Best Robot Vacuum ($300): Deebot N79S vs Roomba 690 vs Eufy 11S
After testing 14 robot vacuums over the past two years, I determined Eufy RoboVac 11S and Ecovacs Deebot N79S are best for most people because of their affordability, quietness, and strong suction. While Roomba is a great brand with some fantastic products, their budget model (under $300) is no competition for the others.
I’ll explain how I reached my conclusion by comparing three robot vacuums (Ecovacs Deebot N79S vs. Roomba 690 vs. Eufy RoboVac 11S) while evaluating five categories: navigation, suction, software, design, and company reputation.
- Navigation: It only runs for an hour and doesn’t always make it back to the base.
- Suction: 50% less debris on hard surfaces and 30% less on carpets than Deebot and Eufy.
- Design: It’s the loudest, thickest, and hardest to maintain, and there’s no remote.
- Software: It has Alexa and Google capabilities and brilliant scheduling and notifications.
Best for you if...
You want the most trusted brand (17 years) and seamless app implementation. Roomba 690 is a terrible value because Eufy and Deebot are far more effective and affordable. Roomba makes great machines, but only those over $500 are worth considering.
Ecovacs Deebot N79S
- Navigation: It doesn’t get stuck, lasts over two hours and is gentle on your baseboard.
- Suction: It's slightly better on carpet than Eufy and better than 690 on any.
- Design: It’s slimmer, lighter, and much quieter than Roomba.
- Software: You can create and edit schedules with the app, but it’s a clunky experience.
Best for you if...
You want a robot vacuum that doesn't get stuck and has app for scheduling and smart home automation. It's great on hard floors and carpets. The performance difference isn't enough to declare Deebot N79S the clear winner over Eufy 11S.
Eufy RoboVac 11S
- Navigation: It’s solid at navigating, but it’s not perfect. It doesn’t do well around stairs.
- Suction: It's slightly better on hard surfaces than Deebot and better than 690 on any.
- Design: It's the slimmest, lightest and quietest robot, by a significant margin.
- Software: There’s no app, smart home integration, or WiFi scheduling.
Best for you if...
You want the quietest and thinnest robot. It's great on any type of floor surface. The downside is that it doesn’t have an app for scheduling. The performance difference isn't enough to declare Eufy 11S the clear winner over Deebot N79S.
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Things To Know
- I tested ILIFE A4s and wrote about it. It’s a solid option, but it doesn’t offer any unique features and it’s not as good as Deebot N79S or Eufy 11S, so I left it out of this post to keep things simple.
- They can handle hardwood floors and carpets and detect and maneuver around stairs.
- I tested these robot vacuums mostly on my bamboo floors in a home with a simple floor plan. But I brought them to other places to test different environments as well.
- You need to prep before letting them run. This includes picking up pet toys and anything else loose on the floor or even creating barriers to make sure the robot won’t get stuck. Depending on your home’s layout, it might be smart to put your dining room or kitchen chairs on the table to make sure the vacuum can clean everything underneath. Loose shoelaces and cords can be an issue too. The more prep you do, the better the experience.
- The models under $300 are REALLY subpar. They’re going to bump into things, miss spots, and sometimes go over the same spot five times for no reason.
- Each has its own algorithm, but it’s not updated in real-time to reflect your home’s layout. The robots’ path is random and frustrating to watch. Your best bet is to look away and let them do their thing.
- These budget models can’t be instructed to clean specific rooms or learn your home layout, but you can keep them out of places by closing the doors or creating a barrier. If they get stuck under a chair once, it’ll happen every time because they don’t have a memory. If you want a robot that has a memory with the ability to keep it out of areas, check out my post on mapping robot vacuums. Keep in mind these cost around $500.
- They require occasional maintenance. You need to empty the dustbin, blow out the filter, and clean the brush.
- If you have black floors or carpets, there’s a good chance the vacuum won’t work in that area. Some of the more expensive models can handle black floors, but not these.
- The most important thing you need in a robot vacuum is that it keeps going without stopping and it doesn’t get lost from the base. If it gets stuck easily, the suction power and battery life are irrelevant.
- What about dog poop? This is a real thing. If your dog leaves a fresh poop on the floor, robot vacuums are not smart enough to know what it is. The poop will get smeared everywhere. It’s gross. Make sure your dog is potty trained before you purchase one of these.
- The vacuums pick up pet hair surprisingly well and pet owners have a lot to gain by letting a robot vacuum run a few times per week. Within a half hour of letting them run (in a house with four pets and an appearance of cleanliness), it filled up four bins completely with pet hair. Robot vacuums are a must if you like a clean house and have pets.
- They have charging docks and return to the dock to charge when the cleaning cycle is complete. Ideally, it should be ready for its next scheduled run (if you set up scheduling).
- None of these are great at picking up super-fine material (small dust particles, flour, little pieces of dirt, or tiny crumbs) on rugs.
- Roomba 690’s battery life provides around 60 minutes of consecutive cleaning time before it needed to be recharged. This would be fine if could find its base to recharge and finish the cycle, like mapping robots, but it doesn’t. Roomba usually comes away with less debris after a cycle than Eufy and Deebot.
- There aren’t customizable modes. You turn it on and let the algorithm run, or you can have it “spot clean.”
- Roomba has iAdapt Responsive Navigation. Its algorithm takes smarter routes than the others.
- There’s a green light that turns on when it detects dirt and Roomba will continue to go over that spot until the area’s clean. This ends up being a disadvantage in real life because of Roomba’s short battery life. It’d get more debris if it kept moving.
- Roomba’s biggest advantage in this category is that it comes equipped with a piece that lets you set up a “virtual wall” via IR signals for areas you don’t want to be touched. These are a brilliant way to keep robots out of certain areas with manually setting up barriers or moving the robot when it gets stuck. And you can buy as many as you need.
- It bumps into things hard, and this can potentially leave marks on your baseboard.
- From two years of anecdotal evidence and rigorous tests with a variety of measured materials, I can confidently say Roomba 690 is the worst-performing budget robot vacuum. I don’t know if it’s a lack of suction power, its dirt detection system or the single brush that’s to blame. But I’ll let the numbers below speak for themselves.
- Roomba gets too caught up in circling around itself because it detects dirt. This approach would make more sense if the battery was closer to two hours, but it’s only an hour.
- After running three tests, for five minutes each, Roomba picked up 30% less rice than Deebot and Eufy in a small carpeted area.
- Hard Floor:
- After running three tests, for five minutes each, Roomba picked up over 50% less rice than Deebot and Eufy in a small area.
- It’s bulky, heavy, and thick so it gets stuck often. It’s over an inch taller than Eufy.
- There’s no remote. You shouldn’t have to schedule a cleaning often; but when you do, you have to do it directly on the Roomba or via the app.
- The dustbin is small, and it’s hard to empty the debris when full. This may be an issue if you have lots of pet hair because it’ll accumulate quickly.
- The filters are hard to clean.
- Roomba was the loudest compared to all the budget vacuums that I tested by a wide margin. It’s not a pleasant sound.
- The volume isn’t a big deal if you schedule it to run while you’re not home, but it’s not something you want to listen to while you’re trying to relax. Even with a door shut, you can still hear it in the other room. If you’re in an upper floor apartment, this could cause an issue with your downstairs neighbors.
- Roomba 690 has WiFi capabilities (Roomba 650 did not). You can control Roomba, and set an individual schedule for each day inside the app.
- Getting the app and robot synced together initially can prove to be challenging, but it’s not as hard as Deebot.
- The app is great. You get logs of all previous cleanings, robot’s health, filter/brush warnings and battery life, as well as convenient scheduling features. I love the notifications on my phone when it has finished the cleaning cycle.
- This the only robot on this post that’s capable of firmware updates through the apps. This means it could potentially get smarter, get added integrations or have the algorithm tweaked.
- Roomba 690 has Alexa and Google Home capabilities. You can say, “Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning.” While the skill is a bit wordy to say, it can be useful in some situations. I like the idea of telling it to go home if a guest arrives.
- iRobot debuted the first robot vacuum, Roomba, in 2002. Roomba has the best longevity by far. iRobot has been making robot vacuums for 15 years, and they know what they’re doing. That’s good news if you ever need replacement parts or customer support.
- Their robots are built to be repaired and have unique error codes. Your Roomba will last for a while. I can’t say that about the others.
- iRobot discontinued their beloved Roomba 650, in favor of Roomba 690. All of the Roomba 600 models have the same body with a couple of internal spec changes. The only significant difference from the 614, 650, 652, and 690 is that the 690 has WiFi capabilities.
- Ecovacs claims a two-hour battery life. It takes around an hour and 45 minutes for it to finish its cleaning cycle before slowing down to find the base.
- It got stuck on my 12×16″ cool air return grate almost every time, where the others didn’t, but on average it tends to get stuck far less frequently than the others. My grate is abnormally big, and I chalk this up to an anomaly.
- Just like any of these vacuums, you’ll need to create barriers with everyday objects to keep it out of certain areas. For instance, I just put a tiny box on the grate to help it not get stuck.
- It does a great job of navigating and doesn’t bump into things as hard as Roomba.
- It has four cleaning modes. It’s best to set it to automatic and let it detect what needs to be done on its own, but sometimes you’ll want to switch modes. For example, you can make it clean the middle portions, you can turn on the edging feature, or you can have it spot clean. I love the edging function, which makes it clean along the edges of the room.
- Ecovacs claims it has 1,000 Pa of suction, which is only slightly less than Eufy. But Deebot and Eufy are neck-and-neck with real-life suction power. Deebot does slightly better on carpets, whereas Eufy works marginally better on hard surfaces.
- There’s a max power mode that’s accessible through the app. It’ll decrease the runtime by about 15-20 minutes, but it’s helpful on carpet.
- After running three tests, for five minutes each, I determined Deebot performs the best of these three. Deebot didn’t kick the debris as much Roomba.
- It picked up more rice than Eufy but by a margin that’s too small be conclusive.
- Hard Floor:
- Deebot does great on hardwood, but Eufy beat it by a slight margin.
- Deebot consistently picked up more than 50% rice than Roomba in the same five-minute span.
- It’s rated with the same noise level as Roomba 690, but it sounds substantially quieter to me. Maybe because it’s a softer sound.
- It’s louder than Eufy by five decibels.
- It’s slimmer and lighter than Roomba. It’s about half an inch thicker than Eufy.
- The remote is excellent. You can handle all of the scheduling with it. While controlling Deebot N79S by hand defeats the purpose of a robot vacuum, the up, down, and side-to-side controls offer extreme handling precision.
- The dust tray is big, easy to empty, and provides easy access to the filters. It’s similar to Eufy’s.
- You have the option of charging with the base or plugging in the vacuum, but most only allow for charging through the base.
- The remote must be in sight of the vacuum to change the schedule. Plus, you can only create a routine that’s the same for each day. With the N79S, there’s a phone app to create custom schedules for each day of the week. It’s easier to read a phone screen than the tiny remote screen, too.
- BUT, the app is not good. It has the look of a high schooler’s first coding project. It’s nice to have extra scheduling options compared to Eufy, but it’s only barely worth it. For some reason, the only way to put Deboot in “max” mode is through the app.
- Syncing the app and vacuum is a bit clunky, but you only have to deal with it once.
- You can control it with Google and Alexa on the new “S” models.
- Ecovacs doesn’t have much of a reputation in the United States because they’ve mostly distributed in China until now. It’s one of the most affordable robot vacuums that I bought and substantially better than Roomba, making it an incredible value even if it doesn’t last forever.
- Unlike most robot vacuums, an extra filter and brush aren’t included. But they can be purchased on Amazon.
- The battery lasts a couple of hours, which is better than Roomba. It takes about one hour and 40 minutes to clean my house (1,000 sq foot first floor) before it cools down and seeks the base.
- It’ll only run for an hour in the max power mode. There isn’t much of suction difference and it’s louder, so I’d stay away from the max mode.
- It slows down when it gets close to walls. The benefit is that your baseboard won’t get scuffed, but the downside is it doesn’t clean the edges as well as Roomba.
- Because of its slim proportions, it can fit under more surfaces. This is great for cleaning under couches and beds, but it also makes it more prone to getting stuck, when it gets extra ambitious.
- Eufy does a fantastic job at getting back to its base when the cleaning cycle is over.
- When Eufy gets stuck, rather than just shutting off, as the others do, it rocks back and forth to try and wedge itself out. This is probably a smart approach, but if there’s no way of it getting out, it becomes a waste.
- You’ll have to do traditional prep before it does its run, and if you want it to stay away from areas, you need to create a barrier with an object. But if you don’t want to use everyday objects as barriers, you can buy Eufy RoboVac 30C that comes with magnetic boundary strips.
- It doesn’t do as well around stairs as the others. In my house, it got stuck rocking back and forth, while almost falling off the ledge, but it couldn’t get enough traction to get out of it alone so it was stuck in an endless loop.
- Like Deebot, Eufy has four different cleaning modes that you can initiate through the remote. You can have it automatically run, edge clean, spot clean, or clean a single room.
- The suction power is fantastic. Eufy claims it has 1,300pa of suction.
- Technically, BoastIQ is supposed to add extra suction when it reaches a carpet, but I didn’t see this play out with low or medium pile carpets. I’m not sure where it’d work.
- In my real life testing, with rice and other materials, Eufy picked up the second most debris.
- It outperformed Roomba by more than 50% during the same five-minute timespan.
- Deebot picked up the most debris, but the difference was less than 5%. Not conclusive.
- Hard Floor:
- Eufy was the best performer on wood and other hard surfaces.
- It picked up twice as much debris as Roomba.
- It outperformed Deebot by about 5%. But this difference may be attributed to an error on my part.
- It’s the slimmest robot vacuum I’ve ever tested and just 2.85 inches tall.
- It looks great and comes in white and black. But because the top is shiny, it’s a fingerprint magnet.
- The dust tray is huge, easy to empty, and provides easy access to the filters.
- The remote is well-designed, with precise controls and extra options for edge or spot cleaning. You also use the remote to set up scheduling. It’s better than Deebot’s remote because you can control the suction power and the schedule remains on its screen the entire time.
- It’s the quietest robot vacuum I tested in this round of budget vacuums and the quietest of all those I’ve tried.
- Ideally, you’d let it run its cycle while you’re at work, but you won’t be bothered if you run it while you’re home. It can barely be heard from the other room and even when it’s in the same room, you can still watch TV.
- Sometimes the wheels squeak while taking turns on hardwood, while Deebot doesn’t do this.
- There’s no app, but I’m OK with that because most apps are relatively useless. The only thing you’ll miss is scheduling and phone notifications, but you can schedule with the remote as long as you edit the schedule while you’re in the same room.
- You can’t configure it to work with Alexa or Google Assistant, but these are important if you already have a schedule set.
- Deebot N79S and Roomba 690 have an advantage with their WiFi scheduling.
- Some people have noted issues with the scheduling feature. Eufy representatives recommend resetting the clock by taking out the batteries and starting over. The remote needs to be in sight of the vacuum to send the IR signal to the vacuum. It’s not a WiFi signal or RF signal, so it needs to be in direct view. To make sure the schedule is set, listen for a beep.
- Anker is a well-known tech accessories company that owns Eufy. You probably have one of their cables or power banks lying around.
- I like Anker because they make reliable products and their customer support is the best in the business. Not only do you get quick responses from the support team, but they’re also helpful and effective. For example, I lost my remote, and they sent me a free replacement.
- But here’s an interesting timeline of Eufy that might change your perception:
- Eufy was outsourcing the design and manufacturing process of their robots to a different company. My favorite robot vacuum from 2017, Eufy RoboVac 11, was a re-labeled vacuum from Ecovacs.
- Ecovacs decided to sell their vacuums in the US, under their own name, rather than only selling in China.
- For a time in 2017, two competing, yet identical, robot vacuums appeared on Amazon.
- Later, Ecovacs stopped manufacturing robots for Eufy, and Eufy RoboVac 11 was discontinued.
- Then, things got weird and frustrating because Eufy designed and released RoboVac 11+ (presumably made in their own factory).
- Eufy RoboVac 11+ wasn’t a good product and led me to investigate this situation by talking to Ecovacs representatives.
- Eufy put RoboVac 11+ on the same product page as RoboVac 11. Most people assumed a plus symbol meant an upgrade from the 11, especially since it was more money, but it was an inferior product and made me look bad for recommending it.
- Eufy should’ve been more transparent about their manufacturing contract and put the worse version on a new product page.
- After some subpar products in the first half of 2018, Eufy has found a grove with their new product lineup.