Our Lefant M500 robot vacuum review is here at long last!
Budget Robot Vacuum
Lefant M500The Lefant M500 is a robot featuring FreeMove technology that can both vacuum and mop your floors. Thanks to its slim uni-body design, it can clean under most furniture without getting stuck. On paper it looks good, but the cleaning performance just wasn’t there. It only removed about half of the total debris we tested against the it. Given the performance, it’s not a robot we would recommend. You would be better off with Lefant T700, which is only slightly more expensive.Check Price
- Both vacuums and mops
- Remote control & smartphone control
- Couldn’t get our phone to connect to the app (experienced the same issue on our Lefant T700 review)
- Cleaning performance left much to be desired. It scored an average of 57% across our cleaning tests.
Lefant M500 Robot Design
In this Lefant M500 review, we will discuss how this particular robot accomplishes its mission to clean your home well. The design of the Lefant M500 robot is actually a bit different from some of its competitors like most Roomba robot vacuums and even the Lefant T700.
Specifically, its uni-body design includes 11 sets of infrared receiving sensors across the body instead of mechanical bumper strips. According to the manufacturer, this design makes the Lefant M500 stronger and more reliable.
In terms of looks, the Lefant M500 vacuum is fairly modern in its appearance. The body is all white except for a grey rim and an oblong shape of grey surrounding the start/stop button on top.
Controls for the Lefant M500 robot are few—there’s only an on / off switch on the side (once it’s on you can basically leave it on) and a start / stop button on top.
The one-button push is a fairly standard feature on most robots. You can do more precise controlling when you use the remote control or the app.
The Lefant M500’s underside is pretty typical of most robot vacuums.
There are two wheels on the outside middle of the robot, plus a smaller swivel wheel in front. A brushroll is present along the middle between the two larger wheels, and two spinning brushes adorn the front sides.
Dustbin and Water Tank
The Lefant M500 vacuum is unique from regular robots because it has the ability to sweep and vacuum as well as function as a mop. At 0.6L, the size of the dustbin on the Lefant M500 is fairly standard when considering other robots on the market.
The water tank is 0.285 L. While not huge, is enough to mop a couple of rooms before needing more water.
The Lefant M500 offers a variety of modes for cleaning:
- Automatic Cleaning: Automatic cleaning uses a zigzag pattern to clean an entire space. According to Lefant, this results in 98% coverage of the vacuum area. Auto cleaning is the most common mode for most users.
- Spot Cleaning: When the Lefant M500 spot cleans, it focuses on a specific place and moves in a radial pattern for a few minutes until the area is clean. This mode is ideal for small localized messes.
- Edge Cleaning: In Edge Mode, the Lefant M500 vacuum will run along the walls and other edges of the room, mostly avoiding the center.
You can access these cleaning modes using Lefant’s app or the remote control, which comes included in the Lefant M500’s package.
One interesting thing about the Lefant M500 robot is what the manufacturer calls FreeMove Technology, which is taken from cruise control and driverless technology and put to use in this robot vacuum.
FreeMove technology is supposed to keep the Lefant M500 from getting stuck as often as other robots and help it adapt to its environment so it avoids obstacles.
The Lefant App
The Lefant app requires users who have devices with iOS and Android 4.0 and higher to access even more features than the remote control does.
Specifically, when you use the Lefant app to pair and control your Lefant M500 robot, you can use the scheduling feature, which allows you to set a time every day that you want the vacuum to run.
Unfortunately, we were unable to get our M500 to connect to the Lefant app. As a result, we were not able to test the app to verify its features.
When we tested the Lefant T700 earlier this year we experienced issues there also and could not get it to connect to the app. It seems like the app still needs some work.
The Lefant M500 robot offers a suction of 1200Pa—the same as its M300 model (which does not include a mop feature) but less than the Lefant T700 model (which boasts 1800Pa).
With its lithium-ion battery, the Lefant M500 vacuum has a capacity of 2,600mAh and is fully charged after 4-5 hours on its charging base. Lefant estimates that the M500 can clean for up to 2 hours before requiring a charge.
According to the manufacturer, the battery will last more than 2 years in most cases before it needs to be replaced.
If the Lefant M500 robot is running low on power in the middle of a cleaning cycle, it will automatically return to its base and recharge.
According to Lefant, the M500’s “optimized internal airflow structure” makes it extra quiet. During our cleaning tests, we registered the noise level at around 53 dB, which is quieter side.
Anti-Drop & Anti-Collision Sensors
Like a lot of robot vacuums, the Lefant M500 comes equipped with anti-drop sensors that will keep it from falling off ledges and down stairs.
In addition, its anti-collision sensors are designed to keep your things—and the Lefant M500 robot itself—from getting scratched or damaged.
Size and Dimensions
Our Lefant M500 review showed this robot’s size and dimensions to be nearly identical to its Lefant T700 model counterpart. It’s 0.1 inch thinner than that design, though it has a less suction.
The specs for the Lefant M500 are:
- Diameter: 12.6”
- Height: 3.1”
This slimmer build means the vacuum can get under lower furniture without getting stuck—a definite advantage depending on your furniture setup and needs.
In addition, its weight of 4.4 pounds is extremely light compared to most robots, which often weigh anywhere from 6 to 8 pounds.
Accessories & Parts
Every good vacuum comes with accessories, and the Lefant M500 robot is no exception.
Specifically, the Lefant M500 includes the following accessories:
- Charging Base
- Remote Control
- Power Adapter
- HEPA Filters x 2 (1 extra)
- Mopping Pads x 2
- Side Brushes x 4 (2 extra)
- Cleaning Tool
Our tests of the Lefant M500 left much to be desired. Below we’ve listed the average scores for each floor types.
Hardwood Floor Tests
The cleaning struggles began straight away on our hardwood floor tests. The M500 removed only 61% of debris on hardwood.
There seems to be a significant design flaw with the M500 model.
Debris was missed, debris was remove over and not removed, and other debris was simply pushed down below the vacuum, but never sucked into the bin.
When we concluded the test (after letting it run for about 15 minutes in our testing lane) we saw a large pile of debris that was being puhed around.
Other debris simply fell out and back onto the lane when we picked up the robot.
Low Pile Carpet Tests
The cleaning issues got worse on low pile carpet, where only 47% of the debris was removed.
The biggest issue on low carpet was simply that the Lefant robot could not suck up the fine debris. It removed about half of the cereal, but left a large percentage of all the other remaining debris.
High Pile Carpet Tests
Cleaning performance was surprisingly better on the high pile carpet tests, where Lefant scored a 65%.
The improved performance was primarily due to near complete removal of the cereal from the lane.
Despite the improvement, the M500 still left a large percentage of the finer debris on the testing lane.
Setup & Usability
The Lefant M500 is fairly easy to set up, but usability depends on the user.
Setting Up the Vacuum
To set up the Lefant M500, simply take everything out of the box, plug in the charging base on level flooring, let it charge to full capacity, and push the start/stop button on top to see what it can do.
Using the Vacuum
While the setup of the actual Lefant M500 vacuum is simple, the usability of the app depends on a few factors. There have been reports of the app not working for some people, whether because of their wifi connectivity or model of phone.
We experienced these issues ourselves and were not able to use the app.
The app does need to be used with an Android 4.0 or higher or an iOS device.
Despite that, the remote control is easy to use as well, so if for some reason you can’t get the app to work, you can still use many of the Lefant M500’s features.
Finally, switching back and forth between the vacuum and the mop features on the Lefant M500 is as simple as changing out the brushroll on the underside for a mop and removing the side brushes. You’ll also need to fill the water tank when mopping.
Is the Lefant M500 a good value?
The Lefant M500 is not a good value. It was one of the worst cleaning performances we have seen to date.
It removed an average of only 57% of all debris on across our 3 floor type tests. As a result, it’s not a robot vacuum we would recommend.
If you like Lefant and can spend a little more money get the Lefant T700. It was a far stronger performer in our cleaning tests.
Lefant M500 Specifications
|Floor Type||All (indoor)|
|Run Time||120 minutes|
|Dust Bin Capacity||0.6 L|
|Includes Virtual Wall||No|
|Returns||Varies by retailer, other retailers will vary|
Should you buy the Lefant M500 robot?
Based on our in-depth cleaning tests of the Lefant M500 we cannot recommend this product to our readers.
There seem to be design flaws with the vacuum that led to significant performance issues with removing debris from a variety of floor types.
If you still want to go with Lefant you should buy the Lefant T700 here. It performed significantly better in our performance tests and is only slightly more expensive than the M500 model.
- October 22, 2020 – As part of a comprehensive audit of all robot vacuum review scores on Modern Castle the usability score was reduced from 90 to 80 due to a limited availability of replacement parts. This reduced the overall score from 73% to 71%.
- September 25, 2019 – Initial version of the review was published.
Poor Cleaning Performance
The Lefant M500 on paper checks all the right boxes. Infrared sensors, smartphone control, remote control, mopping attachment, etc. However, its performance in our cleaning tests just wasn’t good. It was only able to remove 57% of debris during our tests. The suction power just doesn’t seem to be there. In addition, it seems that there may be one or more design issues that make it more difficult for the M500 to bring debris into the dust bin. As a result of our tests, the Lefant M500 is not a robot vacuum we would recommend.