We were excited to try out this vacuum: A low sale price and the ability to double as a mop had us wondering if it might be a good choice for those wary of shelling out on a fancy robot vacuum.
And then we tested it.
For two hours, we watched the D83 go around in circles, cleaning the same spots over and over again in our testing lab. Since automated cleaners work best when you're not around, it's not the biggest waste of time when robot vacuums to sweep the same area multiple times. More troubling were the D83's navigation issues, which make stairs rather perilous.
The early Deebots were square, and as time went on each model became more round. By the time the D7 rolled off the line, the aesthetics had evolved to basically where they're at today.
The brush placement and the heft of the D83 is reminiscent of the Miele Scout RX-1. However, instead of a toned-down color scheme, Ecovacs opted for an iPhone-esque gold hue.
Features-wise, the D83 is very much in line with other robot floor cleaners, including sweeper brushes in the front and even a detachable mop head at the rear. A few disposable wet and dry cloths are already in the box, and when you run out of the included cloths, store-bought brands will do just as well.
All that cleaning needs power, so the Deebot has a massive Ni-MH battery. After leaving its charging dock, the D83 has about a two hour run time, and it will run until the whole battery is almost entirely discharged. Unlike Lithium-ion batteries, which run at full power until discharged, Ni-MH batteries slowly lose power as they run.
This means that the D83 required about six times as much time to clean our testing area than the average robot vacuum. We think this programming is designed to prolong the life of the battery, but if you're planning on purchasing the Deebot, be sure to set it to run while you're out. That's an easy process at least: You can set the D83 to automatically run from the remote, which comes with batteries included.
Ultimately all you'll have to do is empty the bin. Given this model's average pickup per run, the bin will fill up to its .7-liter capacity once a week.
Two hours later...
When you tell the Deebot D83 to start cleaning, expect it to keep going for two hours before returning to its charging dock. In that time, it'll move about in a spiral pattern to cover the whole room. Its general shape–3.5 inches tall and 13 inches wide–allowed the Deebot to navigate itself under obstacles and around most table and chair legs.
Before we talk about pickup, however, we should first mention the drop-off. The Ecovacs Deebot D83 has the dubious honor of being the first robot vacuum to fall off the edge of our testing step, a serious mishap for a robot vacuum. To its credit, the thing kept going after it hit the ground, but perhaps Ecovacs should've included some sort of barrier, like a virtual wall or magnetic strip.
By the end of its cycle, the D83 picked up 8.3 grams of the dirt we put down. That might seem like a pittance, but it's 8 grams of dirt everyday, or 58.1 grams per week that you don't have to vacuum up personally. (60 grams, by the way, is about what an upright vacuum might pick up after a week of foot traffic.)
Anywhere the brushes could fit got cleaned, but the Deebot couldn't tackle high-pile carpets, openings narrower than 13 inches wide, or shorter than four inches. And if any of those gaps are a close call, the D83 will sometimes roughly ram itself into furniture, striking with about 2.5 lbs. of pressure. That's not enough to scratch a table leg outright, but over a period of months it may scuff.
For one year from the time of purchase, Ecovacs will refund or replace products with defects of workmanship or material exposed during normal operation of the device. We're not sure if we could've made a claim if the D83 had been damaged during its fall.
If this is a Deebot, wait for the A-bot.
With so many better, cheaper options out there, it's hard to recommend the Ecovacs Deebot D83 to anyone. While the two-hour cleaning cycle is excusable, the mishandling of stairs is not.
Meet the tester
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email