Affordable robot vacuums are starting to become a thing. It's a growing market, with brands like Eufy and iLife introducing new products that compete with the big established brands of Roomba and Neato, for less than half the price.
One of the latest from iLife is the V8S, which differentiates itself from other affordable cleaners (like the iLife A7) by mopping hard floors as well as vacuuming. It sounds like a useful added feature on paper, but does the iLife V8S's mop clean up the competition? Read on to find out.
iLife V8S price and release date
The iLife V8S is available from various retailers in the US and UK, for a reasonable price of around $260 or £250. You can easily spend double that on some robot vacuums from the big brands, which makes the V8S a tempting proposition if saving money is your main concern.
Like most robot vacuum cleaners, the iLife V8S has a round design that’s intended to slip under furniture. It also features a bumper to prevent damage the vacuum or, perhaps more importantly, the things in your home if it slams into them.
The V8S comes with both a charging station and a remote control. It sits a little higher off the floor than the Eufy RoboVac 11, which meant we struggled to find a place for it to comfortably call home, but if you have some raised furniture, you should find a spot to keep it out of sight when it’s charging.
A small screen on top of the cleaner displays limited information like the time and cleaning mode, and is clear and easy to read.
Below that are three buttons for different modes on the vacuum. Those are Home (to send the cleaner back to charge) Timed Clean and a Circular Motion mode. There's also a bigger button to start modes or pause them altogether.
Underneath that, you'll find a button for accessing the mode that will give you the most efficient coverage. This is meant to understand your space, and work out the best route to take.
When we set this mode up, the iLife V8S often got confused about where it was going. It certainly isn't as accurate as the room-tracking tech we've seen on more high-end vacuum cleaners, but it's still clearly superior to some cheaper cleaners in terms of efficiency.
On the rear of the cleaner you’ll find a button to release the bin. This is easy to remove – a big bonus on a vacuum cleaner like this – and large, so the iLife V8S will run for a long time before you have to empty it.
The iLife V8S's wheels look robust and we found it covered a variety of different areas with ease. It struggled on a rug in our testing apartment though, and we often returned home to find it dangling on the edge where it had tried to mount the carpeted area. That was frustrating considering handling different surfaces is meant to be one of the iLife's main selling points.
We found the cleaning spinners quite easy to change, but they came off once or twice around our apartment. iLife says the cleaner's "anti-tangle nozzle" should prevent that happening, but they fell off far more often than on other cleaners we've used. Hunting for them was particularly irritating when they were hidden under the sofa. You get two extra in the box, but if you find they detach regularly, you may have to buy some more online quite quickly.
The mopping mode involves snapping in a different bin that you fill with water manually. Again, we found it easy, but it’s a bit frustrating when the whole point of a robot vacuum is automation. In fact, it would have taken almost as long to mop our apartment ourselves as it did to fill up the bin and connect it to the cleaner.
The iLife V8S's vacuuming mode isn’t terrible, but it’s not impressive either. We found that the far cheaper Eufy RoboVac 11 picked up a similar amount of dirt, and although you have to empty the RoboVac's bin more often, it’s better to know your flat is as clean as possible after every go.
The V8S has no room mapping, which meant it often took a strange route around our apartment that could be frustrating to watch, and it regularly missed areas. The vacuum's cleaning performance is reasonable, and may be enough to tackle the worst of the dirt in your home, but we don’t think it’ll clean up every area like you may be expecting from an automated helper.
We’ve already mentioned the hassle of setting up the mopping mode, and although it does a reasonable job of cleaning hard floors, it won't do much for areas that need extra scrubbing. Essentially it’s a mop head on the bottom that gently distributes the water as the cleaner drives. It applies no friction, and we found that the iLife failed to remove scuffs and stains that required any elbow grease, which is frustrating considering this is the product's USP.
Essentially, the story is the same for both cleaning modes: the iLife V8S will do an acceptable job if you’re not looking for a dramatic clean around your home. If you want something that will clean your floors as thoroughly as a human, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Battery life isn’t always that important on vacuum cleaners because they often return home to charge after a quick clean, but we found the iLife V8S would run for long enough to clean up a one-bedroom apartment, with some power left over.
We think the battery should be able to handle the downstairs of your average size house. Perhaps don’t expect it to clean your entire mansion though; it may just be able to handle the East Wing.
You can also set the vacuum to work on its own rather than waiting for you to press buttons, and create a schedule from the main screen to tell it when to start each day. There's no app integration though, so you won't be able to set it going from your desk at work when you're not home.
For a device that's capable of both vacuuming and mopping, the iLife V8S is reasonably priced and attractively designed.
It slots nicely under furniture, making it easy to hide from view, and the large bin also means you won’t have to disconnect it after a couple of cleans (a big benefit if you want the cleaning process to be automated).
The iLife V8S's battery life is also impressive, and we believe it should be able to keep going and going if you have a larger abode than ours.
The mopping mode's cleaning performance wasn't as good as we'd hoped. It doesn't deliver much elbow grease, and while it will give your floor a quick spruce, it's not going to work on tough scuffs and stains.
Transferring between the rug in our flat and the wood flooring was tough for the iLife V8S, so you may want to look elsewhere if you have several different types of flooring to clean.
The iLife V8S is a cheaper robot vacuum cleaner, and will give you the basics you need to make cleaning your floors at home automated.
We found the mopping mode disappointing, but if you just want to spruce up your apartment floors now and then, you may find it a useful add-on feature that accompanies the daily cleaning routine.
All in all, it's tough to go wrong at this price, but if you want a vacuum at an even lower price you may want to opt for the iLife A7 or a variety of other affordable options.
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