We have reviewed a lot of robot vacuums here at EFTM in the past few years and although they are amazing to have, for many they are nice to haves but not must haves, in part due to their price.  High end robot vacuums will cost you over a thousand dollars which is a stretch for many people, especially when you consider that they still don’t clean quite as well as, for example, a Dyson manual $1,000 vacuum.

Occasionally we see one on sale – such as the excellent ECOVACS DEEBOT NEO – but the standard pricing of these vacuums is still not chump change.  For example, the NEO is usually priced at $799 if you missed out on the $399 Aldi sale.  Now there is a newcomer to the Australian market – AIRROBO – hoping to fit into that more affordable end of the smart robot vacuum segment.

Priced routinely at AU$320 plus shipping of around AU$60, the AIRROBO P20 Robot Vacuum aims to provide only the most important features you might want in a robot vacuum, and none of the “redundant functions that can only serve a limited number of people because of their price point.”  For a limited time though the AIRROBO P20 can be purchased using the promo code p20promo for 40% off its list price — until the 15th October.

The AIRROBO P20 is a very beginner-friendly robot with a decent suction power of 2800Pa with technology designed by UBTECH Robotics called Scraper Technology designed to eliminate nearly all dust from the floor.  It will sweep, vacuum and scrape all in one go to get at even hard to reach dirt within grout lines.

Sounds fairly basic right?  Well, we’ve been using it for the last week and have our own thoughts on it.  Read on to hear what we thought.

Setup and features

AIRROBO are right – it was easy to set up, but then these days nearly all smart products are easy to setup so nothing to write home about here.  I’d be more concerned if it wasn’t easy to set up.  

Features?  The featureset of the AIRROBO P20 is that it vacuums.  It does have basic functionality such as cliff sensors, IR anti-collision sensors but there is no home video, no mopping, no 3D mapping, no exclusion zones, no area cleaning, no saving of multi-floor maps.  

As AIRROBO – none of the added features.  Its basic functionality would be enough for a lot of people but for me it just doesn’t cut it.  I’ve gotten used to being able to shut off rooms to my vacuum without having to stick chairs and cushions on the floor to stop it going in there.  I’ve gotten used to easily being able to tell it to clean a certain room or section of a room(s) – oh and I love my auto-empty station so I never have to empty the vacuum bin.

The AIRROBO P20 sucks but it sucks well.  The 2800Pa was able to clean my floors, carpet and hard floors – it just seemed to take a long time and do it in a random order.  It cleans one part then moves to another place without finishing the first place, then comes back to the first place later on.  Strange but it got there eventually.  One good thing I noticed about the vacuum is that it can run for a long time.  AIRROBO say the P20 should run for up to 2 hours and I can believe that.  It certainly did my whole floor.

The robot also had some trouble finding the dock when it was done.  Sending it back to the dock had what appeared to be rolling around in circles into various rooms looking for the dock.  Eventually it got to the dock – it seems it had to get there by going around the edges of the rooms until it got there – not the smartest vacuum around but it got there eventually.

One interesting inclusion with the AIRROBO P20 is a Wi-Fi remote control.  I’m not entirely sure why that is needed when everyone has a smartphone these days and the smartphone app has every function the remote does.  The app on the smartphone will also work from anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. 

So how well does it clean?

On paper the 2800Pa suction power of the AIRROBO P20 seems decent but compare it with that on a more expensive vacuum such as the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Plus which has a cleaning power of 5000Pa and it pales in comparison but it’s price also pales in comparison.  A comparable price (when on sale) is the Deebot Neo which has 2600Pa of suction power so it is definitely in the same ballpark.

Running it through the tests it cleaned the floors well enough of everyday dirt and grime, dust and material that isn’t crunched onto or into the flooring.  Putting it to the test with some crushed up corn flakes though it did struggle with a single pass on the carpet.  On the hardwood flooring it sucked up the crushed corn flakes although the brushes did tend to occasionally flick some of the flakes out of the way.  The carpet required more than one pass by the vacuum.

Getting the vacuum to the area to be cleaner was done by either driving it using the remote control or the app to the area required to be cleaned.  Then lining it up with the mess and using the spot clean function.  The problem is though that you cannot tell it where exactly the spot is.  The better way to do it is to drive the vacuum right to the mess and run a spiral clean. Then after it’s done one pass, have it perform another spiral clean.

All-in-all it is a decent day-to-day vacuum but not a set and forget vacuum for spot messes such as kitchen spills etc.  You will need to be more hands on for that sort of mess.  It did suck it up eventually but the navigating of the vacuum to and over the spill wasn’t the easiest.

Should you buy it?

At the moment, while it is on sale, the AIRROBO P20 Root Vacuum, is an attractive option. At this stage there is no direct Australian retailer although they tell us that they are working on that. For now, the only option is to purchase it through Amazon — and for those who have used warranty through Amazon, they are normally pretty good about it all.

Coming from the US, it will have a US plug at this stage, but any adapter will work with it. The vacuum itself is a very basic vacuum. There are very few added features outside a vacuum or stop vacuuming. It cleans relatively well although probably does need a few more smarts to get my two thumbs up.

If basic cleaning is all you need though then it is difficult to go past the current sale. Using the discount code p20promo adds a 40% off to the usual price of AU$320.93, bringing it down to $256. There is a shipping fee of AU$64 unfortunately, bringing the total price to AU$320. Now that is cheaper than nearly every other robot vacuum on the market here in Australia — but the code is only available until October 15.

For more information head on over to the AIRROBO website. You can purchase it from Amazon US now. If it is not on sale it may be a better idea to go for a locally-available vacuum such as the Ecovacs Deebot Neo — these do get discounted every now and again — as it has a lot more smart options that will aid in a better clean.