Unlike, say, assembling Ikea shelves or replacing the bulbs in your car headlights, vacuuming is one of those never-ending, thankless household maintenance chores. No one notices when it’s done, only when it’s not done. If you’re in possession of furry pets, or crumb-dropping tiny humans, and would like to take some of the vacuuming burden off your shoulders, a robot vacuum can help—with the caveat, of course, that you should make sure your floors are free of the really gross stuff before you start.
I tested the Eufy Robovac 11+ with Power Boost high-suction technology over several cleaning cycles in a one-level, two-bedroom household with carpets, hardwood floors and accumulated debris from two adults, two children and two 70-pound dogs. The vacuum is quiet, low-profile and very nimble—a good, moderately-priced option for anyone who is sick of pushing a vacuum around.
Unlike many of the other robot vacuums I tested, the Robovac 11+ does not have Wi-Fi capabilities. However, that makes it particularly easy to set up. The manual recommends that you clear objects within three feet on either side and within six feet of the front. Once you’ve found or cleared a space, just plug the charging pad into the wall and put two AAA batteries into the remote.
In my run test, the vacuum cleaner took four hours to charge for a one-hour cleaning cycle, which was adequate for the living room and kitchen but left the bedrooms untouched. I was informed by Eufy that the vacuum automatically goes onto Power Boost mode on carpets, and I also activated the maximum suction power in several places. If you don’t turn on maximum suction, the battery would probably last a bit longer.
The first thing you’ll notice is that this robot vacuum is really, really quiet. I measured the sound at 59 decibels; for comparison, the sound of an average vacuum cleaner is around 70 dB. We were able to hold conversations and watch television while it was running. In one remarkable display, the vacuum actually traced my dog’s outline while she slept soundly on the floor (although this says about as much about our dog as the vacuum).
The vacuum also got around very well. Over an hour, I only had to rescue it twice—once when it got caught in the narrow space between the couch and a chair, and once when it got entangled in several power cords that run under a dresser (Eufy instructs you to remove power cords before cleaning, so that’s on me…sorry Robovac 11+!). It’s sturdy—it withstood a two-year-old standing on top of it, which means that it would be a good candidate for robot vacuum cat-riding videos you’re hoping will go viral.
The low profile let the Robovac venture under beds, cribs and couches. It navigated the carpet edges and the hardwood trim on our floors handily, and even clambered over the thin metal tubes that our kitchen chairs use as legs. The vacuum’s drop sensor noticed the step between the main body of the house and the laundry room and didn’t tip over the edge.
Not having Wi-Fi and not being able to see how the vacuum is doing remotely is annoying, but it’s easy to schedule automated cleaning via the remote. To manually redirect the vacuum, point the remote at it and use the directional buttons. You can also use the remote to activate spot cleaning and edge cleaning modes. Side brushes theoretically help bring debris closer into the vacuum’s hungry maw. The vacuum also has single room mode, which will intensively clean a smaller space for 30 minutes.
It was easy to take apart and clean. Most of the brushes just pop in and out, and the dust tray also pops out by pushing a release button on the top. The included filter is a HEPA filter that’s easy to clean, and replacement parts are readily available on Amazon. When the vacuum starts to run low on battery, it turns off the suction and quietly, slowly returns home to charge, a process I found to be melancholy and oddly endearing.
All in all, the vacuum performed well in all categories, except…cleaning. After I used single-room and Power Boost suction modes in one bedroom with hardwood floors and a thin rug, I had to go over the rug again with another vacuum to get it completely clean. The Robovac 11+ did not make a noticeable dent in the amount of dog hair in the rug, although the dust collector tray was full when I emptied it.
I used the directional buttons to play Dust Ball Pac-Man in the living room, only to watch the side brushes push the dust balls aside instead of sucking them in. Also, towards the end of the cleaning cycle, the vacuum started leaving behind felted tufts of dog hair. I cleared the brushes and dust collector tray, which fixed the problem for a while, but it would have been annoying to schedule a cleaning at midnight and find little hair droppings all over the floor in the morning.
All in all, the Eufy Robovac 11+ is easy to use, quiet and attractive. It’s a good option for those who want a simple robot vacuum to run around after dinner, but perhaps a not-so-great one for houses with extravagantly large, hairy inhabitants.
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit from https://www.wired.com/review/review-eufy-robovac-11