Robot Vacuum Review
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So you want a robot vacuum, but you don’t want to break the bank – it may be time to check out the iLIFE A4s robot vacuum. This vacuum review is going to jump into the details and truly put the iLIFE A4s to the test. Although similar to the Eufy RoboVac 11, with many identical parts, the iLIFE comes in at a lower price point, but what’s the difference? Let’s find out.
- Equipped with several cleaning modes
- Budget-friendly robot vacuum
- Suction on high-pile carpet is less impressive
- No wifi connection available
- The iLIFE A4s is a good option for those want to spend less, but like the idea of a robot vacuum.
- The “MAX” power mode with this robot vacuum does a good job of digging deeply into carpets.
The iLIFE A4s vacuum cleaner is built in a circular shape and contains a bumper wall at the head of the unit, which connects to a solid wall at the base of the unit. The design on the top of the vacuum is quite simple, as there is only an ‘Auto” button and the iLIFE logo.
Once you move down to the side of the iLIFE A4s, the filter and dust bin can be found at the base of the unit, within the wall, and a power switch is also located within this wall. Neither of these items stick out away from the vacuum, as both provide a flush and clean look.
If you flip the vacuum over, the dust bin can be seen once again, in addition to the front wheel, two charging pins, two spinning brushes, two bigger wheels, and the roller brush.
When it comes to aesthetics, the iLIFE A4s has a sleek, modern look. A majority of the unit is grey, but a thin chrome line breaks up a portion of the top of the vacuum cleaner. This combination creates a nice aesthetic, in my opinion.
- On / Off control
How it Cleans
The iLIFE A4s offers multiple cleaning styles, all of which utilize the same technique. Mini-room, edge, spot, scheduled, and auto cleaning are the five modes programmed into the iLife. That said, regardless of the mode, the vacuum will still clean with its three stage process:
- Sweep – The side brushes attached to the bottom of the vacuum cleaner will sweep dist and debris in front of or underneath the unit.
- Roll – The main brush will then roll dirt and debris up into the vacuum
- Suck – Last but not least, this dirt and debris will be sucked up, filtered, and passed into the dust bin
Although each cleaning method goes through the same three stage process, that does not mean there are no benefits to each style.
- Edge cleaning mode allows the iLIFE A4s robot vacuum to drive around, focusing solely on the edges of your home.
- Spot cleaning means the vacuum will remain in a small area, purposefully driving over the same spot to ensure proper cleaning.
- Mini-room cleaning just means placing the vacuum in a room and shutting the door. After doing so, the vacuum will recognize it is in an enclosed space and begin to figure out the pattern of the room.
- Scheduled cleanings are just as the name suggests. Users have the ability to schedule a specific time for this iLIFE vacuum to clean.
- Automatic cleaning is more of a spontaneous clean. Just click auto and let the vacuum find its own path.
Not sure which cleaning mode to choose? No problem, set your A4s robot on Auto mode and it will autonomously cycle through cleaning modes and use whichever it deems appropriate to clean each area.
- Spinning brush
- Charging pins
- Roller brush
- Dust bin / filter
Size & Dimensions
The size of the iLIFE A4s falls towards the smaller size, at least with respect to weight and height. 12″ in width, 3″ in height, and a total weight of 4.9 pounds. We have tested quite a few robot vacuums that are both heavier and taller, but similar in width.
The size of this vacuum does give it the opportunity to go under low spaces and clean the floors. That said, there is still potential for the iLIFE vacuum cleaner to get stuck underneath furniture, or whatever obstacle it is sliding under.
Getting stuck under these objects is not a huge deal, but it could lead to scratches along the surface of the vacuum cleaner. These scratches should not create issues with the performance of the vacuum, but they may take away from the aesthetics of the unit.
It may be worth it for you to keep a close eye on the A4s for its first couple of runs, just to be sure it does not run into any tight spots in your home.
Accessories & Parts
The iLIFE A4s robot vacuum includes the following accessories and parts:
- Two spinning brushes
- Two high efficiency filters
- Remote and two AAA batteries
- Charging base and cord
- Cleaning tool
The spinning side brushes are used to collect dirt and debris from edges and corners and helps the vacuum compensate for its round shape.
Not all robot vacuums include a remote control, but I must say, for vacuums that do not have wifi capabilities, this is a really nice feature.
Other robot vacuums that also include remote controls includes the Ecovacs Deebot N79, Eufy RoboVac 11, or the bObsweep PetHair robot vacuum. With the remote, you can start a cleaning cycle, schedule a clean, spot clean a target area, or manually drive the iLife A4s to a precise spot.
The iLIFE is able to drive itself back to the charger when its battery gets too low where it connects with contact charging pins on the charger base. These pins allow the vacuum to charge itself so that it’s ready for the next clean.
Parts & Accessories
- Charging base
- Remote control
- Spinning brushes
- Cleaning tool
- HEPA filter
The following vacuum cleaner tests are designed to show how the iLIFE A4s robot vacuum cleaner performs on different surfaces, picking up a variety of debris types. We test on three different floor types, including hardwood floors, low pile carpet, and high pile carpet. For each floor type we test the vacuum cleaner against:
- Rice – 3 ounces
- Dry Cereal – 1 ounce
- Kitty Litter – 3 ounces
- Sugar – 3 ounces
Each of the aforementioned debris was spread across our testing lane. The base surface of our testing lane is an engineered hardwood floor. For our carpet tests, we slide in a low pile and high pile carpet insert on top of the hardwood floor.
Our vacuum cleaning process strives to be as consistent, fair, and true to real world use as possible. Our tests utilize the following procedure:
- Measure the weight of the testing debris and the weight of the empty vacuum debris container.
- Spread the respective debris type evenly across the central portion of the testing lane.
- Run the vacuum cleaner over the testing lane.
- Measure the weight of the now filled container and take notes on the cleaning performance.
After testing the iLIFE A4s against our hardwood floor an four debris types, the vacuum showed top notch performance. Each of the debris fields were cleaned up at a level of 94% or higher.
- Hardwood – Rice 99%
- Hardwood – Cereal 100%
- Hardwood – Kitty Litter 100%
- Hardwood – Sugar 94%
Low Pile Carpet
The low pile carpet test was also impressive, but the most notable drop in performance came from the sugar test. The A4s was only able to suck up 60% of the sugar granules, leaving 40% within the carpet. Although the vacuum was not able to clean up the mess at a high level while using its normal suction power, the max suction mode had no trouble lifting up the remaining sugar particles from the low pile carpet.
The max cleaning mode does reduce the length of time that the vacuum is able to run, but the difference in power is no joke when used on a low pile carpet.
- Low Carpet – Rice 100%
- Low Carpet – Cereal 100%
- Low Carpet – Kitty Litter 90%
- Low Carpet – Sugar 60%
High Pile Carpet
The final test series we put the iLIFE A4s through was our high pile carpet tests. Throughout these tests, we saw similar results that we saw on the low pile carpet, with slight drops in both kitty litter and sugar.
Once again, we put the vacuum into max cleaning mode and it was able to effectively lift and remove more of the debris remaining in the carpet. Kitty litter was originally cleaned up at a level of 85%, but after running the vacuum over the remaining 15% in max mode, only 3% of the kitty litter was left in the high pile carpet. Sugar was in the same boat, but jumped from 49% sucked up to 70% removed.
Therefore, the max mode certainly proved its ability to work harder than the normal cleaning mode utilized by the iLIFE A4s.
- High Carpet – Rice 100%
- High Carpet – Cereal 100%
- High Carpet – Kitty Litter 85%
- High Carpet – Sugar 49%
Setting up and using the iLIFE A4s robot vacuum was a cinch. Once everything has been unpacked from the box, just snap in the two spinning brushes, remove the foam pads from the bumper wall, charge, and set it free.
The spinning brushes are the only pieces you have to physically insert into the vacuum, similar to the Roomba robot vacuums. All other parts are already in place, and no tools are necessary to complete setup.
As you go to use the iLIFE A4s, you have to decide whether you want to click the “Auto” button on the vacuum cleaner itself, or use the remote. Regardless, the power switch on the side of the unit must be flipped into the on position or the A4s will not move.
Each of the labels on the remote are clearly marked, making it easy to use when deciding what style of clean you’d like to use. The display on the remote it also easy to understand, therefore making the scheduling of the vacuum simpler.
When it comes to maneuverability, the iLIFE A4s is above average, in my opinion.The low profile design, the dual spinning brushes, the solid weight, and the remote control all combine for a high degree of maneuverability for this robot vacuum. Additionally, the circular build creates a 360° turning radius, which is common among most robot vacuums.
Spinning brushes add a degree of reach to the robot vacuum, giving it the ability to better clean the corners of a room., while also helping to funnel debris to the unit. Designed in a circular shape, the unit is not able to drive flush into a corner, therefore the brushes assist in this area. Bear in mind, the spinning brushes are not always able to remove all dirt and debris from corners.
Weight can be both positive and negative, but in this case, it is more of a positive characteristic. Weighing in at just under five pounds, the iLFIE A4s is heavy enough to climb over debris, as well as barriers between floor types. The vacuum is also light enough to avoid knocking items off of furniture.
While watching this iLIFE robot vacuum do its job, I noticed its wall detection feature helps to alleviate slamming into walls. Instead, the vacuum cleaner will slow down and lightly bump into the wall.
Finally, the remote. The remote included with the purchase of this vacuum is multi-functional and certainly improves the maneuverability of the unit. When using the remote, users have the option of controlling exactly where the A4s vacuums, sending it into a spiral (spot) cleaning path, scheduling a specific time to clean, placing it in edge cleaning mode, sending it into auto cleaning mode, or simply returning it to its charging base.
Probably the neatest feature on the remote is the “MAX” mode. Once pressed, the iLIFE A4s vacuum will increase its suction power to its maximum level, allowing it to reach into those thicker floor types. Each of these buttons are clearly labeled with icons.
The following table indicates the frequency at which you will likely want to replace the various parts and components of the vacuum. The following replacement frequencies are what the manufacturer recommends. However, your individual experiences may vary.
In cases where the manufacturer did not make a recommendation we have provided our best estimate.
|Accessory / Part||Replacement Frequency||Replacement Cost|
|HEPA Filter||6 months||$2 / per - Buy|
|Brushroll||12 months||$10 / per - Buy|
|Spinning brush||6 months||$1.60 / per - Buy|
|Battery||12-24 months||$35 / per - Buy|
Maintaining a robot vacuum like the iLIFE A4s primarily involves the proper care of a couple core elements.
First and foremost, emptying the dust bin after every use is a good way to help keep your robot vacuum running smoothly. The iLIFE A4s dust bin can hold 0.4 liters of debris, so depending on the size of your space and level of cleanliness, it may or may not be required after every cleaning.
MORE: Looking for a robot vacuum with twice the dust bin capacity? Check out the bObsweep PetHair robot vacuum which holds 1 liter of dirt and debris.
You also want to be sure to wash the HEPA filter after 15-30 days of use to prolong the life of the filter. iLIFE recommends that you replace after a maximum of 6 months.
The side brushes help to pull away dirt, dust, and debris from corners and edges. Be sure to check the side brushes and clean regularly for the best performance. Replace as needed.
Lastly, remember to wipe the cliff sensors and charging pins. You can easily do this with just a soft dry cloth. Keeping it clean and clear helps your robot vacuum to effectively navigate the space as well as safely return to the charger.
The cost to maintain the iLife A4s robot vacuum is approximately $40 per year. This includes two filters, one rolling brush, and four side brushes each year. In addition to a new battery every 18 months.
All vacuum cleaner reviews on Modern Castle are put through our standard noise test. For this test, we use a sound meter to measure noise in terms of decibel level approximately 3′ away from the vacuum.
All robot vacuum reviews on Modern Castle are put through a standard assessment of battery size, run time, life, and replacement cost.
|Charging Time||3-4 hours|
|Run Time||120-140 minutes|
|Replacement Cost||$35 - Buy|
It is unclear as to how long the battery included with the iLIFE A4s vacuum is going to last. That said, it is a bit concerning that the warranty only covers the battery for 6 months. Needless to say, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Additionally, the battery included with the vacuum offers 2,600 mAh of power, whereas the generic version gets a slight bump at 2,800 mAh.
To determine the value of any vacuum, we look at a combination of factors including: design, cleaning performance, size and dimensions, usability, maneuverability, maintenance, battery, noise, and overall company performance. We compare these factors against the overall price of the unit and use the comparison to help guide our our determination of the product’s value.
For the iLIFE A4s, at under $200 for a robot vacuum, this robot vacuum is a solid value.
This vacuum lacks fancy bells and whistles, but its remote control, variable cleaning modes, and self-charging are nice features that help take this robot beyond the basics.
As for the warranty on the iLIFE A4s, that gets a little complicated. Their website offers no direct link or warranty details so it’s a little fuzzy as far as what they’ll cover and for how long.
That said, I was able to reach out to iLIfe’s customer support, who sent me the full warranty. You can find the iLife warranty document here. The biggest disappointment with their warranty is simply with regards to the battery, which is only covered for 6 months.
For the same reason, the return policy is also a little up in the air. Of course, if purchased from Amazon.com, their 30-day return policy would cover any egregious errors or defects.
As a company, iLIFE also raises some caution flags, in my opinion. The lack of clarity regarding the warranty, return policy, and past customer service record. Their website says that they’ve been in business for 10 years, with their headquarters located in China.
Below is a complete list of important specifications and features included on the iLIFE A4s robot vacuum.
|Floor Type||All (indoor)|
|Dust Bin Capacity||0.4 L|
|Returns||30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer|
All things considered, the iLIFE A4s is a well rounded robot vacuum cleaner. The price is relative to its cleaning performance, meaning it offers a good value for most consumers. If you’re looking for a new vacuum and want to explore the idea of a robot vacuum, the iLIFE A4s is definitely one to take into consideration.
I would recommend the iLIFE A4s if you’re looking for the following features in a robot vacuum.
- Want a robot vacuum – As a robot vacuum, the iLIFE A4s has its pros and cons. You no longer have to push around a vacuum, which means manual labor is no longer a chore, with regards to vacuuming. On the other hand, robot vacuums do require maintenance more frequently to ensure they are performing to their best ability.
- Like the idea of a remote – Having a remote control with the iLIFE A4s robot vacuum is a major plus. You now have the power of vacuuming your home all while sitting down and never having to get up to turn it on. The remote included with this robot vacuum offers a wide range of cleaning services and is simple enough to understand.
- Want a great value – Value is of the utmost importance. Sold for under $200, the A4s is a steal of a deal. The features and overall cleaning performance associated with this iLIFE vacuum are top notch and certainly worth the price it’s sold for, in my opinion.
For more information on the iLIFE A4s visit Amazon.com.
Last Updated - December 19, 2017
The following logs all major updates and changes made to this page.
December 19, 2017 – Updated the annual maintenance costs
November 21, 2017 – Added clarifying information regarding the warranty, added a link to the full warranty document, and also adjusted the warranty score from 100% to 90% (due to the warranty only covering the battery for 6 months), which decreased the overall score from 93% to 92%.
Affordability, Strong Performance
The ILife A4s robot vacuum is a budget friendly vacuum with pretty basic features, but a solid performance. This robot vacuum has no wifi capabilities, but it does have a remote control which you can use to control the vacuum, when not in ‘Auto’ mode. The iLife A4s provides a decent clean and at a low price. If you’re looking for comparisons, it actually uses quite a few of the same parts and replacements as the Eufy 11 RoboVac.
Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, and poodle, Tibbers.