ILIFE V5 Review - An Entry Level Robot with Mid Level Abilities

ILIFE V5 Review – An Entry Level Robot with Mid Level Abilities

For a company that has only been in the robotic vacuum business for barely four years, the improvements from year to year are incredible. ILIFE released the V series and every iteration has improved upon the last. The ILIFE V5 is no different.

The V5 tries to improve upon the navigation, sensors and cleaning ability of the V3. Is the V5 right for you, though? In this article, I will look at the ILIFE V5 in depth and help you decide if the improvements of the V5 are worth your time and money.

Who Is The V5 For?

The ILIFE V5 is going to be a good fit for a lot of people. It could be the right robot vacuum for you, if:

  • The home has low pile carpet or hard flooring only.
  • You want a small price tag while getting value for the money you do spend.
  • Having a vacuum and dry mop robot in one unit is ideal.
  • You want the option to contain the robot to specific areas.

Who Is The V5 Not For?

The V5 isn’t going to be for everyone. You may find that the robot cleaner doesn’t suit all of your needs if:

  • You need a cleaner that can wet mop as well as vacuum.
  • You have medium or high pile carpeting.
  • The maintenance required is too cumbersome for daily use.

Dimensions, Features and Options

Let’s get started with the deep look at the capabilities and the shortcomings of the ILIFE V5. By the end, you should have a better idea if it moves up or down your list.

The Battery Hasn’t Been Upgraded And You May Find That You Wished It Had Been

ILIFE uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power their robots. Lithium-Ion is much better than the Nickel-Metal Hydride that was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It has a faster recharge time, a longer runtime and a longer life cycle.

However, lithium-ion batteries come in different sizes and capacities. The V5 uses a 2600mAh battery pack. This is good for a fast recharge, but it lacks in power and longevity over the 3000mAh or 3300mAh battery packs that some cleaners use.

You can recharge the battery in about three hours. However, the runtime is diminished. ILIFE claims a runtime of up to 100 minutes with the V5 model. As impressive as that sounds, that is only going to be close to being approached under optimal conditions.

You will need to run the vacuum without the mop head, on the lowest speed setting and leave all of the settings as default. If you set a schedule, use it to mop your hard flooring or have massive amounts of carpeting to vacuum, the battery life will diminish rather quickly.

When all is said and done, the three-hour charge will give you about 85 minutes of cleaning in a normal set up. This would include hard flooring through most of the home and low pile only carpeting in smaller areas.

The good news is that with 85 minutes you can effectively clean about 1100 square feet of floor space. For most modest sized homes this will be enough to vacuum the entire area on a single charge.

Ilife v5 vacuum navigating its way to the charging base.

If you find that the whole home isn’t being cleaned on a single charge, you don’t have to worry too much. The robot will sense when the battery level is low and head back to the charging station all on its own.

What it will not do, however, is resume cleaning after the battery is fully charged. This is a feature not introduced until much later in the V series.

Overall, the battery will be sufficient for your needs as long as you don’t expect too much from the little robot in terms of cleaning large areas or homes with a lot of carpeting.

A Dry Mop Is Better Than No Mop At All, Right?

The V5 model is a vacuum first and foremost. However, it is also a mop. In a manner of speaking. While it will not replace your regular hard floor moping chore, it will help maintain the mopped appearance longer.

The V5 has an attachment that fits on the back of the unit that is similar to those swift stick mops for sale at almost any store that sells cleaning supplies. There is a microfiber cloth that will rub on the floor picking up anything the vacuum left behind.

You can spray the mop cloth with a cleaning solution or plain water for a damp mopping however it isn’t needed. The sweeping/dry mopping pad will keep the floors shiny for a longer time than not having one.

If you do use a solution, you will need to make sure the cloth doesn’t become saturated. Eventually, the cloth will dry out and you will need to pause the cleaning cycle and spray it again. Some users have reported that it is effective to spray the floor instead of the cloth.

Spraying the floor will keep you from having to babysit the vacuum while it runs around your home. However, it also means you will have to verify that the sporadic navigation actually covered the entire floor.

It is also a concern that the spray solution will dry before being mopped up, leaving stains, streaks or, in the event it isn’t gone over, puddles that you must clean up yourself.

an underside view of the ilife v5 vacuum shows its wheels, rotating brush, and mopping cloth.

You also shouldn’t leave the mopping pad attached when using the machine as a vacuum. The pad will hinder the robot as it travels over your carpet and will shorten the life of the battery, the mopping cloth and the motor.

The Vacuum Has Undergone A Change that Leaves it Brushless

One of the major changes to the V5 is the addition of the detachable mop head. To accommodate this change, ILIFE has decided that two side brushes are sufficient enough to vacuum with. They have removed the bristle brush bar.

Instead of a rotating bristle agitator, you have a “powerful suction passage” which is basically a hole where the vacuum has suction.

The side brushes rotate to bring dirt, dust and debris to the center of the machine where it is suctioned up into the collection bin. This works decent enough on hard floors, however, on carpet, you may find you need a little more.

In all fairness, I feel this is a bad design. On the one hand, you don’t have to worry about a brush roll becoming tangled with hair and string which requires time and effort to untangle.

However, on the other hand, dirt, dust and debris that has made its way into the carpet fibers won’t be loosened and lifted out.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say the vacuum isn’t efficient. However, it isn’t going to give you a level of clean you will expect from a robot vacuum that has agitators and brush rolls to loosen, lift and remove dirt from carpet.

Bottom view of the ILIFE V5 vacuum showing its two rotating brushes and suction path.

The effectiveness is similar to you using a broom on your carpet. The top layer will get cleaned, but anything lower will be missed completely. In later V series models the CyclonePower suction system is upgraded to generation two or three. However, the V5 still uses the same suction and motor from the V3 design.

It will collect dirt, dust and debris, but it doesn’t do an amazing job with heavily soiled areas, high foot traffic areas or parts with dried-on debris.

Navigation and Mapping Haven’t Been Upgraded Just Yet

One of the most common complaints from the V3 was that the navigation and mapping didn’t seem to always work out for the best.

The robot would have a difficult time staying in an area and would run off to another. Unlike most other models with a sporadic cleaning design, the V3 didn’t always return to the area to finish up.

In the V5, ILIFE made a lot of improvements. However, the navigation wasn’t one of them. Still using the sensor-based mapping system, the machine will detect ledges and prevent itself from taking a tumble.

The bump sensors also help it avoid collisions and to navigate around furniture. However, it doesn’t always seem to work. Customers have noted that they watched the robot crash into table legs, railings and even chair legs.

The V5 is designed using the same software and chipset as the V3. There haven’t been as many complaints about collisions as with the V3, but that could be because some customers refused to buy the new version.

Luckily, no one has reported any damage to furniture, walls or to the robot itself. It just seems that the robot likes to crash into things on occasion.

Controls Are Simple, To The Point, Easy To Use.

The V5 doesn’t let you get fancy and modern with mobile apps or syncing to internet connected devices to use your voice commands.

You have two options for controls: local and remote. The local control is a simple button on a beautiful LED interface. Don’t let the aesthetics fool you though; it is just a button. You press it and the default “automatic mode” is enabled.

The robot will run off and do it’s cleaning job and return to the docking station. If you want more control, you have to use the remote. The remote is pretty intuitive, but I will cover the buttons on it for you here.

ILIFE's handheld remote control next to the ILIFE v5.

The remote hasn’t changed since the V3 and it doesn’t seem like it will change much any time soon, either. You have the basic control buttons with a small LED screen.

There are five cleaning modes. Regardless that everyone will tell you there are only four, the ILIFE Robots have an extra cleaning mode that isn’t really covered anywhere else. I’ll save that for last.

The first mode is Automatic Mode. When you press the clean button, you will see the robot take off and start cleaning. It will use a random, sporadic pattern to cover your floors and does have a tendency to miss some spots. However, in subsequent cleanings, the entire floor does get covered.

There is also the Edge Clean Mode. This mode does what it sounds like. When you press the button with the edge mode icon, the robot will leave the dock and head to the nearest wall.

Here it will maneuver along the baseboards concentrating on the edges and corners of your floor space. Once it has completed the trip around, it will return to the dock, recharge and await the next cleaning cycle.

There is also Spot Cleaning Mode. This will allow you to do a deeper clean in a specific area. When the Spot Clean button is pressed, the robot will begin to spiral in ever increasing circles around a single spot on the floor.

You also have Manual Control Mode. There are three arrow buttons on the remote that allow you to drive and steer the robot to a specific spot, or if you are really bored, around your entire home.

Which brings us to the fifth mode: Maximum Mode. You will notice on the remote that there isn’t a down arrow button. In its place is a button marked “Max.” This button puts the motor and suction in a higher rotation to give more power to the machine.

It will only work in automatic or manual modes though but isn’t combined with them. You have the ability to shorten the battery life but get a deeper, better clean from the ILIFE V5. You also can’t schedule a clean in max mode, nor can you program it always to use max power.

The schedule is a simple feature. You can select a time based on hours and minutes from when you set the schedule and the robot will commence a cleaning cycle when the countdown reaches zero.

It should also be noted that the schedule is only good for seven days. You will have to reprogram the schedule again every seventh day to continue the cycle.

Specifications Chart

Here is a little visual aid for you so you can see what the V5 has and doesn’t have to get a better understanding of what awaits you when you make your purchase.

ILIFE V5
Dimensions 12.2×12.2×2.8 inches
Weight 4.9 pounds
Battery 2600mAh Lithium-Ion
Battery Runtime Up to 100 minutes
Battery Charge Time 3 hours
Automatic Recharge Yes
Wireless Communications No
Mobile App No
Voice Control No
Remote Control Yes
Local Control Yes
Scheduling Yes
Cleaning Modes 5
Navigation Sensor Based Mini-Room
Containment Yes (Separate Purchase)
Extraction Method CyclonePower
Filtration HEPA
Side Brushes 2
Floor Types Hard Floors, Low Pile Carpeting
Collection Bin Capacity 0.3L
Warranty 2 years
Dry Mop Yes
Wet Mop No
Voltage Rating 110v – 240v (Universal)

Alternative Options

Maybe you have read this far and decided you want to know what else is comparable. Or perhaps you just like having other options. No worries. Here are a few alternative choices for you to consider.

ILIFE A6

The A6 is the next generation ILIFE machine in the V series. It features a brush bar for better carpet cleaning, HEPA filtration, second-generation CyclonePower technology for more power, and a larger lithium-ion battery pack.

It also does not have a mopping cloth attachment. However, if you are more concerned with staying on a smaller budget and having a better clean on your carpeted floors, then the A6 may be a good option for you.

bObsweep Vacuum + Mop

bObsweep was a pioneer in the combo robot market. One of the downfalls to the combo attempts though is that they rarely do one of the options better than decent. It is still common thought that to have a better vacuum and a better mopping robot you need two machines.

While it is true that the bObsweep combo isn’t the best mop or the best vacuum, it does a decent job in both and for the entry-level price tag, it is a viable option. Plus you will have more control, more options and better scheduling.

EcoVacs DEEBOT Vacuum + Mop

If you like the idea of low-cost combo robotic cleaners, the DEEBOT is a step up from the bObsweep and a couple up from the V5. It has a dedicated water tank for a true wet mop experience.

The downfall though, is that it requires more time, effort and work on your part. You also can’t schedule it for mopping (it can’t charge with the water tank on), and you lose some of the cleaning ability because it is attempting to be great at both.

Frequently Asked Questions

I will take the time to answer a few of the more common questions about the ILIFE V5 cleaner. As always, if you don’t see your question here, or it hasn’t been answered in the article above, you can ask in the comment section below.

Q. What kind of containment is offered with the ILIFE V5?
A. ILIFE has a virtual barrier that they call the ElectroWall. This is a small battery operated tower that produces an infrared beam to prevent the robot from accessing certain areas, rooms, or portions of the home you want it to avoid.

ILIFE's electro wall emitting an infrared signal to serve as a barrier.

The barrier sends out an infrared beam up to 10 feet that is picked up by a sensor located in the front of the unit. It will act as though the beam is a solid wall and will change direction to avoid it. The V5 works well with the ElectroWall. However, it doesn’t come with one included.

You can purchase the wall online and you can even use multiple towers to block off the robot.

Q. Will the V5 help with allergies?
A. Absolutely! The V5 has HEPA filtration that will capture up to 99 percent of allergens found in the home. These are all particles down to 3 microns in size, which is virtually everything but the smallest of bacterias generally found in water.

You will see a reduction in allergies caused by pet dander, dust, pollen, dust mites and even insect and pest feces. The HEPA filter is changeable by lifting the lid and pulling it out. ILIFE doesn’t have washable filters, though.

It is recommended to replace the filters every month. They are quite small and fill up pretty quickly. You can find replacements online from ILIFE or sites like Amazon.

Q. Can I program it to run twice a day?
A. No. The scheduling feature is set in 24-hour increments and only for seven days at a time. If you need it to run twice a day I am assuming that you have a large or extra large floor plan. If the robot isn’t completing the cleaning of your floors because the battery needs to be recharged, you will have to restart the cleaning cycle manually.

You can do so with the remote control or by pressing the “clean” button on the unit itself.

In Conclusion

ILIFE tries to take forward steps only when they release a new model. It is a commendable approach. The upgrades to the V5 from the V3, are noticeable. You get a mopping feature, for example.

You also tend to lose a few features that seem to be standard on most other models. A brush bar for carpet agitation, for instance. The price is set low, though, for those looking to get into the robot cleaning craze. Having a machine that will clean your hard floors and mop at the same time is a good investment.

If you are looking for a cleaner that will mop and do well on your carpet, though, this may not be the best option.

In a Nutshell

If you are new to the robot market and looking for a combo cleaner with a small price point, the ILIFE V5 is a decent option. There are better vacuums and better robot mops on the market, but you will have to pay a premium for a better clean.

What I Like

  • Vacuums and mops hard floors pretty well.
  • HEPA filtration cuts down on in home allergens.
  • Remote control is intuitive and easy to use.

What I Don’t Like

  • No brush roll to agitate carpet fibers.
  • Small collection bin must be emptied after every cycle.
  • No wireless communications for better control and programming.
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