Ecovacs Deepoo D76 review

Ecovacs Deepoo (or Deebot) D76 is a member of a very exclusive group of robotic vacuum cleaners: there are only three robots on the market at the moment that come with a dust bin cleaning docking station, and the D76 is one of them. Recently I had the chance to use it for about six week in my house to see how it compares to other, better known products.

Design and Technology

I usually don't waste time detailing the installation of the cleaning robots because they don't have complicated priming processes. The Ecovacs Deepoo D76 is not complicated either, but I guess it deserves some explanation.

Docking station without the canisterInserting the canister into its dockThe vacuum cleaner added to the dock

The content of the package can be used in two combinations. First of all it is a full featured robotic vacuum cleaner with a docking station that cleans the dust bin of the robot before it starts charging the batteries. For this, the external vacuum cleaner chamber has to be attached to the top of the docking station. It is as simple as putting it on to the top of the dock, and it will click right in (cannot be attached in the wrong way).

External vacuum cleaner disassembled

To remove the chamber, the release button has to be pushed on the back of the dock while the vacuum is lifted. Works flawlessly. The docking station with the vacuum installed is 33 cm (13 in) high, 34 cm (13.4 in) wide and 43.5 cm (17.1) long.

The vacuum cleaner canister from the dock doubles as a regular vacuum cleaner

In the other configuration the chamber is attached to the handheld vacuum extension that has a not so long power cord and an air inlet to attach the pipes. With this, the external vacuum doubles as a regular vacuum cleaner. A nicely made shoulder strap is included so it can be carried on ones shoulder while cleaning. As I said the power cord is not very long, but it is sufficient to provide power to the vacuum while leaning a regular staircase between two floors.

The external vacuum cleaner's power is not mind-blowing, but to clean those areas where the robot is unable to go, it is more than enough.

External vacuum cleaner disassembled

The external vacuum cleaner looks very cool. The main part is a semi-transparent dust bin with a handle and air inlet. The technology is built into the caps that go on each end of this cylinder: one of this holds the vacuum motor, while the other has the air filter.

The designers of the burgundy color robot were inspired by several successful robot designs of the last decade. The front bumper with the distance sensors and IR tower on the front is something that we have seen a lot, mainly on iRobot products, but the charging contacts on the front are more popular on Chinese designed robots. The darker stripe on the lower part of the bumper is a soft protector to reduce the impact when the robot collides with walls and furniture.

The display, the dust bin cover and the back of the robot with the air outlets reminded me of the Electrolux Trilobite, discontinued several years ago. Ecovacs didn't copy that robot, just got inspired, and as we have seen it before, it happens a lot in design, in writing and in music as well. The D76 is 33.5 cm (13.2 in) in diameter and 9.5 cm (3.8 in) high, and it weights 3.56 kg (6.6 lb).

The multi-segment backlit display provides a very clear interface to set the time, the schedule and the cleaning modes. The user interface consists of 6 buttons: power button, mode selector, play/pause button, up and down buttons and time/schedule button. At first the interface can be tricky, but it isn't as complicated as it might seems. Unfortunately the otherwise very nice user manual leaves a few areas confusing regarding the user interface and settings.

The dust bin is hidden under a large flip up door on the top of the robot. The bin itself is one of the smallest of its class (0.3 l or 10 fl oz), but given that it will be emptied before every battery charge, it doesn't have to be larger.

Unlike the dust compartment of the Kärcher, this bin is removable, except the filter that is built in. Although most of the filters don't wear out easily, it would have been nicer if the filter was replaceable.

Volume control dialSD Card slot

The shoulders of the dust bin compartment hold two unusual details. The small dial on the left is a volume control for the voice guidance, while the SD card on the right holds all the voice files that are played at certain situations. That's right, the robot uses pre-recorded voice messages to inform the owner about each situation it gets into. And since these messages are saved on an inexpensive SD card, it is extremely easy to localize the D76 on each market. But Ecovacs has gone one step forward by making the localization kit available on its website, so anyone can make new voice messages for any of the actions. Great forward thinking, although I have to mention that the original English version is more like a joke than a serious voice guidance. Ecovacs should consider hiring a professional English native actor to read those messages.

Air inletVacuum motor

As it can be seen on the pictures, the wide air inlet above the main brush is divided into two sections. The narrower one is the channel where the dust is removed by the dock.

The bottom of the Ecovacs Deepoo D76

The bottom of the robot again, seems to be a mixture of different technologies, but with a completely new result. The small, 11.5 cm (4.5 in) long main brush, the structure of the rubber on the wheels and the shape of the battery compartment covers reminds me of the Kärcher robot, but the front wheel and the side brushes are clearly differentiate it from the German model. Not to mention the lack of the dust compartment that the Kärcher robot holds on the bottom.

The main brush has the bristles arranged in waves, instead of straight lines, and the axle is different in diameter in the middle section. The ends of the brush compartment are closed by felt discs that protect the bearings behind them. The brush is driven by a belt on one side where the protection and build quality seems to be quite solid. The bristle bar opening is surrounded by a rubber skirt on the sides and on the back, ensuring that all suction power is concentrated beneath the brush.

The side brushes are long enough to easily reach the walls and furnitures when the robot drives along, but they cannot reach the corners properly.

Side brush from the bottomLonger would be better

The robot is powered by two 6V 2.5 Ah Ni-MH batteries that add up to become a 12 V power source. This provides electricity for the robot to run for about an hour before it starts to look for its charger.

One of the two battery packsMain power switchFuse

The Ecovacs D76 has three IR drop sensors to prevent the robot to drive down on stairs. The two driven wheels can extend to nearly 2 cm, allowing the robot to have a grip when climbing on thresholds or carpets. The robot also comes with a power switch and a main fuse on the bottom.

Drop sensorWheel in normal positionWheel extended

A sticker on the side of the robot states that it is an AntiGerm device. According to the marketing material this means that the filters are anti-bacterial. Whatever that means, I personally don't care much about it because I doubt that it can be effective.

Magnetic stripVirtual wallBatteries of the virtual wall

The Ecovacs Deepoo D76 supports two kinds of area delimiters. The package includes a pretty ugly virtual wall kind of IR emitter that creates an invisible barrier that the robot is not allowed to cross. This emitter can be moved as needed, but requires two D size batteries to run. The other method is the magnetic strip method. The robot comes with a roll of this magnetic strip with self adhesive on the back. This strip must be installed (I did not do it) to be used, and it will create a permanent barrier. This latter kind is useful to block areas where we never want the robot to go on its own (like wet rooms, as the bathroom), or to divide the house into two areas, to clean them separately.

Drop sensorWheel in normal positionWheel extended

The package contains a simple remote control to start, stop, and manually control the D76. The loop at the end of the RC works as a stand.

All in all, the build quality of both the robot and the docking station is outstanding. This robot could easily be sold as the product of any big name manufacturer, and other than the ugly virtual wall nothing reminds me of those low quality OEM robots that some other Chinese manufacturers produce and sell.

The review is not over yet!

Next page: In Practice

Next page »
  1. Introduction
  2. Design and Technology
  3. In Practice
  4. Conclusion

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Comments

after reading this 70% positive and the 8845 70% negative (sort of :p) review, I wonder how it compares to the more expensive/superior samsung model SR8980 which is listed as a competitor.

since theres no p/review for SR8980 yet (and I do hope there will be one :), may I ask if I am to buy one of these two - D76 or SR8980, and my house contains lots of small chairs/lazybeans & my hair's longer than waist, which one shall i buy?

Tibor's picture

I wish I could tell how it compares to the new Samsung robot. Unfortunately I was unable to get hold of an SR8980 yet (but I'm not giving it up). In theory the Samsung is better cleaning the main brush (even less maintenance chores), and can cover larger, more complex areas. On the other hand this robot has a detachable hand held vacuum cleaner as an accessory.

think i'd wait a bit longer perhaps :)

Hi great review!! I would like to buy the D76...but my house is almost 125m^2 with 6 rooms + bathroom...do you think it will be able to clean my house with 2 runs in a day? Should I go for a roomba 581 with 3 lighthouses for almost the same price? I must admit I like d76 more than roomba...but I need something usefulll...how would you schedule d76 for cleaning a big house like mine? thank you

Coul d76 be able to clean a 125 m^2 house with 6 rooms and a bathroom, with 2 runs? Should go for Roomba 581 and 3 lighthouses? Better a mapping vaccum robot with inferior vaccum standards and worst cleaning capability, but with resuming?

I like d76 very much but I'm scared thinking about its short cleaning time....thank you again

Tibor's picture

In theory the D76 should be able to do it, but for that size of a house I would go for the Roomba with two light houses (to do the room to room navigation). With the Roomba you will have more maintenance to do, but you will end up with a cleaner house in all 125 sq m.

thank you for your kindness! One more question: do you think/know D76 has something similar to roomba AI, I mean they are random path robots but Irobots can map real time, not like samsung ones, the environment calculating rooms dimensions from collisions...does D76 have something like that? Is it possible, speaking about all random path robots, that they will eventually miss a room simply because of bad luck in finding an open spot (door entrance)?

Again thank you

Tibor's picture

First of all, iRobots calculate very little from collisions. I wouldn't call that mapping. They make a wild guess from the frequency of the collisions to the size of the room. I didn't notice that with the D76, but I wouldn't say it has nothing like that.
In theory, yes, randomly moving robots can miss a room in very large houses, but in case of iRobot it is very unlikely. If it happens on Tuesday, it will probably not happen on Wednesday, so the room will miss cleaning for only 1 day. Probably not a big deal in most houses.
On the other hand, Samsung robots have real mapping (SLAM) functionality, although the older models were not as refined as they should have been.

I've seen somewhere that Samsung's 8980 has a HEPA filter. How does the D76's anti-germ filter compare to HEPA?

Tibor's picture

The D76 comes with a normal filter. It is not HEPA grade. AntiGerm does not filter out tiny particles.

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