It wasn’t too long ago when people were fascinated with the idea of robot vacuuming floors by itself. But now, with so many different types of robot vacuums available, we think, “so what if it can vacuum, what else can it do?” We want the machine to have an exceptionally long battery life, to have suction comparable to an upright, for it to navigate our homes without running into obstacles, and for it to connect to our smart speakers. A simple robot that can just vacuum the floors isn’t enough, at least not anymore.
More and more robot vacuums continue to hit the market, and they’re priced all over the map. You can buy a robot vac for as low as $60 or upwards of $1,000. Most robot vacuums are priced somewhere in the middle though.
Ecovacs recently added the Deebot 711 to its line of robot vacuums, and we had a chance to fully test the vac. It looks a lot like many of the other robot vacuums we’ve reviewed, circular and black with a small charging dock, rover-like wheels and a front universal wheel, a main brush and two front brushes, and a dust bin that slides into position. But, in spite of its similar appearance, the Deebot 711 has stronger performance and more features under its hood than most robot vacs in its price range.
A talking robovac
The Deebot 711 comes with the robot and charging dock, four side brushes (two for the machine and two backups), two high efficiency filters (one for immediate install and one backup), a remote control with batteries included, and a brush cleaning tool. It also comes with a user manual, quick start guide, and warranty information.
The instruction and guide are very easy to follow. Within about 10 minutes, we had the robot assembled, the app downloaded, and the robot connected to an Amazon Echo speaker. When we placed the robot on the dock, it said aloud, “I am starting to charge.” The robot vacuum actually talks and tells you when it’s cleaning or charging.
After two weeks of testing the vacuum, we realized talking isn’t the only cool thing this little robot can do.
Ecovacs’ Deebot 711 has Smart Navi 2.0, which maps your home and creates the ideal S-shaped cleaning pattern to get the most complete cleaning coverage. It has a camera on top, as well as an air flow sensor, anti-collision sensors, and anti-drop sensors. While many robot vacuums use a random cleaning path, the 711 is strategic in its movement.
While many robot vacuums use a random cleaning path, the 711 is strategic in its movement.
We watched the vacuum run in an S-pattern, virtually hitting every inch of the floor. If it missed a spot because a person or object was in its way, it even went back to cover the area it missed.
“Alexa, do my chores”
A robot vac that doesn’t connect to Alexa or Google Home is kind of like a TV without a remote control these days. Without voice control, you still have to put forth a decent amount of effort to get the machine operating. You have to find the robot vac’s remote control, use a corresponding app as a remote if it’s available, or even worse, get up and press the controls on the actual vacuum itself.
With the Deebot 711, you can just say “Alexa, tell Deebot to start cleaning” and the vacuum says, “I’m starting to clean.” You can also tell it to go back to the dock and use other voice commands, so it means even less effort on the part of the user. Isn’t that the point of a robot vacuum?
Cleans like an upright… well, almost
Now, onto the actual cleaning. The 711 does a very good job of collecting dirt and debris from floors. It has two separate, three-prong front brushes to swipe dirt towards the machine. But what’s even more impressive is the way in which the robot moves. It is very similar in approach to the way most people vacuum with an upright. It goes in a straight line, turns around, and then goes back along in another straight line (the S-pattern). The machine is also very edge-attentive, which is where most dust, pet hair, and debris tends to congregate.
The Deebot 711 actually tells you when it’s cleaning or charging.
The suction power on auto-mode is very good (500 pa). Auto-mode works exceptionally well on hardwood floors, picking up dust, pet hair, and even small leaves. On max mode, the 711 has strong enough suction (1000 pa) to get carpets clean and virtually free of pet hair. There’s also a spot cleaning mode for small, concentrated messes.
The battery life is pretty good (110 minutes) too, and the vac will auto return to the dock when the battery is low. It takes four hours for the battery to reach a full charge.
Love the app, alerts are annoying
Using the app, you can create schedules, check the status of your accessories to see how soon they’ll need to be replaced, and view the cleaning logs. The cleaning logs let you know how long the machine cleaned for each day, how much area it covered, and you can even view a map of the cleaned area.
The app also lets you watch the Deebot as it cleans using the auto clean, spot clean, or edge clean program. Can’t find your robot? The app has a solution for this. If you hit “find my Deebot,” the vacuum will announce itself out loud so you can locate it.
The Ecovacs Home app provides you with alerts that let you know if something is not right with your Deebot. But, if you pick it up and move it, empty the dust bin, or perform regular tasks that robot vacuum owners do without turning off the vacuum and unplugging the charging station, you get an alert. The app gives the alert but doesn’t provide a second alert indicating the problem has been corrected. After several instances where we double checked the dust bin to make sure it was re-installed correctly and double checked the vacuum to ensure nothing was malfunctioning, it started to feel like a “crying wolf” situation.
Rarely gets in a jam
The Deebot 711 can easily navigate from hardwood floors to carpets. It seamlessly travels across area rugs with varying thickness. It doesn’t get stuck on rug corners, nor does it have much difficulty making turns or getting out from under furniture.
The 711’s dock contains an infrared signal generator. When you tell the bot to return to the dock, it typically arrives back home within 15 or 20 seconds.
The only time we saw the robot have trouble is when we interrupted its cleaning path by picking it up and moving it to a different location. The robot seemed unaware of its surroundings for a few moments, and had difficulty gaining an understanding of a new path.
Shut the doors and move those pet bowls
The Deebot 711 vacuum has smart navigation, but this doesn’t mean it recognizes every obstacle. The vacuum rams into pet food bowls as if they’re invisible. It’s no fun having to move the dog’s food and water bowls every time you use a robot vacuum.
Some other robot vacuums, like Shark’s R85 robot, include magnetic boundary strips that let you block off zones where you don’t want the robot to go (like pet food bowls and doorways). Pet food bowls are fairly common in homes; and, since the 711’s sensors don’t detect pet bowls, it would be nice if they had some sort of other solution (like boundary strips).
Empty, empty, and empty the dust bin some more
We had to empty the dust bin after every vacuum cycle with the 711. With other robot vacuums, like the Neato Botvac, we could get away with two vacuum cycles before having to empty the bin.
The Ecovacs Deebot 711 Robot Vacuums comes with a one-year limited warranty.Our Take
One word to describe the Deebot 711’s performance and features is “ample.” Is it the best on the market in terms of cleaning power? Probably not. Does it have any groundbreaking tech? Not exactly. But you really do get a lot with for your money with the 711. It’s kind of like getting a luxury car for an economy price.
We’re fans of the Deebot 711. It does a good job of cleaning the floor with its design, suction, and intuitive cleaning pattern. It also gives you cool features like room mapping, smart sensors, and voice control, but it’s priced on the lower-mid end. The 711 isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close. None of the negatives are in any way serious enough to pass up the device.
Is there a better alternative?
This depends on what you want in a robot vacuum. But, considering most people want to get the most for their money in terms of quality, performance, and features, and few people want a robot that’ll just clean the floors, the Deebot 711 is a smart pick. If you want boundary strips and are willing to pay a higher price, consider Neato’s newest model, the Botvac D7. If you want the limousine version of a robot vac, consider irobot’s i7+, which features a self emptying bin, although that will cost you more than $1,000.
How long will it last?
With its features like voice reporting, app control, Alexa and Google Home compatibility, room mapping, and sensors, the Deebot 711 is an above-average in terms of its tech integration.
The machine itself and its accessories are well-made, plus you get a set of replacement front brushes and a replacement high efficiency filter. Some people don’t realize that robot vacuums need regular maintenance just like upright vacuums. For instance, the brushes need to be cleaned every few weeks and replaced every few months, the filter needs to be regularly cleaned and periodically replaced, and the wheels need to be cleaned and maintained. If you maintain and properly care for your vac, the Deebot 711 should last you several years.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you want to sit on the couch and have a robot do your vacuuming for you, you’ll be happy with the 711. You’ll rarely (if ever) have to lug out your upright vac, because this machine truly does a thorough job for a decent price.