Maintaining a clean floor is difficult at the best of times. Add children and pets to the mix and you can say goodbye to the amusing concept of a ‘weekly’ vacuum. Reclaim your time by outsourcing the chore of a clean floor to a robot vacuum cleaner and mop.
Robotic vacuum cleaner and mop combos have come a long way since they were first introduced. The best models on the market can connect to wifi, be controlled remotely from a smartphone, listen to voice commands, map and clean your entire house automatically, avoid mopping over carpets and rugs, clean to a set schedule and even help you keep an eye on your pets while you’re out.
But will they clean your floors properly? I decided to put one to the test in my own home, and this is what I discovered.
My honest robot vacuum mop review
When it comes to having clean floors, I’ve always been strictly a mop twice with boiling water, detergent and methylated spirits kind of gal. But as a working mum with a crawling toddler on the loose, a never-ending pile of laundry to deal with and messy meal times to stay on top of, cleaning the floor required time and energy I just did not have. Also, having wet tiled floors was a pretty big slip hazard for my little one who just loves to explore. I’d been contemplating investing in a robotic vacuum mop for a while, but was still not convinced it would be worth the investment.
I reached out to Ecovacs for help and they sent me a DEEBOT x1 Plus, a premium robotic vacuum mop that came with two cartridges (one for vacuuming and air-freshening, another for vacuuming and mopping), a cleaning brush and an auto-empty station. It took me an afternoon to set it up but once that was done I started the machine and it set straight to work mapping my home, vacuuming as it went.
Once the robot had perfected the map of my home and detected all of the rugs, it was time to test out the mopping function. All I had to do was fill the tank with distilled water, install the mop pad, hit power and off it went. I recommend following the instruction manual which says to soak the mop pad with water first (something I decided to skip) for a more thorough clean. It automatically mopped around the rugs!
Do robotic vacuum mops really mop properly?
As the machine only uses cold water, I would describe the mopping function as more akin to dusting with a damp cloth than a traditional mop and bucket. It’s certainly not a deep clean, but it will keep dust and minor messes at bay in between proper mops.
The cleaning power of some robotic vacuum mops can be enhanced with the use of a specially formulated robotic mop cleaning solution, while other brands warn against using detergents of any kind. I have to admit I was tempted to add a splash of white vinegar to the water tank and a drop of essential oil and diswashing liquid to the mop pad, but doing so is not recommended as it could cause corrosion in the machine over time.
Despite this, I was impressed by how clean the floors felt underfoot after Alfred had done his thing. While the oscillating function was quite effective at buffing away light stains, I wouldn’t recommend using it for large spills or heavy-duty cleaning.
Do robot vacuums really vacuum properly?
The vacuuming function works really well – the robot’s low profile design made easy work of cleaning under the table, the lounge, beds and other furniture. But does it do the job as well as you would yourself? Well, that’s subjective.
A deep clean where you raise a sweat, delving into every nook and cranny and lift and furniture and objects would get a better result but the point is that with regular, automated cleans, the need for a deep clean is not only less often, it’s so much easier to tackle specific areas because everywhere else is, well, clean!
Using voice commands
Unlike more affordable robot vacuum and mops on the market, The Deebot x1 Plus has its own built-in voice command assistant. Simply say ‘Ok Yiko’ and you can direct it to start cleaning, pause cleaning straight out of the box. This is great if you don’t have many smart home appliances.
If you’d prefer to incorporate the Deebot into an existing smart home ecosystem (such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, for example) you can do that too. I was able to personalise the vacuum’s nickname (I went with ‘Alfred’) and after making a couple of taps in my Google Home app, the Deebot now responds to commands such as ‘Hey Google, tell Afred to return to the charger’ and away the vacuum goes.
What are the pros of a robot vacuum and mop?
Vacuum mops are handy devices that are well worth the money if maintaining a clean floor currently feels unmanageable.
- Some models vacuum and mop at the same time, making the task quicker and easier.
- Once you’ve downloaded the app to your smartphone, you can set an automatic cleaning schedule. So you can set it to clean while you’re asleep, while you’re at work, or just before guests arrive.
- Advanced models may come with a docking station that empties the dust canister automatically. Top of the range models even have a water refill station.
- The DEEBOT has a ‘Home Patrol’ function which sends the machine off on a reconnaissance of your entire home. Very handy for keeping an eye on pets while you’re out or seeing what’s under the sofa without having to get down on all fours.
What are the cons of a robotic vacuum mop?
- You know how you do a quick clean up before a cleaner arrives? You have to do the same thing for a robot vacuum mop. Spend 5-minutes to make sure there are no cords lying around and lift anything off the floor that shouldn’t be there. In saying this, you’ll soon make a habit of not leaving things on the ground, which is actually kind of a pro.
- Advanced models can easily traverse minor changes in floor height, but if you live in a house that has flooring at significantly different heights (such as an older home with an extension you access via stairs or a step), you may have to manually pick up the robotic vacuum to get the entire area clean. This might be more trouble than it’s worth. Similarly, if you live in a two-storey home, you will have to lift the robotic vacuum upstairs.
- The mopping function is great for in-between cleans, but won’t replace a traditional mop and bucket. Depending on the model you buy, the mop pad may beed to be removed, cleaned and dried after each use to prevent mildew. The Ecovacs DEEBOT x1 Omni and Dreame W10 Self Cleaning robot vacuum and mop are an exception to this rule, as it rinses and dries the mop pads automatically after each clean.
- More affordable options will have to be manually emptied and refilled, which can be annoying if your machine aborts mission mid-clean because of an empty water tank or full dustbin.
- Be warned: kids and pets may (initially) be terrified of the robot! You can get around this by scheduling the machine to run while you’re asleep or while you’re out of the house.
My hacks for getting the most out of a robot vacuum and mop
Personalise the clean: Everything about the way the Deebot cleans can be tailored to your specifications. I like to set the water flow level to ‘high’, vacuum power to ‘max’ and have set it to clean every area twice.
Try at your own risk: Every warning label warns against doing this, but I did end up putting a drop of dishwashing liquid and essential oil directly onto the mop pad. I feel like it makes the floors come up so much nicer and leaves my whole house smelling clean and fresh.
Carry it upstairs: I’m not sure why, but I was initially nervous to give the robot free reign upstairs. Now that I’ve tried it, I regret not doing it sooner. I live in a two-storey house, and while carrying the robot upstairs is kind of inconvenient, it sure beats lugging a steaming mop bucket up there (and back down again). The robot is excellent at getting rid of dust bunnies under beds and low furniture (it saves my back, too!). I have a baby gate installed at the top of the stairs, so this prevents the Deebot falling while cleaning. If you don’t have a gate, you can place a temporary boundary in front of the stairs the first time the Deebot cleans (it will map as it goes) and then adjust the map in the phone app to set a virtual boundary for subsequent cleans.
Get multiple reusable mop pads: One thing that might hold you back from using your robot more often is not having multiple mop pads. Invest in a bunch of mop pads from the get-go and you’ll be able to run the mop more frequently and even change out the pad for different rooms so the mop doesn’t use the same pad in the bathroom and then starting cleaning the living room (it just seems a bit unhygienic). You can also program the robot to clean the bathroom and laundry last, if that’s what you prefer.
Essential Deebot Accessories
Does the robot replace my trusty stick vacuum and mop and bucket? Not entirely. But, I’ve been living with the Deebot for a few months now and can confidently say that I hardly ever reach for them anymore. Now that the robotic vacuum cleaner takes care of the floors, my entire house is so much cleaner.
My cleaning schedule now looks like an hour or two on the weekends tidying up, scrubbing down the bathroom, dusting surfaces and reorganising my home while the floors pretty much take care of themselves.
Having a robotic vacuum mop is kind of like outsourcing the chore to a teenager, only better. It doesn’t talk back, does a way better cleaning job and you can call out or tap a quick message into your phone to have the whole house vacuumed on demand. No questions asked. You’ll still need to deep clean every now and again, but the task is so much easier as daily dust and grime never gets the chance to build up.
While cheaper models will get the job done, if you want a truly hands-free experience (which is the whole point of getting a robot), I recommend spending that little bit extra for a machine that can empty its own dust compartment, refill the water tank and clean the mop pads automatically.
In the end, I’m so grateful to have Alfred taking care of the floors in my home. There’s nothing like coming home to clean, dust-free tiles without having to lift a finger. Now, when I leave my house, I try to make a habit of picking up any clutter off the floor so Alfred can have free reign while I’m away.
The best robot vacuum and mops in Australia
Ecovacs DEEBOT x1 Plus, The Good Guys
Part of Ecovacs’ premium range, the DEEBOT x1 Plus has a compact auto-empty station, smart capabilities, wifi connectivity, obstacle detection, ability to mop and vacuum simultaneously and more.
- Cleans with 5000Pa suction power
- In-built voice assistant that can respond to commands such as ‘Clean under the couch’ or ‘Clean towards my voice’
- Can automatically detect ledges to prevent falling down stairs
- Cleans in a systematic back-and-forth pattern
In a hurry? Choose Click & Collect from your nearest Good Guys and it’ll be ready for pick up from your local store in just one hour.
Ecovacs DEEBOT N8 pro robotic vacuum, The Good Guys
The DEEBOT N8 Pro features TrueDetect 3D technology that uses structured light and 3D scanning algorithms to instantly detect and avoid obstacles as it mops and vacuums your home. Plus, you’ll never need to worry about it running out of battery as its Automatic Charging function sends the vacuum back to the charging dock when the battery runs low automatically.
- Cleans with 1600Pa suction power
- TrueDetect 3D technology
- Automatic Charging function
- Vacuums and mops
Electrolux UltimateHome 300 robotic vacuum and mop, Appliances Online
It may be more affordable than other robotic vacuum mops on the market, but the Electrolux UltimateHome 300 is packed with excellent, user-friendly features, including Google Home compatibility.
- SmartPhone app allows you to adjust mop water level and set an automated cleaning schedule
- Great battery life, a single charge will give your vacuum 2 hours run-time
- Compatible with Google home for voice activated control
DEEBOT X2 Omni, Ecovacs
Want a robot vacuum and mop that does it all, and I mean really, all? Ecovacs’ latest model yet features a sleek, square and flat design (allowing it to clean under low furniture and get right into corners). But the best part? Unlike other robotic vacuum mops on the market, this little guy uses hot water (up to 55 degrees Celsius) to get your floors sparkling cleans. The spinning mops also clean and dry themselves after use.
- Can identify pets and recommend the best cleaning solution
- 8000Pa suction power and mop lifting function
- 3D home mapping technology which allows it to see and avoid obstacles that stop other robot vacuums in their tracks
- 2.5 year warranty
Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 robot vacuum and mop, Amazon
Trusted vacuum cleaner brand Shark have their very own robotic vacuum mop that takes the manual labour out of keeping floors clean. The sonic mop scrubs hard floors 100 times per minute, and you can even up the ante by selecting ‘Ultra Mop’ mode in the smart phone app.
- Filtration system captures up to 99.97% of dust and allergens
- Self-emptying station can contain 60 days’ worth of dirt and debris
- Carpet cleaning mode will shift stubborn debris embedded in carpets and rugs
D10 Plus Robot Vacuum and Mop, Dreame
The Dreame W10 is a vacuum mop you can truly set and forget. The docking station not only empties the vacuum compartment, it’s also equipped with a clean water tank and a dirty water tank to keep the mop pads clean and dry.
- 3 cleaning modes: vacuuming, mopping and all-in-one cleaning
- Self-cleans and dries mop pads after each use
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra Robot Vacum and Mop, Godfreys
This machine will make you forget all about cleaning your floors. It self-washes, self-dries, self-empties, self-refills and self-cleans! It uses vibration technology to scrub your flooors 3000 times per minute and even has a brush for beating dust and pet hair out of carpets and rugs.
- All-in-one docking station that empties debris and refills the onboard water tank
- Mop self-cleans and dries itself to prevent mildew and bacteria growth
- 3D obstacle recognition technology prevents accidents and collisions
Roomba Combo Robot Vacuum and Mop, David Jones
Robotic vacuum mop cleaning and charging stations can often look bulky and unsightly, but the Roomba Combo doesn’t have that problem. The cleaning station is sleek with a ribbed profile you’ll be proud to have out on display. It uses patented Dirt Detect technology to identify dirtier areas of your home and clean them thoroughly. Compatible with Alexa, Siri and Google assistant-enabled devices.
- Smart automatic mapping technology
- Microfibre pad tackles footprints, pollen and dust
- Comes with a catridge for mopping and a catridge for vacuuming