Wyze Robot Vacuum review: Lidar mapping and more for just $250
Cut-price robotic vacuum has lidar room mapping, scheduling and virtual wall control
Now, the Seattle-based firm has just launched its most expensive product yet – the Wyze Robot Vacuum. But at $250, this lidar-equipped robot vacuum cleaner is still aggressively priced.
As well as lidar to help it navigate accurately, the Wyze Robot Vacuum has three levels of suction, a generously-sized dust bin, scheduling options, and the ability to recharge mid-way through cleaning. We have been using the Wyze vacuum for the past week or so, and this is how we got along.
Wyze Robot Vacuum review: Setup and hardware
You would be forgiven for thinking that all robotic vacuum cleaners look almost the same. They are mostly short, circular objects with bumpers to tap gently against furniture, wheels to drive and steer, and spinning brushes for feeding dirt into the suction system below.
The Wyze follows this same basic recipe but adds a lidar sensor — that's the raised circular object on top. You might recognize lidar technology from driverless cars, and just like in that application the lidar of the Wyze vacuum spins around inside its housing, rotating six times per second and constantly measuring the distance between it and 2,016 different points in the room, up to 26 feet away.
Like with autonomous cars, this system creates a digital, three-dimensional map of each room the Wyze robot drives through. It then works out how best to cover each room in the most efficient way possible. Lidar also features on some other robotic vacuums, including the S4 Max, S5 Max and S6 Pure by Roborock, and the Samsung JetBot 90 AI. But even the cheapest of those is double the price of the Wyze.
There is also a cliff sensor to prevent it from falling down the stairs, a collision sensor, a speed sensor and a gyroscope. A spinning brush is fitted to the front, flicking dust and dirt into the robot's path, and a spare is included in the box. There is also a spare HEPA filter and the robot's charging dock, which it connects to using a pair of large metal contacts. It's a simple way to send power to the robot and the design allows for a degree of error when parking.
The rest of the Wyze's hardware is much like any other robotic vacuum. The hinged top lifts up to reveal the dust bin and HEPA filter, along with a brush-cleaning tool that features a small blade for cutting hair that might get caught in the rotating brush – a thoughtful addition from Wyze, there.
The transparent dust bin is easy to remove, and doing so causes the vacuum's voice to confirm its removal. It folds open easily and is designed so can empty it without spilling its contents or getting your hands dirty. However, the vacuum has no way of telling when the bin is full, so you'll have to keep an eye on that for yourself.
My only hardware complaint here is how there is no handle to easily pick up the sizable robot with one hand.
Turn the Wyze over and you are greeted by a pair of grippy rubber wheels, a rotating third wheel at the front, and a spinning brush beneath a removable cover. Everything comes apart very easily and it takes just a moment to use the included cutting tool to free hair and strands of fabric from the brush.
The rotating brush isn't particularly large compared to the diameter of the robot itself, but the spinning brush on the front edge at least helps to flick dirt towards the central roller, ready to be sucked up into the dustbin. Overall, this is a robotic vacuum that looks and feels like most others. Its design doesn't stand out, but it also isn't let down by the low $250 price tag.
Setting up the robot is very simple. Just install the free Wyze smartphone app, create an account if you don't already have one, then plug the charging dock into a wall outlet and place the robot against it. Now tap the + icon in the top-left corner of the Wyze app and follow the instructions.
Wyze Robot Vacuum review: Performance and software
Cleaning maps and component status in the Wyze appGearBrain
Once the robot has been set up and its battery is charged, just tap the Clean icon in the app to get started. It will then navigate around the floor, using its lidar and collision sensor to work out the most efficient route possible. This starts with a drive around the perimeter of the room (or rooms), then it drives back and forth in straight lines until everywhere has been visited.
During this first clean the robot will use its lidar sensor to create a map of your property. It is best to open all of the doors, so it can roam everywhere and you can correctly label each room in the app afterwards. The robot thought our combined lounge and kitchen was two separate rooms, but then labeled the hallway, bathroom and bedroom as a single room. Thankfully, the shape of the map was correct and the app allows you to split up rooms and label them correctly once the first map is complete.
You can always create a new map if you change the layout of your home, with the robot quickly driving around without cleaning to create the map in the shortest time possible. Once the map has been labelled, you can tell the robot to go and clean a specific room, or rooms, if only they need vacuuming. It is also possible to add virtual walls to stop the robot from cleaning certain areas.
The Wyze isn't smart enough to spot anywhere that requires extra levels of cleaning, as some more expensive alternatives can, and there is no spot-clean option to target a specific area like a spillage. Instead, you'll need to run the entire clean again if the floor needs extra attention. It also cannot tell the difference between carpet and hard flooring, so sticks to the same suction level throughout.
There are three suction modes to pick from, called Quiet, Standard and Strong. The latter produces 2,100 Pa of suction power, while the former two are noticeably weaker but only marginally quieter. You are best sticking to the strongest setting.
The dust bin and brush cleaning tool of the Wyze Robot VacuumGearBrain
We found the Wyze to be pretty smart at navigating around our small apartment. It rarely hesitated about driving into small spaces between furniture and expertly drove right up against walls and other objects without crashing into them. It even tackled the raised circular bases of our three bar stools without complaint, seemingly knowing what it was doing despite the unusual terrain.
However, it struggled with cables – including its own. On one occasion the robot got its wheel tangled up in a cable under a table in the corner of the room, to the extent that the rotating brush came off (but is easy to click back on) and the robot stopped to call for help via the app. This wasn't a disaster, but I'd like to have seen it pause and ask for assistance before getting quite so tangled up. It only did this once, however, and after tidying cables out of the way it cleaned the rest of the apartment, several times, without issue. I would also like to see a way to attach the charging dock to a wall, or secure it in some other way, as it is very light and can easily be knocked around, either by the robot or someone walking by. The robot can still find the dock when it has been moved, but in tight spaces it might not be able to connect with the charging contacts successfully.
As well as editing the map, the app can be used to set a schedule for the robot, with a different cleaning time for each day if you so wish. You can also set the suction level and pick which rooms to be cleaned each day, or ask it to do the entire home (or floor – it of course cannot handle the stairs).
As an indication of how quickly the Wyze robot works, it completed a 169 square-foot clean in 27 minutes, according to the app.
Lastly, the app has a section that keeps track of how many hours of life components like the main brush, edge brush and HEPA filter have left. This doesn't use live data, but is based on how long the robot has cleaned for over its lifetime and how long each component is designed to last before it needs cleaning or replacing. The main and edge brush are designed to last for 300 hours and 200 hours respectively, while the filter is good for 150 hours. Replacements for all three can be ordered from within the Wyze app, but prices aren't yet available. A spare edge brush and filter are included in the box.
Main and side brushes of the Wyze Robot VacuumGearBrain
Wyze Robot Vacuum: Price
You can pick up the Wyze Robot Vacuum for $250.
Wyze Robot Vacuum: Verdict
As ever from Wyze, this robotic vacuum cleaner is very good for the price. It has features, like lidar and individual room cleaning, that are normally reserved for more expensive vacuums from other manufacturers, yet can hold its head high when it comes to getting the basics right too.
The design is nothing special, but it certainly isn't offensive, and we have no complaints about its cleaning ability. The lidar-powered mapping feature works really well, and we like how an individual room can be cleaned with a tap. The robot appears smart enough not to get too confused, even in a small apartment with an unusual layout, although its reaction to getting tangled in cables could be better. That said, the one time this happened didn't cause any harm.
Smart home integration is unfortunately missing, so you can't ask Alexa or any other voice assistant to control the Wyze vacuum. It also isn't possible to control it using automation systems like IFTTT. But we really didn't miss these features, as it's very easy to control from the app, or by pressing the power and home buttons on the robot itself.
If you want an aggressively-priced robotic vacuum that gets the basics right, has great mapping abilities and does away with some of the unnecessary features offered by others, the Wyze Robot Vacuum is for you.
Wyze Robot Vacuum with LiDAR Mapping Technology, 2100Pa Strong Suction, Ideal for Pet Hair, Hard Floors and Carpets, Virtual Walls, Wi-Fi Connected, Self-Charging