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Self-emptying robot vacuums allow you almost fully automate your floor cleaning. But until recently, they’d only been an option for those with very generous appliance budgets. The iRobot Roomba i7+, for example, will cost you nearly $800, and the Roomba S9+ a whopping $1,099. More recently, Proscenic’s M7 Pro and iRobot’s own Roomba i3+ attempted to bring the self-emptying vacuum to more people with less scary price tags, but each sacrificed some functionality to do it. Ecovac’s Deebot Ozmo N8+ stands apart, managing to deliver most of the advanced features while keeping the cost moderate.
The Deebot Ozmo N8+’s $600 price tag includes the robot vacuum and its “auto-empty station.” The vacuum looks similar to other Deebot models: There’s a laser turret on top, an auto-clean button, and a lid that conceals the dustbin. Underneath is the main brush, a pair of side brushes, the driving wheels, and various sensors.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best robot vacuums, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
The auto-empty station looks exactly like what it is—a combination charging dock and dirt receptacle. Like most of these self-emptying devices, its design suggests it was inspired by the idea of grafting a conventional charging dock to a small trashcan.
The Ozmo N8+ aims to provide a completely autonomous cleaning experience. As with similar LiDAR-powered vacuums, it creates a map of your space the first time it cleans to help plot the most efficient path through it. You can use this saved map to create virtual boundaries, label rooms, divide and merge areas, and create cleaning sequences that tell the vacuum what rooms to clean and in what order.
Once the Ozmo N8+ is done vacuuming—or its dustbin is full—it returns to its auto-empty station, which sucks all the captured dirt and debris into a hypoallergenic disposable dust bag. Each bag holds up to a month’s worth of refuse, although Ecovacs doesn’t say what cleaning frequency that estimate is based on. Still, considering that without the auto-empty station you’d be manually emptying the dustbin once or twice per cleaning job, it’s safe to say the N8+ will significantly reduce how often you’ll need to handle its captured contents, and that’s good news for anyone with allergies or dust sensitivity.
The Ozmo N8+ can mop your floors as well. A small water tank is slotted in at the back where you would typically find the dustbin. You remove this and fill it with tap water, then attach a moistened mopping pad to it via a special plate. The Ozmo N8+ can mop as it vacuums and includes a auto carpet-detection feature to prevent it from turning your rugs into a swampy mess.
Though you can run cleaning jobs without it, the Ecovacs Home app gives you maximum control over the Ozmo N8+ and lets you take advantage of the mapping features, schedule jobs, and customize cleanings. The N8+ also integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to enable voice control.
Setup and performance
To connect the N8+ to your Wi-Fi network you‘ll need to switch the vacuum on—the power switch is under the lid, as I found after much searching—and press the reset button until a voice prompt tells you it’s ready to connect. From there, the app walks you through the process of logging into your network and completing the setup.
I first had the vacuum complete a cleaning-and-mapping job on my downstairs level. During this maiden voyage, its movements were tentative as it explored the space looking for clear paths. After a half-hour or so it had finished the job and returned to the auto-empty station, which whirred into life, sucking the contents from the dustbin.
When it was done, I was presented with a map divided into four areas labeled “A,” “B,” C,” and “D,” roughly correlating to the living room, kitchen, entryway, and bathroom. I was able to make them more accurate using the merge and divide map-editing tools. I then named each in turn by tapping the area and selecting from a list of labels, such as “kitchen,” “bathroom,” “corridor,” and so on. When you rename a room, it’s marked with a corresponding icon—a couch for the living room and a steaming pot for the kitchen, for example. I also set virtual boundaries around our dog’s food dishes and his bed, to keep the vacuum from disturbing these.
Once a map is customized to your liking, you can area clean by selecting a room on the map, or clean in sequence by selecting multiple rooms in a particular order. In either case, you then set your cleaning preferences by choosing how many times you want the Ozmo N8+ to go over the room (once or twice), the suction powers (quiet, standard, max, or max+), and the water flow level (low, medium, high, and ultra high). If you’d rather not set cleaning preferences every time you start a cleaning job, you can set them once then toggle on the cleaning preference switch, which will make the Ozmo N8+ clean according to those preferences whenever it does an auto or area cleaning.
I used the Ozmo N8+ on both carpet and vinyl plank flooring and it did an excellent job removing dust, dirt, and pet hair from both. It transitioned from one floor type to another smoothly and avoided obstacles well. I was pleasantly surprised to see it could get under—and more importantly, back out from under—my couch, despite its turret. Usually, when testing a robot vacuum, I must attend to it once or twice because it gets stuck under some furniture or just stops mid-job for no clear reason. I never had any problem like that with the Ozmo N8+ and felt confident letting it clean unattended.
The Ozmo N8+’s mopping was on par with similar vacuum/mop hybrids. I used both the supplied reusable microfiber cloth and a few of the disposable ones and found little difference in the results. The Ozmo N8+ does a good job removing surface, dirt but it doesn’t provide the agitation to lift deeper grime. That makes it great for daily maintenance mopping, which is how I used it. Just be prepared to break out your stick mop and a good floor cleaner semi-regularly to give you hard floors a deeper cleaning.
The Ecovacs Home app is easy to use, with the current map always displayed on the home screen along with quick access to cleaning customization features. You can start auto, area, or custom cleaning jobs with the press of a button on the bottom of the main screen, and current cleaning details are displayed along the top. In the settings, you can toggle various features off and on, schedule cleaning jobs, track the usage of the brushes and filter, and more.
The Deebot Ozmo N8+ is easily the best moderately priced self-emptying robot I’ve used to date. At $600, it’s a clear competitor to iRobot’s Roomba i3+. Not only does the N8+ compare favorably to the i3+ in terms of vacuuming performance, but it bests it with its mopping capability and its customizable maps—two features he i3+ does not include. The $399 Proscenic M7 Pro does include those two features, but its automatic dust collector is only available as a separate purchase ($110 at Amazon as of this writing). Of the three, the Ozmo N8+ is the only one that provides a complete, autonomous floor cleaning right out of the box. That makes it the best option of those we’ve tested for folks with modest budgets.