We looked at 7 factors that will likely influence which robot vacuum you decide to invest in. These areas were Cleaning Ability, Objective Avoidance, Features, Charging/Battery Life, Aesthetics and Price. Each category is scored individually, with the final score reflecting the average of each of the 7 categories.
Ecovacs combines a few elements common to most robot vacuums with their Deebot D35, while also blazing a few trails all their own. This most common, basic cleaning element on the Deebot D35 is the spinning “whiskers” or side brushes. The side brushes help robot vacuums get closer to walls, while also aiding in the movement of dirt, hair and other particulates inward toward the center of the device. The Deebot D35 has two of these, one on either side, which not only gives it a unique look but make it very different from other robot vacuums.
Part of this two-whisker design is to help the robot’s primary suction function, which itself is a separate take on robot vacuuming. Most robot vacuums go for a very traditional agitator brush style that spins and helps pull material into the device and right up to the suction area. The Deebot D35 instead has only a suction device, which is designed to only allow loose material inside. There are a few advantages to this. First, it helps avoid the issue of cords, wires and tassels getting sucked into the device. Secondly, it actually allows for a thinner device with a lower profile, which also equates to a lower overall cost.
Unfortunately, the design does leave out a lot of functionality. The lack of an agitator brush and a wide suction area means that the Deebot D35 struggles to pick up everything. The side brushes help tremendously in getting material toward the center, but the device underperforms on carpets. Ecovacs is honest in not marketing this device for carpets. However, when most people buy it, they’re assuming it will act similarly on carpet as it does on hardwood or tile. A lot of unhappy customers have realized soon after purchasing their Ecovacs Deebot D35 that it’s not exactly carpet and rug friendly.
The squared off design with rounded edges makes it look like an offspring of an iRobot Roomba and a Neato Botvac. Its cleaning ability is unfortunately not on par with either device. It can get to walls better than a Roomba, but it fails at picking up material with its haphazard cleaning pattern and suction design. And while it certainly gets close to walls, it seems to struggle with corners, which the Neato Botvac specializes in.
Can you get a clean floor if you use this device? Sure. But don’t expect perfection. If you have the time, you’d honestly be better with a broom and dustpan. However, if you can handle a few crumbs left here or there, and time a luxury you simply don’t have, this little guy might do the trick.
If you’re looking for a robot vacuum that’s not going to run into things, you may need to look elsewhere. Unlike other robot vacuums on the market, the Deebot D35 has no sensors that help it position itself in relation to walls and other objects. Instead, it utilizes a bumper sensor that lets it know if it’s run into an object. Roombas operate similarly, however even Roombas have some sensors to help them navigate the room. The Deebot D35 is cheaper than most other bots for many reasons, one being they lack most of the latest and greatest in laser positioning sensor tech.
Unlike the Roomba, which will sometimes slam into objects fairly hard, the Deebot D35 does touch lightly against objects when it hits them. This ram-and-move cleaning pattern is the only trick it has. It cleans the entire room and house primarily by bumbling around blindly, running into things until it feels like it’s cleaned a whole room. It does have the requisite cliff sensor, however, as this is effectively a necessity for robot vacuums.
That said, the object avoidance on the Deebot D35 is fairly good. It runs into objects, but backs away fairly quickly when it hits something it shouldn’t. It unfortunately has a tendency to get stuck. Often, in fact. So often that you may find yourself simply pulling out a regular vacuum and doing the job yourself. The Deebot D35 is like a child playing “pin the tail on the donkey” in a large and crowded room. It might get there…eventually. But it’s going to trip over everything in the way before it does.
It’s hard to imagine a robot vacuum being as featureless as the Deebot D35. This is part of its appeal, but it’s also a huge Achilles’ heel. The device is a bit of a one-trick pony. It can be scheduled to clean at the same time every day but holding down the start/pause button for three seconds. It will then clean every day at the time you pushed the button. Fancy. But that’s literally the only real feature it has.
Don’t buy it looking for integrated apps, wi-fi connectivity, push notifications, battery meters or anything that might actually make you go “wow.” The Deebot D35 is a shrug and a yawn on 3 wheels.
The Ecovacs Deebot D35 recovers some of its lost cleaning and object avoidance luster with its battery. The battery life is on the high-end for robot vacuums. You’ll find that you can usually squeeze around 90 minutes of runtime out of this device. Recharging usually takes around the same amount of time, if not more, which is typical. Nevertheless, with fewer parts and sensors to operate it raises a big question as to why the battery life isn’t better. The answer may be that Ecovacs kept the price down by including a smaller battery. The device could have really shined if it included a larger battery that allowed it to run for over 2 hours. However, the current battery life is still acceptable.
The device does have the requisite “return to sender” feature that helps it find its base and recharge itself. However, it sometimes has issues actually locating its base, and may run out of battery if it’s too far away from its base to return on time. Although it has no battery meter indicating that the battery is dying, you’ll notice a low battery based on how it’s performing. If you hear it getting quieter, or see that the side brushes aren’t turning fast, or at all, you’ll know its battery is low.
The Deebot D35 is one of a few robot vacuums that have a definitively “futuristic” look . Its clean lines and colors help give it a very high-tech feel. The dual spinning side brushes somehow enhance that aspect of it as well. The fact that this bot is more lightweight and slimmer than most bots is definitely to its advantage. It has a significant “cute” factor to it, which is partially why it finds a lot of popularity in Asia where “small” and “cute” tech is highly favored. The good looks only partially make up for the limited functionality, but they do add to the curb appeal.
The accessory department for the Ecovacs Deebot D35 is so painfully small, it’s almost shameful. You can purchase spare side brushes and a space filter. That’s it. No spare batteries, no spare wheels. Nothing. It’s understandable that many companies are very protective of their tech, but a lack of selling any spare items beyond a filter and side brushes is embarrassingly overprotective. It also shows that company wants you to physically return the device in order to get it serviced in any way. Which of course costs money. It doesn’t help that their customer service department is notably difficult to work with or even get in contact with.
Price is the Deebot D35’s real saving grace. This robot vacuum is about as cheap as it gets. And for the price you’re paying, you’re actually getting something that performs, in many ways, equivalent to a device that might be $100 more expensive. The low asking price actually makes the Deebot D35 worth a try for those interested in getting their feet wet within this market. It’s definitely a good starter robot for new buyers. Just don’t get your hopes up too high.
It’s hard to give a definitive thumbs up or down for the Ecovacs Deebot D35. In some ways, this device is a godsend for those who love robot vacuums. In others, it’s a painfully ill-performing device. For all intents and purposes, however, the low asking price of $149 makes it a worthy purchase for some. It will do a cleaning job for you, although you may have to hold its hand, so to speak, throughout the entire process.
The Deebot D35 is effective at what it can do, while struggling to do some things we might consider basic for robot vacuums at this point. It will pick up dirt that it passes over, but it struggles to get itself to all of the dirt that it can. It will make its way back to the charging station for a battery recharge, but it occasionally can’t seem to remember where the charging station actually is. It can operate well without sucking up cords, tassels and other objects, but this is at the rather hefty cost of functionality on carpets and rugs.
The battery life is about on par with the higher end robot vacuums, while the actual cleaning ability is noticeably weaker. It will get the job done to a minimal degree, and may even get most of it done if your house is clutter free. However, expect to spend long hours helping it get free from places it shouldn’t be getting stuck, including entryway ridges and separators. Nevertheless, for $149, it’s cheap enough to justify a little bit of a headache.