This budget-friendly bot is a total neat freak

Testing

Like most robot vacuum cleaners, setting up the RoboVac 11 is easy. You flip it over, snap on a couple side brushes, connect the charging base to an outlet, set the vacuum on the station, and then wait a few hours for it to fully charge.

The RoboVac 11 doesn’t have Wi-Fi or a dedicated app like many of its more expensive competitors. It does, however, come with a remote control that lets you do many of the same things: create cleaning schedules, start and stop the vacuum, and send it back to its charging cradle (the bot does that automatically as well when its battery is low).

Using the remote, you can choose between one of six cleaning modes: Auto, Edge, Spot, Max, Single Room, and Manual. Auto tailors the bot’s cleaning pattern to the individual room it’s in. Edge cleaning is what it sounds like—the RoboVac slows down when it reaches a wall and then follows it cleaning the perimeter of the room. Spot cleaning sends the vacuum off in a spiral cleaning pattern that’s meant for areas of concentrated dirt, and Max has increased suction for carpets. Single Room mode is meant for, uh, single (confined) rooms, and Manual mode gives you control over the direction of the RoboVac from the remote.

After everything was charged and ready to go, we set the vacuum loose in our bedroom, kitchen, office, and living room. For comparison purposes, we also recreated our usual obstacle course of filth in our 28 x 15-foot living room. Filled with a combination of hardwood floors and low-pile carpeting, as well as a mixture of furniture—a couch, multiple bookshelves, a coffee table, and credenza—it’s a complicated room to clean with plenty of areas in which a robovac can get stuck. We added our special mixture of flour, rice, dirt, and plenty of short, pointy dog hairs to see how well the vacuum handled them.

Observations

Anyone interested in buying a robovac these days has their work cut out for them. What was once a category dominated by one company has become a crowded (but dirt free) playing field filled with all manner of floor-cleaning bots. At the high-end, you get advanced sensors and navigational systems, dedicated apps for controlling your vacuum remotely, and various bells and whistles like ability to set up invisible walls. At the other end you get, well, a robot vacuum that bounces around and sucks up dirt from the floors.

The Eufy RoboVac 11 falls into the latter category, but here’s the thing: It does its main job—sucking up dirt, hair, and dust—as well as or better than many of its high-end competitors. Not only did it manage to suck up nearly every kind of mess we created for it, it was actually better at cleaning along side walls and furniture legs, possible thanks to its dual side brushes (most robot vacs only have one). At just over three inches tall, the RoboVac could also fit under low bed frames and other areas that vacuums we’ve tested simply couldn’t get to. It is also surprisingly quiet, which is great.

While the vacuum always did a thorough job of cleaning our test rooms, it does not appear to follow any defined path or pattern when doing so. Instead, the vacuum just sort of ping-pongs around the room, often overlapping areas it’s cleaned multiple times. If the RoboVac’s battery didn’t last as long (upwards of 90 minutes), this would potentially be a more annoying issue, but as it stands the semi-random pattern didn’t bother us or affect the ultimate results.

The RoboVac did have a few issues. On more than one occasion it got stuck on power cords behind our living room credenza and underneath the bookshelf and required rescuing. It also didn’t do a great job on a high-pile carpet we doused with dog hair and dirt, although it’s not recommended for this carpet type. For those with a lot of potential obstacles (dog bowls, etc) in a given cleaning area, it’s worth noting that the RoboVac 11 doesn’t come with any kind of virtual wall barriers or magnetic tape to keep the vacuum from plowing into them.

Still, these were are all small inconveniences, and easily forgiven when considering the RoboVac’s price. And that’s really the bottom line here: No robovac will clean as well as a human operated push vacuum. However, they are a great way to keep floors tidier for longer and prolonging the need for those deep cleanings. What you’re ultimately left with is a pretty simple question: Would you rather spend as much as a grand for that incremental robo cleaner or $220? For us, the choice is easy.

Conclusion

If you don’t mind the absence of smartphone support and other bells and whistles, the RoboVac 11 is an easy recommendation for anyone who wants to keep their wood floors and low-pile carpets cleaner for longer.