The latest robot vacuum from Amarey is an incremental improvement rather than a whole new model. It takes the company’s map-enabled A900 and ratchets up the suction power from 1400 to 1600Pa, a not-insignificant upgrade given that Amarey’s vacuums have proven to be some of the best at extracting stubborn pet hair. That and its basic map capabilities make it an excellent value for animal owners in particular.
The A980 has the relatively slim dimensions of the other Amarey robot vacuums we’ve reviewed, measuring just 12.7 inches across and 3 inches high. An auto-clean button, Wi-Fi indicator, and 145-degree navigation camera—used with Visual SLAM technology to map the layout of the room—adorn the top of vacuum. A honeycomb pattern under glass gives the all-black device some eye appeal.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best robot vacuums, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.
On the bottom, the vacuum has a single rolling brush and a pair of side brushes for cleaning, two main wheels plus a swivel wheel for maneuvering, and a power switch. Accessories include a charging dock and power adapter, a pair of extra side brushes, extra filters, magnetic boundary tape, and a cleaning tool.
You can control the vacuum with its physical remote or the Amarey Pro companion app. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to start, stop, and pause cleanings with simple voice commands.
Setup and usage
The A980 needs minimal setup to use. You just have to snap the two edge brushes onto their respective pegs on the vacuum’s underside, flip on the power switch, set the vacuum on its plugged-in charging dock, and wait until its battery is fully powered to start cleaning. Once the vacuum powers up, “Mary,” its voice assistant, lets you know she’s ready for duty.
While the vacuum’s remote gives you complete control over the A980’s cleaning modes, you need to connect the companion app to take advantage of the A980’s mapping and scheduling features. This is also fairly simple as it walks you through a shot pairing process and has you scan a QR code by holding your phone above the vacuum’s camera to connect it to your Wi-Fi network.
The A980 offers three basic cleaning options: Auto mode for full, self-navigated room cleaning; Spot Cleaning for localized areas; and Edge Cleaning for vacuuming along walls and furniture legs. You can also program the A980 to clean automatically on a schedule by selecting a start time and day(s) of the week.
The vacuum must complete an auto cleaning of the room to build a smart map. This was where the A980 got the lay of my living room, and it included a lot of gently bumping into table legs and groping around to find a clear path. During this run, the vacuum got stuck often and each time I was verbally alerted by Mary and notified in the app.
The diagnoses of the problem weren’t always accurate—once Mary insisted the A980s was “suspended in the air” when it clearly wasn’t—but in all cases manually repositioning the vacuum got it moving again.
There’s a payoff for enduring this haphazard initial cleaning, though. As the A980 learned the shape of the room and where the obstacles were placed within it, it figured out the most efficient route through it. That eventually relieved me of the need to supervise every cleaning.
With a max adjustable suction of 1600Pa, the A980 was able to pull dust, crumbs, dirt, and pet hair from deep within my carpet. Even better, it recognized when it was on carpet and boosted the suction automatically. It did a great job on the hard flooring in my entryway and kitchen, as well, and had little problem transitioning those different terrains.
As with Amarey’s other robot vacuums, the A980’s lean profile is a significant strength. It easily rolled under my couch, between table and chair legs, and into the toe spaces under my kitchen cabinets to thoroughly clean these often overlooked areas.
The Amarey Pro app’s design isn’t terribly inspired but it is straightforward and functional. The map of the room is displayed in the center of the home screen, with real-time cleaning area and duration stats as well as battery level running across the top. Control buttons for cleaning modes, suction level, and docking the vacuum are in a tool bar at the bottom. Scheduling, cleaning job history, and other settings including voice control are accessible by clicking a cog icon in the upper right.
The A980 is an excellent value, and thanks to its increased suction, it replaces the Amarey A800 as our top pick for vanquishing pet hair. Although it costs almost $130 more than that vacuum, its VSLAM navigation and mapping capabilities more than justify the added expense.