BY MAT GALLAGHER LAST UPDATED
Original article: https://www.t3.com/reviews/yeedi-vac-station-review
The Yeedi Vac Station is the latest addition to Yeedi’s line-up and for the first time adds an emptying station to the mix. This, along with its other features place the Vac Station squarely up against some of the best robo vacs on the market, especially thanks to its price.
Described as a 3-in-1 device, the Yeedi Vac Station vacs, mops and self-empties, providing automated cleaning for up to 30 days without the need of any interaction. For all this it comes in at a price of $499 in the US (not currently available in the UK or Australia). This puts it slightly cheaper than iRobot’s self-emptying models and very close to Shark’s offering, though neither of these offer the mop functionality. Also, a current 20% discount that runs until July 25 drops that by $100.
As well as the empty station and mop, the Vac Station promises visual mapping, floor type detection, a powerful suction and a long battery life. It certainly ticks all the boxes in terms of features, and it looks great too, but I was keen to see how it is in action, so I put it to the test in my new apartment for a couple of weeks.
YEEDI VAC STATION ROBO-VAC REVIEW: DESIGN AND BUILD
While many of the recent robo-vacs have opted for a darker design, the Yeedi Vac Station stands out in its stark white finish. While white can make devices look cheap, here its quite the opposite, and both the vacuum and tower look very classy. Also, with the tower standing at around 17 inches tall, the white meant it didn’t stick out in its position by the wall in my kitchen.
I find the packaging can say a lot about a product, and the Vac Station comes really nicely packaged – each section has its own box within the packaging and plastic protectors cover anything that might get scratched along the way.
Aside from the color, the Yeedi Vac Station looks much like other robo-vacs – a short, round design, with bumpers and a brush to one side. However, there is one difference: it has a camera on the top. I was excited by the idea of being able to get an FPV of the cleaning operation through the app but unfortunately, this isn’t possible. Instead, the camera appears to be used to help the Vac Station map your rooms – presumably by looking at the ceiling edges. While this isn’t explained in the manual, the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL has a similar camera, and this is how it uses it.
YEEDI VAC STATION ROBO-VAC REVIEW: FEATURES AND BATTERY LIFE
Battery life is impressive too. The Vac Station contains a 5200mAh battery which can provide up to 200 minutes of cleaning per charge. Of course, if your house needs more time, it will return to the dock to charge and resume once it has enough power. Though you’d need a palace for it to take much longer than 200 minutes.
The feature list for the Yeedi Vac Station is certainly impressive. For mopping it features an 8oz (250ml) water receptacle and a removable cloth that wipes the surface. When in mopping mode, the Vac Station knows not to go on carpets or rugs and can be set to just mop or combine a mop and vacuum function.
The vacuuming boasts a 3000pa suction, which is more than I’ve seen advertised on other robo-vacs, though not all give this figure for comparison. The underside looks fairly standard, with a centrally positioned rolling brush. The two main wheels allow the vac to raise almost 2 inches, to get over small door ledges and rug edges. There’s just a single sweeper brush here for edges, rather than dual brushes as some models offer, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem in use.
The ample dust bin inside the vac is sucked up into the main tower once it docks at the end of the cleaning cycle and that bin is a disposable vacuum bag that is advertised as holding up to 30 days of dirt. It’s a slight shame that this isn’t a reusable bag, as has become more common on stick vacuums but you do get two bags in the box, so you’re good for at least two months.
As I mentioned earlier, the camera on the top of the robo-vac is part of the Vac Station’s visual mapping system, which along with its floor sensor, helps to map out each room in your house. Once the space is fully mapped, you can select areas to clean and those to avoid, even choosing which bits to mop.
YEEDI VAC STATION ROBO-VAC REVIEW: SET UP
Putting the Vac Station together is simple. The tower attaches to the base with a few small screws and the extended ramp (to help the robo-vac dock) simply clips in. The only requirement of the robo-vac itself is to attach the sweeping brush and the mop pad when needed.
The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store and registers the Vac Station with a QR code that you need to hold up to its onboard camera. The controls are straightforward and functional – it does everything you need it to, including scheduling cleans – and you can also link it to an Amazon Alexa device or Google Assistant to start the cleaning.
The Vac Station does need a few cleans before it can fully map your home though, and it recommends that you are on hand to assist the robo-vac for these cleans. I found myself moving various leads and boxes and helping it over a few door bumps. However, once it had learned the area, it lifted over these bumps itself. Leads do need to keep out of the way though, as it can end up tangled or pulling items along with it. It managed to pick up the power lead for my Dyson, which I felt was more an act of rebellion than an accident.
The mapping only registers if you let the Vac Station do a complete clean cycle. On the first couple of cleans, I ended the process after about 70 mins of following it around and these didn’t populate the map. Once I let it carry on for the full time it suddenly delivered a map view on the app that looked pretty accurate on the first go. The app suggests letting it have three to five cleans to ensure a full map though.
YEEDI VAC STATION ROBO-VAC REVIEW: PERFORMANCE
The more the Yeedi Vac Station learns the area, the faster the cleaning process is. With a cleaning area of around 600 sq ft, the first few cleans took up to 100 minutes but this was reduced to around 65 minutes once the map was generated.
The suction power automatically changes depending on the surface the Vac Station is cleaning. You can hear it increase as it moves on to carpet and decrease again on the wooden flooring. While it did clean thicker rugs when I placed the unit on them, it wouldn’t climb on these by itself. Shorter pile rugs were no problem though and though it often took a couple of goes, it managed to lift itself up the slight ledge into the bathroom.
The proof is often in the dirt it collects and on every clean, the internal compartment was at least half full of dust and dog hair. The rugs also had that freshly vacuumed look to them, which was always reassuring.
Using the mop functionality is a little fiddly. You need to fill the water compartment and attach the mop pad. Once you do it announces that it is now in mopping mode. From the app you can also have it remind you to change the mop pad at various time intervals. To do this you need to unclip the pad and clean it, before reattaching. Again, this can get a little dirty, which is a sign it’s doing its job.
In mopping mode, the Vac Station won’t stray onto any carpeted area, which is impressive. However, it does mean that you need to be on hand to keep changing this over if you have an area you want mopping that is past a carpeted area. Or carry it to the room. I feel unless I had the majority of my house uncarpeted, I probably wouldn’t bother with the mop function.
YEEDI VAC STATION ROBO-VAC REVIEW: VERDICT
The Yeedi Vac Station is an impressive device that has all the features you need. Having a camera on top of the device may bother some users and I’m not sure it’s more effective than a discreet LiDAR sensor for mapping rooms, but it does work. Those with wooden floors or hard surfaces through their houses will appreciate the addition of the mop on this model. However, if you have a real mix, the process can negate the benefits of having an automated device.
YEEDI VAC STATION ROBO-VAC REVIEW: ALSO CONSIDER
If you don’t need the mopping functionality, the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL offers a similar spec to the Yeedi Vac Station for around the same money. The biggest difference is it comes in black.
If you are looking for something more affordable, the Yeedi Vac Max provides the same vacuum and mopping functions without the self-empty tower for $399, while the Yeedi Vac is a little less powerful and doesn’t have the mop attachment in the box (though you can still add it) for $299.
If you want to go all out on your robo-vac, the Samsung Jet Bot+ uses LiDAR mapping and has a five-layer HEPA filter to trap more dust, with prices from $799.