We’ve seen the popularity of robot vacuums skyrocket over the last year. According to research Ecovacs commissioned, two out of every three Australians want a robot vacuum, so it’s no surprise the company is focusing its efforts heavily in this space. After all, the temptation to fully automate your housework is a hard one to resist. However, robot vacuums are by no means inexpensive home appliances.
Earlier this month, Ecovacs introduced the DEEBOT N10 Plus, its newest robot vacuum model that married higher specs with a lower cost. According to Ecovacs, it felt the need to “deliver a compelling option that balances the cost of living pressures being felt by many” that would also fulfil “a desire from many Australians to purchase their first robot vacuum in the near future”.
The N10 is $999, while its competitors sit at around $2,000. But don’t go thinking the new entry-level robovac sacrifices quality for affordability.
So what then does the Ecovacs DEEBOT N10 Plus offer that sets it apart from its bestselling predecessors, the N8 and N8+? Let’s find out.
On the spec side of things, there are a few immediate changes to note. The most important change is to the N10 Plus’ suctioning power, which now boasts 4,300Pa in stark contrast to the N8+’s 2,300Pa. This level of suctioning is almost as powerful as the intensity allotted to Ecovacs’ X1 OMNI, which features 5,000Pa.
As someone who owns the X1 OMNI, the difference isn’t too obvious at a glance, but side-by-side you’ll see that the N10 Plus’ track marks aren’t as deep as that of the OMNI’s. That isn’t to imply it sucks (in a bad way), in fact, it sucks (in a good way).
The battery life is the next big improvement, upsizing the N8+’s 3,200mAh to 5,200mAh. For someone that resides in a two-bedroom, one bathroom apartment, I’ve never had to worry about whether the N10 could finish its cleaning route.
Its new battery is supposed to offer up to five hours of cleaning, yet it takes about 60 minutes to complete a sweep of my apartment. I can see how that could be a boon for larger homes, especially those that are multi-storeyed, but in my case it’s inapplicable.
And lastly, from a design perspective, the N10 Plus looks near-identical to the N8+ with its key differentiating point the sleek, silver plating over its sensor.
Its disposable dust bags have undergone some improvements, featuring a non-woven fabric and an activated carbon layer to supposedly filter out dust particles more efficiently. In this regard, I can’t say the impact has been noticeable. What has been is the auto-emptying process, which is explosively loud and makes my poor cat (and me) jump every time. But at least the price for the next-gen dust bags has remained unchanged.
Overall, the dust bags still hold up to two months of dirt and dust, so it’s a subtle difference that is unlikely to be noticed by those without severe allergies.
Is the Ecovacs Deebot N10 Plus worth it?
Looking around at what’s on the market, it appears true that Ecovacs is offering the most bang for your buck. But at the same time, long-standing issues from its predecessors still linger.
While you can’t fault its suctioning capabilities, its smart navigation is something that still hasn’t been improved. Namely, eating all the cables in my house, its lack of smart mopping and its inclination to damage itself.
My Nintendo Switches have been terrorised, repeatedly pulled down from their spot on the TV cabinet during each cleaning cycle. And, somehow, my robot vacuum has managed to scratch itself while going under my lounge or bed.
In addition, I’ve become resigned to the fact that robot vacuums simply aren’t great moppers and the N10 Plus reassures me that this is still the case. The N10 Plus features a snap-on water tank that is easy to take on and off, and a velcro mopping pad that you can throw in the washing machine when it’s done. No point in throwing away your mop, just yet.
It does an alright job at wiping away lighter spills, but like previous models, it still can’t clean up bigger messes. It still lacks the intelligent technology to identify when certain areas need more attention than others, treating each spot the same.
In some ways, its collision detection has improved. It hasn’t aggressively tried to mount the part where my carpet and kitchen tiles meet and once it gets to know your home, it barely grazes corners or obstacles. However, its bumper can’t avoid scratching itself much like the time I reviewed the N8 and X1 OMNI. But thankfully, any damage taken is always cosmetic and doesn’t impact its performance.
In terms of the self-emptying process, there were times when I’d scheduled the robot vacuum to clean and had to switch it off, only for it to loudly empty itself after only moving 30cm from its dock. Additionally, the N10 Plus can’t sense how full its internal dustbin is and will empty it regardless of whether it’s full, resulting in it emptying itself by default at the end of any scheduled task.
In contrast, the amount of noise the N10 Plus makes as it scuttles around, sucking up crumbies is little. Even in its designated Quiet Mode, I’ve often forgotten it’s even running. It’s among the least distracting robot vacuum I’ve reviewed, and that’s saying something.
Its mapping capabilities appear improved, now better at scanning further away areas to better create an intensive floor plan of my home. It intelligently and accurately knows how to distinguish between different rooms, and easily detects carpeted vs tiled areas.
Otherwise, the app itself is unchanged. It still offers the same features that any other model or robot vacuum brand does, such as setting no-go zones, adjusting suctioning and mopping power and creating cleaning schedules.
Should you buy the N10 Plus?
While I can’t say that Ecovacs’ newest addition is perfect, the N10 Plus is a no-brainer if you’re in the market for a robot vacuum. It’s tempting to go big thinking you’re investing in the best, but the N10 Plus proves you don’t need to splash a lot of cash to have a robot vacuum that gets the job done.
The best part is that the Ecovacs N10 Plus decreases its upfront value to help you save for accessories (such as dust bags and cleaning brushes) later down the track.
While every robot vacuum incurs additional costs over time, the N10 Plus really helps you stretch your dime when it comes to long-term maintenance. Better to save that additional $1k for your car rego or energy bill, instead of splurging on an expensive vacuum that is only slightly more intelligent.
This robot vacuum is also a great choice for a multi-level home, especially if you believe you need a robot for each floor. If I’m going to throw my hard-earned cash at a robot vacuum, it is – without a doubt – going to be N10 Plus.