Robotic Vacuums

Botvac D5 vs Roomba 960 – Which is the Better Value Now?

(Last Updated On: January 26, 2017)

Life is good when you have a choice between two of the best Wi-Fi-connected robot vacuum cleaners available in the market today: the Neato Botvac D5 Connected and iRobot’s Roomba 960.  These devices are made by two of the top robot vacuum manufacturers today.  Yet which one is better?

About the Neato Botvac D5 Connected

  • Unique D-Shape: The Neato Botvac D5 Connected sports the D shape that Neato is known for.  This shape allows the vacuum to reach the floor’s corners and edges, leaving it thoroughly clean along these areas, too.
  • New Combo Brush: The Botvac D5 uses a main combo brush that spans its entire width and is powerful enough to pick up hair and fur on carpets.  It can also clean all floor types and is very easy to maintain.
  • Additional Side Brush: Additionally, the D5 uses a side brush that cleans the corners, baseboards, and the wall edges
  • High Performance Filter: Meanwhile, the ultra-performance filter is able to trap particles that are as small as 0.3 microns.  You will also appreciate the larger dust bin that goes along with this.
  • Navigation and mapping: The Botvac D5 is equipped with LaserSmart technology, which uses lasers to help it find its way around your floors and to guide it as it moves from one room to the next.  The laser will guide it as it goes from carpet to hardwood floors and as it follows a linear cleaning pattern.  Additionally, it features Botvision technology that uses Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, which is the same technology that you could find in Google’s autonomous car.  Botvision scans the room and creates accurate maps of the area that needs cleaning so that it could clean your floors better, instead of just randomly moving around.  As a result, you get cleaner floors in less time.
  • Boundary markers: The Botvac D5 includes 4 meters of its boundary markers, which keep the robot vacuum out of places and areas that you do not want it to go.
  • Automatic charging and auto resume: The Botvac D5 has a high-capacity lithium-ion battery that provides enough power for it to run for up to two hours using ECO mode or 1.5 hours using TURBO mode.  The Botvac D5 can clean up to 4,500 sq. ft. of your floor with just one full charge.
  • Recharge and Resume: The D5 will automatically find its dock when it runs out of battery and once it has recharged, it will go back to cleaning.

The Neato App

While you can use the Neato Botvac D5 Connected using the physical buttons on the robot vacuum itself, you should still download the Neato mobile app to do more with it.

You need the mobile app to set up cleaning schedules, allowing the Botvac D5 to start cleaning automatically.  That means that you can set your D5 to clean even when you are out of the house.  And if you ever find yourself wondering if it did clean your house while you were away, you can view cleaning statistics on the mobile app, as well.

The mobile app also allows you to access the Find Me feature that helps you find your D5, and it allows you to activate the 2x spot cleaning mode, too.

Smartwatch compatible.  Aside from the mobile app, you can also access some of D5’s features on an Apple Watch.  You do not have to take out your smartphone and launch the app as you can start cleaning just by tapping a few buttons on your wrist!

What’s in the Box

  • Neato Botvac D5 Connected robot vacuum
  • Charging base and power cord
  • Combo brush and side brush
  • Boundary markers
  • Ultra performance filter
  • Filter and brush cleaning tool

The downsides

Neato included a manual drive feature on its mobile app for the Botvac Connected.  For some reason, however, the manufacturer took this out from the Botvac D5 Connected.  This was a fun feature to have, allowing you to play with your robot vacuum or to direct it to a spot that you think needs more cleaning.

Other than this, you would probably love how the Neato Botvac D5 cleans.  It is certainly one of the best-performing robot vacuums available in the market today.  It is a very efficient robot vacuum that offers Wi-Fi connectivity.

How does the Roomba 960 compare?

iRobot’s Roomba has been dominating the robot vacuum scene for several years now and for a while, fans have been clamoring for a Roomba that they could control through their smartphones.  It took quite some time, but there are now two Roombas with a companion mobile app; one of them is the Roomba 960.

  • Smart Navigation: The Roomba 960 has the same round shape that all Roombas share and it uses iAdapt 2.0 navigation to find its way around. The iAdapt 2.0 technology makes use of several acoustic and optical sensors to detect dirt, avoid obstacles, and avoid falling off edges.  With the help of its built-in camera, the Roomba 960 can map out your floors and is able to determine its current location so that your floors get a more complete and thorough clean.  The camera also uses vSLAM, or visual simultaneous localization and mapping.
  • Multi-Stage Cleaning: Moreover, the Roomba 960 uses a three-stage vacuuming system that uses debris extractors, a spinning side brush, and a powerful vacuum that pulls all the debris, hair and dirt off the brushes.  It makes use of the AeroForce vacuuming technology that is five times better than the vacuuming technology you see on the Roomba 600 and 700 series models.
  • Entire-Level Cleaning: The Roomba 960 also guarantees entire-level cleaning as it automatically recharges and resumes its cleaning.  It has a large-enough dust bin, which also lets you know when it’s already full.  You have the option to let the 960 stop cleaning after the dust bin is full, or let it continue cleaning until the job is done.
  • HEPA Filtration: It uses a HEPA filter that keeps dust particles as small as 0.01 microns inside the bin rather than being recirculated into the air.
  • WiFi Control: You can use your Wi-Fi connection to connect the Roomba 960 to the iRobot Home app.  From there, you can set up cleaning schedules and activate some cleaning modes.  The mobile app also gives you a log of the 960’s cleaning history so that you could be sure that the robot vacuum did its work while you were away.

The downsides of Roomba 960

The Roomba 960 is the cheaper 900 series model, but it is still one of the most expensive Roombas around.  And while it may be a 900 series model, it uses an 800 series motor.  It also does not have carpet boost, which you can find in the Roomba 980.

What’s in the Box

  • iRobot Roomba 960
  • Home Base charging station
  • Extra filter and side brush
  • Dual mode virtual wall barrier with two AA batteries included
  • Line cord

Botvac D5 Connected vs Roomba 960

The choice between the Neato Botvac D5 Connected and the Roomba 960 is pretty much a toss-up.  However, the Botvac does benefit from a much cheaper price tag as it costs $100 less than the Roomba 960.  So, if budget is a consideration, that pretty much answers the question.

Both Neato and iRobot are leading players in the robot vacuum market and the Botvac D5 and the Roomba 960 are one of their best models, respectively.  Both use cutting-edge technology for advanced localization and mapping, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity.  As you can see from the table below, the Roomba 960 has a similar and comparable technology that helps it compete with the Botvac D5 Connected.

Key Stats Compared

Botvac D5Roomba 960
PriceCheck hereCheck here
Mobile appNeato AppHome App
Form factorD-shapeRound
Wi-Fi ConnectivityXX
Auto chargingXX
Auto  resumeXX
Mapping & navigation technologyLaserSmartiAdapt 2.0
Simultaneous localization & mappingSLAMvSLAM
Multi-room navigationXX
Entire level cleaningXX
Scheduling 1 XX
Main brushCombo brushDebris extractor
Side brushXX
Filter typeUltra Performance FilterHEPA Filter
Included boundary markerBoundary markerDual mode virtual wall barrier
BatteryHigh Capacity Lithium-ionLithium-ion
Smartwatch supportX 

Final Say – Which to Go With?

The beauty of both the Roomba 960 and the Neato Botvac D5 Connected is that you can leave them and they will still clean your floors.  Spend some time setting up cleaning schedules and you could totally forget about it.  You leave home for work and these vacuums will start cleaning on their own.  If you want to be sure, you can check the cleaning statistics on your smartphone.  You can use the mobile app to remotely start, stop or pause a cleaning.

However, if you have carpeted floors, it might be better for you to get a Botvac D5. The Roomba 960 has a good AeroForce cleaning technology, but it does not have carpet boost, which should give it more power for a more thorough clean on carpets.  It also has the motor of older 800 series models.

“What’s more, for a cheaper robot vacuum, the Neato Botvac features smartwatch support.”

Do not underestimate the Roomba 960, though.

“There is a reason why Roomba is still the go-to robot vacuum brand.”

The 960 delivers a very efficient cleaning and covers a bigger area with less time.  It is true that the Roomba 960 has a shorter run time on a single charge (1.25 hours vs. the Botvac D5’s 2-hour runtime), but it does follow an efficient cleaning pattern.

Plus, it makes use of HEPA filters, which makes it the better choice if you are or if any of your family members are prone to allergies.  Furthermore, it uses rubber debris extractors instead of the old main brush.  The debris extractor does not have bristles that you would need to clean and maintain (low overall maintenance cost).

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

2 Comments

  • Hi Patrick,

    Thanks for this comparison. I was wondering which one you would recommend when it comes down to the Neato D5 Botvic connected vs. roomba 980?

    Best,

    Emina

    • Hi Emina,

      The 980 is actually considerably better than the 960 in terms of core technology (+ carpet boost, etc…), but the price becomes the biggest issue for me. The MAIN consideration in the Botvac vs Roomba debate has to be the boundary control mechanism. Do you want to put down the boundary tape manually for the Botvac? Would the size of your house make this a huge project in and of itself? I personally prefer the Roomba’s virtual lighthouse boundary system (no physical tape, all invisible range control). Most people don’t think of this when buying a robot. They just look at the core features of the device itself.

      If boundary technology were not an issue, I would personally opt for the Botvac D5, especially if this is my first robot. It’s just a better value for the money. However, the 980 is the absolute best solution for larger homes and it has marginal improvements that – overall – make it the best robot (price notwithstanding).

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