Ecovacs Deebot 601 review: Mapping features are missed in this otherwise capable cleaner

Budget-priced robot vacuums with advanced features remain something of a novelty. Some earlier Ecovacs models have defied convention with a smattering premium perks, such as app control Google Home and Amazon Alexa integration. The company did this exceptionally well with its  Deebot N79S, our current top pick in the budget category. The Deebot 601, which includes all those aforementioned perks, isn’t quite as successful.

The 601 measures 13.9 by 13.9 by 3.27 inches, with a low enough profile to get beneath most low-clearance furniture and edge its way under cabinets. A master power button is recessed in the side of the vacuum, and on top is a single multi-function button for powering down and waking up the 601, as well as initiating and pausing Auto cleanings.

A pair of spinning brushes on the underside of the vacuum sweep along wall edges, and there’s a main roller brush composed of both bristles and rubber strips for tackling multiple floor surfaces. The dustbin slots into the rear like a drawer.

deebot 601 3 Ecovacs

The Deebot 601’s low profile allows it to easily get under couches and other furniture.

The 601 ships with a charging station that’s about half the size of most, and a remote control that includes the same Auto button that’s on the vacuum along with Pause and Spot Cleaning buttons.

Setup and performance

The 601 can be controlled from its multi-function button, remote control, or companion app. This last requires some setup to connect the robot vacuum to your Wi-Fi network. I had some problems early on that I saw echoed in Amazon reviews, due to confusion around this Deebot model and its app.

The 601’s instruction manual tells you to download the “Ecovacs” app. However, the Deebot 601 is not included in the list of compatible robot vacuums, though the Deebot Ozmo 601—which is a different, mapping-and-mopping robot vacuum—is. If you’re not aware of the difference between the two models and try to use this option, you’ll find the app times out trying to find the robot and it won’t connect.

deebot 601 5Ecovacs

The roller brush is contains bristles and rubber strips to handle different types of floor surfaces.

It turns out the app you actually need to use is called “Ecovacs Home,” a detail Ecovacs includes in some fine print at the bottom of the Ecovacs app’s setup screen. Once I had the correct app downloaded, it walked me through the Wi-Fi setup in about a minute.

As befits a budget vacuum cleaner, the 601 does not use laser navigation to map your floor plan. It relies solely on its bumper and other sensors to feel its way around the room. That typically translates into an erratic trajectory.

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