Top critical review
The Best Cat Toy That Cleans Even Complex Home Layouts
July 2, 2019
I always thought these robot vacs were kind of a silly gimmick, too expensive for not enough gain. After a couple friends raved about their robovac's, I made excuses like "My home layout is too complex!" and "I'll need three of them to vacuum my home!" But, the robot wars have made them cheaper and better, so I decided to finally give in on a good deal with this new model from a well trusted brand. I wasn't willing to pay for units with home mapping features and no-go zones, but with this unit, I don't feel I even need it. Turns out, I am absolutely thrilled with the performance and price point of these Eufy's.
There is little doubt this unit is just slightly smarter than a bag of hammers. Thank goodness I can make it do it's work at 4AM when I don't care how many times it goes over the same spot or misses something that is just "right over there you stupid bleeping robot!" But, day after day, this hunk of electronic sensors strapped to a vacuum comes home with a bin full of stuff. I'm at the point where I don't even know where it gets the stuff and I'm seriously questioning my ability to clean my house. And also somewhat ashamed of the filth that I've lived with and didn't even know about.
It goes places it probably shouldn't and if you have any degree of OCD, it will hurt your brain to watch it. It goes under furniture and shelving where it barely manages to escape, plays ping pong with table/chair legs for a bit and it has an inexplicable infatuation with the clear storage totes under my guest bed. It'll really like one area/room for awhile, but then will go elsewhere, only to be back 2 minutes later...and you're like, "Well, that was the *least* efficient way to do that. Whatever, a goldfish is smarter than you." Whenever I'm in the kitchen doing something, it has the whole lower floor it could be cleaning, but it will insist several times on cleaning the spot right under my feet. It loves to chase my cats and in turn, my cats will engage it in a battle of home domination, swatting it and trying to eat the spinny brushes while it charges. One cat will lay on the lower step and lazily swat at it as it goes by. Just when you think there might be the slightest sense of intelligence and you're having this "It's alive!" moment, it reminds you how dumb it is by gently ramming itself into a piece of furniture. I don't know how it does it, but despite looking like it couldn't find it's way out of a paper bag, it somehow manages to find home base for charging most of the time.
But, it gets around, even in an ever changing layout. It deals with my wood floors, several area rugs and a section of medium pile carpet without much incident. It hasn't once tried to go over a stair in my home. It gets probably a good 70%+ of a complex, 1,000 square foot U-shaped layout of my main floor, with plenty of furniture making navigation much worse. But, it does that 70%+ every day and I don't even have to think about it. Based on the sheer amount of cat hair and dust this thing picks up daily, I'd say the suction and pickup mechanisms are pretty good. I can't tell you if they're better than older Eufy or other branded units, but the spec's say so.
I was worried about how much of my lifestyle I'd have to change to adapt to this thing. Turns out, very little. I can still leave stuff around if I want and it won't try to eat everything in its path. It does occasionally try to commit robot death on various cat toys the kitties leave about, but that's maybe one 1 out of 10 times it needs saving. I have a rug in my kitchen that it loves to push into a pile, but that's only a minor annoyance and doesn't cause it harm. I have to be careful not to leaving charging cords and such about. Once every couple weeks it won't find it's way all the way home, but it's usually pretty darn close to the charging station by the time it dies. I thought it might become inconvenient to "save" the unit from it's self-inflicted stupidity, but the value it provides exceeds the inconvenience.
I can see why people like these things. And there's a good chance I may buy the three I need, maybe this one or maybe others. But, for now I'm pretty happy with this one. It's a 5 out of 5 cat toy and a pretty useful home appliance that will save you time and improve your home's upkeep. I'll update this review with any significant changing opinions, but for now this "dumb, smart thing" gets 5 stars.
Update: About 4 months after running this thing daily, one of the side brush motors started to malfunction. Normally, a product malfunctioning that soon would irk me to reducing my review stars immediately, but I sucked it up and contacted support. I requested, specifically, to do a self repair of the brush motor right out of the gate. They didn't request for me to send it in for repair, demand an expensive cross shipped replacement or question my self-assessment to repair equipment that I owned. They just told me they have the part in stock, requested I send them a video of the problem, asked for the address and put the brush motor in the mail. They then confirmed that if this didn't make it work right, they would still support me until it did. They worked with me exactly how I wanted them to, stood behind their product 100% and for that, not even a single star will be reduced from my original review.
Update 2: I knocked two stars from my review. Not because of the unit, which is still great, but because of the replacement air filters. They are $11 for TWO of them! That's nearly 3 times the price of the previous filters, or about a $65 annual operating cost when changing them out once a month. IMO, that's simply too expensive for a vacuum and even my high end upright isn't nearly that expensive to operate using *HEPA grade* vacuum bags. Not just that, they are incredibly terrible for the environment by requiring you to buy the substantial plastic filter housing every time. Had I known this at the time of my purchase, I would have selected a different unit - probably the initial version of the 11S. Eufy needs to make the plastic filter housing so you can open it and use a less expensive and more environmentally friendly air filter. I generally don't like systems with expensive proprietary maintenance parts when it's entirely unnecessary. In the mean time, I am now going many months in between filter changes, using canned air to clean them out. If Eufy changes their filter approach, I'll upgrade my rating again. Until then, I recommend units that don't require these expensive and wasteful filters.