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Ecovacs Deebot U2 review

Strong suction for less than half the price of premium rivals

Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vacuum
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Ecovacs Deebot U2 delivers excellent suction power for a robot vacuum at its price point, offering a compelling alternative to more expensive rivals, including Ecovacs’ own premium range. However, corners have been cut to achieve that lower price, such as removing smart mapping functionality, which may not represent good value for some.

For

  • Impressive suction
  • Affordable price
  • Incredibly easy to set up

Against

  • Lacks smart mapping
  • Mopping functionality just passable

One-minute review

The Deebot U2 is the latest entry-level robot vacuum from Ecovacs, and it’s available at a remarkably affordable price point, particularly for a droid that both vacuums and mops.

But don’t be fooled by its low cost – the Deebot U2 has great suction power, handling dust, dirt and debris quite well, even on its lowest power setting. That combination of cost and performance makes it a great option for anyone looking to get their first robot vacuum cleaner.

Battery life is decent too, though our testing found it falls slightly short of Ecovacs’ advertised run-time of 110 minutes. Our testing found the U2 lasted around 90 minutes, so we’d argue it’s better suited for smaller homes.

Where the robovac really runs into trouble is with its lack of smart navigation. Without smart mapping onboard, the Deebot U2 can struggle to identify what parts of your house it’s already cleaned, what parts still need doing, and can often clean a particular area repeatedly before moving on, eating into its limited battery life.

Instead, it cleans by moving back and forth across a certain space, but we found it could miss entire sections of the room, while spending excessive time cleaning other areas.

While its suction power is remarkable, its mopping capabilities aren’t particularly noteworthy, and the U2 struggles to wipe away dried-in stains – though admittedly, that’s a problem you’ll find with many dual-function robot vacuums. That said, its low price and great suction are its strongest selling points, so if you can go without premium features for a cheaper price, it’s a good contender.

Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vacuum

(Image credit: Future)

Ecovacs Deebot U2 price and availability

  • Launched in February 2021
  • Affordable price of $249 / £249 / AU$399

The Ecovacs Deebot U2 (known as the Deebot Ozmo U2 in some regions) is available now for $249 / £249 / AU$399 from select retailers in most major markets. That’s a great price for an entry-level robot vacuum cleaner, and it costs significantly less than today’s premium models.

It’s worth noting that a Deebot U2 Pro is also available in select locations for $349 / £309 / AU$599, and the difference there is that it comes with additional features that make it more pet-friendly. That includes an additional larger dustbin and a silicone, bristle-free brush for pet hair. The U2 Pro will also vacuum your home for longer thanks to its larger 3,200mAh battery (versus the U2’s 2600mAh), which promises up to 150 minutes of run-time (up from 110 minutes).

Compared to the competition, the Deebot U2 is an incredibly affordable robovac. It’s not uncommon to see these household droids cost upwards of $500 / £500 / AU$800, with some high-end models from Ecovacs and iRobot reaching the four figure mark in certain regions.

So, what corners has Ecovacs cut to create this budget-friendly robot vac? Let’s take a look.

Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vacuum

(Image credit: Future)

Design

  • Familiar circular shape
  • Easily removable dustbin
  • Available in black or white

The Ecovacs Deebot U2 follows a similar vein as most robovacs. It’s circular in shape, with a retractable bumper, an infrared sensor surrounding the front edge and a dustbin under the hood at the back of the bottom half.

On top there’s a single button which starts the cleaning process. An integrated LED light indicates status – it’s white when cleaning, blinks slowly while charging, or turns red if there's trouble. Above the button is a tiny Wi-Fi status light that glows when connected.

Flip the robot vac over and you’ll get a better idea of how this device works. There are two side brushes towards the front to sweep debris towards the main brush located in the middle. That main brush can get quite tangled with hair and fibers, but thankfully the brush is easy to remove and simple to clean.

Ecovacs has included a small cleaning tool for the main brush – with small bristles on one end and a tiny knife edge on the other – but we found the blade quite flimsy in use. Instead, we’d recommend using a trusty pair of scissors to cut out what the main brush has tangled up. The bristles on the cleaning tool are, however, useful for dusting off the filter if you don’t want to get your hands dirty.

Under the top panel, the U2 has a 400ml dustbin which is surrounded by a slim 300ml water reservoir. Both are easy to remove and use, although the small size of the bin meant we needed to empty it after each run.

The Deebot U2 comes in either black or white, with the white being sent to us for this review. Over our three-week testing period, we found that the U2 ended up with a few scuffs and scratches, particularly along the rim of the top panel, and we imagine this’ll become more of an issue over time.

Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vacuum

(Image credit: Future)

Setup and app control

  • Setup is a breeze
  • Ecovacs app is user-friendly

We found setup of the U2 to be incredibly easy from start to finish. The two side brushes fit into their spots with a single click, after which you just plug in the droid’s docking station to get it charging right away.

You’ll need to download the Ecovacs app to finish setup – available for both iOS and Android – and it offers step-by-step instructions to get your bot connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network.

While you have the option of starting a clean with the U2’s start button, more customized control of the droid is available through the app. You can choose to start a general clean for the entire house, select edge cleaning for a sweep of the skirting boards, or opt to spot clean a specific area.

If you use voice assistants, the Deebot U2 is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Ecovacs Deebot U2 app

(Image credit: Future)

Suction power can also be controlled through the app – we’d say standard vacuum power is more than enough for hard surfaces, and fares surprisingly well on carpets too. You also have the option of boosting the bot’s suction power with Max or Max+ modes, and these are what you want to go for if you need a more thorough job. Similarly, you can control how much water the droid is using while mopping your floor – we’d suggest using the highest water setting to cope with more porous surfaces, and for your best chance at a passable job.

The app also lets you create cleaning schedules, and this ‘set-and-forget’ function would be particularly helpful if you want a daily clean to keep your home in tip-top shape, or if you’d like a clean done while you’re away. You’ll need to empty out the dustbin of course, and it has the potential to get caught up in cords or wires if you leave it to clean unsupervised.

Overall though, we found the initial setup incredibly easy, and the Ecovacs app is intuitive and simple to navigate.

Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vacuum

(Image credit: Future)

Cleaning performance

  • Strong suction
  • Lacks mapping software
  • Mopping functionality is subpar

Considering the affordable pricepoint of this robovac, we were pleasantly surprised by its strong suction power. It did a great job of sucking up debris on our hard floors, and thoroughly impressed us while vacuuming the carpet – even on its standard setting.

As mentioned above, there are higher suction settings if you need a deeper clean, and Ecovacs says that Max+ mode will boost suction power up to 2.5 times. That boost in suction will also lead to a shorter battery life, with our testing clocking a run-time of around 45 minutes on Max+ mode. We noticed a small performance boost (and a little extra noise) using this highest suction setting, and it may be helpful for those with a pet running around the house.

The infrared sensor around the front of the U2’s bumper powers the bot’s anti-collision tech. We found it works well when it comes to wall avoidance – stopping just short of large barriers – but it’s not quite as proficient at avoiding smaller obstacles like furniture legs.

During our testing, the U2 bumped into chairs and table legs in our test space during every cleaning run, extracting itself from within this obstacle course the same way a bumper car would – awkwardly bumping back and forth until it was free.

Similarly, cords and wires can pose a problem for the Deebot U2. The droid got tangled in the wires of its own charging dock on two of its test runs, so it’s best to ensure you do a quick tidy up by picking up odds and ends from the floor, particularly if you know there’s a scheduled clean coming while you’re going to be away.

Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vacuum

(Image credit: Future)

To make it more affordable, Ecovacs hasn’t used its excellent Smart Navi mapping technology in the Deebot U2, and in our opinion, this is the droid’s biggest weakness. This means that your floor layout isn’t mapped and saved in the app, which stops the bot from remembering where obstacles are and knowing which areas it’s cleaned.

The bot does tend to sweep over your floors in a systematic back and forth pattern, but during our testing, often the U2 repeatedly ran over the same section of floor multiple times before moving on. So while a particular area of our test space was thoroughly cleaned, other areas were completely neglected on some cleaning runs.

Ecovacs says the Deebot U2 has a run time of up to 110 minutes, and during our testing, we found the battery life to be a little lower; around 90 minutes with standard suction power. Using Max power, we got about 65 minutes of juice from the robovac, and around 45 minutes of run time on its most powerful suction setting. That’s quite an impressive battery life, especially when you consider a small open-plan apartment, or one with about two or three rooms, could get a thorough cleaning with the Max+ setting on a single run.

The Deebot U2 also has mopping capability, but it’s hard to recommend this as a reason to buy it, particularly if you have mostly carpeted floors. That’s because the unit isn’t equipped with sensors to tell the difference between hard floors and rugs and carpets, and will therefore happily mop over your carpets as well.

If, however, you do mostly have hard floors, then the U2 is passable at mopping. Like most dual-function droids, the mop isn’t able to remove dried-in stains and it essentially just wets and wipes the floor. In fairness, this mediocre mopping performance is something that more expensive robovacs from Ecovacs and beyond also suffer, and isn’t a consequence of any cost-cutting.

Ecovacs Deebot U2 robot vacuum

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Ecovacs Deebot U2?

Buy it if…

You want an affordable robot vacuum with strong suction power

Retailing for just $249 / £249 / AU$399, the Ecovacs Deebot U2 is an affordable robovac, and at this approachable price, we can see more people considering a robot vacuum for the first time. Despite its low cost, it’ll still be able to suck up dust lurking within carpet fibers.

You want a robot vacuum to handle everyday cleaning

The Deebot U2 is best for those who want regular cleaning runs, rather than a thorough job every now and then. While we were pleasantly surprised by its suction power, it’s not perfect and can still miss embedded dirt or debris.

You live in an apartment or smaller home

The Deebot U2’s lack of smart mapping means it’s less likely to cover the entire floor space of a home, particularly a larger one. However if you live in a smaller space, it’ll have a better chance of cleaning your floors during its 90 minute run time.

Don't buy it if…

You want a robot vacuum with a smart mapping system

Without smart mapping, it’s difficult for the robovac to recognise what parts of your home it’s already cleaned, while some areas can be missed entirely. You’ll also need to contend with it repeatedly bumping into the same small obstacles such as furniture legs, and potentially scuffing the vacuum cleaner.

You want great mopping capabilities

Like many robot vacuums that come with a dual-cleaning functionality, the Deebot U2 doesn’t do a particularly great job with mopping, and without sensors, the bot is unable to determine between carpet and hard surfaces.