Ecovacs T20 Omni Robo Vac: a very clever robot sucker!

August 23, 2023
4 mins read
Start
9/10

Summary

Ecovacs T20 Omni Robo Vac

PAT PILCHER has a big house with messy dogs and lots of large rugs, so the T20 Omni Robo Vac had a big job. It passed the audition!

$1995

When I reviewed the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni last May, I called it the most advanced robot sucky I’d ever tested. The great thing about tech is that it never stands still, and proving me right is Ecovacs, which is back with the Deebot T20 Omni. Unlike earlier models, it has mops that lift when it detects carpet, allowing it to clean homes with tiled/wooden floors and rugs/carpets.

Like the X1, the T20 has a big, self-emptying, self-cleaning charging dock. When I say big, I’m really not kidding. Sized at 448 x 430 x 579mm, it’s about the same size as the previous model, and finding a space with enough room for it is something potential buyers will need to consider.

The new dock is designed to clean mops and empty vacuum dustbags. Tucked away inside it are two 4-litre water reservoirs. One is for clean water (used to fill a small tank in the T20 and to clean the mop pads), while the other holds water collected after the mopping pads are cleaned. Even cooler still, the dock blows hot air over the mop pads so they dry and no mould or mildew can grow. The dock holds a 2.5-litre dust bag, which fills with cruft and dust extracted from the T20’s dustbin. I found the bags to last just over a month with daily use.

 

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Ecovacs also provides a brush to sweep debris away from around and inside the dock (like previous Ecovacs models, the T20 doesn’t vacuum around its charging dock), and a cutting tool to deal with hair or fibres tangled around the cleaning roller. A new cleaning design in the T20 saw much less hair tangled in the brush.

Like its earlier siblings, the T20 uses two round, spinning microfibre pads for mopping. It’s a good design that has worked in the past. The big difference this time is that the mop pads lift when the T20 detects the carpet underneath it, allowing it to vacuum without damping the carpet and rugs. This handily means that the mop pads stay attached and that the T20 can work magic on my home’s wooden floors and the many rugs I have scattered about.

Ecovacs shines in its excellent LiDAR (laser radar) and 3D scanning capabilities, which make good use of machine learning. After quickly mapping my home, the T20 became familiar with the layout, and I could use the Ecovacs app (iOS/Android) to direct it to clean specific rooms. With the app, I could edit rooms, splitting or merging rooms and naming them, and position furniture so the T20 could easily find its way around. The app can also store three maps, allowing the T20 robo vac to cover upstairs and downstairs floors. Cleverly, it could use its LiDAR to detect its surroundings and automatically load the correct map.

Because our greyhound has a thing about not putting away his toys and leaving half-eaten dog biscuits by his bed, I was able to use the app to set up no-go zones (I could also specify no mopping zones). The Ecovacs app is so good that it has become the gold standard by which I judge most other robot cleaning apps.

When it came to cleaning, I was spoilt for options. The Auto mode saw where every room was cleaned. The area mode tells the T20 to clean a specific room, and I could also lasso or select specific areas for it to clean around. Then there’s the cleaning mode. I could use the standard mode for a once-over lightly clean, a deep clean mode for a super thorough clean or a fast mode if time was of the essence. I could also tweak suction power, mopping pad wetness and mop pad cleaning frequency.

If all that sounds like too much farting about, there’s Housekeeper mode. It automatically knows when cleaning is needed and what areas need it most. Last but by no means least is a scheduled mode which will see the T20 doing its bit at a pre-defined time.

On the cleaning front, it uses a similar setup to previous models. Side-sweeper brushes on both its left and right-hand sides help the T20 get into the edges of rooms while a sweeper brush and suction engine lift loose grime off floors.

Object avoidance was very good, and the machine learning smarts also meant it learned the location of fixed but smaller obstacles, such as phone charging cables, which were left untouched. The T20 also worked around randomly placed objects such as socks and other odds and ends with little to no trouble.

Unlike the venerable X1, the T20 has no integrated camera, so it can’t be used to remotely patrol my house when I’m out and about. The Yiko voice assistant is featured but was next to useless. It was frustratingly unresponsive when needed and annoyingly activated by adverts on the nearby TV. Most of the time, I found using Alexa or Google Assistant far more reliable.

Using the T20’s default object detection mode, I found that it left quite a few bits behind around the counter kickboards in my kitchen. This was easily fixed by changing the cleaning mode settings. Doing this saw it picking up virtually everything around the edges of my kitchen. The mopping pads did a great job too. The muddy greyhound paw prints on my kitchen floor vanished. Even tricky food scraps stuck onto the kitchen floor were quickly taken care of, which is a first with any robot vac I’ve tested.

The T20 was loud enough to be audible on the noise front, but I could still watch TV without it being an annoyance. That said, the noise was louder when it self-emptied into the docking station, albeit for just a few seconds. Ecovacs bumf says the T20’s battery will give up to 170 minutes of run time on the lowest suction settings. At around 160 square metres, our house isn’t small, yet it managed to clean all the downstairs rooms on the default cleaning mode before heading back to the dock for a charge.

It proved to be a very capable cleaner. Its additional suction power saw it lift more off the wooden floors, and the rugs around my house looked spotless.

If, by now, you’re thinking I was impressed with the T20, you’d be right. Its mopping and vacuuming chops were excellent. Add to this clever room mapping and object avoidance plus self-emptying/mop cleaning, and you have a zero-sweat means of vacuuming, which is definitely a good thing in my books.

https://www.ecovacs.com/nz

 

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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