- Excellent mapping and navigation
- Outstanding, easy-to-use app
- Good on hard floors
- So-so carpet cleaning
- Limited mopping abilities
- Poor complex cliff detection
- Review Price: £499.00
- SmartNavi mapping
- Learning cleaning routine
- Full app control
- Rotating brush bar
- Interchangeable suction inlets
- Damp-floor mopping
- Alexa voice commands
- Infrared obstacle sensors
- High efficiency filter
- Charge time: 4hrs
What is the Ecovacs Deebot R95?
The Ecovacs Deebot R95, the company’s latest laser-mapping robot floor cleaner, is packed with smart tech, has a proper rotating brush bar, and can even mop your hard floors. Fully app controllable, with the option of basic Amazon Alexa voice commands, it offers full auto cleaning, manual manoeuvres and virtual walls.
The R95 is great at navigating, mapping and includes fancy smart control functions, but its low suction means only so-so carpet cleaning. It’s better for hard floors, and the damp mopping works well without soaking the place. It isn’t without its caveats then, but the relatively affordable price tips the scales in this clever robot’s favour.
Related: Best robot vacuum cleaners
Ecovacs Deebot R95 – Design and features
The Deebot R95 is the latest generation of floor-cleaning robot from Ecovacs Robotics – and it has lasers. What’s not to like? In fact, the R95 packs plenty of clever tech inside its compact body. These include laser-based room mapping, smartphone control, virtual walls, hard-floor mopping and Amazon Alexa voice integration. Somewhere, way down the features list, it purports to be a vacuum cleaner too.
The R95 sits close to the top of Ecovacs’ Deebot range, so its sub-£500 asking price looks rather appealing compared to some rivals. The design is low and sleek for slipping under your sofa, but the navigation turret limits its ultimate limbo abilities.
That laser turret measures and maps the room as the Deebot goes about its business, creating a room floorplan on the app. Subsequent room-cleaning is then quicker and more logical being based on the floorplan.
Flip the R95 over and the front-end is typical robot vac. Two drive wheels with sprung suspension flank a central vacuuming cassette with rotating brush bar. The bar has both rubber blades and brushes to cope with dust and large particles alike.
There are two large horizontal sweeper brushes to pull in debris from edges and corners. The front trolley wheel is flanked by charge contacts and cliff-edge sensors.
Yet the R95’s party trick is hard-floor cleaning, including wet-mopping. Well, damp-mopping. You fill the clear plastic mop carrier supplied with a measuring cup of clean water. The mop pad Velcro’s to the carrier, and the whole assembly clips to the rear of the robot.
To further enhance hard-floor vacuuming, you remove the brush bar cassette and install a rubber-bladed inlet nozzle. This concentrates the suction for better pick-up without the brush.
In this mode, the R95 goes about its normal business drip-feeding moisture into the mop pad. The vacuum picks up any loose debris and the mop wet-wipes the floor as it passes. Once done, you simply detach and wash the pad.
Up top, a cover flap lifts to reveal the pull-out bin and a little detangling tool in its own holder. Controls on top are limited to a couple of indicator lights and the auto-cleaning function. There’s no remote supplied, and the remainder of the setup and control is via your Wi-Fi network and the app.
The kit that comes with the R95 includes two mop pads, two sets of sweeper brushes, the charge dock with power supply, measuring cup and cleaning fluid for the reservoir.
Ecovacs Deebot R95 – Setup and programming
The Deebot R95 takes around four hours to charge and will run for up to 90 minutes. Both figures are a little academic if you’re using its programmed cleaning. The charge dock is very light and will get shunted on smooth floors, so some Blu Tack might be handy.
Connection to the Wi-Fi network is simple enough, and the Ecovacs app is both pretty and logical. The app copes with multiple Deebots on the same network, if you have more than a single unit.
There are four programmed cleaning modes covering fully Auto, Spot Clean, Single Room and Area. You can also set cleaning times and regular schedules. The latter two modes require the R95 to have done at least one run out to map the area.
Set it on Auto and the R95 will trundle off into the room, a little aimlessly at first. It begins sending back mapping data to the app, creating a floorplan as it goes. The more it cleans, the more accurate the floorplan created.
Once it has a map, you can then clean just a specific room or area by hand-drawing on virtual cordoning lines. That’s a little tricky if you have fingers the size of saveloys and a smaller screened phone, but quite effective when you get it right.
There’s also fully manual steering with a virtual toggle pad. That requires good gaming finger skills or a lot of practice to get it going remotely where you want.
Speaking of skills, the Ecovacs Alexa Skill is required to control the R95 by voice commands. The controls are pretty much limited to start, stop and charge, which is fun to impress your friends or scare the beejezus out of the cat, if nothing else. If you have it programmed for cleaning when you’re out, it’s all a bit academic.
Related: Amazon Alexa guide
Once the first floorplan has been created, the R95 cleans in a logical, linear fashion. It will traverse the width of the room in overlapping lines, avoiding obstacles based on the floorplan. New obstacles are detected by its infrared and bump sensors.
Ongoing maintenance will include emptying the roughly 0.5-litre bin – frequently, if you have pets –and washing the filter. You’ll also need to wash the floor pad at each outing if you’re wet-mopping.
The app includes service-life indicators for the sweeper brushes, although the frayed ends will probably give that away.
Ecovacs Deebot R95 – How does it clean carpets and hard floors?
On carpets, the R95’s limited suction power means it’s never going to be a replacement for a proper vacuum cleaner. The combination of that limited suction, rotating brush bar and the attrition of daily cleaning, carpet performance is simply fair.
Using our standard vacuum test powder, we marked out a cross and line to the edge of the skirting. The powder is a mix of talc, baking soda and carpet-cleaning powder, replicating typical household dirt particle sizes. The area also had some pet hairs thanks to our trusty canine assistants, Willow and Poppy. We used the R95 with its brush bar – but no mop – and set it to Auto. Off it went, mapping the area and cleaning as it went.
We weren’t impressed. So as that run represented a ‘reccy’, we allowed the R95 a second run with its new floorplan map. Mid-carpet results were fair. Some of the pet hairs had been picked up, but a lot remained entwined in the pile. Most of the lighter powder had been swept up, but there remained a visible X of the heavier particles showing.
The real fail was close to the skirting edge. The vacuum inlet is well away from the perimeter of the cleaner and the sweeper brushes do nothing on carpet. As such, the R95 didn’t even get close to cleaning carpets near room or obstacle boundaries.
Hard-floor cleaning proved more successful. Dry-cleaning benefited from the brush bar being in contact with the surface, and the sweeper brushes pulling dirt into the path of the vacuum.
We spread out a typical spillage of dried oats and some tiny walked-in stones. This was joined by the usual daily dust, dirt and pet hair debris. Since the R95 had already mapped the room, we gave it a single run on Auto.
Results were good. It sucked up all the pet hair fur-balls and most of the main debris, even close to edges. For a daily automated clean, that’s as good as you need.
Switching to wet-mopping, the R95 took a little while to get going. For the first few lines, the pad simply didn’t have enough moisture to pick anything up. After a little while, it began to show a full-width mopped area, which dried quickly.
Open-floor mopping was good, especially on smooth surfaces such as laminates more so than textured riven tiles. Really stuck-down muck isn’t going to be shifted by a single pass, but for pet paw footprints and the like, it worked fine.
The only issue here related to the shape of the body and the linear navigation. The R95 doesn’t do a perimeter run, so you’re left with small triangular missed patches at the end of each line.
The water reservoir is tiny, so don’t expect to clean huge areas without a refill. However, flipping the R95 over at the end of the run revealed a very mucky mop, indicating a job well done.
Ecovacs Deebot R95 – How does it cope with obstacles?
The SmartNavi laser-based room-mapping is very neat. Combined with the infrared, bump and cliff sensors, the R95 is a very efficient machine for covering your room without bumping into much.
The laser and infrared sensors do tend to miss thin chair legs. Assuming the chair remains in the same place the floorplan map will mark it down as an obstacle to be calmly navigated next time around. It had no trouble with big drop-offs such as the stairs, and climbed up onto mats of around 10mm. Any taller and it would bump-steer away.
Generally speaking, the R95 is exceptionally good at avoiding obvious obstacles, and the basic mapping is exceptional.
Yet, it’s the not-so-obvious hazards where the R95 falls down – quite literally in some cases. A 2cm step failed to trigger the cliff sensors, resulting in the R95 becoming stuck at a jaunty angle between the two. And a compound cliff hazard, which drops 15mm to the threshold before a proper stair, befuddled the R95 every time. It would throw itself down the smaller step but detect the larger stair and get stuck between the two. The result was a shutdown surrender, with the Auto light turning red to indicate an issue.
Most frustrating in our house was the laser navigation turret. That happened to be just a little taller than the beams under a main table. The R95 didn’t detect the beams and the turret would hit every time. Most of the time it struggled a bit and turned around, but occasionally it managed to wedge itself under the beam completely.
Your mileage may vary depending on sofa heights. It was a shame the R95 missed a hazard lower than its own height, though.
Why buy the Ecovacs Deebot R95?
As flagship vacuum and floor-mopping robots go, the R95 is smart and relatively good value. Its navigation is generally good, room-mapping faultless, and the app control is inspired.
Yet, when it comes to actual cleaning, the results are more of a mixed bag. On carpets its performance is just about passable for light dusting, albeit nowhere near room edges. Hard-floor cleaning is much better, and the mopping function works well for smoother floors in smaller rooms.
Given its not-too-eye-watering price, the R95 is a good choice for hard-floor cleaning on a budget. However, if you can afford more then the navigation and performance of the Dyson 360 Eye is far better.
A clever, smart-controlled robot floor cleaner. It’s so-so on carpets but offers good hard floor vacuuming and mopping.
Score in detail
Cleaning performance 6