Dyson 360 Eye review: The ultimate robot vacuum

£800
Price when reviewed

Cleaning performance

Fortunately, once you’ve worked out the best place to put the 360 Eye, there’s really not much more you need to do, as the little robot will set off and do a thorough job entirely on its own. As the name suggests, the Eye 360 navigates by using a 360-degree camera to see where it is, while IR sensors in the side let it detect objects and get close-up to walls, chair legs and other bits of furniture.

It cleans by using an outwards spiral pattern divided into blocks, ensuring it can cover every bit of floor surface it has access to. Random bounce patterns used by other cleaners aren’t guaranteed to give such good coverage. The Eye 360’s navigation is so advanced that it can even move from room to room provided you leave doors open, but it’s also smart enough to avoid falling into pitfalls such as tumbling down a set of stairs.

As I said at the start of this article, the 360 Eye is a vacuum cleaner first and foremost, producing 20 air watts of suction power. Other robot vacuum cleaners only produce a fraction of this, choosing to conserve energy for moving, rather than actually sucking up dirt.

In addition, the 360 Eye has a rotating brush with both nylon and carbon fibre filaments. The nylon filaments are for carpet, dislodging dirt, and sucking it up, while the carbon fibre filaments are for hard floors, disturbing dirt and preventing static from letting it stick to the floor. It’s a similar brush to that used on the Dyson V8 Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner. Importantly, the brush head is wider than the 360 Eye and is pulled behind the cleaner: this means you get cleaning as wide as the robot and its wheels can’t distribute dust.

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So, is it any good? Well, the simple answer is yes. It’s the best robot vacuum cleaner by a long stretch, and it coped remarkably well in all our tests. My first bit of testing was on polished black tiles to see how well it coped picking up baking powder. With one sweep through the middle, it picked up the vast majority of powder without smudging or swirling it over the floor; other robot vacuum cleaners, on the other hand, have always struggled here.

Then, I put it through a series of real-world tests. In my house, the 360 Eye worked its way round a couple of bedrooms, diving under the beds, around and under chairs, and successfully navigated from bare floorboards onto carpet. At the end, the bin was rather full of fluff, and bits that rarely get vacuumed had been thoroughly cleaned.

As a tougher test, I also cleaned a bathroom that we currently have a set of foster kittens in. Thanks to their mad haring around, the floor was rather dirty with bits of cat litter. With everything out of the way, the 360 Eye took around five minutes to sweep through the room. It picked up the vast majority of the mess, aside from a couple of the bigger bits of litter at the edges of the room. Likewise, in a bathroom, the 360 Eye left a couple of little bits of fluff stuck to the tiles. In both cases, though, a quick go round with a cordless cleaner soon grabbed these last remaining bits.

Ultimately, the 360 Eye isn’t going to replace the need for a traditional or cordless vacuum cleaner, and there are some situations where a regular model is better, such as cleaning stairs, very tight gaps and bigger spills, such as after cooking. However, the 360 Eye fits in perfectly as a maintenance cleaner, doing most of the heavy lifting and keeping your home tidy with very little effort, and dramatically reducing the number of times that you’ll have to do a full sweep with a regular cleaner.

Battery life

On full suction, you get around 30 to 40 minutes per charge out of the 360 Eye. Suction doesn’t die as the battery starts to drain or as the bin gets full, either, and the cleaner is smart enough to return to its docking station and recharge itself before carrying on. Cleaning times can obviously vary hugely by the size of your house and the area you need to clean, but it managed to do a couple of bedrooms in less than an hour. Really, as a convenience device, it’s something you set going when you go out, so you can return to a clean house later.

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Maintenance

There’s very little maintenance to do with the 360 Eye aside from emptying the 0.33L bin when it’s full. This doesn’t sound like a particularly large bin, but it proved more than enough for my entire downstairs, and the more you use it, the less dust you’ll have on each use. Aside from that, the pre- and post-motor filters need to be cleaned regularly using water once a month. They’re easy to get to and don’t require a lot of maintenance.

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Finally, the brush can be removed by unlocking it using a coin in the side-slot. This is handy if something’s been tangled in the machine, such as a cable, or if you notice that it’s a little clogged with dirt and want to clean it up. Dyson also does its own maintenance, regularly updating the firmware to make the robot better. Since the cleaner launched in Japan, updates have improved edge cleaning and reduced the amount of time that the cleaner spends thinking about its next move.

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Dyson Link app

I recommend using the Dyson Link app to control your robot. As well as letting you start a clean from anywhere in the world, the app also lets you schedule one-off or permanent cleans. It will also pop up a notification if there’s something wrong: my cleaner sucked up a headphone cable at one point and I got the chance to fix the problem straight away when the app warned me about it. As the manual is built into the app, it could also tell me how to fix the issue there and then without having to look it up elsewhere online.

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The app also shows you the area that the 360 Eye covered on a clean. From my house, I could see that it had done under the bed and had covered a lot more ground than I normally would, so it’s also useful for tracking just how efficient it’s being when you’re not there to keep an eye on it. 

Overall verdict

As this is Dyson, the Eye 360 certainly isn’t cheap. At £800, it’s very expensive, particularly as you’ll still need a regular vacuum cleaner (see the Expert Reviews guide to the best vacuum cleaners to buy) to finish off the bits the 360 Eye didn’t manage. However, you have to also think about how much time you spend cleaning and how much time a robot can give you back. If your time’s worth at least £10 an hour, say, and you spend an hour a week vacuuming, it only takes just over 18 months for the 360 Eye to pay for itself.

Truthfully, this is a robot vacuum cleaner that can largely replace regular vacuuming. It’s certainly powerful enough and picks up enough dust, and will most likely visit areas that you generally don’t clean as thoroughly. That makes it a first for robot vacuum cleaners, so if you want to save time on one of the most annoying household jobs and reclaim some of your life back, the Dyson 360 Eye is worth every penny.

Buy the Dyson 360 now from Dyson.co.uk

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