I am a lazy human. So the prospect of having robots to do some of my work for me is one of the things I most look forward to about our otherwise apocalyptic future. Specifically, vacuuming and mopping hold very little appeal for me. And while the idea of a robot vacuum has been around for quite a few years now, the capabilities have become more sophisticated each year, as the robot arms race escalates. This means that more and more features are available at lower prices than ever now. But one new wrinkle that has come along in the last couple of years is the addition of mopping capabilities to some of the vacuum units. There had been robot vacuums and robot mops, but combination devices that do both are relatively new. And for people like me, with a lot of wood at tile in their homes, it sounded like a great idea. So to see how a couple of these robot vacuum/mop combos worked, I put two of the most recent models to the test, head to head: the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930, and the Roborock E35.
Both vacuums were fairly easy to set up. They each were controllable by app but could also be started simply by pressing a start button and letting it do its thing. Pairing with the app was for the most part straightforward on both units, which connect to the vacuums via Wifi. We did have a little trouble connecting the Roborock E35 at first, which made me a bit stabby, but doing a factory reset seemed to solve the issue. Both units have similar docking stations to which the vacuum returns when it’s done or in need of a recharge. The main difference in the two was that the Roborock E35 comes with a waterproof clear plastic mat that snaps on to the front of the charging dock to protect the floor after mopping runs. This is a nice little feature to have, although it’s not really critical, as both units suggest removing the mopping attachment after use anyway. But if you’re out when it finishes or you forget about it, it does give the area around the dock a little extra protection.
The two vacuums had similar available modes, although the Roborock E35 gave you the choice of multiple suction levels, while the Ozmo 930 did not. Conversely, the Ozmo 930 let you choose the amount of water that the mop deploys, while the Roborock E35 didn’t offer this option. Both apps offered integration with home automation systems such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, though currently the number of functions you can deploy this way is limited. Both vacuums offer the ability to schedule cleaning for particular times and at repetitive intervals. The layout of Ecovacs app for the Deebot Ozmo 930 was definitely more intuitive and made it easier to find the functions you were looking for. Meanwhile, the Mi Home app that paired with the Roborock E35 was laid out in a slightly more confusing manner, with functions scattered throughout the various pages, and notifications whose source sometimes couldn’t be located. Still, both offered solid control over the robots and related functions. In terms of physical controls on the unit itself, the Deebot Ozmo 930 offers only an auto button which can initiate the cleaning while the Roborock E35 offers three separate buttons for spot cleaning, power/start, and recharging.
Both the Deebot Ozmo 930 and the Roborock E35 offer smart mapping functions that ensure the robots get to every part of the home without unnecessary repetition. Anyone who has seen early versions of robot vacuums knows how random and insane the cleaning patterns of lower end bots can seem, and how many areas can be missed, so it’s nice that both of these robots did a very good job of finding all the nooks and crannies in an efficient way. However, there is one big difference between the units. The Deebot Ozmo 930 actually stores and uses its map for future cleanings, and allows you to select specific areas to clean or avoid on any cleaning run. This can be very helpful if you want to clean just one room or avoid an area that might foul up the unit during cleaning. The Roborock E35 does allow you to create virtual walls with metallic tape, but you have to buy the tape from the company, and then put it down physically and leave it there. Not the best option and a bit of a pain. Meanwhile, the Deebot Ozmo 930 lets you simply select the areas to avoid or clean on the app with a touch of your finger. Of course, the Deebot Ozmo 930 does cost more as well.
Navigation and Correction
Both the Roborock E35 and the Deebot Ozmo 930 did a surprisingly good job of avoiding obstacles, and getting into hard to reach places. But each did have moments where they got stuck or confused, and each had strengths and weaknesses. The Roborock E35 managed to wedge itself under some cabinets that were just the right (or wrong) height and couldn’t get out. If you’re out when this happens, the machine simply shuts down. The Deebot Ozmo 930 was a little more likely to get tangled with cords, but both machines did surprisingly well in offices and other rooms that were littered with power cords and coaxial cables. Where the Deebot Ozmo 930 did have some trouble was getting over small bumps such as thresholds and the edges of rugs. Being slightly lighter and having smaller wheels than the Roborock E35, the Deebot would sometimes knock up against the edge of a rug and get turned a bit while the heavier Roborock seemed to have no trouble just motoring over the bumps and edges it encountered. (Nominally, the Deebot Ozmo 930 is supposed to be able to climb obstacles of up to 16 mm, while the Roborock E35’s obstacle climbing ability is listed at 20 mm.) In terms of navigating around furniture and other large obstacles, both units once again did very well, but the Deebot Ozmo 930 offered greater precision, and made smaller adjustments, allowing it to get into some spaces that the Roborock E35 did not and to get slightly closer to objects as it worked its way around them.
Both vacuums offered surprisingly good cleaning in vacuum mode. The Roborock was definitely more powerful at 2,000 Pa vs. 1,000 Pa, but both handled standard dust on our mostly hard floors with ease. I’d imagine that on carpet, this power difference would matter more, as would the E3’s ability to choose your preferred suction level from four options. The dustbin of the Deebot Ozmo 930 was fairly standard for robot vacuums at 450 ml of capacity, but the Roborock E35 had a notably larger one at 640 ml, which is nice. It definitely made emptying the canister a less frequent annoyance.
It’s worth noting that neither of these robots, nor any of the other robot hybrid vacuum/mops on the market, offer true mopping performance. If you have a sticky, crusty, hardened, or otherwise challenging stain, none of these units can scrub or dissolve them. It’s more of a damp sweep than an actual mop. Still, it offers a distinctly cleaner result than vacuuming alone, and definitely makes a difference. So while the mopping function is worth using, and provides a higher level of clean, it definitely won’t substitute for real mopping. The mopping action on both machines is provided by cleaning cloths than attach to the unit’s underside and are essentially dragged along under the rear of the unit as it vacuums. A reservoir that you fill with water keeps the cloths damp by dispensing a constant flow from the reservoir tank to the cloth as the robot cleans. The ability of the Deebot Ozmo 930 to let you select the amount of water for mopping from four levels is a definite advantage. I found that in order to get decent effectiveness, the maximum level was required, and the Roborock E35’s constant wetness level was roughly comparable to the Ozmo 930’s second lowest (medium) setting.
Battery Life and Charging
Both robots offered very good battery life per charge, and were able to clean all of the fairly large area we tested them on. Both also offer the ability to go charge themselves when they run low on battery, and then resume their cleaning from the point where they left off. The Deebot Ozmo 930 offers a purported 110 minutes of battery life while cleaning based on an impressive 3,200 mAh battery. But the Roborock E35 offered an even more impressive 150 minutes of battery life from a whopping 5,200 mAh battery.
Both of these robot vacuum/mops are effective and impressive units. And each has its strengths and weaknesses. The Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930 offers a better and easier user interface, more sophisticated programmability, zone cleaning/avoidance, and a more advanced navigation system. It also offers adjustable water levels for mopping, and seems to negotiate around furniture in a more sophisticated way. This is to be expected with its higher price tag. On the other hand, the Roborock E35 offers greater suction power and obstacle climbing ability, a larger dustbin, and a spot cleaning mode for concentrated pickups. Both of them are priced better than many of their competitors with comparable features. And both offer better cleaning performance than vacuuming alone. The future really is becoming a lazy human’s paradise, one robot at a time.