Ecovacs Deebot N79 Review
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to use
Cons: Mediocre at cleaning hard floors, sub par at cleaning carpets
Our Analysis and Test Results
Scoring slightly better than the ILIFE A4s, the Deebot is roughly comparable in performance when it comes to cleaning power. It is the ability to be started remotely and the superior scheduling ability that earns it a few points more than the ILIFE. The next highest scoring robot, the Roomba 650 does clean significantly better than the N79, but this improvement in performance is accompanied by a significant price increase as well.
To find out which robot vacuum swept the floor with the competition, we bought the best 'bots on the market today and put them through a series of challenging, head-to-head tests to find the winners, comparing everything from how nimbly each robot navigated to how competent it is at collecting Cheerios. These tests were divided up among five weighted rating metrics — Room Navigation, Hard Surface Cleaning, Corners and Edges, Pet Hair, and Ease of Use — with the following sections describing the Deebot's performance.
Earning the most weight out of any of the rating metrics in our test, Room Navigation takes credit for 30% of the overall score for each vacuum. This metric consisted of assessing how well each vacuum did at clearing common obstacles, such as a rug with tassels, a laptop power cord, and a lamp cord. It also evaluated each robot on its ability to clean multiple rooms, exceptionally large rooms, and navigate around a common furniture layout without becoming trapped and requiring assistance. The Deebot N79 delivered an alright performance, meriting a 5 out of 10 for its average showing.
This vacuum actually did a good job escaping entanglement, traversing some small cords and strings without any major difficulty. It did suck up a shoelace and drag it around for a bit before ejecting it, but it never required our assistance to free it.
However, its score dropped when we assessed the N79's navigation ability. This product used a wandering, semi-random method of navigation that is very poorly suited for cleaning large rooms or multiple small rooms. It eventually will clean the entire area, but it can take an incredible amount of time as it bounces around between rooms. It is definitely worth considering a robot that more strategically maps out its course if you are trying to clean multiple rooms automatically.
This robot actually did do a decent job of escaping cluttered areas, though it is hard to tell if the robot is just getting lucky and bouncing its way out from under a chair or if there is some method to its madness.
Ranking second in terms of importance, our Carpet Cleaning metric comprised 20% of the total score. To rank each vacuum, we spread oatmeal, Mini-Wheats, rice, and flour out on a section of both medium and low-pile carpet, then scored each product on how much debris it collected. The Deebot didn't do particularly well, tying for the lowest score out of the entire group with its 3 out of 10.
The N79 actually collected the majority of the rice from the flatter, low-pile carpet, but left behind plenty of residual grains in the fluffier, high-pile carpet. The N79 just doesn't have the cleaning power to extract rice that is trapped deeper in the fibers, limited to only cleaning the surface. It did much worse at collecting flour, barely picking up any and leaving a ton behind.
This product's performance boosted slightly in our oats test, collecting a fair bit of the flakes, but still leaving behind a small trail of fragmented oats. Finally, the Deebot hugs the floor very closely, lacking the clearance to clear larger particles and pick them up. This meant that is failed to collect any Mini-Wheats, only pushing them around.
Hard Surface Cleaning
On the whole, the Ecovacs did better at cleaning hard surface than carpet, earning a 4 out of 10 for its performance in this metric, worth 20% of the total score as well. We used the same sample types of debris as the previous metric, with the tests being conducted on a section of hardwood laminate floor instead of carpet.
The Ecovacs didn't do an amazing job at collecting rice, with its dual rotating brushes tending to fling rice about the room, rather than collecting it. A similar event occurred when we tasked this vacuum with collecting oats, creating far more mess than we originally started. This vacuum did an acceptable job at sucking up Cheerios, but failed to collect any Mini-Wheats — again plagued by clearance issues. The N79 finished out this metric with an acceptable showing when it came to collecting flour, picking up a fair bit from the surface of the boards, but completely failing at extracting any from the cracks between boards.
Corners and Edges
This metric — responsible for 10% of the total score — evaluated each product on how well it could clean in close to the edge of a room of suck up a mess in a tight corner. The Ecovacs did well in this performance, earning a 6 out of 10 for its performances.
This model did better at cleaning close to edges, with its round shape precluding any stellar performance at cleaning carpets. However, this vacuum would fling a non-trivial amount of debris into the middle of the room, especially with messes like rice or oatmeal, sometimes creating just as much mess as we started with.
This metric, also worth 10% of the final score for the Ecovacs, ranked each vacuum on how well it did at picking up Fido's or Fluffy's pet hair. We spread out a measured amount of hair donated from the local groomer, then tasked each vacuum with picking it up. The Deebot did a slightly subpar job, earning a 3 out of 10 for its performance.
The Deebot would pick up a decent amount of hair, but the majority of it would become trapped in the main extractor head, rather than making its way into the collection bin. This means that the effectiveness of collecting pet hair definitely decreases the more hair is collected, making it a poor choice if you are looking for a robot vacuum to clean up pet hair.
Ease of Use
Our final metric of our review, Ease of Use, takes responsibility for the remaining 10% of the total score. These products are intended for day-to-day use and shouldn't take an advanced degree to operate. The Deebot is reasonably easy to operate, earning a 6 out of 10 for its performance.
This robot is very easy to start, either through the remote, mobile app, or on the device itself. You can easily set a schedule through the remote or the mobile app, but you are limited to the same schedule each day, rather than setting a different cleaning schedule for weekends and weekdays.
This bargain robot didn't impress, but it offers the best performance in its price range.
The Ecovacs Deebot N79 is not a product that we would recommend to most people. Period. However, if you only need to clean 1 or 2 rooms with hard floors and it's only a light amount of mess, then this might be the robot for you. Otherwise, it's prudent to spend more for a better model or forego getting a robot vacuum at all.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer