How To Choose A Robot Vacuum For High Thresholds?


deebot smart vacuum from ecovacs going over a threshold from a living room into a kitchen. A graphic shows the threshold’s height, which is 20 millimeters

A seemingly small design detail, thresholds serve a couple of purposes, both practical and aesthetic, in modern homes. Entry door thresholds, that is, your home’s front, side and back doors, are typically higher to prevent water leaking into the home in the event of a flood.

Meanwhile, door thresholds between interior rooms (otherwise called “door bars”) serve as visual transitions between different floor types, temperature retainers to stop cold or hot air from entering a room through door gaps for better energy efficiency or to reduce the risk of slipping.

They are seen in any modern home and therefore, robot vacuums should be able to cross them, so they can do their jobs properly.

Can Robot Vacuums Go Over High Thresholds?


deebot auto vacuum climbing onto a rug from hardwood floor

Yes, robot vacuum cleaners are designed to be able to go over thresholds. The question is how high of a barrier they can cross. To give you an idea, threshold height can range from 6mm to over 25mm; a “level threshold”, created to be more accessible to wheelchair users, is defined as within 15mm.

Some automatic vacuums can struggle to climb high thresholds due to slim, low-profile design that makes them low to the ground, insufficient traction on their wheels which causes them to spin in place, poor sensors that prevent them from being able to detect a low or narrow barrier, or poor motor power preventing them from overcoming the elevation. Below, we’ll go over features to look for to ensure your robot can get over door thresholds.

Best DEEBOT Robot Vacuums For Going Over Thresholds


All DEEBOT robot vacuums produced by ECOVACs can cross threshold barriers as tall as 20mm1. Find out more about their barrier-climbing specs and other key features:



deebot n8+ automatic vacuum charging in the auto-empty station in a stylishly decorated living room

The DEEBOT N8+ equipped with TrueDetect 3D and TrueMapping laser mapping technology for precise obstacle detection and avoidance. It is powered by 40W of engine power, and features auto carpet detection, an auto-empty station perfectly suited for those with allergies or pets (check out DEEBOT’s vacuums for pets) which can hold months of dirt 2 in its hypoallergenic dust bag and smart home integration with connectivity to Google Home and Amazon Alexa.



deebot x1 omni robot vacuum cleaner climbing a doorsill between a bedroom and a washroom

Next, the DEEBOT X1 OMNI equipped with AIVI 3D obstacle avoidance tech and TrueMapping 2.0 navigation software clocks in at 45W of engine power. Weighing just 4.4kgfor easy navigation over high doorsills, it also features ultrasonic carpet detection, automatic mop washing and drying with hot air for the most hygienic clean and ECOVACS’ cutting-edge YIKO smart assistant for hands-free control by natural language voice instructions.



close-up view of the side of a deebot t20 omni as it vacuums over carpet, lifting its mopping pads to keep the carpet dry

Finally, one of the best robot vacuums for going over thresholds: the DEEBOT T20 OMNI uses TrueDetect 3D and TrueMapping 2.0 technologies to recognise thresholds, with a 45W engine power and lightweight 4.4kg body to overcome them with ease. It is the first DEEBOT with the auto mop lifting feature. ECOVACS’ newest and most cutting-edge RBC, the DEEBOT T20 OMNI is also equipped with YIKO AI voice assistant, auto-dust collection, auto mop washing and hot-air drying and one of the most robust battery lives of auto vacuums on the market.

Key Features of Robot Vacuums that Climb Thresholds


front view of a deebot smart vacuum cleaner showing the front sensor and front brushes spinning

Here are some characteristics to look for in a smart vacuum cleaner to ensure your robot housekeeper has no trouble summiting door thresholds.

Sensor Sensitivity

Take a look at what kind of sensors the robotic vacuum cleaner has. Certain technologies are better at understanding depth information better than others, while some are better suited for analysing and interpreting visual images. As pertains to door thresholds, a smart vacuum equipped with 3D ToF or infrared sensors technologies, which are effective at understanding the height and size of objects, are great for recognising doorsills.

Climbing Capabilities

The smart vacuum cleaner’s climbing capabilities are affected by a couple of components. Larger wheels with rubberised or textured wheels for traction, a powerful motor to provide more torque to move the vacuum cleaner forward and up, and a lighter body all contribute to getting the device over thresholds. It’s worth noting that room dividers with rounded or ‘bevelled’ edges on room dividers are typically easier to climb.

Bumper Height

The shape of the bumper, located at the front of the robotic vacuum’s body, can also play a role in its ability to go over door thresholds. Ones with higher bumpers and angled fronts could be better equipped to tackle high thresholds.

Brush Configuration

The arrangement of the robot’s brushes (they usually have a main front brush and two side brushes) is another important factor to keep in mind. DEEBOTs, for instance, are equipped with floating main brushes at the front that spin. They are configured with enough clearance to easily swing over 20mm-high doorsills. This may not be the case for all robot vacuums, some having front brushes with low clearance.

Design For Threshold-Climbing

Some models may have special designs for getting over thresholds, such as higher profiles for better ground clearance, or adjustable height which allows the smart device to lower or raise its height to navigate a wider range of surfaces. It may even be the case that some robotic floor cleaners are trained with images of doorsills so they can recognise them faster.

Presence Of Mop Pads

Another key factor that influences the auto vacuum’s ability to climb high thresholds is whether it has mop pads and how flush these sit to the bottom of the device. Mop pads that hover too closely over the ground may prevent the robot from clearing higher room dividers. Some DEEBOT robot vacuums such as the DEEBOT T20 OMNI, on the other hand, have a mop auto-lift feature.

Potential Solutions for Non-Threshold-Climbing Robot Vacuums


ecovacs deebot robotic vacuum mopping a kitchen beside an open patio. Beside the vacuum, a graphic hand holding a phone with the ecovacs home app open shows a 2D map of the house the robot is vacuuming

If you already own an automatic vacuum cleaner that’s poorly suited for getting over thresholds, or you have your eye on a certain robot vacuum model that’s almost the perfect fit for your cleaning requirements but falls short in the threshold-crossing department, there are some ways to assist your little housekeeper. Rubber, aluminium or wooden ramps, often used by wheelchair users, provide a gentle slope for wheels to surmount the threshold’s angle. (A wooden ramp in a similar colour to existing hardwood floor wouldn’t be as much of an eyesore.) Alternatively, you can try making a ramp out of something you probably already own: a low-pile rug. (Learn how to clean a wool rug with a vacuum robot in our guide.)



How do smart vacuums climb thresholds?

Robot vacuums cross thresholds using two factors: obstacle detection technology and proper design. They should be able to identify an upcoming doorsill and have large enough wheels, high clearance on the bumper and front brushes, strong motor, and be light enough to properly climb the obstacle.

What is the highest threshold robot vacuums can handle?

Typically, robot vacuums can handle a maximum door threshold height of 15-20mm. The thresholds used in American homes vary by manufacturer, ranging from 6mm to 25mm or more. ECOVACS’ DEEBOT smart vacuums can climb thresholds up to 20mm.

Can robot vacuums damage thresholds?

Robot vacuum wheels and brushes are usually made with rubber or plastic designed to sweep up debris and dust without damaging the ground, so they’re unlikely to damage doorsills while climbing them. In short, a robot vacuum that won’t scratch or scuff floors isn’t likely to scratch or scuff your thresholds.


  1. 20mm high: This data comes from ECOVACS laboratory.
  2. Months of dirt: This data comes from ECOVACS laboratory, which is based on the statistics of the number of times users disposed of traditional dustbins. The actual performance is subject to change due to frequency and cleaning area. DEEBOT X1 PLUS, T10 PLUS come with 3.2L disposable dust bag.

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