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Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni review: The best robot mop we’ve seen, but at what price?

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,499
inc VAT

A feature-packed robot vacuum cleaner that mops much better than most, but it’s awfully expensive

Pros 
Superb self-cleaning mop
Considerate to furniture and carpets
Extraordinarily feature-packed
Cons 
Enormous base station
Some edge cleaning problems
Very expensive
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If you want a floor-cleaning robot that does it all and you don’t mind paying for the privilege, the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni is waiting in Amazon’s warehouses for your purchase. This is by far the most feature-packed robot vacuum and mop that we’ve reviewed to date, with a breadth of tools and features that beggars belief.

That naturally comes at a cost: £1,499 is a lot of money, even for the best of the best. There’s no doubt that the Deebot X1 Omni stands out enough from the crowd, but is it really multiple times better than a cheaper robot vacuum cleaner and mop, such as the Proscenic M8 Pro (£499)? Let’s find out.

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Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni review: What do you get for the money?

The first thing you’ll notice about the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni (if you were to order one) is how big the box is. This is largely down to its base station, which is the biggest I’ve seen to date. While basic charging stations can be small brick-sized objects that sit against the wall for the robot to butt up to, this one is absolutely huge.

That’s because it serves a variety of functions. We’ve seen a plethora of models recently that combine charging stations with their own built-in vacuum, which empties the contents of the robot’s collection bin into a secondary bag inside the base station. These bags have a much larger capacity than the robot’s collection bin and save you having to empty it after every clean. Naturally, the Deebot X1 Omni’s station can do this, too.

The bulk of the space in the base station, however, is taken up by two four-litre water tanks. These are used to fill the robot with clean water; wash through the attachments after it’s been out for a mop and collect dirty water at the end of the process.

Because there’s water involved, the base has a plastic foot plate, which the robot rolls onto to charge. This protects your floor from spillages and the residual dampness of the mop attachment.

All this adds up to a base station that stands at 448 x 430 x 578mm (WDH), which isn’t going to blend into the background, even in the largest of homes. It’s further exacerbated by virtue of the fact that you need to locate it against a wall with plenty of space around it, so the robot can easily find its way home.

Speaking of the robot, that’s a more traditional size: a hockey puck shape, measuring 362 x 362 x 104mm (WDH). It uses LiDAR to scan and navigate through its surroundings, so has a turret on top that accounts for some of its height, and there’s a selection of other sensors and cameras on the front to help it find its way around furniture. Interestingly, you can also use these cameras to see through the eyes of the robot, taking it on a patrol while you’re away from home, or even using it to talk to people and pets who are in the house while you’re out.

Inside, there a powerful 5,000Pa vacuum built into the device and on the base there’s a single roller built into the suction inlet. This uses both brushes and rubber flaps to agitate carpet and did a super job of staying free from hair tangles in our testing. Two rotary sweeping brushes on each side are used to catch debris from corners and throw it into the path of the vacuum.

Under the top plate, which is magnetically attached to the robot, there’s a 400ml collection bin, although this isn’t likely to ever fill up before the base station has emptied it with its own 21kPa vacuum.

Perhaps most interesting is the mop. The mops on most robot vacuums feel like afterthoughts, with a simple pad that’s dampened from a reservoir in the robot, then dragged along behind to give the floor a cursory wipe.

The Deebot X1 Omni takes a different approach. Instead of one static pad, it has two, and these spin in opposite directions at up to 180rpm to give the floor a thorough scrubbing. Like the lid of the robot, the pads attach to the base magnetically, which makes it simple to clip on or remove as and when you want to mop.

READ NEXT: Our full roundup of the best robot vacuum cleaners

Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni review: What is it like to use?

Initial setup is straightforward: you have to use the accompanying mobile app to connect your robot to your Wi-Fi network (it only works over 2.4GHz), but that’s about as complicated as it gets. You also need to fill the four-litre clean water tank with tap water, by simply lifting it out of the top of the base station and filling it up at the sink.

The first time the robot goes out it can be sent on a mapping mission to build up a picture of your house before you start cleaning. This is worth doing, because when it’s finished you can start marking out no-go areas without having to wait for it to perform an entire initial clean. I found the quick map option took about five minutes to cover a space of around 68m².

Once there’s a map in place, you can set the robot off to start a clean. The app automatically subdivides the map into rooms and assigns them names, but you can divide, join and rename areas as you like. It’s also simple to set no-go areas and boundaries to keep the robot away from potential troublespots.

Further controls are accessed by bringing up the control panel, which allows you to control the power of the vacuum and the flow of water. This also lets you control the intensity of a clean – whether it does multiple passes and how intense the mopping action is – and set up routines, which can be assigned to perform automatic cleaning tasks.

It’s also worth noting the robot can store up to three maps at once, which means it won’t have to create a new map every time you move it to a different floor in your house. I carried it upstairs in my house, set it down, started a new clean, and it automatically detected it was a new location and created a new map. When I returned the robot downstairs, the maps were switched back seamlessly.

Switching to mopping mode is simple. Just attach the mops and fill the water tank with tap water, and the device switches mode automatically and, if it runs out of water mid-clean, it will top itself up from the base station, too.

After mopping, the base station flushes the mop pads through with clean water, collecting the dirty waste water in a second tank. It even blow-dries the pads with warm air, so they don’t hang around giving off damp smells.

Ecovacs’ own voice control system for the X1 Omni didn’t work particularly well; for some reason it just didn’t want to listen to me. However, since the robot can also be controlled via Google Assistant and Alexa, this hardly matters. However, you will need to own a compatible Echo or Nest speaker.

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Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni review: Is it good at finding its way around?

The Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni is very good at navigation. The mapping is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from LiDAR-based systems, and this helps the robot plot sensible routes between rooms. You can choose to clean a whole map, select individual rooms in any order you like or draw a rectangle to clean a smaller area. Whichever you choose, the robot circles the perimeter of the area, then travels back and forth in perpendicular lines until the whole space is cleaned.

That’s all standard stuff. Where the X1 Omni excels is in its ability to work around obstacles. As well as LiDAR navigation, the robot has a collection of cameras and sensors at the front. Using these it can detect and avoid dropped objects, and work gently and gracefully around furniture legs.

I can’t fault the robot here. I tried dropping charging cables, socks and even a very convincing joke shop dog poo on the floor before sending the robot to clean an area, and it detected and circumnavigated every obstacle. I’d have no problem sending this robot out without clearing the floor first.

The X1 Omni’s treatment of furniture is impressive. As it approaches chair and table legs it might gently nudge them but it then circles around them carefully, usually without making contact. I haven’t seen a robot this respectful of furniture since the AEG RX9.2.

The other clever thing about the X1 Omni is that it’s good at detecting different surfaces. In vacuuming mode it boosts the suction power when it moves from hard floor to carpet. If you have the mop pads attached, it steers clear of carpets and rugs completely, mopping close to the edges but never onto carpeted surfaces.

This is just brilliant. Most mopping robots I’ve seen require you to manually add no-mop zones. You can still do that here but you can also safely leave the robot to do its own thing and it won’t soak rugs or doormats.

Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni review: How well does it clean?

There’s one element of the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni’s navigation that I wasn’t happy with and that’s its ability to follow the edge of my kitchen’s kickboards, located underneath cupboards. It managed perfectly well around other walls and wall-like obstacles, hugging them closely as it followed them around. In my kitchen, however, it kept bouncing away from the kickboards, so I had to manually sweep up around the edges afterwards.

At all other cleaning tasks, however, the robot performed well. I put it through our usual barrage of robot vacuuming tests, setting it off on measured spillages of rice and flour on both carpet and hard floor. I weighed the collection bin before and after the robot had finished to gauge how successful it had been at cleaning up the mess. The robot doesn’t have a specific spot-cleaning tool, so I drew an area around each spill on the app and sent the Deebot off to find it.

It performed best with rice, picking up 94% and 98% of spills on hard floor and carpet respectively. It fared better on carpet because rice disturbed by the robot’s edge sweeping brushes didn’t travel as far, so was less likely to be catapulted out of reach.

Flour is a more challenging test for robot vacuum cleaners and the Deebot fell behind a little in this test. On hard floor it wasn’t too bad, with the robot collecting 78% of our spill. It left a lot behind on the short-pile carpet, however, collecting a mere 42%.

To be fair, our spill tests are usually best executed by less intelligent robots, which need to be manually placed on top of spills. This helps them pick up a lot of the mess before trundling through it with their wheels and scattering it with their sweepers. Its overall collection percentage of 78% was only slightly below average, however.

All is forgiven when it comes to mopping, however. This robot is absolutely the best robot mop we’ve reviewed to date, the rotary motion of the X1 Omni’s two spinning cloths adding a level of cleaning power that is unsurpassed.

I’ve been cultivating a small patch of dirt in my kitchen that I’ve been using to test robot mops – a spillage of sugary drink that has developed a coating of stubborn dirt over time – and none has made the slightest difference.

The Deebot X1 Omni, however, has finally managed to shift it. The first pass of the Deebot’s scrubbing action discernibly lifted some of the dirt away and a second pass removed it entirely.

I also had the unfortunate opportunity to mop up some dried blood during testing (don’t ask). This was a tough job but the X1 Omni made a commendable effort on the first pass, and had most of it cleaned by the end of the second.

READ NEXT: The best vacuum cleaners you can buy

Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni review: Should I buy it?

There’s a lot to love about the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni. There’s very little wrong with the performance and the app is as good as they get. Its object detection also puts it up there with the Roomba j7.

Add in the best-in-class mopping function and you’re on to a winner. More than any other I’ve tested to date, this robot could genuinely significantly reduce the amount of vacuuming and mopping you need to do around the house.

It isn’t without its flaws, however. You won’t be able to ignore its presence in your home thanks to that enormous base station, and the price of £1,499 will put a huge hole in your bank balance.

For more modest budgets there are, fortunately, plenty of alternatives. The Roomba j7 is the obvious option for people who don’t want to clear the floor every time they vacuum. It’s as good at navigating around obstacles as the Deebot X1 Omni and cheaper at £700 with the self-emptying base station.

The AEG RX9.2 is just as gentle around furniture, although it doesn’t self-empty. The best bargain is probably the Proscenic M8 Pro (£499), which self-empties and mops for £400 but it isn’t as polished as the Deebot X1 Omni or as effective at mopping.

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