Chinese manufacturers have been busy these days in terms of producing robotic vacuums. And the Alfawise A6 is one of the latest in the GearBest product line.
This product offers two-in-one functionality of an autonomous vacuum and mop.
Since the water tank is built-in the mop bracket, you can actually use this to wet mop and vacuum at the same time.
A very useful function for surfaces like tile or granite where dirt and grim tend to build up.
According to Gearbest this robot has 5 cleaning modes – spot cleaning, special bounce cleaning, S-shaped cleaning, edge cleaning and spiral cleaning but what do all of these mean.
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We will find out in this review and if all of these modes translate into cleaning performance worthy to part your dollars with.
As with a majority of robot vacuums in this price range, it really utilizes a random cleaning pattern using infrared sensors. But as I’ve tested a bunch of these brands, I found out that there are nuances and this robot has its own and you will see in the videos what they are.
A quick look at the features
- 5 cleaning modes help this robot clean your home
- Intelligent anti-drop and collision system prevent this robot from falling off stairs and bumping into furniture
- When it runs low on battery it automatically goes back to the charging dock
- Only operates at around 65 decibels
- Large capacity 3,350mAh nickel cadmium battery will run for about an hour
- 800Pa suction
- App is available for download to control this robot
- 1 year warranty
- Good performance at least on bare floor
- Has the ability to wet and vacuum at the same time
- Decent suction on bare floor
- Decent sized dirt bin
- Charging dock has a brush cleaning tool
- You can schedule this to clean on different times for each day of the week (gives you some flexibility)
- Collision sensor is turned off by default, you’d have to turn it on to avoid hitting furniture
- Cleaning pattern isn’t efficient
- NiCad batteries are heavy and prone to power fade and does not hold charge as well as a lithium battery
What to expect from the Alfawise A6?
Before I continue, watch this video where I unbox the robot and share with you the different features…
This robot is similar to a lot of robot vacuums sold at GearBest. It has dual side brushes, wet mopping and best utilized on bare floor.
In terms of aesthetics, I don’t like the pink and white color scheme but I do like that it utilizes LED lights that are easy to read and bright.
Interface is easy to read and laid out well. Five icons you see are buttons and not just for display.
All of these functions are also accessing with the remote that I will show you later on.
But first I’ll explain the function of each of the buttons I labelled on the photo…
It starts or stop the robot but only after robot is on. This button will be disabled if the robot is docked. It also doubles as a battery indicator that flashes red when it is running low.
Turns the motor on or off. Again you can only press this button after the robot is turned on.
Turns the UV light under the robot on or off. Manufacturer claims that this will sterilize the surface but take it with a grain of salt.
Allows you to set the time in minutes how long you want the robot to run. You can set it between 10 and 80 minutes with increments of 10 minutes.
When this feature is turned on, the robot avoids colliding with objects and starts automatic cleaning mode, this simply means that it will cycle through the different cleaning modes I mentioned earlier depending on the situation.
However if you turn this feature off the robot will act like a battering ram and bump into furniture or the wall repeatedly.
Here’s a view of the bottom with the mop attached…
As you can see it has two side brushes and even with the mop attached, the motorized brush is still visible which means you can use the wet mopping feature and vacuum at the same time.
It also allows you to turn off the vacuum motor using the remote in case you only want to utilize the wet mopping feature and let it run longer.
Without the mop it looks like this…
You will notice that there is a silver strip below the dirt bin and that is the UV light. GearBest says that this is the UV light that sanitizes the floor.
I’m not sure if a small piece of light can actually kill bacteria so take it with a grain of salt.
On the tests I’ve done so far, even though it lacks stiffness it still performed relatively well on bare floor.
High Capacity NiCad Battery
You will notice that out of the box the batteries came in detached from the robot it turns out that this product uses a high-capacity 3,350 NiCad battery that you will have to remove if you will store this robot for an extended period of time.
While it can run for over an hour base on my test it does not hold its charge very well if you don’t use it for an extended period of time something that a lithium ion battery does not have a problem with.
A NiCad battery also adds to the weight and size since NiCads are bigger and heavier.
This robot also comes with a virtual wall that will block the path of the robot in areas that you don’t want it to go to. Like the wet area of your kitchen or an area in your home where your pet sleeps.
The range of the virtual wall (or virtual blocker as manual calls it) is round 10 feet. It goes into stand-by mode when robot is off.
It uses 2 double-A batteries.
The Alfawise’s charging station is unique in that this is where you will set the time and schedule the robot when you want it to clean.
Unlike the ILIFE robots that only allow you to schedule it at the same time for a 7 day period, this robot allows you to schedule it at different times each day so you can schedule it to clean at 7:30am on Monday and maybe 10:30am on Tuesday.
The A6 can also automatically clean again after recharging without you having to wait.
All you need to do is press the start button on the dock you will see the screen show the auto icon.
I love this flexibility that this feature gives you.
The docking station also has a brush cleaning tool stored at the back. It also has clips where you can hang the cord to.
Cleaning Performance and Navigation
On bare floor
I did a couple of cleaning tests on bare floor and I must say, this robot exceeded at least my expectations.
Here are some photos of the first test I did…
This robot did a pretty good job picking up most of the dirt scattered I scattered, including the huge mess in the middle…
Even with the softer bristles it was still able to pick up at least the majority of the dirt I scattered in the room.
Here’s the second cleaning test I did…
My bigger concern would be navigation. In the first cleaning test (see the first video), I noticed that this robot at times acted like a battering tam bumping onto the wall several times.
It also got wedged between the door-stopper a few times.
As I looked at the manual I noticed that it had a featured called “Soft Touch” that prevents this robot from bumping and ramming into obstacles but at the expense of edge cleaning but as you’ve seen in the video above, it did a pretty decent job on the edges but it did not clean everything.
I took some photos of the mess as well as the results…
And here’s the photo of the area near the tripod where I’m recording…
It actually did a pretty good job cleaning the edges even though it did leave bits and pieces.
If you watched the whole recording, you will notice that it did not clean the edge often and most of the time it focused cleaning the middle part of the room but towards the tail end of the video it did clean the edges and cleaned up a majority of what I scattered.
Where can I buy this?
This robot cleaner is available in GearBest for around $160.
This robot actually a pretty good performer on bare floor picking up around 62 out of a possible 70 grams of oats and powder I scattered in the room.
Navigation wise I find it too twitchy and even with the soft-touch feature turned on it did at times bumped into obstacles but not the battering ram style bump with that feature turned off.
It won’t hug the edges like an ILIFE robot would do so edge cleaning does suffer but the brushes are long enough to sweep debris towards the middle where the brush roll is.
Dirt bin is well-designed because it is sealed and easy to empty.
The ability to schedule at different times for each day is a plus but the soft bristles do concern me on carpet but I will have to test it to and see how it does.