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  • At a glance

  • iLife

  • What to expect

  • What not to expect

  • Who should buy this?

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • High dirt pickup performance

Cons

  • Poor navigation

  • Can get caught on throw rugs

The iLife A4s (MSRP $249) is our second-best affordable robot vacuum, beat only by the popular Eufy RoboVac 11.

We tested the iLife in our robot vacuum obstacle course, and we think it's a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to try out a robot vacuum without spending too much.

It's usually sale for around $199—less than the Eufy's everyday price of $219, but more than the Eufy's lowest sale price. Sometimes the A4s drops below $190, and that's when it's a truly great deal. The A4s also gets rave user reviews from those who already own it.

At a glance

Picked up 12.9 grams of dirt per run—more than some popular iRobot models
Took a long time to clean—over two hours for our obstacle course
No virtual walls or barriers to control where it cleans
HEPA-style filter
Battery-saving mode and option to schedule cleaning

What to expect

Where more expensive robot vacuums map out a precise cleaning route, the iLife takes a long time to bounce its way around a room. Luckily, the iLife is exceedingly light at just 4.9 pounds. Our impact sensors never recorded a bump powerful enough to scuff furniture or knock anything over.

The iRobot took only 15 minutes to clean, while the iLife spent over two hours

On average, the A4s picked up 12.9 grams of dirt per cycle—a very high amount. Compare that to the $800 iRobot 980, which only picked up 8.5 grams. The difference is that the iRobot took only 15 minutes to clean, while the iLife spent over two hours knocking about the same space before it automatically returned to its charging dock.

The A4s comes with two spare brushes, an extra filter, a cleaning tool, charge base, and a remote.
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

The A4s comes with two spare brushes, an extra filter, a cleaning tool, charge base, and a remote.

In its quest for dirt, the A4s jammed its brushes into every nook and cranny of our test lab. Its three-inch height is shorter than most other models, so it fits under low shelves and coffee tables, and beneath kitchen cabinets. However, the iLife had issues going over things, like a throw rug.

What not to expect

The dock is about the only extra that the A4s has.
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

The dock is about the only extra that the A4s has.

Like all robot vacuums, the iLife A4s is meant for maintenance. That means it's more suited to keeping floors clean than cleaning dirty floors. While its cleaning is impressive compared to other robot vacuums, it still pales in comparison to a full-sized vacuum. The only you're going to make headway is to run the everyday. However, it's easy to schedule the iLife to run automatically via the included remote.

What's not included are virtual walls or any kind of barrier that keeps the A4s from wandering off into another room or knocking over the dog dish. For that, you'd have to upgrade to the iLife A6. There is no way, other than shutting a door, to keep the A4s in a given area.

Who should buy this?

The underside of A4s is very similar to the underside of the Eufy RoboVac 11.
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

The underside of A4s is very similar to the underside of the Eufy RoboVac 11.

The $199 iLife A4s is a great mix of performance and affordability. We especially recommend it if it drops below $179, or if the Eufy RoboVac 11 isn't on one of its frequent sales.

Compared to models that cost twice as much, you're only sacrificing extras like virtual walls, and quick cleaning cycles. But if you've always wanted to try a robot vacuum, or if you have one room that always gets dirty, you're going to get the most out of this robot vacuum.

Meet the tester

Jonathan Chan

Jonathan Chan

Senior Manager of Lab Operations

@Jonfromthelab1

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.

See all of Jonathan Chan's reviews

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