Despite being a new brand in this market, ILIFE has done a great job of making high quality robotic vacuums that can rival the big brands like Samsung, iRobot and Neato.
And today, we are going to look at two of their latest products – the A6 and the A4S.
Both robots have the latest generation 2nd generation brushless motor which will last longer. Another improvement is the larger Li-ion battery which improves runtime.
The A4S will run up to minus 140 and the A6 up to 160 minutes which is close to 3 hours.
In this review, I will go through the various features of these products from external brushing, noise and motors all the way to cleaning performance.
Before moving on to the rest of the article, please watch this video for a comprehensive look at what to expect from these two bots.
The A6 comes in an elegant piano black color, which is a sharp departure from the A4S’s different gray tones color scheme.
Honestly, it looks really sharp but my concern is the scratch being magnified on the black. But that’s just my aesthetic, the most important issue is how to clean this robot.
In the upper middle there is a single button that uses the default cleaning mode. It also doubles as an indicator that lets you know the status of the battery.
When the battery is full, it flashes green. Flashes red if the battery is low,
Red also indicates an error occurred and you will see a full list of error codes and how to solve them in the manual.
The tray-shaped dirt bin can be accessed through the back of the robot. But you have to be careful how you pick this up and don’t hit the release button or else the robot will fall. I made this mistake several times but thank God the robot was not damaged.
A4S retains the gray color scheme found in A4. If you look at these two bots side by side, you won’t be able to tell one from the other.
It also has a single button that toggles the default cleaning mode when pressed. It also tells you the status of the battery.
The dirt box is also a drawer type box that slides in the back. But the release lever is at the back and not at the top.
So there is no danger of the robot falling when carried from behind.
ILIFE has kept the same design in A6 with the side brush and the motorized brush in the middle. A fourth wheel on the A4 is located at the bottom of the dirt container that helps reduce drag and improve efficiency.
The wheel size looks the same but the A6 comes with different rubber. If you look closely at the tread pattern, the A6 is thicker with a groove in the middle.
I don’t think this makes much of a difference on bare ground as both robots move about the same speed.
The biggest difference will be that the motorized brush uses rubber flaps instead of bristles to remove dirt.
The A4S has exactly the same design as the A4 – two side brushes, one bristle brush and two large rubber wheels. One wheel is used for steering.
Not found on the A4S is the fourth wheel in the dirt basket.
Below the bumper are three cliff sensors (the A6 also has 3) that prevent this robot from falling off the stairs. Unfortunately, these sensors also prevent these two robots from going over the black carpet.
I said in the video that the A6 is taller than the A4S but I was wrong.
When I was recording the video I couldn’t find the measuring tape so I relied on an eye test.
The A6 looked taller but when I measured these two the A6 is 2.8 inches tall while the A4S is just over 3 inches tall.
This makes the A6 one of the shortest robotic vacuums available at the moment. It’s about an inch shorter than the Roomba 980 and Neato BotVac Connected. Compared to the Dyson 360 Eye, this thing is a dwarf.
Being short is actually a good thing for a robotic cleaner because it will fit more furniture.
winner: A 6
The A6 has a redesigned enclosure that is smaller than the A4S.
The A6 bin opens from the front and the A4S bin opens from the top. This change in design makes emptying more difficult because the opening is smaller.
Emptying the A4S is much easier due to its simpler shape and large opening.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade ILIFE has made to the A6 is the motorized brush. Gone are the bristles used by previous A-series bots. In its place are rubber plates that remove dirt towards the suction chamber.
In the cleaning test I did, it didn’t necessarily perform better. But cleaning is much easier than a bristle brush.
This makes the A6 a much better option if you have long-haired roommates or have pets.
winner: A 6
Not much has changed since the first ILIFE appeared. All of their robots use an infrared-based navigation system that tells the robot to go in a random direction.
One improvement worth noting is how these bots handle obstacles. Older ILIFE variants – A4, V5, V5 Pro, V7, and V7S – will hit the objects.
ILIFE has improved collision detection in the second generation of robots – A4S, A6 and V5S Pro. These robots will slow down and avoid collisions thanks to the upgraded sensors and algorithm.
This means less risk of scuff marks on the furniture. It’s something that even the Roomba 650 struggles with. And if you are thinking of buying a 650 why not choose the A4S or the A6 which works almost as well.
Only the A6 comes with a virtual wall and the A4S does not have this feature.
A virtual wall is a device that prevents a robot from entering restricted areas. This may include the laundry area or garage.
This device is model specific which means you cannot use the A6 virtual wall with the A4S.
My house doesn’t have carpeting so I will test it on hard floor only.
Before I compared these two backwards, I thought the A6 would perform better due to the new brush roll design but that wasn’t the case.
In both tests, I scattered 50g of dirt in a similar pattern to replicate how I cleaned it in several key areas. These include edges, corners and around furniture.
By the way, if you haven’t seen the video above, please watch it to see the cleaning test.
Here are some before and after photos of the cleaning test.
Surprisingly in this test the A4S cleaned 1g more than the A6 but it took longer to clean the area. It took about 10 minutes longer.
So the A6 wins when it comes to efficiency but not by much. But it’s still a noteworthy improvement.
You’ll notice that the A6 left the dirt spec in the middle part of the room. But if you leave it to clean for 5 minutes longer, it will probably pick it up.
They both did a good job around the chair, edges and corner which is a testament to the effectiveness of the double-sided brush system that ILIFE uses.
This proves that the BladeAway spiral brush doesn’t pick up better than the bristle brush found on the A4S. But it’s easier to maintain since the hair wraps around the brush less.
I mentioned this earlier and I’ll say it again – you buy this because you need something that is easy to maintain.
If your daughter or wife has long hair, A6 will be the best choice.
|Anti-fall and collision||
|2nd generation engine||
|Small room mode||
12.2 x 2.99
12.2 x 3.15
|the show length||
120 – 140 minutes
140 – 160 minutes
Where do you buy this?
You can buy this product from a range of different online retailers. But to get the best price, you have to go to Amazon.
Choosing between these two stores will depend on your personal preferences.
The ILIFE A4S will cost approximately $200 on Amazon.
The A6 will cost around $220 on Amazon.
Keep in mind that prices fluctuate based on deals, so be sure to check the links for the latest prices.
Amazon should be your first choice if you live in the US because of the fast shipping and fast 2-day delivery option with Amazon Prime.
- A4SJZ (EU plug) – $139.99
- Hong Kong warehouse (US plug) – $233.69
These robots are great options for homes with hardwood floors or carpets.
Each has a motorized brush to move the carpet. It is also able to clean the large dirt on the bare floor as you saw in the video.
Don’t expect any of these machines to deep clean carpets because I honestly haven’t seen such a product yet. But these daily cleanings are great because they are independent. And it can clean areas that most rolls or even a vacuum cleaner can’t reach.
One of these areas will be under your bed and table. These areas are notorious for gathering dust, which can be a source of allergens that trigger asthma.
In terms of cleaning performance both are washing. But the A6 is a bit more efficient in many of the cleaning tests I’ve done.
Choosing between the two boils down to two things – how much you are willing to spend and need to brush a lot of hair.
The new motorized brush in the A6 has no bristles that make it easier to clean. Hair won’t wrap as much as it does in something with bristles. And it comes with an extra whisk rod so you don’t have to buy one when it’s worn out.
An A4S brush works well, but if you have a lot of pets or your family members have long hair, a lot of hair will get wrapped around the brush making it difficult to clean.
A6 is the newer and more expensive of the two. But it is a good investment if you are willing to spend $200++ for it. A4S is no slouch and the $60 difference is significant.