Deebot vs. Roomba: Comparing Two Entry-Level Robot Vacuums

After years of testing over ten robot vacuums, I determined Ecovacs Deebot N79S is the best because of its superior suction, battery life, and price. The Roomba brand is top-notch, but the Roomba 600 Series (614, 650, 675, 690) falls short in all performance categories.

I’ll compare and contrast two robot vacuums (Ecovacs Deebot N79S vs. Roomba 675) while evaluating five categories: navigation, suction, software, design, and company reputation.

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Things To Know

  • Over the last three years, I’ve reviewed more than ten robot vacuums. Go to my power rankings to see all the robot vacuums that I have tested ranked in order.
  • Deebot N79S and Eufy 11S are what I recommend to most people because they’re a great value. Deebot does slightly better on carpets, whereas Eufy works marginally better on hard surfaces. Neither was decisively better in my tests, and both are far better than the Roomba 600 Series.
  • The robots in this post aren’t nearly as efficient as the higher-end Neato or Roomba mapping models, but those are over $700 and aren’t worth the money.
  • The budget robot vacuums (under $300) aren’t perfect, but they provide value because they’ll supplement your regular vacuuming so you don’t have to do it as often. But they won’t completely take away vacuuming duties.
  • You can’t tell budget robots to vacuum certain rooms, and they won’t remain where they’ve been previously. If you want a robot that remembers where it’s been you need a mapping robot, but they’re $700 and over.
  • Budget robots operate on a bump-and-run algorithm. It’s more of an art than a science. For instance, sometimes they’ll go over the same area ten times, but only touch other areas a couple of times. It will eventually get to most of the spots in your house, but don’t watch it because it’ll give you a headache.
  • Robot vacuums work on hard floors and low to medium pile carpet. They won’t work on shag carpet. Most of my regular usage came from hardwood, but I went to other houses to test on carpets with and without heavy pet hair.
  • You can’t set up a robot vacuum and forget about it. You’ll have to break out a real vacuum because they’ll struggle with corners, fine material, and getting underneath furniture. Also, you’ll need to prepare your house before the robot starts its cycle. Preparations include:
    • You need to clean up loose cords, pet toys, kid toys, or anything that will prohibit the vacuum from getting to all its spots.
    • You may need to create physical barriers to keep the robot away from an area or room. Budget robot vacuums aren’t smart and don’t have a memory, so it’s your job to make sure they don’t get stuck in the same spot repeatedly.
    • You need to clean out the brushes and filters weekly because they attract hair. You’ll need to empty the bin daily too.
  • Robot vacuums don’t do well on black floors because their sensors read it as the edge of a staircase so they think they’re going to fall off.
  • Make sure your pets are potty trained because robot vacuums won’t see poop, and they’ll spear it all over your house during their cleaning cycle.
  • Every robot vacuum that I’ve ever tested comes with a charging base and has a way to get back to the base to charge once the cycle is over.

Deebot N79S: 9/10

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Navigation: A

  • Ecovacs claims a two-hour battery life. It takes around an hour and 45 minutes for it to finish its cleaning cycle before slowing down to find the base.
  • It got stuck on my 12×16″ cool air return grate almost every time, where the others that I tested didn’t, but on average it tends to get stuck far less frequently than the others. My grate is abnormally big, and I chalk this up to an anomaly.
  • Just like any budget robot vacuum, you’ll need to create barriers with everyday objects to keep it out of certain areas. For instance, I put a tiny box on the grate to help it not get stuck.
  • It does a great job of navigating and doesn’t bump into things as hard as Roomba.
  • It has four cleaning modes. It’s best to set it to automatic and let it detect what it needs to do on its own, but sometimes you’ll want to switch modes. For example, you can make it clean the middle portions, you can turn on the edging feature, or you can have it spot clean. I love the edging function, which makes it clean along the edges of the room.

Suction: A

  • Ecovacs claims it has 1,000 Pa of suction. Deebot and Eufy are neck-and-neck with real-life suction power, and they both have way more than Roomba.
  • There’s a max power mode that’s accessible through the app. It’ll decrease the runtime by about 15-20 minutes, but it’s helpful on carpet.
  • Carpet:
    • After running three tests, for five minutes each, I determined Deebot performs the best of any robot vacuum under $300.
    • Deebot didn’t kick the debris as much as Roomba.
    • Deebot picked up more rice than Eufy but by a margin that’s too small to be conclusive.
  • Hard Floor:
    • Deebot does great on hardwood, but Eufy beat it by a slight margin.
    • Deebot consistently picked up more than 50% rice than Roomba in the same five-minute span.

Design: B-

  • It’s rated with the same noise level as Roomba 675, but it sounds substantially quieter to me. Maybe because it’s a softer sound.
  • It’s slimmer and lighter than Roomba.
  • The remote is excellent. You can handle all of the scheduling with it. While controlling Deebot N79S by hand defeats the purpose of a robot vacuum, the up, down, and side-to-side controls offer extreme handling precision.
  • The dust tray is big, easy to empty, and provides easy access to the filters.
  • You have the option to charge with the base or with the power cord. Most robot vacuums only allow for charging through the base.

Software: C-

  • The remote must be in sight of the vacuum to change the schedule. Plus, you can only create a routine that’s the same for each day.
  • There’s a phone app to create custom schedules for each day of the week. It’s easier to read a phone screen than the tiny remote screen too.
  • The app is not well done. It has the look of a high schooler’s first coding project. It’s nice to have extra scheduling options compared to Eufy’s, but it’s barely an upgrade over no app. For some reason, the only way to put Deboot in “max” mode is through the app.
  • Syncing the app and vacuum is a bit clunky, but you only have to deal with it once.
  • You can control it with Google and Alexa.

Company: C+

  • Ecovacs doesn’t have much of a reputation in the United States because they’ve mostly distributed in China until now. Deebot N79S is one of the most affordable robot vacuums that I bought and substantially better than Roomba, making it an incredible value even if it doesn’t last forever.
  • Unlike most robot vacuums, an extra filter and brush aren’t included. But they can be purchased separately on Amazon.

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Roomba 675

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Navigation: D

  • Roomba 600 Series only delivers an hour of battery life. That would be acceptable if it returned to the base and continued its cycle or if the suction power was amazing, but neither of these are true.
  • Roomba claims to have a smarter algorithm than the rest. I didn’t see evidence of that in my tests because the lower-end Roomba vacuums don’t have room mapping. It guesses where to go, just like the others. The only time you can see the algorithm at work is when it spots big clumps of dirt and the green light goes off and tries to go over the area again.
  • You can spot clean and have Roomba spin around in a small square radius to clean a spill.
  • One significant selling point of Roomba, that not many other robot vacuums offer, is the virtual wall. It’s a black device that sits on the floor and blasts IR signals telling the robot to stay away from specific areas.
  • The virtual wall is only included with Roomba 690, which isn’t sold anymore. You can buy and set up as many Virtual Walls as you want for $40 each.
  • Of all of the robot vacuums I’ve tested, Roomba 600 Series bumps into things the hardest of any vacuum. I haven’t witnessed serious damage, but Roomba has left wipeable black marks on my baseboards.

Suction: F

  • After three years of testing different Roomba 600 models, I can confidently say the Roomba 600 Series performs the worst of any model under $300. It could be poor suction power, the lack of a second side brush, or the algorithm, but the small amount of measured material that it picks up in a fixed space is concerning.
  • There are great Roomba vacuums on the market, but you won’t see them until you get into the $500 range.
  • Carpet:
    • After running three tests, for five minutes each, Deebot picked up 40% more rice than Roomba in a small carpeted area.
  • Hard Floor:
    • After running three tests, for five minutes each, Deebot picked up over 50% more rice than Roomba in a small area.

Design: F

  • It’s the loudest of the budget robot vacuums that I’ve tested. The decibel readings weren’t substantially different, it’s just how my ears perceive the sound.
  • Ideally, you’ll run this when you’re at work because it’s not something you want running while watching TV or relaxing.
  • Roomba is not as agile and is more likely to get stuck because it’s noticeably thicker (more than a half inch taller than Deebot) and three pounds heavier.
  • The dustbin is frustratingly small at 300 ml and hard to access and clean.
  • The filters are also hard to clean.
  • Roomba doesn’t have a remote. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’d be nice to have.

Software: A+

  • Roomba 675 and 690 work with Alexa and Google Assistant. You can say things like: “Alexa, ask Roomba to go home,” which will send it back to its base while it’s running.
  • Roomba 675 and 690 have WiFi capabilities, letting you create and edit schedules, check the battery life, and see cleaning cycle logs inside the Roomba app. I love the notifications when the cleaning cycle is done too.
  • It can potentially get smarter (improved algorithm or new capabilities) with time because there are regular firmware updates. For instance, Alexa and Google weren’t always a feature.

Company: A+

  • The biggest advantage of Roomba is the stellar brand reputation. iRobot has been making robot vacuums for 18 years and they made it mainstream. They know what they’re doing, have excellent customer support, and it’s easy to order replacement parts. In my personal opinion, Roomba will probably outlast anything Ecovacs has to offer.
  • There are many variations of the Roomba 600 Series, but they’re all essentially the same:
    • Roomba 614, 650, and 652 don’t work with the Roomba app because they don’t have WiFi. Of these three, Roomba 614 is the only one still in production.
    • Roomba 675 works with the Roomba app. You can set up Alexa and Google Assistant too.
    • Roomba 690 is the same as Roomba 675, plus it comes with one Virtual Wall. It’s been discontinued by iRobot, but Amazon sometimes has great deals on refurbished units.

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Which is best for you?

Ecovacs Deebot N79S

Get Deebot N79S if you want a robot vacuum that’s more effective and affordable. It executes better on any floor type and runs longer than Roomba. It probably won’t outlast Roomba and the app isn’t great, but these are worthwhile sacrifices.

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Roomba 675

Get Roomba 675 if you want a trusted brand name and great software. Its performance is lacking, but the app is better, and there’s an option to add Virtual Walls for $40 each. iRobot makes great vacuums, but the affordable 600 Series is lacking.

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