Some technologies are inherently more exciting than others. For example, the tech press is currently going bonkers over the iPhone 14 and the new Apple Watch. This makes sense. They’re slick new pieces of technology. Not only that, but they’re inherently fun to use. Whether you’re tracking your fitness with the watch or snapping selfies with your phone, it’s enjoyable.
But technology can also be used to save time and labor. This isn’t as exciting, because it’s not about something fun you’re doing. It’s about something undesirable that you’re able to minimize or avoid.
Even so, some of our best technologies have been ones that save us time. You need look no further than your vacuum cleaner. Prior to vacuum cleaners, wall-to-wall carpeting was not a thing. And when you wanted to clean your area rug, it was an all-day affair. You had to take your rug outside, hang it on a line, and beat it with a stick until all the dust came out.
A robot vacuum can save you even more time. In fact, you can skip the “vacuuming” phase altogether. Since the robot vacuum does all the work, all you have to do is empty the dust hopper.
Now, you may have low expectations if it’s been a long time since you’ve shopped for a robot vacuum. Today’s options are far more intelligent than early models. Instead of wandering randomly around your house, they run in an orderly fashion. They’re also much more programmable than older robot vacs.
ILIFE A10 Robot Vacuum
We’re about to review the ILIFE A10 Robot Vacuum. This is a highly-intelligent vacuum with a number of customization options. In addition to powerful app controls, it also sports a robust battery. And its floating roller brush will conform to pretty much any floor you can imagine.
But there’s a lot more that goes into making a good robot vacuum. To see how the A10 stacks up, we’ll need to look at its physical design and how it’s engineered. We’ll need to examine the cleaning brushes and motor power. And of course, we’ll have to take a deeper dive into all of those app functions. After we’ve given it a thorough examination, we’ll be in a position to make a fair judgement. Let’s begin!
The ILIFE A10 Robot Vacuum is disc-shaped, like most robot vacuums. It’s ever so slightly oval, with a length of 12.99 inches and a width of 12.6. At 3.74 inches high, it’s a bit on the tall side. But it will fit under some furniture, given enough clearance. The tallest portion is the LIDAR sensor, which sits in the middle of the top like a little hockey puck.
The housing is matte black, with a faux brushed finish on the top. The plastic around the perimeter is built like a bumper, but it shouldn’t bump into things very often. On the top, towards the front, is a single control button. Press it once to start a cleaning cycle, and a second time to return the vacuum to base. Of course, there are far more advanced controls, but they’re all in the app. You’ll also notice a release button at the back for pulling out the dust bin.
Along with the vacuum, you’ll get a charging station. The station is fairly small, which is by design. You can set it along the edge of your wall in pretty much any room. When the vacuum isn’t in position, there’s virtually zero risk of kicking the charging station. Position it near any power outlet, plug it in, and you’ll be ready to start cleaning.
ILIFE provides a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty on parts and labor. If anything fails during that period, you’ll be completely covered.
Drive and Brushes
On the bottom of the A10, on both sides, are a pair of large drive wheels. These are made of black plastic, with chunky cutouts that create an effective tread. If necessary, the vacuum will cross a 0.6-inch transition without any issues. That’s larger than most transitions, but not enough to cross the largest ¾-inch transitions.
Between the wheels, slightly to the front, is the main roller brush. This roller brush is mounted on a floating axle, which presses down to maintain contact with your floor. Regardless of carpet thickness or other features, the brush will always be rubbing against it. This makes it very effected for digging into carpets and pulling out debris. Unfortunately, the brush is also prone to tangling. If you or someone else in your house has long hair, prepare to perform frequent detangling.
Ahead of the main brush is a pair of dual side brushes. These look a little bit like helicopter blades, and protrude far to the sides of the unit. They spin inwards towards the center, bringing more debris under the main brush. There’s not much for them to do on carpets, but they make the vacuum more efficient on solid floors.
At the very front of the unit is a smaller wheel mounted in its own rotating housing. This small housing is motorized, so the wheel can turn to point in different directions. It does this automatically, and is used to steer the vacuum around your house.
If you’re looking to avoid tangles, consider the ILIFE V3s Max. Instead of a roller brush, it has a brushless design that’s virtually clog-proof. It also has a slim form factor that fits under many pieces of furniture. Then again, without a brush, it’s not very useful on carpets.
The ILIFE A10 has a maximum suction level of 2,000 Pascals (Pa). This is honestly a bit disappointing. The average robot vac these days can pull 2,700Pa, so 2,000 is pretty underwhelming. You won’t have any issues on solid floors. But if you’re cleaning any medium or deep pile carpet, you may find yourself wanting more power.
You can choose between four different vacuuming modes:
- Auto mode – In this mode, the vacuum will systematically clean your entire floor plan.
- Edge mode – In Edge mode, the vacuum will clean around the outside of each room. This is great for following up after a regular cleaning.
- Spot mode – Spot mode will clean a small patch of floor immediately around the vacuum. For this to work, you have to pick the A10 up and put it in the spot you want to clean.
- Max mode – This is the same as auto mode, but the vacuum will run at maximum power the entire time. It won’t ever reduce power to save battery life.
If you need a more powerful vacuum, check out the ILIFE W100. It’s a robust upright vacuum, which also works as a wet vacuum and a mop. It even has a self-cleaning mopping roller, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty cleaning it out. On the downside, it’s not automatic, and it’s heavier than most stick vacuums.
Battery and Charging
The A10’s internal battery has enough power to run for an hour and 40 minutes. That’s the maximum running time, assuming you’re on low power. At that rate, it can clean 2,150 square feet of space on a single charge. That’s a lot of area, and it’s more than most homes will have on a single floor.
When the battery level drops below 10%, the vacuum will immediately return to its home base. When it fully charges, it will return to where it left off and finish the cleaning cycle. The battery takes a little over six hours to charge, so be patient. It will eventually fill up all the way.
Setup and Maintenance
By default, the A10 will run in auto mode. This is probably what you’ll want 90% of the time. Set up the vacuum, then wait for it to fully charge. Once it’s fully charged, you’re ready to begin your first cleaning cycle. Press the start button, or use the app to start cleaning.
The first time you run the vacuum, it will map your house. This takes some time, and it may seem to engage in weird behavior. Just let it work. Eventually, it will have a complete map. After that, it will run in a zig-zag pattern, the same way you’d run a manual vacuum.
Since the A10 is robotic, there’s really not much else you have to do. Of course, you’re free to make some customizations, and we’ll talk about those in a second. But the only other mandatory task is changing the dust bin. With a capacity of 450ml, you should have to change it about once a week.
But what if you want a wet floor cleaner? In that case, take a look at the ILIFE Shinebot W450. It’s a chunky wet floor cleaner with a jumbo-sized water tank and advanced app controls. That said, it’s only suitable for cleaning solid floors.
Using the ILIFEHOME app, you can control the A10 from anywhere on earth. Besides changing modes and starting cleaning cycles, you can also program a cleaning schedule. You can draw particular areas on your floor plan and vacuum them separately. Alternatively, you can designate no-go zones where the vacuum will never clean.
This gives you plenty of ways to customize your cleaning. For example, you could clean your living areas at night and your sleeping areas in the daytime. You can even use Alexa to control your vacuum.
The ILIFE A10 Robot Vacuum is a bit of an oddball. On the one hand, the suction power is a bit lacking. With today’s compact, powerful motors, it’s a bit surprising that ILIFE wouldn’t provide a little more suction.
On the other hand, there’s a lot to like about this vacuum. For one thing, it has a powerful battery. For another thing, the app provides tons of control, and even allows you to map multiple floor plans. We also appreciated the floating roller brush, which does a great job covering all areas of your floor.