Recently, I received a request to review the Roidmi F8 cordless vacuum cleaner. I had initially thought of rejecting the offer as I am not very familiar with the vacuum cleaners, but decided to take up the challenge, so here we are today with this review.
Pricing & Availability – Not Finalized
Currently, the Roidmi F8 isn’t sold in Singapore yet, but there are plans to bring it in. In China, it retails for ¥1699, which is pretty costly for a vacuum cleaner, but is still a lot more affordable than Dyson’s competing line of vacuum cleaners.
The set I am testing is the China version, so the charger has a China plug. The one that will be coming to Singapore (if it does come) will include a charger with the familiar UK plug.
Unboxing – So Many Parts!!!
Roidmi’s packaging of the F8 is the complete opposite of fanciful. Everything you need is packed into an uninspiring brown cardboard box. Opening the box, you will find all the parts wrapped up in protective plastic, held together by styrofoam.
(Mine is a review unit that has previously been unboxed, so the layout of the items in the box is wrong.)
So what is inside? There is the main body itself, a couple of paperwork, the vacuum head with a brush, a different brush for the head, another type of head…. There are just too many parts to be included here, so just refer to the picture below.
Design – Elegant, But Practical?
The most important part in the entire box is the main body of the vacuum cleaner. This is where all the action happens and also where all the dust will end up in. There are only 2 buttons on it, but the app will give you more control.
Connecting the different heads to the main body is really easy thanks to the really straightforward connecting mechanism. To remove the heads, simply press on the button to release the locking mechanism and pull. Nice!
Just with this very basic mechanism, there are quite a number of different combinations of brush and heads that you can use with the Roidmi F8. This flexibility allows the Roidmi F8 to clean up different objects on various surfaces.
Roidmi F8 follows Xiaomi’s simplistic matte white style that we have grown to love. If your house is equipped with Xiaomi smart home products, this will blend in really well.
But for a vacuum cleaner, that can be a problem. Being something that is meant to be moved around and frequently exposed to dust and dirt, the white body of the Roidmi F8 gets marked and stained very easily. Will Roidmi make a black/grey version?
Included with the Roidmi F8 is a wall-mounted holder that can hold the Roidmi F8 upright magnetically. The magnet is pretty strong so it should hold the vacuum cleaner in place. To remove the Roidmi F8 from the holder, simply pull it upwards.
However, Roidmi doesn’t provide you with a way to store all the other accessories, so you will have to find a box or a bag for them.
I would say that the build quality of the Roidmi 8 is pretty solid, as we have come to expect from Xiaomi-related products. There are too many things about the design to cover here, so I will be spreading them throughout the entire review below.
How to Use the Roidmi F8
Choosing the Right Brush & Head
There are 3 types of heads that you can connect to the Roidmi F8: the roller head, the crevice head and another crevice head but with a flexible neck. You also get a metal connecting roll for extending the reach of the heads.
The roller head comes with two types of brush: a nylon velvet brush for cleaning hard surfaces and a carbon fiber brush for softer, less even surfaces like carpets and beds.
To swap the type of brush you want to use, flip to the back of the roller head, pull the red locking button on the bottom and the white piece beside it will pop out. Do not lose it. Then, remove the current brush with its grey cap. Also do not lose this cap.
Put in the brush you want to use with its grey cap, put back the white piece and you are good to go. Overall, the process of switching is rather easy and takes under a minute, but I wish there wasn’t so many small, loose parts that can get lost.
One thing really cool about the roller head is that under low-light, its LED strip on the front will automatically turn on, which can be useful when you are cleaning under sofas or beds.
Having a crevice head isn’t anything unusual; you can find one on almost any vacuum cleaner. But attach a multi-function brush to this one and it allows you to clean things you normally wouldn’t clean with a vacuum cleaner, like your keyboard or study notes.
With this brush attached, the suction it produces is much weaker than before, so you won’t have to worry about damaging the object you are cleaning. This brush is (manually) rotatable 360°, allowing you to reach smaller areas.
Crevice Head with Adjustable Neck
This head is similar to the previous one, but with a long flexible neck that allow you to reach some areas where the vacuum cleaner’s size would restrict your movements, in tight areas like inside of a box or inside of a car. Really useful.
Powering On & Changing of Strength
To turn the Roidmi F8 vacuum cleaner, simple press and hold the power button located on the handle, at the position where your thumb would rest on. Press again to switch between regular and boosted mode. Press and hold to power off.
The other button only changes the mode.
Controlling Via App
You can pair the Roidmi F8 to your phone via the Roidmi app, linked here for Android and here for iOS. Connecting is surprisingly simple. Just open the app, select “ROIDMI Cleaner F8” and it will automatically pair to your vacuum cleaner.
In the app, you can update the vacuum cleaner’s firmware (really?!!!), change the power of the vacuum cleaner, check battery and filter information, as well as receive notification when the dust container is full. Super cool!
Emptying & Cleaning Dust Container
To clean the dust container, hold the Roidmi F8 pointing downwards, press and hold the white button on the dust container while pulling the dust container downwards. Doing so will separate the dust container from the main body.
On one end of the dust container you will find HEPA filter, which can be pulled out. But to empty the container, you will want to open the lid on the other end, as shown below.
Once you have emptied the container, you might want to clean it. To do so, remove the HEPA filter, then remove the strainer from the container. Use the included brush to clean the HEPA filter, or rinse it and let it dry before putting it back.
Use the same brush to clean the exterior of the strainer. To clean the strainer’s interior, rinse it under the tap, then let it dry before placing it back into the dust container. Ensure that it is properly dried or else clumps of dust might jam it.
Once done, place the strainer and HEPA filter back into the dust container and lock it back into the main body. Roidmi recommends replacing the HEPA filter once every 3 months. Each costs ¥39 and a spare one has been included in the box.
The wall adapter that comes with the Roidmi F8 is rated at 34.2V 1A for output, with what seems to be a proprietary connector for the vacuum cleaner. As mentioned at the start, mine is a China unit so it uses China plug instead of the UK one.
The charging port is located under the rubber cover with wall socket icon located on the lower portion of the handle. Remove the cover and plug in the connector to charge.
Performance & Usage – Can It Clean?
So how powerful is the Roidmi F8? I have not enough experience in vacuum cleaners to give you a definite answer, but we can put it under a few tasks and compare it with the bulky Tefal Compact Power Cyclonic vacuum cleaner I have in the storeroom.
I know this is not a good comparison as both are different kinds of vacuum cleaners. Being portable, we can expect the Roidmi F8 to be weaker. Hence, the takeaway from this should be “Can the Roidmi F8 clean my house?” and not “Which is better?”.
First up, the instant coffee powder test. I spilled some on my kitchen’s floor and used both vacuum cleaners to clean up the mess. With the roller head on, power set to max and mode set to boosted, I was able to suck it all up easily.
Meanwhile, the Tefal Compact Power Cyclonic kept pushing the powder away, due to a less efficient brush head. Alright, lets give the Tefal another chance. This time, I used both vacuum cleaners without a head to suck a rubber ball, then swing it around.
Tefal’s vacuum cleaner was able to hold onto the ball very well and did not drop it during the test, no matter how hard I swing. Meanwhile, Roidmi F8 was only able to hold onto the ball tightly without dropping it at max power, with boosted mode on.
Due to the relatively light weight and small size of the Roidmi F8, carrying it around the house to clean is a breeze. Being cordless, you do not have to unplug it and plug it into another wall socket when you are moving around the house.
With any combination of heads and accessories attached, the Roidmi F8 is light enough to be easily lifted in one hand. But if you are reaching to clean somewhere that is high, your arms will definitely feel the strain after a short period of usage.
One of the most annoying things about Vacuum cleaners is noise. To find out how noisy the Roidmi F8 is, I tested it using an app from the Google Play Store called Sound Meter and used the Tefal Compact Power Cyclonic to calibrate it.
Tefal’s website claims that the Compact Power Cyclonic’s sound level is 79dBA, so I placed my phone at the noisiest part of it and set that as 79dBA. I then powered on the Roidmi F8 at max power (180W in app) and tested its noisiest point.
The highest that I could get the sound meter to reach was 81dBA, close to the 83dBA stated on Roidmi’s Indiegogo page. It isn’t much louder than the Tefal Compact Power Cyclonic, but it produces a high pitch sound that gets pretty frustrating.
Battery Life & Charging – Short & Long
Being a cordless vacuum cleaner, the Roidmi F8 doesn’t have to be plugged to a wall socket before it can be used. But that comes with a disadvantage: battery life. It can only be used for a while, before it runs out of battery and needs to be recharged.
So how long can the Roidmi F8 run on a single charge? Like phones, it will depend on how you use it. For this test, I will be putting the Roidmi F8 at max power (180W in app) with the roller head, change to boosted mode and let it run out of battery.
It ran for a total of 11.5 mins before running out of juice. It did power off at the 8 minute mark, requiring me to turn it back on again. Definitely not enough to clean the entire house, so max out its capabilities only when you really need it.
You will probably not want to leave the Roidmi F8 vacuum cleaner charging all the time, so standby time is also very important. I do not have enough time to test that out, but according to the app, standby time is close to 2 months.
You can’t use it while charging, so you wouldn’t want to let it drain to zero when not in use. I recommend charging the Roidmi F8 once every month, so that whenever you take it out to use, it will at least have a good amount of battery remaining.
Charging the Roidmi F8 from 5% to full takes 2h according to the app and during my testing, it took 2h 10min. There were times where the F8 charges at 0.1A, resulting in really slow charging. But after a while, it returns to charging at 1.1A.
Conclusion – Affordable Dyson Alternative
If the Roidmi F8 comes to Singapore, it will likely be priced close to S$400. At that price, it is not for everyone. So who is it for? Here are a few questions that you should consider before placing an order for the Roidmi F8, or any cordless vacuum cleaners.
- Are there stairs in your house?
- Are you going to use your vacuum cleaner to clean hard-to-reach areas, like on top of bookshelves?
- Are they areas in your house where the bulky size of conventional vacuum cleaners would hinder your ability to clean?
If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, you probably need a Dyson-style handstick cord-free vacuum cleaner. There are quite a few options out there, but many of them are pretty costly at close to S$1000, with some going even higher.
At ¥1699, Roidmi F8 is a lot more affordable than its competitors. It is true that Roidmi lacks experience and the F8 is not perfect. But at less than half the price of competing products in Singapore, its shortcomings can be forgiven in my opinion.