REVIEW – I love my robot vacuum. Specifically, it is an Ecovacs Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI that I reviewed in June 2020. What I don’t like is how often I have to empty the teeny, tiny dustbin that all robot vacuums have. If only there was a way to not have to empty that dustbin every time I vacuumed. If I only had to deal with the dirt and dust once a month, wouldn’t that be great? Ecovacs has heard my cries and has released a new auto-emptying recharging base. Could this make my dust-free dreams come true or will it just suck?
What is it?
The Ecovacs auto-empty station is a replacement charging base for Ecovacs T8 series robotic vacuums – the OZMO T8 AIVI and the newly announced OZMO T8. Along with recharging, it will empty the dustbin, capturing all the dirt and debris into a vacuum bag located in the canister.
What’s in the box?
- Base charging pad
- Carpet ramp for base pad
- Canister with bag installed
- Extra bag
- Replacement dust bin with dust evacuation doors
- Dust bin pleated high-performance filter
- Dust bin sponge filter
- Screwdriver and three screws (in silver pouch) to attach the canister to the base pad
- Key to remove dust bin evacuation covers (in an envelope next to dust bin)
- Power cord
- Setup instruction page
- Quick start guide
- FCC compliance card
- User guide
- Dimensions: 17.5″h x 12″w x 17″d
- Bag capacity: 2L (about 30 days of dust and debris)
- Vacuum compatibility: Ecovacs OZMO T8 AIVI and OZMO T8
Design and features
The auto-empty station, or “base” to make this review much easier to read, replaces the included charging base that comes with the robot vacuum. It has a modified charging base that includes charging contacts (the silver pads in the black rectangle) and vacuum openings (the two large holes near the front of the base). Those two holes allow the base to 1) blow high-velocity air into the dustbin, and, 2) suck that air and dirt into a bag.
The bag is mounted inside the press-to-open canister on the back of the base. At the front of the lid, on the canister, there is an indicator LED that lights during charging and emptying operations.
If you have ever installed a bag in a vacuum, you’ll do fine here. Each bag has a cardboard mount that slips into a channel in the back of the canister. The bag will hold about two liters of dust and debris. It is thoughtfully designed with a cover that automatically deploys when you pull the blue tab to remove the bag, trapping all that nastiness in the bag.
The entire base and canister is made from pebble-finished gray plastic and feels very solid. The carpet ramp shown in an earlier photo is used if you set up the base on a carpeted floor. Since I have the base on a hard floor, I did not use it.
On the back of the base, we find the power port and a cord tender integrated into the base and canister. My power socket is close to where I have the base, so it would be nice if the cord tender held more core. A minor quibble.
The base also comes with a newly designed dustbin. On the new dustbin on the left, you can see the input and output doors on the left and right. These springloaded doors open automatically during dustbin cleaning.
Setting up the base comes with a few steps. First, open up that silver foil envelope. Inside, we find a screwdriver and three screws.
These are used to attach the base module to the canister. You slide the canister onto the base and then you screw them together from the bottom.
The next change happens to the robot itself. To accommodate the cleaning doors in the new dustbin, you have to remove port covers in the dustbin receptacle in the robot.
The two small doors to the left and right of the barcode sticker cover those openings. You use the included key tool to unlock and remove those covers. I tossed the covers and the removal key into the old dustbin, so I might be able to find them if I ever need them again.
Once the base is assembled and the robot is modified, you’re ready to go.
Vacuuming performance isn’t affected at all, as expected. Charging happens just like before. The only difference is that now, at the end of vacuuming, the base can empty the dustbin so you don’t have to.
The robot can tell that it now has this base. The app changes to reflect this.
If you look just below and to the right of the map, a new “Dust collection” button appears. This allows you to manually suck the debris out of the dustbin. But doing things manually is just so old school.
Of course, the app comes with a setting that allows you to have the robot automatically empty the dustbin when it returns to the base. When it is emptying, the app pops up a notification, just in case the loud vacuuming sound doesn’t tip you off.
How loud is it? About as loud as a traditional vacuum.
As you can hear in the video, the robot plays voice prompts, letting you know exactly what’s going on. A voice prompt and app notification will tell you when the bag is full and needs to be replaced. Believe me, you don’t want to hear that very often.
The biggest drawback of the auto-empty station is the cost of the bags. Excovacs is selling bags for a pricey $19.99 for three bags – that’s about $6.66 per bag. Assuming that you use one bag every 30 days, you’re on the hook to Ecovacs for about $80 every year. I get that the bags are hypoallergenic and have that nifty self-sealing feature, but, c’mon. Kirby has long been a very expensive vacuum to both purchase and maintain. I can find Kirby MicroAllergen HEPA bags for less than five bucks a bag.
What I like
- One month without emptying the dustbin – woo!
- Self-closing vacuum bags – nice!
- Does a great job evacuating the dustbin
What I’d change
- The cord tender could be a little bigger for those of us that have an outlet right next to the base
- Make the price for bags a little more reasonable
I honestly expected this to do a so-so job. When I empty the dustbin, the screen is typically pretty clogged with dust, dirt, and my wife’s medium-length hair. With it all stuck to the filter screen, I just figured much of it would remain. Wow, was I wrong. The base blows high-velocity air into the dustbin through one of the new dustbin doors. This loosens all the debris from the filter. At the same time, it sucks air through the other new dustbin door, pulling all that loosened material into the bag. I was shocked at how clean the dustbin was after the cleaning cycle. A robot that not only cleans but cleans up after itself. Who would have imagined? But, the high cost of bags tarnishes the shine a little bit for me. Here’s hoping that someone discounts them.