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Inomi SE8 review: A robot vacuum and mop that’s lost its way

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £216
inc VAT

The price of the Inomi SE8 looks attractive but its navigation falls well short of expectations


  • Low price
  • Decent spot cleaner
  • Doesn’t need a smartphone


  • Basic mop
  • Weak app
  • Terrible navigation

The Inomi SE8 has a familiar look and feel about it, being one of a whole host of affordable vacuum cleaners you’ll find while cruising the listings at Amazon. With its hockey puck shape and promise of floor-cleaning prowess, it blends in with hundreds of other models. However, the SE8 is an eye-catching package, promising features galore, including a mop, at a very affordable price. The question is: is it any good?

Inomi SE8 review: What do you get for the money?

The Inomi SE8 appears to offer a lot, with both standard vacuum cleaning and a mop attachment. It comes with a relatively inconspicuous charging station, a remote control (so you don’t have to have your phone handy to operate it), and about a metre of magnetic floor tape you can use to stop the robot from entering areas you want to protect. There are also some replacements for its consumable parts, including a second filter and spare edge sweepers.

The robot has a diameter of 320mm and stands about 70mm tall, with nothing sticking out the top. I found it was low enough to get under all the furniture in my house, including the TV stand and my coffee table’s low shelf, which not every robot vacuum I’ve tested can manage.

It has a 140mm intake port on the underside, which contains a roller with both brush and rubber fins. The collection bin can take 500ml of dust and debris, while the mop attachment can hold 300ml of water.

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Inomi SE8 review: What’s it like to use?

As you might expect from a cheaper robot such as this, the available options are fairly limited. The device will probably spend most of its time in vacuuming mode, which you can control either from your phone or using the supplied remote control.

The remote control has a display that allows you to set schedules, and buttons for starting a clean, manually controlling the robot to send it somewhere specific for a spot clean, and sending it back to the charger.

Controlling it using the app is relatively similar, although it also displays the map the robot is creating as it moves around. However, this is only used on a single clean basis to show you where it’s been.

You can’t use it to set no-go areas or to drop a pin for a spot clean in a specific location. If you want to restrict where the robot can go, you’re limited to the magnetic tape or simply closing doors on it.

To use the mop function you replace the dust collection bin with a water tank that has a cloth attached to the bottom. Water is dripped onto the cloth from the tank to moisten it, and the cloth is dragged underneath the robot. However, this is only of any use if you have hard floor throughout your house, or you’ll need to restrict it to rooms that don’t have any carpet by closing doors or laying the magnetic tape.

Inomi SE8 review: Is it good at finding its way around?

During our testing, the Inomi SE8 had all sorts of problems finding its way around. I started it off on my tricky 57m² ground floor but it failed to complete the entire area without stopping for a recharge, despite reporting that it had cleaned well over 70m².

I let the device return to its charging base (which was also a bit of a struggle because the robot doesn’t appear to remember where it came from), and it subsequently restarted and failed to find its way home. I found it the following morning, hiding under a sofa with no battery power left.

I then confined it to a smaller area to see if it was better in small spaces. It’s here that the robot’s problems really started to show. While it covered most of the room fairly reasonably, its map-making ability proved deeply flawed.

After finishing a clean, the robot uses the edges of an area to guide it home again. However, because the map-making isn’t accurate, the robot keeps thinking it’s discovered a new area while it makes its way back. It then starts cleaning again, fills in the gap it thinks it has missed, before setting off for base once again.

I watched it repeat this process several times in my living room, before it eventually wedged itself between a chair and the wall and started beeping for help. When I closed the gap and restarted the process, it never seemed to want to finish, always expanding the map and going over the same ground, until its battery needed recharging.

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Inomi SE8 review: How well does it clean?

Clearly, this erratic behaviour doesn’t make it much good at cleaning rooms. It certainly covers the ground but the lack of control and poor mapping lead to a frustrating experience.

This is something of a shame, because in our tests it was actually reasonably good at spot cleaning for the price. The manual suggests placing the robot on the mess, which gives it a head start at sucking up material before the edge brushes can scatter it. It then moves out in an expanding spiral pattern until it has covered a circle around 1m in diameter, then spirals back in again.

When it comes to cleaning up spilled rice, this works reasonably well. I spilled 50g of rice on both short-pile carpet and hard floor and the SE8 collected 42g from both. What isn’t collected is scattered beyond the reach of the vacuum’s spot clean.

The flour test produced similar results on hard floor, with 42g of a 50g spill collected up. On carpet, however, the vacuum’s brush and suction weren’t able to lift the powdery flour and it only collected 22g.

Over the four tests this is a good result: it collected 74% of our spillages in total. However, it’s worth noting that, if you’re willing to spend more on a better model, the likes of the £649 AEG RX9.2 and the £449 iRobot Roomba i3+ are more effective, and picked up over 90%.

Inomi SE8 review: Should I buy it?

While it initially looks a bit of a bargain, ultimately the Inomi SE8 disappoints. Its inability to find its way around is inexcusable in a device that’s supposed to have an element of autonomy; it doesn’t really matter how well or otherwise the robot cleans if it loses its way in a relatively small room.

For this kind of budget we’d recommend the Eufy RoboVac 30C instead. This doesn’t have the mop attachment and doesn’t have any more sophisticated room navigation than the Inomi but it covers a space more efficiently and is clever enough to know where it’s been. For a more efficient clean that can pick up more of your dirt, consider the iRobot Roomba i3+. This will empty itself, too, although it’s expensive at £699. However, you can pick one up without the self-emptying base for £449.

For the best robot vacuum experience, look no further than the £649 AEG RX9.2. This model took a bit of setting up but, once it’s running, its cleaning ability is powerful and efficient, and it’s really gentle on your furniture.

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