Updated November 2018

Best Neato Robotic Vacuum

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Best Neato Robotic Vacuum Updated November 2018

Conclusion

Pros

Cons

Neato Robotics

D7 Connected Wifi Enabled Robot Vacuum
Check Price at: 1 store
If you're tired of overpriced robots from other manufacturers, this is a neat and tidy solution. It has all the features you want, with advanced laser mapping and “no go” lines to keep it out of areas you don't want it in.
Vacuums without going where you don't want it to and is smart enough to recharge itself in mid-run if needed, then pick up right where it left off.
Instructions are too vague and need more depth. Initial mapping run can be challenging to accomplish.

Neato Robotics

Botvac D5 Connected Navigating Robot Vacuum
Check Price at: 1 store
This is a solid product with a good track record of performance. It's been on the market long enough to iron out all the bugs so it's a very sensible option.
This is a very smart vacuum. It maneuvers around obstacles without knocking them over, maps the house so it can cover everything, and overlaps itself when cleaning.
There's no way to tell it to clean just one room in the house. Sometimes that's all you need or want, but there's no way to do it. It's all or nothing, not the best choice in some cases.

Neato Robotics

Botvac Connected Wi-Fi Enabled Robot Vacuum
Check Price at: 1 store
Gives you a choice between Eco and Turbo mode for quiet, economical power usage or faster, more powerful speed cleaning that maximizes pet hair pick up.
Picks up pet hair like crazy and the Eco mode is so quiet it can barely be heard when it is running.
The advertising says it will clean 5000 square feet on one charge but this is simply not true. Less than half that is what we found.

Neato Robotics

Botvac D3 White Connected Laser Navigating Robot Vacuum
Check Price at: 1 store
Has a nice clean, almost futuristic look about it that lends itself to blending in with open and airy floor plans in your house.
This finishes an entire room before proceeding to the next, so once you see it leaving a room you know it won't be back, and you won't risk tripping over it either.
The factory supplied filter should be replaced as soon as you get it. It is fairly low quality.

Neato Robotics

Botvac D80 Robot Vacuum
Check Price at: 1 store
This tried-and-true robotic vacuum cleaner specializes in picking up pet hair and getting rid of allergens.
The charger works with either 110V or 220V, a truly international model and workhorse that will work wherever your life takes you.
It sometimes has software issues that customer service is aware of, but haven't addressed as of yet. Smart vacuums need to actually be smart.

OUR PROCESS

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House or office cleaning is one of those things that needs to be done on a regular basis, but for which there just never seems to be enough time. Fortunately, Neato has developed a series of robotic vacuums for the busy homeowner who’d rather spend their time doing something else.

We’ve analyzed the data from thousands of product reviews of the Neato line of robot vacuums and picked out the top five, so you can make the decision on which one is best for you and your house.

Neato Robotic Vacuum Reviews Guide

Random versus structure, chaos versus order; that’s the difference between the Neato line of robotic vacuum and others out there on the market. Utilizing state-of-the-art computer-guided electronics and precision tracking, Neato has delivered a line of robotic vacuum cleaners that no longer have to rely on a randomized pattern to cover the whole floor in your house. Eventually, those random patterns will result in complete coverage, but the operative word is “eventually.” That translates into longer vacuuming times, more electricity used, more wear and tear on the mechanical parts of the machine, and more trips back to the charger.

The Neato line of robotic vacuums uses a laser-guided system to map out your entire house or office, learning more and more about it each time it runs. This lets it run in straight lines across the open areas of the floor in overlapping passes just like you’d do with a manual vacuum. The result? Faster vacuuming, fewer missed areas, and . . . because it’s laser instead of camera-guided, it can run at night while you’re asleep. 

How Robotic Vacuum Cleaners Work

Robotic vacuum cleaners function exactly like a non-cyclonic upright vacuum cleaner except that they operate independently of human supervision. They are usually small enough to fit under most furniture, run on batteries, and the capacity of their dust collection bin is very limited, mostly due to their small size.

Most use a camera to take pictures of the surrounding environment, then pass that information to the CPU (central processing unit) to process it into something the computer can understand. From there it builds an internal map of the house or office which it uses to gauge its progress. Once it has covered the entire area it returns to its charging station to recharge until the next time it is used.

Others, like the Neato vacuums, use lasers to map out the building. The disadvantage of cameras is that they require light in order to work properly. At night their functionality is severely limited. Lasers have no such limitations and therefore can function equally well day or night.

Most of the newer robotic vacuums can return to the charging station in the middle of a job if the battery runs low, they recharge, then pick up again where they left off – all without any human intervention.

The vast majority of robotic vacuum cleaners use a preprogrammed random pattern that eventually covers the entire house or office. Some of them offer a variety of patterns for the user to select. The exception is the Neato line of vacuums which operate more along the lines of the way a human would vacuum a house, using straight lines wherever possible, in overlapping strokes or runs.

All of them require human intervention to begin the initial mapping process, and their collection bins have to be manually emptied just like any other vacuum cleaner.

Lithium-Ion Batteries can cause fires if not properly maintained. Make sure they're UL tested and approved.”

Major Factors to Consider

Filtration System

Vacuum cleaner filtration systems come in two basic varieties, normal or HEPA. There are a few graduations and shades between these two extremes, but for the most part that is it.

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) is the ISO industry standard indicating the filter will catch and hold 99.5% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns. For comparison, there are 25,400 microns in one inch. In order for a HEPA filter to operate correctly, the entire system needs to be airtight. Otherwise, the tiny particulates will escape, thus defeating the purpose of having such an efficient filter in the first place. Vacuums that include a HEPA filtration system are legally allowed to advertise them as such, while those that don’t have them are prohibited from any false advertising to the contrary.

Ordinary vacuum cleaner filters don’t come anywhere near that level of precision and certainly aren’t airtight. As you might expect, that kind of quality comes with an equivalent price tag. HEPA filters will always be more expensive than normal ones, and they must be replaced every 4-6 months.

The Neato line of robotic vacuum cleaners come with a “High Performance” filter. This is not the same as a HEPA certification and should not be confused with it. None of the manufacturers of other robotic vacuum cleaners come with HEPA filters. HEPA systems would add considerably to the cost of the vacuum.

That being said, the high-performance filters on these vacuums, truly are high performance. They catch and hold incredibly fine particles of dust and debris, including adult and juvenile fleas and their eggs. Unless you’ve got a dust mite problem, this level of filtration will be more than sufficient for all your needs.

Battery Life

Robotic vacuum cleaners are defined as “free-roving autonomous machines that operate independently of human supervision.” The “free-roving” part means they can’t drag around a long extension cord; they have to run on batteries when they’re working.

Some manufacturers claim their robots will run for 75 minutes before they need to return to their docking station to recharge. But how much cleaning will it get done in that time? As you might expect, the only honest answer is: it depends.

It depends on the layout of the house; how many times the floor changes from carpet to some other kind of flooring like hardwood, linoleum, or tile; how many obstacles there are in the house that will force the vacuum to change course or back up; how much dirt and debris is present, and how fast the vacuum physically moves while it is cleaning. 

Neato bases their estimate of battery life on how much square footage their vacuums can clean before requiring a trip back to the charging station. This is a much nicer more accurate method of measurement than mere time. Each of their models has a slightly different number associated with it, but generally speaking, their robots can clean about 1250-2000 square feet before the batteries need to be recharged.

Corners

This might sound petty at first glance, but so many of today’s robotic vacuum cleaners are round. We don’t know why, but they are. Regrettably, that means the corners never get vacuumed. The pink areas in the image shown will never be touched or cleaned by a round vacuum cleaner, robotic or otherwise.

Neato acknowledged the obvious and gave their robotic vacuum cleaners a better shape so those corners can be cleaned. It is, admittedly, a small thing, but do you want your expensive new vacuum cleaner to clean everything or just the easy parts?

Small things add up to major selling points and this one sold us on their design. Bravo to Neato for making an intelligent design choice.

Once a robotic vacuum cleaner has been in regular operation for a few weeks, you'll notice the bin isn't as full after each cleaning. This shows how clean it's keeping your house. ”

Smart Robots or Dumb Robots?

Robots are machines. Machines get old, break down, jam, malfunction, or short out. If you’ve ever had car problems you’ll understand what we talking about. Robots though have an additional difficulty that compounds the ones we’ve just mentioned.

Robots are engineered and designed to work independently of human supervision. When they malfunction or go off the rails in some manner, they keep on trying to do whatever they’re doing without regard for any intervening obstacles. Malfunctioning robotic vacuum cleaners will keep trying to go through a glass door, oblivious to the fact they’re attempting the impossible. They’ll keep pushing forward instead of putting themselves in reverse when they get stuck in a tight corner.

This has long been the major shortcoming of all types of robotic cleaning machines, from robotic swimming pool vacuum cleaners to robotic house and office vacuum cleaners. Once they get stuck or go off course, they’re helpless until a human being intervenes to rescue them.

Neato has taken a huge step forward to putting some actual brains into their line of robotic vacuum cleaners. It takes some real smarts – CPU processing power, memory, and data input – to successfully steer a robot around the house in the dark in the middle of the night, but that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished. 

So, before you buy a robotic vacuum cleaner, consider how much smarts it has onboard. Some manufacturers will advertise a mapping function in their robots, thus implying a smart machine. But if the cleaning pattern is random, it’s still not very smart. Furthermore, if they rely on a visual guidance system, they’ll be limited to daytime hours of operation.

Neato gets around this by using a system of lasers on their robots to map your house and guide themselves around. This means they can operate even when it is pitch black inside, i.e.; when you’re fast asleep.

Best vacuum for people on the go NEATO BOTVAC D80 ROBOT VACUUM

With a charger that accepts 110V and 220V, this tried-and-true robotic vacuum cleaner specializes in picking up pet hair and getting rid of allergens, more than most other robots on the market. Over 1100 people have posted great reviews about this vacuum on Amazon. Its D-shaped design lets it get into corners like all the Neato vacuums while the auto-charge and resume feature means it remembers where it left off vacuuming if it needs to go for a recharge. A true workhorse for all seasons.

If you have pets, regular use of a robotic vacuum cleaner will improve the way your house smells, so much that people will notice and comment on it!”

Vacuum Cleaner Lingo

  • Battery Pack: The batteries which power the vacuum during normal operation.
  • Brush Kit: Accessories which can be purchased separately to replace the brushes on the vacuum.
  • Charger: The base that plugs into the wall and recharges the batteries in the vacuum cleaner.
  • Docking: The act, or state of being, where the vacuum cleaner is plugged into the charger.
  • Side Brushes: Replaceable brushes that attach to a rotor which spins horizontally.
  • Voice Compatible: Indicates the machine can be operated by voice commands, usually through Alexa.
Best Neato robotic vacuum for clean freaks. NEATO ROBOTICS D7

This brand new model has the features people have been asking for, including the ability to add mapping for multiple floor plans, zone cleaning when you only need to clean certain areas, and laser guidance which allows it run at night when ordinary camera-based robots falter and run into things. It’s already garnered more than 250 reviews on Amazon and has satisfied customers raving about its performance. This one has it all.

Price Range

The Neato line of robotic vacuum cleaners runs from slightly less than $300 to over $700. Some of the off-brand models from no-name manufacturers are priced as low as $59.99. We’re firm believers in the old motto, “You get what you pay for.” Anything robot vacuum much below $250 probably isn’t worth it.

Frequently asked questions

How efficient are robotic vacuum cleaners?

Neato vacuums are extremely efficient. We’ve noticed a discernible pattern with most of them. During the first couple of weeks, the collection bin will be completely full after every cycle. In some cases, it had to be emptied twice during one cleaning because it was sucking up so much dirt and debris. Then, as the weeks went by, with continued use on a regular basis, they began picking up less than a full bin each time.

The reason is simple; they’d finished picking up all the excess debris that had accumulated. Now they were simply suctioning up the normal daily deposits of grit and grime.

This was an easy, and unexpected, demonstration of just how powerful and efficient they are. We were surprised to uncover this fact.

How easy are they to set up and use?

The whole idea of a robotic vacuum cleaner is to free you from having to do the job yourself. If you’re constantly having to intervene or rescue the vacuum, it’s a failure.

The initial setup on the Neato line of vacuums is very straightforward. Using the app is natural and easy. There will be a bit of an adjustment when you first install it but it is no more or less than the learning curve required by any new piece of machinery.

Once that part is past, it runs automatically. Because Neato uses laser mapping and guidance systems on their vacuums, they can run at night while you’re sleeping. Then in the morning, empty the collection bin while your coffee is brewing and it is ready for the next vacuuming. They really are that simple.

How compact are they?

Most Neato robotic vacuum cleaners are about 1×1 feet, in a D-shaped design. The D-shape helps them fit into corners that others can’t reach. Their slimline height allows them to slip underneath almost any furniture in the house. They can get places even the best upright can’t reach.

This also makes them easy to store between cleaning cycles. Plug them into a plug in a corner and forget about them. You won’t be stumbling over them and most people coming over to visit won’t notice them sitting unobtrusively out of the way.

The team that worked on this review

Kealia Reynolds
Photo Editor
Rebekah Sedaca
Writer
Kelsey Roadruck
Editor
John Morgan
Producer

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