It wasn’t all that long ago that robot vacuums were expensive and just sucked at sucking.  Now though, they not only can nearly match high end traditional vacuums with their cleaning abilities but are also a lot more affordable.

We’ve tested out quite a few Ecovacs DEEBOT robot vacuums in the past and have, as a rule, come away impressed with what they offer.  Now Ecovacs has a new vacuum that incorporates nearly every single premium feature they offer but is also affordable – and for a limited time, EXTREMELY AFFORDABLE, at your local Aldi supermarket.

The DEEBOT NEO is new to the Australian market and is being launched as part of this week’s Special Buys catalogue at Aldi.  After testing it for a week or so I can tell you that if you have ever considered a robot vacuum, this is one you must have – and at the special price of $399 it’s a no-brainer (usual price $799).


At just $399 you would expect the DEEBOT NEO to miss out on some of the more premium features, but the NEO is virtually fully featured.  As always, we ran the vacuum through its paces, testing out all of these as much as possible.

Setting up the vacuum is super simple – especially if you already have an ECOVACS account (and the app already installed).   Simply hit the button on the vacuum to put it into discovery mode, open the app and add vacuum.  After entering your Wi-Fi password, you are ready to go.

The first time you run the vacuum will take the longest.  This is because it is mapping the house/floor while cleaning at the same time.  I have found that I need to be home when it does this as there is one couch that the robot vacuums ALWAYS get stuck under.  Once the floor is mapped, I just tell the vacuum to avoid that couch area using the virtual boundary function.   

The virtual boundary function comes in extremely handy for areas that are not compatible with a robot vacuum.  We have a couple of long hair/pile rugs where the vacuum can vacuum but picks up so many fibres from it that it clogs up the brush without cleaning the rug too well.  Draw a virtual boundary over that rug on your map and the vacuum will avoid it.  If you don’t want it to go into a particular room the boundary can be a straight line rather than a square if required – although both work in this case.

Using the Ecovacs TrueMapping laser-based mapping and navigation technology the vacuum uses lasers to scan the floor along with the ceilings to determine the map and the most efficient way to clean.  It also separates the map into areas so you can just tell it to quickly clean a certain area – another way to do that is to draw a custom area of where you want cleaned.  I tend to use the drawing technique as I can extend the area to be cleaned to be part of a section to save time.

The vacuum can get tangled in small cables that are lying around – some of the higher end vacuums are better at avoiding these cables, although they are not perfect either – so it is recommended to tidy up before vacuuming.  At this stage it will not pick up your socks or rubbish.

So how well does the vacuum work?  Really well, and better than I ever expected from such a small robot vacuum.  The robot vacuum is still not as good as your high-end traditional vacuum – especially on carpeted floors – but on hard floors it is extremely close.  I use it on carpet as well and it is still great at picking up loose dirt, crumbs etc.  To me, the robot vacuum means that you do not have to vacuum with your high-end vacuum as much– if at all.  I set the DEEBOT NEO to clean every other day and that keeps the floor clean without any work at all on my behalf.

You can of course change the power on the vacuum to varying levels which will determine just how long (or short) the battery lasts.  I set it on Max (second top level) and it cleans the carpets and hard floors to an acceptable level.  For super dirty floors set it to the Max+ tornado level.

On Max level it passed the test of breadcrumbs, sultana bran, flour, and sugar with flying colours.  At first it swiped the sultana bran around a bit, but it sucked the pieces up when it went over the area it swept them to – make it do an area twice if it misses anything like this, it’s not like it costs you any energy.  I never had to do this, but our house is not that messy – if you have toddlers you may need to run the vacuum over it twice (speaking from experience).

The DEEBOT NEO also includes multi-floor capabilities where it can store multiple maps for multiple floors.  This is extremely useful for some if you have no other vacuum but if you have a large upper (or lower) floor then you will need to also relocated the charger to that floor as well when you want to vacuum there.  Of course, if it can be cleaned with just a single charge then just take the vacuum upstairs yourself, choose the map you want and hit start – not quite set and forget but you still don’t have to actually do the vacuuming yourself so it’s still a win.


Mopping is not something you select within the app of the DEEBOT NEO.  All you do is fill the water reservoir, attach the mopping plate to the bottom of the vacuum and start the vacuum.  It will then recognise the mopping plate on it and will go and vacuum AND mop the areas (at the same time) that it detects are not carpets.  This carpet detection allows it to stick to hard floors only.  

These days, the premium vacuums from Ecovacs have a new mopping technique called Ozmo Mopping Pro which causes the mopping system to vibrate at a high frequency or agitate to wash away stubborn spills. This helps in scrubbing these stubborn stains. Unfortunately the DEEBOT NEO does not include this feature — unfortunately at this price something has to give. As someone who wipes up spills when they occur and very rarely uses the mopping function anyway this is not a huge issue for me but for a more through mopping of stubborn spills you will need to fork out at least twice this price to get that feature.

So how well does it mop?  It mops well, depending on the level you set mopping to on your map.  You can set it to varying levels of “water flow” with obviously the higher water flow levels resulting in a better mop but you need to keep in mind that a higher water flow level will use more water and it may run out of water in the tank before it is finished mopping.  I set the water level on high and it just finishes the hardwood floors in my house before being empty.

Sticky floors with things such as cordial may struggle to be mopped properly but wet and less sticky spills will be cleaned off the floor.  After triggering my wife pouring tomato sauce, cordial and Pepsi on the floor the vacuum cleaned it all up without any issues at all.  When the spills dry though you may need to make it do an area a couple of times to get those stubborn, dried spills entirely clean.  My only issue with the mopping is that it is a little bit difficult to remove the mopping plate.

Other features

The Ecovacs DEEBOT NEO is compatible with their auto-emptying stations meaning that if you want to also avoid the “hassle” of emptying the vacuum each time (or every second time) you clean you can go and buy an ECOVACS auto-emptying station and it will empty your vacuum for you.  I use one with my usual vacuum, and the bag within it seems to last a few months before the bag needs to be replaced.

As with so many smart electrical household appliances these days, the Ecovacs DEEBOT NEO supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa control but it is limited to what you can tell it to do.  You can tell it to start, stop or pause vacuuming and send it back to the charger.  If you want to do more specific things such as clean certain areas you will need to use the app.

Where, when and should you buy it?

Beginning the 9th March, the Ecovacs DEEBOT NEO will be on sale at Aldi for just $399 while stocks last and at that price is an absolute steal.  Its usual price is $799 which is also a decent price but it then places it amongst so many other robot vacuums of similar pricing and feature-set.

The Ecovacs DEEBOT NEO is a fully featured robot vacuum that sucks when and you want it to and does it well thanks to its high suction capabilities and its 3D mapping technology.  The mopping function is also handy, especially for those spills you forgot to clean up at the time.

I can highly recommend the Ecovacs DEEBOT NEO and at the price of $399 at Aldi next week you can be sure it will sell out fast.  We recommend you get in quick (I’d even get in line and wait for the doors to open for this one) if you want a robot vacuum with premium features at an entry-level price.