Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: It's a bit expensive, but the convenience it offers makes it a very appealing buy. It sucks up balls of pet fur, dust, and other debris in just a few seconds after a Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI docks to it, and it only needs to be emptied about once a month.
2.5 Liter capacity
Works with Deebot T8 AIVI
Control dust collection from the app
Works in place of standard T8 AIVI base
Cord storage space
Replacement bags are expensive
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Earlier this year, I tested the ECOVACS Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI, a robot vacuum that, thanks to its built-in camera, is really good at avoiding obstacles and doubles as a roaming pet camera. I absolutely loved testing this device as it made it a whole lot easier to keep my house clean. So, when I learned that ECOVACS was releasing an Auto-Empty Station as a companion accessory to the T8 AIVI, I knew I had to test it out.
Since I own pets, I have to empty robot vacuum dustbins each day they run; otherwise, they overflow with fur. And since emptying dustbins leads me into an allergy-induced sneeze attack every day (that lasts several hours), the thought of a vacuum that empty's its loads into a cleaning base on its own is very appealing for me. The Auto-Empty Station holds up to 2.5 liters, so all you have to worry about is replacing the bag in the station every month or so. From my experience, this is a great addition to any busy home, even those that have a never-ending supply of pet fur.
ECOVACS Auto-Empty Station What I like
When you open the Auto-Empty Station's box, you'll discover the base, a removable cord, an outlet key tool, two bags, a clear floor mat, a new dustbin for the T8 AIVI, three screws, and a small screwdriver. The vacuum must be purchased separately.
Fast installation Easy set up
It really didn't take that long to get the Auto-Empty Station set up. All I did was pull it out of the packaging, use the included screwdriver, and three screws to secure the bottom and top part of the base together and then plug it into the wall.
I had to modify the T8 AIVI a little before it could be used with the Auto-Empty Station. First, I had to pull out the robot vacuum's original dustbin, which revealed two plastic squares with slots at the bottom of the vacuum. I used the included outlet key tool to remove the two plastic squares. This allows the Auto-Empty Station to suck air directly from underneath the robot vacuum. Finally, I placed the new dustbin inside the vacuum, and then put the T8 AIVI onto the base of the Auto-Empty Station.
Aside from the different coloring, the new dustbin looks similar to the previous one at first glance. However, the difference is on the bottom of the new dustbin; two hinged opening points pull open when the Auto-Empty Station turns on. This allows the cleaning base to suck debris and dust out from the vacuum without removing the dustbin.
Excellent suction and large capacity Cleans the dustbin out
My grey tabby and my little corgi might just be the most adorable animals on this planet. However, they both tend to track dirt and shed in copious amounts each day, making it so that I have to run a robot vacuum every morning just to keep up with their fluffy messes. Having the Auto-Empty Station has proved to be a huge relief because I no longer have to run to my dumpster and dump the dustbin out of my robot vacuum every morning.
After each cleaning session, the robot returns to the Auto-Empty Station to charge, and then the base sucks all of the dustbin's contents out of the container by way of the two holes on the bottom of the base. The T8 AIVI robot vacuum has excellent suction, so the dustbin always fills up with kitty litter, pet food, and fur.
To understand what I'm talking about, look at this picture. Considering how much gets packed into the dustbin after each cleaning, I'm frequently surprised that the Auto-Empty Station can pull so much fluff and debris out through those holes, leaving the dustbin empty for another run. However, during the three weeks that I tested the cleaning base, there were three times that the Auto-Empty Station failed to remove the furball from my robot vacuum's dustbin, and I had to fish it out manually.
The T8 AIVI has a dustbin capacity of 240 ml, while the cleaning base has a capacity of 2.5 liters. ECOVACS states that the Auto-Empty Station can hold 30+ day's worth of bins. That's a lot of my pet's fur, dry pet food, kitty litter, and dirt. At this point, I've been testing the Auto-Empty Station for about three weeks, and the bag doesn't feel anywhere near full. I must say, even with the three times that I had to empty the dustbin myself, I'm loving this new setup.
Great design Works well with the robot vacuum
It's evident that the Auto-Empty Station was designed for and tested thoroughly with the T8 AIVI. They look and work beautifully together. The removable power cable that comes with the cleaning base has a storage space on the backside. You can wrap up any excess cable length if need be to keep your home looking tidy. The lid opens with a satisfying press down on the top, and the bags are easily removable when it comes time to throw them away. This is really just an excellently designed pair of machines.
ECOVACS Auto-Empty Station What I don't like
Noisy and slow docking Wow that's loud
Usually, when I'm testing robot vacuums, my cat follows the device around while my dog hides in the backyard. However, my kitty skittered away the moment the vacuum returned to the dock and emptied itself. The emptying process is super loud and lasts for several seconds.
It's honestly startled me a few times in the last few weeks whenever it turns that powerful suction on. This might be a downside for some folks, but that's the price you have to pay in order to get this auto-emptying convenience. It might be a little too noisy for apartments or any places where you share walls with neighbors.
The expense Costly convenience
As I said before, I highly recommend the ECOVACS Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI. It's a powerful device that offers plenty of extra smart features like obstacle detection and even works as a controllable security camera while you're away from home. However, purchasing the robot vacuum and the Auto-Empty Station takes a rather large chunk out of your wallet. And then keeping up the maintenance on the Auto-Empty Station can be costly as a pack of three replacement bags currently costs about $15.
I personally think it's worth the price. However, if you're unsure about spending that much, you might want to check out one of ECOVACS' competitors.
ECOVACS Auto-Empty Station Competition
If you're looking for a quality robot vacuum with an included cleaning base, then you really ought to check out the iRobot Roomba s9+. The vacuum offers powerful suction, can be controlled via the app, and holds up to 400 ml of dust. The Clean Base looks sleek in any home and can hold up to 30 bins of debris.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ gives you both the robot vacuum and a cleaning base. It currently costs a decent amount less than purchasing the ECOVACS Auto-Empty Station and the Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI. Since it's been out longer, there are also plenty of inexpensive third-party replacement bags for the Clean Base.
Next, the Shark IQ with Self-Empty Base costs significantly less than the previously mentioned robot vacuum and cleaning base duos. According to Shark, this unit can hold up to 30 days of dirt and debris.
ECOVACS Auto-Empty Station Should you buy it?
Who it's for
- Anyone who owns the T8 AIVI robot vacuum
- Pet owners who have lots of fur on their floors
- Busy households who don't always have time to clean a robot vacuum's dustbin
- People with allergies
Who it isn't for
- Those who don't want a loud device in their home
- People who only vacuum every once in a while
- Anyone who shares walls with neighbors
Now that I've tested this device, I never want to go back to life without the ECOVACS Auto-Empty Station. My pets shed so often that I have to empty the dustbin on a robot vacuum every day to keep it from filling up. This cleaning base makes it so much more convenient to own the T8 AIVI since I don't have to empty the dustbin's fur collection every day. Plus, it saves me the sneeze attack that comes with dumping the dust and fur into the garbage.
5 out of 5
It is quite a bit expensive, but if you're a pet owner or live in a busy household, then the Auto-Empty Station and T8 AIVI combo are perfect for you. You'll come home to perfectly vacuumed floors and will only need to worry about emptying the cleaning station's bag every few weeks instead of every few days. Just be warned that the base can be pretty loud when it's sucking up the debris from the vacuum.
The dustbin fairy
The robomaid and the dumpster
It's a bit expensive, but the convenience it offers makes it a very appealing buy. It sucks up balls of pet fur, dust, and other debris in just a few seconds after a Deebot OZMO T8 AIVI docks to it.
Rebecca Spear is a staff writer for Android Central who loves following the latest tech, drawing with her Wacom, and playing video games. You can find her posting about her pets, art, and video game preferences on Twitter @rrspear.