When we started to work through the vacuums in this price range, most of us were pretty skeptical of what kind of results we would be getting. In the bargain price range of any product category, you will be making choices about what is and is not essential to you and, most importantly, what you give up when you decide to opt for the low-end. With the iLife A4S robot vacuum, you will find a great starter robot vacuum.
The great majority, 79% of customers, gave the A4S either a 4-star or 5-star rating for the product from a high level. You will always expect negatives, but the 9% of customers giving this vacuum a 1-star rating was roughly equal to the two iRobot machines we reviewed, one of which costs almost twice as much as this one other cost four times as much.
This vacuum is programmable and comes with an IR remote control, which means that if you want to control the vacuum with the remote control, you will have to see it. This vacuum does not come with a phone app, nor does it require wifi to work. Remember, buying this product will have you making sacrifices. Since there are fewer bells and whistles with the iLife, the battery life is rated a hair better than the other products, coming in at 140 minutes instead of the typical 90 to 120 minutes.
Most reviewers of the product loved the product, including pet owners. The lions' share of verified owners was pleased that they could run the vacuum every day when nobody was around or even awake and that all they needed to do was empty the bin, and their house was clean. Many users also do a more thorough job with a hand-vac weekly or every other week to make sure things are immaculate. The vacuum has good suction and will clean up all of the stray furs in your house; it has a good-sized bin to collect dust, hair, small objects. As with any vacuum, it will stop when the bin is full; that's a feature, not a problem. Most people we spoke with loved the fact that a meager price completely changed things. Much happier with their less cluttered and dusty house.
See our Best Robot Vacuums to Buy
While the percentage of dissatisfied users was low, there seem to be some frequent issues with the device. Here's where the low price point starts to come in. A lot of customers indicated that the product was great, but for a while. Then the vacuum just stopped working. Most of these complaints have good descriptions of the users' issues. The issues were typically about following cleaning and maintenance rituals, and the vacuum didn't work anymore. This is a disturbingly consistent theme, to the tune of hundreds of people.
There were a few other problems with the vacuum getting stuck under things. Still, the Life A4S has a lower height than either iRobot products we looked at and the Neato D7, so while it may have been a problem for some users, any product would also be a problem for some users. However, one customer got the vacuum as a gift; it got stuck under the refrigerator edge and proceeded to eat a piece of their linoleum kitchen floor.
The bottom line is that the iLife A4S is a perfect starter robot vacuum and will do an excellent job for you. You should also expect to replace the product far more quickly than you may want to, so don't expect to get a decade out of this like you would expect to get with a well-made Kirby.
Be sure to refer to our Robot Vacuum Buyers Guide