Written by Tim Ribonee | 1 Comment | Last Updated: March 20, 2017
The AirCraft PILOT MAX is the company’s flagship robotic vacuum. It comes with a number of interesting features, including dual brush design and spot cleaning, and also uses an advanced navigation algorithm.
While the PILOT MAX isn’t as famous as the Roomba, and the AirCraft brand is relatively new compared to other robotic vacuum cleaner manufacturers, the vacuum provides excellent performance for the price. It has also been awarded the #1 spot on T3 Magazine’s list of best robot vacuums 2015, so it has some pedigree.
As always, we want to dig deeper to find out how the AirCraft PILOT MAX performs with everyday tasks. Is it able to cope with long pile carpets? How does it navigate? And does it often miss dirty spots on the carpet? Does it have enough suction power? These are all questions we aim to answer in this review.
Overview of AirCraft PILOT MAX Features
- The PILOT MAX has twin brush blades. This allows for efficient cleaning of any type of floor – including carpets.
- It also comes with a side brush for cleaning corners and along the sides of walls.
- A daily scheduler is included so you can tell the PILOT MAX to clean while you’re at work.
- The vacuum has a HEPA filter so fewer dust particles and other allergens are released into the air.
- The remote control enables you to give the vacuum commands at a distance.
- The PILOT MAX is the most powerful robot vacuum cleaner produced by AirCraft.
- It has also been designed to effectively suck up even tiny pet hairs.
In-Depth Look at the AirCraft PILOT MAX
There’s no doubt that the PILOT MAX has some interesting features. But does its performance match its price tag? And how does it compare to other vacuum reviews we’ve posted? Let’s find out.
Appearance and Design
Like most robot vacuums. the PILOT MAX has a circular design. This makes it easier for the vacuum to navigate, but can reduce its cleaning ability in corners. Fortunately, the vacuum has a side brush that’s able to get into nooks and crannies not reachable by the main body.
We also think the PILOT MAX looks great. It has a sleek white colour scheme, and the futuristic appeal most people want from a robot vacuum. Here are a few pictures so you can take a closer look:
Suction Power and Dirt Detection
While there isn’t a robot vacuum that can match uprights or cylinders for suction power, the PILOT MAX is one of the most powerful in its price range.
The suction is enough to pick up dog and cat hair, which is a big bonus if you have pets. Moulting animals can often mean you need to vacuum regularly, so the PILOT MAX is great for taking care of the monotonous everyday cleaning (although you’ll still need a regular vacuum for proper cleaning sessions).
In addition, the vacuum comes with two rotating brush bars – a rubber and fibre brush. These work in combination to ensure the vacuum thoroughly cleans all surfaces.
Another great feature is the spot cleaning function. When the PILOT MAX comes across an area it thinks requires extra cleaning, it automatically increases the suction power. This provides a more effective clean than “dumb” robot vacuums which simply drive in random directions for the duration of the cleaning cycle.
Unlike cheaper robot vacuums, the AirCraft PILOT MAX uses an advanced room mapping system called SLAM. This continuously “looks” around the room to make sure it doesn’t miss any spots. It also uses ultrasonic sensors to stop it bashing into walls and other obstacles, which can prevent unnecessary damage.
The battery lasts for up to 120 minutes of cleaning, which is enough to clean a significant area due to the efficient navigation system. Once the battery is depleted, the PILOT MAX returns to its charging station automatically.
Ease of Use
There are several different ways you can use the PILOT MAX. The first is to use the “auto” clean function. This is just a single button that sets the vacuum on a cleaning spree.
The second is to use the scheduling function. This allows you to tell the PILOT MAX when to start cleaning, and is great for automatic vacuuming when you’re at work (or when you’re at home if you want to marvel at the vacuum’s path-finding abilities!).
You can also use the remote control for a range of other options. This provides functions such as timer mode, speed adjustment, scheduling, spot clean and auto cleaning.
The AirCraft PILOT MAX robotic vacuum cleaner isn’t a cheap model, which is to be expected with all the advanced features. We think it compares very favourably with robot vacuums that have similar performance though. It’s also a step (or two) above budget robot vacuums that are available for less than AUD100.
- Virtual wall to block off a doorway or other area you don’t want the vacuum to enter.
- The PILOT MAX is capable of cleaning a 4×4 metre room in approximately 20 minutes. As the battery life is 90-120 minutes, this means it can clean 4-6 rooms on a single charge.
- Ledge sensors prevent the vacuum falling down stairs. This feature is essential if you plan to use it upstairs.
- According to reviewers, the vacuum is approximately as loud as a desk fan.
AirCraft PILOT MAX Reviews
As it’s a relatively new model, the PILOT MAX doesn’t have many reviews online. The ones it does have, however, are all positive (at the time of writing in March 2016). Here’s an overview of positive comments about the vacuum:
- A reviewer writes that the AirCraft PILOT MAX is “brilliant” at cleaning any type of floor, including carpets. This is in contrast to his previous Roomba robot vacuum, which left much more dirt. He also writes that the scheduler is easy to use via the remote control.
- Another reviewer writes that the PILOT MAX works “surprisingly well” for a robot vacuum. While he mentions that the navigation system is more random than he’d hoped, he likes how the vacuum doesn’t crash into objects and how effectively it cleans along skirting boards.
- A reviewer mentions that while the vacuum is not as effective as his previous iRobot, it is also considerably cheaper and still offers strong performance. He writes that it “cleans well” and is relatively quiet, while also adding the vacuum’s remote is “flashier” than other models. A downside, according to this review, is that it fell down the stairs – which definitely shouldn’t happen with the step sensors.
And now some negative comments:
- A reviewer writes that the vacuum can sometimes get stuck in a certain area. When this happens, the only way to get it going again is to pick it up.
- One reviewer notes that the scheduler, while easy to use, doesn’t provide the same level of customisation as a Roomba model he previously owned.
We think the AirCraft PILOT MAX robotic vacuum cleaner is an excellent model that provides great value for money. The advanced pathfinding, two brush design and ability to clean on any surface make it as close to a manual vacuum replacement as you’ll find in its price range. While it might not be perfect – the report of the step sensor not working is worrying, although this could have been an isolated incident – the PILOT MAX is one of our top recommendations in the robotic vacuum category.