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Priced less than $200, the MOOKA I3 is one of the least expensive robotic vacuum cleaners in the market.
The suction is fairly powerful and the battery lasts 120 minutes. It also comes with preprogrammed scheduling and cleaning modes and multiple cleaning brushes including a brush roll for low pile carpets.
If you are looking for a budget robotic vacuum cleaner that can handle a room of hard floors and low-pile carpet and you want the best value for your money, the MOOKA I3 is a solid choice.
Don’t kid yourself: this vacuum is nowhere close to a Roomba in terms of smart features, wifi connectivity and intelligent navigation – but it’s pretty darn close when it comes to cleaning a floor.
Our Impression - MOOKA I3 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
The MOOKA I3 is a new bargain robotic vacuum cleaner with solid cleaning ability. It’s not wifi-connected and lacks intelligent mapping, but if all you want is a single-room cleaner it’s a great choice for the money.
• Low and medium-pile carpets
You want a smart robotic vacuum cleaner with advanced features like remote control and scheduling, smart home integration and cleaning reports.
How low can robotic vacuum cleaners go on price?
Over the last couple of years, new robot vacuum brands have popped onto the scene to offer customers cheaper alternatives to the Roomba series of vacuums.
Brands like Eufy and Ilife, for example, have introduced really great vacuums that cost less than $300.
Recently, another group of manufacturers (almost exclusively from China) entered the market with robotic vacuum cleaners that cost less than $200.
The MOOKA I3 is one of these ultra-budget vacuums.
But does the low price mean you get fewer features and less thorough cleaning?
Well, to be honest: yes and no.
Not surprisingly, budget robot vacuums like this MOOKA have fewer features than pricier alternatives. The MOOKA I3 doesn’t connect to WiFi, for example, which means no remote phone control or Alexa integration. It also doesn’t have smart floor scanning and mapping.
On the other hand, the MOOKA I3 does a surprisingly good job cleaning your floor. It turns out that a robot vacuum doesn’t need all those advanced features to get rid of dust and pet hair from the floor.
Yes, it will take longer to finish cleaning a room, and it may get lost trying to get back to the charging dock.
But overall, you’ll find the MOOKA I3 cleans almost as well as a lower-priced Roomba.
The MOOKA I3 also includes all of the cleaning features necessary: side brushes, roller brush, anti-drop sensor, sizable bin, high quality filters and long battery life.
So don’t let the low price scare you.
This is a good robot vacuum cleaner even for homes with pets.
If you are looking for an affordable robotic vacuum that cleans well, the MOOKA I3 will not disappoint.
Despite its low price and lack of premium features, it does a fine job cleaning a floor.
The suction is powerful enough for all types of hard floors as well as low and medium pile carpets.
A direct-suction system (brushless) picks up dust, pet hair, food crumbs with ease.
Two side brushes sweep in debris from the sides for vacuuming. They are handy when the robot is cleaning along the wall or in corners and ensure no dirt is left hiding along the edges.
A roller brush is also included to deal with stubborn dirt and pet hair (especially on carpeting).
Dirt, dust and debris passes through a HEPA filter to capture even the finest dust.
The MOOKA I3 has several cleaning modes that you can activate using the included remote control.
The robot itself has buttons for Power ON/Off and return to home.
So you have to use the remote control (23 feet range) to select different cleaning modes or set a schedule.
A small LCD screen on the remote control makes it easier to navigate through the menu and settings.
Here are modes you can select:
- Auto– this is the default cleaning mode. The robot simply starts cleaning. It will pick a random cleaning path and use sensors to avoid obstacles and stairs. When the battery runs low, it will automatically go back to the charging dock.
- Edge– it moves along thewall, cleaning dust and pet hair from the edges and corners.
- Spot– it cleans around a specific spot. Use this mode when you need to clean up a mess or an area with concentrated dirt.
- Single room– the robot will intensively clean a single room. Close the door or use a physical obstacle to prevent the robot from getting out.
The MOOKA I3 is not the smartest robot vacuum, for sure.
It doesn’t scan your home or map out a cleaning path like other pricier robots.
It moves around in a random pattern using a sensor to detect obstacles and move around them. This is a less efficient cleaning pattern which means the vacuum takes longer to finish cleaning.
It also means the robot cannot clean an entire level in a room-to-room pattern. Unlike pricier robots, it won’t know when it has finished cleaning one room and move on to the next.
So it’s best to confine it to one room and then manually move it to another.
For an open plan living area, the MOOKA I3 has no problem moving from the kitchen to the dining area to the main lounge area.
Its low profile (29” high) means it can easily clean under furniture without getting stuck. But in case it gets stuck (this can happen when it encounters cables, toys or clothing items on the floor) it will continuously beep to alert you.
This MOOKA also has a sensor to detect furniture and other obstacles in its way. It will either move around them or gently bump into them before changing direction. It also has a cliff sensor on the underside which detects the presence of stairs and prevents the robot from falling.
To be safe, I recommend you place a physical obstacle across the stairs – especially if you have dark flooring (cliff sensors in many robot vacuums struggle with dark floors).
Note that this robot cleaner does not include a virtual wall barrier that you can use to set no-go zones. If you want to keep it from a certain room or area, close the door or use a physical barrier.
You can also manually control the cleaning path using the remote’s navigation buttons. This is helpful if you need to clean a room or a certain spot quickly.
Automation and Scheduling
The MOOKA I3 doesn’t have much in terms of automation.
It can automatically move about the floor while avoiding obstacles and get back to the dock when the battery gets low. But that’s about it.
It does not return to cleaning after recharging, it doesn’t have an automatic power boost feature, and it can’t send you a cleaning report after each session.
In any case, these are not essential features. The robot cleans almost as well without them. And it costs a LOT less.
One convenient feature MOOKA included is a timer you can use to set a schedule (using the remote) for cleaning while you are gone. The robot will automatically start cleaning at that time every day. Unfortunately, though, it won’t return to recharge.
As with most budget robots, the scheduling feature is not that great. You cannot set a specific time for each day or leave some days unscheduled. But it works well for most people’s needs.
If you don’t want to clean on certain days just remember to turn the whole schedule off on those days before you leave home.
What It Misses
With no WiFi connectivity, there’s a whole lot of smart features it lacks such as voice control, remote scheduling and phone alerts.
It also lacks advanced features like home scanning & mapping, customizable scheduling, and automatic recharge & return.
But it’s probably not fair to compare the I3 to these robot vacuums. They are in a completely different league than the MOOKA, which costs as little as a quarter of the price.
Comparing it with budget robot vacuums like the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11s and the SharkNinja Shark Ion 720, the MOOKA I3 provides better value for your money.
It has roughly the same features as these $300 vacuums and cleans just as well, but costs way less.
I’d still love to see a more flexible scheduling feature.
Several customers also complain that it is difficult to find a replacement HEPA filter for the dustbin.
Maintenance is simple and straightforward.
After every cleaning session, remove the dustbin and empty it. Dust the filters and wipe the airways.
Clean the brushes, making sure you remove pet hair and small bits of debris that may have gotten stuck on the bristles. Use the brush cleaning tool that is included along with the vacuum.
Also, wipe the sensors to make sure there is no dust to obscure them. The robot will not be able to detect obstacles and the stairs if dust covers the sensors.
Once every week, do a more thorough check for any stuck debris. Check the wheels, airways and other parts.
The filter, brushes and front wheel need to be replaced every few months. Check the manual for replacement advice.
- Great value for your money – cleans well for the price.
- Affordable. This is one of the cheapest robotic vacuum cleaners.
- Multiple cleaning modes to suit different situations.
- Easy to use and maintain.
- Long lasting battery (90-120 minutes).
- Good for hard floors and low/medium-pile carpets.
- HEPA filter for better cleaning – great for baby nurseries and homes with allergy/asthma sufferers.
- Automatic recharge when the battery gets low.
- No WiFi connectivity or smartphone app.
- No smart scheduling features.
- No mapping or scanning.
- The auto-timer feature is limiting.
Dimensions: 12.5 x 12.5 x 2.9 inches
Running time: 90-120 minutes
Remote control: yes
Auto-recharge and resume: no
Multi-room navigation: no
Entire level cleaning: no