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Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vacuum cleaner review
The Ecovacs Deebot U2 might not completely replace your trusty upright vacuum, but it’s smart enough and capable enough to give your home a solid once-over and drastically reduce your workload around the house. It’s quiet, reasonably powerful and mopping is a game changer, but it gets lost easily and you’ll need to corral it away from any carpet or rugs while mopping.
- Solid suction
- Good mopping function
- Gets lost easily
- Mop can’t differentiate between hard floors and carpet
Let’s face it - no one likes vacuuming. You might tolerate it, you might find it satisfying, but if you say you enjoy it, you’re lying to yourself. That’s what excites me about the growing prevalence of robot vacuums. After all, who wouldn’t want to outsource their chores? And thanks to the ever-expanding number of models, robovacs are cheaper than ever, with some available for as little as a few hundred bucks.
The Ecovacs Deebot U2 is a lower-cost robot vacuum that doubles as a robot mop and fits in seamlessly to any smart home setup. But how good is it in practice? Let’s find out.
Deebot U2 price
At an RRP of $399, the Deebot U2 (I named mine Bono, for obvious reasons) is one of the most affordable robot vacuum cleaners in Australia. Of the 16 models we looked at, the average price stood at around $835, with only two others coming in cheaper than the U2 (for fairness’ sake, we didn’t include the sub-$200 cheapies found on Amazon and Kogan).
When it comes to choosing a robot vacuum, it’s much like any other tech purchase, where spending more money generally equals better quality and more features. However, overall, the Deebot U2 does a pretty good job of balancing bells and whistles with its budget-friendly price.
As one of the better-known robovac brands, Ecovacs Deebot vacuums can be found in most brick-and-mortar stores, including The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi and even Bunnings Warehouse.
Deebot U2 features
When it comes to features, for a more budget-oriented model, the Deebot U2 has plenty going on. It vacuums (obviously) on both carpet and hard floors. In my home, pretty much every room is carpeted (medium pile) with the exception of the bathroom and laundry (tiled) and the kitchen (super stylish linoleum), and it managed each floor type well.
The Deebot U2 also mops, which is something I never thought I needed in a robot until I actually tried it. It’s a game-changer. No, it can’t get into every nook and cranny, and it’s not going to do as good as a job as a human and some old-fashioned elbow grease, but scheduling it to mop once a week or so will significantly reduce the frequency with which you need to enlist the services of your old mop.
Unfortunately, the Deebot U2 isn’t quite clever enough to be able to tell the difference between hard floors and carpet, so if you need to mop a room, we’d highly suggest closing the door behind it and moving any mats or rugs beforehand.
For both vacuuming and mopping, the Deebot U2 has three cleaning modes. First up, there’s ‘auto’. It’s the default program which sees your robot buddy cleaning in an S-shaped pattern, turning when it hits obstacles. Next is ‘edge’ mode, which targets just the corners and edges of the room. Finally, there’s ‘spot’ cleaning mode, which cleans in a spiral around a specific area.
You can also schedule the Deebot U2 to clean whenever you like, so you can set up a regular routine (I set mine to 12pm every Monday and Friday) or simply a one-off. It’s also compatible with Google Home and Alexa, so if you’ve got another compatible device (like a smart speaker), you can use it to control your robo friend with your voice. Otherwise, it’s super easy to set up control from the Ecovacs app (available on both iOS and Android).
Deebot U2 navigation
The technology used to help a robot vacuum navigate your home varies quite a bit but is usually dependent on how much you’re willing to spend. At $399, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the Deebot U2’s navigation sensors aren’t as advanced as its more expensive siblings. And, to be honest, if you’re looking in the $400 and under price range, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that knows exactly where it’s going.
Instead of the more advanced LIDAR sensors found on pricier models, the Deebot U2 makes its way around using infrared sensors and soft cushion bumpers. It’s smart enough to avoid stairs, chairs and other obstacles, but since it doesn’t know exactly where it is in relation to your home’s floor plan, you might find it going over the same spot multiple times while neglecting others completely.
It managed somewhat well with rugs, but on occasion, it would only be able to mount them on one side, thus getting stuck on the other side and turning in a circle as a result. This would also happen if the robovac went over any power cords, which effectively screwed up its sense of direction. In theory, the Deebot U2 should be able to return to its charging station on its own, however, because of these navigation issues, I often had to pick it up and take it back to its home.
Deebot U2 performance
While vacuuming, the Deebot U2 has four power levels. The lowest is ‘quiet’, which does exactly what it says on the tin - it’s quiet. Of course, as the lowest power level, it’s not as effective, but works well when used in conjunction with mopping mode. Beyond ‘quiet’, you have three levels to choose from: standard, max and max+. Since my home is mostly carpet, I had it on max+ mode (which is about 2.5 times more powerful than standard mode) for almost the entire time I tested it. In practice, it sucked up about 90 per cent of dust and dirt, with only stubborn debris left over. That’s a pretty decent hit rate.
If you, like me, shed hair like a Husky (or if you actually have a Husky), you may find yourself needing to untangle the main brush more often than usual. It’s a pretty simple process, but something to keep in mind nevertheless. If you’re really struggling, Ecovacs offer a compatible Pet Care Kit, which comes with a tangle-free brush and extra-large dust bin.
Speaking of the dustbin, it can hold a maximum of 400mL, which in my experience is just big enough to hold one clean’s worth of dust. As such, you’ll need to empty it after every clean, otherwise, you may find clumps of dust overflow left in your robot vacuum’s path.
Ecovacs claims the Deebot U2 can run for up to 110 minutes on a single charge with standard water levels and standard suction power. As I left mine on max+ power for essentially the entire time, I didn’t quite reach the 110-minute mark, generally maxing out at about 45 minutes, which is to be expected given its power and still pretty decent.
Is it worth it?
As an entry-level robot vacuum, the Deebot U2 does a good job, and it met the expectations I had given its low price. But as much as I loved the mopping function, I’d happily swap it for more advanced sensors that give it the ability to map my home’s layout. Even though it’s a perfectly powerful and capable machine, I felt I needed to babysit it too often to ensure it didn’t get stuck or lost. Overall, it is worth the price, but if you want a robovac that can navigate itself, it really is worth forking out an extra couple of hundred bucks if you can swing it.