The self-cleaning home has been a dream ever since humans realized it might be possible and, for most people, it has remained a dream. Price is the biggest obstacle. The most popular brand, iRobot, sells its entry-level Roomba for $300 – and that’s an older model. Want the newer, mid-range 960? That’ll be at least $530, or $700 if you can’t find one on sale.
Enter the Eufy Robovac 11S. Priced at just $220 on Amazon, it’s among the most affordable models available, undercut only by an older Eufy model and a few other machines from even lesser-known brands. It’s still much more expensive than the basic $70 upright vacuums most people are used to, but it’s at least competitive with better uprights from brands like Shark and Dyson. Unlike a Roomba 960, the Eufy Robovac 11S is within reach for most people, but does this bargain dust-busting robot really work?
Simple and easy
Slim and sleek, the Eufy Robovac 11S doesn’t look the part of a bottom-dollar tech value. That’s largely thanks to the sleek and simple tempered-glass upper deck, which covers plastic finished like brushed aluminum. The design is interrupted only by a chrome power button and the Eufy logo. It’s a stark contrast from Roomba, Samsung, Neato, and other brands, most of which have a more industrial and utilitarian look.
The sleek design is made possible by the Robovac 11S’ distinct lack of features. It can turn on or off, clean according to a schedule, and comes equipped with a couple baked-in cleaning modes, like heavy-duty spot cleaning and edge cleaning. Those modes are controlled on an included remote, so there’s no need for buttons on the Robovac itself.
That’s all there is to it. Unlike more expensive peers, the Robovac 11S doesn’t work with an app. That means it lacks advanced features like remote start/stop or automation. It doesn’t even map your home, instead cleaning randomly and adjusting its course as it run into (sometimes literally) obstacles. The robot navigates these obstacles through trial-and-error, slowing edging around them until it finds another clear path.
The Eufy Robovac 11S doesn’t look the part of a bottom-dollar tech value.
Anyone expecting a robot vacuum to be a technology showstopper is sure to be disappointed by this Eufy, but the lack of features makes it simple to use. There’s almost no set-up. You can take it out of the box, set it down, and press the power to send it on its way. You’ll then want to find a place to plug in the base station – you’ll need a spot without any obstacles within a few feet. Setting a schedule is also a good idea, but not required, and no more difficult than setting the time on a microwave.
With that accomplished, there’s nothing else you can or need to do except empty the dust tray — a simple procedure that takes just seconds — and occasionally clean the brush. There’s no need to worry about app compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, or Wi-Fi range. The Robovac 11S will trundle along, cleaning on your schedule, without fuss.
Not smart, but clean
While this Eufy barely qualifies as a robot, that’s only half the equation – arguably, less than half. It’s a vacuum, so it needs to be able to clean.
The Robovac 11S relies on a simple design that includes one main roller brush and suction point. Nest to those are two rotating whiskers on the front of the robot, which are meant to agitate debris in corners so it’s easier to suck up. The robot’s one unique cleaning feature is BoostIQ, which automatically increases suction when needed. In practice, it seemed to activate mostly on thick carpet.
We tested the Robovac 11S in two homes – one with hardwood floors, and the other mostly covered in medium-pile carpet. The vacuum did its job in both homes, sucking up dust and debris. Almost anything small enough to fit in the vacuum was soon in its belly. The robot also had no trouble traversing carpet and was able to handle raised room transitions with ease.
This isn’t a smart robot, though. It doesn’t know where it’s been, and certainly doesn’t know what rooms in your home needs the most attention. A daily cleaning schedule is required to keep your home pristine. The Robovac 11S won’t hit every spot on any given run, which gives it a poor first impression. You may be dismayed to find its first run leaves entire tracts of your home uncleaned. Give it a few days, though, and it’ll catch everything by chance.
The Robovac 11S will trundle along, cleaning on your schedule without fuss.
The robot’s slim profile means most spots are accessible – even areas you might not normally vacuum, like beneath your couch. Corners, however, are out of the question. This round robot just can’t fit, and its whiskers don’t reach far enough to agitate debris into its path. You’ll still need to occasionally run a standing vacuum around room edges or live with the dust bunnies that pile up.
You can’t sell off your old-school vacuum, then, but you will use it far less often. We tested the Robovac 11S for a month, and during that time never had need to break out a conventional vac for normal cleaning. We would eventually need to clean corners, but we doubt most people will sees reason to do that more than a few times a year. And, in some respects, the robot vac did a better job cleaning than we normally would. Shamefully, we tend not to clean thoroughly under furniture or in smaller, less trafficked rooms because eh, effort. The Robovac 11S kept those areas pristine.
Confused but tenacious
Cleaning is only half the challenge, though. A robot vacuum also must navigate the obstacles of everyday life. A confused robot is no help at all.
This is where the Robovac 11S’ stupidity caught up to it. It navigates essentially through trial-and-error, turning away from obstacles to seek a new path. That usually worked but, in a couple situations, the robot managed to wedge itself between items. Once stuck, it turned and tugged and pushed and pulled until its battery gave out.
Other obstacles, like rugs and welcome mats, weren’t much of a problem. The RoboVac 11S would sometimes snag on a rug, but it didn’t become stuck – it simply turned and went the other way. The little guy was tenuous when facing most obstacles, bounding over a flattened cardboard box and even several towels haphazardly left on the floor. It didn’t become stuck on, or damage, those items, and treaded across them with zero complaint.
That persistence can become a problem if you leave an iPhone charger dangling from a socket. The Robovac 11S is going to suck at least part of that up, and then weave back and forth on the cord like an angry dog on a leash. We never saw cord damage, but it does prevent the Eufy from completing its cleaning duties, so you’ll want to keep cords and similar things, like hoodie drawstrings and cat toys, off the floor.
The Eufy Robovac 11S has the usual one-year warranty against manufacturer defect, which is common in this category.Our Take
The Eufy Robovac 11S is a basic, no-nonsense robot vacuum sold at a low price. It’s not smart, but it’s effective.
Is there a better alternative?
Many other vacuums go toe-to-toe with the Robovac 11S. These include the Black & Decker HRV425BLP, the Ecovacs Deebot N79S, and the Shark Ion 720. The Black & Decker does offer an app, but it’s bulkier, so it doesn’t navigate under furniture well. An app is also available for the Deebot, but you pay a bit more for it.
Most these affordable robot vacuums appear to use the same basic design. Major components, like the dust bin, the front bumper, and the forward whiskers, are identical. Some even have screws located in the same place. The Deebot N79S is particularly similar, right down to its clean, elegant look.
How long will it last?
Robot vacuums, unlike most tech, don’t go obsolete quickly. They have one job and are worth keeping around as they work. We think the Robovac 11S will prove durable given its simple construction. Keep in mind, though, that it’ll need periodic replacement of the roller brusher, whiskers, and filter. The battery will eventually require replacement, too, though it should be many years before it conks out entirely.
Should you buy it?
The Eufy Robovac 11S isn’t the smartest or most effective robot vacuum ever made, but it does the job at a price low enough that even households with a perfectly adequate standing vacuum could consider buying one.