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The Kyvol Cybovac S31 is the latest in a growing line of self-emptying robot vacuums. These completely autonomous vacuums are a wonderful luxury for most of us. But if you have allergies, asthma, or another health issue that can be triggered by the plume of dust released when you empty a dustbin, they can be a lifesaver.
The S31 has a 4.3L self-emptying dustbin that can hold up to about 60 days’ worth of dust before you need to replace the disposable dustbag inside it. The dustbin doubles as the robot’s charging dock, providing about four hours of runtime per full charge.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best robot vacuums, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
The robot itself navigates using Laser Distance Sensors housed in a turret on its top. During its first run through the room it, it creates a map of the floorplan that allows you to create virtual walls, cleaning areas, and no-go zones. The dirty business is handled by a rolling brush and two spinning side brushes on the bottom.
Setting up the vacuum is easy, but I initially had problems with its companion app. With its dustbin-dock plugged in and the robot on its charging pins, I added the S31 and successfully connected it to my Wi-Fi. After that, I was prompted to download a firmware update; but each time I tried, I got a message saying the firmware couldn’t be upgraded until the battery was charged to more than 20 percent. I left the vacuum to charge for a couple more hours, but still got the same message when I tried to upgrade.
I found another reviewer had encountered the same problem and solved it by running the vacuum with its physical remote and then successfully upgrading. I did the same and was finally able to update the app. I had no further issues with it after that.
I chose my downstairs level for testing the Cybovac S31, as it includes carpet, hardwood, and vinyl tile and is the highest-trafficked area of my home. The vacuum’s powerful 3000Pa of suction enabled it to get lot of pet hair off the carpet, along with dust and various other debris.
The Cybovac S31 can vacuum and mop at the same time, so I attached the mopping module to the bottom of the robot for the entryway, kitchen, and bathroom. It holds 110ml of water and distributes it to the attached microfiber cloth as it drags along the floor. It doesn’t make enough contact with the floor—and provides no back-and-forth agitation—to remove anything more than surface grime. It’s adequate for semi-regular maintenance cleaning, but it won’t eliminate the need for your stick mop.
Once a map has been created, the vacuum cleans in a much more predictable and efficient pattern. Setting cleaning areas is as simple as tapping a button in the app and dragging a resizable box to a spot on the map. There’s a similar process for adding virtual walls and no-vacuum and no-cleaning zones. The last was particularly helpful as my hardwood entryway abuts my carpeted living room; making the living room a no-mop zone ensured I didn’t end up with a soggy rug.
Kyvol’s app isn’t particularly sophisticated, but it’s intuitive enough to get around. The main screen displays the current map, cleaning area, and duration of the current job as well as the battery level. You can start full-room or spot cleaning from here or send the vacuum back to its dock to charge. From the Settings menu, you can schedule cleanings, set the frequency of dustbin emptying, view cleaning records, monitor the usage of the brushes and HEPA filter, and more.
Selling for about $500 at the time of this review, the Cybovac S31 was priced about the same as iRobot’s Roomba i3+ (iRobot pioneered the self-emptying concept with the Roomba i7+ and the Roomba S9+). The Cybovac S31 isn’t quite as polished as that product, but it can hold its own as a cleaner against that bot, and it can mop, too. You can confidently put it on your last-minute holiday wish list.
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The Kyvol Cybovac S31 is a great purchase for those who want a completely automatic cleaning without busting their budget.
- Can vacuum and mop simultaneously
- Supports cleaning areas, virtual walls, and no-go zones
- Automically self-empties its dustbin
- App WAS buggy during setup
- Mop function doesn’t eliminate need for a stick mop
Michael Ansaldo is a veteran consumer and small-business technology journalist. He contributes regularly to TechHive and writes the Max Productivity column for PCWorld.