Spending a lot more time in your home? If that’s making you antsy about keeping things cleaner, a robot vacuum might be just the fix. I recently had the chance to test out the new 2-in-1 Dreame D9 vacuum and mopping robot. I’ll tell you about my experience and what using this device is like and whether I think it’s a good buy. And spoiler alert; there are some serious issues with this bot you’ll need to know about. (I also recently posted an update to this review so skip to the bottom to check it out.)
Review Dreame D9 robot vacuum + mop
Features: 2 in 1: mop and vacuum
This bot is a combo unit; it will vacuum your home but with the addition of a special mopping pad it will also do a light wet mop. Interestingly the water tank for the mop is part of the mopping pad itself, and odd but effective use of space. Dreame says it has a 150 minute runtime.
What’s in the box:
Inside the package you get the mop/vacuum unit, a charging dock with power cord, the mop water tank, and removable, washable mopping pad, as well as the side brush which gets clipped in. A small cleaning tool and brush is also included, handily stored in a clip under the lid.
Set up and connecting to Dreametech MiHome app
I’m happy to report getting this bot set up was easy. With the MiHome app it took just a few clicks to get the Dreame D9 connected to my Wi-Fi network and it was ready to clean.
Learning: SLAM + LiDar
My bot learned my home very quickly. From the moment I hit start, I could use the app to see the bot writing its map to my home, using its sensors to create a map of the space. But there’s a big problem with this, which I’ll explain in a sec.
This vacuum and mop uses SLAM which is short for Simultaneous Localization And Mapping. … SLAM technology essentially lets a bot see its surroundings with LiDar which stands for Light Detection and Ranging. Lidar uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distances. Simply put, these technologies let the bot see obstacles, walls, furniture and more and orient itself properly within the map in real–time.
Fast mapping, but you can’t do anything with it: room cleaning doesn’t work
After just one pass, my bot had a viewable map I could see in the app, and that’s significantly faster than some other pricier bots.
After about 3 weeks of use three times each week, the map looked to me to be accurate and 100% complete. I tried to go in and label the map so that I could direct the robot to clean certain rooms only. The app would just tell me “Use feature after map is completed” and I was unable to get access to any room-specific cleaning during my testing period.
For now that means the map created will only show where your bot has cleaned with some squiggly lines, and it lets you draw no-go zones for the mop, but that feature too is imperfect. More on this in a couple minutes.
Dreame D9 cleaning modes
The vacu-mop has a special spot clean mode. Bring the bot to where you need some special attention paid and push the button on the bot with the square on it. The bot will clean a small square area about 4 feet by 4 feet and then shut off. This setting seemed a bit haphazard an like it wasn’t as thorough…
Power clean for carpets
You will need to turn this setting on inside the app, but the Dreame D9 has a power boost mode for carpets. With this setting enabled, the vacuum mop will automatically recognize carpet and turn on maximum suction. Once it leaves the carpeted area, it will automatically resume normal section. A very handy setting for powering dirt out of carpet in my opinion. This was noticeable and effective from what I could see in my testing.
Is Dreame D9 noisy?
I’m actually impressed by how quiet this robot is. It does make noise, yes, but it seems softer, and you can actually adjust the power levels for a more thorough clean, or to be quieter, and thus use less suction.
Mopping cleanliness: how well does Dreame D9 mop?
Let’s get to the mopping action.
The mop has a washable and reusable mopping pad that sticks to the mop’s water tank. The whole unit slides onto the bottom of the robot. Conveniently the pads on the bot are washable and reusable; just toss them in the laundry or rinse them in the sink.
The mopping on this bot should come with a disclaimer; this is not a mop in the same way you’d do a wet mop. It’s definitely not as thorough since it uses only a little water (tank volume is 270ml) and a moist cloth, and it’s really best for doing a light dusting, not for an actual wet mopping clean, there is no scrubbing. Important to note, Dreame recommends you do NOT use “non-designated cleaners” when mopping, but it does not tell you what cleaners those are.
Helpfully, you can adjust the water flow for a moister or drier mop, by using the app. The max area it will mop on one tank is about 2000 square feet, which is pretty impressive, but again at most it’s doing a light wipe. I’d definitely say in my 1000 square foot space I got about two full mops to a tank.
Confusing marketing: wet mopping eliminates 99.9% of bacteria?
The Dreame webpage makes the claim this robot has “Effective anti-bacteria wet mopping that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria”. There’s also a note that the mopping pad is ‘antibacterial’ but no info on what this means. I call BS.
When you’re mopping only with water, that’s not killing anything. I’m not sure why Dreame makes these claims, and this is not spelled out on the website or in the manual, which is disappointing.
Again, I asked Dreame what the deal is with these claims versus what the bot can actually do. They said this refers to when the mop is used with a special antibacterial cleaner they supply, which is not available in North America. Again, disappointing, since it’s actively being marketed as an antibacterial mop.
Mopping in homes with carpets: prepare for a soaking
You might be wondering how the bot handles mopping in homes with carpet. Good question and the answer is, it doesn’t. It will mop your carpets too… supposedly unless you set mopping no-go zones.
These zones are created inside the app and let you draw boxes around rugs or carpeted areas where it won’t send the bot with the mop attached. I thought I had correctly delineated areas where the wet mop should not go, but it turns out that wasn’t working. I went in and double checked my no-go zones and they had apparently not saved?
Perhaps that was the reason that more than once in my testing I found it not just on the carpet with a wet mopping pad, but stuck and jammed under the furniture too for a real damp mess.
That’s actually a good jumping off point to the next test. I found this robot both in vacuum and mop mode got stuck every time it went out. Every. Single. Time.
Dreame D9 gets stuck… a lot (and may fall)
Does the Dreame D9 get stuck? The short answer to this is yes, it gets stuck. Dreame tells you it’s necessary to pick up stray items like socks, cords etc. before you send the bot out. It also notes you should set up “physical barriers” to keep the bot from falling down stairs or getting wedged under the sofa.
I have several problems here from my experience.
Firstly, a robot vacuum that can’t see steps and cliffs is not worth getting. Cliff sensors are a very basic feature of a robot vacuum and have been for years. That this one can’t navigate that basic home feature is shocking. (By the way I didn’t have any stairs to test it on during my review period, thius is just based on Dream’s own warning.)
When it comes to getting stuck, the Dreame D9 got stuck constantly. More than once the bot wedged itself under the couch, and it did a mighty good job of it too; this bot doesn’t get a bit stuck and then free itself like others do, it jams itself so fully into a small space it is actually difficult to remove it.
It got stuck on a floor mat, it got hung up on a transition between the tile and hardwood. And this was after I’d tried to delineate no-go zones.
Dreame D9 struggled in my tests to find its way
I also noticed it wasn’t the best at going directly back to its base all the time. It seemed that it was becoming disoriented, like after I used it for a spot clean, like it needed to re-orient itself first before getting back, but it was often a long slog all over the house before it would find its way. From time to time it would just stop and I’d need to carry it back. More often than not I’d come home to find the bot just stalled out somewhere in the house.
How well does Dreame D9 vacuum?
When it comes to the actual vacuuming and suction, the Dreame D9 does a fine job. The dustbin gets full, so its doing something. I often got push notifications that the filter was clogged; something that I’ve never had happen with other bots. Even so, there were no ‘dustbin full’ alerts, so you need to remember to empty it every time you vacuum, since the bin isn’t huge.
Voice control with Alexa… sorta?
Dreame D9 will work with Alexa, or so the company says. The manual doesn’t tell you how to do it; so here’s how. Go to the Alexa app and go to the Skills section. Search Dreame and then click Enable to Use. You’ll have to log into your Xiaomi Home app and link your Alexa account, then you’ll connect to your bot. I got mine connected right away but was not able to use Alexa to control the bot with my voice.
Dreame says At present, Alexa smart speaker could only start and stop Dreame D9 robot by skill Dreame. But I couldn’t even get that to work. No matter what language I used or how I worded it (even using the skill’s suggested “tell vacuum to turn on” nothing happened, so I’m going to call this a no-go.
Overall review Dreame D9 robot vacuum + mop
Overall the Dreame D9 is a disappointment from start to finish and I absolutely do not recommend it. I’m not trying to be overly negative but I had more than my fair share of problems, glitches and troubles. Let me list the reasons why…
The company boasts about the laser mapping, but really all that does is let you see where the bot has been, not tell it where to go. I was unable to delineate rooms for room-specific cleans. The mopping no-go areas required numerous attempts to get them to save. Alexa functionality didn’t work for me. The bot got lost. It got stuck. Every time. It mopped the carpets. It may fall down stairs. It claims to kill bacteria when mopping by using the magical powers of water.
On the good side I guess when it was running it did suck dirt off the floor and into the dust bin.
This robot vacuum and mop combo sells for about $400USD. Overall after my hands-on experience this feels like a bot that was launched well before it’s ready.
UPDATE: Dreame D9 re-test
Updated January 30, 2021:
I didn’t have the greatest experience reviewing the Dreame D9, as you’ve read.
That got me wondering why I had such an awful time and if it was me, the house, my Wi-Fi, or the vacuum itself… or just a combination of circumstances. So I decided to do a partial re-review.
Re-testing Dreame at another home
I took the bot over to another house, got it set up and tried running it there. I’m actually really glad to say some of the circumstances changed…
For starters, the new house has zero transitions, so it is much better able to navigate through all the rooms without a problem. At my place the Dreame D9 was constantly getting hung up on all the transitions between floors and on rugs. At the new place, there was less to get hung up on, though I did also find it getting caught on a fairly flat rug at the new house, which was the same problem at my place. Creating a no-go zone did help.
Home mapping: if Dreame gets stuck it can’t finish mapping
The other serious problem I had was the home mapping. During my testing I was never able to get the robot to make a complete map of my house so that I could create rooms and cleaning zones. After testing it at the other house, I think the mapping was never able to complete for the exact reason that it kept getting stuck; the robot seemed never to be able to complete its mapping runs, because more often than not it would get stuck, die and I’d have to manually place it back on home base.
At the new house, I’m glad to say there was a detailed map after just a couple of outings and I was able to label it, create rooms and then launch room specific cleaning.
You need a home with no flooring transitions for Dreame to work correctly
So here’s what I’ve learned; if you have no transitions in your house and nothing the bot has to roll over, you will have a much better experience with the Dreame D9. If you have multiple or thick transitions, this is NOT the robot vacuum for you. If you have a lot of rugs or carpets, this is also not the bot for you; if it can’t get onto them it can’t clean them and if you have to block them off because it’s getting stuck, it also isn’t going to clean them, so it’s not going to be as useful to you.
In short, I’m glad I was able to get some of the features I had trouble with working, but the bottom line for anyone who’s considering this robot vacuum and mop combo is you need to have the right house for it; one with no or very low threshold flooring transitions because it is not good at navigating them. I do still have some other unresolved complaints about this bot (it shouldn’t be getting stuck so much, in my opinion. I have tested several other robot vacs at my house and they did not get stuck nearly this much), but hopefully some of you will be glad to know it seems the worst of my troubles was location-specific.
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