ILIFE V5s Pro Review - A Small Key Improvement You Didn’t Know You Needed

ILIFE V5s Pro Review – A Small Key Improvement You Didn’t Know You Needed

The landscape for robotic floor cleaners changes almost daily. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up or even make a decision. You decide one day you want a robotic cleaner and when you go to make the purchase, there are five new models to choose from.

How can you possibly choose? You have to decide what it is you are looking for in a cleaner and will it fit your home, your family and do the job you bought it to do. In this article, we will examine the ILIFE V5S Pro. By the end of the article, you will know if the V5s Pro is right for you or if you need to look elsewhere.

Ready to get started? Good, let’s dive in.

Who is the V5s Pro Good For?

The ILIFE V5S Pro is not going to be a perfect fit for every home. However, it could be the right fit for your home if:

  • You don’t need fancy control methods like voice commands or mobile apps.
  • You want a machine that will handle hard floor types with ease.
  • Sweeping and mopping together interest you.

Who is the V5s Pro Not Good For?

You may find yourself looking for other options to compare. You might even cross this one off your list if:

  • You require a deep carpet cleaning robot.
  • You want less maintenance than a combo cleaner needs.
  • You have medium or high pile carpeting in your home.

Dimensions, Features and Options

ILIFE has made their V series live up quite confusing. There is the V3, the V5 and the V7. Each of the latter two has three models each. In this instance, there is the V5, V5s and the V5s Pro. Some people think that the V5s and the Pro are the same models and that there isn’t a difference.

However, I assure you they are two distinct models and have a few differences, besides the price tag. Let’s take a close look at the Pro model.

The Pro Has Bigger Wheels, Which Is Something You Didn’t Even Know You Needed.

One of the advancements the V5s Pro over the V5s is a larger set of wheels. ILIFE claims that the larger wheels help the machines not get stuck on transition surfaces and thresholds.

Top and bottom views of the Ilife v5s pro vacuum.

It is true. The V5s wheels measured 58mm where the Pro uses 65mm wheels. It is also true that the larger wheels allow the machine to cross barriers up to 0.4 inches high and climb up to 15-degree inclines.

What it doesn’t do is improve the performance. Yet ILIFE wants us to think it is a big deal. It isn’t. However, it does hide a pretty big deal: self rescue.

One of the other advancements they don’t really talk about (I am not sure why) is the ability for the machine to recognize when it is stuck or about to be stuck and to try and free itself.

If the robot crosses a cable or cord or is trapped on a sock stuck in the suction and under a wheel, for example, the robot will make evasive maneuvers to free itself, go so far as to reverse the motor and drive backward to become unstuck.

The larger wheels allow this self-rescue technology to happen. So while the larger wheels may seem like a marketing gimmick (and they really are, a half inch diameter isn’t going to make or break a robot’s ability to move), the true reason is the advancement that allows the V5s Pro to free itself from awkward situations.

The truth is, though, that the self-rescue only works if the obstacle isn’t too large or too easily tangled. Power cords that are pulled taught, large debris that isn’t easily sucked up into the airway, and other things like this will be able to be avoided.

Don’t be upset (or surprised though) if you come home and the robot is in distress because it couldn’t free itself and is patiently waiting for you to help it out.

Drip, Drip, Drip, Goes The New Mop Water Reservoir.

The V5s gave us ILIFE’s i-Dropping technology that made for a true wet mop. The idea was that as the robot moved the sensors would release drops of water from the tank onto the mopping pad.

If the robot stopped moving, the drops stopped as well to prevent puddles or over saturation. In the V5s Pro, the i-Dropping technology got a small facelift. Now it is slightly more intelligent. I it something you will notice? Probably not.

The main difference is in the amount of water the reservoir releases, not when or how. ILIFE found that they could conserve the water in the small (0.3L) water tank, by only allowing drops to fall at certain timed intervals.

So now, when the robot moves, it also counts. When the count reaches a certain number, a water drop falls, making the mopping pad wet again. It is smart technology, but unless you actually watch the reservoir, you won’t really notice.

Running the V5s and the V5s Pro side by side is really the only way to tell. The V5s will empty the reservoir faster than the Pro by about six square feet. Not a life or death amount, and nothing to get overly excited about.

However, if you struggle to find a mopping robot that can finish the job in one cycle without being refilled, the ILIFE V5s Pro might just get the job done.

The Battery Finally Gets A Much Needed Upgrade.

One advancement you will notice is the battery life. For those of you that constantly follow my articles (thank you!), you know how I feel about the projected battery life on these machines. Whatever the claim is, you can easily remove 10 to 20 percent of that before you ever take it out of the box.

When the tests on the battery are done in the lab, the robots are under controlled environments; obstacles are sparse, the floor space is easily navigated; it is the ideal situation for the robot with every detail carefully planned out.

This maximizes the potential of the battery. It isn’t cheating, though it is misleading. The ILIFE V5s Pro touts a battery runtime of up to 140 minutes. This is an incredible amount of time for any robotic cleaner. Even most of the industry-leading Roomba’s don’t offer that high of a battery runtime.

The V5s also only had a projected maximum runtime of 120 minutes. So what is different in the Pro model to give it a near half hour more?

For starters, the battery itself is larger. Instead of the 2600mAh packs that are in the rest of the V5 series models, the Pro utilizes a 3000mAh battery pack. This allows the Pro to maintain a three hour recharge time frame but gives more power to the motor when needed and has the ability to run the machine longer.

You most likely will never see the robot run a full 140 minutes. It is near impossible. For starters, it will stop and return to recharge when the battery is just below 15 percent charge. This means that you won’t ever run the battery completely dead.

That 15 percent is an average of about 20 minutes of runtime. So right out of the box, the maximum you can have is 120 minutes. From there, the i-Dropping technology, self-rescue sensors and constant navigation require about 20 to 30 percent of the battery, which leaves us with about 90 minutes of runtime.

Further, you can select different cleaning modes which take up more power, the cleanliness of the filters, airflow chambers and wheels also play a part.

When all is said and done, you can expect to see between 80 and 95 minutes of actual runtime depending on your conditions. This is still pretty spectacular though, as it will mean cleaning an average of 1400 square feet of hard floor surfaces.

As I mentioned, when the battery gets low the robot will return to the docking station to recharge. It will not recharge though if the water reservoir is attached. You will have to remove it prior to docking. Safety first and all.

The V5s Pro will not resume cleaning after a recharge either. If the entire floor space did not get cleaned in a single charge cycle, you would need to manually restart it, either locally or with the remote control (I’ll cover this feature in a moment.).

The larger battery is a plus, but like the other “major” advancements, you probably won’t really notice the difference between the V5s and the Pro.

Rated Floor Types Still Leaves Much To Desire

The ILIFE V series robots are an attempt to be all things to all the people. They want to be a sweeper for hard floors, a mop for hard surfaces and a vacuum for carpet. The problem is, that is a tough ask for any robot cleaner.

The ILIFE V5s Pro is rated to clean all hard floor types. This includes tile, laminate, vinyl, hard and softwood, stone, slab, marble, granite, etc. If it is a hard floor, the V5s Pro can clean it. It has powerful suction (in fact the motor claims 5x more power than the V5) and along with dual side brushes, it will attack edges and corners like a madman on a mission.

It is also one of the few mopping robots that is a true wet mop. The reservoir and i-Dropping technology allow for a squeaky clean floor that dries rapidly and if well maintained, the robot won’t leave any streaks, either.

The wheels are specially designed to not scratch or mar surfaces and for the money, the V5s Pro is a great deal for keeping your hard flooring virtually spotless.

The problem here is when it tries to vacuum. As you should know, vacuums work by traveling over carpet, agitating the fibers to loosen and lift dirt, dust and debris and then using some form of suction power to collect the dirt and store it in a collection bin.

The collection bin is the same size and capacity as the water tank, 0.3L. It will need to be emptied after every use. Some see this as a problem, others see it as something they expected anyway. Although the bin size is a bit small for the industry, it isn’t the downfall of this machine.

I mentioned the dual side brushes earlier. What I didn’t mention yet, is that they are the only brushes. ILIFE removed the bristle brush bar from the bottom of the machine that is used in the vacuum only A series robots and instead just has the suction port to collect debris.

There isn’t an agitation or brush roll to loosen debris from carpet fibers. So while the machine may work splendidly on hard floors, the best you can expect on a carpet is a general and half-way tolerable “once over” on carpet.

That’s not all though; it only runs on low pile carpet. Medium pile, high pile and shag carpeting are not tolerated by the robot and it will pause, stop and freak out in a little robot tantrum if you try to use it on anything but hard floors or low pile carpet.

This is hardly a good investment for a robotic vacuum. Unless your entire home is hard floor with small amounts of low pile carpet, you will probably be disappointed in its ability to clean your floors.

While there isn’t a robot vacuum on the market that can compare with an upright manual vacuum for power and cleanliness, they do help maintain the clean between you regular vacuuming days.

The ILIFE V series, including the V5s Pro, are basically useless on carpet. If you want a better option, good luck. I have a few alternatives I will mention later on, but the truth of the matter is, you can get a really good vacuum robot or a really good mopping robot, but as of this writing, there doesn’t exist a robot that is exceptional at both.

The Controls Haven’t Changed, Although You May Have Expected Them To.

One thing ILIFE has been a stickler for is the control methods of their robots. They give you two options: limited local control or a remote control.

The local control really is limited. It is a single button that sends the robot off on a cleaning cycle. What type of cycle? The automatic, default cycle. If you have the water tank and mop head attached it will mop, if you have the dustbin attached, it will sweep and vacuum. That’s it.

A robot vacuum and its remote control.

For programming and full control, you have to use the infrared remote. In my opinion, this is also limited, but it does work well. The remote offers you several buttons to control or program the cleaning cycle of the robot as well as the ability to set a schedule.

First, the scheduling. Don’t get too excited; it isn’t very robust. Although, over the V3 series and the V5 model, the scheduling has improved.

You still only get a seven-day window to schedule. However, now you can select a start time as well as the number of days to clean.

Whatever time you select, followed by am or pm is when the robot will leave its dock and start cleaning your floors. You can choose for the ILIFE V5s Pro to clean every 24 hours at this time, every 48 hours at this time or every 72 hours.

Then, every seventh day, you have to schedule it all over again. It is a nice feature, but it could easily be improved upon. I should note that you cannot schedule the robot for a moping cycle. Since the water reservoir can’t be attached while it is on the charging dock.

The other buttons control the robot and its cleaning cycle as well as cleaning modes. There are five cleaning modes. I’ve said this before and I probably will again: five modes, not four. I will show you:

  • Automatic Mode – In this mode, the robot will scurry around your floor navigating its way around and under obstacles cleaning the entire floor space. It has a random pattern and acts sporadic, though it does clean up to 99 percent of the floor surface each outing.
  • Manual Mode – Here, you can use the three arrow keys to drive the robot manually. You can use this if you are bored, are an RC enthusiast who loves control, or need the robot to go to a specific area.
  • Max Mode – The “hidden mode” as I call it. When using automatic or manual modes (only these two), you can press the max button (located where the down arrow should be) and the motor will kick things up a notch, giving more power for suction at the expense of draining the battery faster.
  • Edge Mode – In this mode, the robot will leave the dock, head to the nearest baseboard or wall and use the dual side brushes to clean the edges and corners of the floor space.
  • Spot Mode – This mode allows you to do a more detailed clean in a specific spot. The robot will spiral out from the spot you choose concentrating its efforts to get a heavily soiled or particularly troubled area a good cleaning.

Five modes, not four, and you can’t convince me otherwise. There isn’t a wireless adapter in the robot’s computer. So there is no ability to use a mobile app, voice commands or connect to other smart home gadgets. You get the local control button or the remote control.

Specifications Chart

I have put together a handy chart for you to look at. We all love visual aids. Here I will show you what the machine has (or lacks) in a quick rundown.

ILIFE V5s Pro
Dimensions 11.8×11.8×3 inches
Weight 4.5 pounds
Battery 3000mAh Lithium-Ion
Battery Runtime Up to 140 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
Water Reservoir Capacity 0.3L
Warranty 2 years
Dry Mop Yes
Wet Mop YES
Voltage Rating 110v – 240v (Universal)

Alternative Options

As promised earlier, I will give you a few other options to consider if the ILIFE V5s Pro doesn’t seem like a good fit for you.

bObSweep PetHair Plus

As stated before, it is difficult to find a vacuum and mopping robot that can do a decent job at both. The bObsweep was one of the first machines to attempt both. It does have a brush roll for better vacuuming on carpet, but it is not a true wet mop, opting for a dry or damp mop using only a microfiber pad to wipe the floors with.

However, if your home has more carpet than hard floors, it may be a decent option to consider. It will vacuum better than the V5s Pro, but it won’t mop as well. What it does offer though, is UV sterilization. If you want truly clean floors after mopping, check it out.

Deik Robot Vacuum 3-in-1

The Diek is another model that attempts to do all things for all floor types. Unlike the Pro, the Diek can clean carpets using a soft bristle brush. This means it won’t clean very deep or be able to agitate thicker fibers, however, any bristle brush is better than none.

You also get a wet mop, dry mop and sweeping ability with the debut model from Diek. This may not be the end-all-be-all model we are looking for, but the future looks bright for Diek, as long as they are apt for change.

Frequently Asked Questions

I will answer a couple of questions that crop up time and again with the V series robots. If you have more questions, use the comment section below.

Q. Can I contain the V5s Pro?
A. Yes, you can. The ElectroWall containment tower from ILIFE will work on all their robot vacuums. However, there aren’t any included in the purchase and you will need to buy them separately.
Otherwise, you can put up obstacles or close doors to keep the little guy from going where he shouldn’t.

Ilife's electrowall emitting an infrared line that served as barrier.

Q. Can I put a cleaning solution in the tank instead of just water?
A. You can, but it isn’t recommended. The reason why is that the dropper will become clogged over time with cleaning solutions as most of them harden when dried. Since you can’t really access the dropper to keep it clean, you will require extra maintenance or risk the clogging and thus rendering the machine ineffective.

Water works just fine. Remember these machines aren’t designed to replace your regular cleaning appliances or routines, just to help out between chore days.

In Conclusion

I know this article sounds a bit harsh towards the ILIFE V5s Pro. I do think it is a decent sweep and mop machine and if you have a home with primarily hard flooring, it can do wonders keeping your floors tidy between regular mopping days.

However, if you have rugs, carpet or a combination of the two, you will probably be disappointed. It doesn’t do very well on carpet and you will end up purchasing a vacuum only robot or being frustrated and doing it manually as you do now.

In a Nutshell

The ILIFE V5s Pro is a small step up from the V5s. If you have a V5s there isn’t a reason to upgrade. However, if you need a decent mopping robot that can sweep well also, go with the Pro version as the small upgrades are worth the extra cost.

What I Like

  • HEPA filtration for allergy sufferers.
  • Remote control works without issues.
  • Larger battery for more cleaning time.

What I Don’t Like

  • No mobile or voice command controls.
  • Not having a brush roll to agitate carpet fibers.
  • Small bin size for frequent emptying or refilling.
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