Ecovacs Deebot T20 Omni robot vacuum cleaner review
We trialled in-home the Ecovacs Deebot T20 Omni robot vacuum and mop. Is this all-in-one cleaning solution worth the price tag?
The Deebot T20 Omni ($1999) is Ecovacs’ first hybrid mopping and vacuuming bot that automatically lifts its mop heads when it goes onto carpet. The T20’s other innovation is in its dock, which automatically washes and dries the mopping pads.
Does any of this tech make it a better bot for your home?
- Good mopping performance
- Washes and dries mops automatically
- Raises mop heads automatically on carpet
- Quick initial mapping
- Lots of cleaning customisation options
- Built-in voice assistant
- Can climb ledges up to 20mm
- Furniture-area cleaning
- Below-average carpet cleaning performance
- Massive dock
- Returns to dock to wash mop pads every 10 minutes – no onboard water tank
- Medium- to high-pile carpet will get damp when mop heads are attached
- Water tanks need regular filling and emptying
- Can’t add a room to an existing map
Features: set and forget?
The Deebot T20 Omni does just about everything – it vacuums, mops, empties itself, washes its own mopping pads with hot water, and even dries them! It seems very much like a set-and-forget device, but we’ll find out more about that later.
Ecovacs lauds the T20’s 6000Pa suction power and OZMO Turbo 2.0 rotating mopping system, which it claims offers a “brand new deep cleaning experience with no corners left untouched”. The bot has “TrueDetect 3D 3.0” and “TrueMapping 2.0”!
Oh, and it also has YIKO (an AI voice assistant) onboard.
What more could you ask for?
Out of the very large box we took a nice large clear setup card to get us started. The only assembly tasks required are to clip on the two “swisher” brushes, heave the huge dock into place and plug it in. You then install the Ecovacs app on your smartphone and scan the QR code under the bot’s top cover to connect it.
I named the T20 “Deebie Brother” in the app.
Design: huge dock!
The bot looks similar to other Ecovacs offerings – a nice silver-and-white unit, with its periscope poking up from its satin-silver removable top.
The dock, however, is all white and absolutely massive. This is because it houses the auto-empty vacuum unit and dustbag, plus two large water tanks: one to hold clean water for washing the mopping pads, the other to collect the dirty water.
These tanks are easy to remove to empty and refill, which is good as you’ll be doing this a lot. Accessing the dustbag isn’t as obvious though, as the release catch is underneath the front panel.
Mapping: quick and accurate
Initial mapping of your home is performed with the app’s “quick map” option.
I was impressed with how quickly Deebie Brother did this map. It seemed to know its way around the house already and was done in less than 10 minutes. At the end, it tootled off to its dock without any prompting.
I’m also pleased to report that previous mapping issues I’ve had with Ecovacs robots aren’t present with the T20. Those other models required the dock to be placed against a long straight wall, with plenty of space to the sides and front (e.g., a corridor), or you’d end up with a very wonky map. The T20 doesn’t care where the dock is and maps perfectly first time.
Despite the mapping improvements, the app still doesn’t allow you to add a room to an existing map. If you didn’t map a particular room on the first run, perhaps because it was too untidy or a slumbering teenager was in there, then you’ll need to delete the map and start again.
App: fully featured
The “Ecovacs Home” app is continually improving and has a wealth of options for customising cleaning.
Map editing is easy after the initial map is complete, including naming, joining and dividing rooms. You can also insert furniture into the map, then direct the bot to clean around it – especially useful around kitchen tables and sofas. A minor annoyance is that you can’t customise room names; you can only select from a predefined set.
On the app’s main screen, you can choose to run:
- auto clean, which will do the whole map
- area clean, which allows you to select which rooms or areas you want cleaned
- furniture clean, where you direct the bot to clean around preloaded furniture items
- custom clean, where you can resize and move a square on the map and only clean that bit.
There’s also a cleaning preference section, where you can adjust the cleaning mode (vac only, mop only, vac and mop, and mop after vac), cleaning times (once or twice per area), and suction power (quiet, standard and strong).
There are three levels of clean to choose from: standard, deep and fast. There’s also an edge deep-cleaning command, which you can use to improve edge and corner cleaning.
But wait there’s more! Ecovacs has introduced a housekeeper mode, where, over time, the T20 will identify areas that are dirtier and adjust the cleaning for them.
There’s also a customised scenario cleaning section, where you can define which rooms to clean, how many times to clean them and at what suction strength.
These scenarios can be used with the scheduled cleaning option. So, for example, you could set the bot to clean your living spaces every Tuesday and Friday, and your bedrooms on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
I did find all these options a little confusing, but they’re there if you need them. Another hitch is that often the app wouldn’t update properly – so I was obliged to exit to the home page and reselect the bot to get it working again.
On the plus side, the built-in voice assistant, YIKO, is useful for times when you can’t be bothered getting your phone out of your pocket, or can’t find the function you’re after in the app. I often used it to cancel stuff, as in ... “OK YIKO”; “I’m here”; “Stop washing mop pads”; “Mop washing cancelled”.
Vacuuming and mopping: a mixed bag
Once it’s all set up, how does the T20 Omni perform?
It’s quite different from other robots we’ve trialled. Before the bot heads out to clean, it will wash its mop pads first. Cue a rumbling and gurgling noise from the dock lasting about a minute (no, it wasn’t my stomach).
The reason for this ritual is the T20 doesn’t have a water tank on board, so the mop pads require pre-wetting.
Here-in lies the main problem with the Ecovacs Deebot T20 Omni. It has to regularly visit its dock to wet the mopping pads, and it does this every 10 minutes or so. (You can change the interval, but the maximum is still only 15 minutes.)
If you’re home while the bot’s mopping, be prepared for a lot of gurgling. Also be warned that you’ll need to regularly empty the dirty water tank and refill the clean water one, as Deebie Brother is one thirsty bot.
It’s particularly frustrating that the bot performs this ritual even if you’ve only sent it out to clean a carpeted area.
I’m really hoping Ecovacs improves this process, as I love the idea of not having to wash the mop pads myself, as required by most other hybrid robot vacs.
Our test lab results for the T20 aren’t great for vacuuming, despite the claimed 6000pa of suction power. It fairs better on hard floors, but not as good as other models in its price range.
The T20 does do a very good job mopping though, removing all the stains it encountered on our test floor (wine, coffee, jam, soy sauce and mud).
In the in-home trial, we found it left excess water in areas where the mop heads first touched the floor, and that even though the heads lift up over carpet, you still get some dampness on medium-pile carpets or rugs – more than we’ve experienced with other mopping bots.
The T20 can climb ledges up to 20mm high, and it proved this by getting into our bathroom, which has quite a high step up.
"TrueDetect 3D Obstacle Avoidance” didn’t fare well in our household though, with the bot regularly getting entangled in cables and trying to eat a page from a library book. We’d recommend tidying your floors before vacuuming.
Cleaning our top floor, which is a 50/50 mix of carpet and hard surfaces, took 68 minutes for 51m2, using 57% of the battery and emptying half the dock’s clean water tank.
When the T20 has finished, it returns to the dock and washes the mopping pads one more time, then hot air dries them for at least 2 hours.
I’m not sure how crucial this last step is, as our personal home robot vacuum (a Roborocks model) dries its mop pad naturally, without any issues. Ecovacs points out, though, that the system is a hygienic and convenient way of cleaning your floors, without the need for “frequent disassembling”.
If you have more than one level or a separated area to your home, you can carry the Deebot to that area and create a new map.
I was pleased to find that if you use the bot on a level where it can’t access its dock, it doesn’t bother asking you to take it back so it can wash its mop pads, it just carries on with the cleaning.
If you have a lot of hard floors on the new level, though, you’ll find the pads will dry out and not be as effective. In this case, it may be worth relocating the dock to this floor. Alternatively, you may need to consider a different hybrid robot that carries a water tank onboard.
After I’d done our downstairs and carried the Deebot back to its dock, it trundled out again. I had to use the app to send it back in. On its way, it left a trail of dust and debris – marking its territory. I’m guess this might have been due to the bin being full, or it’s a bit of a design flaw.
Verdict: to buy or not to buy
Ecovacs have flung a lot of new tech into the Deebot T20 Omni, but it seems a little rushed and not that well thought out.
The continual returning to the dock to wash the mop pads and the large amount of water it uses are negatives, although the mopping performance is pretty good.
If you want a vac that’s good on carpets, there are better options out there too.
However, if you have a lot of hard floors in your home, then the Ecovacs Deebot T20 Omni may still be a good addition to your family, due to its mopping capability.
I’d suggest sending it out to clean when you’re not at home though, to avoid being irritated by the persistent background gurgling sound.