What’s worth more? Money or time? It’s a question worth asking when it comes to deciding if the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni is the right robotic vacuum cleaner for your home.
The Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni is the new top of the line robot vac. As you’d expect, it offers some of the best vacuum and mopping performance available, with excellent self-cleaning features and smart mapping to minimise how often you will need to spend thinking about cleaning. But is the time saving worth $2,499?
We put the Deebot X1 Omni to the test in a household with mixed carpet and hard floors, two long-haired cats and an obstacle course of teenage mess and computer cables to see how successful it could be at delivering ‘hands-free’ performance.
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Setup and mapping
As a user of the previously top-of-range Deebot T9+, the new Deebot X1 Omni was a far easier robotic vacuum to get up and running. The Ecovacs app is an adequate but not excellent experience, but the new X1 had a simpler setup phase and quickly ready to head out to create its map of the house.
The mapping system means your Deebot X1 builds an excellent layout of your home after a first lap of the house, and the map is refined over time as the cleaner performs its duties. It also features a 3D mapping feature that marks the shape and position of objects in rooms. You can refine and label these object models through the app, and it’s worth the effort, as you’ll see below.
In practice, we found some overzealous mapping at times that tried to register our back porch as another ‘room’ because it could see through the French doors, and mirrored sliding doors in a bedroom also created more space than was really there. Both make sense for a visual mapping system but we struggled to remove these extra spaces from the map. But using features that add no-go areas helped ensure the robot would stop trying to reach these spaces on future cleaning runs.
The docking station itself is as elegant as it is large. Stylish and simple compared to many past robotic vacuum docks, its size comes with good reason but it will require finding a good place for it in a home.
Dual vacuum and mopping system
The Deebot X1 Omni excels as a floor cleaner. It is truly an incredible, with excellent dirt extraction and the mopping mode scrubs hard floors in a gentle and effective way. The vacuum power reaches 5000pa at its highest Max+ setting, which you’ll probably never needed. By default you get great results from the vacuum running at Standard power on hard floors and automatically adjusting to Max power when it detects carpets.
The mopping in particular is a big upgrade over the T9+, moving up from a disposable wipe to rotating floor mops that are cleaned by the docking station every 15 minutes to ensure a high quality clean.
The combined vacuum and mopping really does offer a fantastic finish that is better than anything I’ve seen from manually vacuuming floors. This is because as humans, we just don’t have the patience to work as slowly and carefully as your Deebot will.
There are two elements that don’t get us to the truly ‘hands free’ future we’re hoping for just yet. The brush gets tangled with long hair very regularly, needing a manual tidy up after each clean to clear out the hair and fur and keep the performance high. The mops also need to be removed anytime you want the vacuum to go onto carpets, meaning we put the mops on our Deebot X1 once a week to focus on the hard floors between general cleaning the rest of the week.
One of the tricks with a robot vacuum is letting it run to a schedule or in ‘maintenance mode’ where it just roams and cleans as it pleases. This means you don’t want to be tidying up all the time to keep things safe, so obstacle avoidance is an important part of trusting the robot to do its work well.
The Deebot X1 Omni uses its cameras to pick up on everything from socks to stray power cables, avoiding an area on first pass and then returning later to see if it is clear so it can finish cleaning.
In our experience the one critical issue that remains is the thin USB-C cables now used on many laptops, which can get caught in the vacuum and dragged along until stuck. The vacuum will alert you via the Ecovacs app if it becomes stuck in such a way and untangling is easy enough, but it’s a situation that you soon learn to be more vigilant about when it comes to leaving cables lying around.
In our household we have run the Deebot X1 on a schedule three times a week rather than on full maintenance mode, making a quick check for cables on the morning of each scheduled run. It works very well.
That big docking station is all about delivering the best self-cleaning system on a robot vacuum yet. The dirt extraction works very well compared to past models, with a single extraction point with a high suction speed that drags all the mess out into a dust bag in the dock that lasts weeks or even months depending on your dust / hair / mess standards.
The mop has a whole new grade of self-cleaning for robot vacuums, with clean and dirty water tanks to manage the process incredibly effectively. Lift out the water tanks easily to refill with clean water or empty when dirty, and the dock does the hard work of keeping those mops sparkling. It also dries the mops after a cleaning cycle to ensure they remain tidy and reduce any smells or germs that could accumulate.
In combination with the pure cleaning performance, the self-cleaning features make the Deebot X1 Omni an absolute standout in the robot vacuum market.
If you’ve become a big fan of issuing commands to your smart home devices, the Deebot X1 has you covered with the arrival of the Yiko assistant. Shout “OK Yiko” and you can then tell your vac to perform a wide range of tasks. You can start a clean, change clean intensity settings, or even ask Yiko to follow you somewhere and then do a spot clean of the area.
If you go through the mapping process and label your rooms and furniture well, you can even tell your Deebot to “clean under the couch in the living room” and it will go do just that. Too many voice assistants are launched that don’t really improve utility all that much, but the Yiko system has a lot of helpful options that are faster than using the app.
We did have some trouble in our household getting the “OK Yiko” command right. Two members of the house had no trouble at all, while two others had a lot of trouble. But eventually we adjusted how we said the command and got it listening.
Safety and security
The Deebot X1 Omni allows you to take control of the camera system on the robot vacuum and explore your home from anywhere in the world. It includes two-way audio so you can talk to someone in your home or maybe tell a pet you’ll be home soon. It’s a clever feature that could be useful for many home owners.
With such a feature available it also means you’ll want to set your passwords carefully, because you don’t want a hacker to get that kind of remote access to your house. Ecovacs has achieved a TÜV Rheinland privacy and security certification for the X1, which is the first of its kind to pursue this kind of added security assurance.
The Deebot X1 Omni is truly worthy of being called a flagship robotic vacuum cleaner. The cleaning performance is outstanding, the mopping system is unparalleled, and the self-cleaning is second to none. We found the little moments where you do need to get hands on – mop removal, a tangled roller, a quick floor tidy – to be perfectly comfortable and simple compared to doing it all ourselves manually. But as a $2,499 product the little things could easily be a reason to decide the features aren’t ‘hands free’ enough yet to shoot for the top of range option compared to models available for $1,000 less.