A few months ago I reviewed the ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO T8 AIVI robot vacuum and I loved it. It had so many functions that to be honest I did not use but there were some great features which I used each and every day. The problem is that you pay handsomely for all of these features, even the ones you don’t use.
The DEEBOT U2 PRO is the new model robot vacuum from ECOVACS which is much more affordable while at the same time offering added functionality to clean up after your pets.
What is it and how is it different to the others?
The DEEBOT U2 Pro comes with all the usual pieces in the box — it has the vacuum, charging station, a standard dustbin, brushes and mopping pads. The U2 PRO also has an added bonus of the Pet Care Kit which is basically an extra large 800ml dustbin and a special tangle-free brush.
The extra large dustbin meant that I did not have to empty it each and every day but, well, that’s just lazy.
The tangle-free brush really was tangle free though and no amount of dog hair or woolen rug hair was about to tangle it and stop it functioning. I am not sure how often you would have to clean the standard rush to stop it tangling but you would assume once a week (depending on how many four legged friends you have wandering your house). The value of the tangle free brush depends on how lazy you are.
So what features does it have that others do not and vice versa?
The U2 PRO, as part of its whole “robot vacuum for the household with pets” initiative has a Max+ Mode functionality to provide a deeper clean of floors by increasing suction ~2.5 times compared to a standard vacuuming mode.
The U2 PRO does come with a large battery and combined with the large dustbin can be used to clean large areas of even the dirtiest floors. In saying that if you opt for a heavier duty clean the battery will not last as long — it struggled to clean my entire ground floor most likely to it trying to clean areas that I normally would not ask a robot vacuum to do.
Aside from that and the bigger dustbin and tangle-free brush, the vacuum is very basic. It lacks a lot of the features that I have grown to love with ECOVACS vacuums.
The mapping mode is extremely basic and there is no floorplan created by the vacuum and as such you cannot ask it to clean just a single area, or to avoid any areas — such as the Christmas tree, hairy rug etc. This is a MASSIVE miss in my eyes. So many times while using the vacuum I had it tell me it was stuck, whether it was stuck under a couch, on the dog’s mat, halfway up the Christmas tree — all because I could not tell the vacuum to avoid those areas.
The mapping mode is also an issue in that often the vacuum stops, gets stuck, or tangled and you have to search your house trying to find it. There is no map that tells you where it was when the error occurred.
There is no decent avoidance of obstacles either with the U2 PRO resulting in it getting stuck far too often. The vacuum is advertised as having “obstacle detection technology” but it continually got stuck on things that you would hope it would be able to avoid — these weren’t even small things such as dog toys but larger things as mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Of course ECOVACS offer a solution to the avoidance of areas in the form of a “magnetic boundary strip” which for $49 per 3m you can tape the areas you want to stop the vacuum traversing. Makes for a very expensive boundary if you need to rope off a large room or rug. I am unsure if other (ie. cheaper) brands of magnetic strip would also work — you would hope so.
So what can it do?
There are three different cleaning modes: auto mode, spot mode and edge mode. Auto mode the vacuum just goes up and down traversing the floor — everywhere (unless you buy the expensive magnetic strips). Spot mode you need to put the vacuum down in a certain spot and it will then clean in a spiral out from that area. Edge mode is fairly explanatory and useless in my opinion.
The vacuum cleaning still works well, as you would hope. Using the Max clean mode (not the Max+) it was able to clean the floor as well as any of the other robot vacuums I have tried. It is still nice to come home to a clean floor — on days where it completed the clean.
As per all the ECOVACS vacuums there is support for your digital assistant — assuming you use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. It can still perform all the usual features associated with smart control such as start cleaning, stop cleaning and go back to the charging station.
The app is the same as the usual app and is easy to use because quite frankly it does not do much. You choose which clean you want to do each time you start the clean but of course you can also set it to clean on a schedule — I still favour the 9:15 clean on MWF.
Within the settings of the app you can change the vacuum power, the water flow level for the mopping and that’s about it. The vacuum is very basic which is a concern to me given its price of $599.
So should you buy it?
At $599 the DEEBOT U2 PRO is not the most expensive robot vacuum on the market — it seems to be mid-range. As such you get a very mid-range set of features. I find it hard to recommend this product unless you want a cheap vacuum and only require the most basic of features.
It may be that I have been spoilt with my last two vacuum reviews but the fact that this lacks true mapping and virtual boundary creation make it a tough sell. It will still clean your house well, as long as it does not get caught on anything but lacks some extra smarts I want from a smart vacuum.
The extra functionality and features you get from the higher end models will may well be worth the extra outlay for many — the Pet Care Kit of the U2 PRO, although handy, is unlikely to be required if you set your vacuum to regularly and routinely clean every day or two and you empty/clean it every few days. You need to decide whether the Virtual Boundaries and True Mapping is worth the extra few hundred dollars. For me it is.
The DEEBOT U2 Pro robot vacuum from ECOVACS can be purchased from Amazon Australia for $599.