Lefant P1 : test / review
Published on: 20-03-2023 / Modified: 20-03-2023
I have tested many vacuum cleaners in the last two years and even if they all look the same, there are some exceptions. The Lefant P1 looks like a robot vacuum cleaner, but it's when you put it next to another robot that you realize the difference.
The Lefant P1 is the smallest vacuum cleaner I have tested so far. It is designed to fit anywhere, it should be able to slip between the legs of a chair or under a low piece of furniture. The size will obviously have a consequence on its tank but not on its power.
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I tested my first vacuum cleaners in 2019, so it's going to be 4 years since I tested them. I mainly tested Chinese brand vacuums and often brands that were not yet very well known. All these brands unknown to the general public in 2019 have all evolved in maturity and this can be seen from the first contact with the packaging.
Here is the box of the first Lefant I tested in 2021
And here is the box of the Lefant P1 I tested in 2023
It's the same brand and the same logo with 2 years of difference between these products. Lefant is now comparable to all the mainstream brands that can be found on Amazon, the number of reviews also gives you an indication of the commercial success of some of their models.
The box contains:
- the robot vacuum cleaner
- the docking station and power supply
- 4 rotating brushes protected by a rubber half-sphere to prevent hair and bristles from wrapping around the brush
- a small cleaning brush to clean the filters
- a HEPA filter (there is one in the tank as well)
- a tank for dust
- a cable to delimit the suction areas
The Lefant P1 is a double brush robot, this allows it to optimize its path to avoid having to go over the same place several times. Its location is done by a camera located on the top of the vacuum cleaner and a front sensor, this kind of location works in theory less well in the dark but this robot is equipped with two small LEDs to help him find his way in the dark, it's the first time I see that.
The cover is opened by pulling on a rubber strip On the other robots a pressure on the cover causes it to open. The tank is quite small, I think it is the smallest tank among the robots I tested.
This robot has another special feature, it is equipped with a real camera that will allow you to see what is going on at home while the robot is working. You can also talk via your smartphone to ask your dog to go sit somewhere else, for example.
There is no rotating brush inside the vacuum cleaner, this will save you from having to take that brush out to clean it but the lack of a brush also allows you to vacuum larger dirt. The entrance is surrounded by rubber strips to guide the dirt in front of the hole and prevent dirt from escaping the suction.
The application allows you to guide the robot automatically or manually, I come back to this point later in the article.
There is a small screen on the top of the robot that indicates the status of the robot, different pictograms are displayed depending on the activity of the robot. A small face also indicates if the robot is working properly or if it needs your help.
The charging station is very similar to the other robots, it only lacks a space to wind the power cable in the back.
The brushes are protected by a small rubber cover that will reduce the risk of hair getting wrapped around them.
The tank is very small, so you'll need to use this robot regularly to prevent dirt from accumulating. The tank is equipped with a HEPA filter to catch small particles.
Here is a small illustration to show the difference in size between the Lefant and a normal sized vacuum cleaner.
Here are the main features of the Lefant P1, I've added a few other vacuums from those I've tested to help you compare.
- suction power: 5500pa
- tank capacity:
- 230 minutes of theoretical autonomy
- suction power: 3500pa
- tank capacity for dust: 520ml
- water tank capacity: 160ml
- 150 minutes of theoretical autonomy (for a surface of 150m²)
- suction power: 4000pa
- tank capacity for dust: 600ml
- 210 minutes of autonomy
Yeedi 2 Hybrid
- suction power: 2500pa
- tank capacity for dust: 430ml
- 200 minutes of autonomy
Dreame L10 Pro
- suction power: 4000pa
- tank capacity for dust: 570ml
- 90 minutes of autonomy
The Lefant P1 is at the highest level of suction among the robots I tested. The suction power is often proportional to the noise emitted by the vacuum cleaner and here, Lefant announces a noise level of 55 dB. This seems very low to me but as I measure this aspect, we'll see what it is in reality.
The guidance is made possible by the combination of infrared sensors and a camera. The robot can thus launch into its task with a zigzag exploration like most robots. The first exploration will be a complete exploration to map the place. Once this first mapping is done, you can choose another type of guidance among the following:
- full cleaning (zigzag)
- cleaning by the edges: the robot will follow the perimeter of your rooms to clean the edges
- spiral cleaning: you choose a dirty area and the robot will focus only on that area by turning in a spiral
- cleaning by area
Here is a video (accelerated X2) showing how the robot behaves for the exploration of the surface to be cleaned and how it goes along the walls and sucks in the corners.
In particular, you can use the magnetic strip to create boundaries for the cleaning area. This magnetic strip is not very large, so you will not be able to isolate large areas. For example, the strip can be used to block access to a door opening.
Obstacle management is often linked to the type of technology used for tracking. The Lefant P1 detects obstacles with its infrared sensors on the front of the vacuum cleaner, and it has a kind of bumper on the front that also assesses whether an object can be moved. This technology works quite well, but it does have a weakness. When the vacuum cleaner approaches a dark object, it will push it to assess if it is an obstacle whereas light colored objects are easier to identify.
I made a small video to illustrate my point where I placed the vacuum cleaner between three obstacles:
- a dark tank
- a white remote controlled car
- a black foot
I then triggered the spiral cleaning to force it to cross the path of the obstacles. The vacuum cleaner will hit the foot several times and gently push the dark tank, however it keeps its distance from the white car.
This vacuum cleaner is fortunately not brutal when it touches an object but it is preferable to clear the floor to facilitate its work.
With such a small size, I also tested the vacuum cleaner under a table with chairs. Usually vacuums can't get between the legs of chairs, so you always have to remove the chairs to let the vacuum do its job. This is inconvenient but with the Lefant P1 you don't have this problem anymore as it not only gets under the chairs but also manages to get out of the chair maze.
This is a strong point of this vacuum cleaner because it will allow you to not have to put away the chairs before each vacuuming. The spacing of the chairs will also play a role because if there is not much room left under the table, no vacuum cleaner will be able to pass, so you must leave a small corridor.
Vacuuming / Floor
The vacuuming of floors is not a problem, its two brushes allow it to catch a maximum of dirt in a minimum of time. This robot tends to eject less dirt to the side. The lack of a brush at the tank inlet allows for larger dirt to be sucked up and it will also save you from having to remove that brush to clean it.
The opening underneath the vacuum is large enough to fit a Lego brick or choco pops type cereal through. Larger dirt will get stuck underneath the vacuum and I'm not even sure if it will make it to the bottom of the vacuum given the low height of the robot.
This robot is pretty handy for hair and fur because it can't wrap around a brush before the tank since there is none.
Vacuuming / Carpeting
Vacuuming carpets is not the strong point of robot vacuums. You can pick up surface dirt, but if you want a deep clean, nothing beats an upright vacuum where you can stay in one place longer. Carpets with long wires may also block the robot.
When there are no (or very few) obstacles on its path, a robot vacuum cleaner should in principle be able to vacuum a 0.5 square meter area in less than a minute, but if the robot has to regularly find its way through obstacles, this travel time will increase. I tested the vacuum cleaner on a surface of about 50 square meters by not putting anything away, I left the chairs under the table. It took 97 minutes to go through everything. The speed is therefore quite comparable to other robots that I tested under the same conditions.
The manufacturer's website announces a noise level of 55 dB, which seemed very low to me, especially for a vacuum cleaner of this power. I measured more than 70 dB in reality near the vacuum cleaner using the highest suction mode. So the noise level is higher than advertised but it's still reasonable
The autonomy depends on the chosen vacuum mode and I am interested in taking maximum advantage of the vacuum power of this robot. The autonomy is therefore in the end less than what is announced because at this rate, I arrive a little below 2 hours of battery autonomy.
With a speed of 0.5m ² per minute and a consumption of 0.83% per minute, you can evaluate the efficiency of this robot for your home. You can increase its efficiency by removing as many obstacles as possible.
To control the robot, you must download the Lefant application. This application is capable of managing several vacuum cleaners of the brand and for each robot you can apply different settings.
The application is available in French but I suspect that the translation was done by a Quebecer because some translations, although understandable, are quite funny. We speak here of sweeper instead of robot or vacuum cleaner for example. Overall, the application does not have major translation problems as is often the case with Chinese applications.
The configuration of the robot is very simple, just turn it on and launch the detection by the application. Just make sure your phone uses a 2.4Ghz wifi network. To connect the robot to the network, the application will offer screens with videos to help you, I find the configuration procedure is very fun and will be accessible for those who do not feel confident with devices of this kind.
You will probably have to update the robot after connecting it to the application but for this to work, the battery must be charged to at least 50%.
The app allows you to start cleaning as soon as the battery is sufficiently charged, you can also schedule the cleaning according to your needs. It is also possible to set the level of suction and to benefit from the 5500pa, you need to choose the "strong" level of suction.
If your robot is lost under a piece of furniture you can locate it through the application, the robot will call you with its voice. I did not find any possibility to change the voice, it is only in English and seems to imitate an Asian child.
The application is quite complete, Lefant has caught up well with the competition. The application also allows you to control the robot manually, using for example the camera to explore your house, this is the first time I've seen this on a robot. You could send the robot somewhere in your house and see what happens like one of those robots sent to Mars to explore the planet. Beware that this exploration mode is not available when the robot is in vacuum mode, you have to leave the vacuum mode to be able to use the camera, I find this a bit of a pity.
Here is an example of exploration with a camera to see what is happening under one of my armchairs:
Manual guidance is not available during cleaning, it is not available when the robot is in charge either. So you have to switch to camera mode to make it leave its dock with camera mode and then use manual mode. This is not very practical but it is a matter of habit.
I think it is a pity that the cartography is not saved because when the robot is working, the cartography is visible but once back at the charging station, the cartography disappears. If the mapping was stored, it would allow you to send the vacuum to a particular location to work in a single room. Without mapping, you have to take the vacuum yourself to where it needs to start the vacuuming session.
Opinion/test Lefant P1: conclusion
As a rule, marketing values everything that is big or tall, this time it is the opposite. The small size of this robot vacuum cleaner is the first thing that distinguishes it from others. It measures about 28 cm in circumference and 8 cm in height.
This robot can go almost anywhere, whether under low furniture or between the legs of a chance, it finds its way easily. I no longer have to "prepare" the house for each vacuuming session. For once I don't feel like I'm working for the robot, it's working for me.
I thought that the size would have a negative impact on the suction power but that's not the case. I don't have the ability to measure how much more powerful it is than other vacuums I've tested but there is no moving dirt left after it passes through, that's all that matters.
The main drawback related to its size is its tank capacity which will require you to circulate the vacuum regularly to avoid accumulating too much dirt during a cleaning session.
In addition to its size and suction power, there is another interesting argument in favor of this vacuum. It is equipped with a camera that allows you to see in real time what is going on in your home. This is not the purpose of a robot but if it is stuck somewhere or if it meets an obstacle, you will be able to see it and eventually guide it out of a difficult situation. You can also transmit your voice to the vacuum cleaner to ask your dog to move somewhere else. You can also activate a light on the front to find your way in the dark. I feel that this feature will be hijacked to make jokes because the vacuum cleaner is very quiet when it moves in manual mode.
The autonomy and the speed of travel are in the average, the size does not a priori have a negative impact on the battery life. It is lower than advertised but this is often the case.
Everything is obviously not perfect, this robot has a few flaws but nothing that is such as to have to deviate at all costs. The weakest point that bothers me the most is the lack of mapping, this could have avoided guiding the robot manually. The voice of the robot is only in English with a rather childish voice, it is funny but not very useful and for those who do not understand English may not understand the voice announcements of the vacuum cleaner. The robot is also noisier than advertised but it is in the right average, so it is not a big problem.
- small size, goes everywhere
- suction power
- on-board camera and voice communication
- complete equipment
- easy to use application
- effective cleaning
- effective guide
- limited maintenance
- English voice
- less effective detection on dark objects
- no mapping