When it comes to mopping prowess, robot vacuum cleaners really don’t cut it. Not so with the Ecovacs Deebot T9 Plus. Kudos to Ecovacs Robotics for making what is arguably one of the best automated cleaning droid we’ve tested, although the company's newer models, like the Deebot Omni X1 series.
That’s because the brand tweaked the mopping plate for the Deebot T9 over its predecessors, adding an oscillator that shakes the plate back and forth at a decently fast speed. That’s as close to ‘scrubbing’ as you’re going to get with a robovac. And it’s plenty. That vibrating action is capable of removing certain stains like dusty footprints, but anything more baked-in than that (like muddy footprints or food spills)... well, even you will likely have to use plenty of elbow grease to get those off your floors.
Improvements have been made to its vacuum functionality as well. The T9 Plus is able to sense the difference between hard floors and carpets, automatically increasing suction as it rolls from one to the other, and vice versa. Moreover, there are now four power modes (instead of the three in the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8), including Quiet and Max+.
To make it all the more interesting, Ecovacs has also added an attachment that houses a small vial of air freshener which, when installed instead of the mopping plate and switched on in the companion app, sprays a mild perfume downwards. There’s no doubt this is a nice touch, but it does feel very superfluous – it’s a novelty that you can actually do without. Moreover, these air freshener capsules are proprietary and you will have to buy the Ecovacs-branded scents if you want to keep using this feature.
Then there’s the auto-empty station that houses a bag to collect all the dust and dirt the droid has picked up with each cleaning run. It’s handy to have as the bin in the robovac is small, but those bags are single-use only and replacing them will be an ongoing cost.
Overall, though, the Deebot T9 Plus is very easy to set up and does a pretty good job of cleaning up after you, allowing you to put your feet up and enjoy your extra free time.
Ecovacs Deebot T9 Plus: price and availability
- What is it? A robot vacuum cleaner that also mops and self-empties
- Retail price: AU$1,299
- Available directly from Ecovacs Robotics
For a robot vacuum cleaner that sucks (in the best way possible), mops, deodorizes and empties its own bin, the Ecovacs Deebot T9 Plus is very competitively priced. In fact, compared to its competition, we’d argue that it’s relatively affordable at AU$1,299 for the bot and the auto-empty station.
To put that price into perspective, the iRobot Roomba i7 Plus, which also comes with an auto-empty station but lacks any kind of mopping ability or the deodorizer, costs an eye-watering AU$1,899 (although it does occasionally get cheaper on Amazon AU). There’s even the iRobot Roomba s9 Plus that comes with specially designed brushes to get edges cleaned better – but no mopping capabilities still – that will set you back a staggering AU$2,899.
In fact, the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 launched in 2019 (a year before the T9) with the same AU$1,299 price tag and without an auto-empty station. While the price of this older model has dropped to about AU$999, it makes the new T9 Plus seem rather competitively priced.
While some Deebots are available to buy on Amazon AU, the T9 Plus is only available directly from the Ecovacs Robotics online store.
- Large auto-empty station
- Requires custom fragrance pod
- Redesigned mopping plate
Take the bot out of its box and there’s really not much different about it from the older Deebots. It’s still that familiar round device with sensors in the front and, like the Deebot T8, the mopping plate at the back. However, out of the box, it’s the air freshener chamber that comes fitted into the rear of the droid, which unclips to be replaced by the mopping plate.
Unlike any other Deebot, though, the box it comes in is massive – all so that the auto-empty station can fit in. This vertical ‘tank’ comes with a paper dust bag fitted under the hood and sits atop the charging plate. This, too, is bigger than the charging docks of the other Deebots because there’s a suction tube that runs through it, carrying dirt from the device’s bin into the dust bag. Instructions on how to replace that bag are available on the underside of the tank’s lid – just lift and pull out the cardboard tab to remove and slide a new one in place.
Place the Deebot T9 onto the charging plate and the entire setup looks like… well, a toilet. It's tempting to poke fun at it but that toilet-like setup lacks one thing – space to stow away the mopping plate or the air freshener fixture, depending on which one is being used. This can be a major consideration in small apartments where storage is at a premium. We used the lid of the auto-empty station as a shelf but it’s not quite flat, so when the bin is being auto-emptied, vibrations can cause the accessories to fall.
Speaking of the two attachments: Ecovacs has changed the mop cloths that come with its dual-function bots. Those that we tested with the Deebot T8 were washable and reusable, but the ones supplied with the T9 Plus are disposable. We did manage to wash ours once but they’re thin and don’t do a good job after. We found that wasteful and it adds towards ongoing costs where you need to replace the mopping pads regularly. The air freshener capsule is also proprietary and if you wish to continue using it regularly, you’ll need to buy the Ecovacs options.
The bin inside the bot itself is small, and while it will empty itself automatically after each vacuuming run, the outlets on the box are small and clumps of hair and carpet fibres can remain. So you will need to check it regularly and clean it out as necessary. The dust bag in the auto-empty station has a capacity of about 2L, so you may not need to replace it too often, but that too will be part of your ongoing costs to run the T9.
Setup and app control
- Easy setup
- Intuitive app with 3D maps… in Chinese
- Everything under your control
While there are those ongoing costs we’ve mentioned above, the app gives you total control over the bot to potentially keep those costs down. You can keep the air freshener switched off entirely and use it only when you feel like it, and you can switch off auto-emptying if you wish and empty the bin in the bot yourself after each clean. You can, in theory, also wash the mopping pads and reuse them, although they do begin to lose effectiveness after each wash. The app displays the life cycle of everything, giving you far more control over the Deebot T9 Plus than we’ve seen before.
From the first stage of connecting to the home Wi-Fi to setting up smart controls via Google Assistant – it’s all very smooth and simple, very intuitive and easy to use. The app even lets you decide if you want the Deebot to clean once or do two cleaning runs, how much water you want used during mops, and charts every single cleaning session (even spot cleans that last a few minutes).
Maps are practically perfect and, with Advanced settings switched on, you can do area cleans or set up custom spot cleans by erecting virtual boundaries. You can edit the 2D map created by adding names to each room or area, and it will show you the Wi-Fi coverage for your entire home – an important feature if you think there are nooks and crannies where the Deebot might stall after dropping out of the network.
The extra feature in the app you get when using the Deebot T9 Plus is the optional 3D maps. This really doesn’t add any functional value, but it’s a cute feature that lets you add bits of furniture to each room to mimic exactly how your home is set up. Unfortunately, the instructions are in Chinese, but you can play around with it easily enough. It’s a novelty, though, and you’ll likely find yourself setting it up once and forgetting about it. Whether Ecovacs plans to put this feature to good use in future remains to be seen.
Mapping and smart features
- Mapping is near perfect
- Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
As with most Deebots we’ve tested, space mapping is practically perfect. You’ll be able to follow the bot from start to finish on the app, watch a floor map of your home being built in almost real time (there’s a second or two lag), and keep track of where it’s cleaned by the tracks it leaves on said map. If it misses a spot, you’ll know, but during our testing we found it covered the entire space. Again, like the other Deebots, the T9 can distinguish between carpets and hard floors, evident on the map as a textured space.
One feature that partly justifies the premium price of the T9 Plus is its smart home integration. You can control the T9 with Alexa or Google Assistant, but you will need to set up an Ecovacs account to connect. That done, it only takes a simple voice command to start, stop, pause or send the bot back to charge. While specific areas on the map can be named, we found that asking Google Assistant to “clean Room 1” for example doesn’t work, likely because it hasn’t been added to the ‘skills’. You can ask Google Assistant to confirm whether “Deebot is charging” or whether “the vacuum is running”, but nothing more complicated than that. Perhaps more skills will be added in future and you will be able to ask the Deebot T9 Plus to do a specific area clean with a voice command as opposed to using the app.
Performance and battery life
- Excellent obstacle avoidance
- Impressive suction and mopping
- Misses room edges
The Deebot T9 Plus is arguably the best Ecovacs has made yet. Like the Deebot T8, it vacuums really well, with plenty of suction power to get entangled hair off carpet fibres. That said, if your carpet floors are particularly messy, we found setting the bot to a double clean usually takes care of it. On a regular basis, it’s the best general cleaning we’ve seen for any of the Deebots we’ve tested.
Our only complaint with the T9 is that it tends to miss room edges too often. It senses a wall and slows down to avoid bumping into it and thus not quite brushing up dust collecting along skirting boards and walls. Even a follow-up area clean doesn’t quite solve that problem.
It’s a similar issue when mopping – it doesn’t quite get close enough to walls to clean room edges. But everywhere else on a hard floor, the Deebot T9 does an excellent job of mopping up after you. Admittedly it will struggle with caked-in food spills, but its redesigned vibrating mopping plate is more than capable of removing lighter stains off the floor, something the T8 wasn’t able to do.
If you really aren’t keen on using your own manual scrubbing skills on food spills, you could get the Deebot to do two cleaning runs with the mopping plate on, or add a couple of area cleans at the end of the full cleaning sessions to try and get rid of bigger spills. You’ll find that there’s usually plenty of charge left in it to do all that.
Ecovacs promises a battery life of up to 175 minutes (just under three hours) on a single charge and that’s more than enough for a large single-storey home. You can potentially even do two cleaning runs on a standard setting back to back for a two-bedder, maybe even a three-bedder, depending on the size of the rooms. During our testing, we found that a 45-minute clean at the highest suction level and maximum water supply for mopping only drained the battery down to just 80% – very impressive indeed.
What’s also impressive is that this is the first Deebot we’ve tested that actually does a full 360º around furniture legs. If the T9 senses a piece of furniture, say a dining room set, and space permitting it to do so, it rotates around a leg first before moving on to its usual passage. In our test space, it did that for our dining table chairs and the bed – the furniture that gave the bot ample room to move around the legs. So while it might miss room edges, it definitely does a better job around furniture.
As for the air freshener, it’s an interesting addition, but quite unnecessary. The fragrance is great, but mild, and dissipates rather quickly. So if you’ve scheduled a clean-with-fragrance session for when you’ve been away and expect to return to a home smelling wonderful, you may be disappointed.
Should I buy the Ecovacs Deebot T9 Plus?
Buy it if...
You want a multi-function robot vacuum cleaner that lets you get lazy
The one thing the Deebot T9 Plus is good at is letting you get lazy. Between its ability to vacuum, mop and empty its own bin, you really aren’t doing very much. Sure, you need to pick up little bits and pieces off the floor, like socks, small toys and cables before it does a clean, but even that the bot is capable of avoiding (although it’s best to be safe than have them get sucked up).
You want the best mopping robovac currently available
We’ve tested a few dual-function robot vacuum cleaners in our time but the Deebot T9 is arguably the best when it comes to mopping. The redesigned mopping plate definitely does a far better job at ‘scrubbing’ when compared to older models, which essentially just did a wet wipe across the floor. To be fair, it will still struggle against some caked-in food spills, but if you aren’t the very messy kind, then this is definitely one of the best automated cleaning machines we’ve tried.
You have a large home
Actually, it doesn’t really matter what size your home is as there’s almost three hours of battery life to sustain a clean of, say, a five-bedroom home. Of course, it needs to be a single-storey home as no robot vacuum cleaner can climb or descend stairs, but that battery life is beyond impressive.
Don't buy it if...
You’re on a tight budget
While the Deebot T9 Plus is competitively priced, it is expensive. But if you don't need such an advanced robovac, then there are cheaper options available from Ecovacs. Its predecessor, the T8 AIVI, also launched at the same AU$1,299 price tag but is now available for less, so we’re hoping that by the time another big sale comes round, the T9 Plus will also see a significant discount to make it more affordable. That said, if your budget can stretch, and you really want a good robovac, this is the one to reach for.
You have pets that scare easily
The auto-empty station is pretty loud and could scare some pets. We’ve also seen reports of pet poo getting smeared over floors by robovacs – while we’ve never experienced that, it’s something that can happen and it’s best to factor that in when making a buying decision.
You need a really good deep clean
As we’ve mentioned in our other Deebot reviews, no robot vacuum has the power of a traditional vacuum cleaner. So if you’ve got wall-to-wall carpets, you’re better off getting a corded vacuum, especially if you have pet hair constantly getting entangled within the fibres.