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Can Robot Vacuums Do Uneven Floors?


While it’s generally not a problem to leave robot vacuums alone to clean flat floor surfaces, the question of whether they can also vacuum unequal flooring semi-autonomously needs more explanation.

Since a house will most likely have varying floor types such as carpets, hardwood floors, tiles, wooden floors, and accents such as area rugs, a robot vacuum will have to go over varying heights and thresholds to complete a cleaning job.

Such a situation has been anticipated by robotic vacuum manufacturers, which is why most robot vacuum cleaners of today are capable of vacuuming thresholds of various heights to a certain extent. This article will dive into how a robotic vacuum can go over such heights and clean areas of various thresholds.

Can You Use a Robot Vacuum Cleaner Upstairs and Downstairs?

Can Robot Vacuums Do Uneven Floors?

A robot vacuum can be used to clean rooms upstairs or downstairs but it’s an entirely different story if you want the device to navigate intelligently and successfully go up or down the stairs. After all, these smart cleaning devices are unlike bipedal robots that have legs to help them walk.

If you want your robotic vacuum to travel upstairs to downstairs and vice-versa, then the best option for you to take is to invest in ramps. The ramps will not trigger the vacuum robots’ threshold-detecting sensors, thus, allowing them to successfully climb up and down without the cliff.

How Do Robot Vacuum Cleaners Handle Bumps and Thresholds?

Can Robot Vacuums Do Uneven Floors?

Vacuum robots are able to handle bumps and thresholds for up to the height of ⅝ inches or 1.6 centimeters. Any floor higher than that will require additional stuff such as ramps or a low-pile bathroom-style carpet to help lift the device up.

There are multiple factors that contribute to how a robot vacuum is able to go over bumps and thresholds with no or minimal trouble.


A robot vacuum’s size, shape, and placement of the wheels have a direct impact on how it is able to handle bumps and thresholds. If the frame and the size of the robot vacuum extend too far beyond where its wheels are, then the device will most likely have trouble going over bumps and thresholds — even the smaller ones.

It’s best to choose models where the wheels are placed nearer the outside of the vacuum.


Some advanced models have dedicated motors per part to help make the climb easier. An example of such a model is the ILIFE V3 where there is a motor on each of its two wheels, another on its spinning floor brush, and one for the unit itself.

Such a feature helps the robot vacuum thrust forward and go over high thresholds like carpets of different types of thicknesses or smaller thresholds like rugs with less chance of getting stuck. On the other hand, this mode also helps in cleaning dirt, dust, and debris, especially under beds more efficiently.


Sensors are another feature that helps a robotic vacuum go over threshold dividers. A robotic vacuum such as the Samsung Powerbot has cliff sensors located at the bottom of its frame where the IR light waves will prompt the unit if it’s nearing the edge of a “cliff” or threshold or not.

Having such a feature will help a robotic vacuum prepare itself to go over a rug, carpet, or any other kind of threshold that will require more power to avoid getting stuck.

Another sensor that helps vacuum robots go over a surface is a wall sensor. Using the same sensor technology as cliff sensors, a wall sensor helps prompt a device if any threshold that can be perceived as a barrier is nearing.

If there’s any barrier that goes beyond the threshold limit, then the robot vacuum can turn around and clean other parts of the house instead. An iRobot Roomba has such a feature and it’s proven to be convenient as you don’t have to wait and monitor the device as it cleans should you need to fix any blunders.

Final Note

Can Robot Vacuums Do Uneven Floors?

If your space has multiple threshold heights in flooring, then a robotic vacuum can still go over these to complete its cleaning cycle, provided that it has the design, features, and sensors to help it. Otherwise, previous models of vacuum robots will require you to fix the issue of getting stuck in thresholds, strips, or a rug yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Roomba go over uneven floors?

Roomba models have modes that help them go over thresholds such as carpets and rugs. Depending on the model of the Roomba, the modes will be called “Power Mode” or “Carpet Mode” and are great for wall-to-wall carpeting or large room rugs.

However, when these modes are in action, the Roomba will be using a powerful suction that may not be advisable to use for small rugs or if the room tends to have small pieces of furniture on the floor as it can get sucked in.

How big of a ledge can a Roomba handle?

Similar to multiple vacuums, the maximum threshold height of a Roomba is ⅝ inches or 1.6 centimeters. Anything higher than that, a Roomba may have trouble transitioning over. A Roomba can also climb over transition strips such as wood or metal just fine without getting sucked.

What are the best robot vacuums for uneven flooring?

The best robot vacuums to take on the job of going over a threshold like a rug or anything within ⅝ inches are usually premium models due to their design, sensors, and features. Customer favorites include Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI and the iRobot Roomba S9+.

However, these models have features such as Smart Mapping and a longer battery life that also makes them more expensive options. Should you want a device that’s capable of completing these tasks without shelling out much money, then here are the other best robot vacuums you can take a look at.

Sota Takahashi

Sota Takahashi is a Japanese-born electrical engineer. At the age of 18, he moved to Seattle and completed his Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Washington, Seattle. Being a fan of all things tech, he channels his geeky side through this website, and with his wife Linda, shares knowledge about robot pets and how they can be lifelong and advantageous companions for both children and the elderly.

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