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I bought a $20 robot vacuum. Here’s how that went


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Erin Lawrence

Erin Lawrence

Sweepin robot 20 amazon cheapI was just cruising Amazon for new robot vacuums when I saw a listing (several, actually) for a $20 robot vacuum that mops. I immediately thought, Is this for real? Robot vacuums are getting more powerful, smarter and more capable then ever. They’re also getting more expensive and a premium robot floor bot with all the bells and whistles can easily cost over $2,000. So if you want tidy floors but you don’t want to spend a lot, can a cheaper solution still be helpful? I was looking for the cheapest robot vacuum I could find to see if it’s actually worth it… I hit ‘Add to cart’ to see so you don’t have to spend YOUR hard earned money.  In this review I’ll I fact-check each of its claims, and even run it head to head with another robot vacuum. Stick with me to see if this is a hidden gem or fool’s gold.

Is a $20 robot vacuum any good?

Listings too good to be true?

For starters you’re going to see this robot under a few different names—all at the same price point and with the same specs. First let’s look at what the listing says I’m getting.

Sweepin robot 20 amazon cheapThis floor bot is billed as “efficient and intelligent”, and also as a “3-in-1 vacuum which integrates Sweeping, Vacuuming and Mopping” of the “whole house”! Wow. Pretty big specs for such a cheap robot.

In addition to the “low noise” promise it claims “strong suction power” and multiple filtration systems. Those are the claims: I’ll see if they’re confirmed once it gets here.

Watch my review video about the cheapest robot vacuum on Amazon

$20 robot floor bot is delivered

A few days after my purchase, Amazon said the bot arrived but where was it… it was actually delivered… into the mailbox. That’s when I realized the first very important thing about this robot vacuum; it’s tiny!

Measuring just 6.5 inches across I was shocked to see how small it was. The Amazon listing did tell me the dimensions, I just didn’t read it closely… and of course I probably shouldn’t’ be so surprised, right?

So it’s tiny… no problem, that maybe just means it will get into small spaces way better…And since right on the box the lil sweepin robot reiterates the ‘Powerful Suction’ I guess size shouldn’t matter… right? We’ll find out in my cleaning tests.

Sweepin robot 20 amazon cheapFirst let’s see what’s in the box… you’re not getting much here; the tiny all-plastic robot, a USB power cord and a small piece of Velcro and a tiny pad. What those are for though it anyone’s guess; the only instructions are printed on the side of the box and this isn’t covered.

I plugged it in and charged it up so I could put it to work.

Charging & runtime

The amazon listing says doesn’t disclose charging time or runtime, but on the box, the charging time is listed as an agonizingly long 100-200 minutes or up to 3.5 hours. Since the box also promises long battery life we’ll check on the runtime and see we get:  A whole 20 minutes of cleaning time. Yikes. I guess everyone’s definition of long is different.

Half a day later it was time to put the sweepin bot to work.

Is the $20 robot “intelligent”?

Despite being billed as “intelligent” there is obviously no app that goes along with this device, nor any voice control or other connectivity. When you’re ready to clean you simply push the power button on top.

Sweepin robot 20 amazon cheapI let it loose on the floor and it started moving right away. The motion is extremely random and the bot will run until it hits an obstacle then give itself a quarter turn and go in another direction. It is completely random.

Does it work?

I will say this robot runs quietly… That’s probably because it doesn’t have a lot of suction, and that seems pretty evident. While it was able to roll over and presumably inhale dog hair, it struggled with anything more than that.

Leaves, large crumbs and anything beyond the smallest specs didn’t seem to get picked up.

In fact even when I fed anything other than a few dog hairs into the intake, —like onion paper or leaves… they refused to go in, and in fact the spinning brushes swept them away**.

I let the robot run and within almost 20 minutes exactly it was dead. Unfortunately, it had barely covered my living room. I decided to open up the robot and see how much debris it had picked up. When I pulled off the top cover I was actually surprised that it was getting anything at all. The small dust bin was pretty full, and actually quite a bit of accumulated junk head gathered around the air intake underneath.

I dumped it out, plugged it in to recharge and through I’d give it another shot. Unfortunately the cleaning didn’t get much better.

Head to head with a real robot vacuum

I decided to run it alongside a real robot vacuum – this one from Roborock. Of course this is a hilarious mismatch…. And there’s no competition. Sweepin bot picks up about 1-100th of what a real robot floor cleaning bot does….

Mopping feature is a blatant lie

Sweepin robot 20 amazon cheapAnd by the way, despite touting mopping as one of its features on the Amazon listing page, there is certainly no mopping happening here. There’s no water tank or water reservoir with this robot, and while I guess I could moisten the cotton pad it came with and Velcro that to the bottom, I would hardly call wiping a moist Band-Aid sized pad on a 2-inch section of the floor “mopping.”

Overall review & what happened next

Now… am I surprised by any of this?… not when it comes to the performance. You absolutely get what you pay for in life. What does surprise me is the blatant attempt to overstate this bot’s abilities . It won’t surprise me one bit to see this Amazon listing yanked down shortly after this video comes out. So what do I do with what is essentially a child’s toy robot vacuum? Amazon has a great returns policy so this one is definitely going back.

You can check out the hilarious Amazon listings for this and similar products here.

You can see what some real robot vacuums can do, like a current fave the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni, or the Roborock S7 Max V Ultra — and why they cost a lot more than $20, and I also want to hear from you… what’s the cheapest thing you ever bought on Amazon and was it a dud, or a surprise hit? Post in the comments…

Also Read:

  1. Roborock Q5 Pro+ vacuum-mop review
  2. 10 Best Robot Vacuums & floor cleaning bots in 2023: I’ve tried all of them
  3. iRobot Roomba s9+ robot vacuum review
Erin Lawrence

Erin Lawrence

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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