Part robot vacuum, part robot mop
More and more we see robot vacuums becoming affordable. The market continues to grow as brands like iLife and Eufy continue to introduce new products that compete with the established brands of Neato and Roomba, at less than half the price.
The new product from iLife is the V8S, which distinguishes itself from other similar affordable cleaners (such as the iLife A7) by not only vacuuming, but mopping hard floors as well. Sure it sounds like a useful addition on paper, but does the iLife V8S’s mop truly clean up the competition? Continue reading to find out!
iLife V8S – Price and release date
Available from various retailers across the US and UK, you’ll find the iLife V8S at a reasonable price of $260, or £250. It’s easy to spend twice this on some of the big brands’ robot vacuums, which makes the V8S a tempting option if budget is a primary concern.
As is common among most robot vacuum cleaners, the iLife V8S features a round design, allowing it to slip under furniture. It also has a bumper, preventing damage to the vacuum, and more importantly perhaps, protecting your house from the vacuum.
The V8S comes with a remote control, and a charging station. It sits a little higher than the Eufy RoboVac 11, meaning we struggled to find a place for it to comfortably recharge, but if you have any raised furniture in your home, you should be able to find a place for it to recharge out of sight.
The small screen on top of the vacuum displays limited information, such as the cleaning mode and time, and is quite easy and clear to read.
Below that you’ll find three buttons, for different modes. These are Home (sends the cleaner to the charger), Timed Clean, and the Circular Motion mode. The additional bigger button will start the mode, or pause it altogether.
Underneath that, there’s a button that will allow you to access the mode for most efficient coverage. This mode is intended to understand your space, and to figure out the best route to take.
When we tried to set up this mode, the iLife V8S seemed to get confused about where it was going. Although it isn’t as accurate as the high-end vacuum cleaners’ room-track tech, it’s still clearly superior to the cheaper cleaners when it comes to efficiency.
The rear of the cleaner has a button that will release the bin. This is quite easy to remove – a definite plus when dealing with vacuums like this – and large, meaning the iLife V8S will run for longer before needing to be emptied.
The wheels look robust, and we found it able to cover a variety of areas with ease. The rug in our testing apartment did prove to be a struggle though, and we often returned to find it dangling on the edge, where it had attempted to mount the carpeted area. This was frustrating, as one of iLife’s main selling points is its ability to handle different surfaces.
The cleaning spinners were quite easy to change, but once or twice they did come off around our apartment. While iLife claims the “anti-tangle nozzle” is meant to prevent this from happening, we found they fell off far more often than other cleaners we’ve tried. Even worse was hunting for them, especially when they were hidden under the sofa. The box comes with two extra, but if you find them detaching regularly, you may find yourself having to buy more online quite soon.
When in the mopping mode, you’ll need to snap in a different bin that’s filled manually with water. Although this was easy, it’s frustrating when the point of a robot vacuum is automation. In truth, it would have taken almost as long to mop the apartment ourselves, as it did to fill the bin with water and connect it to the cleaner.
We found the iLife V8S’ vacuum mode far from terrible, but far from impressive either. The significantly cheaper Eufy RoboVac 11 picked up a similar amount of dirt, and the price of having to empty the RoboVac more frequently was worth knowing that your apartment was as clean as could be after every go.
The V8S comes with no room mapping, meaning it took a strange route around our apartment that was often frustrating to watch, as well as it regularly missing areas. The actual cleaning performance is reasonable, and will most likely be able to tackle the worst of the dirt in your home, but don’t expect it to clean up every area – as you may expect from an automated cleaner.
Setting aside the hassle of setting up the mopping mode, it does a reasonable job of cleaning hard floors, but won’t be of much help if additional scrubbing is required. It’s essentially a mop head on the bottom that will gently distribute the water as the cleaner drives along. It seemed to apply no friction, and the iLife was unable to move stains or scuffs that require any elbow grease, especially frustrating as this seems to be the product’s USP.
In essence, the two cleaning modes have similar stories: if you’re not looking for a dramatic clean around the house, the V8S will do an acceptable job. If you’re looking for a thorough cleaning, as a human might, you’re best looking elsewhere.
Although battery power isn’t that important when it comes to vacuum cleaners, with most returning to their charge stations after a quick clean, we did find the iLife V8S able to run long enough to clean a one-bedroom apartment, with some juice remaining.
We imagine the battery would be sufficient to handle the downstairs of an average size house. If you have a mansion, don’t expect more than the East Wing!
Rather than pressing the buttons, the vacuum can be set to work on its own, allowing a schedule to be created from the main screen, where you can tell it when to start each day. However, there is no app integration, so you’ll be unable to set it going from your desk at work.
The iLife V8s is a reasonably cheaper robot vacuum cleaner, and will provide you with the basics required to make cleaning floors automated.
The floor mopping mode was disappointing, but if you’re looking for something to spruce up apartment floors occasionally, the feature may be a useful add-on to accompany the daily cleaning routine.
All things considered, it’s hard to go wrong at this price, but if you’re looking for an even cheaper price, have a look at the iLife A7, or a variety of the other affordable options.