Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni review: Finally, a robot mop you can rely on
Quick verdict: More effective than waiting for a witch to turn you into a beast and enchant servants into being sentient home care tools.
- Best robot mop ever
- Extremely effective auto-empty station
- Cleans itself
- Untangles itself most of the time
- Relatively quiet
- Auto-empty station is brutal
- App has poor login security, given it provides access to a camera in my home
- Dust bin is tiny, though it does empty itself every 10, 15 or 25 minutes
Robots can be used for a lot of things, but I always loved the idea of having robots that could clean my house. I hate germs, but don't have the time or skill to be constantly cleaning. While there still aren't robots that can clean the sink, toilet and oven, we at least have robot vacuum cleaners, like the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni.
Ecovacs has been leading the market in affordable robot vacuum cleaners that aren't quite as good as the premium ones, but do the job at a price that won't leave you curled up in a ball crying. The brand-new Deebot X1 Omni is Ecovacs' first foray into the world of premium, no-feature-spared robots, and it is the most effective mopping machine I've ever seen. No other mopping robot vacuum cleaner I've used even comes close.
There are plenty of standalone robot vacuum cleaners at half the price, even some that attempt to mop. At $2,499, you would want it to be incredible at everything it tried, and it doesn't quite reach that level of perfection. But, for mopping, it is utterly peerless, and that auto-empty station is almost worth its weight in gold.
Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni: Design
Brutal, severe, black monoliths are really having a moment in appliance design. And the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni will almost certainly not blend into your home. I cannot fathom whose house this was designed for, but I can only assume they're in a Finnish metal band.
Some more rounded edges and maybe light wood tones so it could blend better would have been a great idea. Instead, the designers at fancy Danish design house Jacob Jensen have assumed that anyone spending $2,499 on a robot vacuum cleaner wants it to be an eye-catching feature of any room it's placed in. I disagree with them, but they are much cooler than me, so I might be wrong.
It did blend very well in one of those houses that's all polished concrete and modern art, but not so well in my parents' beige home, or my place which is all white and French oak.
The design of the robot itself is actually quite nice. It's the traditional circle, but this time in Chrome instead of black or white. While this is quite eye-catching, I don't mind it because it means I'm less likely to step on it.
The reason why the auto-empty station is so large compared to other auto-empty stations (like the one for the Ecovacs T9+) is that this isn't just for the dustbin, but also for clean and dirty water.
When the X1 Omni heads out to clean, the station will automatically fill its mopping tank with clean water then, every 10, 15 or 25 minutes it'll return to the station to empty the dustbin, wash the mopping feet and empty the dirty water. The dirty water is indeed, extremely gross. But the mopping feet look shockingly clean, so I guess it works.
Once the full clean is done, the station blows hot air at the little feet for 2 hours until they're dry, to prevent mould and mildew forming.
When it comes to volume, the vacuuming of the actual unit is surprisingly quiet. I had to keep throwing tiny morsels of junk in front of it to make sure it was actually cleaning – it was that quiet. You can mostly just hear the wheels.
Emptying the dustbin, however, is a whole other story.
Now, you'd think that given the sheer size of the auto-empty station, that there would be insulation to quiet this emptying ritual. You would be wrong. "What if Mariah Carey got caught in a hurricane?" or "What if every salon helmet-style hair dryer from the 1980s was turned on at once?" are perhaps the best ways to describe the sound.
You know it's coming, because the X1 Omni helpfully announces that it's returning to the station to replenish and empty the dustbin. But you never know exactly when the noise is coming, and somehow it's always a surprise. This is fine, and I'm sure I'll adjust to it eventually. But you have been warned, as I wish I had been.
While the minuscule size of the dustbin in the robot is an almost insurmountable problem on other robot vacuum cleaners, it's not for the X1 Omni, because it will return to the station at certain intervals. It's still extremely inefficient, and means it can only clean roughly 8sqm at a time. But since a robot is doing the job for you, the amount of time it takes to complete the task generally isn't a problem.
The worst part of the design of the X1 Omni is one it shares with most other robots – the round shape and small brushes means it's terrible at getting into the corners. You still have to manually mop and vacuum the parts near the wall. Hair also gets caught in the brushes, but at least the voice of the X1 Omni politely asks you to clean it. The dual brush system is still much better at getting into the corners than Roomba's solitary brush, but you will still need to own a normal vacuum cleaner for the bits your robot friend cannot touch.
In terms of controls, there are 3 ways to operate the vacuum cleaner: by pressing the buttons on the robot or auto-empty station (some of which have meanings that are clearer than others), through the YIKO voice assistant, or through the app.
The app gives you all kinds of control, such as choosing the intervals between mop feet cleanings, vacuuming intensity and amount of water used for mopping. The app also lets you view the video footage from the camera on the front of the X1 Omni. I guess this is good if it says it's stuck, or if you're away and want to make sure no one is robbing you.
But the addition of the camera means that I'm uncomfortable that the app sign-in process doesn't have multi-factor authentication. I don't really care if a stranger can start my vacuum off, or change the intensity or whatever (I'd prefer they couldn't, but it's not a disaster), but it should be harder for strangers to gain access to cameras placed in my home.
Hopefully this is an issue Ecovacs rectifies soon. You do need to put in a PIN to access the camera, but I don't think you can have too much security when it comes to a robotic camera that can move quietly through your house, listening to conversations.
The robot does have a light to indicate when it's on, and it will announce that audio recording has started, but it doesn't say when audio recording has ended. Again, not a problem unique to Ecovacs robots, but a more systemic problem in technology and something to be aware of.
Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni: Performance
I really can't overstate how good the mopping is. It's been great seeing the evolution of Ecovacs mopping technology. Back in the day it was the saddest damp cloth you've ever seen getting dragged across the floor with the enthusiasm of a sleepy toddler dragging their blankie. The next step was making that moistened cloth jiggle slightly, which was adorable, but almost equally useless. The new mopping system has 2 mopping feet that rotate and move up and down a bit. My floors haven't looked this clean in a long time and it's required no effort on my part. Truly the dream.
The sheer grossness of the dirty water in the dirty water tank is enough to tell me that it's doing its job, but I would never know because the mopping feet are so effectively and efficiently cleaned by the auto-empty station. It's like magic.
Even more magic is that the X1 manages to vacuum and mop at the same time, so it consumes dust and deals with spilt milk in the same pass.
This hands-free joy will only work, though, if your home is predominantly wood, tile or lino, because the X1 will not go on rugs or carpet with the feet attached. The feet are very easy to remove, but homes that are mostly carpeted will be better off with the Turbo model that's about $400 cheaper, because you'll be handling the mopping feet anyway, so having the water features built into the auto-empty station is less important.
The vacuum suction is 5000Pa, which is a lot, and seems like overkill in the best way possible. This is roughly on par with some of the stick vacuums you can get, so the days of robot vacuum cleaners being pointless gimmicks have long passed.
The YIKO voice assistant seems like a great idea, and I have seen other people make it work to great effect. But YIKO just doesn't understand me. I don't mean that in an emo teenager way, but quite literally YIKO never responds to my commands. My accent is some kind of weird mishmash of Australian, English, Canadian, American, and whatever show I'm watching that week. Most voice assistants are perplexed by me, so this isn't necessarily an Ecovacs problem, but it is something to keep in mind if you also have a difficult accent and are keen to use YIKO.
If you can get YIKO to listen to you, you can say things like "Okay YIKO, clean the kitchen" or "Okay YIKO, follow my voice", for when you're standing in the middle of a flour spill and don't want to spread the damage beyond your current position.
The X1 features a combo of object sensors that means this is the best robot vacuum cleaner I've ever had for object avoidance. As you can imagine, my home is filled with a lot of wires, and the X1 largely avoids them. My surround sound speaker cables under the couch were a favourite of other robots, but the X1 has shown no interest in them so far. However, it has unplugged the main surround sound unit multiple times, and attacked the dehumidifier. So it will get slightly tangled in larger cables, but leave smaller cables alone.
The brushes get caught a lot in longer hair, which has caused it to plaintively cry for help a few times. This is a bit inconvenient, but the hair cutting and detangling system of the Dyson V11 doesn't work on a robot vacuum cleaner in case it does try to eat those smaller cables, so this is fine.
The auto-emptying is wonderful for people with allergies and larger homes, because robots just aren't viable for large rooms unless they can automatically empty themselves at certain intervals. My wife has allergies so bad that I can't empty our Dyson V11 while she's home, so this has been a godsend and made a real difference.
Should you buy it?
- Buy it if you want the best of the best for your wooden and tile floors.
- Don't buy it if your home is mostly carpeted, or the idea of spending $2,499 on a vacuum cleaner makes you choke on your drink.
The Ecovacs DEEBOT X1 Omni certainly isn't the vacuum cleaner for everyone. At least not yet. But it does show you what kind of technology can be in every home in a few years. This is basically the robot mopping vacuum cleaner of my dreams for my wooden, single-level apartment. It's perfect for my needs in a way no other vacuum cleaner has come close to.
However, it'll be a little different for people with a lot of carpet. They should probably opt for the X1 Turbo, which is the same except it doesn't have the mopping replenishment in the auto-empty station and costs $400 less. If it's going to be vacuuming most of the time and only mopping the kitchen and bathrooms, then you're going to have to handle the feet anyway and may as well save the cash.
At $2,499, it's certainly at the top of the market, there's no doubt about that. But this is finally a robot vacuum cleaner that is properly useful and not just an easily-filled gimmick, so it will be totally worth it for those who can afford it.
Ecovacs DEEBOT X1 Omni pricing and availability
How we tested
I used the Ecovacs DEEBOT X1 Omni for a month on a variety of surfaces across 2 homes. I was loaned the X1 Omni by Ecovacs PR.