ILIFE V5s Review - Robot Vacuum and Mop Combo

ILIFE V5s Review – Robot Vacuum and Mop Combo

When ILIFE began making the V series the idea of a combo vacuum and mop cleaner wasn’t a new thing. The design is a simple one: half vacuum, half mopping head. The problem with most designs is that to do two different things; you lose the ability to do one well.

The ILIFE V5s is an attempt to improve on the design so that the vacuum and mopping are improved and the machine could do both well. Did it work? Is the V5s worth your money, time and attention? We find out in this article. Read on to find out if the ILIFE V5s is a good fit for you.

Who The V5s Is For

This robot is a good fit for a lot of homes and it could be a good fit for yours if:

  • You want a true wet mop and vacuum robot.
  • You are looking for a budget-friendly combo for most floor types.
  • The floor space is entirely or mostly hard flooring.
  • You suffer allergies and need to reduce the triggers in the home.

Who The V5s Is Not For

This vacuum isn’t a match for everyone. You may find that the robot cleaner isn’t a good fit for you if:

  • You require smart home integrations for more control.
  • You have medium to high pile carpeting or rugs in the home.
  • There is a need for deep carpet cleaning instead of a surface touch up.

Dimensions, Features and Options

It is time to dive into the ILIFE V5s and find out exactly what is going on. Knowing the critical details will help your decision-making process when considering the V5S for purchase.

The Mopping Function Actually Mops Now Instead Of Just Rubbing The Cloth Along The Floor.

One of the major (and only) improvements of the V5S over the V5 is that it has a water reservoir for a true wet mop experience.

Ilife v5s along with its water tank and mopping cloth.

This is done with the inclusion of a water tank and a new technology ILIFE calls i-Dropping. When the water tank is attached, it will constantly drip water from the tank onto the nanofiber cloth. The cloth then acts like a stick mop, wiping and mopping the hard floor surface as the robot runs around.

Because the water tank replaces the collection bin, the robot cannot vacuum and wet mop at the same time. However, if you want the dual ability, it is possible, just not with a wet mop.

There is a microfiber cloth attachment that fits on the machine when the collection bin is installed. The robot will vacuum the floors while the dry mop pad sweeps the floor. You also have the ability to spray cleaning solution on the cloth for a damp mop. Just be careful not to saturate the cloth, or you will be left with streaks.

The water reservoir is the same size and capacity (0.3L) as the collection bin. You will be required to fill the water tank and remove the collection bin to use the machine as a wet mop robot. You will also be forced to remove the water tank prior to the robot docking on the charging station.

You cannot recharge while the water tank is installed for safety reasons (water and electricity don’t mix.). This adds more steps to your cleaning cycle, which is to be expected with a dual mode robot.

More Functions With The Same Battery, Yet It Maintains A Longer Runtime.

The V5s uses the same 2600mAh battery as the V5 model. However, the V5s claims a runtime of up to 120 minutes instead of 100 minutes like the V5 has.

I found this odd as there is more reliance on battery power to control the i-Dropping technology that is included in the V5s.

After doing a bit of research, I have discovered that the claims are based on vacuum modes only and don’t include the mop functionality. This only proved to confuse me even more. Since the V5 doesn’t have the i-Dropping technology, the batteries should have the same runtime.

What I was able to uncover, though, is that the V5 and the V5s use the same chipset and microprocessors. This tells me that the i-Dropping technology is present in the V5 it just isn’t used.

I am assuming here (and you know what that means) that because there isn’t a water reservoir to activate the i-dropping feature, that it is constantly drawing power from the battery instead of turning on and off as it does in the ILIFE V5s.

The runtime is negligible with a difference of a mere 10 minutes. However, in some instances, an extra ten minutes of cleaning time could be the difference between a complete cleaning cycle and one that requires a recharge to finish.

The battery does its job though, regardless of the claimed runtime abilities. The robot will recharge in three hours and it will automatically return to the charging dock when the battery falls below 10 percent.

Like the V series robots that came before it, the V5s will not resume cleaning after a charging cycle is complete. You will have to initiate the cleaning cycle manually to get the entire floor surface cleaned.

The expected runtime claims of 120 minutes isn’t a reality and for those that follow my articles here, you know why: unless you can reproduce lab quality environments, the runtime will never be reached.

You can expect the robot to run for about 90 minutes on a single charge which should be sufficient enough to cover your entire floor space. Unless you have a lot of carpeted areas or a vast floor plan, 90 minutes should be enough to cover your floors at least once.

The Removal Of The Brush Bar Makes Vacuuming Virtually Impossible.

When you turn the robot over you will notice that there isn’t a rotating brush bar or agitator on the bottom. The only brushes are the three-pronged side brushes that spin around as the robot cleans.

Instead of a brush bar, there is a suction port that collects the dirt dust and debris and sends it to the collection bin. This means that the entire vacuum portion of the unit relies solely on the side brushes for collection.

Views of the top and bottom of the ILIFE v5s vacuum

As with any other robotic vacuum, the side brushes are designed to collect debris from edges, corners and baseboards and send them towards the rotating brush bars for collection. Without the brush bar, the machine must hope that the dirt, dust and debris that is picked up by the sidebars doesn’t miss the small entry where the suction is.

There is also no way for the vacuum to agitate carpet fibers and cannot get more than a surface clean on carpet. The good news is (I always look for a silver lining) that there isn’t a brush bar to get tangled with hair and string. That is one less maintenance step you need to take.

As long as you don’t expect much from the vacuum side of the machine, you won’t be too disappointed.

The robot is rated for all hard floors but only low pile carpet. If you have a medium pile, high pile or shag carpeting, the robot won’t be of any help. Vacuuming without a brush roll is the equivalent of draining a bathtub with a single paper towel; it just isn’t going to happen.

Use The Remote Control; It Is Basically Your Only Option.

Controlling the ILIFE V5s is rudimentary at best. You are given two options: a single push button on the device itself or using a remote control. There isn’t a wireless receiver in the robot, so it won’t be able to connect to a network.

This means there is no mobile app or voice command control of the robot and you won’t be able to integrate it in with the rest of your smart home. Some people, though, prefer this method of control and enjoy that there aren’t any complicated apps of commands to learn and use.

If you are satisfied with letting the robot decide what is best, you can use the local control. Just press the button on the top of the unit and it will rush off using the default cleaning settings. It will have a sporadic cleaning pattern and will decide for itself where to go and what to clean.

If you require more control though, you can use the included remote. It will give you the ability to select cleaning modes and set a schedule.

There are five cleaning modes for the V5S:

An illustration of the 4 main cleaning modes of ilife v5s vacuum.

  • Automatic – This is the mode that is the same as pressing the button on the device. It will run off and clean using its own sensors, navigation and mapping to cover your entire floor.
  • Manual – This mode gives you complete control over the robot. Using the three arrow keys on the remote, you can steer and drive the unit where you want it to go. You will have to stay near the robot though as the remote sensor is located in the front of the device.
  • Edge Cleaning – The edge clean mode will send the robot from the docking station to the nearest wall where it will run the perimeter of the floor space. It will run along the baseboards and clean in the corners before returning to the docking station.
  • Spot Cleaning – In this mode, the robot will run in spirals over a specific spot for a deeper, more thorough clean of that particular area.
  • Max Mode – When the robot is in automatic or manual mode you can press the max button on the remote to boost the motor up to 5x speed. This will provide more suction and power for a better clean. It will, however, cost you battery life and runtime.

The remote control and the ILIFE v5s vacuum itself.

You can also use the remote to set a schedule. The schedules run for seven days and unlike the previous A series cleaners, you can select a start time in addition to the 24, 48 or 72-hour increments. Every seven days, though, you will have to reprogram the schedule if you want to continue using it.

What you will notice with the schedule is that you won’t be able to set a date. When the seven-day schedule is started, it will run from the time you set it (day 1) to the end of the cycle (day 7). If you select the 24-hour option, it will run every day for seven days at the time you set. Likewise for the 48 and 72-hour options.

If you have the water reservoir attached you will not be able to set a schedule. This is because the robot will need to dock at the completion of the cleaning cycle and it won’t dock with the water tank on.

The Navigation, Mapping and Sensors Work, Just Not As Well As You Are Hoping.

One of the most common complaints about the ILIFE robots is their lack of navigation ability. The cleaning pattern is random at best and there are often times when the entire floor space doesn’t get cleaned.

To further the frustration, the sensors on the robot seem to work when they want to. You will often see (or hear) the robot running into walls, chair and table legs and other obstacles. The proximity sensors do work for the most part as the robot does slow down to avoid a heavy collision. However it doesn’t always change direction.

The drop sensors that prevent the robot from falling off ledges or tumbling down the stairs work well. I have yet to see a report or review stating the robot just went all lemming and leaps to its own demise.

The ILIFE V5s is not a learning robot and will not map your home to get better at navigation. Each time out it relies on its sensors to let it know where obstacles and object are. Some robots will actually get better at navigation the more they run through your home.

This is because they map your floor space and learn where objects are based on the information stored in the memory. The V5s doesn’t store a map or obstacle location information. It will seek out the charging dock based on a sensor in the nose end specifically designed to find the dock.

Other than that, it just looks for obstacles as it cleans and tries (sometimes) to avoid them when they are detected.

Specifications Chart

I have a chart here for you to see the ILIFE V5s and all its features and options (or lack thereof) so you can have a visual guide to aid in your purchasing decision.

ILIFE V5s
Dimensions 11.8×11.8×3 inches
Weight 4.5 pounds
Battery 2600mAh Lithium-Ion
Battery Runtime Up to 120 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

It is always good to have other options when making a large purchase or one that you plan to have for a while. Here are a few other choices if the ILIFE V5s isn’t striking your fancy.

ILIFE V5

If you like the idea of a combo robot but don’t want to deal with swapping a water tank and collection bin out, the V5 is a vacuum and dry/damp mop robot. It is virtually the exact same machine as the V5s without the water tank.

You can still use a spray cleaner on the microfiber pad for a damp mop similar to a stick mop you would buy in a store with replaceable cleaning pads. The V5 doesn’t have a brush roll either, though, and isn’t exceptional at cleaning carpets.

Roomba 650

If you are looking for a cleaner and sticking to a smaller budget, the Roomba 650 is an affordable option. You won’t have the ability to mop or sweep, but the Roomba 650 has a fabulous vacuum ability and will clean any floor type except shag carpeting.

The price point has dropped in the recent years with the introduction of fancier models form the 800 and 900 series and if you want a reliable name, Roomba is one that won’t let you down.

bObsweep Vacuum + Mop

When it comes to combination vacuums and mopping robots, bObsweep was one of the first to introduce the idea. Like the V5, it uses a dry mop option with a microfiber cloth and a vacuum that actually has a brush roll.

It isn’t the greatest mop robot on the market, nor is it the best vacuum robot, but it is one of the few that can do both with some expectations of a completed job.

Frequently Asked Questions

I do my best to answer all questions through the article. However, there are some that get missed from time to time. I will answer a few of them here. As always, if you still have questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Q. Can I use cleaners in the reservoir instead of water?
A. You can. You can use peanut butter if you really wanted to. There isn’t a law against it. However, you may want to reconsider (the cleaning solutions, not the peanut butter).

Cleaning solutions leave a residue. This will build up and collect around the water dropper that feeds the microfiber cloth. Eventually, the dropper will get clogged and you won’t be able to mop at all.

The manufacturer recommends that you use only water for this reason. However, if you were to spray a cleaner on your floor prior to the mopping cycle, it wouldn’t get in the dropper and clog it up. Be sure not to use too much or you will oversaturate the mop head and it won’t do a very good job cleaning and drying.

Q. If the robot stops will it make a puddle on the floor?
A. No. Not in theory. Unless something is wrong with the dropper that supplies the water to the cloth when the robot stops the dropper stops.

This is designed to prevent puddles and over saturation of the cleaning mop head. The i-Dropping technology knows when the robot is stationary or in motion. It will only release water from the reservoir when the robot is moving.

Q. How often will I need to empty the collection bin, 0.3L seems kind of small?
A. The collection bin is pretty small for the robot vacuum market. Most are at least 0.5L. However, depending on how much you use it and how much debris it actually collects you can possibly get away with emptying it every other cycle.

Demonstrating maintenance of the dustbin and filter of the ILIFE vacuum.

It is recommended and in the user manual, to empty the collection bin after every cycle. You are also supposed to replace the HEPA filter every month, as well. If you aren’t keen on a regular maintenance schedule, the ILIFE V5s is going to frustrate you.

That’s a Wrap

ILIFE has two basic machines: the A series robotic vacuums and the V series hybrid vacuum and mopping robots. The V5s is an improvement over the V5 because it actually has a water reservoir for a true wet mopping experience.

It will not replace your regular floor care routine, but it will help maintain that clean between chore days. Without a brush roll, the vacuum portion is effectively useless on carpets. However, it will still maintain a clean floor when on hard surfaces.

If you are sticking to a tight budget and really need a combo robot, the ILIFE V5s may be a good option, as long as you don’t mind extra maintenance and don’t have a lot of carpet or rugs.

In a Nutshell

The ILIFE V5s tries to answer the need for a vacuum and a mop robot in a single unit. It would have done better by keeping the brush bar for carpets and a larger bin and reservoir would have helped the overall score. Still, for an entry level robot it does what is says it will do.

What I Like

  • HEPA filtration to cut down on allergens.
  • Real wet mop ability instead of a dry cloth.
  • Battery will last long enough to clean your whole floor.

What I Don’t Like

  • No wireless communications for better control and programming.
  • Scheduling is lack luster and needs more options.
  • Small collection bin and water tank needs to be emptied too often.
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