Purpose This study aims to compare the level of needs for home-care robots amongst older adults, family caregivers and home-care staff and clarify the factors constituting these needs. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional, anonymous questionnaire survey was administered. It included 52 items related to needs for home-care robots rated on a four-point Likert scale. Means and standard deviations were calculated, and the Kruskal-Wallis test was performed for each item. Factor analysis was conducted on the needs of home-care staff. Findings Responses from 79 older adults, 54 family caregivers and 427 home-care staff were analysed. For all three groups, the level of agreement was high for the following needs: to inform family and support personnel immediately when older adults fall, about their location in case of natural disasters and about mismanagement of fire by older adults with dementia. For family caregivers and home-care staff, the level of need concerning monitoring was higher than for older adults. Extracted using factor analysis, the six factors representing the essential needs for home-care robots were risk minimisation, daily monitoring of the physical condition, supporting activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental ADL, pre-empting problems, communication and miscellaneous support. Originality/value The results showed that the education of caregivers and the co-design process of robot development should involve home-care staff, older adults and family caregivers, which are important for making decisions about the use of home-care robots for older adults.