Tech

Looking for a new robot vacuum? Avoid this one

This means that the D83 required about six times as much time to clean our testing area than the average robot vacuum. We think this programming is designed to prolong the life of the battery, but if you’re planning on purchasing the Deebot, be sure to set it to run while you’re out. That’s an easy process at least: You can set the D83 to automatically run from the remote, which comes with batteries included.

Ultimately all you’ll have to do is empty the bin. Given this model’s average pickup per run, the bin will fill up to its .7-liter capacity once a week.

When you tell the Deebot D83 to start cleaning, expect it to keep going for two hours before returning to its charging dock. In that time, it’ll move about in a spiral pattern to cover the whole room. Its general shape–3.5 inches tall and 13 inches wide–allowed the Deebot to navigate itself under obstacles and around most table and chair legs.

Before we talk about pickup, however, we should first mention the drop-off. The Ecovacs Deebot D83 has the dubious honor of being the first robot vacuum to fall off the edge of our testing step, a serious mishap for a robot vacuum. To its credit, the thing kept going after it hit the ground, but perhaps Ecovacs should’ve included some sort of barrier, like a virtual wall or magnetic strip.

By the end of its cycle, the D83 picked up 8.3 grams of the dirt we put down. That might seem like a pittance, but it’s 8 grams of dirt everyday, or 58.1 grams per week that you don’t have to vacuum up personally. (60 grams, by the way, is about what an upright vacuum might pick up after a week of foot traffic.)

Anywhere the brushes could fit got cleaned, but the Deebot couldn’t tackle high-pile carpets, openings narrower than 13 inches wide, or shorter than four inches. And if any of those gaps are a close call, the D83 will sometimes roughly ram itself into furniture, striking with about 2.5 lbs. of pressure. That’s not enough to scratch a table leg outright, but over a period of months it may scuff.

For one year from the time of purchase, Ecovacs will refund or replace products with defects of workmanship or material exposed during normal operation of the device. We’re not sure if we could’ve made a claim if the D83 had been damaged during its fall.

With so many better, cheaper options out there, it’s hard to recommend the Ecovacs Deebot D83 to anyone. While the two-hour cleaning cycle is excusable, the mishandling of stairs is not.

In this price range, consider the Neato Botvac 80, which is superior in every way and only costs a bit more. Or if performance matters less than novelty, the Infinuvo QQ-2 sells for under $200.

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