Ecovacs is introducing a new family of all-in-one robot vacuums and mops: the N series. At the higher end of the spectrum lies the N8 Plus and N8 Pro Plus. The main difference between them? The N8 Pro Plus has slightly higher suction and incorporates Ecovacs’ TrueDetect object avoidance. We’ll be looking at the model just down from that in this Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus review.
What you need to know about the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus
- Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus: $599
- Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8 Pro Plus: $699
Announced on March 23, 2021, the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus brings a little bit of the high-end to the mid-range. The auto-empty base station alone normally costs $250, so a complete bundle for not much more than double that is an enticing option. It’s on sale via Ecovacs’ own site and at Best Buy from April 4, 2021.
How to set up the Ozmo N8 Plus
I recently reviewed the Ozmo T8, so the Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus setup process was quick and easy. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the Ecovacs ecosystem, the process is relatively straightforward.
The N8 Plus includes the auto-empty station and is set up to work with it out of the box. With the T8, you had to swap out dustbins in the vacuum and remove some flaps on the bottom of the robot for it to work with the auto-empty station. The N8 Plus provides a much more elegant solution.
After removing all the plastic and getting the auto-empty station plugged in away from any nearby obstacles, make sure to charge the Ozmo N8 Plus fully. Flip the red button under the flap to the “on” position. Download the Ecovacs Home app (Android | iOS) and follow the instructions to pair the N8 Plus with the app. Install any updates too.
The first time you initiate a clean with the N8 Plus, the robot will do an initial mapping run. Try to keep your space obstacle-free for this so the LiDAR and direct-time-of-flight (dToF) sensors can more accurately map the area. You can merge and divide, name rooms or areas, and set up virtual boundaries or no-go zones.
You can pair the N8 Plus to your virtual assistant of choice and control it via voice command.
You can also pair the N8 Plus to your virtual assistant of choice — Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa — and control it via voice commands or apps like Google Home. Unless you have something against the Ecovacs app, it’s the better option for controlling the N8 Plus as it has a lot more options and settings than a third-party app like Google Home.
How to use the Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus
Once you’ve got your map — remember, you can add multiple floors to your home and rename rooms and floors as you wish — you’re good to go. Because the N8 Plus vacuums and mops simultaneously, you can fill the water tank and complete both cleaning jobs in one run. The N8 Plus won’t try to mop your carpets, thankfully.
The Ecovacs app lets you customize the strength of the clean you need. You can choose to clean once or do a double run whereby the N8 Plus covers its tracks twice.
You have four options for vacuum strength to choose from and four water flow levels for the mopping. These are programmable in any combination, and you can set custom cleaning approaches for each room or floor.
In the app, there are three options at the bottom of the main screen: Auto, Area, and Custom. It’s easiest to think of these as everything, room, or spot cleaning. Note: these options, including being able to create a multi-floor map or use of virtual boundaries, are only available if Advanced cleaning is enabled in the app’s Settings
Auto mode sends the N8 Plus off to clean your entire space, returning to the dock to recharge should it run out of battery halfway through. Once recharged, it’ll resume cleaning where it left off. The runtime is only about an hour and a half so this will happen a fair bit in larger spaces. Auto mode is my standard “every couple of days” clean.
By setting up your map at the outset, your pre-programmed cleaning profiles can send your N8 Plus to perform Area cleaning on a specific room like the kitchen or lounge room. I like using this to run a mop in the kitchen straight after cooking. There’s always something on the floor that’s easier to clean while wet.
Custom cleaning is more for mishaps and special cases. Simply draw a box around the problem area, and away the N8 Plus goes. This is ideal if you spill something or traipse mud into the house when it’s raining out.
How does the Ozmo N8 Plus work?
The Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus uses both LiDAR and dToF sensors to map and navigate. Ecovacs says this provides up to 4x the precision and 2x the range (up to 10m). Whether you believe those claims, the same tech appears in Ecovacs’ higher-end robovacs like the Ozmo T8. The N8 Plus maps and navigates pretty well but not as well as a robovac from the likes of Roborock.
The Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus uses both LiDAR and dToF sensors to map and navigate.
I also found the N8 Plus repeatedly got stuck. At the bottom of my dining room table, a low U-shaped bar connects the two legs. Most robovacs try to mount this but either run right over it or navigate around it. Despite being designed to handle low barriers like this, the N8 Plus continually mounted this bar and then got stuck. For some reason, the N8 Plus couldn’t free itself.
This meant that several times during the Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus review period, I came home to find a stranded robovac with a dead battery, unable to finish its scheduled clean or return to the dock. I ended up making a no-go zone for this area to avoid the problem. Almost all other robovacs I’ve used, both more and less expensive, have been fine with it, including those from Ecovacs.
How well does the N8 Plus clean?
When things are running well, the Ozmo N8 Plus cleans just fine. The 240ml water tank and 420ml dustbin are perfectly sufficient for everyday cleaning. The auto-empty station means you don’t have to empty the dustbin for a month (or more, if you don’t have pets or truly unsightly floors).
Whenever the N8 Plus returns to the dock after a clean, it automatically empties the vacuum dustbin into the base station. It’s an efficient affair but quite loud, so be warned if you have kids or pets sleeping nearby. Fortunately, the N8 Plus itself has a very quiet motor.
You can also empty the dustbin through the app whenever you like. You’ll get an alert when the dust bag in the base station is full. This is a quick and easy process that doesn’t expose you to any dust or debris — a nice bonus if you have allergies.
You’ll still have to drain excess water from the water tank, refill it before each mop, and wash the mop pad, so the N8 Plus isn’t totally hands-free. Nevertheless, not having to deal with dust bins or bags for weeks is a great selling point. I especially like that the auto-empty station comes with the N8 Plus.
If you replace the dust bags as often as Ecovacs says to, you'll be spending an extra $80 every year.
One thing to note is that there is a substantial ongoing cost with the auto-empty station: the large capacity dustbags are $19.99 for a pack of three. If they last you a month, as Ecovacs advertises, you’ll be dropping an extra $80 every year for the convenience. If you have pets or kids, then you’ll likely need to replace them even more often, as the reviews on Ecovacs’ own site reveal. As much as I like the auto-empty station, I can’t help but balk at the ongoing costs associated with it.
The vacuum power of the N8 Plus (2,300Pa) is a bit below that of most robovacs I’ve used recently. I noticed the difference in how well the N8 Plus cleaned my rugs even with Auto-Boost Suction enabled. For the price point, it’s acceptable, but if you have a hairy kind of living space, then the N8 Plus might not be powerful enough for you.
The N8 Pro Plus offers more suction at 2,600Pa, which is great, but it costs an extra $100 over the N8 Plus price.
The N8 Pro Plus offers more suction at 2,600Pa, which is great, but it costs an extra $100 over the N8 Plus price. The N8 Pro Plus also adds TrueDetect 3D obstacle avoidance to the mix. On a positive note, both the N8 Plus and N8 Pro Plus detect carpet and avoid dragging the mop over it when in mop mode.
Value and competition
Yes and no. A capable mop-and-vacuum combination bundled with an auto-empty base station for $599 is a pretty compelling package. But at a more affordable price point like this, the ongoing costs of the auto-empty base station seem less acceptable than on a flagship robovac where spending a bit more over the long term is likely less of a concern.
If you’re aware of and OK with the ongoing auto-empty base station costs, then the Ozmo N8 Plus is worth checking out. If the base station isn’t make-or-break for you, or you’re not likely to spend the money on dust bags for it, then there are plenty of competitive robovacs without the ongoing costs.
If you're OK with the ongoing auto-empty station costs, then the Ozmo N8 Plus is worth checking out.
The Ozmo T8 is the obvious pick here. It’s priced at $649 and is a better robot vacuum-and-mop combo. It also has support for the auto-empty base station if you change your mind later on (you’ll just have to spend $250 to get it). If you’re dead-set on the bundled base station, the $699 N8 Pro Plus is worth a look, as is the $550 iRobot Roomba i3 Plus if you’re not that hung up on mopping.
I also just reviewed the $649 Roborock S7, which is my current favorite robot vacuum for its included scrubbing function and mop-lift feature, which means it can vacuum carpets even when mopping. It’ll get auto-empty base station support later this year (price TBA).
Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8 Plus review: The verdict
The N8 Plus feels a bit like a gateway robovac. It’s essentially an upper mid-tier mop-and-vacuum starter kit that includes an otherwise expensive accessory. So far, so good. But I can’t shake the feeling that N8 Plus owners might buy into more than they bargained for when factoring in the ongoing costs associated with the base station.
My suggestion would be to buy the N8 Plus and try the auto-empty base station for yourself (you won’t get the opportunity much cheaper). One of two things will happen: you’ll decide it isn’t worth it, in which case, buy a regular charging dock and give the base station away, or you’ll decide the ongoing costs associated with it are worth it, and Bob’s your uncle.
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If instead, the N8 Plus proves underpowered for your needs, you can always upgrade to a T8 and use the same base station with it. You could then buy a standard charging dock and gift the N8 Plus and normal dock to a friend. I’ve come to learn that robot vacuums are great gifts, even gently used ones. There are a lot of possibilities here, so you’re not locked into anything, which I like.
If you’re just getting into robot vacuums (combination vacuums in particular), you should take a closer look at the N8 Plus. Even if for no other reason than to see for yourself if a fancy accessory like an auto-empty station is worth it, or an unnecessary extravagance.