Robotic Vacuums

Roomba 880 vs Neato Botvac 80 – Which One is a Better Choice?

(Last Updated On: September 22, 2016)

Thanks to advances in technology, we are witnessing that some novelty gadgets from a decade ago are now becoming a key appliance of the modern household. Robotic vacuums are such an example of this rapid progress in the technology age we find ourselves a part of. These machines have developed into highly functional devices which can save you both time and energy. A good robotic vacuum cleaner is an investment that can bring a healthy dose of convenience, as most of us seem to not have enough hours in the day to get everything done.

The iRobot Roomba 880 and the Neato Botvac 80 are two high end robot vacuums available on the market. In order to help you in finding the best robot vacuum for your busy lifestyle we will give a comprehensive overview of both models and some things you need to know about robot vacuums. Below, you will find the features of these two best-selling robot vacuums with an explanation of both the pros and cons of the Roomba 880 vs the Neato Botvac 80. This will provide you with all of the information that you will need to make an informed, intelligent decision as to what direction your robot vacuum search should take.

In a rush? Check out the high level advantages of each robot in this table:

Roomba 880 AdvantagesBotvac 80 Advantages
More reliable (less maintenance)Better corner cleaning due to design of device
Better customer supportOrganized cleaning pattern (not random like the Roomba 880)
Better market for replacement parts (if needed)NOTE: The Botvac D80 has replaced the old Botvac 80, it’s generally less expensive (see this listing)
Slightly better cleaning technology overall
Tangle-free extractors (Botvac 80 has problems with bad ball bearing in extractors)
Higher customer reviews (see here)
More readily available (see here for pricing)

Continue reading for the in depth analysis:

What to Look for in a Robot Vacuum

Robot vacuums often come with a wide range of technology offers and available features. To begin things, a good robot vacuum should have stable, functional and solid performing software and hardware. After all, a robot vacuum can be very convenient and nice to have when it is working properly, but substandard components can make owning one a real chore in and of itself.

1) Software

To be useful, a robotic vacuum cleaner must have reliable software that will enable it to operate automatically and travel to every point in your house, perform the cleaning job and come back to the service dock. Robot vacuums created by iRobot and Neato fulfill this task nicely. The difference between the two brands is that Neato bot will scan the room using a laser device and sets an itinerary for itself, while iRobot will perform this task in a more random manner.

This feature makes iRobot smarter, because it can actually sense dirt and do extra cleaning on the areas that require more attention. You could say that the iRobot is more results oriented and the Neato is more confined by simply covering the overall space that is available to be cleaned.

2) Hardware

The hardware part is at least as decisive as the software in how well the robot vacuum can clean the floor area. Vacuuming capability is a combination of factors that include suction, battery power, brush and vacuum design which all combined result in how effective a particular vacuum really is. The iRobot has a distinct advantage in this category according to many thousands of positive customer reviews. While the Neato does an acceptable job in this category the iRobot Roomba 880 is many times referred to as exceptional by past owners (myself included). This is due not only to the advantage in software but also an edge in how the vacuum is engineered with sturdy and above grade materials. While we don’t have any scientific evidence we also suspect that the iRobot has a more stringent quality control process at the time of manufacturing which results in better structural design integrity.

Roomba 880 vs Neato Botvac – Which One is Better?

When you research the best robot vacuum models, it quickly comes down to iRobot Roomba vs. Neato Botvac in the higher end category of models available.

Pricing

The Neato Botvac 80 beats the iRobot Roomba 880 in terms of price as the Botvac is a touch more affordable selling here for significantly cheaper than the 880. The Roomba is considerably more expensive and is typically priced much higher. Both models offer good value for their respective price points and should be on your list of robot vacuums to consider. However, in terms of pure quality without going over the top on price point we still give the edge to the Roomba 880.

Accessories

Both the Roomba and the Neato robot vacuum come with side brushes that are used to clean the baseboards and all of the hard to reach or high up locations. Both vacuum models feature a wide variety of brushes to offer you more flexibility when cleaning the floor and other surfaces within the home or even some light outside duties.

The Battery and Filters

Both robot vacuum models use a type of non-standard battery. The replacement batteries for the Roomba 880 and the Neato Botvac 80 are very similarly priced, in the range of seventy to eighty dollars. The air filters for the Neato Botvac and Roomba 880 are also comparable in price, sold at ten to fifteen dollars each. For both brands, allergy and pet filters are more expensive than the standard ones. This category is a draw as far as we can tell.

Sensors

The Roomba 880 vacuum uses sensor lighthouses while the Neato Botvac uses magnetic tape boundary markers, the sensors alone do not give one or the other a significant advantages or disadvantages.

Artificial Intelligence

The Neato Botvac 80 and the iRobot Roomba 880 have specialized sensors used to recognize potential falls and changes in the landscape levels or obstructions. The Neato Botvac is slightly better at recognizing contrasting floor patterns but the Neato does sometimes stall when it thinks it is on the edge of an overhang. The Roomba 880 does not sense this quite as well but when it does, it will try to back up before stalling or stopping.

Vacuuming

Both vacuum robots perform well at vacuuming wood and tile floors and honestly the Neato Botvac 80 handles fringe carpets better and does a better job picking up pet hair. However it is prone to leaving a trail of dirt when it changes directions on a dirty floor.

Battery Life

The Neato Botvac 80 lasts around an hour and a half between recharging the battery on station visits and the Roomba 880 model will typically last about 10% longer on average in comparison to the Neato.

The Winner? Roomba 880 or Botvac 80?

The iRobot Roomba 880 was released in late 2013 and is currently the best robotic vacuum cleaner available. It is receiving good reviews from customers and it has risen to the top position in terms of pure sales figures.

The Roomba 880 features state-of-the-art technology, including Persistent Pass, Dirt Detect II, virtual lighhouses, and HEPA filters. This model is the best robot vacuum product due to improvement on the 700 series in three aspects: ground breaking debris extractors, a more efficient vacuum engine and better battery life.

The Roomba 880 has a more efficient vacuum engine that is also smaller than the engine of the 700 series. Its engine can suck up five times faster and combined with the Airflow Accelerator that forces the incoming air to move very fast results in a vacuuming mechanism that takes less space but removes fifty percent more dirt. The saved space is allocated to a 60 percent larger dust bin and these new features allow the Roomba 880 to finish the cleaning job quicker and collect more debris. You will not be required to empty the dust bin so often, as well.

A common problem with all robotic vacuums is when they come across long strands of hair, their brushes often end up wrapped with it and you have to clean the brushes or perhaps use scissors. The iRobot Roomba 880 features two tangle free rough plastic extractors with the role to break down the debris and push it into the vacuum entrance. This makes it clean better and overcomes the need to service the robot by having to clean the brushes.

Finally, the new Roomba vacuum model comes with an extend life battery with a lifespan twice as long than the older Roomba batteries.

You can find the Roomba 880 at this Amazon listingfor a very good price and free shipping. Also feel free to read my full review here.

However, if price is a concern, the Neato Botvac 80 is a very good alternative for the money. While not quite at the same standard as the Roomba 880, it is a better price range. You can usually find a good price at this listing on Amazon. You can check out my full review here as well.

UPDATE: Neato has released the new Botvac D80. It’s marginally better (fixed some common problems), but mainly features a new sleek design. The Botvac 80 has been largely discontinued at most retailers. You can read my take on the D80 here or you can check out the product listing here.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, for its overall features the iRobot’s latest Roomba 880 vacuum robot is the best model on the market today. The Roomba 880 is outstanding compared to its competition by its performance and quality. For this reason it has become the best-selling robot vacuum cleaner in a very short time after its release. If you can handle the higher price point of the Roomba 880 then we feel confident that you will be happy with your purchase and you will enjoy the convenience of a top quality robot vacuum.

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!

5 Comments

  • This review is a little iRobot biase to my MHO.
    Neato is way smarter while Roomba is a dumb vaccumm randomly going all over the same spot over and it misses lots dirty spots. While Neato uses laser system to scan and the room and plans it’s cleaning path, and if the area to be clean is too big, it will go back to it’s charging station to recharge and then later resumes the cleaning automatically….I have both, and that’s my 2 cents!

    • The irobot roomba 880 is better now because it has RUBBER FREAKING BRUSHES which are STILL quieter than the Neato. It is able to clean better.

  • I have several older model roomba’s (4 and 5 hundred models) and a neato XV-21. I much prefer the neato for three reasons:

    1) the roomba’s brushes tend to get tangled with things and get stuck. The neato’s brushes tend to get wrapped in things like hair, just like the roomba, except for one thing – it doesn’t get stuck. Somehow, the design of the brush is such that it isn’t a problem. I have to clean the neato’s brushes *much* less frequently than the roomba’s.

    2) the end caps on the brushes on the roomba tend to get clogged with hair, requiring frequent cleaning. There is something about the design of the neato’s such that they *never* get clogged. Every once in a while, I take the end caps off and there is a little bit of stuff there, but it is nothing like the roomba’s which can get clogged pretty quickly.

    3) the neato finds its base and recharges most of the time, although it does annoyingly say to “clear my path” regularly when there is nothing in its way. The roomba, in my experience, often could not find its base.

    These issues may be solved in the newer models of roombas, I don’t know. I would like to know what you think, Patirck!

    • Gary, thanks for commenting!

      I think you are spot-on in regards to the older model Roomba’s. I do recall having “brush issues” with the my 400 series Roomba. I can say that the 600 and 700 series took pretty significant steps forward on many fronts.

      For the Neato Botvac’s and Roomba 800 series, the brush issues that you mention have rarely surfaced as problems. Both companies have really tried to work on these “annoying” bugs over the last few iterations. I would recommend checking out some of the recent models. The Neato XV-21 was miles ahead of the 400 series Roomba’s – in my experience – but things have come full circle and there is a case to be made for the Roomba 800 series being a step ahead of their Neato Botvac counterparts.

      I should get around to reviewing and contrasting some of the older Roomba 400s and 500s, because I know a lot of people still use them.

  • My two cents … buy anything other than a Neato product. Bought a Connected unit, side spinner broke within 7/8 months. Returned it and they sent me a cheaper model as a replacement. Ok, mistake, no big deal. They then sent the correct unit. Oops, this one was defective also. So we’ve been through three units, about 2 hours of customer service chatting and still don’t have a working unit. They then took the position that they wouldn’t ship a working, correct one until they got both back so we could wait for these to make their way back to Neato, wait form them to process the return, and then wait for the new one to get here. I ate the shipping on the first return and have been without a working/correct replacement for four weeks. I don’t know what customer service looks like with these other producers but Neato is just about the worst I’ve ever experienced.

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