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Those who are on a budget think that one needs to spend at least $300 or $400 for a good robotic vacuum cleaner. However, with the entry of iLIFE into the robot vacuum market, you now have the option to buy a budget robot vacuum for less than $300 and enjoy the features found in earlier Roombas, such as the Roomba 700 series.
That’s right; you can now get a robot vacuum that is similar in features to a Roomba 700 series model at only a fraction of the price you’d pay for the pricier mode. Let us take a look at iLIFE A4s and iLIFE A6.
Bottom Line Up Front: Personally, I would lean heavily towards getting the iLIFE A6 availabe here for 3 reasons 1) more suction power, 2) 20 minutes longer battery life, and 3) inclusion of a virtual wall (for boundary marking).
Of course, if you really don’t want to spend the extra $50, the A4s isn’t a bad choice… Continue reading for my full take (for the nitty gritty details).
Contents (Jump to)
First Up: iLIFE A4s
The iLIFE A4s uses an advanced brushless motor, making it more effective on both bare and carpeted floors. The motor has enough suction power to give your carpets a thorough clean, getting rid of hair, fur, and dirt. Compared with earlier robot vacuums from the same company, the A4s delivers up to 5x better suction power.
- 3-Step Cleaning: The A4s uses a three-step cleaning system that utilizes side brushes, spiral blade brushes, and powerful suction to do its job. The spiral blade brushes help pick dirt off your carpet while the side brushes help clean edges and corners, putting the dirt in the robot vacuum’s path so that it could be sucked into the dust bin.
- Max Cleaning Mode: On top of that, the A4s has a max cleaning mode that directs it to clean more efficiently and pick up more dirt than the normal mode, perfect for your first time clean or once-a-month cleaning to make sure that your rooms are cleaner.
- Normal Cleaning Mode: You can then switch to the normal cleaning modes for your daily cleaning to save on power, or when you think your floors only need light dust pick-ups.
- Small Room Cleaning Mode: Further, it has the mini-room mode, which is just perfect for cleaning small rooms. When mini-room mode is selected, the robot vacuum follows an automatic schedule to start and stop cleaning your small room. This results to more energy savings and helps make your robot vacuum more durable.
- Turbo Mode: You can also select the turbo mode for more efficient cleaning on dirtier areas of the floor.
- Smart Sensors: Moreover, the A4s has a full range of sensors that keep it from falling off sharp drops and stairs. There are also tangle-free sensors in the A4s, helping ensure that your brushes are free from tangles.
- Auto Recharge: The A4s makes use of a long lasting lithium ion battery that delivers up to 140 minutes of cleaning time on a single charge. The A4s automatically finds its dock and recharges when it runs low on battery, which means that it will be fully charged when you want it to start cleaning.
Maintaining your A4s
You need to clean the connectors and motion link of the brush to help keep your robot vacuum in tiptop shape. You also need to ensure that the brushes are properly cleaned and that you empty the dust bin after every use. When it comes to your HEPA filter, you need to clean it after every cleaning session as well. Additionally, it is recommended that you put in a new HEPA filter after a month of use.
Pros of the iLIFE A4s
- Fits Better Under Furniture: The iLIFE A4s is only 310 mm. in diameter and 76 mm. in height. This means that it has a lower and narrower profile than most Roomba models, allowing it to go under more furniture and into tighter spaces.
- Easy to Use: It is also very easy to use as you only need to press a button to start cleaning.
- Attractive Price: Further, as noted earlier, the A4s has pretty much the same cleaning features as Roomba series 700 models, but at a much lower price (see this listing)
Next Up: iLIFE A6
Now, let us look at iLIFE A6, which is better than the iLIFE A4s in some aspects and is only $50 more expensive. The A6 has all the features you love when using the A4s, including easy scheduling of cleaning times, auto docking and self-charging when the battery runs out, and the tangle-free bearing system. It also has the cliff sensors that help it navigate away from stairs and other steep falls. As for the different cleaning modes, there’s the max mode and the mini-room cleaning mode.
However, the iLIFE A6 earns its more expensive price tag (check prices here) in many other ways.
For one, its looks have been seriously upgraded from the A4s. Instead of the boring plastic build with titanium gray colors of the A4s, the iLIFE A6 has a piano black finish and a glass top to make it look sleeker, more exquisite, and elegant. The reflective black is certainly a takeoff from the usual looks of even the more expensive robot vacuum brands. Not only that, the A6 is also six mm. shorter than the A4s, allowing the robot vacuum to get under more furniture.
The A6 offers you an easy way to start cleaning. Press the Auto button and it goes on its way. It also follows different cleaning patterns according to the mode that you selected.
- Auto cleaning mode: The A6 moves from one wall to another before it spirals inwards to clean your floors.
- Edge cleaning mode: The A6 moves close to your walls so that it could clean the wall edges better.
- Spot cleaning mode: The A6 spirals outwards to cover and concentrate on a smaller area.
Lastly, the A6 uses the company’s second generation Cyclone Power motor, which gives it a more powerful suction so that it cleans a whole lot better than previous models. Compared to the iLIFE A4s, this motor provides 10 times more power!
Side-by-side comparison: iLIFE A4s vs A6
It is very apparent that the iLIFE A6 is the better choice compared to the iLIFE A4s. It has all the features you find on the earlier A4s model. Both the A4s and the A6 can clean carpet, tile, and hardwood floors without any problem. Note that if you have all three floor types, the A6 and the A4s will first clean the carpeted areas and then proceed with hardwood floors before cleaning the tiled floors.
The iLIFE A6 does cost more. For about $50 more here as of this writing, you get a better-looking robot vacuum that has an exquisite glass top that makes it look more expensive than it actually is. It also has a more powerful second generation CyclonePower motor.
Moreover, the A6 has a lower profile and a 20-minute longer run time than the A4s. Plus, it includes a virtual wall, which gives you a great degree of control as to where the A6 cleans and what rooms it should avoid.
To make it easier for you to compare the two, take a look at this side-by-side comparison:
|iLIFE A4s||iLIFE A6|
|List Price||Check here for latest||Check here for latest|
|Tangle-free bearing system||Yes||Yes|
|3-step cleaning system||Yes||Yes|
|2nd generation CyclonePower motor||No||Yes|
|Dimensions (dxh, mm)||310 x 76||310 x 70|
|Maximum run time||140 mins.||160 mins.|
|Floor type and priority||Carpet, hardwood and tile||Carpet, hardwood and tile|
|Color||Titanium gray||Piano Black|
The Final Choice
Bottom Line: If you want a more thorough clean, then we highly recommend that you pay a little bit more for the iLIFE A6. For just $50 more, you can get the better looking, better performing, and more powerful robot vacuum as compared to iLIFE A4s.
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!