If you have the cash to burn, then robotic vacuums are the perfect “quality of life improvement” in your home automation. I have 2 vacs already from Xiaomi, so my dance with a mop and an old-fashioned vacuum is limited to once in a blue moon, there are other tasks, I would like my smart cleaning robots to handle. As it happen, yeedi vac station (AmazonUS, yeedi Store) sounds like something it could improve the levels of my laziness further, and the company was willing… so let’s talk trash!
I’ve got 99 problems… (and the vacs are one)
While I have nothing but praise about my Xiaomi S1 (that’s a lie, I have a Chinese version and I can’t trigger it with Alexa voice commands, but anyone with a Western model won’t be disappointed), the 2in1 vac and mop station from Xiaomi left me yearning for more. Two more annoying issues are: how often I have to empty the vacuum (once every 2 cleans due to the fairly big surface area to clean) and the inability to specify “do not enter” areas for mopping in vac and mop mode. I assume more people have carpets, doormats and rugs in the middle of moppable floors.
yeedi vac station
This is where yeedi vac station comes in. As the name suggests, the first problem is solved already by the inclusion of the “station” part. A charging station that doubles as an extractor for the robot’s dust container. this explains the big ass box everything was delivered in. It took me a couple of minutes to go through all the boxes and assemble the yeedi vac station.
Just like Xiaomi 2in1, yeedi is a vac and a mop platform. Apart from the robot and the charge/suck platform, you will find a spare brush and mopping accessories. The charging platform is big to accommodate a mini hoover inside which uses a bag system to collect the dust from the robot. Personally, I’d rather see another re-usable container I can just take out and return – you know – save the bags save the world kinda thing.
What I really liked about the setup is the water and mop add-on. they are so easy to remove without fighting with the robot and the robot can operate ok without the addon installed. Just unclip at the back to get the whole thing out. Simple. If you do like robots that fight, watch my FightFest video instead. You won’t be disappointed.
The biggest advantage of a system like this is the fact that with each clean, the vacuum starts empty. I could notice the cleaning performance of the Xiaomi S1 dropping down when the compartment was almost full, resulting in a repeat of clean up (battery permitting). Each clean job with yeedi Vac Station starts fresh and the robotic platform has the full suction power to offer, as the dust gathered in the robotic platform is sucked up after each clean. It’s a loud action but only takes a couple of moments to complete.
It results in a really good clean performance and generous yield of the fluff, dust and hair present inside the cleaning compartment. If you going to get one, the regular vacuuming can be postponed for weeks to come.
The full clean of my 33m² level takes about 50 min (1m²/90sec). It’s only 5 min slower (per clean) than other vacs I have and I consider this to be in line with what I would expect. The battery goes down to about 50% after the cleaning at max performance level, and the vacuum will interrupt the cleanup and return to the charging station to top the power-up. Cleaning resumes roughly 2h later.
The vacuum is relatively quiet. I can hear it roaming my carpets from upstairs but it’s not jet-level annoying. Switch it to the lowest setting and it gets really quiet, but the suction ability is also impaired.
Other than the intensity of the water dispensing, there are no other mopping movement options. The cleaner will travel around until the surface clean is complete. You can either combine the mopping and vacuuming action together or target areas to mop.
I really appreciate extra options that allow excluding the areas from mopping, but keep the vacuum mode enabled. This is something I wanted on Xiaomi robots from day one. After intentionally spilling coffee, milk, jam, soy sauce, broth and ketchup and smearing them on my floor to create a nightmare test area yeedi vac station left it clean and without smears. You don’t need a fancy Y pattern to keep the floor squicky clean.
The robot is pretty capable. It can climb high doormats and wiggle itself out of a corner pretty well. These are mechanical capabilities, which are a bit hindered by the mapping algorithm. While it gets the job done, from the perspective of a layman, the robot is drunk. It lacks the logic and finesse in covering the ground that Xiaomi presents. This can be problematic when it comes to mapping creation – more on that next.
But from a mechanical standpoint, this thing is a tank that should conquer most of the obstacles on the floor and goes everywhere even if I can’t for the heck figure out what it suppose to be doing next. It has a brain of its own.
It’s my first vac integrated with Alexa. I was excited about shouting “Alexa, turn bad boy on” to do the cleaning. On a more serious note, while handy for certain scenarios, most of my cleaning is done on a schedule.
Unfortunately, Amazon and Google Home skill integrations, are limited to cleanup commands only. There are no dedicated commands for the individual rooms, which would be the primary reason to use these. You are limited to “Alexa, turn on/off XX” to start a default cleaning action.
What’s missing, is the ability to name your own rooms, there is a list of rooms you can pick from, with the obvious ones like hallway, conservatory or baby room missing. Anything without a pre-defined label is stuck with letters A,B,C…
yeedi app is all about cleaners. It’s a simple but efficient interface to use and the app makes it easy to set cleaning modes and get feedback from the robot and the station. Apart from very simple but effective map edits for mopping and vacuuming, the app also offers custom cleaning sequences for rooms. You can pick the order in which rooms are being cleaned.
this is where it sucks
Edit: this has been addressed in the latest firmware: 05/10/2022 and the maps are now accurate – so my criticism about the mapping accuracy no longer applied.
Unlike Xiaomi, yeedi uses the top-facing camera to generate a map of your area based on what’s above the robot. I’m spoiled by lidar-based immaculate images of the house to scale which I used in the past to create interactive dashboards, so downgrading to the grid-based map is a bit of a pain.
I know that the dock position of the yeedi vac station isn’t ideal. Tucked underneath the piano, surrounded by a maze of legs. A scenario that would cause my Xiaomi vac to miss “return home” on occasion, but I’m the user here and I really don’t expect vacuums to rest anywhere else but tucked behind the most obscure objects in the household. They are bragging toys of home automation, but not something you want to see docked in the middle of the room.
In yeedi vac station defence the robot has no issues docking unlike Xiaomi, but it does a really shoddy job at mapping my floor. While it won’t affect the cleaning performance, all the fancy features like excluding this area from mop job – or voice-activated room clean up become almost useless.
What’s even more surprising, despite having a map that in my eyes doesn’t match my room layout, the vacuum instantly recognises where it is, when dumped in the middle of the area to clean rather than starting from the dock. It avoids my carpet doormat in the kitchen in mopping mode, even though it’s not excluded and the vac can traverse over it easily (smart) and can wheelie itself back to the dock. It has its moments of brilliance.
Multiple runs from the same location didn’t improve my map – despite the promises from the map even after removing some of the obstacles near the dock. Perhaps anyone with less complex geography won’t have this problem, but right now this issue prevents me from using the feature I wanted most (after automatic dust removal): custom mopping areas.
My overall impressions are good. While not having usable access to advanced features sucks (look ma! I made a pun), the automatic collection is worth it. Truth be told, 98% of the time, I simply run it on a schedule and I’m fine with it. So I’m just sour over the things that I wish just worked as well as the cleaning process. If they find a way to fix it in software, the yeedi vac station (AmazonUS, yeedi Store) will be the best cleaning companion that moved in with me yet! Let me know what you think about it in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈 💵- See the transparency note for details.