May 16, 2022

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Anything but ordinary

Robot Vacuum Review: the Ecovacs DeebotT9+

Wasn’t it exciting when robot floor vacuums came out some ten-odd years ago? Well, perhaps you’re not as easily excited as I am, but as a lifelong hater of vacuuming, I thought it was awesome. It made me feel like, WE HAVE ARRIVED. We have house robots now! Look how far tech has come in our lifetimes! My six year old son is amazed that phones never used to have cameras on them, and thinks it’s hilarious that they were attached to the wall. I, meanwhile, still remember feeling SO important when my classroom got a computer (a clunky, black and orange contraption).  So when we got a time when people could buy a little VACUUM ROBOT with a computer inside it that would CLEAN OUR FLOORS? Come on, that’s super cool.

Today I’m sharing my review on our newest electronic home help, gifted to us from ECOVACS – the Deebot T9+ robot vacuum with mop.

The Deebot T9+ has only just recently hit the Australian market and ECOVACS asked if I would like to receive a unit in exchange for a review.

Now, this sounds SO lazy but like most bloggers I am privileged to get offered lots of things and my initial thought was, ‘Could I be bothered?’ (I already told you I hated vacuuming, why are you surprised at how lazy I am?) But… well… I mean we already HAD a floor vacuum cleaner. It was just that, after a few years, our little Roomba sometimes didn’t charge unless he was absolutely perfectly aligned with his little sensor thingies. You had to get the contact cleaner out and give him a little love to get him feeling good again.

Now, this did the job. But sometimes I just couldn’t be bothered getting the stepstool out to get the contact cleaner down (it’s on a high shelf, out of reach of the kids, and well, myself) and maybe, sometimes I would instead try to wedge Roomba into his charger, with a book of just the right thickness (Mysteries of the Unexplained usually worked best) to hold him at juuuust the right angle to provide maximum charge. I told you I was lazy. Shove in a book wedge and call it a day.

It drove Mr Nerd CRAZY. But look, I was happy to do it. Anything except actually clean my floor myself.

I told Mr Nerd that we got offered an Ecovacs robot vac for a review.

“We don’t really neeeeed it, do we? We already have Roomba,” I offered half-heartedly.

“No. Get the new one,” said Mr Nerd flatly.

The day the Deebot T9+ arrived, it was he who tore into the parcel with excitement and started reading the manual (wonderful, as reading manuals is soo boring I would rather count the holes in a crumpet).

“A breath of fresh air!” the packaging declared confidently. “The best just got better.”

“Let’s put Roomba on Marketplace right now,” said Mr Nerd, thrilled to finally have a reason to give Roomba and his floor book the boot.

“No,” I said crossly. “We’re keeping Roomba for a couple of weeks while we trial the new one. Just in case the Deebot isn’t as good and I decide I want to keep Roomba instead.”

We sold our Roomba two days later. That shows you just how converted I was.

“Can we keep him?”

Can you love a vacuum cleaner? Yes. I think you can. Mr Nerd was so rapturous about Deevid (what we named our Deebot) he even offered to write the review. “Ok….” I said uncertainly. This is the first time in like almost a decade of me blogging he has EVER offered to write anything for my blog ever. And he actually wrote it really well, maybe even better than I would have. I will not tell him this but I was half impressed, half miffed.

So, let Mr Nerd tell you all about the pros and cons of Deevid. And I’ve put a MY pros and cons at the end too (come on, the colour and the fragrance are important things to discuss).

ECOVACS DEEBOT T9+: MR NERD’S REVIEW

“We’ve been enjoying a robot vacuum for the past four or five years now with our previously reviewed Roomba 980. We accepted its flaws and adjusted the way we used it to make it work for us as a family of four (with a dog… and now a really old chicken).


So how much can a robot vacuum improve in a relatively short time span? A lot. We didn’t initially want to get rid of the Roomba because it was an expensive unit, hardy, and it sucked up pet hair as promised.

So we tentatively tested our new friend Deevid and prepared to move it on when it didn’t meet the very high standard that Roomba originally set. But Roomba is gone and Deevid is staying.

Cue: Sad, blue filter montage of our son as a baby sitting on Roomba being driven around, fishing out precious items from Roomba’s butt, and various other enjoyable vacuum moments…

Deevid’s sound levels are by far the biggest improvement. The Deebot T9+ is quiet for a robot vacuum. Safe to say if our daughter, who just turned three, wasn’t so scared of robot vacuums I’d run the risk of turning it on during her sleeps. That said, she’s actually losing her fear of robot vacuums. The other day I heard her yell, “Tank you, Deevid.”

 

Because our old Roomba was quite noisy, Maya and I are entrenched in the habit of turning on the floor vacuum when we leave the house, but I can see that changing with time. Both the sound and the sensors are so good there isn’t really a reason not to.

 

Having said that, if we do forget to turn it on when we leave the house, it’s as easy as whipping out the phone and remote launching Deevid into action through the app. So by the time you do come home, the air filter and fresh perfume aroma of a clean house hit you upon opening the door.

Cleaning against our skirting boards is not perfect, but it has improved. We find if you do a quick run with the Deebot every day, it will keep the floors in a state that stops our parents from looking at our home in disgust.

 

This brings me onto another major development in the robot vacuum world… the docking station with auto-emptier.

Some people won’t like the amount of space docking stations take up but it has encouraged us to use Deevid every day because you don’t have to empty his little butt tray after every clean! It sounds trivial but we are living in the decision fatigue era and it’s one less thing I have to worry about. Seriously starts getting Deevid into the realm of completely automated cleaning.

The docking station vacuum motor is loud as it empties Deevid’s container into the bag, but only for five seconds which is totally bearable. Touched on it before, but the sensors have greatly improved as well. The first clean (have to let it complete a full cycle to avoid mapping issues…yes we learned the hard way) will create a map of your house.


Don’t worry if you have closed one of the rooms off, it’ll add that whenever you give it access.

You can then access the app and put in virtual walls (no longer need the physical towers that came with our previous floor vac) and select specific rooms you want cleaned, which comes in handy if the kids have started a Lego or Duplo war on the floor.”

ECOVACS DEEBOT T9+: MAYA’S REVIEW

We have now had three different robot vacuums – Deebot, Roomba, and before that a Robomaid. (Don’t get a Robomaid. It ate so much stuff and KEPT EATING. There was no “Error! I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t have message” where it would pause and humbly wait for its masters. It literally gnawed the base of my former Christmas tree clean away and KEPT GOING RELENTLESSLY. You can read about that guy here).

PROS

DEEVID CAN DO STEPS! Well, really small ones. 
I will admit, I was stoked when we chucked Robomaid out and got our Roomba. I thought it was great. But Deevid is a big step up. (On the subject of steps, he does actually climb up onto the closest thing we have to a step in our house; my study windowsill, and clean it – Roomba would always get stuck halfway on the step and cark it, spewing dust and dog hair everywhere in a fit, then call for me).

OUR HOUSE IS LESS FILTHY
The floors are definitely cleaner every day from running Deevid regularly. Because both Mr Nerd and Miss Nerd have asthma that flares up from dust, trying to limit places for dust mites is a priority in our home (this is the reason we really don’t have proper rugs!)

GOOD FOR PET HAIR
The Deebot T9+ has done really well with our endless swathes of dog hair (Nala’s hair is short to medium. I am not sure personally how Deevid would go with long dog hair, like a golden retriever or border collie). Sometimes my hair gets tangled in the brushes, but Deevid is easy and quick to pop open and clean if you need to.

A RELATIVELY QUIET FLOOR VAC
The Deebot T9+ is quiet for a robot vacuum which we were pleasantly surprised by – especially compared to our previous Roomba and Robomaid. Sometimes Deevid is doing his thing in the background and I don’t even notice. I could not say the same for our previous robot vacuums; they were unpleasantly LOUD.

As I work from home, I could not focus on work if Roomba was out zooming near me – the constant noise set me on edge if I was trying to focus on a task, so I would turn my hearing aids off (which kind of makes them act like earplugs) and… I could still hear Roomba going! That’s loud).

Meanwhile, with Deevid the sound is not off-putting. Our house is not very big, but I have even set Deevid out while Miss Nerd naps and she doesn’t wake up. I guess it’s pretty much like white noise!

IT COMES IN WHITE!
As our living room walls are white – it makes the docking station less obtrusive and not stand out so much. Scandi-inspired house robot.

IF HE INGESTS SOMETHING HE SHOULDN’T HAVE, YOU’LL KNOW IT

Unlike our original floor vac Robomaid, who would seemed to consume something very small and important (like my grandma’s heirloom earring, or the heel of my leather shoe) and then zoom away quickly into the next room, Deevid seems to detect if he’s sucked up something inappropriate, and will let you know, or you’ll notice the noise change straightaway. We have gotten in the habit (kids also) of doing a quick spin around the house picking up Lego, toys and lifting up our tasseled throws onto the sofa to give the floor vac free rein.

The kids believe that anything a robot vac sucks up is gone for good, and I’m not about to tell them otherwise… they actually pack up all their tiny little toys out of fear.

DECENT RUN TIME
The Deebot T9+ runs for 175 minutes. (Longer than our old Roomba 980 which was 120). It’s enough time to do a full vac of our three bedroom house.

THE APP AND GOOGLE AUTOMATION
The app is cool, and it’s cute that you can sync the Deebot T9+ up to your Google assistance, so you can say, “Hey Google, make the robot vacuum my disgusting house.”  (My childhood self has goosebumps of glee at the thought).

YOU CAN CHOOSE TO TURN ITS AIR FRESHENER OPTION ON
I have been known to greet guests at my door and, while they’re disarmed, interrogate them with, “DOES MY HOUSE SMELL LIKE DOG?” We’ve all been to homes that had a distinctive musty or fusty smell or a lingering odor from a pet or a baby in the household; I want my house to smell good.

The air freshener function is a big pro to me (you can choose whether to turn it on or off while your Deebot T9+ does its work). You can pick from three fragrances, and a capsule should last for up to 60 days.

I have noticed already that I am beginning to associate the smells of Deevid with mental relaxation, because if I have a clean, spotless house, my mind ALWAYS feels a little less cluttered! The scent you get with the Deebot T9+ (comes in little sachets) is nice, but I would like to learn if I can safely add my favourite essential oils into it also.

THE DEEBOT CAN DO CARPET AND HARD FLOORING
If you have carpet, the Deebot T9+ will automatically increase the suction power when it detects carpeting,  and switch back to normal mode when on tiles or hardwood. I can’t personally comment on how the Deebot T9+ goes with carpet, as we don’t have carpet in our home. It has gone well with the small rug in my study.

The Deebot T9+ is a good mopper which is an appreciated time saver – it has an oscillating mopping system and does a nice even mop. (I’ve tried adding essential oils to the mop pad – which is nice but they evaporate quickly on a floor). I think because our vinyl flooring is textured, with very shallow grooves in each plank, if there is a really grubby mark, the Deebot finds it harder to get it off. However, I find that case when I mop our floor by hand as well. To be expected with vinyl plank floors.

CONS

SPACE OF THE AUTO-EMPTY UNIT
Like Mr Nerd mentioned, the size of the auto-empty unit might be a bit off-putting if you are very tight on floor space, you can’t tuck it under a cabinet or sideboard. The positive is, I do love not having to empty its “butt-tray” all the time.

IT’S PRICIER
At around $1,299, the Deebot T9+ is not a light investment. For a robot vacuum with an auto-empty unit, as well as a mopping function and an air freshener, I think it is reasonably priced. I have learned from Robomaid, our first robot vacuum, that you get what you pay for when it comes to robot vacs.

The Deebot T9+ has good coverage also, but again, like most robot vacuums, still won’t get into tight corners because of its size, like in the corners where our kitchen cabinets meet. We tend to dustpan these up or just brush them out so Deevid can come along and suck them up.

DISPOSABLE MOPPING PADS
These microfiber pads come with the Deebot T9+ and work well to collect dust and leave the floors looking as good as new, but these days lots of people are looking for small ways they can reduce their overall household waste. However, after reading a forum, it looks like there is a way to simply cut and attach the reusable mopping pad of a different Deebot model to the Deebot T9+ to give you a washable option.

Thank you to Ecovacs for the gifted Deebot T9+. We appreciate this little guy. Maya x