Robotic Vacuums

Miele RX1 Review – Is the Miele Scout Vacuum a Serious Contender?

(Last Updated On: January 9, 2016)

Miele is one of the most trusted names in home appliances. To date, most of their products have been in the kitchen appliance or upright vacuum area, so their foray into the robotic vacuum space is an important step. Like many companies, they have jumped on the robotics train before it leaves the station.

However, it’s clear that robotic vacuums are not the core of their business. The Miele RX1 Scout is the only robotic product they offer. This is a genuine cause for concern because it means the company might not be focused on delivering a superior product or have as much invested in the underlying technology.

This isn’t the whole story. Many companies are able to offer competent products in new market verticals. We took the Scout for a spin ourselves to see what we could determine.

In this review of the Miele RX1 Scout vacuum, we will cover all the bases, including the top features and pros/cons to see whether it has enough to run with the big boys like Roomba and Neato.

Leading Features of the RX1

Below are some of the key selling points of the Miele RX1:

  • Triple Cleaning System: This is the core of the Scout’s selling proposition. The Miele RX1 utilizes two front brushes to access corners and hard to reach baseboards. The high turbo engine and high intensity suction brush combines into an effective one-two punch. Finally, debris and dirt are suctioned into a 22 0z. dust bin.
    Intelligent Navigation: Using a “gyro” sensor, the Miele smartly navigates the entire room in a logical pattern that ensures no spots are missed or given uneven cleaning. The Miele also uses a special ceiling camera which helps it to effectively map out the room and determine progress.
    Furniture Protection: Robotic vacuums are an incredibly innovation, but they can bounce off of furniture leaving scuff marks and other cosmetic damage. Meile has outfitted the Scout RX1 with both rubber bumpers and a 7-point intelligent sensor systems to prevent contact with surrounding furniture.
    Remote Control: The Scout comes standard with a remote control device to manage the cleaning settings from a distance. This prevents owners from having to chase down their vacuum or be interrupted at inconvenient times. The remote contains a directional pad that can be utilized for manual navigation if one particular part of the room needs cleaning (think spills). A turbo mode option enables a 2x as fast clean of a particular room, perfect if you are on a time crunch before guests arrive.

Video of the Scout RX1 in Operation

Pros – Things I liked

Here are the aspects that I really liked about the RX1:

  • Methodical Approach: Some people often critique the Roomba’s for their seemingly random approach to cleaning rooms. They bounce around in a zig-zag random pattern, hitting furniture and then changing directions. While there is a method to this madness, the Miele Scout is adept at methodically and systematically cleaning the entire room. Everything it does seems to have a purpose and plan, as opposed to the Roomba’s frenetic – and somewhat disconcerting – pace.
    Quiet: As far as noise pollution goes, the Miele RX1 is significantly quieter than most of the other robotic vacuums that I have owned or tested, including Neato and Roomba. This is probably not a major concern if you have it running while you are out of the home, but it’s a nice extra quality if you are trying to concentrate in the home office or watch TV.
    Simple to Use: The Miele has a very user friendly approach. It is as close to “plug and play” as you can get with a robotic vacuum. It’s easy enough to operate that you can figure everything out by just examining the device for 30 seconds.
    Dual Side Brushes: The little spur side brushes that stick out might look funny, but they ensure that the vacuum gets to all the corners and hard to reach places. We’ve seen similar features on other brands and it does work well and solves the logical concern about cleaning corners and baseboards.
    Lithium-ion Battery: This is an underrated feature of the Scout. Including the Lithium-ion battery probably raised the overall price tag a bit, but it’s well worth it in my experience. Under-powered batteries are one of the first things that you will want to upgrade on almost any robotic vacuum. They also happen to be the first component to wear out, in most cases. A quality battery goes a long way towards ensuring a quality end-user experience. Miele delivers here.

Cons – Things That Could be Imroved

The following are some of my main complaints about this vacuum:

  • Not a Deep Clean: My main complaint with the Miele is that it is more of a maintenance cleaner, not a true vacuum. It does a great job and picking up most dirt and debris, but it is not necessarily the same caliber as Roomba or Neato when it comes to suction and HEPA air filtration. I can always use the remote to have the Scout focus in on bad patches, but if I have to do this too much then it becomes less of an automated solution. In short, I like many things about the RX1, but it seems that the Roomba’s random zig-zag pattern and superior filters do a better job of replicating the cleaning quality of traditional upright vacuum.
    Not Modular: I could be mistaken, but I’m reasonably confident that if something goes wrong the Miele is not designed for easy component replacement. This isn’t really a problem if everything works well, but with age, even the best devices start to break down. It seems like a pain to have to send the whole thing back to the manufacturer each time.
    Cliff Sensors Could be Improved: In about 25% of our tests, the RX1 actually fell down a “test step” that we had set up to simulate a staircase. This is not a risk level that I am comfortable with, so you will probably want to physically block off your stairs prior to operation.
    Price: Close to $1000 is a little more than I’d like to pay for a robotic vacuum. Yes, they feature advanced technology, but the Miele RX1 seems a bit over-priced when compared to even the top line Roomba. Fortunately, you can save more at this listing, making the cost more reasonable.

Miele RX1 Alternatives

I always like to compare any robot I review to some of the similarly priced competition. For about the same price, you can find the following robots:

The Roomba 870: Is actually selling right now for over $50 less than the Scout (see here). I personally like the 800 series as it provides a deeper clean than the Scout. This is in large part due to their patented “3-stage” cleaning system, which was introduced for the first time with this series. It also comes with a far superior “cliff detecting” system, so you won’t have to worry about it falling down the stairs. As Roomba is the best selling robot to date, there’s a very healthy market for replacement parts (batteries, filters, brushes, etc…), should you need it. For more information, see the full review here.

Botvac D80: The Botvac D80 is available at an even steeper discount, close to $100 less than the Scout at this listing. The flat-front design means it’s more adept than both the Scout and Roomba at getting into corners and along baseboards. The Botvac is also very organized in how it cleans, methodically and linearly attacking each room. You can check out my full take on it here.

Final Take – Worth the Money?

Overall, the Miele RX1 Scout is competent entry in the robotic vacuum space. It’s a bit more expensive than most robotic vacuums, but you won’t be disappointed with the end result. There are definitely some kinks that still need to be worked out to make this a “Roomba-killer”. You might be able to find some better deals. In fact, I would encourage readers to check out our comparison table and brand over page here. There is certainly a lot to like about the Miele RX1, in spite of the price tag.

Where to Buy the RX1 Scout

It’s a bit difficult to find the RX1 Scout in retail stores, so the best option is to purchases online. When you are able to find it, the prices are usually at retail pricing (close to $700). The best price that I have found is at this listing here. See below for the latest updated pricing.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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