I’m not sure how I lived this long without ever buying a robot vacuum like the Ecovacs Deebot N79S. When I was a kid, a carpet sweeper was a welcome replacement for dragging your rugs outside and smacking them with a rug beater to knock the dirt off. Soon, the carpet sweeper was replaced by the vacuum cleaner, which sucked deep into your rugs to get out a lot more grime.
Now I, too, have caught on to the robotic vacuum revolution. I think self-operating products like our new Deebot robot vacuum may have escaped my notice because my sweet hubby does most of our vacuuming due to my challenges with arthritis. But after watching him struggle recently with our old upright vacuum, I knew it was time for something lighter and easier to use.
Deebot N79S Overview
After sifting through lots of information about these amazing little gadgets, I finally settled on the Ecovacs Deebot N79S (view on Amazon). This one seemed like a good balance of features and affordability.
It’s got wifi connectivity so you can control it with your smart phone, but luckily for us less tech-oriented folks, it also comes with a regular old-fashioned remote. That’s how we operate it and it was easy to get going out of the box, after a charging period of about four hours.
The manufacturer is cautious to point out that thick carpet can hinder the Deebot N79S from doing its best vacuum job. Our floors are mainly hardwood with a few fairly thin throw rugs here and there, so this wasn’t a concern to us. But our daughter also has the same model Deebot and says while it will do a good job picking up surface dirt from her thick carpeting, it’s not as powerful as vacuuming with her traditional vacuum cleaner.
She’s OK with that though, as the Deebot combined with her Electrolux ErgoRapido stick vacuum has her hauling out her upright much less often. She’s got pets and says the Deebot is great for picking up spilled cat litter and random tufts of dog hair, even on her thicker carpet.
We were all surprised at how quiet the Deebot is. The manufacturer reports the noise level is ~67 dbA to ~70 dbA in Max Mode, which according to sources on Google is about the loudness of a regular vacuum cleaner. I think its significantly quieter, but maybe that’s because I don’t follow it around closely like I would with a regular vacuum. A push of a button and off it goes, happily cleaning all our floors.
Once we got all the parts out of the box, hubby flipped open the included Quick Start Guide and followed the numbered drawings. It went pretty quick, even for us older folks.
First step is to plug in the charger unit in a location that will allow the Deebot to have at least 3′ 3″ (3m) feet on either side of it and 6′ 6″ (6m) in front of it for clear access.
Even though the Deebot dimensions are 3 inches tall and about 13 inches wide, it needs the extra space to navigate its way home after cleaning.
Then turn the Deebot over and attach the spinning brushes underneath.
Then just flip the On/Off switch to On. (The On/Off switch is located on the side of the unit. “I” is for “ON” and “O” is for “Off”).
Now it’s ready to charge. Place the unit on the charging base and let it charge for four hours. While you’re waiting, insert the two included AA batteries into the Remote.
It’s easy to get started vacuuming with the Deebot. Just press the Auto button on the remote or the Auto button on the Deebot itself. Either one will start the Deebot in Auto Cleaning Mode. The Deebot will set off in a straight line sweeping up dirt and hair until it meets an obstacle, and then it will change directions and go off in another straight line, continuing in this manner, turning at obstacles and sweeping all the floor space to which it has access. It stops, turns, and goes in another direction when it encounters stairs, walls, and other items like clutter on the floor. When it gets low on battery power, it will return itself to its charging base.
My husband is happy with the Deebot. His favorite feature is the Deebot’s ability to clean under the beds unaided. (The Deebot needs about 3 inches clearance to get under furniture.)
Coming in a close second favorite feature, thanks to its long, spinning side brushes that scoop debris toward the bin, the Deebot easily gets into the edges where the wall meets the floor and picks up dust bunnies that otherwise he’d have to get at with the hose attachment on the upright vacuum.
The Deebot works great in Auto Mode, and also comes with several other more specific Modes, including:
- Spot Cleaning Mode – the Deebot will proceed in ever larger circles around a spill;
- Edge Cleaning Mode – the Deebot will sweep and vacuum along all the edges;
- Single Room Mode – put the Deebot into one room and close the door;
- Return to Charger Mode – conveniently sends the Deebot back to its charger whenever you want.
Depending on your cleaning needs, you can use any of these and skip others. Otherwise, the Deebot will return itself to its charger when its battery gets low.
The Deebot N79S is pretty easy to maintain. The dust bin needs to be emptied when it is full and the filters should be dusted off and rinsed every so often, depending on the amount of dust and dirt that your Deebot accumulates.
Simply pull the dust bin out from the back of the Deebot and flip open the main top door on the dust bin and empty it into your trash bin. When you are ready to rinse the filters, lift out the blue Filter Net from the main compartment, and open the smaller door on top of the dust bin to access the white High Efficiency Filter and the black Sponge Filter.
The empty Dust Bin, the blue Filter Net, and the black Sponge Filter can be rinsed off with tap water. Don’t get the white High Efficiency Filter wet, though. That one you can just tap to release any dust and keep in a dry place until the rest of the parts have been rinsed and dried completely before putting them back into the Deebot.
Also, whenever we empty the dust bin, we also give a quick swipe of the front of the Deebot with a dusting cloth to remove any dust that accumulated there. That is where the Deebot’s sensors are, and dust can make the sensors less sensitive to its surroundings. In other words, if it can’t tell what’s around it, the Deebot may start bumping into walls and other obstacles.
Included with the Deebot is a yellow Multi-Function Cleaning Tool that sort of resembles a letter opener / brush combination. On further inspection, the letter opener section is actually a great little tool for cutting hair and thread tangled around the main brush of the Deebot.
Simply press the tabs on the cover of the Main Brush on the bottom of the Deebot to access the main brush. Lift out the main brush and use the letter opener end of the tool to get under and cut through and hair or threads that have gotten tangled in the main brush. Use the brush end of the tool to dust away any debris in and around the main brush compartment, and other areas that have accumulated dust and dirt. It’s a good idea to brush off the charging contacts on the charging base, as well.
There are accessory kits available for the Deebot N79S, in various combinations of accessories. For example, one contains just the side brush replacements and filters for the dust collector bin, and another that contains the side brushes, filters and the main brush.
The Deebot N79S is an amazing piece of technology at an affordable price. Having said that, I do want to mention a few points to be aware of if you are considering getting one for yourself or an older adult in your life.
- Pick up any wires and hook them across a piece of furniture before you start the Deebot. There is a good chance the Deebot will get hung up or tangled in wires left in its path.
- If you program it to clean at a certain time, don’t forget that it is wandering around your home or you could accidentally trip on it.
- Keep the front plastic cover of the sensor area clean. It may start to run into walls if the plastic covering the infrared sensor gets too dusty.
- If it gets wedged in and stuck somewhere it will beep to alert you. You may have to pick it up to unwedge it, in which case it weighs about 7 to 8 pounds.
Installing the Ecovacs App and Connecting to WiFi
We find the included Remote plenty for us to control our Deebot N79S but if you want to impress your kids and grandkids, and show them how you can control your Deebot right from your smart phone via wifi, here are steps you can try:
- Download the Ecovacs app from Google Play Store on your Android (the steps may be similar for iPhone users at the Apple Store)
- Type in the name of the app “Ecovacs Deebot N79S” in the Google Play Store search box.
- Choose the “Ecovacs, Ecovacs Robotics” app from the search results.
- Install the app. Ecovacs asked for several permissions. If you are comfortable with what they need access to, then tap Accept.
- The next screen should ask you to Add a Robot. Tap on Add a Robot and the Deebot N79S should appear in the list.
- Select the Deebot N79S.
- Turn on the Robot (The On/Off switch is located on the side of the unit. “I” is for “ON” and “O” is for “Off”).
- Press and hold the WiFi button on the Remote until the robot beeps. Then follow the instructions that appear on the app.
An image of your Deebot N79S should now appear in the app with a green dot indicating that it is “On-line” and ready to do your bidding. Tap on it to enter the screen where you can control it in real time, or tap on the three dots to enter the Settings menu.
In the Settings menu, you can change the vacuum power, set cleaning schedules, rename your Deebot, and monitor the life cycle left in the Deebot’s “Consumables” (the Side Brushes, Main Brush and Filters) so you know when you should replace them. You can also tap on “Find Deebot” and it will let out a series of “beeps” so you can find it easily.
Troubleshooting tips if you are having problems connecting the Deebot to the Ecovacs app:
- If your Deebot is already on, you may need to try turning it Off and then On again.
- It also may help if you bring the Deebot closer to your router.
- The N79S only works on the 2.4 GhZ network; it’s not able to connect over a 5 GhZ network, so make sure your router is set to 2.4 GhZs.
Note: Ecovacs says the Deebot is also compatible with Alexa voice commands. We don’t have Alexa and so aren’t able to try it out for you.