at $229, the Ecovacs Deebot N79S is relatively affordable, and offers more for the price than any other vacuum we’ve tested. In addition to long battery life and manual steering, it supports features we typically see in far more expensive models such as app control and Amazon Alexa compatibility. It also delivers a stronger clean than other vacuums we’ve tested in this price range, earning it our Editors’ Choice.
The circular N79S is pretty basic in terms of looks. At 13.9 inches in diameter, it’s slightly wider than the Eufy RoboVac 11 and the iLife A4s (12.2 inches). But it stands at a relatively short 3.3 inches, meaning it should fit under all but the lowest-clearance furniture. It’s not exactly eye-catching, but its dark chocolate color should blend in well with most home decor.
On the top, you’ll find an oblong tab that houses the Auto Clean button and the Wi-Fi indicator light, above Deebot and Ecovacs logos. The side is home to the power switch, the front bumper contains the bot’s infrared sensors, and the back is where you’ll find the removable dustbin. Flip the N79S over and you’ll see two spin brushes, a main roller brush, two main treads, a nose wheel, contact chargers, and drop sensors.
In addition to the robot itself and a charging cradle, the N79S comes with a remote. It looks a little retro, with a glossy black finish and a monochrome screen. The top of the remote has a Charge button, which returns the bot back to its dock, and an Auto Clean button. There’s a directional pad for steering in the center, as well as a Start/Pause button. Underneath, you’ll find two rows of buttons: Scheduling, Time and Date, Spot Cleaning, Room Cleaning, Wi-Fi Setup, and Edge Cleaning.
App and Alexa
If you want to get the most out of the N79s, you’ll need to download and connect it to Ecovacs app for Android or iOS. Select which Ecovacs robot you want to set up from a list of available products, press the Wi-Fi button on the remote, and wait for a beep. At this point, you’ll need to enter your home’s Wi-Fi password, as well as make sure you’re connecting to a 2.4GHz network (5GHz isn’t supported). When that’s done, you have to manually connect to the robot’s Wi-Fi and the app will take care of the rest.
In practice, my phone wasn’t reliably able to find the N79S’s Wi-Fi network and I had to restart the process a few times before I was able to successfully complete the setup process. I experienced no issues when testing the Deebot R95, which uses the same app, so this was a bit perplexing.
Once connected, you’ll find the robot’s status on the left of the app screen and its remaining battery life on the right. Underneath is a directional pad that lets you steer the N79S from your phone. Lastly, the bottom of the screen lists all the available cleaning modes.
The N79S is also compatible with Amazon Alexa voice commands. Like the R95, all you have to do is enable the Ecovacs skill in the Alexa app. Once you’ve linked your accounts, you can use an Alexa-compatible device, such as an Amazon Echo, to start and stop cleaning by voice, as well as tell the robot to return to its dock.
The N79S is surprisingly powerful. In testing, it was able to easily suck up hair, crumbs, and dust from my floors. It even picked up a stray USB stick without missing a beat. Other robot vacuums I’ve tested in this price range would malfunction when faced with large objects, so it was quite a shock to see the USB drive in the dustbin.
In terms of manuevering, the N79S is capable of navigating around common household obstacles, as well as trawling across different floor types. It did get stuck a few times in particularly crowded areas, in which case it emits a loud beep to let you know it requires assistance. Luckily it’s an easy fix using the remote or app. You can schedule cleanings by specific dates and times, as well as enable spot cleaning for one specific area, or edge cleaning when you want to make sure every corner of the room has been covered.
As for noise, you’ll definitely hear the N79S if it’s nearby, but it’s not so bad when it’s making the rounds in other parts of your house. And battery life is solid. A single charge got me about 95 minutes of cleaning, which should be sufficient for the average apartment or a single floor of a house.
Comparisons and Conclusions
Compared with the the Eufy Robovac 11, our previous Editors’ Choice, the Ecovacs Deebot N79S offers more powerful cleaning, Alexa voice support, and app control for just $10 more. The iRobot Roomba 690 adds Google Assistant compatibility, but also increases the price significantly at $375. So despite some minor navigational and connectivity issues, the D79S is a tremendous value. It earns our Editors’ Choice affordable robot vacuums, and should be at the top of any bargain hunter’s list.