Ecovacs Deebot R95 review: Amazon Alexa and smartphone control bring us closer to the Jetson's lifestyle
Welcome to 2062! The daily life of the Jetsons where we saw the blue robotic vacuum cleaner pick up after Astro is happening 45 years earlier than predicted.
As an owner of a pomeranian and chihuahua with hardwood floors, vacuuming to pick up pet hair and droppings from a family of five is a daily occurrence. Thanks to the new Ecovacs Deebot R95 cleaning is now completed by a robot.
A couple of years ago, we moved to a new home with the lower of the two levels covered in acacia hardwood. Our family spends about 20 minutes a day vacuuming the floors so last year I researched robotic vacuums and found the Botvac Neato beat out the Roomba iRobot so I picked one up.
While the Botvac Neato D85 performs very well with a powerful amount of suction, large capacity dirt bin, and good coverage, placing long magnetic boundary strips over irregular areas of the house was ugly and inconvenient. Programming on the vacuum was also limited with awkward navigation buttons and a small display. I knew there had to be something better and after a couple weeks of cleaning with the Deebot R95 it is clear that there is.
- Noise level: 69.5 dB max
- Sensors: Infrared anti-collision, anti-drop stair avoidance
- Working time: Approximately 90 minutes
- Charging time: 3-4 hours
- Dust bin capacity: 520 ml
- Dimensions: 14 inches diameter and max height of 4 inches
- Weight: 7.7 pounds
Hardware and box contents
The Ecovacs Deebot R95 comes in a dark gray color with some black and brushed silver areas. It is a round robotic vacuum with a raised control unit on the back. There is a single button on the top with four indicator icons below the single button.
A large top cover rotates upwards for access to the dust bin for easy removal and emptying of the vacuum. The dust bin has proven to hold about one or two vacuum sessions for the approximate 1,000 square feet of coverage on my wood floors with a few raised area rugs.
One feature that stands out on the Deebot R95 is the presence of two side brushes to help ensure corners are well covered. One brush has a red hub and the other green with spare brushes in the retail package. Most of these robotic vacuums have one rotating brush.
Another unique feature on the R95 is the ability to swap out the opening that leads into the suction area. Out of the box, the main brush is installed. This main brush is designed for deep cleaning in most situations. However, if you have a lot of pet hair or human hair to vacuum up and don't want the rotating brush to fill with hair, then you can easily swap out the direct suction insert. The two rotating brushes will still work to bring in material under the vacuum for suction into the open direct suction insert, but you will not have to worry at all about anything small plugging the suction of the vacuum.
Our new acacia hardwood floors are beautiful and well taken care of. My wife was concerned about the vacuum creating marks on the floors, but the soft silicone wheels turn and navigate around the floors with no trace of their passing.
The charging dock plugs into an outlet and charges up the vacuum in about three to four hours.
The Deebot R95 also has an optional mopping system, included in the box, so that you can have water applied via a wet/dry cloth while this same system dries your floor as it passes over it too.
The retail package includes the R95 itself, a charging dock, an instruction manual, four side brushes (two are spares), two advanced wet/dry cleaning cloths, a wet/dry reservoir, a measuring cup, and the direct suction option insert.
Software and services
While there are some limited controls of the R95 through the single button on the vacuum, you get full control through the iOS and Android smartphone application. Access through the application was also extremely useful while away from home. I was able to turn on and perform some spot cleaning before friends arrived while I was at the office.
I unboxed the vacuum that was provided for testing and charged it up. The next day I set it to auto and the vacuum set about mapping the bottom floor of my house. The R95 vacuums as it maps your floor, but it does take a long time for the initial mapping of your area. You should lift up all cables and move interferences out of the way. The R95 did an excellent job of fitting under most of my chairs and quickly learned not to attempt to travel over a deep pile area rug I have in a sitting area of the house. It mapped my low pile office rug and the map of my first floor very closely matches the plans I have for our house.
After the floor was fully mapped, it was great to have access to the advanced functions for auto, spot, area, and virtual wall cleaning control. Auto is the default and will clean your entire mapped area, including returning to the dock automatically if the vacuum needs to be charged to finish extensive areas of vacuuming.
If there is a small area of your home or office that needs cleaning, then you can tap on spot cleaning and then tap on the map to have a one meter square area around that spot vacuumed. The area cleaning can be used for broader cleaning of mapped areas, but I didn't use this that often as the areas were quite large and were similar to automatic for my house.
The virtual wall function is my favorite option of the Deebot R95 and lets me completely customize my cleaning experience without the need for clunky, ugly magnetic strips. You can draw closed areas or set line barriers on the map and the vacuum will avoid vacuuming in these areas. This is rather amazing and reason alone to purchase this vacuum if you have areas of your home that you do not want vacuumed all the time. For example, I have a round table on a raised rug with chairs that really only needs cleaning once a week so I have it blocked most of the time. With a single button, you can also send the vacuum back to the dock for charging with a single tap.
The Deebot R95 also speaks status and other words via voice through its speaker. The smartphone app lets you view the work log, choose to have non-working hours for the vacuum, setup a custom auto cleaning time schedule, reset the map, and update the firmware of the vacuum.
In addition to the very powerful smartphone control, there is also an Amazon Alexa skill that lets you have some control of the Deebot R95 with your Amazon Echo device. You can tell Alexa to start cleaning, stop cleaning, and return to the charger, which mirror the commands you can give the R95 with the physical button on the vacuum. I use the smartphone app the majority of the time, but it is handy and fun to have Alexa start up the R95 too.
Price and competition
The Ecovacs Deebot R95 is priced at $549.99 on Amazon. The Neato Botvac Connected vacuum is priced at $699 while the iRobot Roomba 980 is priced at $799.99. As you can see, the Deebot R95 is priced much less than these competing high end robotic vacuums while also offering some advanced features and great results.
Daily usage experiences and conclusion
Most of these advanced robotic vacuums have similar designs and dimensions. The Deebot R95 is one of the lower cost high end models with the advanced smartphone and Amazon Alexa functionality setting it apart from the pack.
Make sure you have a fully charged Deebot R95 prior to mapping your floor plan and do not lift up and move the R95 to try to help it map out the floor. At first I started mapping my floor before it was charged and ended up with an incomplete map. After fully charging the R95, everything went perfectly. I also learned that you can add other rooms in the future by letting the vacuum map itself in auto mode.
The Deebot R95 vacuumed my entire first floor perfectly and has impressed my family with its thoroughness, quiet operation (my Botvac D85 is louder), ability to fill the dust bin with each cleaning session, advanced control of the schedule and areas to vacuum, and ability to keep itself charged up and performing every day.
While my main floor is hardwood, I also have a variety of area rugs on the floor. The Deebot R95 adjusts automatically to the different rug heights and we were very surprised to find it was able to vacuum all but one very deep pile rug.
Given that our house has white moulding and some nice dining room chairs, my wife was concerned about the vacuum striking these too hard and creating marks on them. There is a bumper on the R95 and it has proven to slow down and barely tap the moulding and chairs.
There are some minor maintenance practices to follow with the R95, but all are easy to perform with the excellent design and accessibility of the various parts. The two different suction inserts can be swapped out by simply sliding over a couple of tabs and removal of the main roller and two side brushes for cleaning is very easy. The Deebot R95 also comes with a one year limited warranty in case of any issues with the advanced robotic vacuum.
I am thrilled with the performance of the Ecovacs Deebot R95 and the hours of vacuuming it has saved will soon pay for the cost of the vacuum itself.