It’s now August 2021, and we’ve been living with quite a bit over the past few months. A chilly Sydney winter, the resurgence of Coronavirus, and last – but not least – is an Ecovacs Deebot T9+ robot vacuum. While Sydney’s winter was alright, Coronavirus has been shit … and something that’s helped make it a little bit less so has been Ecovacs’ robot vacuum which has kept our place clean and mostly tidy while we’ve all been locked in our home the last two months.

It’s time to let you in on a little secret of product reviewing. Oftentimes, what you’re reviewing isn’t especially interesting, even if you set out to only review things that you think will be somewhat worthwhile. Sometimes, you end up reviewing things that you can’t wait to send back, or that you’re ambivalent about; not because they’re a crap product – they might be excellent – but they’re just not very interesting to you personally.

I can say, hand on heart, that Ecovacs’ Deebot T9+ does not fit into that category.

My interest in personal technology has evolved over the years; in the early days of Ausdroid my focus was on phones and then tablets, but frankly I’ve moved past those – they don’t really hold my interest much anymore. They’re tools, a means to an end.

What really interests me is things that genuinely make life easier or better. Things like solar panels, which reduce your power bill to effectively zero. Things like home automation, which take the tedium out of your day leaving you to enjoy the good bits. Good headphones which let you get on with the job while not leaving your ears burning by the end of the day. That kind of stuff.

That’s where the Deebot T9+ fits; I cannot count how many hours I’ve saved by not vacuuming in the last three months. Given that I used to vacuum twice a week and it took about half an hour each time, that’s what … about 14 weeks at an hour a piece, I guess that’s 14 hours I’ve saved myself. Not to mention I haven’t had to actually use a vacuum cleaner – the robot has done almost all of it.

It can do just about everything

When I gave my first thoughts three months ago, I was pretty comprehensive in my praise for what Ecovacs have done, and what their T9+ robot has to offer. Three months on, nothing has changed; I remain convinced that these things are the future of home cleaning, even if they only do the heavy lifting so you can focus on the bits that a robot really cannot do.

For example, the T9+ cannot vacuum stairs, and it struggles a bit to vacuum in areas heavily populated by children’s toys. It also gets a bit caught up – pardon the pun – if there’s a lot of miscellaneous crap on the floor, as often at our place there is.

But what it does do is the 90% of the work. It vacuums the kitchen floor and picks up all the food bits that have fallen by the wayside. It does the hall, full of dust and dirt after people coming and going. It does the bedroom carpets where lint gathers from clothes and bedsheets. It even does the toilet floor where all manner of things gather. Our living room, too, sees the benefit with all the bits and pieces of crap vacuumed up, while mostly avoiding most of the toys and bits and pieces that get left around.

The app is super intuitive to use; hell, most of the time you don’t even need to use the app, as you can ask your smart home assistant to get things happening. “Alexa, ask Deebot to start cleaning” and off it goes. Nothing further required.

You can of course use the app to fine tune things; clean particular rooms, turn the vacuum power up a bit, ask it to mop the kitchen twice for good measure, and check how you’re going with consumables (yes, you need to change the filter eventually). This being said, I don’t use the app much; I open it, turn the vacuum on, and get on with my day.

It’s not without some minor issues

Maybe once a week Deebot gets a bit snarled up; it might knock a rug the wrong way and get stuck on a corner but – most of the time – it frees itself and gets on with the job. Sometimes it gets a little confused, and might forget where it is but – again – oftentimes it resolves this without much intervention and gets back to business.

There’s really only one occasion where I wondered if the Deebot T9+ had lost its mind, when it sat in the corner of the room backing continuously into the door frame, seemingly confused as to what or where it was. Sometimes I feel that way too, so it’s hard to be critical.

On the whole, though, Deebot has vacuumed up more human hair than anyone should have to bear, countless dust bunnies, a few hair elastics, plenty of dropped food and crumb, some dead insects and other bits and pieces. All of this it has saved me from having to do, and when time is money, that’s a valuable outcome.

It’s worthwhile

Considering the Ecovacs Deebot T9+ retails for around the $1,299 mark (though you may find it cheaper in a few places) it’s not a cheap purchase. However, if you do some sums, you can easily see the value proposition. Take this example – if Deebot saves you an hour a week of vacuuming, and you can put that hour to some overtime, you’ve made say $60. If you do that over six months, you’ve made $1,560. You’ve more than paid that vacuum off, and you’ve still got another six months where you can make that money again, all because you’re working instead of vacuuming your house.

How do I know this? Because I’m doing precisely that, right now, while I’m writing this review, and I’ve been doing precisely the same thing for months while Deebot has cleaned the house.

You can too.