Eufy RoboVac 11S: Inexpensive Vacuum Lacks Smarts

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Broadly speaking, robot vacuums come in two varieties: those you can control with your smartphone and voice assistants and those you can't. The Eufy RoboVac 11S is the latter type, and while you can't connect it to other smart devices, it's inexpensive and does a relatively good job of keeping your floors clean — as long as it doesn't get stuck. Because of its price and cleaning abilities, we named it our favorite budget robot vacuum

Design: Short and sleek

The "S" in RoboVac 11S stands for slim, but it could just as easily stand for sleek. At just 2.85-inches high with a 2.87-inch clearance, the RoboVac 11S had no problem sliding under a low-profile couch or a stove. With a diameter of 12.9 inches, it's slightly smaller than the iRobot Roomba 690, but the smaller bumper gives the RoboVac 11S a more modern look. The premium-looking, reflective black surface and single, glowing power button belie the vacuum's low price.

The 'S' in RoboVac 11S stands for slim, but it could just as easily stand for sleek.

The RoboVac 11S has one roller brush that's a combo of bristles and rubber fins, but that single brush got the job done. A tri-spoked side brush sits on either side of the 11S, just in front of the two beefy, rubber wheels. At the front of the vacuum is a small, swivelling roller wheel that's similar to what you find on the Roomba 690 and the Shark Ion Robot.

The dustbin on the RoboVac 11S opens like a clamshell full of dust bunnies. It was nearly impossible to avoid inhaling a bunch of dust when dumping this bin in the trash can. The vacuum's manual recommends cleaning the two dust filters (one foam, one "“high performance") inside the bin with a cleaning brush or ... a vacuum cleaner.

The accompanying remote has a small LCD screen and rubberized icon buttons. On the remote'’s battery door, there's a helpful cheat sheet for decoding those icons. From here, you can initiate an auto-cleaning, a spot cleaning or an edge cleaning. Directional arrows give you complete control over the vacuum's movements, a key feature for keeping the robot out of trouble. You can also schedule daily cleanings using the remote, though doing so feels like setting a late '90s bedside clock radio.

The dustbin on the RoboVac 11S opens like a clamshell full of dust bunnies.

However, the remote's range was small. Though we could see the vacuum docked in the dining room while we stood in the kitchen, approximately 23 feet away, the 11S didn't respond to our button pushes until we moved closer.

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The 11S also comes with a home base, which has rubber strips on the bottom to keep the base from being pushed around by the vacuum.

Setup: Plug and go

Getting the RoboVac 11S up and running takes minimal effort. Plug in the base, charge up the bot and toss the two AAA batteries (included) into the remote. That's it — you're basically done.

Eufy says the RoboVac 11S needs 3 feet of clearance on either side of the base and 6 feet in front of it. While there wasn't an area in our house that allowed for that much space, the bot didn't seem to have a problem taking off or returning.

Performance: Powerful, but needy

The RoboVac 11S is a curious cleaner. While it initially eschewed everything within about 6 inches of the wall baseboards, the vacuum later returned and went to work on the crumb-prone edges of the room. While the Roomba 690 visibly slowed when it approached a large object or wall, the 11S kept a steady speed when knocking into an object, including our dog, who wasn't paying attention (he's fine).

There's a pluckiness to the 11S, as it tried and suck up more than it could a few times. It attempted to conquer a 2.25-inch shag rug three times, getting stuck every time. Twice, one of the side tassel brushes wound one of its brush spokes around part of the thick carpet, requiring us to "unscrew" the whole vacuum from the rug section and straighten out the brush bristles. While the Shark Ion Robot also got stuck on the rug, that vacuum didn't tangle itself up in the shag.

The RoboVac 11S also had penchant for catching on rug corners if they weren't perfectly flat on the ground. Though the bot cleaned our thin, flat-woven dining room rug well, one corner of the rug got caught in the space between the side brush and the vacuum more than once.

Though the small single brush on the 11S did an admirable cleanup job, much of the hair and dismembered-dog-toy fluff remained wound around the brush. Like with the Roomba 690 and the Shark Ion, the brush on the 11S is easy to remove from the bot, but cleaning hair and other debris from the brush was a pain, even with the included cleaning tool.

Unlike the Roomba 690, the RoboVac 11S didn't venture into the forest of chair legs under our dining room or kitchen table. However, it did go straight under our low-clearance couch to suck up dust bunnies. Unfortunately, it got stuck on the second pass and had to be rescued.

Test Results: Great for cereal, but not the fastest

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Smartphone controlOverall Cleaning ScoreAvg. Cleaning Time (Hrs: Mins: Secs)Cheerios Cleaning ScoreKitty Litter Cleaning ScoreDog Hair Cleaning Score
Samsung PowerBot R7070Yes87.927:3094.687.781.5
iRobot Roomba 690Yes89.21:12:2799.594.973.3
Shark Ion Robot R85Yes941:01:571009488
Eufy Robovac 11SNo85.81:18:001009067.5

In the controlled environment of our test lab, the Eufy RoboVac 11S performed admirably, picking up 100 percent of Cheerios on both hardwood and carpet surfaces. This result was on a par with those of the similarly priced Shark Ion Robot and Roomba 690.

The RoboVac 11s was also good at picking up kitty litter (90 percent average) on hardwood and carpet, but it didn't fare as well with dog hair, picking up an average of 67.5 percent. The Shark Ion (88 percent) and Roomba 690 (73.3 percent) performed much better. Plus, the 11S caught much of the dog hair in its wheels and brushes during the hardwood and carpet tests.

On average, the RoboVac 11S took 1 hour and 18 minutes to clean our test-space floors, making it much slower than the Shark Ion (1:02) and the 690 (1:12).

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The 11S, at 62.5 decibels, was one of the quieter models we tested. It was less intrusive than the Roomba 690 and its 66 decibels but not quite as stealthy at the Shark Ion Robot and its 59.2 decibels. Still, we were able to have a conversation using indoor voices as the robot wandered around the house.

Bottom Line

The Eufy RoboVac 11S is one of the more affordable robot vacuums we tested. But we wouldn't trust the RoboVac 11s to clean without supervision. Both the Roomba 690 and the Shark Ion were better cleaners, and both can alert you if they get stuck.

If the floors in your house are strictly hardwood or predictable, low-pile carpet, the 11S is probably fine. But if you dream of coming home to a freshly vacuumed house after work, there are better robo-vac options to get the job done. You’ll just have to pay more.

Credit: Tom's Guide

Meghan McDonough

Meghan McDonough is a journalist who currently tests and writes about robot vacuums. Since 2008, she’s written about laptops, mobile phones, headphones, speakers, and other consumer tech. When she sees an unfamiliar device, Meghan has a habit of asking complete strangers, “What is that? Does it work well for you?” In her spare time, Meghan enjoys seeing live music, tending to her garden, and playing endless games of fetch with her Goldendoodle, Duke of Squirrel.