CHOICE experts tested this product (the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 900 robot vacuum cleaner) and overall it scored just 39% in our review. Although this is one of the cheapest robot vacuum cleaners we've seen on the market, our view is that there are better options if you're willing to spend more. Our extensive testing has found that robot vacuum cleaners are most effective for cleaning hard floors in homes with few obstructions – they're less effective on carpet and for cleaning up pet hair.
Aldi is selling the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 900 robot vacuum cleaner as a Special Buy on Wednesday 11 March for the heavily discounted price of $399 (it normally retails for $999). Aldi Special Buys are available for a limited time only, and only while stocks last in store.
But while the thought of kicking back while someone else cleans your floors for you sounds enticing, should you buy a robot vacuum at all, and is this bargain worth snapping up?
This screenshot from the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 900 app shows how the cleaner maps out the room while the robot cleans.
What CHOICE experts say about the Aldi robot vacuum
Our experts reviewed this particular robot vacuum model and gave it an overall score of just 39%. They said that while it was very good at cleaning corners and edges (scoring 80% in this test), good at detecting stairs and had no problem with tassels on rugs, it was poor at picking up dirt from both hard floors and carpets (quite a detrimental factor for a vacuum, we should think!).
CHOICE member exclusive: Read our full review of the Aldi robot vacuum cleaner here.
What are the pros of the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 900 robot vacuum?
One of the selling points of this model is its 'advanced mapping' capabilities, the ability to create 'virtual boundaries' for areas you don't want to clean, and also app control. While we don't test the effectiveness of the app control as part our review, we do look at the mapping capabilities. Our test expert, Mit Lalich, says that a growing number of robot vacuums that we've seen in our labs include this type of technology (although at much higher price points – some models cost up to $1699).
"Basically the robot vacuum will create a map of your home which you can then view on an app. The idea is that it then cleans more efficiently, and you can control areas you may not want it to clean," he says.
"This technology is more effective on some models than on others – generally we find that an area has to be quite unobstructed for you to achieve a good clean with a robot vacuum."
Mapping technology is more effective on some models than on others – generally we find that an area has to be quite unobstructed for you to achieve a good clean with a robot vacuumCHOICE test expert Mit Lalich
When reviewing robot vacuums, our testers look at how often the devices bump objects as they find their way around. Good sensors and cameras can help them avoid frequent and/or heavy collisions.
Of this model being sold at Aldi, they say it does hit objects, but only sometimes: "It usually slows down when within a few centimetres of the objects, making light contact."
This model includes voice activation via Google Home or Amazon Alexa, which we also don't test in our review. Lalich says we've only seen one or two models in our labs with this capability.
Should you buy a robot vacuum cleaner?
Robot vacuum cleaners are not the most popular appliances in the CHOICE offices! Our experts say that although a lot of the models boast sophisticated technology, they're really only effective for cleaning hard floors, albeit not always in the corners and edges.
Most models get relatively poor scores on carpet cleaning and picking up pet hair on carpeted floors.
Robot vacuum cleaners are really only useful to use for a top-up clean or for light cleaning after you've swept up or vacuumed properly
CHOICE household appliance expert Kim Gilmour says, "Robot vacuum cleaners are really only useful to use for a top-up clean or for light cleaning after you've swept up or vacuumed properly. I wouldn't be looking to buy one as a replacement for a standard vacuum cleaner, or even a stick vacuum cleaner, as these are likely to do a better job, particularly if you have carpeted floors."
And CHOICE staffer Melanie Stopic says: "I bought one thinking it would be a really convenient way to lighten my cleaning load, as I imagined myself switching it on as I leave the house. In reality, I've found the opposite. For it to work properly, you really need to ensure your floors are pretty clear – my kids are always leaving toys or shoes around so before I switch it on, I have to go around the house tidying first, so I find I never really use it."