Robot Vacuums are something of a luxury but the price has come down over the years, and we now have multiple options to choose from. The Zigma Spark 980 Robot Vacuum is a mid-tier vacuum that costs $300. It offers powerful suction, mopping ability, fall protection and is generally a pleasure to use.
Packaging and setup
The Zigma Spark 980 includes everything that you would need to operate your robot vacuum cleaner. It comes with:
- Robot Vacuum
- Charging Base
- Charging Base Power Adapter
- DustBin Side Cover
- Dust Bin
- Water Tank
- Cleaning Brush
- 2 HEPA Filter
- 4 Side Brushes (2 Left and 2 Right side brushes)
- 2 Mop cloths
The Spark 980 comes covered in plastic wrap and a foam bumper installed to protect the vacuum during shipping. For the most part, the vacuum came almost entirely ready to go. I had to install 2 side brushes, remove the foam and plastic wrap, and then it was ready to go. The inclusion of a remote was a nice touch for those that want to operate it without a smartphone nearby.
After taking everything out of the box, I then installed the Zigma app and paired it with my device. This process was straightforward and the app did a great job walking me through the steps. I liked how I was able to pick my language during setup, but I was hoping for a female voice from the United States. This unfortunately wasn’t an option, so I selected a female voice from the UK. The voice did grow on me throughout my use and I ended up enjoying the accent. All I had to do after the initial setup was wait for it to charge and run it for the first time.
With Lidar Navigation, 4000Pa suction, and a claimed runtime of 140 minutes, I was expecting great things from this vacuum. The vacuum met my expectations and was an absolute joy to use after some initial hiccups.
Upon my eagerness to get the vacuum started, it wasn’t properly charged and struggled for the first few minutes. As the vacuum drives around it creates a virtual map, allowing you to set boundaries and avoid obstacles. The 2 side brushes also fell off upon first use, but that was my fault as I didn’t properly snap them into place. The vacuum also got stuck under a table, and it asks for help because it is stuck. I also got an alert on my phone saying the same thing. This only happened once and it was kind of cute listening to my robot call for help.
After charging it properly and sending it out to do its work, it worked amazingly well. At full strength, the vacuum is a bit noisy, but not a deal-breaker. I enjoyed being able to adjust the strength of the vacuum from within the app, allowing me to quickly adjust based on where it was. For hardwood floors, lowering the strength resulted in an adequate cleaning and much quieter operation. For bigger carpets, you may want to crank the power a little higher. This vacuum routinely collected way more dirt and debris than I thought it was going to. It was satisfying to dump the bin and see all the dirt it was able to pick up.
The Zigma Spark 980 also comes with a 360ml water tank and mop pad. Unfortunately, the Spark 980 will not sweep and mop the floor at the same time. You must remove the dust bin and replace it with the water tank in order to get it to mop. You can add detergent to the water in the water tank before mopping. The vacuum mops in a Y pattern, ensuring full coverage and a proper clean.
The mopping function didn’t work quite as well as vacuuming did. It was serviceable and did an adequate job, but definitely wasn’t amazing at it. But I don’t fault the Spark 980, as I view mopping as an added luxury of a robot vacuum. So the fact that it does it at all, and does it adequately is a big win in my book.
Be careful with the unit after mopping though. The charging base doesn’t have any kind of water shield, so it is possible for your floor to get wet after using it to mop.
Battery and obstacle avoidance
For bigger carpets, using it on full strength guarantees a great cleaning, just keep in mind that it will be a tad loud. Running it at full strength also diminishes the battery pretty fast. At full power, the robot would burn through its 3200mAh battery and return to its dock somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes. Far below its expected runtime. I generally ran the vacuum at medium power as I found this to be a great balance of cleaning power and noise. At medium power, I was able to achieve my expected runtime of 140 minutes and it picked up a lot of dirt. A nice feature of this vacuum is that if it has to return to the base for a recharge, it will continue where it left off once it has the power to do so.
The Zigma Spark 980 was OK at avoiding obstacles. I was never worried about it falling down the basement stairs, but I did witness it bump into things on occasion. It shouldn’t cause any problems but don’t leave a glass on the floor or you might be picking up its contents.
The Zigma app is a no-fuss app, that gets you to the settings that you need quickly. The Home tab shows a list of devices and what the device is currently doing, as well as its battery life. The Room tab allows you to pick a device and then shows a virtual map of your home. You get the option of selecting a specific room to clean, for it to auto clean, and a record of what it has cleaned in the past. The record tab shows you a detailed cleaning report, how many minutes it has been charging and performing its duties. It also shows the frequency at which it works.
To get started you select Rooms > Device > Start Clean. Hitting start clean gives you additional options such as suction power. You get a slider bar, which allows you to increase or decrease the strength of the suction on the fly.
The automation tab allows you to set automation rules according to time. You can have the automation execute one time, every day, on weekdays, weekends, or set custom automation. Setting the rules are fairly simple, but make sure you pay attention to the details so you get the right device operating how you want. I was happy that it allowed me to select the suction strength when scheduling an automation rule.
The Service tab gives you tips for your device, which include instructions, unpacking, how to clean it, as well as common problems for that device. You can also find the Zigma Mall here, which is basically a storefront for other Zigma products.
The app does include the weather, temperature, outdoor humidity, and air quality. I think the inclusion of that information is a bit much and definitely overkill for a vacuum. Zigma sells air purifiers, so it is probably included for that purpose. I just wish I could turn it off, or have Zigma incorporate it in a banner for that specific device.
The Zigma Spark 980 Robot Vacuum was a joy to use. The cleaning ability of this vacuum at $300 was fantastic. Being able to adjust the strength on the fly was a nice bonus, especially since the strongest setting can be a bit loud. Mopping performance was just OK, but I view that as an added bonus. Be careful of the base though, there is no protection on the bottom of it, so it can get wet after the vacuum has finished mopping.
The app is relatively easy to use and did everything that I wanted it to. I also enjoyed being able to limit the vacuum to certain rooms and avoid other ones. My kids’ playroom is usually filled with Lego and it was nice not to have to worry about it.
There are more performant options on the market, but they cost significantly more and don’t add a lot of added capabilities. I would highly recommend the Zigma Spark 980 Robot Vacuum, especially if you are not looking to spend a small fortune on home automation.