Monday, June 27, 2022

Yeedi Vac 2 Pro review: this vacuuming and mopping robot has high-end features for a lower price

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If you like the idea of ​​a robot that can clean and mop your floors but hate having to clean up before it spins and really don’t like those $800 price tags, budget vacuum cleaner Yeedi has a bot for you. The new $449.99 Yeedi Vac 2 Pro can vacuum and mop at the same time using an oscillating mop system that actually scrubs. It also intelligently avoids mopping your carpets and has 3D obstacle avoidance so it can get the job done without being derailed by a pair of shoes.

Available from today, the Yeedi Vac 2 Pro launches alongside the $349 Yeedi Vac 2, which also has obstacle detection, but just a standard no-carpet avoidance mopping system, although it does have a larger water tank. Both models have a suction power of 3000 Pa and can work with Yeedi’s Auto Empty Bin ($199.99)but the Pro has a longer battery life.

I spent about a week with the Yeedi Vac 2 Pro, and while it vacuums and mops well and dodges obstacles, it still costs $450. Throw in the auto-empty base and you’re up to $650. a Roomba i3 Plus (iRobot’s $550 midrange auto-empty bot that doesn’t mop) and have some cash to spare to buy a decent manual mop. While the Yeedi is a good robot with some high-end features for a lower price, it’s not cheap enough or smart enough to really upset the big boys.

I have used and liked Yeedi’s very budget robots, like the $179.99 Yeedi K650. It does a simple job well. There’s no obstacle avoidance or room-specific cleaning, but it has a huge bucket and it really sucks up the grime as it bumps and rolls around your house. Jumping into the robotic vacuum arena where clever mapping, obstacle avoidance and oscillating mopping come into play, the Yeedi Vac 2 Pro punches above its weight, and while it holds its own on the hardware front, the mapping/software experience is lackluster.

The best feature of the new Yeedi is its oscillating mopping action, meaning it scrubs your floors instead of just wiping them. And this worked well, leaving my floors much cleaner than most standard robot vacuums (not as clean as the Roborock S7, but that’s $200 more). But it has a cheap-feeling, flimsy bit of a mop pad that doesn’t seem to last more than a few washes and doesn’t contain extra pads (you can buy replacements for $20 for a three-pack† The water tank also only holds 180ml, so you’ll need to top it up on every run.

The water tank of the Yeedi has a capacity of at least 180 ml and the mopping pad is paper thin.

The vacuum cleaner’s 420 ml container is located under the lid. The mopping pad / water tank is attached below.

The Yeedi uses a rotating side brush (not shown) and a hybrid brush/rubber roller brush, which were effective on both carpet and hardwood floors, but required regular cleaning.

While the Yeedi can now automatically avoid carpeted areas when mopping and increase suction power when dealing with carpets in vacuum only mode, this is a standard feature on many mop vacuums these days. You’ll also need to remove the mop tank if you want to vacuum your carpets, as he won’t be able to vacuum them with the mop on it. It’s not a big chore, but it does mean that you’ll use the mop function less often if you have a lot of rugs or carpets that you also want to keep clean. Higher options like the Roborock S7 have found a way to handle this, lifting the mop when it goes over carpet. The Roborock also uses this function to air dry the mop while charging, with the Yeedi you have to remove it after each mopping.

The Yeedi vacuum has an impressive 3000 Pa suction power and a large 5,200 mAh battery that promises a runtime of more than three hours, easily comparable to most top models. But it never ran for more than 85 minutes during testing and often returned with a low battery. The Yeedi did a good job of cleaning my house in neat, methodical rows, navigating carefully around objects without bumping into things, and covering most of my floor. Although it occasionally skipped large areas for no apparent reason.

This robotic vacuum cleaner is very efficient at navigating around furniture without knocking it over or getting stuck.

This is probably due to the navigation and map technology. Most high-end robot vacuums use lidar-based SLAM mapping, which uses more accurate laser technology to determine where your rooms are. Yeedi uses a camera on top of the robot for navigation, which is a cheaper technology and much less accurate. This visual SLAM mapping failed to properly identify the rooms in my house and struggled to see the wider doorways.

The robot could only find two rooms in my five rooms, 800 square meters below, and that was after two attempts. After the first mapping, it was convinced I was living in a giant room. But even without specific rooms, I could create outdoor digital zones, areas I don’t want the robot to go to, which is another basic need of any decent robot vacuum these days. You can only have one card at the moment, but Yeedi says multi-storey cards are coming.

Yeedi didn’t automatically divide my house into rooms, but I was able to manually create an accurate map in the app.

Yeedi recently pushed a software update that added the ability to divide and merge rooms on the map so I could manually create rooms and use the room-specific cleaning features. However, the smart navigation failed a few times, with the robot missing an entire room a few times and finishing the cleaning task before reaching everywhere.

Obstacle avoidance is also less effective compared to more expensive competitors deploying AI-powered avoidance technology. The robot uses 3D structured light technology to detect items over an inch high, so that floor mats, cables, pencils and your cat’s little accident cannot be avoided. It would do well to avoid larger items, such as a pair of shoes or a school backpack left in the hall, but pencils, headphones, cables, and socks tripped it all up.

The Yeedi is good at navigating around things, maneuvering through chair legs and over thick carpet brushes with no problem. In fact, it’s one of the few botvacs I’ve tested that has found a way out of my recliner trap (skinny flat recliner feet next to an ottoman with skinny flat feet). I heard his engine get louder and quieter as he navigated his way around the problem as if thinking really hard, finally freeing himself after a few minutes. All this means that while you don’t have to clean up as much as you want to make sure the robot finishes its run, you can’t be completely carefree.

The Yeedi Vac 2 Pro works with Yeedi’s self-emptying bin emptying station, an add-on I highly recommend to anyone considering a robotic vacuum cleaner. It’s no fun dumping dust from those small bins, and a self-emptying station allows the robot to empty its own bin into a bag that Yeedi says can hold dust for about 30 days (replacement bags cost $17 for three† You just pull out the self-sealing bag and throw it away easily without getting dust all over the place. But for an extra $200, this makes the Yeedi Vac 2 Pro quite a bit more expensive.

The Yeedi’s auto-emptying station worked great during testing, it didn’t get clogged and effectively emptied the bot’s 420ml bin on most attempts (I had to help him out once as the bin was really full ). Be warned, it is a very loud process that takes about 20 seconds. Unlike some more expensive mop/vac robots, the Yeedi auto-empty station is just for dust; it cannot empty or refill the mop reservoir. You must do this yourself before and after each mopping.

The Yeedi Vac 2 Pro works with Yeedi’s existing auto-empty dock, which has apparently been a big hit in my household.

Yeedi’s app has gone through a lot of improvements since I first tested it a few years ago when it was quite flaky. But it still has its moments including slow loading and bad grammar in some areas. But the main features you want are there: room-specific cleaning (if it can find your rooms), clean zones and the option to set a cleaning order (go to the kitchen first, then the living room, then the dining room, etc.), set schedules for the robot and adjust cleaning levels.

There are four vacuum suction levels – and the robot is super quiet on the lowest setting – plus three water flow levels for the mop (I always use the highest setting for the best clean). You can enable continuous cleaning so that he goes back to his base and recharges when he needs to finish a job; plus, there’s a handy Do Not Disturb setting.

The Yeedi Vac 2 Pro ticks all the right boxes, but some features, like mapping, just aren’t executed as well as those found on this space’s Roborocks and iRobots. That’s no big surprise, as this is a budget bot, and for $200 less than its closest comparable competitor, the Roborock S7, it could be right for you.

If you step up to the Roborock (which has sonic mop, lidar mapping, and standard obstacle avoidance), your robot can vacuum and mop your floors and vacuum your carpets, all in one go. If you can forgo robot mopping, the Roomba i3 is $100 cheaper and delivers a better clean and significantly better app/ecosystem experience, but it doesn’t dodge any hurdles. Ecovacs has several remarkably similar options at different price points, but, as I noted in my review of its flagship robot vacuum, the mapping also suffers from accuracy issues. However, if you’re on a $450 budget for a robot vacuum, really want a mop that can scrub and won’t get stuck, and don’t care about super-accurate mapping, the Yeedi Vac 2 Pro will get the job done.

Photos by Jenifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

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