I’ll be honest – I never realized the value of robotic vacuum cleaners until recently. Ever since COVID hit though, things have been different. With so many families, including mine, going into a self-imposed lockdown during this never-ending pandemic, cleaning our homes has become a huge task. India’s dusty climate doesn’t do much to help, with homes requiring both sweeping and mopping once a day.
When I received Xiaomi’s Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p for review, I was sceptical of its usefulness. But after using it for a couple of months, I will admit I’ve changed my mind. If like me, you’ve been on the fence about investing in one of these robotic vacuum cleaners, read on to know if it’s worth the buy.
The Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p features the same puck-shaped design you’ll find on other robot cleaners like iRobot’s Roomba line. The exterior is a glossy plastic, but doesn’t pick up scratches. Since you won’t be handling it much, it doesn’t get smudgy either, although you will need to wipe it down for dust every few days. There are rubber bumpers on the sides that prevent damage if the robot vacuum bumps into walls or furniture, but this doesn’t leave any marks.
The design is pretty minimalist, with just two physical buttons to operate – power and home. The former can be pressed once during cleanup to stop the process manually, or long-pressed to turn the vacuum cleaner off. The home button sends the robot vacuum back to the dock.
Opening up the lid lets you access the dust and water containers. These are easy to pull out and install, although you’ll need to be a bit careful not to allow any water spillage inside when fitting the water container.
As for the box contents, the main components are the vacuum cleaner and the dock with adapter. You also get a dust box (only sweeping), a two-in-one dust and water tank (for sweeping + mopping), two side brushes, a full wet mop, semi wet mop and a separate drag bracket for attaching the mop heads.
A cleaning brush is also included, which can be used to clean out the dust compartment. It features a blade on one end which is useful for removing hair, fabric and other debris from the roller brush at the bottom. The dust box has a 550ml capacity, and I could run the robot vacuum 2-3 times before having to empty it. The mop on the other hand should be removed, cleaned and left to dry after every use.
Setting up the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p took a couple of tries since the app can be glitchy. One it’s set up though, using it is a breeze. The app itself is straightforward and well organized, but more on that later.
The robot vacuum uses a laser navigation sensor to map your home. Bear in mind that the initial mapping of your home takes a while, and you have to be patient. The robot vacuum follows what initially seems like a completely random path, but ends up mapping your home accurately. It took nearly two hours to map the floor of a 2,400 square foot space, and it should be less for smaller areas.
The first few cleaning cycles also took a while, but the more often you use it, the better it gets at figuring out a pathway for cleaning. The sweeping mode does a thorough job at picking up dust and debris from the floor. However, it does miss a spot here and there. For optimum cleaning, it’s better to get any rugs, wires, shoes or other flat objects on the floor out of the way. Around the dining table, I pulled out the chairs so that the robot vacuum had enough room to maneuver under the table.
The Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p does have a an anti-drop sensor which will prevent it from falling down stairs. That said, it still ended up getting stuck in my bathroom often, the floor of which is an inch lower than the rest of the house. Fortunately, there is a way around this. You can create a restricted area within the app to prevent the robot vacuum from cleaning particular areas.
I used the S-pattern mode by default for the mopping function, which conserves more battery but offers lighter cleaning. For tougher stains, you can enable the Y-pattern. Even then, I felt a manual mop was often needed, especially in areas like the kitchen where the floor tends to get messy. Unfortunately, the water tank is too small to clean the entire house. To make matters worse, there’s no way to know when the water tank needs to be refilled. This won’t be a concern if you’re using it in a smaller space or just one room, but you will need to manually check and refill it otherwise.
When the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p runs low on battery, it can automatically find its way back to the charging dock. However, you’ll need to make sure the dock is connected to the power and turned on. In case the vacuum cleaner runs out of battery mid-way through a cleaning job, it resumes operations from where it left off once it has enough charge.
As for the battery life, the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p’s 3,200mAh cell could clean my entire house without running out of charge. Charging it takes a few hours though – I would suggest leaving it to charge overnight.
Mi Home app
The Mi Home app is Xiaomi’s default app for all its smart home devices, from light bulbs to air purifiers to security cameras. Once you set up the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p, you can see it in the list of connected devices on the app. Tapping on it, you’re first greeted by the map of your home. You can choose to rename different rooms, which I recommend doing since it’s convenient if you want to clean a specific room. There are some glitches in the app though – in my house, the bedroom kept getting unmapped. I could see the mapped area on the floor plan, but it remained greyed out and couldn’t be renamed.
There are two buttons below the map for Dock or Start, with the former telling the robot vacuum to go back to the dock, and the latter starting the cleaning process.
There are three cleaning modes to choose from – vacuum, vacuum and mop and only mop. Since I was using the vacuum cleaner to clean a larger floor area, I had to vacuum first, let it charge and then use the mop function if required. If you’re cleaning a smaller area though, I’d recommend using the vacuum and mop function to save time.
As for the cleaning strength, you can choose from silent, standard, medium and turbo. I had it set to standard as default, and it’s pretty loud. I would not recommend medium or turbo for daily use since the prolonged noise can be disturbing. That said, they’re useful if you want to clean a particularly messy floor. If you’re using the Mop function, you can choose between low, medium and high water usage.
A convenient feature on the app is spot cleaning. You can select a specific area of your home that you want cleaned, by dragging and selecting the area on the map. This is useful if you want to clean up a mess on the floor. The app also offers other functions such as scheduled cleanups, secondary cleanups, cleaning history, the ability to create virtual walls, DND mode and more.
At Rs 24,999, the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p is a value for money buy. It offers a mopping function, good battery life and several useful customisations via the app. Most importantly, the robot vacuum cleans well, and can save you the daily elbow grease. It does have some limitations though – you will need to sweep and clean the floors yourself at least once a week, since the robot vacuum can’t reach every nook and cranny. The small water tank is also disappointing, requiring a refill mid-cleanup.
As for the competition, in the months after its launch, there are several brands that have launched robot vacuums with mop functions for similar or cheaper prices. I saw quite a few on Amazon, with brands like Eureka Forbes and iLife on the list. Now since I haven’t used any of the competing products, I can’t say for sure if they offer better or worse performance than the Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p. If you do choose to invest in Xiaomi’s Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop p however, you won’t be disappointed.
Pricebaba’s rating: 7.5 / 10
- Effective cleaning
- Mop function
- Feature-packed Mi Home app
- Good battery life
- Small water tank
- No low-water level indicator
- Minor glitches with mapping
- Not a replacement for manual cleaning