ILife B5 Max - The Economical Choice

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The Ilife B5 Max is an affordable robot that offers some huge advantages over the competition, especially when it comes to its dustbin and dual functionality as a mopping robot as well as a vacuum. Here's what you need to know about what this robot has to offer and what it may be lacking to help you decide whether it's the right one for you.

Features

Mop?

Yes

Water tank

50ml

Filter

HEPA filter and washable dustbin

Suction

2000Pa

Navigation System

Full set of smart sensors

Virtual no-go areas?

No

Empty bin

Manual

App features

Choose cleaning modes: auto, spot, edge, max, set a schedule, adjust suction, see where it has cleaned, set water output

Bin size

600ml dustbin on the robot and 1L dust bag in port

Performance on Carpets

Doesn’t perform well on carpets because of the brushless design

Battery Life

120min

Pros

  • Huge dustbin capacity in the bag option of 1000 ml
  • Low profile enables it to get into more places than many other robots of a similar footprint
  • Great performance with vacuuming and mopping at a very reasonable price

Cons

  • Brushless debris pickup isn't a great option for carpeting
  • The side brushes have a tendency to spin very rapidly, which may be more likely to scatter debris than pick it up
  • No LIDAR, so may not navigate as well as some other robots

Navigation System

The Ilife B5 Max is extremely thin, which enables it to get under furniture and into places that other vacuums may struggle to reach. It has a full set of smart sensors to enable navigation. This robot costs considerably less than some of the competition that use LIDAR lasers for navigation but it does sacrifice somewhat by using smart sensors instead of laser mapping.

You may find that the auto setting misses some spots and spends too much time on others. S navigation may be a better option, especially in complicated home layouts. This robot may not identify obstacles or walls until it bumps into them. In general, it is fairly gentle in its navigation, unlikely to dramatically ping off of obstacles, but you may still notice it bumping into things during navigation.

Because it doesn't build a map, it may need to ping off of the same surfaces every time it navigates a space. When it needs to recharge, it will find its way back to its docking station.

App Control

You have the choice of using an app or a remote to control this robot. It is also compatible with Alexa. It's not compatible with 5G networks but works very well with 2.4 GHz networks. This robot will build a live map as it cleans that can identify where the robot is in your home and give you a sense of where it has cleaned.

This is a good way to tell whether the robot is effectively covering your entire home or if it is missing some areas. The app will also tell you how long it's been cleaning and what the battery level is.

You can control it manually or tell it to go back to the recharge station. The app also allows you to schedule cleans, increasing the autonomy that this vacuum has to offer. Unfortunately, you can only program it to make one run a day.

The app gives you a lot of control over the suction power, enabling you to choose a range between 1 and 100% suction so that you can customize it to exactly your needs. Many people will find that in order to get the best performance, keeping it at higher levels of suction is ideal.

However, if you just want to pick up light dust and keep the robot quieter, you can opt for a lighter setting. You can also choose how much water output you want using the app. Choose between three different settings. The app allows you to see the cleaning history, including how much area was cleaned and how long it took, which is a very convenient feature. It also lets you know what parts need maintenance.

 

Vacuuming

This vacuum offers decent suction at 2000Pa of power. It is powered by a Nidec Brushless Motor that makes the most of the suction power that it has to pick up a wide variety of debris.

There's no brush roll. Airflow is all that is used to pick up debris. This is very convenient when it comes time to clean the robot, but it does mean that some suction is sacrificed on carpeting. While this vacuum may be useful on very low pile carpet, it isn't a good pick for thicker carpets.

On hard floors, this robot does a fairly good job of picking up most debris. It does best with lighter debris like oats but may struggle with heavier debris like pet litter. This is to be expected considering the middle-range suction power. Unfortunately, even when cleaning smaller sections of hard floors, some debris is likely to be missed.

Mopping

The Ilife B5 Max is unusual among robots in this price range in that it allows you to mop and vacuum at the same time. If you want a quick clean, this feature is hard to beat.

The mop is attached to the belly of the vacuum and scrubs continuously while vacuuming. It does a very good job of dispensing water more reliably than gravity tanks can. The mopping feature uses water alone since adding detergent can have negative consequences for the components of the robot, but it does a surprisingly good job of mopping just by using pressure and water.

It may not pick up seriously stuck-on messes, but it will help to loosen some stuck-on dirt and result in a polished clean for your floors.

Noise Level

This vacuum isn't as loud as some of the competition that has a higher suction level, but it isn't one of the quietest vacuums on the market either. It doesn't have any particular features to make it quieter.

Even if you choose a very low suction power, you may still notice the noise level. It averages about 65 decibels at the lowest settings and as much as 71 decimals at 100% suction.

Maintenance

 

Empty the Dustbin

You have two options when it comes to the dustbin for the Ilife B5 Max. The first option is to use the standard dustbin design which opens from the top and has 600ml of capacity. This dustbin is very simple to empty just by detaching it and emptying it into your waste bin.

The second option is to use the bag, which increases the capacity to 1000ml. The bag is great not only because it increases the amount of storage and therefore reduces the frequency with which you'll need to change it, but also because it locks away debris, which can be valuable for allergy sufferers. Keep in mind that the bag does not seal itself, so you'll need to keep the opening up to avoid spilling when you empty it.

Clean the Brushes

The Ilife B5 Max doesn’t have a brush roll, dramatically reducing the amount of maintenance it requires. It does have two side brushes which will need to have hair and other debris detangled from them periodically.

Although there isn’t a brush to tangle hair into, hair can get stuck within the inlet itself and will need to be pulled out periodically. Thankfully, it doesn't take too much effort to pull the hair out of the inlet, but this is something to keep an eye out for, especially if you have pets.

It is important to note that the vacuum will not be able to suck up other debris while it has hair in the inlet, so if you have a lot of hair to be picked up in your home, it's a good idea to check the inlet periodically.

The mop pad will need to be removed and washed with nearly every clean, depending on how dirty your floors are and how much you use the mopping function.

Clean the Filter

The dustbin on this robot has a cyclonic system which means that debris is mostly kept away from the filter which rests above it. This design keeps the filter cleaner than many other robots, so you may find that you need to change it less often than you expect.

Wipe Down the Body of the Vacuum

Because this vacuum doesn't have a brush, the underbelly may tend to get a bit dirtier than other vacuum options. Furthermore, its tendency to bump off of obstacles makes the outer parts of the vacuum dirtier as well. Therefore, wiping down the body of the vacuum will be a regular part of your cleaning.

Conclusion

The Ilife B5 Max is an affordable robot that offers more options when it comes to the dustbin than most other vacuums and also features mopping functionality as well as vacuuming. If you don't mind the less-than-ideal navigation and suction at the lower end of the available spectrum, you may be very happy with this robot.