So last month my domestic helper took her 2-week home leave, and I thought this would be the best time to review a robot vaccum cleaner. I managed to get hold of ECOVACS Deebot 900 to review, which was officially announced on 26 July 2018.
The Deebot 900 is ECOVACS Robotics latest autonomous floor cleaner that cleans the entire house systematically with a useful mapping function that scans and cleans the entire house. After mapping is done, Deebot can be instructed to clean specific areas, either through the app or through Google Home and Amazon Echo.
The package comes with 4 side brushes, additional filters, 2 suction types. The brushes can easily be removed without any tools.
The rubber wheels have suspensions that allows the cleaner to navigate over uneven floor and small humps. The dust bin is easily accessible from the top of the vacuum cleaner, again without the need of any tools. Just flip up the handle-lock and pull it up.
The ECOVACS app for Android and iOS is the control centre of the robot, giving you remote access anywhere with data network. Setting up is rather straightforward, just follow the on-screen instructions.
Through the app, you have full visibility of the Deebot status, select the language of the robot voice, the vacuum power, keeps track of the usages of the brushes and filters so that you know how long they have been used and when to replace them.
You can set a “do-not-disturb” timing where the robot will not do anything, like start a schedule, no voice and light during operation. The cleaning log keeps track of how much cleaning and the area being done.
It even provides a live map cleaning progress around the house.
The app allows me to draw virtual boundaries so that Deebot will not enter certain areas, for instance, toilet.
I observed how the Deebot 900 scans and processes the surroundings and I am rather impressed at how it knows whether there is a hard wall or an obstruction. It also easily navigates around obstacles like chair legs and attempts to sneak under the dining table, then wriggle its way back out. At 9.5cm short, it can go under my TV cabinet. It has never encountered any obstacles that it cannot handle, including the tricky 5-wheel mobile chair in the study room. Other than odd corners. It is possible to carry out normal conversations without raising the voice when Deebot is running.
I don’t have any large carpets, only small ones near the toilet entrance. The Deebot 900 can clean carpet surfaces effectively using the V-shaped brushes that ruffles particles to be sucked away.
During a clean cycle, the Deebot got tangled with a stray cable and stopped on its track. After I came home and cleared the obstacle, I placed back the same position and the robot made its way back to base. It is important not to move the cleaner manually or else it will lose its orientation.
It takes about 45 minutes to clean my 4-bed apartment with a cleanable floor area of 40 square metres, using up about half the battery which is rated with a 90-minute run time.
One problem of using the V-brush is that hair will get rolled up and get entangled on the main brush. A cleaning tool is included in the package to cut away the obstruction but I could not find it in the review unit. You could just use a pen knife or scissors to snip them away.
It is recommended to use the direct suction option if you do not have carpets to clean.
I have no idea how effective these vacuum cleaners are until I checked the dust bin. This was accumulated with about 10 cleaning cycles.
Robot vacuum cleaners have improved over time to become more intelligent and efficient. The latest Deebot 900 supports interchangeable brushes for more effective carpet cleaning. Other intelligent functions include house mapping, clean scheduling, zone area setting, integrating with Google Home and Amazon Echo for voice commands. These are the main reasons for its premium price.
My wife is impressed with the robot cleaner’s capabilities, and is contemplating getting one. But since we have a domestic helper, it would not make economic sense. For those without a domestic helper, it makes perfect sense to get one, and depending on your cleaning needs, you could get a basic model or a premium one like Deebot 900 at S$599 from Harvey Norman, Courts, Best Denki, Home-Fix, and online mall Qoo10 and Lazada.
Thanks to Ban Leong for loaning the demo unit prior to the official Singapore launch.