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It seems to us that just about everybody loves a good robot vacuum. However, not everyone is willing to pay more than $500 to own one.
Well, the good news is that there are several robot vacuums available in the market that are great for those with a tight budget. One of them is the iLIFE A6, which is the latest of iLIFE’s growing line of affordable yet efficient vacuum cleaners.
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iLIFE A6 – First Glance
- CyclonePower: The iLIFE A6 is the first robot vacuum from the company to use the second generation CyclonePower. CyclonePower is a three-stage cleaning system that makes use of several components of the iLIFE A6, such as the second generation motor, Bladeaway spiral brush, Roadrover wheels, Max Mode, and Dust Box.
- Suction: The motor has side brushes that sweep dirt, debris, and dust into the robot vacuum’s path to make it easier to catch and suction. The Bladeaway spiral brush can clean hard-to-clean dirt and the iLIFE A6’s amazing suction power will take care of the rest.
- Mobility: If you are cleaning carpets or rugs, you can get 10 times the normal air power to make it easier to dislodge dirt hiding in your carpet. Meanwhile, the Roadrover wheels make the iLIFE A6 much more mobile and can easily avoid the obstacles that it encounters.
- Battery Life: What’s more, with the iLIFE A6, you get the benefit of having a long-lasting battery, which can give you two hours and forty-five minutes of cleaning before needing to recharge. This is probably more than what most robot vacuums can give you. And because you would need to recharge your batteries less, the batteries have a longer lifespan. What this means is that you would not need to replace the batteries for quite a while.
- Turbo Mode: Furthermore, you have the Max Mode Cleaning, which is iLIFE A6’s version of the turbo mode. You get more cleaning and suction power for those difficult cleaning jobs.
- HEPA Filtration: Additionally, you have the big dirt box that comes with the ultra-performance filter. The filter keeps small particles inside the dust chamber so that it does not go back into the air. The filter also prevents the dust particles from clogging the motor, ensuring that you get powerful suction every time. And if you need to change the filter, that’s particularly easy with the easy pop-out design that allows you to replace the filter without breaking a sweat.
Design. You would love the sleek design of the iLIFE A6. It has a tempered glass top cover accentuating the robot vacuum’s jet black color for the body. This glass cover makes the iLIFE A6 look more elegant and expensive, and the jet black makes it look really elegant and exquisite. The iLIFE A6’s highly reflective surface is probably a first for robot vacuums. In addition, it has a Q-shaped LED breathing indicator.
The iLIFE A6 is only 2.8 inches high, allowing it to easily get under furniture pieces with low bottoms. In contrast, Roombas have heights of around 3.8 inches, making iLIFE A6 at least an inch shorter. The thinner profile means that it is able to sandwich in between furniture that your Roomba may not get into.
Ease of use. To start cleaning, all you have to do is to press on the Auto button that you see on top of the iLIFE A6. The robot vacuum will immediately start cleaning and, once battery energy runs out, it will go back to its dock to recharge. You can easily schedule your cleaning using the iLIFe A6’s remote control.
Cleaning pattern. You can choose from three main cleaning modes. The Auto cleaning mode would see your iLIFE A6 going from one wall to the other and then spirals inwards until the entire room has been cleaned. The Edge cleaning mode, on the other hand, would direct the iLIFE A6 to stay near your walls, cleaning the corners and sides of your rooms more thoroughly.
Meanwhile, the Spot cleaning mode will make your robot vacuum spiral outwards, covering a small area that you want to be thoroughly cleaned. The iLIFE A6 can easily cover one room or multiple rooms as long as you keep the door open. It will continue cleaning until the cycle is finished and your rooms are clean.
Sensors. A wide variety of sensors make it easier for iLIFE A6 to find its way around your furniture, or even go under it safely so that it does not get stuck under your bed or your sofa. Also, if you use your iLIFE A6 on a higher level or on the second floor, sensors will help it detect cliffs and stairs and avoid falls.
MiniRoom technology. iLIFE A6 comes with the MiniRoom technology that allows it to clean your rooms more efficiently using its advanced algorithm. Because it determines how it should clean your room efficiently, you also save more on energy costs.
What’s to Like About the iLIFE A6
- Higher Performance Motor: There is no denying that the biggest draw for the iLIFE A6 is the powerful 2nd generation CyclonePower motor that delivers a more thorough clean. It is also very quiet.
- Scheduling and Recharging: Moreover, it has scheduling functions, it recharges automatically, and it is very easy to use at a price that you could easily afford. It also works a lot longer on a single charge than most robot vacuums in its price range.
Things That Could Be Improved
- Questionable Interface: The iLIFE A6 has a breathing indicator that surrounds its Auto button for when you want to manually start its cleaning. But other than lighting up that button, it does not seem to have any special function.
- Not Roomba Level Navigation: Also, if you currently own a Roomba, it is apparent that one of the weaker points of the iLIFE A6 is its navigation system and cleaning pattern.
- Random Cleaning Pattern: While it does have sensors that help it avoid falling off stairs and find its way around your room, the cleaning pattern might look a bit haphazard and random.
How Does the A6 compare with other iLIFE A-series models?
iLIFE has been at the forefront of bringing affordable robot vacuums that work really well. Even with its low price points, these robot vacuums deliver a lot of the features that we have come to love from other established brands. The fact that they clean well is a wonderful bonus.
When talking about the iLIFE A6, it is inevitable that it gets compared with earlier A-series models from the same company. And what better to do that than with a nifty comparison chart?
ILIFE Model Comparison – iLIFE A4 vs A4s vs A6
|List Price||Check here for latest||Check here for latest||Check here for latest|
|Tangle free bearing system||No||Yes||Yes|
|3-step cleaning system||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2nd generation CyclonePower motor||No||No||Yes|
|Dimensions (dxh, mm)||310 x 76||310 x 76||310 x 70|
|Maximum run time||120 mins.||140 mins.||160 mins.|
|Floor type and priority||Hardwood, tiles and carpet||Carpet, hardwood and tile||Carpet, hardwood and tile|
|Color||Titanium gray||Titanium gray||Piano Black|
As you can see, there is a $50-price difference between the A4 and A4s and then between the A4s and the A6. All A-series models have the Max Mode, scheduling, self charging, cliff sensors, and the three-step cleaning system.
However, only iLIFE A6 has the 2nd generation CyclonePower motor, which allows it to clean more deeply and thoroughly.
iLife A6 is also 6 mm lower than both A4 and A4s and is the only one available in piano black. Its predecessors are available in titanium gray.
All three are able to clean hard wood floors, tiles and carpets, but the order of cleaning is different. For the A4, it cleans hardwood floors first then tiles and lastly the carpeted areas. For both the A4s and the A6, it cleans the carpeted areas first before moving on the hardwood floors and then tiles.
When it comes to run times, the A4 runs only for up to two hours. Run time for the A4s is 20 minutes longer while the A6 offers 40 minutes more run time compared to the A4 on a single charge.
The A4 has no tangle-free bearing system and no MiniRoom mode, a feature that is present on both the A4s and the A6.
In terms of features, there is not much difference between the iLIFE A6 and the earlier A-series models.
However, the slightly higher price tag is there for a reason. For one, the A6 has more functionalities, modes, and better motor than both the A4 and the A4s. It also looks a whole lot more expensive with its beautiful glass top.
Other Competitors in the Sub-$500 Market
The market is huge for people who want a robot vacuum but do not want to spend too much on one.
In fact, we can name a couple of competitors who are out to give iLIFE A6 a run for its money.
One of the very similar robots to the iLIFE series is the Eufy Robovac 11, which has a slightly more expensive list price. The more expensive price is due to its superior cleaning power that could rival Roomba’s pricier 770 or 880.
If you are pretty much sold on owning a Roomba, then you can get a Roomba 650, which you can frequently get at a very steep discount here. The Roomba 650 offers pretty much the same features as the iLIFE A6, although the former is 0.8-inch taller. It also has a better navigation system that is more focused and organized than the cleaning pattern you see on the A6.
Another highly recommended yet cheap robot vacuum is the Bissell SmartClean, which wins because it is very easy to use, cleans rather fast, and is quicker than most of its competitors. This robot vacuum is perfect for fast cleanups instead of a full cleaning, for which you might want to use your upright vacuum, anyway.
Final say on the iLIFE A6
At its price point, the iLIFE A6 is a strong contender for the title of the best robot vacuum under $500. It delivers a very thorough cleaning with its improved motor and enhanced suction power. It has scheduling features and auto recharging, which allows you to clean your house while you are away. It runs for a solid 160 hours maximum on a single charge.
It looks really beautiful as well. It is one of those robot vacuums that you would not mind visitors seeing around your living room. Speaking of visitors, you can probably have the iLIFE A6 clean your living room while carrying on a decent conversation with your guests; it is that quiet.
Bottom Line: The iLIFE A6 is certainly the best A-series robot vacuum from iLIFE, offering more features and technology than the earlier and cheaper models, the A4 and A4s. But before you buy, you might want to take a look at out top recommend robots for 2017, some of which might be slightly more expensive, but could be a better value depending on your needs.
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!