Today, I am comparing two robotic vacuums ILIFE A4S and Ecovacs Deebot N79, that come with high recommendations and relatively low price tags. Both vacuums clean reliably, and many of the features are comparable. The main difference is that the Deebot N79 comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and app control. Let’s see if that’s worth it.
Quick Comparison Table of ILIFE A4S and Deebot N79
|ILIFE A4S||Ecovacs Deebot N79|
|Weight||4.9 lbs.||6.7 lbs.|
|Shipping Weight||9.88 lbs.||7.7 lbs.|
|Dimensions||12.2 x 12.2 x 3 in.||13 x 13 x 3.1 in.|
|Run time||140 min.||100 min.|
|Clean System||3th CyclonePower System||3-Tier Cleaning System|
|Suction Power||1000 pa||1000 pa|
|Virtual wall/No-go lines||No||No|
|Warranty||1 year||1 year|
The ILIFE A4S is the upgraded version of the A4 model. The two models are very similar; however, I saw some improvements in the A4S that are worth mentioning. The A4S is more powerful than the A4. It has 5 times greater suction power and a stiffer main brush, which means it performs better when it comes to cleaning carpets. The battery life is much longer and has increased the overall run time to 140 min. In my tests, the vacuum has consistently run between 125 and 140 minutes when set to normal cleaning mode. This is one of the best run times among robotic vacuums and makes this model particularly well suited for larger homes. The A4S also seems to navigate a little better than previous models.
One feature that has definitely improved is cleaning power. The A4S features double v-shaped bristle brushes. The way these two brushes work together means that all dirt gets swept up, whether it’s on a hard flooring like linoleum or tile or on softer flooring like carpet. While it is not well suited to clean shaggy carpets, on short- and medium-pile carpet, the A4S is able to provide a satisfying deep clean.
Another advantage of the v-shaped brushes is that the design prevents most clogs and tangles. Clean bristles mean the vacuum can perform on a consistently high level and also that you don’t have to clean it as often. As someone who has a dog with long fur and a daughter with long hair, I can tell you that getting those long strands of fur or hair out of a vacuum’s bristles can be quite a hassle! But remember that this doesn’t mean you don’t still have to regularly maintain your vacuum—cleaning the dust bin and filter and keeping the brushes clean is still an important task no matter which vacuum you use.
The A4S does not come with Wi-Fi connectivity, and thus has no app to control it. For some, that might be a negative, but I don’t necessarily see it as such. You can still schedule cleaning runs and cleaning modes via the remote control, which is extremely easy to operate. The vacuum automatically returns to its charging base when the battery runs low. Should it get stuck, a beep will alert you that the device needs help.
One nice thing about the A4S is the option to select different cleaning modes. Aside from the auto and scheduled cleaning modes, you can also select the edge cleaning mode, which makes sure no dirt will hide in the corners or assemble along the walls, and the spot cleaning mode, which lets you focus the vacuum’s cleaning power on a particularly dirty spot. Overall, this is a very solid robotic vacuum that performed very well throughout the tests we designed for it.
There is one more aspect worth mentioning here: customer service. I contacted the company several times during my tests of its various robotic vacuum models. Sometimes, I had questions about performance or parts, and other times, I wanted clarification of settings and handling. Every time I contacted customer service representatives, I received quick responses and helpful advice, which was a very positive experience.
- It runs very quietly.
- You can set different cleaning modes, depending on your needs.
- It’s easy to clean the dust bin and filter.
- It sometimes bumps into furniture.
- There is no app control, and the only way to prevent it from going to certain areas in your home is by physically blocking them off.
- The Off button can be hit accidentally, without noticing, and then the vacuum won’t work.
The Deebot N79 is another competitively priced robotic vacuum, especially when compared to the prices of other vacuums that come with Wi-Fi connectivity. For example, it is over $60 cheaper than the Deebot N79S, without a noticeable decrease in performance. In my tests, it performed especially well on hardwood flooring—the kitchen linoleum and the bamboo floors in the dining room. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of dirt it picked up, both in the middle of the room and along the edges. I wish the run time was a little longer, but over 1.5 hours per battery charge is not bad.
Similar to the A4S, the N79 also comes with the option of different cleaning modes: auto mode for general cleaning, edge mode for cleaning along with the corners of your home, spot cleaning mode for areas that are particularly dirty, and max mode for when you are faced with extra dirt or dirt that is particularly hard to suck up. Here, the app definitely comes in handy, because you don’t have to be present to switch between modes. The app will let you do that from wherever you are.
Other than this, I have to say there are not many other advantages to having Wi-Fi connectivity. I know some people like to track the vacuum’s progress as it cleans its way through your home, but personally, I don’t find that necessary. The remote control lets you do everything the app lets you do. Unlike the N79S, the original N79 is not compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Home, so the app is much like remote control, only it’s on your smart device. While I personally don’t find the app very useful, it is easy to operate. Even an older friend of mine who is generally reluctant to use a smart device had no trouble figuring out how to get the vacuum going via the app.
Overall, the N79 is a vacuum that is suited for any home, although it performs especially well on homes with hardwood flooring and low-pile carpets.
To be fair in this comparison, I want to mention that Ecovac, the manufacturer of the Deebot models, also has great customer service. My questions and concerns were always quickly addressed and answered.
- It runs very quietly.
- You can select different cleaning modes, depending on your needs.
- Its CyclonePower system ensures that every bit of dirt gets swept into the dust bin.
- It can get stuck on shaggy carpet or carpet fringes.
- The app requires 2.4G Hz Wi-Fi, so you have to make sure your Wi-Fi is switched to that setting.
- There is no way to prevent it from going to certain areas in your home, unless you physically block it.
Q: Will either one of these works on a dark linoleum floor?
A: Like many other robotic vacuums, both the ILIFE A4S and the Deebot N79 operate with sensors. That makes it difficult for the machines to distinguish between a hole and a dark floor. The same sensors that prevent the vacuum from falling down the stairs can also prevent it from going onto a dark floor. So if you have a lot of very dark flooring, you might have trouble getting it cleaned with either one of these models.
Q: I have valuable, antique dining room furniture. Do I need to worry that the chair and table legs will get scratched up if I run a robotic vacuum?
A: In this case, I recommend the Deebot N79 over the ILIFE A4S. The A4S sometimes bumps into furniture with a little bit of force behind it. While I have never seen it leave any scratches, the anti-collision sensors and soft cushion bumpers on the N79 might work better for you.
Q: I suffer from allergies. Will either model work for me?
A: The N79 comes with a high-efficiency filter that catches 99% of allergens and dust particles.
Q: We live by the beach and constantly battle sand getting into the home. Which ones the better vacuum for us?
A: The A4S has great suction power and a unique system of side brushes that push the dirt towards the main brush, which will then sweep it up. It does great with cleaning up dirt, sand, and other pieces of debris.
Q: I just got my ILIFE A4S and am looking forward to using it. Is it difficult to maintain?
A: I’m sure you will enjoy your new vacuum. If you are unsure about how to keep it clean and functioning at its best, check out the how-to videos on the manufacturer’s website. They are a great resource.
Q: I have some shaggy carpets in my living room. Would the Deebot N79 be suitable to clean my house?
A: Like most robotic vacuums, the Deebot does best on low-pile carpets. There is a danger that it might get stuck on the shaggy carpet. Perhaps you can roll up the carpets before starting a cleaning run; that way, you can be sure the Deebot can do its job. If this is not an option, check out the Neato Botvac D7, which comes with laser navigation that works on dark floors.
Q: What exactly is the difference between these two vacuums and a Roomba?
A: Roomba is iRobot’s series of robotic vacuums. The functionality across all three brands is pretty much identical, so it is important to compare other features like performance, accessories, and price tag when deciding which model to purchase. The Deebot N79 and ILIFE A4S compare to the Roomba 600 series. Within that series, you find models with Wi-Fi connectivity, additional app control, and virtual walls that let you control where exactly the vacuum cleans. The N79 and A4S are both smaller and lighter than any of the Roomba 600 models, but they are also cheaper.
The two vacuums compare very well. They are both affordable and perform well, especially for being on the lower end of the price spectrum. The A4S has a longer run time and is a bit better suited for larger homes. It is also lighter and narrower than the Deebot N79. There’s almost an inch difference in height, so if you have particularly low furniture, that might mean the A4S will fit under your furniture, while the N79 will not. The suction power of the two vacuums is comparable, and both work well in a household with pets.
The major difference between these two models is the Wi-Fi connectivity and app control. If you like to control your vacuum while you are not at home, the N79 is for you. While it is not compatible with systems like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, like other models, you can still use the app to start and stop the vacuum and monitor its progress. If this is not a necessity for you, then I recommend the A4S, because it has a longer run time. It can easily be operated via its remote control and it is programmable, so you can still have it clean your home while you are away.