Midea M7 robot vacuum review
We look at an entry-level model from Midea. Here are the pros and cons.
We’ve trialled several robot vacuums in the home to get a real-world perspective on how they perform. Here, we look at an entry-level mapping-capable model from Midea.
Midea is a newcomer in the competitive robot vacs market, so far launching three models here in New Zealand.
Its cheapest model is the i5C, which has no mapping. The s8+ is its top-of-the-line mapping model with an auto-empty dock. But we trialled its mid-range mapping model, the M7, currently retailing at $529.
- Excellent value for a hybrid mopping vacuum
- Clear and feature-rich app
- Low profile, so can clean under some sofas
- Can create up to three separate maps for other floors or areas
- Can’t add a room to a map
- Will keep looking for its dock when its finished cleaning, if taken to a different level or area
Feature rich at a budget price
The Midea M7 has a lot of the same features as the more expensive manufacturers’ models. It has mopping, an app with full mapping capabilities, and LDS laser navigation (a system that emits a laser beam and uses sensors to detect the reflections on the surfaces in the environment). It's also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
It doesn’t have an auto-empty dock though, so you will need to regularly empty the bot’s on-board bin.
Set up and design
Set up was easy! In the box is an easy-to-follow set-up guide. In a nutshell, you just clip on the colour-coded side brushes, peel off the protective plastic covers, and then connect to the app.
The M7 feels more lightweight than other models we’ve trialled, so Midea may be using cheaper and thinner plastics to keep costs down.
The dock is a small shiny number that won’t win any design awards. But the robot itself isn’t too bad looking – it’s a glossy black disc. I mean, let’s face it, most robot vacs look pretty similar, right?
Under the flip-up lid is the removeable dustbin. There’s a neat touch here, which is the inclusion of a cleaning tool that sits on top of the bin. It’s a simple little brush, but also has a small blade for cutting the long hairs that tend to get tangled around the unit’s roller brush.
Also in the box, is the separate mop pad and water tank. You have to clip these together first, before attaching them to the robot whenever you want to mop (this was a bit fiddly). If you don’t want to mop your carpets, you’ll need to remove the mopping unit when you aren’t cleaning hard floors, or specify a no-mop zone in the app.
App: a polished affair
Before you can do any cleaning, you’ll need to install the MSmartHome app and add the robot to it, which is an easy process.
For a budget model, the Midea app is every bit as polished as the high-end manufacturers’ apps out there. It has all the features you would expect, including the ability to specify rooms and areas for cleaning, and change the suction power and mopping water flow.
The app also lets you create multi-level maps and no-go zones, schedule regular cleans and view the unit’s cleaning records.
Mapping: careful not to get stuck!
The first time you send the bot out to clean, it will roam around, and start mapping and performing a full clean at the same time. This can take some time, so you need to make sure the battery is fully charged. (Ours came pretty much fully charged, which was nice!)
One issue we had when mapping was that, as the M7 is a low-profile unit, it could squeeze under our sofa. Then its navigation laser got obscured and it decided to give up and just stay stuck. We had to drag it back out, but it insisted on going straight back under! The only way to stop it getting stuck was to draw a no-go zone in the area before restarting the clean.
Can’t add a new room
The robot didn’t manage to make its way around the whole of our bathroom, as the door wasn’t open at quite the right angle, so we didn’t get a full map of that room.
Some other manufacturers’ apps allow you to remap, or later add a room to a map, but the Midea app doesn’t. It can see the extra area if you take the robot in manually, but it can’t put two and two together and work out it should be added. The only option was to delete the map and start again, this time with the door open correctly!
This issue was relatively minor, and the Midea does a good job of mapping, otherwise.
We found the map editing tools easy to master. Joining areas, naming rooms, and creating no-go and no-mop areas are all simple, once you’ve found where the right editing tools are.
If you live in a multi-storey home, then you are likely to install the vac on the floor with your living spaces and just use it there. But if you want, you can manually move the vac onto other floors and clean those as well.
The Midea app allows you to create up to three separate maps. Take the robot down or upstairs and set it to clean again, and it will create a new map for that level.
However, once it’s finished cleaning on the new level, the robot will aimlessly wander around trying to find its dock. This differs from other robot vacs that simply stop and send an alert asking to be taken back to their docks. I’m guessing a software update would fix this though.
Another option would be to have separate vacs for each floor. At this price, it would still be cheaper to own multiple Midea units, than a single model of a more expensive competitor’s machine.
Vacuuming and mopping
So how well does the Midea clean?
In our lab tests the Midea performed below average on hard floors, and also quite poorly for carpet cleaning. However, the tests were similar to those we use for stick and standard vacs, so were pretty stringent. In our view, though, robot vacs are more like intermediate cleaners that keep your house tidy during the week. Their cleaning power isn’t quite up to that of standard and stick vacs, but their convenience somewhat outweighs this.
For me, as long as I can see cleaning lines on my lounge carpet, and most of the detritus under my kitchen table is gone, then I’m happy – the Midea delivers on this, as do most of the robot vacs we’ve trialled.
Having two side brushes helps gather as much dirt as possible, and the M7 passed my simple flour cleaning test (half a cup of flour sprinkled on the floor to see if the vac manages to pick it all up).
If your floors are particularly dirty, you can set the vac to clean the same room multiple times. However, unlike some other manufacturers’ bots, which change the direction of their clean each time, the Midea just runs the same route twice.
The M7 does a reasonable job of mopping and doesn’t get the floor too wet even on the highest flow setting.
You can specify no-mop zones in rooms with rugs to avoid them getting wet. However, if the bot must cross a carpeted area during mopping, then the carpet may get slightly damp, as the M7 can’t lift its mop. It doesn’t kick out a huge amount of water though, so it’s not too big a deal.
As with all mopping vacs, if you have an area that is particularly dirty you probably need to clean this manually.
Should you buy a Midea M7?
If you have a house like ours, with a mix of carpet and hard floors, you may find this style of mopping vac isn’t for you.
Instead, you could consider a model like the Roborock S7, which lifts its mop pad out of the way when it encounters carpet.
But if you’re on a budget, or just want to see what the fuss around robot vacs is about, then the Midea M7 is a good place to start – you’ll get a lot of the same functionality as models that cost at least twice as much.