Pros / The mopping capability is a nice bonus.
Cons / This one struggled to get around obstacles like table legs and rugs in our tests.
Verdict / The Monoprice Strata Home Smartvac is a little clumsy compared to the others, but if you can coax it along it will pick up a lot of the crumbs daily life leaves behind.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Monoprice Strata Home Smartvac was user-friendly in some ways and has a very economical price. It struggled with almost every aspect of our testing, though. The most noticeable issue was the fact that it stops too often, and for no apparent reason. When it was in motion it did an OK job of picking up different types of debris, though, in our laboratory and our at-home testing.
Once it finally got going it picked up all of the Cheerios we put on our test floor and most of the kitty litter, though it left a little in the corners and along edges. It got most of the dog hair too, on wood flooring and vinyl. However, the Smartvac really struggled on the carpeted surfaces. It just kept stopping for no noticeable reason during testing. Even after we cleared any potential obstacles and restarted, it just kept stopping.
This is one of the less brainy vacuum robots. It just seemed to run headlong into anything in its path. Sometimes it would bounce back and keep going, but too often it would just stop for no reason and stay stopped. It also would crash into its own base instead of gently sliding up to it for charging, like most of the others. It did actually manage to clear one steep transition between tile and wood flooring in the test home, though it did take five tries. Most attempts it got high-centered on the threshold between the two flooring types.
This is an easy-to-use home robotic vacuum in some ways because it has a few prerecorded messages that let you know what is going on and what it needs to keep going. We heard those messages way too often, though. We would be unlikely to get error messages from the best robot vacuums because they rarely stop. They are much more self-sufficient than this one.
On the bright side, this robotic vacuum cleaner has a mop, one of very few that even attempts to multi-task in this way, and it did manage to clean up some messes with its mopping tools, eliminating day-old muddy footprints we put in its path.
One reason you buy a robot vacuum is to have some home maintenance taken off your hands, but if the machine is keeps stopping, like the Monoprice Strata Home Smartvac, it sort of defeats the purpose. You will have to stay by this machine to make sure it stays in motion because it moves around home environments like a wrecking ball. Competing units sense obstacles and avoid them. The times when the Strata Home Smartvac was cleaning it did a decent job, though. It extracted quite a few messes from our floors, including with its mopping attachment – a nice bonus. Also, it's priced quite low so it might be a good way to get at least some vacuuming done for not much of an investment.