UPDATE: Electrolux believed that some of the problems we encountered during our original testing may have been due to the review unit being faulty and sent us a replacement. After spending some time with this new unit, we’ve updated our assessment of its mapping technology and new companion app.
Most robot vacuum cleaners on the market today are round, making it rather difficult for them to get into corners or thoroughly clean along the edges of a room. And combined with the fact that they generally work best on hard floors (like wood or tiles), it restricts the type of home a robot vacuum would fit into.
The Electrolux PUREi9, however, not only gets into corners and sweeps up everything along the edge of a wall, it runs quite well on low- and medium-pile carpets as well.
And while it can’t match the suction of a standard corded vacuum, in testing we found it still did a very good job of sucking up dust, crumbs, fluff, and even bits of gravel, off the floor in just a single pass.
However, while it’s neat to be able to put your feet up and let an AI take care of the cleaning, there’s plenty wanting in the PUREi9’s mapping software that could interfere with the peace of mind a robot vacuum’s supposed to provide – and that’s a huge disappointment when you consider the device’s undeniably hefty price tag and the fact that it performs best on a hard floor. So if you have wall-to-wall carpet, the PUREi9 isn’t for you.
Price and release date
The Electrolux PUREi9 will be available in Australia from March 15 and priced at AU$1,699 (about $1,325 / £954). We don’t have any news yet on availability and exact pricing for the UK and US, but we’ll update this review as soon as we do.
Compared to the competition, that’s a rather high price to pay for a robot vacuum that doesn’t include a mopping function as well. If you’re after one of the best robot vacuums available today, you’ll be shelling out close to $900 / £800 for the iRobot Roomba 980 in the US and UK. It will set Australians back by AU$1,499.
Design and build
It’s hard comparing the design of a round robot vacuum like the iRobot Roomba 980 to Electrolux PUREi9 – they’re apples and oranges, really.
The PUREi9 sports a triangular Trinity (as Electrolux calls it) design, while most other robot vacuums are round. Despite that difference, the PUREi9 is compact and won’t take up too much room in your home, but Electrolux insists it needs 0.5m of clear space on either side of the charging dock and 1.5m in front to be empty for it to function optimally each time the vacuum rolls off the charging dock.
The PUREi9’s built-in front bumper folds around the front corners of the unit and covers half the two sides and gives a little every time the robot vacuum encounters an obstacle, reducing the impact with which it hits the object. That said, the vacuum doesn’t ram into obstacles: Electrolux has installed a proprietary 3D Vision system that lets it perceive what’s ahead and slow down to almost nudge against something it can’t get around.
A slim protrusion on the right corner houses a small socket where you can plug in the unit’s optional PowerBrush attachment, a set of eight long plastic bristles that are perfect for those hard-to-get-at corners and for cleaning along the edges of walls. Electrolux recommends the brush be used on hard floors, so it’s removable for when you need the unit to clean a carpet or rug. Add to that the bar brush under the chassis which sweeps the floor as the unit drives around and you’re home is well taken care of.
The top sports a touch panel with controls for starting and stopping the machine, the Eco mode (more on that later), the Home button and the spot-clean option. While the unit is operational or while charging, all controls are brightly lit, along with the indication for the unit’s Wi-Fi connection. The display also shows the time of day while charging.
Just beyond the touch display is the button to release the bin, which pops out easily, while the front of the bumper houses the robot’s 3D Vision system that maps your home and detects obstacles.
One great thing about the PUREi9 is its ability to climb up to 22mm, thanks to Electrolux’s ClimbForceDrive technology. It’s a bit of a mouthful to say, but that basically means the large front wheels of the unit stay folded in when the the robot is on a flat surface, but are released when trying to climb over thresholds or ledges, increasing the height between the body and the floor. So, if you aren’t too careful, you could find the PUREi9 trying to explore the outdoors beyond your home.
Like most other robot vacuums, the PUREi9 also has enough low clearance to find its way under furniture where any standard vacuum can’t get at.
The PUREi9 comes with a charging station that you will need to place against a wall. It’s a very simplistic design, consisting of two charging plates on the floor panel and a front wall for the robot’s bumper to tuck itself into.