Guide | October 1, 2023

How to choose the best robot vacuum cleaner

A robot vacuum cleaner can offer convenient, effortless cleaning. With so many options in the market, it’s important to choose one that has strong suction power, so you can make sure it will deep clean your floors thoroughly.

But how do you identify power? You may notice that some robot manufacturers measure suction in Air Watts (AW), and some in Pascal (Pa/kPA). You can’t compare these two measurements side by side because they represent different elements.

So here’s our guide to making sense of them, to help you choose the best robot vacuum for your home.

  • What are Pascals?

    Pascals (Pa) measure the difference between the pressure inside and outside an object. Some robot vacuums have a small inlet underneath where the dust goes after it’s captured. A small inlet means a smaller airway, which means pressure increases, giving a high Pa count.
    In a robot that has a high Pa count, the inlet is usually too small and can’t push the dust up into the bin without getting blocked. This results in inefficient cleaning, because suction power is compromised.
    Furthermore, some of these robots rely on flippers to push dust and dirt into the small inlet, which instead end up spreading them around.
    In essence, a robot vacuum with a high Pascal count doesn’t promise cleaning performance.

  • What are Air Watts?

    Air Watts (AW), on the other hand, are a measure of the suction power of a machine. The measurement takes into account both pressure (Pa) and the rate of airflow going through the robot. An Air Watts number can only be high if both pressure and airflow are high, which translates into powerful suction.
    In a robot with high Air Watts, the inlet that captures dust and dirt is usually wider and larger, allowing more airflow. More airflow picks up more dust and debris from carpets and hard floors easily, then successfully brings them into the vacuum.


Look at Air Watts, not Pascals

  • Therefore, the key element to look for in a vacuum is Air Watts – maximum pressure (Pa) is pointless if there isn’t enough airflow. Airflow is crucial to capture more dust and debris for a complete clean. For example, Dyson uses Air Watts, not Pascals, to measure vacuum performance. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ has 65AW of suction power – six times more than the closest competitor. In fact, the average suction power of a robot vacuum in the market is only 10AW. This means it genuinely sucks up more debris and dust than any other robot vacuum for a true, deep clean. Its full-width brush bar also ensures it cleans right to the edge and leaves nothing behind, together with a wide diameter to reduce tangling.


What does a powerful vacuum really mean?

  • To sum up, a powerful vacuum should have high Air Watts, not Pascal count. This means it has the strongest suction power which leaves no dust behind when it cleans – the most important feature in a robot vacuum.

    The Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ is the most powerful vacuum1 – and the only one that has the power of a cordless vacuum – to clean effectively across all floor types, with no loss of suction. It even has a piezo sensor that detects dust levels in different areas of your home and adjusts suction power accordingly, for maximum efficiency.2


Additional robot vacuum features

  • Besides power, the best robot vacuum will also offer cleaning precision, ensuring your whole home is covered. When cleaning, the dust and dirt collected should also be completely contained and sealed in the machine, so there’s no leakage.
    The Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ robot vacuum has a side actuator, which activates every time it senses an edge or corner to reach out and clean up dust where others can’t.
    It also has 360° vision to intelligently map rooms for a thorough clean, and detects dust levels as it cleans. With its whole-machine, fully-sealed filtration, you can be assured that what goes inside, stays inside.3
    Plus, with MyDyson app compatibility and full connectivity to smart home systems, you can program it to clean wherever you want in your home, whenever you want.
    So it takes all the hassle out of cleaning, with the power and intelligence to deep clean your home.

Discover more about the new Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ robot vacuum


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    360° vision in the most powerful robot.1

    Extending side duct cleans right to the edge.

    Intelligently clean with 360° visual navigation.

    Controlled, customised and scheduled with the MyDyson™ app.

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1Suction testing based on IEC 62885-4 CL5.8 and CL5.9, loaded to bin full, in Boost mode against robot vacuums (market sales data from Jan 2022 to Dec 2022). Tested in SLG Germany from 2021-2023.

2Suction power automatically reacts in Auto mode only. Microscopic dust is defined as particles smaller than 100 microns.

3Filtration tested against ASTM F3150 in Boost mode by independent third party, SGS US, in 2022.