Robot cleaner ILIFE A9s — two in one high-tech

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The Chinese manufacturer of robot vacuum cleaners ILIFE releases new models of its home assistants so often that it is not possible for an ordinary user to keep up with the new products. As soon as you have purchased, as you thought, the most high-tech model, in just a couple of months a new, much more advanced model appears on the market. At the same time, it is still too early to get rid of the old one, and therefore we have to put up with the state of affairs and continue to monitor the development of the market. We are much more fortunate. Our test lab can always be vacuumed and even washed by the most advanced household robot ever developed.

The ILIFE A9s model, which combines the functions of sweeping and mopping, can be attributed to the latter. This device was first demonstrated to the general public in January of this year at the CES 2019 exhibition held in Las Vegas. Having successfully worked out a number of technologies on previous models, the manufacturer endowed its new robot with a full range of features at once, and along the way added a couple more: the function of vibration cleaning of the floor covering during wet cleaning and the function of a virtual «wall» that limits the cleaning area. We simply could not pass by such an interesting novelty and not test it.

⇡#Contents of delivery

  Package Contents ILIFE A9s

Package Contents ILIFE A9s

The device comes in a double cardboard box, traditional for ILIFE robots: a suitcase with printing and a plastic handle is placed in another box that protects it from external influences. Inside, in addition to the vacuum cleaner itself, the following accessories were found:

  • power adapter 19 V / 0.6 A;
  • charging station;
  • remote control with a pair of AAA batteries;
  • a device for organizing an invisible “wall” Electrowall with a pair of AA batteries;
  • rotary brush with bristles;
  • spare set of side brushes;
  • spare fine filter;
  • water tank;
  • two cloth mops;
  • brush for cleaning the vacuum cleaner;
  • short and detailed printed manuals for working with the device in different languages, including Russian.

In addition to the accessories that are separately in the box, the vacuum cleaner has already been installed:

  • removable battery;
  • rubber rotary brush for smooth surfaces;
  • two side brushes;
  • container for collecting debris and dust;
  • filters.

The manufacturer did not forget anything and even put additional consumables. The delivery set of ILIFE A9s pleasantly pleases the eye with its diversity. It is immediately clear that this robot boasts not only dust cleaning.


Cleaning robot ILIFE A9s
Sensors Camera optical PanoView
Obstacle detection sensors
Height difference sensors
Waste container volume, l 0.6
Operating modes Vacuum cleaner («Auto» with normal and maximum power, «Local», «Along the walls», «Scheduled», «Manual»)
floor washing
Battery type Li-ion, 2600 mAh
Battery charging time, min 300
Operating time, min 120
Power adapter 19 V / 0.6 A
Dimensions, mm Ø330×76
Weight, kg 2.55
Estimated price*, rub. 22 100

* Approximate qtrading price sites AliExpress on moment writing articles

PanoView scanning system

One of the key features of the novelty is the way the robot is oriented in space. In addition to traditional obstacle detection sensors and height difference sensors that prevent the device from falling off a ladder or parapet, the ILIFE A9s has the PanoView system, which we already met when we tested the ILIFE A8 vacuum cleaner. Recall that this is a system for determining the location and building a map of the room along the ceiling, which is based on a special algorithm of operation and a built-in optical camera oriented vertically upwards. We did not find any shortcomings in the work of PanoView in the previous model, but according to the manufacturer, improvements have been made in the new model. In particular, the improved CV-SLAM graphics algorithm and the built-in gyroscope make the determination of the surrounding space more accurate and help to avoid skips and repetitions in work.

The built-in camera has a maximum viewing angle, allowing the robot to see not only the ceiling, but also tall objects or walls. Information about all other obstacles that arise in the way of the device, the control system receives from twenty-two detection sensors: mechanical, located behind the movable front bumper, and infrared, located in the lower part of the body and warning of a height difference. Well, a motion sensor under the front wheel serves to monitor the distance traveled. ILIFE’s obstacle detection system even has its own name: OBS All-Terrain.

  CyclonePower Gen 3 cleaning system

CyclonePower Gen 3 cleaning system

We are familiar with the new cleaning system from other models of ILIFE robot cleaners. We are talking about the well-established CyclonePower Gen 3, the elements of which we will definitely look at in a more detailed acquaintance with the design of the robot. In the meantime, we note that this system is based on a high-quality brushless motor from the Japanese company Nidec Corporation, whose electric motors are used in a wide variety of equipment, from hard drives to cars.

  Vibration cleaning system

Vibration cleaning system

But ILIFE A9s can not only vacuum the floor, but also wash it. The washing technology is not new, but its implementation in the novelty is very unusual, and it is used in ILIFE robots for the first time. It is based on a vibrating platform with a cleaning pad, driven by a motor housed in the same container as the water tank. From the latter, water flows through the smallest holes directly onto the napkin, wetting it continuously, throughout the entire cleaning process.

The next feature of ILIFE A9s is the ability to control the robot from a smartphone, previously implemented in the ILIFE A7 model, which we met in August last year. For this feature to work, the novelty is equipped with a Wi-Fi wireless module, with which it connects to a home network, to which your smartphone must also be connected.

  Electrowall barrier

Well, the final major technical feature of the novelty is not new for robots from other manufacturers, but ILIFE is used for the first time. We are talking about a virtual wall Electrowall, blocking the path of the robot in those corners of your home, wherever you want to let him. The barrier is installed using an additional accessory, which is placed on the floor and, when turned on, forms a barrier in front of it — invisible to humans, but visible to the robot. Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not disclose the features of this accessory, but it is definitely possible to quickly and easily limit the cleaning space, for example, to one room, or to make the vacuum cleaner work in a small nook in the kitchen.

Against the background of all the technologies described above, the presence of a voice notification function about the current state of the novelty no longer looks something unusual. However, we are already familiar with the i-Voice function from some other models of ILIFE cleaners. Judging by the above list of technologies, we can confidently say that this is the most high-tech model of ILIFE.

⇡#Appearance and ergonomics

  Appearance of ILIFE A9s

Appearance of ILIFE A9s

Despite the fact that the body of the new robot is made in the form of the same large puck, the appearance of the novelty makes a much more pleasant impression than that of its counterparts. The ILIFE A9s model cannot be called boring and inexpressive, and the continuity of generations in this case can be traced. It’s all about the presence of metal parts in the design of the case. The bumper, as well as the rear of the body, are lined with wide silver edging made of aluminum alloy. The central part of the top panel is also made of it. Well, everything else is traditionally made of black plastic. As a result, the robot became similar to a turntable with a vinyl record. The only thing missing is some inscription in the central part for even greater similarity. Such a device can really become a home decoration that you don’t want to shove away under the bed.

  Side view

By the way, under the bed, this robot will enter without difficulty. Its height is only 76 mm, which allows it to dust or clean the floor even under some sofas, cabinets or chests of drawers. Unlike other models of ILIFE cleaners, the front bumper, behind which mechanical obstacle detection sensors are hidden, looks very massive in the novelty. It is unlikely that this can somehow affect the performance of the device. Rather, it’s just a tribute to design. Moreover, the impact-absorbing strip of soft material is still glued along the entire length of the bumper, so you should not expect hard collisions of this robot with furniture and other elements of your apartment design.

  Camera and control button

Camera and control button

  Power control unit

Power control unit

In addition to decorative elements, an optical camera is placed on the upper part of the body, scanning the space above the robot and transmitting information to the control unit to build a map of the room. There is also a round button to start the device, as well as a Wi-Fi connection indicator. The power off button is located on the side surface, next to the connector for connecting the power adapter. The latter can be useful to you if for some reason you do not want or cannot use the charging station. On the side of the case, you can also notice the holes for air outlet.

The waste container and water tank are traditionally placed at the rear of the cleaner. The lock with automatic fixation of these accessories has proven itself well on other ILIFE models. Spontaneous or accidental detachment of containers will definitely not happen. To remove the container from the case, you just need to press the massive button on the back of it, and then pull back.

  Bottom view

Suspension travel of the main wheels

The bottom of the body is basically the same as most other ILIFE robot vacuum cleaners of the latest generations. The ILIFE A9s model retained the off-road suspension of the large main wheels with huge travel, allowing the robot to overcome high obstacles. The side wheels are equipped with individual drives and are made of plastic with a soft tire with a deep tread for better grip on different types of floor coverings. These wheels have a sufficiently large diameter and a large suspension travel, which is necessary for the device to overcome high obstacles.

  Front wheel and pads

Front wheel and pads

  Removable battery compartment

Removable battery compartment

In front of the case, between the pads for recharging the built-in battery from the charging station, a third removable wheel is attached, which does not have a drive, but provides the device with a third point of support. Under the wheel is a sensor that tracks the distance traveled.

Three more infrared sensors, designed to control the height difference, are located on the bottom of the case. Well, the obstacle detection sensors are located behind the front bumper of the device. Unfortunately, it is not possible to determine their number without opening the case, and the manufacturer does not provide detailed data.

  Attachment and design of the side brushes

Attachment and design of the side brushes

We are also familiar with the main cleaning (sweeping) system from other models of ILIFE robots. It is based on three-beam brushes in the front of the body, a rotary brush in the center and an air pump with an air duct, combined with the corresponding compartment of the trash container. The side three-beam brushes of the robot can be easily removed and put in place without the use of tools.

Mounting and design of the main brush

The central rotary brush is also easily removed, installed in a special floating pocket, which provides maximum pressing to the floor surface. This brush has a certain direction of rotation and is driven by a motor located on one side when the vacuum cleaner is running. As is the case with other ILIFE robot vacuum cleaners, the new items are supplied with two different rotary brushes designed for different surfaces. For smooth floors, it is better to use brushes with soft rubber combs, and for carpets, a brush with hard bristles is suitable.

Air paths (vacuum cleaner with container removed)

The CyclonePower Gen 3 cleaning system features two air paths stacked one above the other. Dust and debris are swept into the central hole with brushes and rise along the lower path by a pump into a removable container. The latter has a filter kit in the upper part, through which air is drawn through the clean upper path, after which it is thrown out through the side openings in the housing.

  Construction of the container for garbage and dust

Construction of the container for garbage and dust

The waste container for ILIFE A9s is exactly the same as we saw in other models from this manufacturer. In it, everything is thought out literally to the smallest detail. It is very convenient to open it and throw out the trash without getting your hands dirty. Easy to clean filter. It is easy to wash and clean. Well, access to the “dirty” compartment is closed by a small plastic door that prevents accidental debris from getting out. Unless it would be worth thinking a little more about the design of the filter package. As the longer operating experience of other models of ILIFE robots has shown, the fine filter of the HEPA type clogs up quite quickly in them — after six months it has to be changed. However, his priceis only about $5.

Comparison of trash and water containers

But the ILIFE A9s comes with a second container or tank, which is already designed for water. It is made in the same style and from the same translucent plastic as the dust container, but it has a completely different design. In the upper part of the second container there is a filler neck with a large rubber plug, but the water tank itself occupies only a small volume. In general, the entire volume of this container is divided into three parts. In addition to the water tank, it also has an engine compartment (in the upper and central parts), as well as a small container for collecting dust and debris. This is a completely new container design, although some of its elements are borrowed from other models.

The engine compartment is waterproof, but the manufacturer still prohibits lowering the entire container under water. On one of the side faces of this compartment, there are contact pads for connecting to mating parts on the robot body. Well, from below, through large rubber cones, the engine itself is connected to a large plastic base with Velcro for attaching a napkin for washing the floor. The water tank is combined with the same base, which is displayed on a napkin through the smallest holes. The motor provides vibration platform with a napkin. At the same time, water from the water tank soaks the napkin, and the robot, moving, wipes the floor.

Robot with water container installed

In order not to smear dust on the floor on the way, the floor wiping mode also has a sweeping function. That’s just the capacity for debris and dust in the second container is very limited. It is quite obvious that it is better to vacuum the floor first, and only then, after replacing the container, wash it. As you can see, ILIFE A9s is not similar to any of the models of robots from different manufacturers that we met earlier in terms of the nature of cleaning. The more interesting it will be to find out how this device will show itself in operation.

Device for organizing a virtual wall Electrowall

But before we start testing, let’s take another look at the remaining accessories that come with the ILIFE A9s. We are already familiar with something from other models of ILIFE robots, but we meet something for the first time. The latter include a device that organizes a virtual barrier for the robot, called the manufacturer Electrowall. It is a compact plastic box installed on the floor, on one of the side faces of which there is an emitter. On top of the device, you can see very clear instructions on which side it should be oriented to the fenced area, and which side to the working area. Also on the top side of Electrowall there is a sliding power button and a green LED indicator informing the user about the operation. The device is powered by a pair of AA batteries.

Charging station

  Robot at the charging station

Robot at the charging station

The charging station of the novelty is absolutely no different from similar devices of all other models of cleaners from this manufacturer. It has a very simple design with a large horizontal platform on which spring contacts are placed for charging the vacuum cleaner. At the top there is a power indicator, and at the bottom there is a connector for connecting the adapter.

We are also familiar with the remote control. Its main feature is the presence of a small LCD display, which displays the operating mode of the device, the current time and the time of the upcoming cleaning when programming the robot. The remote control has a ring with control arrows and a central button, as well as six buttons for activating various operating modes, searching for a charging station and setting a cleaning timer. The remote control is powered by two AAA batteries.

⇡#Working with the device

We tested in two rooms: in an ordinary one-room apartment with floors covered with laminate, tiles and carpet, as well as in a small two-story country house with floors covered with laminate. The cleaning conditions in the latter case are much more difficult: both from the point of view that the floors in the countryside are almost always dirtier, and because this house has a staircase between floors, and the robot will have to use its height sensors in order not to fall from it.

  Robot at work

Robot at work

Assembling, connecting and configuring the robot will not take much effort and time from the user. Most of you won’t even need to look at the user manual to figure out all the nuances of setup and cleaning. It is equally convenient to control the robot both using the remote control and from a smartphone. But the first is always lost, and the second is almost always there, so we prefer it.

Setting up the ILIFE Robot App

ILIFE Robot Application Interface

We tested the ILIFE robot app for Android smartphones, but the exact same app can be downloaded and installed free of charge from the respective internet service for iOS mobile devices. It has a simple, not overloaded with details English-language interface, designed in light colors. All operations that can be carried out from the remote control are available through certain virtual controls of the proprietary ILIFE Robot application. In it, you can even call the switch unit for manual control of the vacuum cleaner.

Additional features of the ILIFE Robot application

Here you can also schedule an automatic cleaning schedule, view the status of replacement components, adjust the flow rate when the floor washing function is activated, view the cleaning history, or reset the device to factory settings. If you just need to clean the room in automatic mode, then for this you can not pick up either the remote control or the smartphone, but use the button [Пуск] with green illumination on the vacuum cleaner itself. The robot will do everything else without your participation, including returning to the charging station. Moreover, at the same time, it will inform you in a human voice about the beginning or end of work, as well as about errors, if any, in the process. The only pity is that this feature is currently only available in English, and even the voice is not very clear, which is why it is not always easy to make out speech.

ILIFE A9s operation in fully automatic mode on different floor coverings

Returning the robot to the charging station

In the automatic mode of operation, ILIFE A9s does not first try to go around the perimeter of the room, as its brothers do without a built-in camera, but immediately gets down to business, cruising the snake from wall to wall or another obstacle, while making a plan. In the future, the device will adhere to the work of the drawn up plan, applying changes to it. Cleaning continues until the device has visited all accessible areas, after which it automatically returns to the charging station.

Organization of a virtual wall

Note that we did not have any comments about cleaning. The three-brush sweeping system has proven itself excellently on other models of ILIFE robots, and the control system used in this case with a mapping function did not cause any complaints on the ILIFE A8 model. The main thing is to pre-clean the room of small things that can block the operation of the vacuum cleaner. Such things include items of clothing, toys, wires and everything that should be in boxes, and not on the floor. In extreme cases, you can always enclose a piece of the floor using the virtual wall supplied. Testing showed that the robot stops quite accurately in front of the emitter, but already a meter or two away from it, the radiation angle increases, and the robot does not reach the imaginary wall ten, and sometimes all thirty centimeters, leaving these parts of the floor uncleaned. But the device never penetrated the wall.

Overcoming obstacles

The ILIFE A9s suspension allows it to easily overcome obstacles one to two centimeters high. Even if the robot did not have enough strength to overcome the obstacle the first time, it drives back a little and tries a second, and if necessary, a third time, if the detection sensors behind the front bumper do not see any other signs of a high insurmountable obstacle.

Local cleaning mode

The local cleaning mode in one single place seemed to us a little changed compared to the similar mode of other ILIFE models. In this case, the robot cleans the area not inside a circle, but inside a small square — with a side of about one and a half meters. However, the decent quality of cleaning has not changed.

  Garbage container after cleaning

Garbage container after cleaning

The novelty can be blamed for excessive noise. The vacuum cleaner is especially noisy when the pump is turned on to the maximum operating mode. But in this case, it copes very well even with heavy sand in carpets, as evidenced by the contents of the waste container after cleaning.

Container for water and garbage after cleaning the room

Despite the presence of an additional compartment for debris in the water container, it is better to wash the floor with ILIFE A9s after it has been previously vacuumed. Otherwise, the small waste container in the combination container will clog up very quickly. If you did everything right, then the result of washing will surely please you. The individual specks remaining after the first pass of the vacuum cleaner will be collected in the waste container and will not fall on the washing cloth.

In the floor washing mode, the robot passes through the room according to the same algorithms as in the sweeping mode. Vibration at the platform with a napkin is noticeable, but it is rather difficult to say how much it helps in wiping stains from the floor. Subjectively, it helps. Objectively, we didn’t measure it, but ILIFE A9s copes with fresh traces of food and shoes without any problems. Separately, we note that the robot does not miss a single area in the room, due to the fact that on the sides the platform with a napkin protrudes slightly beyond the dimensions of the case.

Cleaning the vacuum cleaner itself is as easy as other ILIFE robot models. The main waste container is cleaned and washed with running water. The only exception is the fine filter, which can only be shaken off and brushed with a dry brush. With removable brushes, you will probably have to remove coiled hair and animal hair, if you have any.

As for the second combination container, it is also very easy to clean, but you need to be careful not to shake out the accumulated debris from the corresponding compartment. There are no curtains, like the main container, in this case. The manufacturer forbids putting it under water, but we still washed it under a thin stream from the tap. No sealing issues were found.

In general, the impressions of the ILIFE A9s robot vacuum cleaner were just great. Of all the ILIFE cleaners we’ve tested, this really does come across as the smartest and most high-tech. At the same time, he copes with his tasks as well as he looks.


After the release of ILIFE A9s, supporters of this brand’s products may have only one question: what to do with their normally working, but already obsolete cleaning robot? Well, if he, of course, is. If it is not there, then everything is simple — it is worth taking a close look at the novelty considered today. If you still have another model, then everyone will have to decide on their own: do you need a vibration washing mode, control from a smartphone, or the function of building a virtual wall.

If we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of new items, then among the first we should note the following:

  • original design;
  • navigation system with a camera and the function of building a floor plan;
  • washing function with a vibrating mechanism;
  • the function of setting a virtual cleaning border;
  • full set of operating modes;
  • setting up a work schedule;
  • full control from your smartphone;
  • high permeability;
  • long battery life;
  • rich package.

Of the shortcomings, only noticeable noise can be noted, but it is more than offset by the very high quality of cleaning. Well, given the relatively low cost of the ILIFE A9s robot, it can be safely recommended for purchase to anyone who would like to see their home clean every day. Like other ILIFE models, the novelty can be purchased at the company’s official store on the AliExpress website.


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