Review

Dreame D9 LDS vacuum robot : the 2020 model?

Dreame, a manufacturer of strong price-performance models for battery vacuum cleaners, is attacking the top with the company’s second vacuum robot. After the already successful Dreame F9 without laser spatial measurement, the Dreame D9 with laser distance sensor has now landed on the market. We’ll tell you whether it will be a flight of fancy or a crash landing.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot suction power

Technical data: Comparison to the Roborock S5 Max and Ozmo 950

With which vacuum robot do you compare a model that aspires to be the best in 2020? Correct, with the two current top models.

Dreame D9

Dreame D9 vacuum robot product image

Roborock S5 Max

Roborock S5 Max

Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 950

Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 950

Suction power3000 pa2000 pa1500 pa
NavigationLaser room measurementLaser room measurementLaser room measurement
AppXiaomi Home (Android, iOS)Xiaomi Home (Android, iOS) or Roborock (Android, iOS)Ecovacs Home (Android, iOS)
Operating Volume50-65 dB (depending on suction level)50-65 dB (depending on suction level)45-66 dB (depending on suction level)
Battery5200 mAh5200 mAh5200 mAh
Dust chamber/water tank0.57 l/0.27 l0.46 l/0.29 l0.4 l/0.2 l
Working time2.5 h2.5 h3 h
Charging time5 h5 h5 h
Weight3.8 kg3.5 kg4.5 kg
Dimensions35.3 x 35.0 x 9.6 cm35.3 x 35.0 x 9.6 cm35.0 x 35.0 x 9.3 cm
Inclinations20°, up to 2 cm20°, up to 2 cm20°, up to 2 cm
CE markingYesYesYes
Features
  • Mapping with map storage of three floors
  • Selective room division
  • No-go zones and zoned cleanup
  • Mop function with no-mop zones and electric water tank
  • Carpet detection (increases suction power)
  • Mapping with map storage of three floors
  • Selective room division
  • No-go zones and Zoned Cleanup
  • Wipe function with no-wipe zones and electric water tank
  • Carpet detection (increases suction power)
  • Mapping with card storage of two floors
  • Selective room division
  • No-go zones and Zoned Cleanup
  • Mop function with no-mop zones and electric water tank
  • Voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Carpet detection (also with wipe function)

The tabular comparison already makes it clear: This race will be a close one, which will probably be decided primarily by the individual software functions. Let the games begin!

Scope of delivery

Xiaomi and subsidiaries like to keep the scope of delivery minimalistic, and Dreame is no exception.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot packaging
The packaging fits into the overall concept.

In the package, apart from the vacuum robot itself, you’ll find:

  • typical Xiaomi charging station with EU charging cable.
  • 0.2 l water tank with attached microfiber cloth
  • a brush head (which goes on the underside)
  • small cleaning tool
  • english user manual
Dreame D9 vacuum robot scope of delivery
As usual, the scope of delivery is not particularly lush.

I would have liked to see one or the other brush head as a spare part, but that is always in short supply with products from the Xiaomi universe. Just like replacement filters.

Design and workmanship

Visually, the D9 looks like a mixture of several Roborock models: The S6 Pure (because of the fancy notch in the middle), the S6 (because of the outer rim) and the S50 (because of the LDS placement and shape). The white casing looks modern, and the robot fits in very well with the Dreame design concept.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot design
A pretty device.

The control elements, i.e. the buttons on the upper side, seem to have been picked out a bit for all elements. They are integrated directly into the surface and are not recognizable as protruding buttons. This is a very visually appealing solution, and there’s no other way to put it.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot controls on the upper side
The D9 can also be controlled via the controls on the top.

Generally, it’s an attractive model, but the typical vacuum robot design doesn’t allow for that many gadgets. However, Dreame has done everything right, but that is of course a matter of taste. However, the influence of the Xiaomi parent company, which is not called the “Apple of China” for nothing, is also noticeable in terms of material quality. The Dreame D9 does not cost as much as an Apple product, but the design and materials are still good. A CE mark is also part of the package.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot underside
The underside of the robot.

With dimensions of 35.3 x 35.0 x 9.6 cm, the Dreame D9 has grown considerably in height compared to its predecessor, the F9 (8.0 cm height). This is only logical, though, since the laser tower on the top makes up a good two and a half centimeters. Thus, the D9 does not fit under all pieces of furniture and potential buyers should measure sofas, dressers, etc. in advance if the D9 is to work underneath.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot obstacle detection dimensions
Oh, that’s going to be tight at 9.6 cm high.
Dreame D9 vacuum robot dimensions in width
It can also be tight in width at 35 cm.
Dreame D9 vacuum robot under heating Dimensions
Attention, the laser tower!

Mode of operation, navigation and sensor technology

Dreame’s first vacuum robot F9 came without a laser distance sensor, but with a low height of 7.9 cm and cost only a fraction of the top models with laser spatial measurement. The new D9 relies on precisely this type of measurement, the most precise type of navigation as of November 2020.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot laser distance sensor
The Dreame D9 navigates via laser distance sensor (LDS).

A total of 13 sensors are installed in the D9, although the sheer number is no indication of whether the robot can find its way around the four walls well. The collision sensors prevent head-on collisions and falls from heights, such as stairs.

Sensor-wise, the D9 isn’t as lavishly equipped as one might think, except for the laser distance sensor and sub-surface sensors (detects carpets underneath independently and increases suction to the maximum) there isn’t that much going on. An optical sensor for detecting passages (doors, for example) or a supporting gyro sensor are not part of the game. In terms of sensors, the Dreame D9 is comparable with the Roborock S50.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot front view
Packed with sensors is different, but it still includes everything necessary.

In a video that surfaced a few weeks ago, the D9 also avoided small obstacles like shoes or the house cat, but even then it could be assumed that it would not be able to do this in practice. Alternatively, you can set no-go zones on the virtual map to exclude certain areas for the robot. For example, the litter box or the play corner. More on this later.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Laser distance sensor LDS
The laser tower on the top is the hub of the Dreame D9.

On the bottom, “only” one brush head works, as we are used to from the Xiaomi models. Why is this not a disadvantage? If the robot works its way along the walls according to the system, it can reach everywhere within one cleaning with a brush head placed on the right front. A second brush head would only assist in pushing the dirt towards the center roller (in front of the intake hood).

Dreame D9 vacuum robot underside brush head
A rotating brush head operates on the underside.

Before the first start, it is advisable to open all doors so that the Dreame can get to know all the rooms. Cables and small objects should also be moved to a safe place during the “familiarization drive”. No-go zones and virtual walls will solve this problem later.

Dust chamber, continued cleaning and working time.

The working time of up to 150 min on the lowest suction level allows cleaning of premises above 200 m². In combination with the 0.57 l dust chamber, premises can be cleaned without having to manually empty the chamber during a pass. Provided it’s not extremely dirty.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot dust chamber
The 0.57-liter dust chamber provides enough space for most levels of dirt.

Emptying the chamber above the trash garbage can works contact-free. Of course, allergy sufferers like me are happy about this, but it should be standard for models in all price ranges.

With the option of adjustable continued cleaning, the D9 recognizes when battery power is getting low (at about 20%) that it no longer has enough battery power left for all the rooms and automatically returns to its charging station accordingly, recharges the battery and resumes cleaning at the last location. Smart.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot find charging station again
Not enough battery power left for all rooms? Off to the station!
Dreame D9 vacuum robot at charging station
Afterwards, the D9 resumes cleaning where it left off.

Advantage of the charging station: Rubber linings on the underside prevent slipping. Disadvantage of the charging station: No cable management on the back.

App control via Xiaomi Home

Many of you will already own a smart Xiaomi gadget, and many of you already know the Xiaomi Home app for Android and iOS. Conveniently, the Dreame D9 can also be integrated, controlled and used via German servers, for example. You do not have to change the country setting in the app to “China”.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Xiaomi Home App integration WLAN
The Dreame D9 does not have to be located in mainland China.

The integration into the WLAN is as usual simple and quick – provided that you turn on WLAN, Bluetooth and tracking on the smartphone and (if it does not work right away) turn off the 5 GHz network and use the 2.4 GHz network. Even in the late 2020s, vacuum robots don’t all like 5 GHz networks. At my house, I didn’t have to turn anything off. Pressing the left and right buttons on the top at the same time lets the D9 set up a new network (in case things don’t work right away).

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Xiaomi Home App WLAN integrated
The WLAN integration is usually quick.

A small tip that can be applied to all Xiaomi, Roborock and Dream models: You can create a shortcut for your smartphone’s home screen under “Additional settings”. This not only gives you a cool icon that you can use to quickly access the robot, but you can also significantly restrict the permissions of the Xiaomi Home app. Provided that you do not use other devices in the app. If you remove permissions from the Xiaomi Home app after integrating the robot, this does not affect the home screen shortcut.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Xiaomi Home App Interface
Then the robot is integrated and we see the interface.

In addition, the robot also speaks multiple languages, such as German, if you want it to and download and install the appropriate language pack in the app. From then on, the Dreame D9 then announces itself with a pleasant female voice, but this can also be turned off completely. Examples of “exclamations” of the round household helper can be “I start cleaning” or “I return to the charging station”.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Xiaomi Home App voice packets settings.
Voice packs on the left, settings options in the middle and on the right.

Since you can already see the settings on the screenshot above, I’ll show you all of them.

Settings within the app

Get ready, this list of functions and settings will be long! So that you have read/seen them all:

  • Mapping: Map of the premises is displayed.
  • Map storage: can be switched on and off.
  • Draw no-go zones, virtual walls and no-wipe zones on map.
  • Determine Go-To Zone: Send robot to specific area.
  • Room division: Divide rooms yourself, connect them, determine suction power for each room separately.
    • Only possible if robot has traveled once through all rooms with map memory set.
  • Carpet mode: Detects carpets and increases the suction power.
  • Change language within the app and the vacuum robot as well as voice (German, English, etc.).
  • Change the volume of the robot’s voice (10-100%).
  • Determine suction level: Quiet, Balance, Turbo, Max.
  • DND mode (Do-Not-Disturb mode): set time when the robot is not allowed to drive.
  • Trace the condition of the robot’s individual parts: Filter, brush heads, main brush, water tank, sensors.
  • Locate the robot: report its whereabouts with its voice.
  • Retrieve, download and install firmware updates.
  • Schedule working hours

Mapping and selective room division

One turn from the charging station, the LDS is working at full speed – and within seconds we can see the first outlines of our four walls in the app. And see that the laser distance sensor works with high precision, so that even with a little knowledge of our rooms, we can see exactly where the robot is (also possible on the go). Thanks to the live mapping, we can watch the D9 in the app during the entire cleaning trip if we want to, provided the Wi-Fi connection is stable.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Xiaomi Home App Mapping Start
The live map display in the app.

The Dreame D9 first scans the outer walls, creating larger square areas, which it then scans in straight paths. This ensures that it does not miss any area. The map created is also updated when the robot discovers new areas or a door has been opened, etc.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Xiaomi Home App Mapping
This is how the Dreame D9 works its way from room to room.

When the D9’s workday is over and every room has been cleared, it automatically returns to its charging station, which it then finds again automatically. If it has not been adjusted, finding it again is a matter of seconds. After a complete cleaning run, the round household helper has automatically divided the rooms, allowing them to be controlled individually. This is then called selective room division.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Xiaomi Home App selective room division
The room division of the robot worked for me (three rooms were intentionally not accessible).

If you are not satisfied with the division made by the robot, you can do it yourself under “Map management” (small map symbol at the top right of the map) and there under “Area editor” and divide the areas, merge them and provide them with suitable icons. The latter is primarily for your own clarity (bedroom = bed icon, hallway = foot icon, etc.).

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Xiaomi Home App selective room division Divide areas.
The automatically divided areas can be edited.

The individual rooms can now not only be controlled individually, but you can also define the order in which the robot travels through the rooms and exclude entire rooms.

No-go zones and virtual walls

Of course, a vacuum robot should not avoid some areas, so Dreame also gives the software package the option to draw virtual walls and no-go zones on the map. Even with meter specifications, so that you can do it very precisely. This allows areas and rooms to be excluded for the robot, which also works in practice. For example, the cable or play corner becomes inaccessible for the Dreame D9 by means of a no-go zone or virtual wall.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot Xiaomi Home App no-go zones virtual walls
No-go zones, virtual walls and no-wipe zones

Now, there is also the case where the vacuum robot is supposed to vacuum an area, but not wipe it with the wipe function attached. For example, a carpet. Dreame has also thought about this and implemented no-mop zones, so that you can exclude such areas for the robot using virtual squares.

Obstacle and carpet detection

Obstacle detection is a good quality indicator for vacuum robots. If a model is too sensitive, dirt and grime will remain in corners and directly in front of furniture. If a model is not sensitive enough, it will dock everywhere and, in the worst case, scratch furniture. The very worst, however, is a middle ground of both. Let’s see how the Dreame D9 handles it:

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The Dreame D9 easily docks obstacles like pieces of furniture, even if it has already recognized them as an obstacle in advance. This ensures that it really gets all the dirt and dust with its brush head on the underside. Due to the built-in bumper at the front, nothing happens to the robot, but also to the piece of furniture only if it is highly sensitive.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot in apartment
The Dreame D9 is consistently master of the situation.

Except for cables or other smaller objects, I trust the Dreame D9’s navigation and obstacle detection, so I let it run without hesitation after the first run when I was out myself. And the more it gets to know the premises, the faster and better it gets along.

The carpet detection also works promptly and flawlessly. Here, the D9 detects the carpet underneath it and increases the suction power to the maximum of 3000 pa as soon as it is on it. Those who do not want to use the feature can also turn it off in the app.

The mopping function

With adjustable water volume when mopping and an electric water tank with the potential filling capacity of 0.27 l, Dreame also wants to score points in the mopping function. However, we are dealing with the typical Xiaomi mop attachment construction kit, which really does not stand out. If you put the water tank with the attached microfiber cloth on the bottom, the D9 automatically recognizes this and knows that it should now wipe as well as vacuum.

Dreame D9 vacuum robot water tank attachment underside
Water into the water tank and snap it onto the underside.

Nice thought to have everything vacuumed and mopped in one pass. Will certainly be nice in the future. Currently, however, it is rather nice to have. I don’t want to commit myself to a particular model, but I have experienced the mopping of the D9 in this way with other robots. The floor gets cleaner, yes, but it is not comparable to manual mopping. Quite nice in between and you have to swing the mop less often, because superficially what was already done, but please do not expect too much!

Dreame D9 vacuum robot wiping function
The wiping function is okay, but nothing more.

So because of me Dreame could have also quietly omitted the wipe function to lower the price even more, but hey.

Conclusion: Is the Dreame D9 the 2020 model?

What distinguishes the Dreame D9 from the currently hottest vacuum robot Roborock S5 Max? Functionally, not much. Let’s compare both models after the test phase. What speaks for which model?

Dreame D9

Dreame D9 vacuum robot product image

Roborock S5 Max

Roborock S5 Max

  • higher suction power
  • minimally larger dust chamber
  • slightly cheaper
  • slightly better wiping function
  • water collection mat included
  • two apps are available

You see: A sheet of paper fits between the two. Navigation, operation and most specs are mostly equally good. Even in terms of price, the S5 Max is only a bit higher than the Dreame’s best price since the last best prices. But what still speaks for the Roborock S5 Max? It has already proven itself in households and thus among customers. You already know what kind of cleaning results you will get when you press the buy button.

In my opinion, the Dreame D9 has the same problem as the S5 Max at launch, which sold a gigantic number of units due to the aggressive pricing policy and aggressive marketing by the manufacturer: The D9 doesn’t bring anything new. Maybe it doesn’t have to, but you expect something from a newcomer that wants to reach the top, even in the second model, that you haven’t seen before. Or something that it can do better than the competition. Sure, more suction power is always nice, but it might not be enough for a lasting impression.

Nevertheless, the Dreame D9 is in the same weight class as the strong S5 Max or the Ozmo 950, and the minus points that appear in the following plus-minus list are really just complaining on a high level. Dreame makes it to 2nd place in our list of the best vacuum robots with the D9.

  • high suction power
  • selective room division
  • navigation, obstacle detection and mode of operation exemplary
  • very high-quality workmanship and modern design
  • CE mark, app multilingual, robot speaks German
  • Scope of delivery could be more generous
  • no cable management at charging station
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Tim

I'm interested in Gadgets, that make our life at home easier - especially when it comes to cleaning the floor or the windows. I was able to test about fifty robot vacuum cleaners since now.

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