One of Ecovac’s more affordable robot cleaners, the budget Deebot Slim2 is a basic sweeper/vacuum robot offering smart control. Its low-profile design helps it get under furniture, and rotating brushes sweep right into corners.
With average random pattern navigation and no brush bar, the Slim2 struggles with carpets, challenging room layouts and tricky obstacles. Good floor-sweeping can be achieved on smooth floors; but for bigger, more challenging homes with multiple surfaces, Ecovac’s more upmarket models are a better bet.
Ecovacs Robotics is relatively new to the UK, but has been producing robotic home appliances for more than a decade. Its current range of floor- and window-cleaning gadgets is comprehensive, spanning over a dozen vacuuming and mopping robots alone.
First up on the Trusted Reviews test bench from Ecovacs is the Deebot Slim2. This fully automated and app-controlled robot vacuum cleaner has a super-low profile. At just 57mm tall, it’s designed to slip under the lowest furniture and obstacles. It gets twin sweepers funnelling debris into its small vacuuming port, and a clip-on mopping cloth to buff hard floors. Available for under £200, the Slim2 is looking good value already.
The lack of traditional rotating brush bar doesn’t suggest stellar performance on carpets. The two rubber drive wheels are floating to aid with navigating up and down small lips. Its cliff sensors should put the brakes on if it detects a drop of more than 1cm.
Navigation is random pattern, with infrared anti-collision and bump-detection sensors. There are no fancy cameras or room-mapping smarts here. The charge dock is placed against a skirting, for the Slim2 to find its own way back for a recharge.
On top, a larger and flimsy-feeling white panel lifts up to reveal a compact bin. The bin pops out for emptying easily enough, but in our dog-centric household filled up quickly. The back end of the bin has a two-part dust-filter system. This comprises a washable foam layer and corrugated paper filter that will need tapping or vacuuming out.
In the box there are two sets of the horizontal sweeper brushes, spare filters, two washable floor-mopping pads, and a plastic mop carrier. You Velcro the pads to the carrier, which clips to the underside of the machine for buffing hard floors. In addition to the user guide and charge dock, you also get a neat little infrared remote control.
The remote control sets the Slim2 off on one of its three cleaning patterns: auto, spot or edge cleaning. There’s a start/pause button, a return to dock function and manual steering. Hitting the Auto button on the cleaner itself also engages auto-cleaning mode.
Connect the Slim2 to your Wi-Fi and a raft of additional features becomes available via the Ecovacs app.
Ecovacs Deebot Slim2 – Setup and programming
Parked in its dock, the Deebot Slim2 takes around four hours to charge from completely flat. Run-times are long, well over an hour. The cleaning process is random pattern and the machine runs to near-flat battery before returning to the dock. This is irrespective of room size or debris collected. Clearly, running for a set time will produce better one-pass cleaning in smaller rooms than larger ones. Repeat outings should make up for that as the week progresses.
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The charge dock is typical of the robot vac genre. It’s a chunky but lightweight plastic dock designed to go against the skirting. Its rubber pad feet do little to keep it staying put on a smooth surface when the Deebot bumps into it. Our usual fix is to Blu-tak it down. This isn’t such an issue on carpet.
From the app, hooking up the Deebot Slim to a Wi-Fi network is fairly painless. It remained connected throughout and reconnected consistently after cycling the power from its main on/off switch underneath.
The majority of control is via the app or remote control. Both offer auto, edge and spot cleaning, return to base, and fully manual steering. The latter is tricky at first, but you’ll be chasing the cat in no time.
The app adds the ability to schedule cleaning times and details a log of the Deebot’s recent sessions. It also allows you to track the service life of the side brushes and filter. There’s a Do Not Disturb mode and the ability to rename it to something far less mundane on your network.
The ability to run with or without the floor-cleaning mop attachment is down to type of surface. If you’re all hard floors, go with the mop. If there are any carpets or rugs around, use it without. The mop pads will need to be run through the washing machine every so often, but Deebot does supply a spare so you won’t have to curtail cleaning manoeuvres.
Ecovacs Deebot Slim2 – How does it clean carpets and hard floors?
With no rotating brush bar it’s a safe bet that the Deebot Slim2 is geared up for hard floors more than carpets. Those horizontal brushes are good for flicking loose debris on hard floors into the vacuum path, but are ineffectual on carpets. The vacuum slot itself is very small, so on carpeted floors and rugs, the cleaning path is narrow. The Deebot relies on going around the room randomly, hoping to cover the entire floor.
In a small carpeted area, we set out a cross pattern of carpet-freshening powder with another patch close to the wall. On automatic, the Deebot ran for almost an hour, which allowed it to cover every square inch of the test area many times.
The results were far better than we anticipated. The bulk of the test powder cross had been removed, leaving only a faint dust pattern deeper in the carpet pile.
The patch near the wall was untouched, though. With the vacuum slot near the middle of the underside of the cleaner, the Slim2 was never going to get close to the edge.
Out in larger carpeted rooms the results are less impressive in a single run, but improve with time and repeats. Clearly, the Deebot Slim2 isn’t going to clean deep into the pile or pick up tangled pet hairs from carpet. Nevertheless, it’s okay for keeping surface dust and debris down on these coverings.
The Deebot is much more at home on hard floors. We tried the same cross and near-skirting test patches on parquet and ran without the mop to see the effect.
As a result of its low height, the Slim2 is damn good at getting right under furniture and radiators.
Again, given time the surface dust removal was good, and the area was cleaned of its usual layer of rolling dog hairs too. The brushes do a good job of pulling loose debris from edges and corners. Yet without a brush bar there was a lot of fine powder stuck to the surface, and the machine’s vacuum simply can’t get close to room edges.
On with the mop pad. Cleaning results were several notches up and the mops full width means much-improved edge-cleaning too. Our near-edge test patch was almost entirely polished away after a single test outing.
On the down side, the surface dust and debris are stuck on the mop pad rather than being sucked into the cleaner. There were several little spots where the pad let go of some test powder around the room. The pad also dragged a lot of dust around and deposited it down parquet gaps and tile-grouting grooves. Even though the machine is aimed at hard floors, only smooth laminates and vinyl are likely to see it perform at its very best.
Ecovacs Deebot Slim2 – How does it cope with obstacles?
The Deebot Slim2 moves at a fairly sedate pace, using infrared and bump sensors to steer. The IR sensors will pick up large objects such as a wall, but chair legs and other narrow obstacles get bumped – albeit fairly gently. Solid obstacle navigation is good, but its random pattern coverage is questionable; trickier obstacles flummox it completely.
Observing the Deebot in action, the ‘random’ pattern had a lot of similar repeats. That meant one edge of the hard floor test zone was repeatedly cleaned every time the Slim2 neared the wall. The same was true in the carpeted zone test.
The Slim2 managed to fail all four of our advanced navigation tests, and topped it off by getting stuck where we couldn’t have even envisaged a problem. When it becomes stuck, the main button turns red to let you know all is not well.
The main issue is poor cliff-edge detection. If you have a hard edge and a big drop like a full step, then there’s no problem. Anything more complex throws the Deebot completely, however, mostly off the cliff. It failed to stop at the 2cm drop into the office and got jammed as its wheels became stranded off the ground.
In the kitchen, the Slim2 dealt well with spilled crumbs and the odd fur ball of dog hair rolling around the laminate floor. The kitchen is on two levels and has a challenging 11mm step and then normal 20cm steps to the lower level. Sadly, the Slim2 failed to detect the mini-step and, after some panicked spinning, fell off the bigger step completely.
There were other navigational issues, too. Its bump-up climbing is very poor, failing repeated to clamber up the 15mm depth of our test rug. Most of the time it bumped and turned from the rug; but on occasion it would try first and then turn away. The rotating brush bars also failed to avoid our cable hazard test and became properly tangled up.
Bizarrely, it got stuck under a low wine rack. It decided it was too low, turned to escape and managed to wedge its back-end under the woodwork, stopping it completely.
Why buy the Ecovacs Deebot Slim2?
As smart robot vacuum cleaners go, the Deebot Slim2 is at an entry-level price but offers very good app controls. Hard-floor cleaning is decent if you use the supplied mop pad, but the lack of brush bar and its small vacuum slot make it less suited to carpeted floors.
In simple rooms the random navigation is okay, but awkward steps, cables and rugs are all going to cause the Slim2 issues. Not a bad cleaner for hard floors and less-challenging room layouts, but don’t expect the cleaning or navigation prowess of more affluent robot cleaners.
An inexpensive entry into smart app-controlled robot cleaner, the Deebot Slim2 is fine for simpler hard floors but struggles with carpets and obstacles.