In our internet-of-things world, is it possible to get an app-enabled robot vacuum for less than $300? Absolutely. The $299 Eufy RoboVac 30C does a fairly good job cleaning and can be controlled via your smartphone. Too bad the Shark Ion R85, our top pick among our best robot vacuums, does all that even better for less.
If there were a Tron-branded robot vacuum, it would be the RoboVac 30C. The top of the circular bot features a U-shaped pattern of pencil-thin, muted bronze lines that get farther from each other as they move toward the outer edges of the lid, giving the impression of a cheezy 3D illusion. The Eufy logo just below the center completes the mid-1980s-chic aesthetic. An oval power button sits at the top along with a blue Wi-Fi indicator.
The vacuum's throwback lid was neither radical nor totally tubular. I greatly preferred the understated, premium look of this robot's sibling, the nonconnected Eufy RoboVac 11s.
Like the RoboVac 11S, the Eufy RoboVac 30C is a mere 2.85 inches high, enabling the vacuum to travel under low-clearance furniture with ease. However, the RoboVac 30C routinely got stuck halfway underneath my low-clearance couch, a problem I didn't have with the vacuum's sibling.
The RoboVac 30C traverses terrain using two large, rubber wheels and a swivelling roller wheel up front. A pair of tri-spoked brushes flank either side. The surprisingly small roller brush sits in the center in front of the removeable dustbin. The roller brush is a combination of rubber and bristles to which hair and fuzz clung tightly, making the roller harder to clean.
The RoboVac 30Cs roller brush is a combination of rubber and bristles to which hair and fuzz clung tightly, making the roller hard to clean.
Thankfully, the clamshell dustbin on the RoboVac 30C didn't erupt with dust bunnies like its sibling, the 11S. Instead, the debris was tightly packed into one Flemish giant dust rabbit at the intake hole, resulting in lots of unused space around the sides of the bin.
I like the small and unobtrusive docking station that accompanies the RoboVac 30C. The vacuum easily docked on the small sensors without nudging the station out of place.
You can control the RoboVac 30C via the EufyHome app (Android and iOS). But the vacuum also comes packaged with a remote with rubberized buttons that's similar to the one included with the non-app-enabled RoboVac 11S.
Connecting the RoboVac 30C to our home network and to the EufyHome app was a breeze. Although the app insisted we create a user account before connecting our bot, EufyHome guided us through the entire setup process. (Yes, you can also control the RoboVac 30C via Alexa and Google Assistant.)
Like with some of the other robot vacuums we tested, this one's manual recommends 3 feet of clearance on either side of the dock and 6 feet in front of it. That's a lot of real estate around a power outlet. We didn't experience any issues with providing about 2 feet of clearance on the side and 6 feet in front.
Although the RoboVac 30C lets you choose from among four cleaning modes (Automatic, 30 Minute, Spot and Edge) and schedule cleanings via an app, this vacuum won't ever be confused with premium home-mapping bots like the iRobot Roomba i7+ or the Neato Botvac D7 Connected. Much like the app for the Shark Ion Robot R85, the EufyHome app is more of a glorified remote control than a user-experience enhancement. Like the Shark app, EufyHome's version sends notifications when the bot gets stuck.
When we unleashed the RoboVac 30C into the wild of our mostly open first floor, we couldn't quite figure out the robot's game plan. Whereas the Shark Ion Robot R85 would methodically go back and forth across an area, the RoboVac 30C seemed to travel haphazardly. It spent a great deal of time in one section of our living room, where it seemed determined to eat a subwoofer cable. Even though we moved both the vacuum and the cord out of the way at least three times, the bot repeatedly returned to the same area.
When we unleashed the RoboVac 30C into the wild of our mostly open first floor, we couldn't quite figure out its game plan.
But then, the RoboVac 30C completely skipped areas that other vacuums didn't. The bot didn't venture into the maze of chair legs under our dining room table, nor did it journey to near our entryway — a clear, ample area where the front entrance meets the stairs.
While the RoboVac 30C was cleaning, it was a little like a toddler.
Eufy rates the cleaning time of the RoboVac 30C at 100 minutes, which our testing bore out. In Automatic mode, the vacuum zigzagged around our first floor for more than an hour and a half before flashing its amber low-battery signal and returning to base. The bot didn't seem to finish cleaning the mix of hardwood and rugs as much as it seemed to say, "I'm tired — the floors must be clean."
While the RoboVac 30C was cleaning, it was a little like a toddler. We felt OK with leaving it just out of sight, but our ears pricked up at the slightest aberration in its sounds. Though the bot has a good-size bumper and drop sensors, it didn't register that a side brush had gotten caught under a fabric placemat under a dog bowl, and the robot kept trying to inch in closer. The same logic also caused the RoboVac 30C to get caught on more cords than any other vacuum we tested.
In our lab tests, the Eufy RoboVac 30C proved to be a decent, but not exceptional vacuum. Its combined cleaning score of 87.5 — an average of the Cheerios, kitty litter and doig hair picked up on hardwood and carpet — was a few points higher than the result from the RoboVac 11S (85.8), but below the scores from both the Roomba 690 (89.2) and the Shark Ion R85 (94).
On hardwood floors, the Robovac 30C picked up 100 percent of the Cheerios and 95.6 percent of the kitty litter but only 72 percent of the pet hair. That's better than the 60 percent of the pet hair the Eufy RoboVac 11S picked up, but much worse than the Shark Ion Robot R85's 77.5 percent.
The Eufy RoboVac 30C performed worse on carpet, picking up only 82.6 percent of the kitty litter and 99.5 percent of the Cheerios. While the robot picked up 3 percent more pet hair on carpet, the RoboVac 30C lagged far behind the Shark R85's excellent pickup rate of 98.5 percent.
The RoboVac 30C was also one of the slowest vacuums we tested, taking an average of 1 hour and 22 minutes to complete its tasks. While the RoboVac 11S took 1 minute less, the Ion Robot finished its tasks in an average of 1 hour and 1 minute.
Our lab test measured the loudness of the Eufy RoboVac 30C at 68.4 decibels, making this one of the noisiest robot vacuums we've tested. But the RoboVac didn't seem that disruptive as it puttered around our house while we watched Bird Box streaming on Netflix and had a slightly louder than normal conversation.
The Eufy RoboVac 30C is a smarter, more expensive version of the "dumb" RoboVac 11S. The former can connect to your Wi-Fi, so you can control it from your smartphone, schedule cleanings and command it using Alexa and Google Assistant. However, where the 11S is a comparative bargain, at $239, the $299 RoboVac 30C is a disappointment. It performed only marginally better than the 11S and had a penchant for getting stuck on cords we thought we'd pushed out of the way; we wouldn't trust this bot to clean without supervision.
If you're looking for a Wi-Fi–connected robot vacuum, try the Shark Ion Robot R85, which costs the same as the 30C but is a much more impressive cleaner that doesn't need babysitting.
Credit: Tom's Guide