Sometimes you just want clean floors without any hassle. The iLife V5s Pro does exactly that. At $179, this budget robot vacuum cleaner doesn’t have an app or room mapping, but it gets the job done with minimal setup and supervision in vacuum mode.
While the its mopping feature feels like a gimmick, the V5s Pro does such a great job vacuuming that it’s the one of the best robot vacuums you can get for less than $200 — which also makes it one of the best cheap robot vacuums. Still, if you want to save even more, check out the iLife V3s Pro, which does an even better job for less. If you want something that'll mop your floors, check out the best robot mops.
iLife V5s Pro: Design
Without a doubt, the iLife V5s Pro is the cutest of all the robot vacuums we tested. It’s part of iLife’s “Beetles” series and features a subtle, iPhone-Gold-esque plastic lid surrounded by white and black casing and bumpers. I didn’t fully appreciate the “Beetle” moniker until the V5s Pro was roaming around my house.
Two small blue lights on either side of the Clean button give the vac an impression of a whimsical, round bug running around and tidying up the house. We couldn’t help but feel that the V5s Pro had more of a personality than the other robots we tested – surely due to its glowing “eyes.” Though the white-lidded iLife V3s Pro shares the same design, the V5s Pro still struck us as being more whimsical-looking.
The iLife V5s Pro differs from similarly priced robot vacuums like the Shark Ion R85 and the Eufy RoboVac 11s in what it’s missing – a roller brush. Instead, the V5s Pro has two three-pronged brushes and a 3-inch wide suction hole that funnels dirt into the dustbin in the center of the vac. The side brushes sit near the front edges, just as they do on the RoboVac 11s.
At 3 inches high and with a raised lip on the front bumper, the iLife V5s Pro was just a little too tall to fit under the back of our low clearance couch – a feat easily achieved by the 2.85-inch high Eufy RoboVac 11s – but it did find its way underneath on the marginally higher side of the couch. The V5s Pro’s 11.8-inch diameter was almost an inch smaller than RoboVac 11s, which gave it a slight advantage snaking around chair legs and corners.
iLife V5s Pro: Setup
Setting up the iLife V5s Pro to vacuum was remarkably easy. The plug that comes with the vacuum works with both the base and the vacuum. Should tragedy befall the base, you’re not left with a useless puck.
The V5s Pro is controlled via remote control, though the singular Clean button on the vacuum will start and pause a cleaning run. The button will also cycle through the different cleaning modes: spot, edge and whole floor.
iLife V5s Pro: Cleaning performance
The iLife V5s Pro turned in one of the best cleaning performances we’ve seen, but it's also on the slow side. The overall cleaning score of 94.8 edged out our favorite overall robot vacuum, the Shark Ion R85 (94), owing mainly to the iLife’s ability to pick up dog hair. However, the iLife V3s Pro was an even more thorough cleaner, at 97%. In our lab tests, the V5s Pro vacuumed up 97.3% of all pet hair on hardwood and carpet, much better than the R85 (88%) and the RoboVac 11s (67.5%). However, the faster and less expensive iLife V3s Pro was the best overall performer, picking up an average of 99.5% of pet hair on both surfaces.
One disadvantage of the design of the iLife V5s Pro is that some of the debris it sucked up didn’t fully enter the dustbin. We sprinkled a thick line of bread crumbs along our floor; although the V5s eventually picked up most of them, the robot vac spit them back out the next two times we used it. We didn’t have this issue with its sibling, the iLife V3s Pro.
This bore out in our lab testing, too, where the iLife V5s Pro faltered when it came to picking up kitty litter. The vacuum picked up an average of 88.2% of kitty litter granules on hardwood and carpet, slightly less than the iLife V3s Pro’s 91.75% pickup average and much less than the Shark Ion R85’s average of 94%.
Aside from the kitty litter, the iLife V5s Pro performed admirably, picking up an average of 95.7% of the debris on hardwood, besting both the Shark Ion R85 (90.8%) and the Eufy RoboVac 11s (85%), but not the iLife V3s Pro’s near-perfect score of 99.8%. The V5s Pro was equally impressive on carpet, with a 94% average pickup rate, 7.3 points better than the RoboVac 11s, but slightly below the Ion R85’s 97.2% average. The V3s Pro narrowly edged out its sibling, picking up 94.2% of debris on carpet.
The iLife V5s Pro is certainly an eager, though exceedingly gentle, cleaner. Much like the Shark Ion R85, the robot was determined in its mission as it left the dock to speed around our floors. The sensors in the V5s Pro performed like those we’ve seen in robot vac that cost twice as much. The bot would approach a wall quickly, only to put the breaks on just before impact, which was most noticeable when the V5s Pro was avoiding our feet.
The robot vac routinely slowed and made a slight turn to avoid touching a foot with a bumper; it never once ran into us. Unfortunately, the sensors only seemed to be cautious around larger obstacles – the vac frequently bumped into the furry legs of our 55-pound dog. Our only complaint was that the V5s Pro appeared to fixate on certain areas, while only making just one or two passes in others.
As with many budget robot vacuums, one of biggest trade-offs is cleaning speed. The iLife V5s Pro was one of the slowest vacuums we tested, taking an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete our lab tests. The average cleaning time of all the robot vacuums we’ve tested is 1 hour and 50 seconds.
The iLife V5s Pro was one of the quieter vacuums we tested, measuring 59.9 decibels. That’s nearly identical to the Shark Ion R85, and lower than the 11s (62.5 decibels). The device was noticeably quieter than the iLife V3s Pro’s 64.1 decibels. It was easy to have a dinner conversation while the V5s Pro wandered around the house; there was no need to raise one's voice over the sound of the vacuum.
iLife V5s Pro: Mopping performance
Though the iLife V5s Pro is touted as a robot that both cleans and mops, we wouldn’t purchase it for its mopping prowess. The vac comes with a half-moon, microfiber pad that sticks onto a thin piece of plastic, which has posts for inserting the pad on the underside of the vacuum.
Attaching the piece was easier than it was to affix the mopping attachment to the Roborock S5. This was also true of filling the water reservoir; on the V5s Pro, the water reservoir replaces the dustbin, the concept bein that the water will weep out of small holes and onto the microfiber pad. Our gripe with this system is the same one that we had with the Roborock S5: The pad never really got wet enough to make more than a few half-hearted damp streaks on our wood floors. Plus, there’s only so much cleaning benefit to tap water.
The iLife V5s Pro manual states that vacuum suction will stop when the water reservoir is inserted. We didn’t fully trust this magic and preferred Roborock’s mopping mechanism, which had a separate mopping setting.
iLife V5s Pro: Verdict
For $179, the iLife V5s Pro hits an excellent balance of vacuuming performance and cost. While its mopping performance falls flat, the wallet-friendly V5s Pro makes up for it with excellent cleaning performance. If you’re not interested in trying out the mopping feature, we prefer the less-expensive, but slightly louder iLife V3s Pro. While we like the low-profile and good looks of the Eufy RoboVac 11s, it didn’t perform as well on our tests as the V5s Pro. Though it’s not Wi-Fi connected like the Shark Ion R85, the V5s Pro is a solid choice for a robot vacuum that cleans up and looks cute doing it.
Credit: Tom's Guide