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What is the most quiet robot vacuum cleaner for your money

One of the major complaints for any robot vacuum cleaner user is the amount of noise the machine generates. It is by no means unbearable but some might want a quieter experience because of reasons such as having a baby in the house or leaving the cleaner to work at night. If you are looking on advice on what is the most quiet robot vacuum cleaner, the following comparison guide will be useful to you.

(Updated: 1st July 2016 – With new models being introduced, it is time to update the list with information about them. We also introduced a more scientific or standardized approach on measuring a robot vacuum’s sound level, which is dB)

 

Comparison chart

To make comparison of noise more standardize, we decided to use dB (decibels) as a standard way to measure the noise generated by a robot vacuum cleaner.

A note about dB: The dB is on a logarithmic scale. In layman terms, it means the difference between 60 and 61 is not just 1, as it can be many times louder due to the non linear scaling. In other words, it can be louder than the number might suggest.  So, when you are looking at the dB numbers below, be aware that a robot vacuum that produce 70 dB of noise is much louder than one that produces 60 dB.

The chart below will be updated as and when new information is being introduced. See the date to know the latest updated time:

Date: 1st July 2016

Best quiet robot vacuum cleaners

PhotoModelSound Level
roomba 780 sound level dbRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot55-58 Db when 2-3 feet away
60-65 Db when directly below you
neato Xv-14 robot vacuumNeato Xv-14 robotic vacuum with extra brush heads65-70 Db
Roomba 880 robot vacuumiRobot Roomba 880 Vacuum Cleaning Robot65-70 Db
Roomba 980 robot vacuumRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning RobotSimilar sound level to 880 but more pricey

 

Roomba 780 – Quietest robot vacuum

The clear winner is the Roomba 780. When the robot is away from you, the sound level of 55-58 dB is very acceptable.  To imagine the noise, it is similar to the sound level is your office when a couple of your colleagues are talking.

The rest of the models tend to go over 60 and some even went as high as 70 dB.  For comparison, a 70 dB is equivalent to standing next to a person running on a treadmill. That is how loud you can get.

Besides being the most silent, the cleaning capabilities is what you expect of a roomba. It works well on most surfaces, have a long battery around 3 hours and is able to recharge by itself when it is running on low power.

Its also quite a value buy since it is not the latest Roomba model, which means prices tend to fall over time. For comparison, a Roomba 980 is close to 1k while a 780 can be had for around $400-$500 if you look around for deals.

 

(Original post on 25th Sept 2014. Please read above for the recent recommendation)

What are the tradeoffs

It is the easy to recommend a model just based on noise level alone. Unfortunately, that is not how people usually make purchasing decisions. There are a range of other factors one needs to consider, which I will list below

  • Quiet but weak: there are models are out such as LG and Samsung brands which are very quiet but they are less capable when it comes suction powers. So, do you choose quietness over suction?
  • Quiet but expensive: another major consideration is price. The newer models such as the iRobot Roomba 880 has an acceptable noise level but it is very pricey given that these models are new. So, are you willing to pay a premium for having a quiet robot cleaner?
  • Quiet but only on certain flooring type: some models are quiet if they are used on certain flooring such as carpet or wood flooring. Depending on what is the flooring in your house, the answer on the most quiet robot vacuum cleaner might not be obvious.

 

What is my recommendation on a quiet robot vacuum

Given that above, here is what I recommend. The most easy way to do this guide is to start with the obvious candidates,  that would fail any reasonable definition of being quiet.

 

DO NOT BUY

  • Neato: Neato brands in general are very noisy.  Some folks have said that trains sound better relative to Neato (LOL). Although Neato’s new model, Botvac, seems to be performing better but I am still advising you folks to leave this out if you want a quiet robot vacuum.

 

CAN CONSIDER

  • iRobot Roomba 780: This is a relatively powerful vacuum cleaner and is quiet on carpet and soft flooring. It is also less pricey than the 880 and 980.
  • Samsung: Comparing with 870, the Samsung models are less powerful but they are better than the LG brands. In terms of noise and price, they are also better than the Roomba.

 

Hopefully, this comparison guide can help you decide on what robot vacuum cleaner to buy.

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