If you are shopping for a robot pet, a robot dog or a robot cat – then you’ve come to the right place.
In this 10-minute buying guide we review the best pet robots you can buy today, whether for yourself, your kids or an aging relative.
Whether you are looking for a cat robot or a dog robot, we have a few great recommendations described below.
Since the arrival of Furby in 1998, robot pets have become ever-more popular in America.
One of the earliest successes was the gremlin-like Furby toy that generated over a billion dollars in sales.
Since then, the technology used in animating robotic pets and engaging with owners has steadily improved.
Today, robotic pets can do a lot of tricks. Their software-driven interaction with humans is far more realistic, as well.
Research has shown that robot pets can provide the same companionship benefits as live pets for most people, so they make excellent companions for the elderly, handicapped and shut-ins who cannot reasonably care for a live animal.
With so many pet robots to choose from, picking the top 5 this year was no easy task.
In the end, we settled on the following top 5 pet robots.
If you want to learn how we rated and picked these 5, read our shopping guide, below the reviews for the features we think matter most when buying a robot dog or cat.
What’s In This Guide
- What’s In This Guide
- The Best Robot Pets Compared
- Best Robot Dog: WowWee ChiP
- Best Robot Cat: Zoomer Kitty
- Best Robot Pet Companion for An Adult: JoyForAll by Hasbro
- Best Robot Pet Gift For A Boy: Zoomer Interactive Puppy
- Best Robot Pet Gift for a Girl: FurReal Friends Get Up & GoGo My Walkin’ Pup Pet
- Buying a Robot Pet: The Features That Matter
- How We Rate Robot Pets and Toys
- See The Latest Prices
- PUT YOUR FLOOR CLEANING ON AUTOPILOT
The Best Robot Pets Compared
Best Robot Dog: WowWee ChiP
His name is ChiP – and boy, can he fetch.
Using an advanced AI, WowWee’s ChiP robot dog is highly realistic, in many ways.
Motorized limbs allow ChiP to run around and fetch his smart ball when you throw it. He even turns his head back to respond to your touch or sound.
We think the coolest thing about ChiP is that he evolves a unique personality for each owner, based on how you interact with him.
ChiP is also trainable – you can teach him new tricks.
Flip his front power switch on, and you’ll notice his eyes spring to life with a blue light.
Download his smartphone app to access more functionality and to change his name.
1. Intelligent & Adaptive Personality
ChiP explores his environment through technology-enabled senses including: hearing, feeling, seeing and speaking.
This allows ChiP to be highly responsive to you.
Touch his head, and he responds by sitting or lying down.
Stroke the top of his head, and ChiP makes excited noises.
Touch ChiP’s nose ,and he will go sniffing around the room.
Try picking him up, and his reaction will either be cute surprise or mild anger. ChiP’s angry response is great, with a not-so-fierce growl expressing his short-lived displeasure.
ChiP also responds to voice commands, though this ability is still pretty basic. You can say things like “Sit”, “Hey ChiP”, “Good Dog” and “Love You”, to elicit a response. He has a unique response to every voice interaction.
The cutest gesture is when you say “Love You” – ChiP blows you a kiss.
2. Owner Recognition
ChiP comes with a Bluetooth bracelet that helps ChiP recognize you. He will automatically respond to you and follow you around.
You can use the bracelet to control his movements and responses, too.
Just long press the center button to activate the control pad on the bracelet.
Each of the four buttons elicits a unique reaction. For example, press up and he starts following you.
Yes, ChiP can play fetch – but only with ChiPs special SmartBall.
To use it, just switch it on and say to ChiP, “Let’s Play”.
Once you roll the ball away, ChiP finds it using his sensors and brings it back to you.
4. Legs – with Wheels
So how does ChiP do all the moving and running and dancing? Using his legs, of course.
But take a close look at his feet, and you will notice they are equipped with tiny wheels that allow ChiP to quickly move in any direction and even rotate in position.
This means that ChiP gets around well on most types of floors including short-pile carpet, hardwood and tile.
Not so good on shag and toy-littered playrooms, though.
5. Self Charging
When ChiP has had his fill of fun and his power is running low, he’ll automatically run to his SmartBed, a simple charging station that comes with the pet.
Automatic recharging is a standard feature for most robotic vacuums, and I wish every robot toy had it, too.
ChiP relies heavily on sensors to move around, play fetch and recognize you through the bracelet.
But all sensors have range limits, and with ChiP there is a limit to how far you or the ball can be away from him.
Sometimes the ball may roll too far away for ChiP to find it. Other times, he may not see an obstacle and crash into it.
The voice command feature also needs some work, and it will require some trial and error to get it right.
Overall, however, ChiP is smarter, friendlier and more fun than most other robot pets for less than $1,000.
He’s also got a distinct, evolving personality that you won’t tire of quickly. After some time, you might even forget ChiP is a robot.
See ChiP in Action
Price: About $150
Best Robot Cat: Zoomer Kitty
Since the original black and white Zoomer Kitty was released, these cuddly robot cats have only gotten more popular.
Currently, there are seven different Zoomer Kitty models, each with a unique look.
There is the pink and white Bella, the pink, black and white Kitty & Nibbles, the spotted Zooey and the blue Midnight.
But our favorite is Whiskers, an orange and white tabby cat with pink ears (on the inside) and silvery whiskers.
Whiskers is designed for kids older than 5 years. It will cuddle with them, pounce and play with a ball – just like an real cut.
If you are looking for a super fun robot pet toy for a child who loves kittens, then Zoomer’s Whiskers Kitty is purrfect 😉
1. Responsive and Interactive
Whiskers is programmed to behave like a real cat.
Touch her ears, head or cheeks, and she responds warmly.
Keep on petting her, and you will feel her purr with pleasure.
Apart from touch, she can see the world around her, using her smart eyes that can track her environment – including your movement.
If you move your hand in front of Whiskers’ face, her head turns to follow it. Using this gesture, you can use your hand to get her to follow you around and do tricks such as dancing.
Another nice interactive feature is her sound gestures. She can sing and even say “I love you”.
2. Play and Cuddle Modes
Whiskers has really nice play and cuddle modes.
In play mode, it is all fun and cute tricks. Whiskers will follow you around, play with you, dance and do many other things.
In cuddle mode, she wants to be pet and will reward you with a purr.
In both modes, pay close attention to Whisker’s eyes. They’ll change color to indicate her mood. Most times, her eyes are blue or green, indicating a good mood.
But sometimes, Whiskers gets angry.
Sometimes during cuddling, she’ll flash red and yellow eyes to indicate displeasure, in the same way a cat would when it just wants to sleep alone.
To get around, Whiskers is equipped with simple motorized wheels that allow easy and quick movement across different kinds of surfaces. And, they don’t break.
She can move forwards, backwards and even turn around when doing tricks – on short-pile carpet, hardwood floor, tile and many other types of flat or nearly flat flooring.
4. Smart Ball on A String
Whiskers comes with every cat’s favorite toy: a ball on a string.
But this is not just any other ball. It is embedded with sensors that make it a lot more fun for Whiskers.
The cutest trick is when the ball is dangled in front of Whiskers, and she pounces after it.
You can also move the ball to get Whiskers to follow it around.
In other words, endless fun for kids.
Whiskers comes with a USB cable for recharging when power gets too low. You can also get a wall charger to plug the USB cable into though it is sold separately.
One thing most parents need to note: it takes time for kids, even older ones, to learn how to interact with Whiskers.
But the learning curve keeps them curious, and they become better friends over time.
Some owners have also complained of battery life, with one customer noting that she could not get a full hour out of the robot cat before it needed a recharge.
See it in Action
Best Robot Pet Companion for An Adult: JoyForAll by Hasbro
With age often comes more time alone, without friends and family to keep you company.
While only a real pet can provide true companionship, for some people, owning and caring for one is simply impossible or too costly.
This is where a robot companion comes in.
A robot companion pet like the JoyForAll line by Hasbro delivers most of the warm companionship of a real cat or dog, without the work, risk and expense of owning a real pet.
For adults looking for a robot pet to keep them smiling, we have two great recommendations – both are from Joy For All by Hasbro.
The first is a cute Golden Pup.
The second is the beautiful Tabby Cat with its shimmering silvery coat – though there are also creamy white and orange options.
1. Super Realistic
Joy For All has gone to great lengths to ensure their pet robots are as realistic as possible. This starts with the quality of their coats.
Unlike most pet robots that use a cartoonish hard or smooth exterior, these pets have realistic fur coats. They are soft.
When you cuddle one in your arms, it feels as if you are holding an actual dog or cat.
They’re realistic in other ways, too.
Touch Golden Pup’s chest and you will be surprised to feel a heartbeat. It feels like you are holding a live pet, which makes for a stronger connection between pet and owner.
Their mannerisms are modeled after real-life animals.
The Tabby Cat has a feature called VibraPurr that allows it to purr like an actual cat when you pet it. It also makes authentic cat sounds.
Golden Pup has a real-sounding bark that would fool anyone interacting with the dog for the first time. It can also make other realistic dog sounds.
It’s amazing how far realistic gestures have come, in such a short time, with robot pet companions.
2. Interactive Features
JoyForAll’s pet robots are equipped with smart sensors and software to make them as interactive as possible.
Both models respond warmly to touch and to sound.
When you pet Tabby Cat on her head or back, she responds with deep realistic purrs.
Touch her left cheek, and she nuzzles her head against your hand.
If you keep petting Tabby Cat, she will roll over and let you rub its belly. Keep going at that, and she might just fall asleep.
A tap on the back, or sensing your movement, and she will wake up again.
Golden Pup responds in a similar manner: if you pet him long enough, he might fall asleep.
GoldenPup also has a feature called BarkBack that allows it to turn towards your voice and respond with a realistic bark.
3. Easy Care
Hasbro’s main goal for the JoyForAll line of pet robots is to provide realistic pet companions for adults without demanding a lot of care or maintenance in return.
So they made their pets as easy as possible to take care of.
Other than changing batteries now and then, there isn’t much else you need to do.
If you need help figuring out something, each pet is accompanied by a comprehensive care guide. Refer to it whenever you experience a problem with the pet or need to learn how to use it.
Most owners share high praise for both of Hasbro’s JoyForAll Golden Pup and Tabby Cat models.
Of course, nothing’s perfect, and there are a few improvements that could be made.
These include better battery life, less machine-like whirring during motion and more accurate sensors.
See it in Action
Best Robot Pet Gift For A Boy: Zoomer Interactive Puppy
For boys who are not old enough to care of a real puppy, the Zoomer Interactive robot puppy is a great substitute.
Zoomer does all the fun puppy tricks, without needing to be fed, bathed or taken to the vet.
We are reviewing the second version of the Zoomer puppy.
Zoomer 2.0 comes equipped with smarter tricks and more realistic features.
It is designed to offer lots of fun and companionship for kids 5 years old or more.
1. Lots of Tricks
Zoomer 2.0 can do more tricks than ever. He can be taught to sit, roll around, dance, chase his tail and even shake a hand.
All of Zoomer’s tricks can be taught easily using voice commands. The more tricks he learns, the more fun he will be for your kids.
2. Highly Interactive
With his intelligent software and multiple sensors, Zoomer robot puppy behaves like a real dog in many ways.
Zoomer responds to petting, and his eyes follow your movements.
When you play, he barks in excitement.
Zoomer 2.0 can understand you whether you speak in English, Spanish or French.
The new multilingual puppy ensures that even more people can enjoy interacting with it.
One thing that takes most buyers by surprise is how fast this puppy moves. This because of the wheels attached to each leg.
Zoomer moves easily on different types of floors including hardwood, tile and even mid-rise shag carpet.
There is one good reason the manufacturer recommend this robot pet for kids older than 5 years: Zoomer has a bit of a learning curve. Your boy will need a few days of time before you master training skills.
Even for 5- and 6-year olds, you may find it tricky in the beginning. Just stay close by to help, and your boy will be able to make Zoomer do a lot of things on his own.
Zoomer also has issues with some voice commands. The puppy is also not always responsive to voices. It may take some time to learn how to talk to him clearly.
See it in Action
Price: Around $200
Best Robot Pet Gift for a Girl: FurReal Friends Get Up & GoGo My Walkin’ Pup Pet
This cute pet puppy from Hasbro makes for a perfect Christmas or birthday gift for girls.
The Furreal Get Up and Go Go puppy has realistic white fur, a tail that wags and a cute purple collar attached to a leash.
For girls too young to own a real puppy, this robot pup is a great companion.
Your girl can play with her, cuddle her and even take her on a walk using the included leash.
This Furreal Friend is surprisingly realistic.
For one, the fur feels so real you may think you are holding an actual puppy. She also responds warmly to petting.
She sits down and wags her tail when you touch her head.
Talk to her, and she will talk back in a cute puppy language that includes realistic barking.
Using the accompanying smartphone app, you can interact in many more ways.
2. Leash Controller
Want to walk your robot pet? No problem.
The leash attaches to the collar and has a remote controller at the end.
Press the button on the controller to get her up and going. Hold the button to keep her walking behind you.
When you think she could use some rest, just pat her on the head to get her to lie down.
Make sure you download the accompanying smartphone app to see the many other games and activities you can enjoy together with the puppy.
Furreal Friends makes a great puppy with plenty of fun features and even better tricks hidden in the app.
But it could use some improvement in some areas.
We wish there were more controls available to interact with the pup. The button on the leash controller is kinda limited in function. You really need to dig into the app to maximize your fun – and many younger girls don’t have phones.
The care guide isn’t the greatest, either. It’s a bit too sparse with details, which makes it hard to figure out how to interact with the puppy.
See it in Action
Price: Less than $100
Buying a Robot Pet: The Features That Matter
These are the most important features to look for when shopping for a pet robot, be it a dog, cat or seal.
For a product that is meant to replace a real pet, it goes without saying that it needs to be as realistic as possible.
This includes how it looks, its coat and overall body texture and how it interacts with people and other objects.
The closer a pet robot is to an actual pet, the more fun and beneficial it will be.
Some of the most realistic pet robots come with a high-quality fur coat.
Sound is also really important, especially for older people and the blind. Look for a pet robot that moves and makes sounds in almost the same way as a live pet.
Thankfully, robotics and artificial intelligence have made huge advances in recent years. So, finding a pet robot that feels, looks, moves and sounds like a real pet is not a problem today.
Start with our top recommendations above.
Keep in mind that there is still a long way to go in this emerging market.
Do not expect a pet robot that is exactly like or close to a real pet. Even the best ones will have their ‘machine’ moments and sounds.
But humans are kinda funny, once they get attached to a pet – we all tend to overlook their little faults.
The same is true with a well-made pet robot – you will soon forget that it is a machine.
2. Interactive Features & Gestures
This is one of the most important features of a pet robot. Good and realistic interaction greatly determines how good of a companion the pet is.
There are three types of interactive gestures we look at when judging a pet robot’s interaction capability. These are organized by the type of input you provide to the robot, e.g.:
When it comes to touch, real pets love to be petted and will reward you with purrs, wags and cuddles when you touch its head, ears and back. Likewise, a pet robot should display similar reactions.
Specifically, a robot cat should purr and lie down. A puppy should wag its tail and bark happily – or roll on its back for a belly rub.
The other aspect of interaction is sound.
Simply put, does the pet robot respond to your voice in an expected and meaningful way?
Different robot pets are programmed to respond to voice commands in different ways.
Some will just acknowledge that a sound was made, perhaps to turn & look at the source of the sound.
Others will bark when you call their name.
The most advanced pet robots work like a smart home speaker: they can be controlled & trained using voice commands.
As for sight, look for a pet robot that has been equipped with good vision technology. A state-of-the-art pet robot should be able to recognize when you walk into a room, follow your movement across a room and perhaps even go on a walk with you.
Combining these features – sight, sound and touch – makes for a very realistic pet robot.
To accomplish this magic, robotic pets use a set of sound, visual and motion sensors embedded in the head or in the body to sense their environment and elicit a reaction.
You shouldn’t have to dive into those technical details to purchase a robot pet – but it’s helpful to check and make sure all three types of sensors are available.
Without them, the quality of a robot pet’s interactivity will suffer.
3. Ease of Use
One of the things you may have noticed about the pet robots we have reviewed is that they all have a learning curve.
In many cases, especially for kids’ pet robots, this is not a problem. It helps them to exercise their curiosity to keep learning new tricks they can do with their pet puppy or cat.
But sometimes, the gestures and inputs required to train a pet robot can be too difficult to figure out.
Maybe it needs to be petted in a highly specific way to respond or there is a special combination of buttons you use to get it to walk or maybe it only responds to a certain voice tone.
Our best advice here is: read verified customer reviews online before buying. If too many owners say they struggled for a long time before figuring out how to use a pet robot, avoid it.
Additionally, make sure the one you are about to buy comes with a comprehensive and easy-to-understand care and usage guide. Some customers have complained about manuals that are difficult to read or contain too little information to be helpful.
In our opinion, none of our top picks above suffer too much from this problem – but a whole LOT of others do.
This is an especially important factor when you are buying a $100+ toy for your kids.
Like any other toy, it will will go through a lot of abuse as kids play with it. It should last through these rough and tumbles without much damage.
Even for adult pet robot companions, buy something that has been well designed and will last for years. Avoid those where customers complain that the legs or head broke after just a few days.
Again: read the reviews.
How We Rate Robot Pets and Toys
All of the robot pets and toys we review on this website are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is “avoid at all costs” and 5 is “best available today”.
The final rating we assign to a robot pet or toy depends on how well they do on the following key factors:
1. How realistic does the robot pet feel, look and behave (overall)?
How realistic a pet robot is depends on how it looks, how it feels when you hold it (i.e. does it have fur?) and how it interacts with the owner.
A 5-star rated pet robot performs well in all of these areas, and in a concerted manner.
From afar, and for a moment, you might mistake it for an actual pet.
When you hold it, it feels like you are holding a real furry dog or cat.
When you interact with it, it responds in a realistic manner.
Today, given where technology stands, no pet robot is going to receive a perfect rating from us on this feature.
We may have advanced our technology, but all pet robots today have many machine-like characteristics. They will not walk, talk or jump as naturally as a real pet.
But things are changing really fast – so stay tuned!
2. How well does it interact with me?
A most important feature of a pet robot is the quality of its interaction with humans/owners.
A high-quality interactive pet robot is a lot more fun and a better companion compared to one that just sits there doing nothing.
As I have mentioned, we look at three essential areas when evaluating the quality of interactivity: touch, sound and sight.
A 5-star pet robot does all three of these well, and in concert. It will respond to being petted, react when it hears your voice and follow you with its eyes.
Today, different pet robots offer varying levels of interaction that usually emphasize one type of interaction and do not do well in the others.
Kids’ pets will typically have a lot more interactive features and gestures – they can bark, dance, sing, run, jump and do a whole lot of other tricks. But the quality of each is toy-ish.
Adult companion pet robots, on the other hand, often only react to petting and sound – but the quality & realism of those interactions are very high.
3. How easy is it to use and train?
No matter how good a pet robot is and how many tricks it can do, ease of use is absolutely important.
A pet robot that takes forever to understand and train, even with a manual, will get a low score.
After all, what’s the point of owning a pet robot that you cannot use to its full ability?
The first thing we look for is a good quality care guide that contains clear and comprehensive instructions.
We also consider how much of a learning curve a certain pet robot needs to execute its most important gestures.
If it takes a few days to learn how to interact with it, that is okay. If, after a week or two we are still struggling to make it move, run or bark, that is a big problem.
Generally, a 5-star rated pet robot will be easy to use and come with a manual and customer support available to help you when you run into a problem.
Remember to respect the age limit of the toy robot you buy.
If you purchase your 2-year old a pet robot marked for kids 5 years and above, then it is definitely going to be difficult to use.
4. How long will it last?
We rely on verified customer reviews to judge this one.
The lowest-rated pet robots are those where customers report them breaking or falling apart after a few days.
The highest-rated robot dogs and cats last for years – with only a few scratches to show the passage of time.
Obviously, the newest robot pets cannot be judged on longevity, so we typically assign them a “3” if there is no history or a “4” if their brand has history of reliable products.
Tip: avoid the cheapest, Chinese-made, low-quality, knock-off pet robots at ALL costs.
The price may be appealing, but they don’t provide enough value for your money.
You will end up buying a replacement, soon enough.