The top tier of robot vacuums seems to be edging toward an Asimovian ideal, completely relieving us of one of our household labors. Witness the iRobot Roomba S9+ which not only empties itself after vacuuming but can also be paired with one of the brand’s robot mops for tandem cleaning of hard floor surfaces. But at $1,400 for the vacuum—plus an additional $400 for the mop—the cost for this convenience is steep.

Fortunately, the budget end of the market still has plenty to offer. Case in point: The RoboGeek 20T, which offers adjustable cleaning modes, intelligent suction boosting, nimble navigation, remote control, and an ample 0.6L dustbin for just a couple of bills.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best robot vacuums, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.

The 20T does not require connection to your Wi-Fi network, so set up is short and simple. First, prepare the vacuum by attaching two of the four supplied spin brushes and flipping on the power switch on its undercarriage, then plug in the charging dock and set the 20T on its contacts.

While the vacuum is charging, you can prepare the room for cleaning by picking up any clutter off the floors. Clothing, loose paper, and power cords are most likely to get sucked up and dragged by the vacuum; five cable ties to cinch up the last of these are provided with the 20T.

robogeek 20t slim design Dser

The RoboGeek 20T’s low height allows it to get under low-clearance furniture.

You start a cleaning cycle by first pressing the power button on top of the 20T to wake it up, and then pressing it again or pressing the Auto button on the remote control. In this all-purpose cleaning mode the vacuum charts an S-shaped path through the room, occasionally touching up along its edges and around chair legs and other furniture. Its smart-suction feature, which Dser calls its “BoostGen Tech,” recognizes carpet and other hard-to-clean spots and increases suction to its 1600pa max. When the vacuum is back on hard flooring or the tough mess is cleaned up, it returns to normal suction.

In addition to Auto mode, the vacuum offers a quartet of specialized cleanings, all controlled from the remote. Spot cleaning tackles localized areas in an out-and-in spiraling motion. Edge cleaning sends the vacuum along the walls of the room. Single Room cleaning vacuums an enclosed space for 30 minutes, then stops. Max cleaning increases the vacuum’s suction power until you turn it off. Finally, Manual cleaning lets you direct the robot to particular areas using the remote’s directional buttons.

You can also schedule cleanings using the remote. You enter a starting time using the directional keys at which the 20T will start vacuuming each day.

I used the 20T for daily maintenance of my downstairs level, which includes low-pile carpet, hardwood, and tile. The 20T’s various infrared sensors did a great job of steering it around furniture and walls without any hard collisions. Two rolls of magnetic boundary tape are included to block off areas you want the vacuum to avoid, and these worked flawlessly. The throw rug in my entryway, which has been a challenge for some robot vacuums to get on and off, presented no issues for the 20T. The vacuum also had little problem getting under my couch and kitchen cabinets, thanks to an exceptionally thin profile of just 2.83 inches.

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