Wyze Robot Vacuum Slope (Incline/Decline Degree) Limits

I ran several experiments to figure out the slope limitations (using ramps) for the Wyze Robot Vacuum and thought others here (whether now or in the future) may find this useful to know since I couldn’t find any answers or documentation about these ramp slope boundaries anywhere else.

Firstly, why this matters: most people would call my house 2 stories, but in addition to a long set of stairs between the main floors, I also have two other sets of stairs (so the vacuum would normally say I actually have a 4 level house):

This one is 12" high between the two mini-floors it separates:

And this one is just under 13.25" high between the two mini-floors it separates.

(Yes our house is very old and we have 5 cats, a messy teenager and a baby! So this product is definitely very useful to help keep it cleaner.)

I thought I would need multilevel mapping for 4 levels because of the mini-stairs, but I was hoping I could create a “ramp” for the little stairs so the vacuum could get over them. At launch, I read online that tests on other similar vacuums would work on some ramps/slopes. Some were limited to 15° and some were limited to 20° depending on the vacuum in question, so I hoped Wyze could do ramps of sort as well (though nobody knew).

I got my vacuum today 1/7/21 and charged it up first, then set it up in the app and then ran several tests, starting pretty low and working my way up to increasingly higher slopes ( @WyzeTeam you should’ve chosen me as a beta tester to figure out these boundaries for you before launch!). I reset the map between each one and started it in the same position for all of these.

I’ll just show a couple of the later, more relevant, tests toward the upper boundary (All videos feature a ramp of particleboard that is just under 18" width X just under 36" long X 1cm thick).

The following video (SUCCESSFUL) is ascending a slope of roughly 21.5°:

The following video (SUCCESSFUL) is descending a slope of roughly 21.5°:

The following video (FAIL) is attempting to climb a slope of roughly 24.2°, then slipping partway up the ramp and sliding back down, giving an error that it couldn’t do it:

The following video (FAIL) is with a slope of roughly 25.5° (it completely ignores the slope as something not worth attempting:

The slope limit is somewhere over 21.5° but lower than 25.5°.

It is possible that it could’ve ascended the attempt up the 24.2° slope if the ramp was made of a different material with better friction.

It may be worth mentioning that my first ever ramp attempt was only a slope of 11.2°, and the vacuum made it up the ramp OK, then as it descended, it tried to go off the right edge and high-centered itself, then said “Cleaning Paused” making this first attempt an epic double failure as it didn’t figure out that it couldn’t roll off the ledge yet, especially since there was a wall in the way over there.


I am looking forward to being able to use multi-floor mapping so I can use this between my 2 main floors (where a ramp is just not possible).

I hope this becomes useful for someone else wondering if they can do anything to make the Wyze Robot Vacuum work between mini-floor-levels like I have. If you get a ramp with a slope of 20° or less it should work fine. A little higher should work okay too.

For anyone who needs help, you can use the following calculator to figure out how long of a ramp you would need for your situation:
https://rechneronline.de/slope/
Just enter in how high the difference is between the 2 levels in the “Distance in height (h):” field, then enter 20 (or whatever slope you are looking for…I just recommend keeping it safe at 20° or less) in the “Slope in Degrees (°):” field. and select the “Calculate” button it will tell you the length of board you need to get/use in the “Total distance (t):” field. Maybe get a ramp ever so slightly longer, just to make sure the slope is under that. I don’t know the width limitations, but 18" was more than wide enough, you could probably make it even more narrow (I’m guessing somewhere around 14-15" is the limit, but I have not tested this. Maybe someone else can give input about ramp width boundaries).

EDIT: I learned you should not use black Gaffer’s tape to hold the ramp in place :rofl:

If you watch closely, you can see in some of the videos how the vacuum tries to work around the little strip of black tape that was there. After these tests I added more black gaffer’s tape to both the top and bottom of the ramp to hold it steady and suddenly the vacuum spazzed out and refused to use the ramp after that. Apparently, black tape tricks the cliff sensors into thinking there is a ledge it cannot pass (because it absorbs the light and so none is reflected, making it think there is a ledge and would fall). Once I removed the black tape, the vacuum worked with the ramp again.

I am still going to sand down the top and bottom edges of the ramps to have them align closer to the floor, and build some support underneath the ramp to sit on the stairs and hold it in place better. I’ll probably reduce the angle to below 20° just to take some pressure off the vacuum too, but has been working fine at 21.5° since I removed the black tape.

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Awesome write-up, pics and vids. Thank you for taking the time to document and post this. thumbsup2

I just got mine a few hours ago. Looking forward to trying it out tomorrow, although I have 3 floors with long stair runs with landings so I’ll be limited to a floor at a time/run.

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Thanks, I ran into a hiccup today when I attempted a full run, and included an update at the bottom of the original post. Going to try to figure out why and what’s up, and I’ll update with some more details later. It is interesting that my initial tests were pretty successful on video, and then today during a normal full run it acted differently, so I’ll see what I can narrow down.

EDIT: It was because I added more black tape to hold it steady, so the vacuum cliff sensors thought it couldn’t go there anymore because black tape absorbs all the light from the sensors, making it think there is a cliff).

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Nice experiment, well documented. So don’t you have to keep picking up and putting down the ramps? What about having to clean under them? Store them? If it were me I think I’d rather just let it stop at the stair and have me carry it up or down…

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Yeah, haven’t fully decided the details yet. We talked about just having a thin board we can push up against the wall when not in use. That shouldn’t be a huge deal since before we start the vacuum we have to go around and pickup all the cords off the floor and some things like that anyway (we have a messy teenager and a baby, so prep-work will always be required before running it).

We’ve also talked about automating the ramp with routines, maybe making something that will lift it or set it down using different triggers. Mostly because it’s fun.

We also considered basically permanently leaving the ramp on one side of the stairs. There was enough room to comfortably come up the other side. I’m still kind of testing what the width parameters are for it to still work consistently.

As for right now, if the ramp is against the wall, the vacuum does go clean underneath it (to my annoyance since it knocked off the WCO I had up there to time-lapse the adventure and show me when to yell at the cats for chasing and swatting at the vacuum and confusing it!).

You’re right though, it’s not too bad to just pick up the vacuum, move it and tell it to vacuum the new location. I have been doing that too. The thing I like about the ramp, is I can set it down and ignore it for a couple of hours to do the entire floor without really needing to check on it, especially since a little prepwork is required before starting the vacuum anyway.

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But you know in your heart the right answer is to replace the stairs entirely with real ramped flooring. :wink:

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That is indeed a possibility that will be explored; though, mostly decided by my wife. If done, it would probably not be for a long time, like until we’re ready to redo the whole floor in that area anyway, and then just do the ramp while we’re at it.

Partially, it’s just fun to figure out these boundary limits of what it will accept consistently.
Today, the vacuum was able to descend a ramp of 19.6°, but when it tried to go back up it, the vacuum thought the top was a cliff and kept spazzing out…so, I am going to cut and sand the corner of the ramp to be able to transition to the floor more smoothly on both ends and see how that goes.

You’re going to end up grafting legs onto the sucker, I just know it.

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My wife said she expects I’m going to eventually do a modification like this:

That would be a cool routine. Set up something so when it detects a ledge/cliff, it pauses the vacuum, and another routine flies it safely down the stairs/ledge, then resumes the vacuum.

It actually might not be insanely difficult to do, the problem would be designing it in a way that the propellers don’t interfere with the side brushes cleaning along the edges, or blocking the lidar pulses. It would probably have to actually be built into the vacuum to resolve both of those issues. Legs would probably be easier and more energy efficient though.

I paused the vacuum on the middle of the ramp earlier today, and it started speed sliding back down the ramp as soon as it paused. :rofl:

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That video was cute but it drove me nuts every time he called it a Roomba (which was a lot). Kleenex, Coke, and Vaseline, and Q-Tip would like a word.

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Yeah, my wife was confused last Summer/Fall when she was searching for a good Robot Vacuum and on social media there were a ton of people talking about Roomba’s and every time she looked into what they were talking about, it was almost never a Roomba and it was really confusing to her. In her confusion she asked me if I understood what was going on and I had to tell her they were just doing what you mentioned, using the name of a popular brand as a general term for all of that kind of similar product…calling all Robot Vacuums “Roombas” and then it made sense. People… :roll_eyes:

'Cause robot vac is so hard to say. From the same people who keep sounding out double you double you double you before every URL.

Gotta go, might be a new show on my FiOS TiVo.

P.S. If she has long hair do yourself a huge favor and stick to the Shark brand. I can’t wait to get one. I really wish other brands like Wyze would copy their hair cutting/detangling feature.

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Thought I’d update everyone. I previously mentioned that after the initial tests my vacuum was oddly no longer consistently using the ramp and I needed to run some tests as to why. Thanks to @Customer leading me to some relevant information, it appears the temporary inconsistency was caused by me adding more black gaffer’s tape to the top and bottom of the ramp after the tests. This black tape triggered the cliff sensors to think it could not pass and then ignored the ramp all together (I guess it absorbs the light, so since not enough is reflected back to the sensor, it thinks there is a big drop off). Once I removed the tape, it again used the ramp. If you watch closely in the test videos you will see in some of them how the vacuum tries to work around the black tape that is there at the bottom (one sensor goes over the tape, then it moves horizontally until the other sensor gets past the tape, then it can finish moving up the ramp). I didn’t realize it was doing that. Very interesting.

I intend to instead add a brace under the ramp, formed to the stairs, to hold the ramp in place when in use. I’ll also still sand the edges of the board to basically be more level with the floor too, instead of a 1cm bump it has to jump.

Funny, I didn’t realize vacuums couldn’t go over black tape very easily. On the bright side, I may use this to intentionally block off some areas I want the vacuum to ignore. I know we can add virtual walls, but that only works if you are always using the same saved map. It doesn’t work if you move the vacuum to clean an entirely different floor frequently and have to reset the map every time. A little electrical tape is much more convenient than having to put up boards to block the vacuum.

This will be cool invention only if it stops on each step to vacuum and again fly up :rofl:

Hmmm…actually, come to think of it, the creators were able to have the fans blow things clear, so if your stairs aren’t carpeted, it could just blow all the dirt/dust/etc. down to the bottom of the stairs on it’s way down, basically accomplishing the exact same thing, and then vacuum up afterward.

On my long set of stairs, that’s practically what I do now anyway, I blow all the cat fur to the bottom of stairs, then start the robot vacuum, or sometimes quickly sweep the stairs (my main set of stairs are not carpeted).

I wouldn’t be too shocked if in a few years you could buy or modify a drone that could pick up and move a robot vacuum between floors. I mean, Amazon is already starting to use drones to deliver packages, I could see someone program one for this purpose…though it would take several years for the price to come down enough to be worth it. On the other hand, some people pay butlers, maids or cleaning personnel to do all these things…getting a good automated vacuum and drone to do it instead quickly becomes significantly cheaper than paying someone a wage to do it all manually…so it actually might easily be worth the cost for some people.

I see it within the next decade or so. At the very least, someone could build a robo-vacuum that could recognize a step, extend legs to get to the next step, then lower itself, clean that step, then continue on to the next step on and on that way. That would actually not be way out there. I bet we see one that can do stairs this way within the next few years, then copycats and prices start dropping. I bet a lot of people will have such things fairly affordable before 2030.

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Yes, although I think an equally satisfactory solution for many is acquiring multiple robovacs for the different floors. Stairs are hard to properly clean anyway.

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