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Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro review
It may look like previous Debbot's, but collision detection sends the N8 Pro sends this vac to the top of the pack.
The Ecovac Deebot N8 Pro is a gem of a robot vacuum cleaner, mostly thanks to the Truedetect 3D sensor that keeps it from bumping into things. The mapping software and app get better each time I test a Deebot, and for the first time it really feels like a set-and-forget process.
Most importantly, it is the cheapest vac in the Deebot range to feature the collision detection sensor, and nice to have features like an auto emptying bin are compatible, but not included in the asking price. Looking across the range, the N8 Pro feels like the best value vac to choose right now.
The new Ecovac Deebot N8 Pro looks and feels so similar to previous, now cheaper, Deebot models that you’d be forgiven for missing the essential new features that sucks the air out of the competition. At $799 RRP, the N8 Pro slides in towards the top of the Deebot range, and replaces models like the Ozmo 920, which was the same price at launch, but can now be found for less.
In my previous experiences with robot vacuum cleaners, including Deebots, I’ve noted that owning one is similar to a parent-toddler relationship. You set the robot off into your home, but it’s important to keep an eye on them. They were tripped up easily by poorly run extension cables, and stopped in their tracks by even the slightest of steps and inclines. They would get lost in the guest bedroom and needed help to find their way back to home base — usually requiring you to pick them up and carry them home.
Well, having spent a few weeks I can say that this little fella feels all grown up. Having let the N8 Pro loose in my home dozens of times, I’m yet to have to rescue him from obstacles or guide him back to the charging station. I can finally put my feet up and trust that the wooden floorboards in my home will be debris-free and the N8 Pro will return to the charging dock after a thorough trip through all rooms.
The secret advancement over previous models is in the ‘Truedetect 3D’ sensor at the front of the machine which spots obstacles before the N8 Pro collides with them. Previous models, like the Ozmo 920, rely solely on the bumpers around the front of the unit to detect these obstacles, but of course, it needs to bump into them first and this is close enough for cables to wrap up under the spinning brush head. The N8 Pro moves more cautiously, and slows down when it senses an obstacle at about 30cm away. If you move the obstacle, it then picks up speed and carries on. If the obstacle remains in its path, the N8 Pro shifts direction and vacuums around it.
Besides this new sensor system, there isn’t too much that is obviously different about the N8 Pro and compared with other Deebots I’ve reviewed. The size, shape and weight are all similar, the dustbin is almost identical in size, and it features a similar mopping function too. You interact with the N8 Pro using the same Ecovacs app, with the same handy scheduling features and easy to set up ‘virtual boundaries’ which I use to avoid our dog’s food and water bowls.
The N8 Pro is also compatible with an Ecovac Auto Emptying station that doubles as the recharging base, and can hold up to 30 days of dust and dirt, according to Ecovac. It is the same Emptying station you get included with the Deebot T9+, and appreciate that it is an optional extra. To be honest, I don't find it too laborious to empty the dust tray after every other cycle, but the option is there if you want it.
As much as we like the Deebot T9+, the N8 Pro just seems like a better value option. It retails for hundreds of dollars less, but you don't seem to make any important sacrifices. The N8 Pro doesn't have a built-in air freshner, but it does have a powerful vaccum and collision detection, and that's what we're looking for in a robot vac.
I will say that I’m still not entirely sold on the mopping feature, especially given that the instructions state that you should use any cleaning solutions mixed with water in the reservoir. I’ll admit to breaking this rule as I really can’t see the benefit in having the Deebot drag a damp cloth over dirty floors without a disinfectant.
You can clearly see the path of the mop on the floor, and it does a decent job of tidying up, but I wouldn’t use it to clean up spills or expect it to lift anything stuck to the floor. That all said, I still use the mopping feature when I clean the house. I mean, why not? It has an carpet detection feature too, so the mop stops when it moves from a solid surface to a rug or carpeted flooring.
As with all robot vacuum cleaners, I’ve found that while the N8 Pro does a great job of tidying up, you should still put time aside for a deeper clean from time to time. Likewise, the rear-mounted mop delivers more of a polish than a thorough clean and is unlikely to help with a stickier smear.
All in all, the N8 Pro is a great machine. Navigation and obstacle avoidance in previous models are teething problems of the past. If you’re shopping around for a robot vac, the new TrueDetect 3D sensor is worth every penny.