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iLife A9 Review

Updated iLife with Long Run Time

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iLife A9 Robot Vacuum

The iLife A9 robot vacuum has a long run 100-minute run time and digital mapping. It can be controlled with your smartphone and features a cellular dustbin for better suction. It was a strong performer in our cleaning tests, removing an average of 97% of debris we tested it against. The A9 packs a ton of features and performance at a compelling price point.Check Price

Pros

  • Digital mapping and improved navigation technology
  • Long run time of approx. 100 minutes, give or take depending on flooring type
  • Cellular dustbin provides improved suction and filtration of finer particles

Cons

  • Drastically reduced run time on MAX mode

iLife A9 Design

The iLife A9 robot vacuum has a design that mimics the look of other smart robot vacuums. It has a sleek, round, black body with simple one-touch control and on-board camera.

Top view of the iLife A9 robot vacuum
Top view of the iLife A9 robot vacuum

The front part of the A9 is a bumper that allows some movement and prevents damage if robot bumps into furniture or walls.

The dark latch at the bottom of the vacuum is a one-touch button that releases the dust bin for easy emptying and filter cleaning.

The Underside

The underside of the iLife A9 looks similar to other robot vacuums (including the iLife A7, which we tested in 2018). It has a central rubberized brushroll nestled in between two large navigating wheels.

Underside of the iLife A9 robot vacuum
Underside of the iLife A9 robot vacuum

There is a smaller wheel at the front which helps to navigate and make turns. The metal squares to the left and the right are charging contact plates that helps the robot to find the charging base.

Spinning side brush on the iLife A9 robot vacuum
Spinning side brush on the iLife A9 robot vacuum

There are two spinning side brushes which capture debris along edges and corners as it cleans.

RELATED – It’s a vacuum battle with iLife vs. Roomba.

The Controls

Overall, the A9 is designed for simplicity and smarter automated cleaning. Cleaning cycles can be started by using the push button on the body of the vacuum or by connecting the robot to your smartphone.

When paired with the app, you can use your smartphone to:

  • Stop or start a cleaning
  • Schedule a cleaning in the future
  • Set a routine of repeating cycles
  • View the digital map of areas the vacuum has cleaned in the past

The iLife A9 is also able to be controlled with voice commands, when paired with Amazon Alexa.

In addition to smartphone control, the A9 also comes with a physical remote control.

Using the remote control, you can:

  • Start or stop a cleaning cycle
  • Manually direct the robot
  • Schedule a cleaning
  • Spot clean
  • Return to charging base
  • Boost mode
  • Edge cleaning
Remote control on the iLife A9 robot vacuum
Remote control on the iLife A9 robot vacuum

The Navigation

The on-board camera helps the iLife A9 see obstacles and design paths around said obstacles. The paths are generally straighter lines, which means less zig-zag patterns and less repeating cleaning the same spots.

The iLife A9 robot vacuum creates a digital map of your space as it cleans. When paired with the app, you can see the area that it cleaned or identify trouble spots that the vacuum might not be getting to.

How It Works

The iLife A9 robot vacuum uses two spinning side brushes on the underside of the robot to pull dust and debris into the central cleaning path.

There is a wide brushroll roller that then spins and collects debris from the floor and pulls it into the dust bin.

iLife A9 cellular dust bin
iLife A9 cellular dust bin

One unique feature of the iLife A9 robot vacuum compared to other robots is the cellular dust bin.

What is a cellular dust bin?

The dust bin on the A9 robot vacuum is made up of a number of chambers or compartments, that are separated by cellular sections. The four stages of the cellular dust bin are:

  1. Collection – all debris is suction into the large dustbin
  2. Isolation – air is passed through the cellular structure, which isolates larger particles to the outer edges of the cyclones and finer particles out
  3. Sedimentation – centrifuge forces drag small particles through the cyclones and sinks them into the bottom of the dust bin
  4. Filtration – on the way out, the remaining air is passed through a fine filter which removes any remaining small particles and outputs clean air

What about run time?

Furthermore, when the battery gets low, it will automatically return to the dock to recharge.

The manufacturer estimates approx. 100 minutes of run time, although exact runtime can vary on different floor types.

RELATED: Looking for a vacuum that automatically returns to the dock AND empties its own dust bin? Read our Roomba S9+ review and Roomba i7+ review.

Cleaning Modes

There are 4 different cleaning modes on the iLife A9.

The modes includes:

  • Auto: In Auto mode, the A9 will navigate the space, automatically deciding where to go and what level of suction is appropriate. This is the best mode if you want a “set it and forget it” type of cleaning approach.
  • Edge: During Edge cleaning, the A9 will navigate along the perimeter of the room, focusing on edges only. This is a nice option if the rest of your room still needs has a bit of clutter or if you’re noticing debris along the edge of your space.
  • Spot: Spot cleaning allows you to put the robot in one certain spot that needs to be addressed. When spot cleaning, the A9 will start in the middle and works its way out in a circular path until the entire small area has been cleaned.
  • Max: In Max mode, the iLife A9 will use maximum suction power to deep clean whatever flooring type it comes across. This is useful for high pile carpets or particularly high-traffic areas.
iLife A9 robot vacuum
iLife A9 robot vacuum

Size & Dimensions

The size of the iLife A9 robot vacuum is comparable to other robots on the market currently.

The exact dimensions are listed below:

  • Diameter: 13″ wide
  • Height: 3″ tall
  • Weight: 5.58 pounds
iLife A9 robot vacuum review
iLife A9 robot vacuum review

Parts & Accessories

Regarding parts and accessories, the iLife A9 keeps it pretty simple. It comes with all of the parts you need to get to cleaning, as well as a few extra bonuses.

iLife A9 bristle brushroll
iLife A9 bristle brushroll

For example, the A9 comes with extra filters and extra spinning side brushes. These bonuses are things you’d have to buy eventually anyway, so it adds to the overall value of the A9 to have these things come with the initial purchase.

What’s in the box?

  • iLife A9 robot vacuum
  • Side spinning brushes (two for install and 2 extra) x 4
  • Rubberized brushroll x 1
  • Bristle brushroll x 1
  • Virtual boundary barrier x 1
  • HEPA filters (1 for install and 1 extra) x 1

The virtual boundary (shown below) uses an infrared light to shine a beam across the room. When the beam comes in contact with a solid wall, it creates a virtual boundary that will prevent from iLife A9 from extending beyond that point.

Virtual boundary on the iLife A9 robot vacuum
Virtual boundary on the iLife A9 robot vacuum

Setup & Usability

Setup for the iLife A9 is simple. To get started, all you need to do it:

  1. Unbox the vacuum and remove all packaging.
  2. Install filters and snap spinning brushes in place (if they aren’t already installed).
  3. Charge the vacuum.
  4. Press start.

If you want to start off with scheduled cleanings or voice commands you’ll need to pair the vacuum with the appropriate tools.

side view of the iLife A9 robot vacuum
side view of the iLife A9 robot vacuum

For scheduled cleanings, you’ll need to download the iLife app to your smartphone. Once you have the app, you can control the A9 robot by using simple controls on your smartphone from within the app.

For voice-controlled cleanings, you’ll need to own an Amazon Alexa device, like the Amazon Echo Plus or Echo Dot. Voice control can be as simple as “Alexa, vacuum the house” and it will get to work, for instance.

RELATED What’s the best robot vacuum on the market?

iLife A9 Maintenance

Maintenance on the iLife A9 consists of regular tasks you’d need to do with virtually any robot vacuum. For instance, the following maintenance tasks on the A9 would include:

  1. Dust bin – empty as needed
  2. HEPA filter – clean and replace as needed
  3. Central brushroll – clean and replace as needed
  4. Side spinning brush – clean and replace as needed
  5. Battery – replace as needed
Filter on the iLife A9 robot vacuum
Filter on the iLife A9 robot vacuum

Performance

The iLife A9 robot vacuum was a superb performer in terms of overall cleaning performance across all floor types, averaging 97% debris removed. Please note, we used MAX mode for all cleaning tests.

iLife A9 cleaning hardwood floors
iLife A9 cleaning hardwood floors

Overall

97%

Hardwoods

99%

Low Carpet

92%

High Carpet

99%

Hardwood performance data for iLife A9
Hardwood performance data for iLife A9

Similar to other robot vacuums, when on MAX mode, the performance was nearly flawless, but the run time was drastically reduced.

When cleaning hard surfaces, MAX mode wouldn’t provide as much of an advantage as it would on carpets.

iLife A9 cleaning on low pile carpet
iLife A9 cleaning on low pile carpet

During our tests, it wasn’t immediately clear why the results on low carpet were less than the results on high carpet.

iLife A9 cleaning high pile carpets
iLife A9 cleaning high pile carpets

This could have been due to some kind of overseen variance in our testing strategy or something particular about the design of the A9.

In any case, cleaning performance was solid across the board.

Is the A9 A Good Value?

Let’s talk about the value of the iLife A9 robot vacuum.

This vacuum offers a variety of attractive features, like intelligent navigation, long run time (when not on MAX mode), multiple cleaning modes, wifi connectivity, voice-control, and a shallow height making it easier to fit under furniture.

iLife A9 docked at the charging station
iLife A9 docked at the charging station

For the price, the A9 is a great value for all of the features that this vacuum has.

If you’re looking for a robot vacuum that you don’t have to worry about and will be a strong performer on various floor types, the iLife A9 could be a good option.

Should You Buy the iLife A9?

We’ve looked at design, size, specs, features, maintenance, usability, and more. All this begs the question — is the iLife A9 right for you?

I would recommend the iLife A9 if you’re looking for the following in a robot vacuum:

  • Good cleaning performance: The A9 performed well in our cleaning tests, removing 97% of all debris. Granted, it did not need to be on MAX mode to achieve this performance. Nevertheless, it’s still an impressive cleaning job.
  • A great value: For all of the features that are included with this vacuum, it’s just an excellent value. While technology is certainly changing and these features are becoming more readily available at lower price tiers, iLife does a nice job of including them at a sticker price that’s lower than many others.
  • Easy to control: The A9 has a variety of ways to control this vacuum. Use the simple push button on the vacuum itself, set up on the app and use your smartphone, or pair with an Amazon Alexa device and use voice control.
  • Smarter navigation: The included on-board camera helps the A9 to make smarter navigational moves as it cleans. There is a bumper on the front of the vacuum and it moves in straighter lines, instead of a zig-zag pattern that is common with budget robot vacuums.

Click here to read more or the check the price of the iLife A9 robot vacuum.

Budget-Friendly, Strong Performance
  • 93%
    Design - 93%
  • 97%
    Performance - 97%
  • 92%
    Quality - 92%
  • 92%
    Usability - 92%
  • 95%
    Value - 95%
94%

Summary

The iLife A9 robot vacuum is a top-performing robot vacuum new to the iLife family. It has powerful suction, solid cleaning performance, and up to a 100-minute run time. You can adjust cleaning modes using the physical buttons or via an app on your smartphone. Use the remote control to manually drive the robot around or schedule a cleaning for a more autonomous clean. This mid-range robot vacuum has a nice balance of features, performance, and price.

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