When I first shopped around for a robot vacuum cleaner I was staggered by the prices. None of the features I wanted were available at a reasonable price. That’s why I was interested in ILIFE. It sweeps and mops, picks up pet hair, gets under even the lowest furniture, comes with a remote, is fairly quiet and all for a budget-friendly price tag!
In what follows, I’m going to review the key features of the ILIFE V3s Robotic Vacuum, then highlight its pros and cons. Even though the V3s is reasonably priced, I’m going to discuss alternatives to the product that are in a similar price range. Finally, I will tell you if I would recommend the product and why.
Key Features of the ILIFE V3s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
First up, let’s check out the key specs:
- Vacuums and Mops: The ILIFE V3s not only cleans carpet, hardwood and tile, it mops as well.
- Picks Up Pet Hair: Pet hair can be difficult for robot vacuums to clean, but the ILIFE V3s removes pet hair from both carpet and hardwood.
- Low Profile: Since the V3s is only three inches tall, it is able to maneuver under even the lowest furniture. Also, the vacuum is much less likely to get trapped under the lower lip of appliances.
- Comes With a Remote: Use the remote to schedule cleaning, guide the vacuum to a particular spot, or send it back to recharge itself.
- Quiet: The V3s is quiet, so quiet you don’t have to run it when you’re out. Watch TV, have a conversation, this vacuum won’t drown out all other sound.
Pros—Things I Like
- Simple setup: I got the V3s up and running in about five minutes without consulting the manual.
- Quiet: I have a Roomba 595 that I would not characterize as quiet. I can’t watch TV or talk on my cell while the vacuum cleaner is working. I could with ILIFE. Granted, I had to turn the TV up a little, but I had no trouble hearing it over the sound of the machine. A nice feature.
- Works well on tile, hardwood and short pile carpet: In my tests the ILIFE V3s did as well as my Roomba on tile and hardwood. On the low pile carpet it did fine as well but it wasn’t as good as my Roomba on carpets with a deep pile. Keep in mind, though, that my Roomba is much pricier compared to the ILIFE (check here for latest prices). I would be deeply suspicious if there wasn’t something my three-times-as-expensive Roomba did better!
- Has a Remote: I loved using the ILIFE’s remote to direct the vacuum. I have to pick up and position my Roomba if there’s a particular spot I want it to concentrate on, but with ILIFE I just used the remote to guide it. And, of course, you can also use the remote to do the usual things such as scheduled cleaning and telling the V3s to go back to its charging station.
- Vacuums and Mops: ILIFE’s V3s is a rarity: it vacuums and mops. Granted, it doesn’t give the floor a thorough scrubbing but often all I want is to wipe it down. When I first read that the V3s mopped I expected it would have some sort of a reservoir tank for liquid but that isn’t the sort of mopping the V3s does. The unit comes with a removable cloth attached to the undercarriage. This cloth can be wet and used to wipe one’s hardwood floors. I think it’s wonderful that I can use the vacuum to wipe down my floors, though I tend to think of that as wiping rather than mopping. On the other hand, if you don’t have hardwood or tile floors, the cloth can be easily removed from the undercarriage. All in all it is a nice feature.
- Pet Hair: The ILIFE V3s does an excellent job picking up pet hair from hardwood, laminate or tile, but it did have a few issues on deep pile carpet. That said, the vacuum is currently selling for $159 so it comes as no surprise that it’s not as good at this as the Roomba 650 which is more than double the price.
- Battery Life: The listed battery life is one hour forty minutes, but in my tests it lasted almost two hours.
Cons—Things I Could Do Without
- Trouble finding the charging station: Of the ten trials I ran, the vacuum didn’t find its way back to the charging station four times. Further, the times it did find its way home, it was a few feet away from the charger oriented more-or-less toward it. If I told the V3s to return home while it was in another room, it wasn’t able to. For me, given the price and all the other things it does well, this isn’t terribly important.
- Did not always emit a sound when it was stuck: Usually robot vacuums make a sound when they get stuck, a kind of plaintive electronic call for help. Which is good, otherwise the robot might keep spinning its wheels, wasting its battery, and perhaps even damage itself. Unfortunately, though, I found that the ILIFE V3s didn’t always make a distress sound when it was stuck. Instead it would spin its wheels in an ineffectual attempt to get itself free.
- Randomness: It seemed as though the ILIFE V3s spent 20 percent of its time vacuuming 80 percent of the floor and 80 percent of its time vacuuming 20 percent of the floor. But, despite this, overall it did a decent job picking up even heavier dirt such as ground walnut. “Random” cleaning patterns has been a criticism of other bots like older Roomba’s, however, there is logic to the madness with these. Personally, I was skeptical that there was any type of mapping going on with the ILIFE.
The ILIFE V3s vs the Rollibot B1 100 Mini Robot Vacuum vs ILIFE A4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Since one of the main selling features of ILIFE is its price, I thought it would be helpful to compare the V3s with two other lower price models.
|ILIFE V3s||ILIFE A4 Robot||Rollibot B1 100 Mini|
|Weight||4.5 pounds||4.9 pounds||6.6 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||11.8 x 11.8 x 3 inches||12.2 x 12.2 x 3 inches||11.9 x 11.9 x 3 inches|
|List (as of this writing)||Mid-priced (check here)||Most expensive (check here)||Least expensive (check here)|
|Battery||100 minutes||130 – 150 minutes||100 minutes|
|Extra HEPA Filter||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Alternatives to Consider
ILIFE is a good value, but it represents a compromise between price and performance, though, as we’ve seen, it does perform remarkably well. Let’s take a look at three other vacuums that pack a punch for their price point.
Rollibot B1 100 Mini Robot Vacuum
When I saw the price of the Rollibot I did a double-take. The price difference is not significant compared to the ILIFE V3s. Is it any good, you ask. At the time of writing, the Rollibot has earned an Amazon Score of 4.3 stars out of 5 across 125 reviews. I haven’t tested this model, but the folks I’ve talked to about it have said that it’s is generally solid but that while it works well on short-pile carpet it leaves something to be desired on long pile. Though, on the plus side, it has a spot cleaning function where it cleans in a spiral pattern over a particularly dusty area. My Roomba 595 has a similar cleaning pattern and I love it.
iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
The Roomba 650 is more than twice the price of the ILIFE V3s, but the Roomba 650 lets you schedule cleanings, does a good job even on deep-pile carpet, and comes with a virtual wall. I can tell you from my own experience that virtual walls are awesome. No more stacking books to keep a rebellious vacuum inside an area. You can read my full review here.
iRobot Roomba 880 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
With its price (check here for latest) the Roomba 880 is almost four times the price of the V3s. Does it have four times the functionality? While the V3s doesn’t have Multi-Room navigation, tangle free debris extraction, or an AeroForce® 3-Stage Cleaning System it does a good job on hardwood, laminate, tile and short pile carpets, and its a much cheaper alternative! You can read my review for more details.
Final thoughts—Is the ILIFE V3s a Good Value?
The ILIFE Robotic Vacuum Cleaner demonstrates that a decent robot vacuum can be had for a budget-friendly price. The ILIFE Robotic Vacuum Cleaner isn’t the best vacuum around, but it does a solid job on hardwood, tile, laminate and short pile carpet. Also, it does a good job vacuuming up pet hair.
All in all I was impressed with the ILIFE V3s. There are certain things it can’t do well, so if getting pet hair out of deep pile carpets is high on your priority list then this might not be the vacuum for you. On the other hand, if you want a vacuum that does a lot for a fraction of the cost of other vacuums then the ILIFE V3s is worth serious consideration.
Bottom Line: For the price, this is a surprisingly competent little robot. I wouldn’t put it in the same category as recent Roomba’s or Botvacs, etc… but it’s a perfect entry-level robot for first time owners. You can check this listing for the latest pricing.