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.
The Ecovacs Deebot DM85 does its job…mostly. It excels on hardwood floors or tiles, which is the primary location that most robot vacuums excel at. Interestingly, this device can actually suck in a limited amount of liquids. Part of this is because the Deebot DM85 slightly doubles as a mop and a vacuum. Unfortunately, the mop feature on this robot vacuum does not work as advertised. It will slightly clean up dirty spots, but the lack of pressure applied to the wet pad will not clean up any real trouble areas. Still, the device has a water basin included that does help keep the wet mop area wet. If anything, it will help pick up any dirt that might get left behind.
The Deebot DM85 excels at walls. The two side whiskers help it get in close to the walls and get any dirt and dust that is right up against the wall as well. However, its shape makes getting into the corners a bit difficult, if not impossible. You’ll find more often than not that if you leave it alone consistently, it will leave a large amount of dirt and dust and other filth in the corner untouched.
Perhaps one of the best benefits on this device is just how easy it is to empty. The dust bin, which holds more than .5 liters, is very easy to remove, very easy to clean and very easy to replace. This is a huge benefit, as many other robot vacuums place the bin in a location that is just not conducive to easy removal.
Finally, this vacuum is extremely quiet in comparison to other robot vacuums. Its sound production is under 60 decibels. This is of course because the suction strength is less than you’ll find on most other vacuums. It certainly helps avoid a battery drain, but it will mean that it performs less favorably on carpets and rugs.
If you treasure your walls and furniture, the Ecovacs Deebot DM85 is a fairly good option for you. Ecovacs upgraded the sensors over their cheaper models by including a proximity sensor on the front. Now the device will slow down right before it hits walls, helping to preserve your sanity a little bit. This doesn’t mean it will never run into walls. Occasionally it will still hit them. But it won’t navigate its way around the room using its bump guard. As with most of these devices, cords are still a problem. There is also a bit of a problem when you have the mop attachment on. Normally it has no problem getting into rugs, but the mop attachment will get stuck, making the device get stuck on rugs.
The Ecovacs DM85 is extremely rich with features. Not all of the features are actually useful, but they’re certainly there. The most valuable feature is likely going to be the remote. A feature suite in one small package, the remote allows for cleaning scheduling and also allows you to take control of your DM85. Those who find their Deebot is missing areas due to the randomized cleaning method may indeed find the ability to take full control a lot more useful.
The most useless feature continues to be the wet mop. This isn’t the first time Ecovacs has attempted to include a wet mop. That they include a water basin to keep the pad wet this time around is a plus, but as with their previous bots, the pad doesn’t really add in pressure to the ground, making it more useless than useful.
Ecovacs has put a lot into making sure their battery power is top of the line. The battery on the Deebot DM85 lasts for a rather impressive 2 hours, topping even the most expensive robots on the market. Part of this is because the Deebot DM85 has a less powerful suction ability, does not switch suction strengths between hardwood and carpet, and has only a limited suite of sensors that are draining the battery power. In true Ecovacs fashion, the bot also shuns a digital display screen, which also helps keep the battery power up.
The biggest problem is something that Ecovacs still hasn’t quite solved correct: returning to the base. The Ecovacs Deebot DM85 struggles to return to the base if it’s in a different room. Furthermore, Ecovacs has admitted that there is a design flaw in which the side brushes can block the sensor that helps it locate its charging base. A strong battery life helps save the score, but it’s not exactly a winning the robot wars when it can’t return to its own base effectively.
The Ecovacs Deebot DM85 has a sleek design, but does not break into any new territory with the design either. While the lower-end Deebot series go for a unique robot vacuum design, the Deebot DM85 does the unfortunate: mimicking the Roomba. They stick to their two-whisker design, which is unique to them and adds an interesting flair, but certainly don’t win any awards for originality on the overall design. Nevertheless, the overall design gives it a futuristic look. The weight and size are right in line for what most users will want, but unlike some other robot vacuums, the light weight is not the result of higher quality materials in the design, but cheaper plastic ones.
Ecovac continues to be fairly effective at delivering a good number of accessories. This is a bit of a necessity given the large number of moving parts on this robot vacuum. Consider this: The device has two moving side brushes, a regular central brush, a filter, and a wet mop. All of these are parts that could easily get broken or ruined and need to be replaced. Unfortunately, Ecovacs’ accessories section on their website is horribly laid out and a pain to navigate. Furthermore, they may be refreshingly transparent on the quality of their materials, but they limit the accessories you can purchase to the cleaning-related items. There are no replacements for the remote, battery or any other parts that that might get broken, like the wheels. They earn a better-than-usual score here, but a few simple changes would make their accessory offering shine.
There’s just one word to say when it comes to the Deebot DM85: Overpriced. Despite the small upgrades that Ecovacs included on this bot over the D35, the actual cleaning ability is hardly any better. The wet mop function is, yet again, more of a gimmick than actually useful. You might get a few dirty spots off the floor with it, but ultimately you’re not going to see many results. If you think about what robot vacuums are out there that Ecovacs is competing with in this price point, it almost makes the price more of an insult than anything else. If Ecovacs brings the price down around $100, it would make this robot vacuum much more fairly priced for what it can do.
Ecovacs continues their effort to make quality robot vacuums at a lower cost than the more popular branded makers. In some respect, they do this with the Deebot DM85. The DM85 does a fair job at doing the basic functions that we expect out of a robot vacuum. It cleans hardwood floors excellently, which is almost a given. It gets right up close and personal to walls fairly well, and the side whiskers help get most dirt that against the wall right into the waiting central suction and brush.
The wet mop feature, while interesting, is overall a useless venture. Until Ecovacs can figure out a way to get their robot vacuum to apply pressure to the ground, the wet mop will be little better than a regular wet mop, maybe even less so. It will clean up some messes better than other robot vacuums, and Ecovacs markets it as being able to suck in some wet spills as well, but the advantages are limited at best.
The battery life is perhaps one of the best selling points, as you will be able to get a lot of cleaning done in the time that it cleans. However, the random cleaning pattern will result in a lot of missed areas and a very inefficient clean, meaning that the longer battery life is more of a compensation for the fact that it isn’t cleaning in the most efficient way possible. It struggles to get back to its charging base when it’s not in the same room as the base, and even has a flaw that allows the side brushes to get in the way of the sensor that guides it on home.
Overall, this is a good middle-of-the-road device. It has more features than the cheapest brands, but is not quite up to standard for a more expensive device. At $400, the device does not perform well enough to justify the expense. $100 less would be a much fairer value for what you’re actually getting.