Can a robot vacuum cleaner be all-terrain? The Shark Ion Robot R85 certainly takes care not to leave any surface unvacuumed. Most of the time he succeeds and thanks to the app you will know when he needs help.
Our version of the Shark Ion Robot R85 came with a battery-powered slim handheld vacuum that also plugs into the base of the robot, bringing the total price up to $512. Oddly enough, this is a tacit admission that your robot vacuum won’t be able to reach every corner, but a handheld vacuum is also useful for cleaning sofa cushions. But if you’re looking for one of the most efficient robot vacuums around, then the R85 is it. That’s why it’s our current pick for the best robot vacuums.
Main Thing – Fast Review
- Excellent performance when cleaning pet hair
- The dust container is very easy to clean
- Easy app and notification settings
- May get stuck on thick carpet
If the Eufy RoboVac 11s is a sleek sports car, the Shark Ion Robot R85 is a rugged Jeep Wrangler. At 3.4 inches tall, it’s not as short as the 2.85-inch 11s, but it’s shorter than the 3.7-inch iRobot Roomba 690. Although it did not fit under our low-rise sofa, it easily disappeared under the other chairs in our living room.
The Ion’s top is a mix of dark gray and black, with three buttons: Clear, Dock, and Max. Light indicators for error, charge level, and Wi-Fi appear on the physical buttons. The Ion’s manual has a long list of error light and sound combinations, which is handy if you don’t have your phone nearby, but we’d rather let the app figure out the errors for us.
Flip the Ion over and you’ll find two large rubber wheels and a small roller wheel at the front. Two single-spoke brushes flank each side of that wheel. The single-spoke brushes are less robust than the three-spoke ones on the RoboVac 11s, but we didn’t miss the extra spokes on the RoboVac, which tended to catch on hair.
The Ion features a single bristle brush on twisted rubber fins. The short, stiff hair was easier to clean than the thicker purl and fins on the RoboVac 11s. Behind the roller brush are two small fixed brush pieces.
Freeing the garbage can on the Ion Robot was easy enough; just press the rear edge of the vacuum cleaner. Although the bin has a clamshell design, like on the RoboVac 11s, it’s much more elegant thanks to a second release button that keeps it closed until you get to the bin. Compared to the 11s vacuum’s dust-spreading bucket and the Roomba 690’s experience of having to fish for debris from the bucket, the Ion Robot provided a pleasant experience, if anything can be called “pleasant.” that involves dust.
Although the optional vacuum cleaner and base combination are not very attractive, the handheld vacuum adds some weight to the base, which helps prevent the robot vacuum from pushing against the base during docking. One quibble: We wish the two included handheld vacuum attachments would fit into the base or come with some kind of organizer, as they seem destined to be lost immediately.
The Shark Ion requires an app (Android or iOS) and a 2.5GHz Wi-Fi network (sorry no 5GHz) if you want to control the vacuum without bending over. Like the Roomba 690, you must set up the Ion using its own Wi-Fi network and then connect it to your home network.
Once connected, you can start or stop cleanings and select Normal, Silent, or Maximum cleaning settings. In the app, you can also schedule cleanings, view historical cleaning data, and receive notifications about what’s happening with the Ion. Most of the notifications we received were related to the vacuum jamming and cleaning completions, although it also issued an “uneven surface” warning every time we picked up the vacuum.
Pressing Clean in the app sent the Ion Robot to life with a bang and a happy chime. We tested it on the first floor of an open-plan home with a mix of hardwood floors, thin rugs, doormats, and a 2-inch thick shag rug.
During its initial journey, the Ion Robot skipped the wood-floored bathroom and the front of the living room. The Roomba 690 did the same thing. Like the 690, the Ion corrected its trajectory during its second run through the house, thoroughly cleaning both areas.
Unlike the RoboVac 11s, which got stuck on the edge of thick carpet, and the iRobot Roomba 690, which ignored carpet altogether, the Robot Ion easily climbed up the high-pile carpet and confidently traversed difficult terrain. . But then our phone lit up with notifications, and the robot gave a sad, worried chime. According to the app, the vacuum stopped cleaning because the sensors on the cliff were blocked, probably due to the thickness of the carpet.
The Ion Robot did a solid job of aggressively picking up dust and debris. And it was really aggressive. Equipped with a front bumper similar to that of the Roomba 690s, the Ion slowed down as it approached walls and other objects, but still slammed into them with some force. We were sitting on a chair when the Ion crashed into it, and we were surprised by how hard it hit. We idea it was our 55-pound dog instead of a 6.6-pound robot.
Included with the Shark Ion is 2.5 meters of ‘robot boundary’ tape, which will help prevent the vacuum from going into areas you don’t want it to go.
It may not be the fastest, but the Robot Shark Ion R85 quickly cleared a path to our hearts. Not only did it perform exceptionally well in our lab tests, but it also impressed us at home. Your trash can is incredibly easy to clean, and the app makes it easy to keep an eye on the robot as it goes around the house. While we’re not fans of Shark’s “bit limit” strip solution, it’s a compromise we’re willing to make in the fight against dog hair. Our suggestion: Unless you can find a good deal, ditch the handheld vacuum combo and go for the solo version. It’s hard to beat the performance of this robot for its price.