Freelance contributor, TechHiveAug 4, 2020 3:00 am PDT
At a Glance
Vacuums and mops floors
Maps room layout and provides cleaning details
Does not support virtual boundaries
Mopping method does just an average job of getting rid of dirt
The Cybovac E31 combines excellent cleaning and advanced features with a budget price.
The Cybovac E31 is at the top of a new line of robot vacuums from Kyvol, a brand from VanTop Technology & Innovation, a company known more for action and dashboard cameras than cleaning products. Nonetheless, this hybrid robot vacuum and mop impresses with its multiple cleaning modes, smart navigation and mapping, and a powerful max suction of 2200Pa.
The E31 has a standard matte black finish with a tempered glass top. It measures about 12.5 inches in diameter and just under 3 inches high, making it slim enough fit under most furniture.
There are Home and Clean/Pause buttons on top that change color to indicate charging and battery status, as well as a Wi-Fi signal indicator. On the bottom of the vacuum, there’s a single spinning side brush, a roller brush that can be easily removed for cleaning, an omnidirectional wheel, a pair of drive wheels, and a power switch. The 0.6-liter dustbin inserts at the back of the vacuum and can be swapped out for the 0.3-liter water tank when you want to mop hard floors.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best robot vacuum cleaners, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.
In addition to its charging dock and power adapter, the E31 comes with several accessories, including an extra side brush, a remote control and two AAA Batteries, a roll of boundary tape and 3M adhesive pads to secure it, two mopping cloths, a spare HEPA filter and sponge; and a cleaning brush for the roller.
To start using the E31, you must first attach one of the side brushes to the vacant post on the bottom of the vacuum. Then plug in the charging dock, flip the power switch to “on,” and set the E31 on the dock’s contacts. It takes 6 to 6.5 hours for the battery to fully charge, which should provide about 150 minutes of running time. You’ll know the battery is full when the LEDs on top of the vacuum change from pulsing orange to solid blue. As the battery drains during cleaning, these will again change from blue to solid orange and finally flashing red when the battery level is critically low.
The E31 has four cleaning modes. In Auto mode, it cleans all accessible space in a zig-zag pattern with medium suction, boosting the power when it’s on carpet. It’s best suited for general maintenance cleaning. You can enable Spot mode on areas that need a deeper cleaning; the E31 will vacuum in a spiral pattern in a diameter up to 3.9 feet for about two minutes, after which it will go into standby mode until you tell it to resume cleaning in another mode or return it to its dock. Lastly, Edge mode sends the vacuum along the perimeter of the room for about 20 minutes.
You can control the E31 using the physical remote or the Kyvol companion app. (For the latter, you must first register an account and connect to your Wi-Fi, a process that only takes a couple of minutes.) In either case, you can activate the various cleaning modes, start and stop cleanings, manually direct the vacuum, and send it to the dock to recharge using clearly labeled buttons and a directional pad. Both also allow you to schedule cleaning times.
The vacuum supports limited voice control through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Once you connect it with the service of your choice, you can use a compatible smart speaker to start and stop cleanings, send the vacuum “home” to its dock, or locate its whereabouts when you lose track of it.
I used all three at various times during my testing. All things being equal in terms of starting and stopping cleaning jobs, app control gets the edge for its ability to display a map of the room’s layout—allowing you to see where the E31 cleaned and where it’s currently located—and provide stats about cleaning job duration and the square footage covered.
The E31 sucked up a considerable amount of dirt and debris from the carpeted, hardwood, and vinyl-tiled floors in my home. It negotiated the transitions between these floor types without a problem, though it would occasionally get hung up on a power cord or a stray sock. In those instances, it would beep loud enough for me to hear upstairs and push an alert to my phone so I could go rescue it. Between the vacuum’s mapping and its plethora of built-in sensors, it was able to maneuver expertly around walls and furniture.
I used the mopping module on my kitchen and entryway floors. You fill up the water tank with tap water through a small opening, then remove the dustbin from the E31, replace it with the tank, and select a cleaning mode. Water from the tank moistens the attached mopping cloth as the vacuum drags it across the floor (you can adjust the water volume from the app). It doesn’t do a great job, but it’s no worse than similar hybrid vacuums. This floor-wiping method does OK with surface dirt, but it just doesn’t provide the agitation required to scrub deeper grime.
The supplied magnetic boundary tape came in handy during mopping jobs. My hardwood entryway adjoins a carpeted living room, so I stuck a strip of the tape to the floor using the adhesive strips to create a virtual wall between the two rooms. That kept the E31 from rolling into the living room and soaking the rug.
The E31 costs $280, putting it at the upper end of the budget-priced range, and it compares favorably with competing products in that category. It’s ability to clean efficiently with minimal intervention earns it a hearty recommendation whether you’re upgrading your current robot vacuum or purchasing your very first.