Robot Vacuum Review
Have you heard all the buzz that these robot vacuums are creating? The Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is Chinese made. While Xiaomi has yet to make a major dent in the U.S. market, it’s hugely popular in the East. But can this Chinese robot compete with the likes of Roomba, Neato, and iLife? Find out now!
- The Xiaomi Mi has an extremely long battery run time (5,200 mAH).
- This robot vacuum does a great job of cleaning in an efficient manner.
- The Xiaomi Mi’s default language is Mandarin (you can change it to English, but you need the app).
- This robot vacuum struggles with finer debris types on carpeted surfaces.
The Bottom Line
All things considered, the Xiaomi Mi is a well-rounded vacuum cleaner. The larger battery means a longer run time, and often a more complete cleaning cycle goes hand-in-hand with a longer run time. The vacuum is able to cover more ground during its cleaning cycle, also giving it the ability to go over the same area multiple times. The Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is a good overall choice.
The Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is built like most robot vacuums, utilizing a circular shape. Around the perimeter of the unit is a bumper ring that allows the vacuum to run into objects and obstacles and bounce off without taking damage. The Xiaomi also uses a laser distance sensor to map out your home. This sensor system works through the small ring sitting on top of the robot vacuum.
This Xiaomi robot vacuum does offer more of a simple, all white aesthetic. The white design and overall simplicity give the Xiaomi Mi a clean and modern style.
- Laser detection sensor
- Control buttons
- Bumper ring
How It Cleans
The Xiaomi Mi cleans using a few different tactics, but for the most part, each tactic contributes to the overall cleaning method used by this robot vacuum. In other words, the vacuum seeks out dirt and debris, maps out your home, and sucks up the dirt and debris it has spotted during the process.
In order to complete this style of cleaning, the Xiaomi Mi uses 12 different sensors to track its movements in real time. By doing so, the vacuum cleaner is able to plan its cleaning path for a more efficient cleaning session. In addition to the sensors around its perimeter, the Xiaomi has a laser distance sensor located on the top.
Although similar to the 12 other sensors, this one focuses more on scanning the Xiaomi Mi’s surroundings at 360° at 1,800 time per second.
Therefore, combining all of these sensors allows this robot vacuum to map out its every movement around your home.
Some other physical attributes that play a role in how the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum cleans include; the spinning brush and rolling brush located on the bottom of the unit. The spinning brush sweeps dirt and debris into the suction path of the vacuum, while the rolling brush agitates and lifts dirt and debris before sucking it up.
- Rolling brush
- Front wheel
- Spinning brush
During our run time test, we allowed the Xiaomi Mi vacuum to complete a full cleaning cycle on the upstairs portion of my home. This area is carpeted with a medium pile carpet and gets what I would describe as moderate foot traffic.
While we do have guests over fairly regularly, my house only includes me, my wife, and my dog (a poodle who doesn’t shed). I wanted to give you that as a bit of background so you can better understand how shocked I was at the Xiaomi’s inability to handle hair of even moderate length.
During the full clean cycle, the Xiaomi Mi robot stopped cleaning with an error message reporting that the main brush needed to be cleaned (stopping every 10 minutes or so).
Each time I cleaned the main brush, it was able to resume. The amount of hair that was present in the main brush was extremely minor. All that said, perhaps this was an issue with just my unit.
By comparison, I have seen my Roomba vacuums accumulate and manage so much hair within their brush and wheel base that they are effectively reinforcing the wheel axle with incredibly tightly wound hair.
Size & Dimensions
The Xiaomi Mi is similar to most robot vacuums when it comes to the size and stature of the unit. It measures 13.6″ in diameter, is 3.8″ tall, and has a total weight of 8.4 pounds. These measurements land right in the middle of the pack when compared to other robot vacuums.
- Height – 3.8″
- Diameter – 13.6″
- Weight – 8.4 pounds
Accessories & Parts
As a robot vacuum, most of the parts included with this vacuum are already physically attached to the unit. Therefore, only a couple of extra parts and accessories are included with the purchase of the Xiaomi Mi
- Charging base and cord
- Cleaning tool
- Charging base
- Charging cord
- Cleaning tool
The following vacuum cleaner tests are designed to show how the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum 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 types 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.
The Xiaomi Mi performed quite well throughout our hardwood floor tests. The least amount of debris picked up in a single test was 92%, which was sugar. The Xiaomi Mi scored 99% or above on the other three debris.
- Hardwood – Rice 99%
- Hardwood – Cereal 100%
- Hardwood – Kitty Litter 99%
- Hardwood – Sugar 92%
Low Pile Carpet
After completing the low pile carpet test, the only major difference in performance came from the sugar test. The vacuum cleaner’s efficiency did show a slight drop in kitty litter, moving from 99% cleaned up down to 90% cleaned up, but this is still a top notch score. The sugar, on the other hand, was only 36% cleaned up.
The Xiaomi Mi worked its way around the perimeter of our testing lane, then back down the middle as it made small switchbacks (sharp turns from left to right and vice versa) until it had reached the front of the lane again. This robot vacuum completed all four of these tests in under 2 minutes (each), which in my opinion, had to do with the fact that the vacuum only sucked up 36% of the sugar.
- Low Carpet – Rice 100%
- Low Carpet – Cereal 100%
- Low Carpet – Kitty Litter 90%
- Low Carpet – Sugar 36%
High Pile Carpet
Finally, we ran the high pile carpet tests. Once again, the sugar score dropped. On the high pile carpet, only one third (34%) of the sugar was cleaned up. That said, the vacuum did work for almost 10 minutes while trying to discover and eliminate the finer debris type.
Rice was not an issue for the Xiaomi robot vacuum as it scored another 100%. This vacuum cleaner showed improvement on the kitty litter test, moving from 90% on the low pile carpet to a 98% on the high pile carpet. Last but not least, there was a small decline in the amount of cereal cleaned up, but it still reached a level of 93% cleanliness.
- High Carpet – Rice 100%
- High Carpet – Cereal 93%
- High Carpet – Kitty Litter 98%
- High Carpet – Sugar 34%
Setting up the vacuum is relatively simple. To begin with, there are only two buttons on the vacuum that operate how the unit runs. These are the home button and power button. Each of these works as follows:
- Home button – This button will send the Xiaomi back to its charging base no matter when you press it. Regardless of whether or not the vacuum is cleaning, just press this button and to the charger, or home, it goes.
- Power button – The power button controls the main cleaning modes. Press it once to send it into automatic cleaning, press it twice to send it into spot cleaning, or hold it down to shut it off entirely.
On the flip side, setting up the vacuum may not be as easy. If you’re less worried about the language the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum is speaking, then setup is quick and painless; unbox it, charge it, and put it to work.
If you’re not a fan of guessing games, or don’t know how to speak Mandarin, then you could be in for a treat.
This robot vacuum comes out of the box speaking Mandarin. In order to change the language you must download Xioami’s app, which has a setting for language preference.
It’s great that there is at least an option to change the language, however, I would have preferred the ability to change the language on the unit itself. Or, better yet, it would have been nice if English had been the default for customers who are ordering from the United States and other English speaking countries.
Maneuverability is a strong suit of the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum. Built in a circle, this vacuum cleaner has the ability to turn 360°, meaning it is able to make extremely sharp turns and do full circles around furniture or other obstacles in the home. In addition, the Xiaomi Mi is only 3.8″ tall, which allows it to vacuum under furniture.
The wifi app users can download for this robot vacuum is also impressive. Once downloaded, you have the option of letting the vacuum maneuver on its own, or you can control it with your smartphone or tablet. The directional pad on the app really creates a high degree of maneuverability, as well as various options for users to choose from.
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.
|Accessory / Part||Replacement Frequency||Replacement Cost|
|HEPA filter||2 months||Check Price|
|Spinning brush||6 months||Check Price|
|Rolling brush||6-12 months||Check Price|
|Battery||24 months||Check Price|
Annually, you can expect to pay around $98 to maintain the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum.
Most of the annual cost is wrapped up in filters, which at the time of this review were $7 / per, coming to an annual cost of $42.
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||2-3 hours|
|Run Time||2-2.5 hours|
|Replacement Cost||Check Price|
Batteries are probably the single most important piece of a robot vacuum. The battery controls how long the vacuum cleans for, how long it needs to charge before operating, cleaning efficiency, and more.
As with almost all battery-operated devices, the battery is going to die at some point. Therefore, you will need to replace it. The Xiaomi Mi battery claims to last 2 years long before needing replacement.
Xiaomi Mi’s massive 5,200 mAh capacity battery is one of the largest batteries we have tested to date.However, as far as its longevity goes, we’ll have to take the manufacturer’s word for it until we have more data.
Finding a replacement battery is going to be the biggest challenge. At the time of our initial testing we had a hard time finding replacement batteries for purchase. We did find them, however, they aren’t cheap and shipping is more since most come from China.
The Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum offers an okay value. The performance was impressive, but not the best we have seen to date. At this price point, I would have liked to see the Xiaomi Mi handle finer debris types, such as sugar, with better proficiency. This robot vacuum struggled to pick up the sugar on both low and high pile carpets, which took away from the overall value-based performance as a whole.
The biggest value detriment to the Xiaomi Mi vacuum is simply the maintenance costs.
It costs around $98 per year to maintain the vacuum, around 25% of the initial purchase. This fact, combined with the difficulty in finding a replacement battery is a serious con to purchasing the Xiaomi robot vacuum.
In addition, Xiaomi offers a 1-year warranty with the purchase of their robot vacuum cleaner. In addition, a 30-day refund policy is also included.
Below is a complete list of important specifications and features included on the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum:
|Floor Type||All (indoor)|
|Dust Bin Capacity||0.42 L|
|Returns||30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer|
The Xiaomi Mi is a robot vacuum designed to handle messes of varying types on all indoor surfaces. After completing several tests, it was clear that the Xiaomi is a powerful performer and contains one of the longest battery run times that we have seen to date. If you’re in the market for a robot vacuum, this is definitely one worth considering.
I would recommend the Xiaomi Mi if you’re looking for the following features in a robot vacuum:
- Want a long lasting battery – The Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum comes with a 5,200 mAh battery that has the ability to clean for 2-2.5 hours. This is one of the longest lasting batteries we have tested to date.
- Need a good vacuum for hard floor surfaces – This robot vacuum did an excellent job cleaning up debris from our hardwood floor tests. It was evident that the hard floor surfaces are a better fit for the Xiaomi. The vacuum didn’t perform poorly on carpet by any means, but it did seem to have more consistency on the hardwood floor.
- Want a wifi enabled app to control the vacuum – Xiaomi Mi is made by MiJia, who also creates the app for this robot vacuum. If you choose to use the app, you have the ability to control everything on your phone or tablet. This even means users are able to control the direction at which the vacuum moves while cleaning.
- Don’t mind a robot vacuum from China – Out of the box the Xiaomi Mi speaks in Mandarin. You can change the language, however, it does take several minutes to configure the app and download the relevant language packs. In addition, having a Chinese made vacuum means finding replacement parts can be more difficult. We had a harder time finding parts.
For more information on the Xiaomi Mi visit Amazon.com.
The Xiaomi Mi is a robot vacuum designed to clean up messes on all indoor surface types. Turn the vacuum on and let it clean your floors for you. This robot vacuum is also equipped with wifi which gives users the ability to download an app and control the vacuum cleaner from a phone or tablet. If you’re looking for a robot vacuum cleaner with a long battery run time and powerful suction, the Xiaomi Mi could be a good option to explore.
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.