“Raising the Bar in Home Cleaning Like No One Else.” The catchy bi-line on Evovac’s website when I first looked at the AUD $1,799 Deebot T20 Omni they were offering to loan for review.
I’ll be the first to admit, I am incredible time poor – trying to balance full time employment, home life, the inevitable pressures that come with being a father to several teenagers and a 5 year old, means that housework is usually the first area that starts to see quality drops as we cut corners or reduce the frequency of vacuuming and mopping in order to fit everything else in.
So when Ecovacs offered the Deebot T20 Omni, it seemed like a dream come true – a robot to handle some of my most hated chores (the others, like ironing sadly being out of reach of the Deebot) and keep the house floors looking spotless. Yes please!
But after using the Deebot T20 Omni for a few months, how has it stood up to everything my household has thrown at it, and would I recommend it?
Well short answer: Yes. Slightly longer answer: with caveats.
Unboxing and First Impressions
Ecovacs have gone with a clean blue and white box for the Deebot T20 Omni, which is covered on almost every side with a nice high-quality image of the device, and various marketing advertising regarding the features and hardware. It’s not quite as clean as I usually prefer, but it’s eye-catching, with the blue standing out and drawing your eye nicely.
Inside the box was the Deebot T20 Omni, the docking station, the instruction manual, and all of the accessories (such as the mop pads)
The Ecovacs Deebot T20 Omni itself comes in a white and silver colouring that is shared by the docking station. It’s clean, and it looks good, but it WILL show up dog hair and dirt smudges if touched by little children’s hands or a dog’s nose.
The vacuum itself is a circular design, with a removable top plate to hide the dustbin. This is an interesting departure from most other vacuums on the market which have the dustbin accessible in the back of the unit.
The Deebot T20 Omni possesses two side brushes, which sweep debris in front of it, which ensures it provides consistent cleaning along edges of the room and around objects regardless of which way it is traversing the room, and a suction of up to 6000Pa, which is more than enough for most tasks.
Most uniquely, while most all-in-one vacuum and mop units have a single mopping pad that is dragged along the floor, the Deebot T20 Omni possesses two circular mopping pads which actually rotate and apply downward pressure when in use. These mopping pads can also raise off the floor when needed – such as when in vacuum only mode, or the unit detects its travelling over carpet, so you won’t wind up with damp carpet like I’ve seen with some competing units.
The docking station for the Deebot T20 Omni is – I’m not going to lie – also much larger than I expected, measuring about 57cm tall and 43 cm wide. So it’s not going to be ideal for smaller spaces. However, it’s this size because it contains two four-litre water tanks (one for clean water, and one for dirty water) used both for mopping itself, and for cleaning the mopping pads upon the Deebot’s return to the station. An interesting point about this is that this unit uses hot water for cleaning the mopping pads to help in the removal of oil and other stains. The marketing information also states that the station will also dry the mop pads, as well as automatically empty the contents from the robot vacuum’s dustbin so you don’t have to clean it out between cleaning sessions – however, this is one area I had a few issues with, which I will go into in more detail later.
It’s important to note here that the entire package weighs over 15Kg, in addition to the size, so I would recommend planning out where you wish to place the base station before opening the box – preferably in a low traffic area with space on each side and clear access to the front of the docking station.
Getting started & the App
The Deebot T20 Omni was relatively easy to set up and use – but you will have to be familiar with the operation of your smart phone, and have a home Wi-Fi network.
The Ecovacs Home app is reasonably well designed, with straight forward access to most of the standard tasks you will be using regularly, and for those tasks that aren’t done regularly (like maintenance cleaning, or to assist when the robot reports a fault) features a LOT of diagrams to walk you through the associated process.
The app menus also allow a lot of customisation, allowing adjustments to vacuum strength, whether you want a single pass, or for the robot to go over every spot twice, how often the unit should return to the docking station to clean the mopping pads, and even to alter how wet the mopping pads should be.
Once you first download the Ecovacs app, it walks you through a straightforward process of scanning a QR code on top of the robot, connecting it to your home Wi-Fi network, and naming the robot.
The robot vacuum then commences a self-mapping process, where it will map out your house. While the Deebot T20 did an amazing job at detecting everything (including mapping an outdoor area as an ‘inaccessible room’ that it could ‘see’ through glass sliding doors) and self-dividing the house into different zones (for example: the dining room and living room became zone 1, the Hallway Zone 2, and the bedrooms and study zone 3) this is one area that I wish there were a few additional quality of life improvements for in the app.
Specifically: while the Deebot T20 Omni was mapping the house, and during subsequent cleaning, I had to ensure that I kept certain doors (like the entry to the bathroom closed) because of a step down into it that the robot didn’t seem to be detecting (the Deebot T20 Omni can move and traverse thresholds of up to 20mm without assistance).
Not wanting to see the unit damaged from the drop, or stuck in a room it couldn’t get out of without assistance, I tried holding my hand in front of its path into the room, while it continued trying to throw itself off the edge like a lemming, until eventually I gave up and just shut the door to prevent access completely.
The issue is that whenever this door was left open during automated cleaning cycles, the Deebot would again try to enter that room to clean it, even though it wasn’t on the floor map. I couldn’t work out whether it was even possible to put a ‘block’ on entry to certain places or rooms that the robot wouldn’t cross.
The Ecovacs Deebot T20 Omni has smart support for both Alexa and Yiko, allowing you to control the robot via the associated units – helpful if you have a smart connected household. You can also control the unit via voice commands directly, though even during set up of this it sometimes had issues with my accent.
The unit is relatively quiet during operation, with a noise volume of 57dB during the strongest vacuum phase. It’s not something you’d probably want to operate in the dead of night while everyone is asleep, but it wasn’t an issue when it switched on during the day while I was in video conferences.
Based on structured light technology and 3D imaging algotithms, the Deebot T20 Omni uses real-time 3D scanning and detection to achieve strategic obstacle avoidance, ensuring a smoother cleaning practice. This enables a millimetre level avoidance (in theory), capable of identifying and avoiding potential hazards on the ground such as small toys, wires etc.
In practice, I found it to be pretty good. But there were a few things (like plastic shopping bags) that I still had to ensure I had picked up to avoid them being ingested accidentally and shutting the unit down.
Powered by a 5200mAh battery, the Deebot T20 Omni automatically recharges upon returning to the docking station, and once it calculates it has enough power to finish the job, will smart-resume cleaning from where it left off if it has to charge mid-cycle.
You can also schedule cleaning for certain times of the day, so it fits your schedule and lifestyle.
As previously mentioned, my household has quite a few people, as well as a dog and a cat. So there’s a lot of dust and dirt tracked through it, along with quite a bit of animal fur being shed on a regular basis.
The Deebot T20 Omni did a reasonable job at cleaning. But unfortunately I’m not able to say it was entirely trouble-free. Because the T20 Omni has a 300ml bin volume on the robot itself (with a 3L capacity in the docking station) I found that it quickly filled up with dog fur, which then hampered the suction of dust and other dirt. The problem was that due to the size of the house, by the time the unit returned to the base station, it wouldn’t always clear all of this dog hair from the vacuum ‘hose’ of the unit.
This meant that the robot would sometimes start cleaning the house, only to end up simply pushing the dirt and hair around with the brushes, rather than picking it up. And the annoying part is, the sensors didn’t identify this, so I didn’t get any notification alert from the app until the main brush subsequently became tangled with the dog hair.
It’s an issue that isn’t a deal breaker – I could manually empty the bin of the T20 Omni, and the vacuum ‘hose’ path, but for a unit that costs as much as the T20 Omni, I wouldn’t expect to have to do this after every cleaning session.
The Deebot T20 Omni also, to a certain degree, has a similar problem to other robot vacuums – corners. The circular design and side brushes means it does a fairly decent job at getting close to the corners, but even after enabling the special corner mode (which the Deebot T20 Omni will only do once every seven days, and only when in auto or housekeeping mode) it still didn’t get all the way to the corner, allowing some dust and dirt to build up there.
Those caveats aside, when clean and free of dog hair clogs, it did as good a job as my Dyson Ball vacuum, and was certainly useful in keeping the floors looking good in between deep, weekly (okay… fortnightly) cleans with the Dyson, but with the advantage of requiring far less time of my time invested in the cleaning task.
In relation to the mopping, thanks to the downward pressure and spinning mopping pads, you won’t see the streaks and uneven results that are often seen with competitors that simply drag a single mop brush across the floor. It also means you get better results, with most of the marks handled decently by the T20 Omni.
The 4L water tank held enough for a couple of mopping sessions by the T20 Omni, but do require you to manually clean and refill them. The hot water mop pad washing worked well to remove the dirt from them after a clean, but also means cleaning a large house may take a number of hours, as the Deebot T20 Omni will frequently return to the docking station to clean and resoak the mopping pads.
While I found I couldn’t entirely ditch the mop and bucket (there were a few stubborn spots that refused to be erased by the mopping pads on the T20 Omni) the dirty water tank certainly showed how much filth it had picked up after each clean. However, I would recommend frequently emptying the dirty water tank despite the capacity for several cleans, because it does have a few little nooks and crannies that will require scrubbing out if you leave the dirt to settle in those places.
If you have a house with mixed floors, then the Ecovacs Deebot T20 Omni delivers a good experience, but is rather pricey. If it’s a little out of your price range, Ecovacs does have other options (such as the previous years X1 Omni, or the current generation T10 Plus and N10 Plus – which I must make clear – none of which I have reviewed or used) that may better suit your budget without too many trade-offs in performance and functionality.
While my experience with the Ecovacs Deebot T20 Omni wasn’t entirely without issue, I would certainly recommend it for anyone without pets, as well as those with pets who don’t mind a little bit of maintenance work to ensure the unit is operating at peak efficiency.
The Deebot T20 Omni certainly saved me a lot of time and kept the house floors looking decent in between heavy cleaning cycles (which due to the heavy amounts of dog hair, previously had to be done on a daily basis)
I’d like to thank Ecovacs for the loan of the Deebot T20 Omni. I certainly think the bar in home cleaning HAS been raised by you, and look forward to seeing what Ecovacs has coming in the future.