Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C long-term review: A cheap option that integrates with Home Assistant

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The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C was my first foray into the world of automated household helpers. After more than a year of owning this little white machine, and only recently replacing it with the more advanced ILIFE A11, it is time for me to thoroughly review it, so you can make an informed purchasing decision.

As with all of my reviews, I am not in favour of giving any device a numeric rating. What does it mean to you, if I were to rate this robot vacuum at 7,5/10 and another one at 8,5/10? What is important for me, might not be important to you. I do try to keep my thoughts to the point, but this will be an in-depth and long-term review.

The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C in its natural habitat (the floor)

I am writing this review without Xiaomi's knowledge. I was not provided the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C by Xiaomi, or any retailer. Nobody will have access to the contents of this review before publication, and I am under no obligation or incentive to write either positively or negatively.

Table of Contents

Verdict of the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C

The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C is a great budget option, which will deliver great results on hard floors, and acceptable results on carpets. Even though the name hints at its mopping capabilities, the function is not much more than a gimmick. It will moisten your floors, but isn't capable of removing many dried stains.

Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C
  • Mapping: Supports both mapping, path planning, zone cleaning, and spot, cleaning.
  • Movement: A barrier-cross height of 20 mm and the option to set virtual walls in the app.
  • Cleaning area: With its 2400 mAh battery it can clean an area of 120 ㎡. The rated power of the motor is 40 W.
  • Mopping: A 200 ml water tank can be attached to the unit.
  • Vacuum cleaning: The suction power reaches 2500 Pa and the dust box has a capacity of 600 ml. The air is filtered through a HEPA filter
  • Noise level: 72 dB, which is comparable to a noisy restaurant.
  • Dimensions and weight: 35 cm wide, 8.2 cm high, and wheighs 3.6 kg.

Despite the low price, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C offers exceptional mapping and zoned cleaning. Unfortunately, it doesn't support multiple floors and at this point it is unlikely that it ever will. Despite Xiaomi offering an even cheaper model, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop Essential, I recommend you go for the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C if your budget allows you to.

The good

Strong suction at a decent price point.
Builds a map for efficient and zoned cleaning.
Easy integration with Home Assistant and Google Assistant

The bad

The mopping feature is basically useless.
Sometimes has trouble finding the dock.
Needs to hit objects to detect them.

The ugly

Can get stuck underneath objects due to missing sensors.
Will move light objects without detecting them.
Uses an actual camera for navigation.

About this Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C review

This review of the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C was written after owning it for over a year. Before replacing it, I ran it on an almost daily basis. My floors are all either hard wood or slate, though there is a carpet in the living room, where I placed the robot vacuum cleaner, and in the entrance hallway. My household includes a cat that likes to shed in spring and two young children.

An essential factor to consider is that the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C is at the lower end of decent robot vacuum cleaners when considering the price. It's easy to critique this device for not having LiDAR navigation or better mopping, but at this price point you just can't expect that. Even older models, such as the Roborock S5 Max (late 2019), still cost ~US$100 more. For that reason, I will be reviewing the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C as a ~US$200 machine. If you're lucky, you can pick it up for even less than that. It is currently on sale for US$175 in the Swiss Xiaomi store (that's including taxes because we logically list the price as what you pay).

First impressions of the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C

Being a budget robot vacuum cleaner, you can't expect many extras in the box. In fact, all you get is the vacuum itself and all the parts it needs to run:

  • The dust box with a 600 ml capacity.
  • The side brush, which pushes dirt and dust towards the centre of the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C's body.
  • The main brush that does the actual cleaning and makes it, so the robot vacuum cleaner can suck up anything its way.
  • The 200 ml water tank and a microfiber brush to go with it.
  • A small tool that will help you clean the main brush and dust box.
The dust box of the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C comes with a HEPA filter
On the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C's you will find the main and side brushes, alongside many sensors

There are no spare parts or accessories. What you do notice straight out of the box is just how flat the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C is. This is because it doesn't have the commonly used LiDAR array sitting in a pod on top of it. Though many will value better navigation higher, its height does allow it to vacuum clean in places other models couldn't reach.

Furthermore, of note is the filter, which out of the box does not include a prefilter. What I mean by that is that no mesh filter covers the HEPA filter. Because of this, the HEPA filter you get in the box will rapidly be clogged with all kinds of dirt. Luckily, Xiaomi has revised this and the replacement filters I bought did come with a mesh. As you might expect, these last much longer.

First clean with the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C

As you should with any new robot vacuum cleaner, I first ran the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C with as few obstacles in its way as possible. This helps it build a perfect map of the floor during its first clean. And that it did. Despite not having a LiDAR sensor, the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C managed to build a map without missing any spots. However, the way it builds this map, might be of concern to you.

The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C's camera

Despite the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C's stellar performance, it might not be the perfect choice for you, if privacy is of utmost importance. The black dot you see beneath the only two buttons on its body is a camera. Using this camera, it records images of features it sees, to help it know where it is located. And if you are standing next to it, it will record you too. I am not claiming that Xiaomi does anything nefarious with these images, but you should definitely be aware of this fact when making a purchasing decision.

That black dot is a camera

There is one more downside to the use of a camera for navigation: it can't see in the dark. Just like any camera, the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C will struggle in low-light. It will still do its job and clean the floors, it just won't be quite as efficient as it is significantly dumber without being able to see. LiDAR does not have this issue, as they actively send an invisible laser across rooms and measures the time it takes for it to return. The laser is visible to the receiving end in complete darkness and full brightness.

How the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C navigates and its performance

The camera isn't the only navigation feature the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C possesses. There are cliff sensors on the bottom of the device that will prevent it from falling down any staircases. Next, it has an array of IR sensors hidden behind the (as I call it) Geordi La Forge visor. Just like a smartphone uses these to detect whether it is heald up against your face, the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C uses them to detect walls and other large objects. Finally, there's the bumper, which stretches covers half of the robot vacuum cleaner's body. As the name suggests, this gets triggered whenever it bumps in to an object.

While the array of sensors might sound impressive, it is imperfect in real-world usage. The IR sensors will only pick up large objects such as walls and sofas. This allows it to slow down, before it crashes into them. What it doesn't pick up are smaller objects, such as the legs of tables and chairs. Unfortunately for my kids, it also won't recognize most toys and, as we've come to find out, these will frequently be moved about because they aren't heavy enough to trigger the bumper. Objects that are just high enough to avoid the bumper might also trap the robot vacuum cleaner without it being able to escape. In my case, the toilet bowl seems to be the perfect height to catch a Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C, as I have frequently had to save it from its peril under the porcelain bowl.

The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C uses an IR array, bumper (both front), and camera (top) to navigate

If you live in a household with many smaller objects on the floor and can't be bothered to clear them before starting the robot vacuum cleaner, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C is not for you. In that case, your solution might be to go with an option that features an AI-powered object-avoidance camera on the front of the device. Unfortunately, these come at a much higher cost and examples include the Roborock S7 MaxV series and iRobot Roomba j7+ .

Cleaning performance of the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C

If numbers say anything to you, the fact that this robot vacuum cleaner has a suction of 2500 Pa will be relevant. What this number does allow us to do, is to compare it with similarly priced robot vacuum cleaners:

This is where the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C collects your filth
  • The equally inexpensive Roborock E4 maxes out at 2000 Pa, while the pricier Roborock E5 equals it.
  • The eufy by Anker Robovac G10 Hybrid, which also costs more than Xiaomi's offering in my country, is significantly less powerful, maxing out at 2000 Pa.
  • The much pricier WYZE Robot Vacuum with LIDAR Mapping Technology can produce 2100 Pa of suction.

It is these comparisons that make me recommend the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C. In my opinion, it does what a vacuum cleaner should: it cleans effectively thanks to the high suction. While it does miss the LiDAR sensors others might have, I'm glad that Xiaomi skimped on it and not the actual performance when vacuuming.

How good of a vacuum cleaner is the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C?

You will be hard-pressed to find a robot vacuum cleaner in this price range that delivers an impressive 2500 Pa of suction power. Thus, it comes at no surprise that the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C does a pretty good job a vacuum cleaning. To test its ability, I mixed up some rice, flour, coarse brown sugar, and broken up noodles and had the robot vacuum cleaner attempt to clean it on the highest suction level.

As you might be able to tell from the after photos, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C clearly struggled with picking up the flour. Not only that, but the rice wasn't completely gone either. I think the two are caused by differing factors: the suction isn't strong enough to pick up the fine flour, and the side brush tends to fling the rice when moving past it. The remaining rice was, however, picked up on a second run, but even two attempts weren't enough to remove all of the flour.

As you might assume from the results on a hard wood floor, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C doesn't fair all too well on carpets. While it might suck up crisps and other larger leftovers, it just doesn't have the suction to remove smaller debris such as the hair from a shedding cat.

It mops by dragging a damp rag across the floor

You should not buy the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C for its mopping capabilities. Truth be told, besides the premium Roborock S7, no robot vacuum cleaner should be bought for that reason. While slightly pricier models do support S and Y mopping, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C does nothing more than drag a wet microfibre cloth behind it. It might get rid of some superficial stains, but won't clear up the dried tomato sauce your toddlers have spread around the dining room table.

The microfibre cloth can be removed and machine-washed
A press-fit silicone seal makes sure water doesn't exit the spout

The mop attaches straight to the water tank, which slots in to the underside of the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C. In the app, you can select how damp you want the mop to be, so there is some interaction between the robot vacuum cleaner and the mopping unit. However, you can't disable mopping, and the app also won't inform you if the tank is empty.

As a reviewer, I still feel obligated to test this feature. My scenario is rather simple: Some messy person has spilt coffee, tomato sauce, and chocolate cake on a hard wood floor. To make matters worse, they also stood on that cake, making sure it nicely sticks and can't be cleaned up with a broom.

At a first glance, the results do look promising, but these were only achieved after two runs with the mop. The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C successfully managed to remove the coffee, but unsurprisingly struggled with the tomato sauce and chocolate cake. It wasn't easy to capture, but I also noticed that it wasn't able to suck up the chocolate cake it had removed. This left the area covered in crumbs that the robot vacuum cleaner spread around.

The tomato sauce after two runs
The chocolate cake after two runs
The tomato sauce after five runs
The resulting mess after two runs
The robot vacuum cleaner wasn't able to pick up the crumbs from the chocolate cake

When mopping, you should be aware that the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C does not auto-detect carpets. This does not only mean that it won't increase the suction on carpets, but that it will mop everything. For that reason, I do not recommend leaving the mop attached by default, and only attaching it whenever you want to use it. On the plus side, the microfibre cloth is easily removable and can be machine-washed.

The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C could do with a bigger battery

On the inside, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C packs a 2400 mAh battery, which by today's standards is tiny. This translates to a runtime of roughly 90 minutes. While it also comes at a higher price, the previously reviewed ILIFE A11 Robot Vacuum Cleaner has over twice the capacity. Comparing it to other robot vacuum cleaners at a similar price point doesn't make the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C look any better either:

  • The Roborock E4 Robot Vacuum cleaner packs a 5200 mAh battery.
  • The Anker Robovac G10 Hybrid's 2600 mAh battery pack can even be replaced.
  • A 3200 mAh lithium-ion battery powers the WYZE Robot Vacuum.

Luckily, though, the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C is smart enough to return to the dock once the battery is below 15%. It will then recharge to 80% and finish the routine. Despite only charging at 20 W, it doesn't take too long to charge because (roughly 3.5 hours from dead to full), as I've already mentioned, the battery capacity is rather small. However, I have encountered issues with the vacuum cleaner not docking correctly. The pogo pins on the dock are on the smaller side and require the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C to line up perfectly. I have encountered situations where the robot vacuum cleaner would seemingly dock but not charge.

Speaking of the dock, it is missing another feature many other manufacturors include and I believe Xiaomi could have too, without increasing the price of this robot vacuum cleaner: a place to hide excess cable.

The Xiaomi Home app is chock-full with features

One thing I can't criticize about the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C is the app it uses: Xiaomi Home. Xiaomi doesn't just use this app for their robot vacuum cleaners, but all kinds of smart home appliances from Xiaomi, such as their highly regarded air purifiers. I have not experienced any glitching or freezing when using the app, and it is buttery smooth when in operation. I control the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C using a OnePlus 6 Android smartphone, which isn't the newest option on the market, but is comparable to current higher mid-range phones.

I will preface any screenshots of the app with the fact that my Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C now lives in the cellar. Eventually, my lab will also be included in the rooms it cleans, but currently it is too messy to let it anywhere near it. Previously it was on the main floor of the house, where it managed to build and navigate a perfect map.

Layout and user interaction of the Xiaomi Home app

The app's layout and interaction with it is near perfect. When selecting the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C, you are greeted with the map where you can quickly select rooms by pressing on any of its area or start a full clean with a single button. A swipe up from the bottom reveals settings for the suction and water flow. In the settings, you set up a schedule for the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C to automatically follow and check on the consumables.

What might be more interesting to you are the mapping options. Foremost, you need to decide whether you want to use maps, as these are uploaded to Xiaomi's servers. Keep in mind that your Wi-Fi will also reveal where you live, and make an informed decision before you enable anything. You have the option to divide, merge, and name rooms, as well as setting up virtual walls and restricted areas.

Limitations of the Xiaomi Home app and Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C

What the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C can't do is map multiple floors. I believe this is an artificial limitation imposed by Xiaomi, as its hardware is comparable to other robot vacuum cleaners that manage to store multiple maps. However, this doesn't mean that it will refuse to clean an unmapped area. It will still clean as you'd expect, it just won't be as efficient, as it is basically acting as a dumb robot vacuum cleaner and builds a map as it goes along.

Useful and unintrusive notifications

Another aspect I appreciate about having the Xiaomi Home app on my phone is the fact that it will notify me whenever the vacuum is stuck somewhere. While the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C does also speak, I will never hear it when it's running in the cellar.

Integrating the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C with your smart home

The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C integrates with the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and it has support for Siri Shortcuts. As I don't own of the latter two, I can only comment on the Google Assistant.

The Xiaomi Home integration with the Google Assistant is annoyingly sparse when it comes to vacuum cleaners. It essentially boils down to starting and stopping the Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C. What I would expect from a robot vacuum cleaner that supports mapping and zones is the option to have it clean a certain zone on command.

The vacuum cleaning options of the Xiaomi Home integration with the Google Assistant

I couldn't complete this review without talking about the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop 1C integration with Home Assistant. The Xiaomi Miio integration does not support this robot vacuum, though there are ways of having Home Assistant control it. I will be writing a follow-up article on how to do just that.

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