A few weeks ago I put the top of the line of three different brands of robot vacuum cleaner up against each other. Results were surprising because the one I expected to win, well, accidents happen in manufacturing. The winner ended up being the DreameBot D10 as it pretty much chugged through life with no real issues.
In round one, it defeated the Yeedi Vac 2 Pro, which could never find its way home, and the ILIFE A11 which blew out the main brush motor and had to be RMAd.
The competitors for Round 2
For round 2 the winner of the previous round, the DreameBot D10 returns (top of the DreameBot line,) as well as the replacement ILIFE A11 (top of their line.) Manufacturing problems happen, it’s got another chance with the replacement. And I’ve introduced the top of the line of Roborock’s current offerings the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra to the equation.
This last one may seem unfair, but I’ll try and keep on point with what I needed it to do, and what it did as opposed to that it can make you a PB&J and shine your shoes while humming you a song.
Paul King is a former professional comedian who left the glamorous world of long form improv to run away and work in IT, finally realizing his true passion of watching robot vacuums clean his office building, which was making him sneeze too much lately.
What was tested
- Vacuuming abilities
- Mapping / fast mapping
- Mopping abilities
- Returning home consistently
- Dock issues
- AI / obstacle avoidance issues
- The dumbs
- Limits of cleaning
- Resume after charge
What was not tested
- Assistant integration
- Manufactured cleaning scenarios
- Life of product (don’t have the time until it fails)
DreameBot D10 (champion of last round)
Priced in this configuration (including dock) $399.99 USD at Amazon
Features include drag mop, auto empty into HEPA bag, Mi Home app to control.
Mop and vacuum same time/run.
ILIFE A11 (out last round due to main motor failure)
Price in this configuration (does not have auto empty dock ability) $319 at Amazon
Highlights: very good vacuum, drag mop, ILIFE HOME app
Mop and vacuum same time/run.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra
Price in this configuration (with water changing dock) – $1,159.99 on Amazon
Highlights: Can refill water at dock, washes the mop, built in camera, two way audio, remote control can drive it around an empty office building at night.
Mop and vacuum same time/run.
Whoa, back up there
Yes, the spread here is $841 between the ILIFE A11 and the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra. I’ve got top of the line from three brands, but they’re aimed at different audiences. The price difference isn’t something I can compensate for because other major manufacturers who do make robot vacuums in the same class/feature set don’t see the value in comparing them to the competition in this fashion, or even responding to inquires. Looking at you Shark and iRobot.
So, when I declare a winner here, it’s going to have some major caveats that these are two midlevel consumer vacuums and one what the hell, and you can take this piece as what I discovered with each vacuum along the way with what I needed to do at the building we’re testing them all in.
Without docking we’re looking at pricing of maybe $300 for the D10 (can’t find it separate,) $319 for the A11, and $859.99 for the S7 MaxV.
The building / testing space
I’m told it’s 35,000 square feet at 3 stories tall. The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra has told me it’s regularly cleaning over 5000 square feet on the floor it’s on (first). I do not doubt this. It doesn’t do any of the office space however. The second and third floor are about 2800 square feet (sans office space,) that the robots can handle.
There’s a large section of storage, studio space, and areas that no unit is cleaning currently.
The first floor involves significantly more cleaning, mopping that takes hours, and mopping that takes water tank refills. The only one of the above robot vacuums that could handle this was the Roborock S7 MaxV ultra. It got floor one out of necessity taking over for the D10 which had been doing about half the floor space and not mopping because there wasn’t enough water tank capacity.
Floor two, at 2800 square feet, went to the DreameBot D10. Floor three went to the ILIFE A11 replacement I received.
I gave the Roborock a little over twice the work any other robot was expected to do, mostly because with the vibrating brush and the sheer amount of surface we needed to mop on a regular basis on the first floor, it was the only one for the job. I gave it way too much work.
And they’re off
You can read about my continuing experiences with the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra in the corporate building tests here. Bottom of the article should always have updated links until I’m done with it. My A11 review needs to complete but that’s going to require a bit longer as this is a replacement. The D10 you can read some about here.
The S7 MaxV Ultra went and mapped about 3000 square feet in 34 minutes. This was open space, nothing to really snag on, etc. It tried hanging up on the robot killing chairs but failed.
The DreameBot D10 was unable to complete a real accurate map, running into area limitations with the software. It was unable to complete it fairly quickly however. It appears that it can go about 65 feet in any direction from where it started and then it acts like the rest of the world does not exist. I’d run into seeing that before, but this time it became an issue because it straight up stops when it needs to go 12 more feet. The charging base has to be centrally located in order for it to get maximum effect, and it can not be in this setup.
The ILIFE A11 couldn’t go more than 11 feet before getting caught in a very easy to see trap. I attempted to make it work on the third floor, but it just kept driving under a sensor-level rail and wedging itself in. I had to swap floors two and three because no matter what I did the ILIFE A11 was useless on the third floor, which looked pretty much like the second floor. Second floor, which has the same railing, no issues, but no real fast mapping.
The railing on the second floor, or the carpet, must be just a wee bit shorter because neither the D10 nor A11 had any issue with the second floor railing. Both had to be retired from the third floor.
For mapping, the DreameBot D10 could not complete an initial map that was the full size of the floor it was on. Both the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra and the ILIFE A11 managed to with no issues. If I could centrally locate the D10 charger I would be able to get most of a floor, however floors 2 & 3 here are both open, and I can’t suspend the charging unit in the air.
Photos above are the 5000+ sq foot MaxV on the first floor, 2800 sq foot ILIFE A11 on the second floor, and what the DreameBot D10 did on the first floor before giving up on size in the previous deployment. The third picture is old but using it for comparison because 1 & 3 should be the same and they’re not close. Different robots, same floor. I’ll see about making a new map with the A11 on the first floor just to see if it can handle mapping 5000+ square feet.
The DreameBot D10 would give up about 60 feet down the railing on the second floor and claim nothing else existed, so no floor managed to get completely touched by it.
BTW, if you’re trying to figure how 1 & 3 are the same map – rotate map 1until the top right green points straight left. Then chop it down a bit.
Size and mapping: MaxV Ultra and A11 completed. DreameBot D10 limited by software limitation. MaxV Ultra only fast mapping unit that could complete the space.
I really attempted to metric the difference between the MaxV Ultra coming in at 5100pa, and the the 4000pa DreameBot and ILIFE. For the purposes of the test we did I can see no difference other than that the original ILIFE A11 we had with the bristle brush attached pulled some massive hair out that I noticed.
All do the same good job on the carpet we have with the mess we have.
Tie. All around. MaxV wins the PA numbers game, but I can not tell a 25% improvement. All did well on the short carpet we have. So tie by virtue of me being unable to spot a real world difference.
The ILIFE A11 and DreameBot D10 have a mop pad and they drag it along. This means you’re probably dragging some dirty pad over your carpet at some point or other. The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra lifts the pad when it needs to traverse or work on carpet, and slaps it down and shimmies it with their VibraRise branded mop vibrating pad when you’re in mopping zones.
I dislike drag mops personally, and with the amount of mopping that needed to be done no drag mop I’ve tested could handle it without human intervention. Every day I at least had to fill up the water reservoir and manually clean the filthy mop.
The MaxV Ultra with its dog-feeder looking dock not only refills the water, it washes the mop for you every 20 minutes of mopping leaving you with a bucket of brown nasty water that lets you know something is actually being picked up off the floor.
No real comparison here, the much more expensive MaxV Ultra wins because it takes care of the mopping, mop pad cleaning, water refills, etc. If this isn’t an issue for you, you can drop several hundred dollars by not getting the dock.
Returning to roost
For purposes of my test, getting back to the charging dock is the number one priority even if I have to intervene. All robots told me when they got stuck. All had a “durrrrr” moment. The only one that managed to get back every time, although with some human piloting remotely required a few times, was the MaxV. While the Roborock MaxV Ultra has some AI for obstacle avoidance, it, like the others, have the dumbs occasionally and would drive itself into an easily escapable trap.
The biggest fail for all were the robot killing chairs. There’s no reason they should cause so much problem, and even for a few days I though that the Roborock had it figured out and then one day it beached itself for no reason.
None of them was completely trustworthy, although the ILIFE A11 when on the second floor only failed to return once in either edition (original/replacement unit,) as I recall. This isn’t a fair win as the MaxV deals with a much wilder and larger area, but it’s notable. I never had issues with the A11, and due to watching the MaxV like a hawk I’ve spotted two AI avoidance issues… mainly with cords hanging down from tables, and circular objects that are close to each other.
Winner: ILIFE A11
The sheer amount of area that is required to be cleaned and mopped mean that no vacuum can come close to completing it in the runtime they advertise. For purposes of this test I set every vacuum to max suction. Each vacuum runs out of power at least once if not twice a night and returns to the base to clean later.
All did so without issue every night. I think the MaxV Ultra went a little more area per mAh, but all were about the same timeframe.
No issues this round.
I’m not going to compare feature set here (3d mapping, video calling, etc.) All did the minimums required. The only notable in the whole thing for my use cases was the A11 software duplicated a robot 12 times, and was pretty buggy and involved tech support that every interaction took a day. I’m told I’m a special case. Software needs work, I suspect highly it will get it.
Dreame’s software was good (Mi Home,) but the map limitation I assume is on the product and not the app.
Winner: Dreame, Roborock.
It’s very tempting to say that the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is the winner here. Tempting and true in this case, but just on the fact that it could complete both vacuuming and mopping. Due to the sheer size of my cleaning area this is not a usual home use scenario.
But if we’re just talking vacuuming observed, there was not a lot of end user difference between the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra and the much less expensive ILIFE A11. The DreameBot D10 failing to be able to pass its artificial boundaries made it somewhat useless anywhere but the main floor in this large setup, centrally located. It also performed great on what it could see and most people aren’t attempting to clean an area larger than 2 average houses.
Mopping, it’s Roborock all the way. Nothing better in this round. I’ll say that against any drag mop. Would it win without the ability to clean itself and refill? Still a yes because it doesn’t drag the mop on the carpet, although a less expensive S7 regular would handle that.
Size of cleanable area – appears to be a tie between Roborock and ILIFE.
The DreameBot D10 lost this particular round having all the problems all of them had, plus not being able to map the area completely, not particularly shining. I’ll say this, I didn’t hate it. It vacuumed well, it mopped as any drag mop could, it had the same hangups the ILIFE did. Wish it wasn’t limited to the mapping it’s limited to.
For what I needed to do: Roborock. For what I would settle for this round. Roborock / ILIFE. For the price (corporate) Roborock. For the price (my cheapskate ways) also Roborock this once, but that may be more due to the features that I did not really mention here (the ability to drive around and ask people why they’re in my building at 9pm.)
Roborock was the winner in my mind this time, followed by ILIFE. None of my requirements may have any bearing for you however, so take it as this was what I believe subjectively won for the use case I had. Also I really really like the product.
Also in case it’s not clear, while I actively disliked the loser’s offering in the last round, none of the above have annoyed me or felt like a complete failure and hair pulling waste of time like the Yeedi Vac 2 Pro did. Damn that was some stupid. Worst case with this lot has been map size and two of them having an issue with a railing that’s evidently robot death.