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Proscenic M8 Pro review

Verdict

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Proscenic’s M8 Pro is loaded with the kind of features you’d normally only find on the most expensive robot vacuum cleaners. It can mop and vacuum, and it’s laser-guided for accurate navigation. It even empties its own dust box. Yet at less than £500 it’s something of a bargain, although there are more powerful robots that will clean better.

Pros

  • Brilliant set of features
  • Laser navigation
  • Mop or vacuum
  • Self-emptying dust box

Cons

  • Cleaning performance could be better
  • Won’t fit under the lowest furniture

Availability

  • UKRRP: £498
  • USAunavailable
  • EuropeRRP: €464
  • CanadaRRP: CA$699
  • Australiaunavailable

Introduction

Proscenic’s M8 Pro robot vacuum cleaner manages to combine a bucket load of high-end features with a distinctly mid-range price. It’s a laser-guided hybrid cleaner that can vacuum and mop, yet despite costing less than £500 it has powerful navigation features, and a charging station that empties it automatically. While its cleaning performance isn’t the best we’ve tested, it is excellent value – particularly given that we’ve seen it discounted to nearer £400.

Design

  • Not the smallest robot vac
  • Sizeable charging dock
  • Can climb over 2cm high obstacles

The Proscenic M8 Pro is on the large side, with a diameter of about 35cm. It’s made from rather anonymous looking black plastics, except on top where it has a smarter finish, but also a laser conning tower that sticks up by about 2cm. This raises the cleaner’s overall height to a stately 10cm. While that’s low enough to fit under many sofas, it’s much less likely to slot under sideboards and other cupboards, so this cleaner might not fit where some others do.

The same is certainly true of the M8 Pro’s charging station, which – at 36cm tall – is far too big to tuck away under a sofa. It’s around four times taller than some stations we’ve seen, but that’s because it has its own vacuum unit that automatically empties the robot after it’s finished cleaning. Proscenic says the base’s 4.3-litre dust bag will last for up to 90 days, so there’s no daily maintenance needed.

The base station’s powerful 1,500W motor generates quite an exhaust draft, so can’t be placed fully back against a wall. It also needs around half a metre of obstacle-free space on either side, to help the M8 Pro navigate into its dock.

Turn the Proscenic M8 Pro over and you’ll find it has a rotating brush bar designed to loosen dirt on hard floors and carpets. It also has a side brush to scoop dirt away from skirting boards and help increase the cleaner’s reach. Proscenic has designed the M8 Pro to deal with obstacles up to 2cm tall, so there’s a degree of articulation to the main drive wheels and the brush bar itself.

Although you don’t need to empty the M8 Pro’s dust box, you’ll still need to fill it with water when you’re going to use the mop. This comes as a clip-on plate with a microfibre cover and, while it’s easy to attach, detach and wash, the dust box itself can need a bit of cajoling back into place.

Most users will probably control this cleaner using its excellent app, but it does also come with a conventional remote control covering basic functions. It also arrives with two spare dust bags, a spare HEPA filter, and a combined brush/razor tool for removing tangled hair or thread.

Features

  • Vacuums and mops
  • Laser navigation
  • Excellent scheduling and navigation control in the app

Proscenic has absolutely thrown everything at this cleaner when it comes to features. Most obviously, it can vacuum or mop, either separately or together. While cheap hybrid robovacs sometimes skimp on the details, the M8 Pro has three vacuum levels, and three different water volume settings. On the default, middle vacuum setting, the cleaner is supposed to automatically detect when it’s on carpet rather than solid floor, stepping up the power accordingly. I found this worked on our rug, but I had to crank the power up manually for general use on carpets.

The M8 Pro uses a rotating laser to help it build an accurate map of your home, which you can watch emerging during its first cleaning pass. But while on some cleaners such a map is just for illustration, the M8 Pro uses it as the basis for excellent zone and room-based control.

I mostly tested the M8 Pro on the ground floor of my house, which comprises a medium-sized open-plan kitchen and lounge, and a small hallway. It correctly identified three separate rooms, which I was able to label on the map. Where some cleaners in this price bracket rely on magnetic tape to mark no-go zones, the Proscenic app lets you set multiple zones, and control whether they’re off-limits for everything, or for mopping only. I blocked off a rug and the doormat for mopping, and set up two boundary lines to prevent the cleaner waltzing off outside if the doors were open.

Proscenic’s app lets you edit the rooms it’s identified, or set up separate cleaning zones within them. This is useful if there are particular areas that might need more intensive or frequent cleaning than the rest of a room. I set up zones around our cat’s litter tray and the dinner table, allowing me to quickly clear up crumbs and spilled litter before they got tracked around the rest of the house. Finally, there’s a spot cleaning feature, which you can use for ad-hoc cleaning of a small area.

The app also offers fairly comprehensive scheduling. You can configure vacuuming, mopping or both at any time, with different programmes on different days if needed. You can set up scheduled cleans to tackle the whole floor, selected rooms, or specific zones, letting you choose times when a room’s not being used. I found I was happiest to manually trigger cleaning of the whole downstairs floor, just after the kids had gone upstairs to bed.

This cleaner has a simply brilliant feature set for the price, but there is one change I’d like to see. Officially, the M8 pro only ‘learns’ a single storey of your house, so if you want to carry it upstairs you’ll need to reset its saved map, losing all your room names, no-go zones and other modifications.

After some poking around I discovered you can in fact restore a previous map by selecting Cleaning Records from the More Functions menu, choosing the last clean that was based on the map you want to restore, then selecting Apply this Map. This workaround does allow you to move the cleaner between two or more storeys, provided you can find the appropriate maps to restore from within the cleaning records. Given that these records are in there, it would be great if there was a more straightforward way to switch between them.

Incidentally, I found you needn’t move the base station when you move the cleaner. The M8 Pro will clean a different floor happily, then begin a forlorn search for its charging point before giving up and shutting down. You can wait, or pause it, then simply move it to the same area as the base station, restore the correct map and send it to recharge.

Performance

  • Excellent navigation
  • Reasonable cleaning
  • Fairly quiet cleaner, loud charging station

Whether it’s the first or 100th time you’ve used it, the M8 Pro begins by tracking the boundaries of the area to be cleaned. Subsequently, it ‘fills in’, following a regular pattern to ensure the whole area is covered.

Equipped with infrared time-of-flight sensors, cliff detection, bump detection and laser mapping, it’s no surprise that it generally does a great job of keeping out of trouble. It successfully navigated door stops, stair tops, chair legs and other furniture on its rounds around my house, although for best results you really ought to put chairs up before cleaning, and keep pets and children away.

Fifi is not amused

Proscenic says the M8 Pro can handle obstacles up to 2cm high. It certainly dealt fine with a chunky divider between my lounge and kitchen, and was easily able to step up onto our thick doormat and rug. It was outfoxed by our unusual breakfast bar chairs, though, becoming beached on its second pass across their bar-like legs. It also redistributed the cat food I foolishly left out on a low plate. I learned to put all our chairs and cat things up before starting the cleaner, after which we had no issues.

The M8 Pro always did exactly what I’d asked it to do in the app, avoiding mopping our rug, for example, and pausing and resuming when commanded. If I had to interrupt it – for example if it had eaten some Lego – I could simply pick it up, resolve the issue and put it back down anywhere. The cleaner would quickly get its bearings and pick up from where it left off.

However, while the M8 Pro’s navigation was truly faultless, I couldn’t quite say the same for its cleaning. In day-to-day use it picked up crumbs, dust, pet hair and cat litter, but not larger objects like bigger Lego bricks or beans. Despite a claimed 3,000 Pa of suction, it didn’t excel in our spilled flour test, leaving plenty on a tiled kitchen floor after a first pass at medium power. At full power almost all the flour was cleaned from the tiles, but reservoirs remained in the grout. I had to finish the last bits with a dustpan and brush.

The M8 Pro did a better job on carpet and a deep-pile rug, but in both cases it still left flour that had to be manually vacuumed out.

Like most other hybrid robot vacuums, the M8 Pro can’t mop as thoroughly as a human. It’s not at all bad, however, easily cleaning up recent spills of everyday liquids. On a single pass it had little impact on dried-on stains, such as spots of congealed chocolate milk in the kitchen.

However, when I stepped up the water level and sent it back for a couple more passes it started to lift most of these off. And after more regular use it generally stayed on top of day-to-day stains, but it can’t clean as well as the more expensive Yeedi Vac 2 Pro or Ecovacs Deebot Omni X1.

This cleaner seems to have more than enough battery power for intensive cleaning. A typical, mid-power vacuum covering 28 square metres took about 23 minutes and consumed about 10-12% of its 5,200mAh battery, suggesting Proscenic’s claim of a four-hour runtime isn’t quite as optimistic as it sounds. It made a single pass of our ground floor and a double pass of our first floor at full power, and finished with more than half a charge remaining.

In fact, the M8 Pro’s modest dust container is likely to need emptying far more often than the cleaner itself needs charging. Admittedly I have a cat and children – and clearly don’t vacuum as often as I should – but I noticed suction tailing off on the above workout, and on investigation realised that the dust bin was completely full.

The M8 Pro is quiet enough that you can hold a conversation while it’s running, but it’s a little loud for comfortable TV viewing. I measured it at about 58dB on medium suction, and 62dB on full power. By contrast, the base station’s 1,500W motor is about as loud as a conventional vacuum cleaner – I measured it at 70dB from 15cm away. Fortunately it only runs for about 15 seconds. You can configure it to run after one, two or three cleans, or switch off automatic emptying altogether.

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Should you buy it?

The Proscenic M8 Pro isn’t perfect, but it is brilliant for the money and has a tonne of features.

Suction power isn’t the best, and this robot can’t quite pull the deepest-laid dirt out of carpets or tiles.

Final Thoughts

Like every robot vacuum we’ve tested, the Proscenic M8 Pro can’t completely replace manual vacuuming or mopping. Run it frequently, however, and it will massively reduce the amount of housework you need to do – you won’t even need to empty it. This cleaner is remarkably good value given that it not only offers a huge set of features, but that they all work extremely well. It could do with a bit more suction, but in day-to-day use, it’ll prevent dirt building up, and it won’t get stuck or fall down the stairs in the process. If you want something more powerful, check out our guide to the best robot vacuum cleaners.

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FAQs

Is this an effective vacuum cleaner?

Yes. While it doesn’t have the suction of a mains-powered vacuum, it’s easy to use it much more often. Particularly for busy people, the end result is your floors stay cleaner.

Is this an effective mop?

A robot mop is a great way to give floors a light, regular mop, and so stay on top of day to day dirt and grime. It’s not as effective as manual mopping, however, particularly when it comes to dried on stains or a big spill.

Will this cleaner handle obstructions?

It should deal well with most common obstructions, but for the best results you need to clear loose items off the floor, and ideally put chairs up.

Can I tell the Proscenic M8 Pro not to clean a certain area?

Absolutely – the Proscenic app lets you configure lines it won’t cross, or set up zones where it won’t mop, or won’t vacuum, or won’t go at all. That’s useful for stopping it mopping a rug, say.

Can I tell this cleaner to vacuum or mop only a certain area?

Yes. You can tell it to clean one or more rooms, a zone, or a particular spot that needs attention. Wherever it’s cleaning you can ask it to vacuum, mop, or both.

Can I use it on more than one floor of my house?

Yes, but it’s a bit of a fiddle. You might also need to return it to the charging station so it can empty its dust box between cleans.

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