Earlier this year we reviewed the ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO T8+ robot vacuum, a self-emptying $1,299 top of the line vacuum. Take away the self-emptying station and you still have a $999 vacuum cleaner — a lot of money for a product that many people (wrongly) think is far inferior to a traditional vacuum — and still out of reach for many.

In the middle of the year, they signalled their strategy to move most of the high-end functions from the premium robot vacuum to a cheaper model with the announcement of the DEEBOT N8 Pro. The new DEEBOT N8 PRO brings their TrueDetect 3D object detection technology, TrueMapping mapping and navigation technology and the ability to vacuum and mop at the same time. All these new features are included for the cheaper $799.

ECOVACS sent us the DEEBOT N8 Pro for us to check out and compare to the Ozmo T8 and we were exceptionally impressed with the new model with its functionality and usability virtually on par with the more expensive model.

Specific Features

ECOVACS rave about their specific mapping features and having used robot vacuums without a mapping technology I can tell you they are worth their weight in gold. ECOVACS has included TrueMapping on the N8 Pro, previously reserved for the premium models and it worked nearly perfectly out of the box.

The only issue I had with it was that it got stuck under a couch and couldn’t get out so continually cleaned and mapped under it until it ran out of battery. Due to this the map of the house was not completed. After fully recharging it, I performed the mapping/cleaning function again, listening out for its issues etc and was able to move it from obstacles when required and thus it finished mapping with no issues.

Once the map has been created you can then set virtual boundaries on your map to prevent the vacuum from getting stuck under couches etc. The boundaries can be set as either a box or a simple straight line across a section of the map to prevent the vacuum entering these areas. The map can also be used to tell the vacuum where to clean — eg. clean area “A”.

Also included is the TrueDetect3D technology which allows the vacuum to detect in real time, using its camera, obstacles such as toys, cables and shoes and avoid them. Of course, you should tidy the floor well before the mapping so that the vacuum gets the full outlay of the house but after then any mess left behind will either be avoided or cleaned (it decides which to do based on what it sees).

Another feature included from premium models is the OZMO mopping functionality which uses a back and forward motion of the mopping pad to mop the floor at the same time it vacuums it. With its water tank full to the brim, I was able to clean my entire floor using the “high” water flow. I did not choose “ultra-high” as ECOVACS do not recommend that due to the extra water giving a high probability of the vacuum slipping while cleaning.

Just how well does it work?

The N8 Pro offers an ultra-high “Max+” 2600Pa suction power but of course at this higher suction level the power does drain faster on the vacuum. If you have a large area to clean and want it all done at once I recommend avoiding this setting. If you don’t mind stilted cleaning the vacuum has the smarts to clean until it is bereft of battery power, head back to the charging dock, recharge and then continue cleaning where it left off. I tested this function and found it worked perfectly as advertised.

Although many people are working from home you could easily set this to do it while you are at work or during the day (assuming you do not need to be on any conference calls as the vacuum is not entirely silent).

But does it suck? Too right it sucks. Many people still ask me how well these vacuums can clean — after all they seem to be small appliances with small vacuum components. Not a single person has come back to me after buying one unhappy with the suction results from the vacuum they purchased — and there have been a few purchased from my recommendations.

The robot vacuums these days, and especially the higher end vacuums such as the ECOVACS DEEBOT N8 Pro, can function extremely close to, if equal to, some of the more expensive traditional vacuums. Of course, the advantage is that you don’t have to do it yourself, you can set it to clean at a time suitable for you and you can set it to clean however often you like. I tend to have mine clean every second day while I’m at work. Set it in the schedule, forget about it — until you get home and stand amazed at the cleanliness of the hard floor and carpets.

Should you buy it?

If you are in the market for a new vacuum or want to see what all the hype surrounding robot vacuums is then I can highly recommend the DEEBOT N8 Pro for you. It lacks the auto-emptying station that the higher end models have — but that will cost you a lot more — but for the sake of emptying its bin every couple of days I would prefer to pay a lot less.

It has all of the functionality of the more expensive robot vacuums with the power required to suck up stubborn dirt, stones etc, while at the same time having a battery big enough and enough brains to avoid obstacles which may prevent it from completing its task.

ECOVACS made a conscious choice to bring their high-end features to this more moderately priced vacuum and in my opinion is a winner for them. At just $799 you are getting all the features you could want and all the features you actually need for a robot vacuum to ease your workload around the home. Grab it now from JB Hi-Fi, Godfreys Vacuums and The Good Guys.