Robots these days aren’t what people normally associate with how bots look, and the best robot vacuum for the money definitely fits this description. When people hear the word, they usually imagine a humanlike machine emulating human movements. The truth is that there are millions of robotic devices all over the world, and most of them don’t look like your usual image of one at all.
In fact, they blend into their environment or look like an older device that they’re meant to replace.
The robo-vacuum cleaner is one such item. It’s one of the most popular applications for robotics in the home that is not walking or talking, but rather is all-functional, serving a narrow, specific purpose– not so much for amusement or experimentation but for actual functions– that fulfills its part in making your life easier.
Instead of the ever popular Roomba (some models going well above $1,000) or a host of other also-stellar machines, we choose the Ecovacs Deebot N79S because it packs the most punch for features and performance in any price range.
While the Roomba is the most popular brand of autonomous vacuums for the home– being a pioneer and practically creating the category– over time the competition wanted in on the clearly lucrative market, and they came in droves.
Most used to be uninspired copycats and knockoffs, but over time they improved. And with competition getting heavier over the years, their progress (and in some cases, price plummets) has been astounding.
As a price-to-performance ratio upgrade of the N79 model, the “S” in the name is said to be its max mode “suction” power that packs over 50% more cleaning power over its older model.
And it lives up to the suffixed letter to its model name.
This Deebot works unattended; it cleans autonomously while giving you control and a host of other features to make you happy (and your cat entertained).
Review & Rating
- Superb performance, especially when compared to similar units at a similar price point
- (Amazon) Alexa enabled
- Wifi connectivity
- Includes a remote control
- Comes with an App for mobile phone/device control
- Works well with pets and pet hair
- Cleans pet hair without issues
- Quieter than others
- Low price (relatively, for its performance)
- Max Mode allows for times when you need much stronger suctioning
- Doesn't perform very well on very thick or dark colored carpets
- Sporadic and isolated app and unit issues such as the app forgetting the unit you connected and asking you to reconnect one; or the unit not resuming a cleaning process after a mid-clean recharge or come out of a charging unit for a scheduled clean
- May need manual intervention and repositioning at times, such as when it gets stuck in a corner that algorithmically enters an unending loop
- No mapping ability
- Not as advanced as its much higher-priced competitors
As with most robo-vacuums, the Deebot N79S is superior to units of its class and does some jobs even better than any cleaner.
It is by no means a replacement for a standard (large) vacuum cleaner or mop, but overall it will save you a lot of time, work, and grief for some of the recurring, common tasks you normally have to do on a regular basis (smaller cleaning jobs). Something you'll soon find indispensable in your household, especially after using it for a while and getting used to it.
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Product Highlights: The Best Robot Vacuum for the Money
The Ecovacs Deebot N79S is a cheap, automatic robotic vacuum cleaner that comes with an app to customize and enhance your control and lets you use voice commands as well.
It’s (Amazon) Alexa-enabled, so you know it has real AI chops without doubting the company’s familiarity with the technology. Through Alexa, you can tell your Deebot (by voice) to start cleaning, move or return to the charging dock.
Use the app to schedule and monitor cleaning sessions, know your vacuum’s location, receive error alerts, know the status of accessories and a host of other functions wherever you are, at home or even if you’re in another city (or country).
It is thorough and cleans all the way to under your furniture as well as other hard-to-reach spaces. It comes with four specialized cleaning modes on top of a three-stage cleaning system that includes (a) high-efficiency suction vacuuming power, (b) deep reach helix, and (c) wide reach via dual wide-reach nylon fiber side brushes for comprehensive, multi-point cleaning. Its Edge Mode allows scooping dirt from corners and edges while Spot Mode is available for targeted cleaning.
It comes with sensors that give it additional abilities like collision detection, anti-drop protection, and comprehensive, smart sensor safety technology to go with its soft protective bumpers.
It serves with 1.7 hours (100+ minutes) of quiet cleaning at a 70 or less dbA noise level, which means you can comfortably watch TV or talk even on a phone while the unit is working.
It uses a Lithium battery to power up to a Max Mode of 1000 PA of cleaning action that increases its suction power by over 50% for those bigger messes, and an air filtration that captures air particles during the cleaning process.
What’s more, apart from the main and side support brushes, a docking station comes standard for extra convenience and more than easy charging.
The Good: What We Like
Performs like a higher-end robovacuum at a much lower price. It includes features and accessories you’d expect from more expensive units and performs practically just as well.
It comes with a remote control but also has an app that provides for additional controls and functions.
Most of all, because it’s Alexa enabled, it allows you to give it commands by voice and interact with it in multiple, useful (and satisfying) ways.
It works well with pet hair and even has a Max Mode for those times when messes are particularly acute.
The Bad: What We Don’t Like
Most of the issues we have with the Deebot N79S isn’t really inherent to the unit itself but all types of units like these in general, or are a consequence of its specialty.
For example, it’s made for general use in homes so in the few times homes may have thick rugs or carpets, it may have some issues (almost all of them do, regardless of brand, unless the units are made specifically for such topologies, thereby also limiting their performance in other areas).
Pet hair can get intertwined in the brushes so if you have pets, you may need to clean the brushes more frequently. But once again, this is something inherent in such vacuums, and the N79S actually does a far better job with pet hair than any of its rivals.
Robotic vacuum cleaners have flooded the marketplace like dust to an old home since iRobot’s Roomba blasted into the scene, and in fact inspired other types of cleaners from window cleaning machines to autonomous pool cleaners.
While most offer the same standard functions, enough time had passed to iron out old kinks or focus on certain functions better than others. Some of these more elaborate functions come in devices that also have the appropriate (high) price tag attached.
Instead of cramming more and more features into its cleaner and upping its cost, Ecovacs has focused its innovations in putting together all the important functions a regular home and user would require, keeping standards high enough, and bringing the price down instead.
The result was the Deebot N79. And it did its job well enough to please multitudes of owners, that one of the things that were often requested was an option to have the machine scoop up harder to catch material. What’s more, it lives up to being cheap and autonomous (automatic, at least).
As such, the company introduced an updated version, the N79S, with stronger sucking and dirt collection power than its predecessor.
And then the cherry on top: Alexa. Ecovacs licensed the voice assistant from Amazon to provide its robot vacuum cleaner the kind of functions that would otherwise have required a much higher price due to the research and development involved. Now it’s part of the ecosystem of Alexa-enabled devices that you can command to do things by voice, and other types of accessibility and functions through its app, and also serve as a command center type of device to get your order to coordinate with other Alexa-enabled devices at home, whether you’re physically in the same residence or thousands of miles away accessing via the Internet.
As such, for all its features and performance as a ratio of its price, it’s a clean sweep.