guaranteed to hit every spot on the floor. The Roomba does have a mapping system and somehow knows when it has finished cleaning a room, so it seems to hit every bit even if it is randomized.

  4. It seems like having both seems like a good idea. I have wanted a robot vacuum but never wanted to spend the money when I still needed an upright vacuum for certain areas but I think I will check the black Friday sales.

  5. This post is perfect timing because we are researching vacuums and trying to decide if we want a roomba or an upright. We have to deal with so much cat hair and it's overwhelming. We were looking into the Shark you mention, because it does a more thorough job and we really need to be able to get under all furniture and crevices.

  6. I totally prefer the traditional kind. I tried a robot and wasn't impressed.

  7. I tried a robot vacuum also and felt the same It seemed to get stuck on my area rugs and we still have carpeted stairs that needed to be vacuumed so there was no way we could get rid of an upright.

  8. I haven't tried robot vacuums ever. I have no problem using traditional vacuums so I'll stick to it for now.

  9. I only have a traditional vacuum, but would love to try the robot one.

  10. I appreciate your thorough comparison because we are planning to get a robot vacuum. I've heard many positive things about it.

  11. Nice review. For now we got the upright t vacuum and I've been wondering to try the robot vacuum which is alao becoming more popular as a household help in cleaning. Thanks for the tips to help me decide which one to continue using at home

  12. This is a great comparison! I like to use the manual vacuum once a week and the robot vacuum every other day!


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