Look Dreame, I'm in love with you.
DreameBot L20 Ultra: Dreams can come true
The DreameBot L20 Ultra robot vacuum cleaner provides excellent value for money. It earns its hefty price tag as a top-of-the-line unit.
The singer Gabrielle was right: dreams can come true. If your dream was to have your own little robot cleaner to tidy up for you that is. The DreameBot L20 Ultra is the latest flagship model robot vacuum from Dreame Technology.
In today’s time-poor world, the DreameBot L20 Ultra is designed as a top-range device optimised towards doing as much as it can all on its own so you can get on with you know, life.
How much does the DreameBot L20 Ultra cost in Australia?
The DreameBot L20 Ultra is available in Australia from $2799 RRP.
This makes it one of the most expensive robot vacuum cleaners available in the Australian market. It’s $200 more expensive than last year's flagship the DreameBot L10s Ultra.
Now this doesn’t mean Dreame is a monolith. The Roborock S8 Ultra, for example, comes close with an RRP of $2699. What it does mean is that the DreameBot L20 Ultra is not one to look at if you’re on a strict budget. With cutting-edge technology that’s just ahead of the pack, you’re not going to pay any less than top dollar.
You may be able to find it available for as low as $2499 for a limited time.
Design and features
When it comes to the overall aesthetic design of the L20 Ultra, Dreame isn’t breaking the mould. At the end of the day, you can expect a gleaming white, disc with three control buttons and a small circular bump on top housing its LIDAR sensors. On the front you’ll find its camera and LEDs for cleaning dark spaces, and underneath it has a dual-rotary mop system with high-pressure scrubbing. There’s also a handy little brush attachment that peeks out the side to help vacuum. Additional sensors are found on the sides and at the back.
DreameBot L20 Ultra doesn’t have a nearly $3000 price tag for nothing. Dreame appears to have thrown everything except for the kitchen sink into it. The list of features is extensive. In terms of general operation, the L20 Ultra works with Dreame’s Pathfinder™ Smart Navigation, AI Action, and the 3D Structured Light Obstacle Avoidance System to map your home, identify obstacles and optimise its cleaning path.
The system AI can identify over 55 objects from shoes, power cords; even unwelcome gifts from the family dog (when pet mode is turned on). The rubber brush installed in the bottom of the unit can lift out and features a swirled design so that any hairs, simply slide off the ends. There’s no more struggle to pick gross hairs out from brush bristles (though this is fairly standard on robot vacuum models of this calibre.)
Similar to the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra, the L20 Ultra comes with a large base station. It is a veritable hulk of a thing. It contains two removable tanks, a 4.5L one for clean water and a 4L one for dirty water after it has completed a mop. DreameBot’s Vormax Suction System packs 7,000Pa of power making it one of the most powerful robot vacuums available. The L20 Ultra is self-emptying, and self-filling. It can even remove, wash, and dry the mop pads independently over 2 hours with warm air to prevent odour and mould growth. This reduces the amount of maintenance time you need to spend. The base station also houses a large 3.2L dust bag that Dreame says doesn’t need to be emptied for a whole 75 days. You get two included with your purchase and can buy them in packs of 3 for $39.95.
One of the big points of difference between the L20 Ultra and other robot vacuum cleaners in its class is its MopExtend technology which automatically extends the mop pads so that those pesky corners and edges are properly taken care of.
Finally, there’s the Dreamehome app that brings everything together. If you want to go basic instinct then a few buttons (which are located on the base station and the L20 Ultra itself) can instruct it to spot clean, return to the base or power down but where’s the fun in that? The Dreamehome app lets you customise your clean settings in a wide variety of ways from separate cleaning routines for the different rooms in your home, how often you want the mops rinsed, dryer duration, cleaning schedules and more. It’s also the easiest way for Dreame to send all-too-important prompts like when it needs water to be refilled or a tank to be emptied.
With a tap of a few buttons in the mobile app, you can securely access the robot's camera feed and get a live view of what it’s up to - you can even speak through the device and remote pilot it. Useful for those with pets or kids. While security is not one of the core features, one product designer speaking at the DreameBot L20 Ultra launch event revealed that security tools like a sentry mode could be available down the line through software updates (although there are no guarantees.)
I found the app itself to be fairly intuitive. There’s a slight learning curve in terms of being aware of which buttons are the ones to toggle and set things in motion the way you want. Some of the settings are tucked away out of sight and you do need to dig a little. I highly recommend first-time users spend some time getting acquainted with the app and testing DreameBot out in a single room of their home before letting it cut loose. Although this feels like a general rule one should always apply in life when it comes to small children, pets and robots with AI.
You can also use voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant - although you can’t get very specific with just a few simple commands available. You can’t use the voice assistant to target a specific room for example.
DreameBot L20 Ultra - Performance
Simply put DreameBot runs like a dream. It is ultra-capable. On first startup, DreameBot will map your home and the AI will automatically detect floor types and even the direction of the grooves in floorboards (which you’re free to correct if it gets wrong). You can then either let it go on its own or use the Dreamehome app to adjust everything finely just the way you like it. I appreciated the water-saving settings when it comes to mopping for example.
The L20 Ultra far exceeded my expectations when it came to letting it loose. It had no issues getting stuck or running repeatedly into objects - even despite my trying to trick it. One time I placed DreameBot far from its base station and turned it on. After just a few minutes it had re-oriented itself and managed to take itself home. Another time I was just plain playing silly buggers. I stood in front of DreameBot in the middle of its cleaning path. After skirting around me sheepishly once or twice DreameBot then continued its preset course, however, once I moved it detected the obstacle was no longer in the way and made sure to retrace its missed tracks. Impressive stuff.
Once, when I decided to run a clean at night (with the lights off) it was as if I was transported into a video game. Like a sentinel, DreameBot hunted down dust and dirt in the dark with its spotlight and mesmerising efficiency.
It may shock you to read that the DreameBot L20 Ultra sucks. Really well. I have no complaints about its ability to cover just about nearly every nook and cranny of my apartment. It was far more diligent and organised than I could ever hope to be. While Dreame took care of the floors it freed me up to perform other chores I no longer care for like doing the dishes and taking the bins out (Dreame android butler? Call me).
While object detection was no issue, I found that I like to move certain pieces of furniture (e.g. kitchen bin, some chairs) out of the way to ensure there are fewer obstacles in the way. Again, not because DreameBot has a problem running into them but because it doesn’t have the ability to lift them out of the way (yet, though I’m sure it’s coming at some point) and I want the most detailed clean possible without me having to follow behind and move things around.
Noise pollution is minimal. Even on the highest Max turbo setting the vacuum is never louder than a standard stick vacuum cleaner.
Mopping was a feature I was more excited about. I hate mopping, I’ve just never found the right technique. DreameBot has the right idea (and AI processing to boot). For the most part, I was happy with how the L20 Ultra performed. However, there were a few food stains in my kitchen that may have had more time than I’d care to admit to affix themselves to the floorboards (because, again I hate mopping). It was these stains that the L20 Ultra had a little trouble clearing and in the end, I did have to get down on my knees and scrub them out myself - humiliating.
MopExtend aims to get within 2mm of the wall. Frustratingly, despite being one of the most repeatably flagged features, MopExtend is turned off by default. It has to be manually switched on in the app's intelligent mop settings. Now I will say MopExtend definitely attempts to do the job. Has it perfected it? Not quite yet. For an ordinary clean, I felt it did more than a good enough job. Where I managed to trip it up was with a classic flour test. Now it’s not every day that you’re prone to spill flour right in the corner right? But it should be a simple enough clean-up job. Where two walls meet Dreame did a pretty decent job of cleaning up 90% of the flour. In a more obscure corner part of my apartment where there are two corners right next to each other, I estimate that it was only around 75-80% effective. Once again, I was left having to get to work myself. I do feel confident that my edges were well taken care of it’s just the corners that could do with a touch-up.
It’s worth mentioning also that DreameBot L20 Ultra can raise the mop pads by 10.5mm when cleaning carpets so as to avoid getting your carpets wet. In my apartment consisting of wooden floorboards and tiles in the bathroom, this wasn’t a problem.
DreameBot L20 Ultra - Runtime
DreameBot can mop and vacuum separately or together at the same time. The DreameBot L20 Ultra vacuumed 35m2 of my apartment in around 47 minutes. It completed a separate mopping cycle of the same space in 45 minutes. Dreame advertises a maximum runtime of 260mins on either setting. I estimate that it could cover around 200m2 in that time. It can run for 1800 when running both.
With fast recharging in the base station and a 6,400mAh battery, I never had to worry about Dreame running out of steam before finishing a task.
Is the DreameBot L20 Ultra worth buying?
If you’ve got a large space, little spare time on your hands and a cashed-up wallet, go for it. The return on investment is your time, more time to spend with family, on hobbies or other projects around the house. If you’re in a smaller space like mine you may be better off considering a smaller robot vacuum with a similarly smaller price tag.
It would have been too easy for Dreame to look at other robot vacuum cleaners in the market and say “Let’s go bigger and better” and call it a day. But by actually attempting to solve some of the existing pain points with the technology it feels like the L20 Ultra has innovated and taken a few more of the “human helper” chores out of the equation.
But I do challenge Dreame to go even bigger and bolder. I may just burst out into a poor man’s rendition of Lizzie McGurie’s What Dreams Are Made Of if Dreame’s next robot vacuum is a certified bug zapper. Why not, the sky’s the limit.
How does DreameBot L20 Ultra compare?
How does the DreameBot L20 Ultra compare with some of the best robot vacuums you can buy in Australia? Take a look at the shortlist below for some side-by-side comparisons of some of the best bots around.
Ecovacs Deebot N10 Plus
|From $699 (without auto-empty bin)
Yes, with electric water flow and 240ml water tank
350ml (2.5L in auto-empty bin)
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra
Yes, with electric water flow and 200ml water tank
350ml (2.5L in auto-empty bin)
Ecovacs Deebot T9+
Yes, with electric water flow and 180ml water tank
420ml (2.5L in auto-empty bin)
Ecovacs Deebot X1 Turbo
Yes, 80ml tank with self-cleaning mop station
500ml (2.5L in auto-empty bin)
Yes, with vibrating mopping pad, carpet auto-lift and 300ml water tank
Ecovacs Deebot T8+
Yes, with electric water flow and vibrating mopping pad
Eufy RoboVac X8 Pro
Yes, with 250ml water tank