I never heard of Shellbot before. It’s not a major player in the home automation space, but if they continue doing things right, this might change soon. Shellbot SL60 is the 5th device in my cleaning gang and by now I have a pretty good idea of what I would like to see from an intelligent vacuum cleaner. What’s good about Shellbot SL60? It knows where you left your socks… and that’s just the beginning.
I worry, that one day my cleaning future overlords become sentient and rebel against me. Equipped with all sorts of sensors, perked up by AI, they will reject me as their master and turn against me in a manic, but coordinated ankle attack. It won’t be as painful as sharing online where I left my socks this time, but it will ruin me non the less.
I’m yet to question why Shellbot SL60 can recognise shoes, socks, wall sockets and items… but after seeing small icons popping out on the map of my house, I’m genuinely impressed with where we stand right now. It’s not particularly useful unless your mansion is huge and leaving socks here and there is something you do daily, but it’s a nice way Shellbot can flex their muscle saying: “we can do this!”.
What’s on offer
Shellbot SL60 is a 2in1 vacuum and mop cleaner. Just like the cleaners from Xiaomi, it uses LiDAR to map the environment around, underside sensors to recognise the floor type and not to hurl down the stairs and a forward-facing camera to identify objects. Apart from the vacuum and the charging station, the box also contains a dust tank, water/dust tank a couple of spares and a small remote controller with a display.
It’s a nice bundle for anyone who has mixed floors at home. As my ground level is covered in 70% carpet & 30% faux wood panels, I really appreciate dual-action cleaners like Shellbot SL60.
After trialling LiDAR-less vacuums from yeedi, I appreciate the comeback of laser-based mapping. Generated maps have architectural precision, identifying rooms, features and furniture is a breeze and I’m always sure where the robot is. It’s also the fastest of the bunch completing the cleaning of the area in about 39min (with Xiaomi doing this in 46 and yeedi in just over 50 min).
I guess that improved suction (4000Pa) helps, as everything looks clean after. Don’t be fooled, once in a while (in my case every 2-3 months) you’ll need to grab a regular vacuum to do the stails and some hard-to-reach corners).
Traversing isn’t an issue. I don’t have any high thresholds but I do have rather thick doormats. They caused some issues to my 1st Xiaomi 1S vacuum, but Shellbot SL60 has no problems scaling these. I also verified that the vacuum won’t tumble down the stairs on its own.
Call me weird, but I like waking up to a freshly cleaned carpet. Created with machine precision lines remind me of a football pitch. I don’t have pets to give it a more robust review, but my frequently shedding long-hair partner can substitute for that. Judging from all the hair wrapped around the brush and the absence of it on the carpet you will be happy with the cleaning performance.
Even my starch torture test had been completed successfully. Shellbot SL60 cleared the spilt powder like a champ the first time around but I decided to throw it a curve ball and check if that 4000 Pa is really as good as it sounds. I rubbed some starch into the carpet to make it harder to clean. Shellbot SL60 cleaned almost all of it. It’s a pretty good result.
Thanks to dual clean patterns, mopping hard floors is very good. It may be lacking the power of the oscillating mop from my other 2in1 yeedi cleaner, but it costs half as much and can handle all but the hardest stains. I used milk, dark/light soy sauce, coke, coffee, blackberry jam, ketchup and sesame oil. I let these dry first to make it harder.
A long story short, run the mop as soon as you notice spillages. Leaving soy sauce stains or jam overnight will defeat Shellbot SL60. Oher stains were nicely removed leaving the floor clean. In Shellbot’s defence, leftover stains required no elbow grease to be lifted.
Also, if you are looking for an answer if you can force the vacuum to mop your carpet – yes, you can. I have done that on accident and I had woken up to a carpet covered in Y patterns.
I really miss self-emptying from the yeedi vac station, as using Shellbot SL60 means going back to emptying the tank every couple of cleans. Unfortunately emptying the dust tank is a pain in the neck, access has a “neck” which makes the dust likely to stay inside. It’s a strange design decision considering that the other tank (dust and mop) empties without many problems. It’s probably the only cleaning concern I have at this point.
The app is pretty good. The most used options are always at your fingertip, but the best part of the app is the custom cleaning menu. It allows you to specify different cleaning jobs for each room. Your custom plan includes 4 levels of suction, 3 levels of mopping, edge mode and repeat. These apply to each room. Finally, I can run the clean plan without swapping attachments as you can select vacuum, vacuum+mop or mop plan for each room.
AI on board is very gentle. Once an obstacle is recognised, the vacuum skillfully navigates around it. It hasn’t got stuck on socks, curtains or whatever I left on the floor. Apart from recognising objects, Shellbot SL60 has the ability to spot and avoid animal faeces – definitely something that brings nightmares to pet owners.
I’ll skip privacy concerns for now, but running image analysis to avoid obstacles and AI object detection to categorise items found on the floor is pretty smart. It opens interesting opportunities down the line. For now, we can glare remotely on stuff your family leaves on the floor as the vacuum does it job.
Anyone who is into micro-management will find zone/spot/area cleaning options and will divide (and conquer) rooms to their liking. What’s missing, is the ability to specify the floor type manually. My salmon carpet is consistently identified as the hard floor, but Shellbot SL60 has no issues picking up doormats on my hard floors. They show up accordingly.
I’m not sure if Shellbot SL60 is a proprietary design of Shellbot or if they licenced a product from an even less famous brand, but Shellbot SL60 is the only product on their website. It’s not a bad thing in general, but the page mentions Alexa and Google Home controls, but I couldn’t find the relevant skill in the Alexa app.
It could be going through certification and be enabled later, but right now, the dedicated app and the remote controller are the only way to command your cleaner. About the remote: it uses IR and perhaps wireless signal too as I covered up the diode and I was able to control the robot. It allows you to schedule cleans, move robots around and select cleaning modes. It’s good for anyone who struggles with technology, but it’s easier to open the app than to look for yet another remote controller.
There is one thing you could do. You could integrate the vacuum with SwitchBot or Aqara ecosystems as both platforms have IR-enabled hubs that could send commands to your robot.
I’m endeared by Shellbot SL60. It cleans well, handles hard floors decently and mapping is very good. Anyone looking for something that can handle multiple surfaces at once should really consider it. At $459.99 (at the time of writing) it’s not the most expensive 2in1 vacuum, especially considering all the tech included in the package. I really want to know where Shellbot going to take this AI next. Let me know where you leave your socks in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.