We tested Xiaomi’s new robot vacuum cleaner that also mops, so you can retire your old Roomba

Smart Home | May 31, 2023

We tested Xiaomi’s new robot vacuum cleaner that also mops, so you can retire your old Roomba

Xiaomi products can boast of many things: high reliability, good features, an excellent (and already known) value for money, careful design, and integration with smart home functions. This expanding family is gaining a stronger presence in Spain with an increasingly diverse range of devices, especially in home automation. Today, Xiaomi has updated its portfolio by introducing, among many other products, a new robot vacuum cleaner, the Xiaomi Robot Vacuum Mop S12.

This robot has taken care of cleaning the floors of my house on its own in recent days, allowing me to do away with my regular vacuum cleaner. It also replaces my mop since, like many other Xiaomi robots, this Vacuum Mop S12 also includes a mopping function, marking the first time such a robot cleans my home.

Is this really a viable option for those who want to free themselves from cleaning their homes? Is the mopping function truly useful? And even more importantly, can this Xiaomi Robot Vacuum S12 satisfy skeptics of these robots? A little hint: we believe it can.

Sensational design

It’s no secret that Xiaomi excels at crafting its devices. The Vacuum S12 is no exception, and from the moment we took it out of the box, we realized how well-made and cleverly designed it is. These may be details that don’t matter to many, but they are crucial for users who have never encountered one of these robots.

Indeed, this is my first time setting up a robot vacuum cleaner with a mopping function. In fact, I’m not alone in this, as many friends have been surprised by the idea of a robot vacuum cleaner that also mops. This may be a strange concept for people unfamiliar with these robots, so it’s crucial for the design aspect to be well-polished.

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And boy, it certainly is. Not only does Xiaomi provide clear and easy-to-follow instructions for setting up the robot, but the configuration process and its accessories are quite straightforward. The Xiaomi Vacuum Mop S12 integrates a top lid on its body that is very easy to open, revealing details such as the water tank, air filter, and blade for cleaning the brush. Everything is within reach.

Once again, the excellent construction is evident throughout the entire process of handling the robot. The good design is also noticeable; installing the water tank is effortless, attaching the rear mop is a breeze, and even cleaning the bottom brush is easy since the lid can be easily opened with one hand. This greatly facilitates the maintenance of the robot and prepares it for operation.

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It is durable, user-friendly, and perfectly constructed. As a side note, I must highlight that I also appreciate its design aspect; being white, it blends well and does not clash with your furniture as long as they are light in color. However, being white, dirt will be more visible than usual, so you’ll need to clean it occasionally.

Capable of everything

While I have used cleaning robots in the past, I had never entrusted them with the task of mopping. In fact, my routine with such robots has always been to let them sweep, and then I would do the mopping myself. For a few days, I have set aside the mop to see if the results convince me.

First things first, what features does this Xiaomi Robot Vacuum S12 have? It utilizes a laser LDS navigation system to map your home and move around without causing too much damage from collisions. For cleaning, it follows marked routes in a Y or zigzag pattern, and for elevation changes, it has a set of sensors to prevent falls and avoid tumbling down stairs.

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We are facing a robot with 4,000 Pa of suction power and a 3,200 mAh battery that will have a reasonably long autonomy depending on the chosen cleaning mode. In terms of capacity, it has a 170-milliliter water tank and can store 300 milliliters of dust, which is quite good.

Naturally, the optimal way to use the Xiaomi robot vacuum is by using the Xiaomi Mi Home app, through which we can do countless things: select the cleaning mode, adjust the suction intensity or water level in the tank, as well as set restricted areas. Customized zones can also be created according to the user’s preferences.

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We can even schedule cleaning sessions for the robot to operate at specific times of the day, in addition to managing our maps (creating and saving them). Other options include setting virtual walls, reviewing the cleaning history, or performing spot cleaning. However, one of its strongest capabilities is its compatibility with the major virtual assistants on the market, such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

I regularly use both assistants and have multiple Amazon Echo devices at home. This way, I only have to ask Alexa or Google Assistant to start the robot cleaning the house, making it even more convenient to use. The user has complete control, and once again, it’s evident that Xiaomi has made an effort to ensure that users unfamiliar with these robots can use them without any issues.

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The overall results have been very positive. After a few cleaning sessions, Xiaomi’s Vacuum S12 has shown that it can easily replace a mop, at least for day-to-day cleaning. Using its mopping function, I found that the floor remains clean enough to avoid mopping manually on a daily basis. Additionally, although the floor feels damp, it doesn’t excessively saturate the surface, so it doesn’t leave puddles or large water stains in its path.

The same applies to dust and dirt. You can use both the suction and mopping functions simultaneously or separately, and as it absorbs all the dirt, it leaves a trail of water for the mop to clean the floor. It’s important to note that, in my opinion, this system won’t eliminate the need for occasional intensive mopping, but it does take care of daily cleaning tasks.

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We also liked other aspects, such as the noise level and the cleaning path. Firstly, even in the highest power mode with a full water tank, the robot produces relatively moderate noise. It doesn’t bother even if we don’t have headphones on. In fact, I have written this entire article without background music while the robot was running, and its noise levels never bothered me; they were completely audible, of course.

Furthermore, the cleaning path is quite efficient. It covers all areas of the house without leaving any behind, and the zigzag patterns ensure comprehensive coverage, even in a large living room like mine, which was a concern for me. The Vacuum Mop S12 has rarely shown erratic behavior or excessive collisions, and even when it did, it was gentle. Moreover, it comes equipped with a protective bumper at the front to prevent damage from frontal collisions.

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One positive aspect to consider is that the robot can easily maneuver into almost any space. It has a low profile, allowing it to fit under nearly any table or piece of furniture. In fact, it has managed to squeeze under tables and sofas that were previously inaccessible to other alternatives.

The maintenance of the robot is also something we have appreciated. As mentioned earlier, the robot’s design makes it easy to handle and cleaning tasks such as the air filter, dirt bin, and lower brush are straightforward. The same goes for the mop; you simply remove it by releasing two tabs and clean it without any issues.

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Lastly, the battery life has also proven to be impressive. My house is quite large, and even when avoiding certain areas, the robot still needs to cover a fairly extensive area. In a high-power suction mode, it has been able to complete two or three full cleaning cycles without returning to the charging base, which is quite remarkable. Speaking of the charging base, it is aesthetically pleasing and even features a charging LED.

However, the Xiaomi Robot Vacuum Mop S12 is not without its flaws. For instance, I wasn’t fond of the audible notifications it emits to indicate its status (position, charging status, etc.). Not only are these notifications in English, which is understandable, but they are also unclear and difficult to understand in certain situations. There have been occasions where I didn’t quite grasp what it was trying to communicate, although this is a minor detail.

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Another issue that has raised some concerns is that on a few rare occasions, the robot did not respect the restricted zones set with virtual walls. In such cases, I had to send the robot back to the charging dock, wait for it to stop cleaning, and then establish the restricted zones again a couple of times. Eventually, it worked as intended, but it seems to be an occasional error that will need to be addressed.

Should I buy it?

The Xiaomi Robot Vacuum Mop S12 has all the potential to be a bestseller this year. Not only is it an easy-to-use and easy-to-configure robot vacuum, but it also embodies all the qualities found in other Xiaomi devices: excellent craftsmanship, solid performance, and extensive features.

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Currently, the Xiaomi robot can be purchased from May 22nd to May 28th for 269 euros, thanks to its launch offer at Media Markt, Amazon, Carrefour, and Vodafone. Even at its regular price of 299 euros, this robot is already recommended, so this offer makes it even more enticing.

While it’s true that those who are obsessed with cleanliness may still need to use a traditional mop for deep cleaning, for those of us who despise both sweeping and mopping on a daily basis, this is undoubtedly a fantastic solution that meets the needs of practically all users.

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