by Harry Guinness on
If you’ve any interest in writing nicely then a $1 ballpoint won’t cut it, you need to look at a fountain pen.
Vacuuming isn’t the most thrilling domestic task which is why robot vacuums are so appealing. But can you get by without a top-of-the-line model? We took the eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S for a (literal) spin to see if a reasonable priced option can compete.
Priced at $229, the eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S isn’t the cheapest of robotic vacuum cleaners but it is a fairly middle range price for comparatively recent technology—premium robo vacs run double the amount, easily. That makes it immediately attractive if you don’t want to spend a mint on an automated vacuum. The trade off, naturally, is that you lose some of the premium features of the premium models. Is the tradeoff worth it? Here’s our experience with the 11S.
It’s pretty easy to get started with the eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S. Pull it out of the fairly uninspiring packaging, and all you really need to do is slot in the two brushes, plug it into the charger, and stick a couple of batteries into the remote. Yup, it’s dependent on a remote. Very 1990s, right? I won’t lie—it’s a noticeable downside to the device, albeit one that lends itself to less tech savvy users.
Despite that, I liked how speedy the setup was. While some robotic vacuum cleaners require you to set up sensors around the home, or need some time to map out an area, the eufy is ready to go within seconds. I placed the charging station against a wall in one room of the downstairs of my home, and that was about it—eufy was keen to get started. Probably because its surface had the impressive knack of instantly being dusty and attracting fingerprint marks. Yeah, don’t expect this to ever look as shiny as it does at the start. Its job is to clean up dirt, after all.
Of course, you’re going to need to robot-proof your home. The manual recommends you lift light mats, tuck away any protruding cables or wires (thoughtfully, they included a pack of cable ties to help with this task), and generally look out for anything that the eufy can snag onto. It’s wise to keep an eye on it the first time it wanders around your home just in case.
The downstairs of my home is fairly mixed, floor wise. Both living rooms have short carpets but they also have quite thick mats to contend with. To get between the two living rooms, there’s a hardwood floor. As is typical for an old British house, the hallway is a narrow corridor. Throw in the fact that my home is often in a certain state of disarray and I have a cat that loves to shed fur, I wasn’t convinced that any robotic vacuum cleaner would be able to deal with so much going on. I figured they’re designed for showroom homes that have hardwood floors everywhere, so I was impressed to see eufy take things in its stride.
Eufy tackled the mixture of heavy mat and carpet in my main living room without missing a beat. I was surprised how fast it sucked up various random debris on the floor. It promised a strong suction at 1300Pa, along with BoostIQ Technology whereby it automatically increases suction power as needed. Ultimately, that all sounds like marketing spin until you see it in action. I was pleasantly surprised to see some noticeable results, though. It looked on a par with my ageing Dyson cleaner, with the added benefit of me just sitting there watching it do the work for me.
How did it contend with trying to leave the room through a narrow doorway, though? Pretty well. It wandered into the hallway like nothing had ever happened, immediately picking up some random cat fur that was left in a corner of the hallway. Admittedly, its work on hardwood floors is a little better than on short carpet. It’s clearly at its “happiest” in the hallway, but that doesn’t mean it’s ineffective elsewhere. The next room it needed to tackle was the other living room — one with more obstacles and a thick, relatively high mat to overcome. Did it manage it? Well, yeah! Certain angles on its approach made it a little trickier but mostly it dealt with it just as well as when I bump the Dyson over it myself.
A few minutes later and the living room looked just as clean as when I’ve done it myself — only in a faster time and without me getting hot and bothered. Soon after, it scurried off and slipped underneath a shoe rack, cleaning an area that I rarely bother with because I’d have to move furniture. Eufy promises to be slim enough to get into various tricky areas and it actually delivers.
Eufy isn’t quite the brightest of vacuum cleaners in certain areas. The BoostIQ in the name is, more or less, strictly limited to how well it adjusts the pressure of the vacuum itself. It’ll keep cleaning until it runs low on battery which is a little irritating purely because the downstairs of my house isn’t that big so it repeats itself a lot. There’s simply no mechanism for it to figure out that it’s already driven over the same square foot again and again. It’s almost too keen, as you can see in the photo—eager to suck up so much hair, although impressively, it didn’t seem to get clogged up like my Dyson does from time to time.
Also, it’s quiet but not whisper quiet. If you’re watching TV or simply trying to concentrate, an enthusiastic little robotic vacuum cleaner is distracting. It’s nowhere near as distracting or as noisy as a regular cleaner, but it’s going to make you want to send it home as soon as possible. And, of course, that means you need the remote on you rather than being able to load up an app on your phone.
Also, eufy bounced around a little before returning home every time. There’s no fear of it damaging itself due to drop-sensing technology stopping it from falling, but its infrared sensor isn’t foolproof. Like I said, I’ve got narrow doorways and corridors so I don’t really blame it, but I did find it much easier to manually guide it near the charging base then leave the automated mode to do the rest for me. If you’re more patient than me though (or out of the house), it will eventually make its way home.
The eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to features. On the plus side, it does exactly what you want—it vacuums efficiently and saves you valuable effort. Its 100 minute battery life is more than enough for most homes. A 0.6l collection container is plenty too, and I only really needed to remember to empty it once a day. Even better, it’s actually easy to remove so you’re not left fighting with an awkward vacuum cleaner compartment.
The remote is a little old fashioned but it offers plenty of options. You can schedule eufy to start at a certain time of day—I tend to favor a time when I’m not around so it can just get on with what it’s doing, and I’m not bothered by noise.
Separate buttons are available for adjusting suction power, although I rarely needed to adjust this. Usually, I left it on auto mode, and it did all the hard work for me. There’s a spot clean button too which, essentially, makes eufy spin around on a small area of the ground, focusing on picking up any awkwardly trodden down debris. An edge cleaning mode is great for tackling the sides of rooms, including my pesky hallway corridors.
On the other side, the remote just isn’t as convenient to use as a smartphone app. Without a smartphone app, there’s no mapping functionality so you can’t see where the vacuum cleaner has traveled. It also means scheduling is limited to a start time, and there’s no way of syncing it up to other smart tech or something like IFTTT. Most importantly though, you need to keep the remote near to you if you want to get involved with what eufy is doing. Now, admittedly, the point is that eufy does everything by itself but it’s handy to be able to chip in—even if it’s to reschedule it at a moment’s notice.
How much you like eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S is really going to be down to how hands-on you want to be. Without that all important smartphone functionality, you won’t be able to get eufy to do stuff while you’re out running errands, nor will you be able to lie in bed treating him like a remote control car. The range on the remote isn’t that great.
Having said that, those same flaws make the eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S perfect if you’re looking for a robotic vacuum cleaner for someone that’s less tech savvy, such as an older relative. It’s as easy to operate as a TV remote, after all, and far from complicated. All robotic vacuum cleaners endear themselves to those with mobility issues, and the eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S covers all those needs.
As a tech fan, I find myself wanting a little more—like extra smartphone based interaction and the flexibility of IFTT—but then I look at how clean my floors look now and realize that, actually, that’s the most important thing of all. I’ll happily co-exist with this not so bright little robot.
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