I tested a robot vacuum with a handheld vacuum that empties itself

Ecovacs Deebot T30S Combo robot vacuum and mop

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • Ecovacs just launched a new Deebot T30S Combo 3-in-1 robot vacuum, mop, and handheld vacuum for $1,200. 
  • The robot vacuum features an industry-leading 11,000Pa of suction power, retractable mop pads to tackle corners and edges, a new v-shaped brush to prevent tangles, a self-emptying handheld vacuum, and self-washing and self-emptying features for the robot. 
  • Though I had no issues with mapping, I found the Deebot T30S’s object avoidance left something to be desired. It does not avoid items that are too large for its brush like other robots can. The mopping pads only lift 9mm off the floor, which isn’t enough to keep medium-pile rugs dry.

Three-in-one robot vacuums have become my favorite type of smart household device. I already reach for my cordless vacuum daily for different purposes, whether to clean up the crumbs on the hardwood floors or to vacuum up pet hair from my dog’s rug. I also run my robot vacuum and mop daily, so having both come together with the perks of a dual-dust collection system is this clean freak’s dream. 

Also: The best robot vacuums you can buy: Expert tested

The Ecovacs Deebot T30S Combo is the second three-in-one robot vacuum, mop, and cordless vacuum solution I’ve tested. The first is the flagship Deebot X2 Omni Combo Complete, which retails for $1800. The T30S Combo equivalent is the Deebot X2 Omni Combo variant, which has a $1,600 MSRP (currently discounted at $1,400).

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The Deebot T30S Combo has the strongest suction power on the market at 11,000Pa, rivaling the new Yeedi M12 Pro+. This strong suction has proven extremely effective in my home’s cleanliness battle, especially on rugs and carpets. I ran the T30S robot vacuum at its highest suction setting, and it left my floors spotless, which is a lot to say in a house with three kids who don’t seem to know what a trash bin is and a dog constantly leaving black and white hairs in his wake.

This capability makes the T30S one of the best robot vacuums I’ve tried. I wish it were better at avoiding obstacles, especially because of my messy kids. As it vacuumed downstairs so effectively, I set up the device upstairs to deal with the second floor, home to our bedrooms. The floor is divided into half carpet and half hardwood. The T30S robot vacuum constantly got tangled in random pieces of kids’ stuff, such as a sock under the bed, a small stuffed animal or the edges of a blanket touching the floor. 

Ecovacs Deebot T30S Combo robot vacuum and mop

The V-shaped brush roller is meant to prevent tangles.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

This issue means I can’t run the device in my kids’ rooms unless I’m meticulous about what is strewn about on the floor, making it likely better for homes without younger (or messy) kids. I pick up everything under the beds using an upright vacuum anyway, so this issue hasn’t been a big inconvenience. 

Also: The best robot vacuums for pet hair: Expert tested

Vacuuming features aside, it’s time to discuss the TrueEdge Adaptive Edge mopping feature. The T30S robot’s mopping pads extend out to the edges of the robot to reach corners and under appliances, and they retract as needed. This feature works well around a corner or the legs of a chair, as the mop doesn’t miss any spots. 

Ecovacs Deebot T30S Combo robot vacuum and mop

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The robot periodically returns to the base station during cleaning to wash the mop pads autonomously with hot water, so all you have to worry about is refilling the clean water tank and emptying the dirty water tank. Even if you think your floors are clean, I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how dirty the water is.

The mop pads lift automatically and the robot increases suction power when cleaning carpets for a deep clean. Because the mop pads only lift to 9mm when cleaning carpets and rugs, they left my medium-pile living room carpet wet, which is another reason I decided to move the T30S upstairs. The robot kept all rugs and carpets in the second story completely dry, including the bedroom carpets.

Ecovacs Deebot T30S Combo robot vacuum and mop

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

On to the feature that makes the Deebot T30S Combo stand out from all competitors: the self-emptying cordless vacuum. The handheld vacuum with the T30S Combo features up to 60 minutes of runtime, rivaling the flagship Dyson V15 Detect cordless vacuum, making it a go-to for cleaning between couch cushions, vacuuming dust off air vents, and cleaning the stairs on a single charge. 

Also: I’ve tested 25+ robot vacuum mops – these are the best

We like to take the handheld cordless vacuum out to the car, and a single charge is enough to vacuum our vehicle, including the crumbs in three children’s car seats. You don’t have to manually open the dustbin to empty its contents into a garbage can. Setting the device down to charge at the base station after 30 seconds away will trigger it to empty the handheld dustbin into the same dustbag used to empty the robot vacuum’s dustbin, without pressing a single button.

Ecovacs Deebot T30S Combo robot vacuum and mop

Accessories are included with the Ecovacs Deebot T30S Combo, although I wish it had a floor brush.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

My only wish is the handheld vacuum had a floor brush, so I could use the device on rugs for quick cleanups, as I can with the Deebot X2 Combo Complete downstairs. 

ZDNET’s buying advice

Ecovacs describes the T30S Combo as a midrange 3-in-1 robot vacuum. Ecovacs pairs an impressive midrange robot with a high-end base station and handheld vacuum. The result is a “midrange” robot vacuum priced at $1,200. But it would be best to consider what you’re getting for that price, plus the fact that you’ll likely be able to find it discounted during sales events, like Prime Day.

Even though robot vacuums and mops seem to get more expensive with each launch, a robot vacuum and mop with these specs, plus a self-emptying and self-washing station, would’ve cost $1,200 a year or two ago. Adding a self-emptying handheld vacuum is an extra benefit for people who want more home-cleaning options. 

I’m a penny-pincher, but I’d snag the Deebot T30S Combo during a sale, especially if I could save $200 off the original price. Having the option to quickly grab the cordless vacuum to handle jobs the robot can’t reach is too convenient to pass up. 

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