When it comes to robot vacuums, Neato Botvacs are some of the most well-known and proven models around. There are budget-friendly units and others that offer advanced features not everyone needs.
The Botvac D4 and D3 models are some of the former variety, which nice features at a lower price point than the premium units. They’re convenient and reliable, and offer peace of mind with a manufacturer’s warranty.
Let’s dive into the features of each, and soon enough, you’ll have a better idea of which suits your needs the best.
The Botvac D4 (full review here!) certainly isn’t the cheapest option on the market, but it’s also not the most expensive and strikes a nice balance between affordability and useful features like laser navigation, personalized cleaning maps, and virtual boundaries.
After adding in robust scheduling abilities, app control, smart home connections, IFTTT, smart charging, and voice commands via Google Home or Amazon Alexa, and the value of the D4 is a lot more than you’ll find in other mid-range units.
Design and Features
All Botvacs are designed in a D shape, enabling them to navigate corners better than any other robot vacuum on the market. The D4 is no different. It is black, but the textured finish makes it sleek and attractive.
At the height of 3.9 inches, you may have trouble cleaning under some furniture, but there are trade-offs that make it worth it, like the excellent navigation and laser technology turret in the back that causes its height.
It docks at the rear of the unit, so when it is time to start cleaning, it can drive out and get started right away. The roller brush at the front is its first point of contact with dirt, so it sucks up debris more efficiently than other robot vacuums.
The dustbin is top-loading, so it’s easily accessible and a breeze to empty, but it is smaller than some others. On the underside, the D4 has swivel wheels, two main treads, and a roller brush. It comes with an extra roller brush, filter, and charging dock.
Setup and App
Setting up the Botvac D4 is simple. Download the Neato app on your smartphone, register, and use the prompts to connect to Wi-Fi. Ensure that you have a 2.4GHz network connection because the D4 doesn’t support 5GHz.
If you enable the Neato skill in your Google Home or Amazon Alexa app, you can link them to your Neato account and start giving voice commands right away including start and stop cleaning, return to the dock, or check the battery level.
Use the If This Then That (IFTTT) applets to program your vacuum to start cleaning when you leave the house, stop cleaning when you return, or any other combination of functions that is useful to you.
If you own an Apple Watch, you can use the app to control the vacuum from your wrist. The app is easy to use on any device because it’s straightforward and simple to navigate. You can see battery life, cleaning options, maps, and cleaning statistics all from the home screen, as well as start or stop cleaning at the click of a button.
You also have advanced options available on the app like building schedules, viewing floor plans, and setting up virtual boundaries for your Botvac D4.
Mapping Your Home
The Neato cleaning maps give you a floor plan of your home after an exploratory clean, highlighting areas where the robot has cleaned as well as it’s last known location. The map also indicates if your robot is docked, encountered issues during cleaning, or ran out of battery.
You can see the date and time of all cleanings, how long each cleaning took, and the total area the robot covered. It also supports No-Go boundary lines, enabling you to draw lines on the floor plan where your vacuum shouldn’t go.
The D4 handles furniture, power cords, and other obstacles well. It can crawl over different floor types like carpeting, vinyl, or raised seams with very little difficulty thanks to the two main treads.
Despite obstacles, the laser navigation allows the D4 to clean back and forth precisely and methodically. The Extra Care Navigation will enable you to toggle how hard it bumps into walls or other furniture in the event you have items you don’t want to incur damage.
The suction on the D4 picks up hair, dust, and debris without issue. The dustbin may fill up quickly when cleaning a large area, but there’s a push notification on the app to tell you when it’s full, so you can empty it quickly and easily, setting it back on its path to efficiency.
The battery life is a bit on the low side at seventy-five minutes. Many other robot vacuums run for ninety minutes or more without needing a charge. They can clean larger areas at once and are more efficient.
However, the D4 does support a Quick Boost charging feature, so it returns to its dock for charging just long enough to finish the clean it started. The D4 can use the Quick Boost up to two times in one cleaning session so that it can complete its clean quickly and then charge fully when it’s done.
The D4 is one of the louder robot vacuums. You can hear it from adjacent rooms and may need to turn the volume up on your TV, computer, or stereo to listen to it while the vacuum is running. Fortunately, you can program it to run while you’re not home to avoid that problem.
A Great Mid Range Vacuum
With features like virtual boundaries, cleaning maps, No-Go lines, personal assistant integration, IFTTT integration, a better app, a higher quality robot, and laser navigation, the Botvac D4 is a great value. You’re getting a lot of the same features you would on a higher end robot for a lower price.
Botvac D4 Pros:
- Advanced scheduling
- Maps with detailed cleaning statistics and virtual boundaries
- Smart assistant and IFTTT integrations with voice commands
- An app that’s easy to navigate and control
- Adjustable Extra Care Navigation
- Quick Boost charging
- Great value
Botvac D4 Cons:
- Increased height means it can’t get under furniture
- Seventy-five minute runtime
Further read, Neato Botvac D4 Connected vs Roomba 960
Coming in at a slightly smaller price point and fewer features, the Botvac D3 (full review here!) is an excellent solution for the budget-conscious household. It’s still a well-built vacuum backed by Neato’s warranty and gives you a lot of outstanding features for the price.
Design and Features
Like all Neato vacuums, the D3 is D shaped, allowing more efficient navigation and cleaning through corners and other tight spots. It is matte gray with simple controls at the back of the unit. You can start cleaning cycles here as well as see LED alerts and notifications.
As with the Botvac D4, it docks at the rear of the unit, so when it is time to start cleaning, it can drive out and get started right away. The roller brush at the front is its first point of contact with dirt, so it sucks up debris more efficiently than other robot vacuums.
The Botvac D3 comes with a power cord and a charging base, but no other extra accessories or replacement parts. It is 3.9 inches tall, which could cause the same maneuverability issues under low furniture as with the D4.
Setup and App
To start cleaning, you need to pair your D3 with a smartphone or tablet and connect it to Wi-Fi. The app lets you start and stop cleanings as well as schedule your cleanings whenever it’s convenient for you.
You can enable notifications and alerts that tell you when your robot vacuum runs into problems or is done. You can always start a clean manually from the home screen and connecting your vacuum to the app gives you more flexibility and control.
Once the Botvac D3 is set up, it’s relatively easy to use. Some users have complained about the controls being less than intuitive or having connectivity issues with Wi-Fi or the application. Once you understand what the various controls do or the notifications mean, it should be a breeze.
You can also connect your Botvac D3 to Amazon Alexa or Google Home for more convenient controlling using voice commands.
Mapping Your Home and Obstacles
The infrared navigation light helps guide the D3 through each room. It can detect walls and furniture, bump softly into it, and then continue around any obstacle. The drop sensors keep the unit from falling down stairs or out of lofts.
With the exclusive use of rolling brushes and suction, the Botvac D3 guides dirt and debris into the dustbin. While some vacuums use spinning brushes to collect dirt around the edges, the unique D shape of the Botvac means it doesn’t need these to get a good edge clean.
The battery life on the D3 is slightly less than the D4 at sixty minutes. While this doesn’t allow for much cleaning, it will return to the dock on its own for charging and then complete the cycle when it’s done. It can recharge twice in one cleaning session to ensure completion.
Without a Quick Boost option like the D4, your D3 will break a 180-minute cleaning cycle into three 60-minute cycles, charging in between. That means that a single clean takes longer to complete because a 5-6 hour charge will occur in between.
The Botvac D3 tends to be louder than other robot vacuums, meaning that you may encounter trouble when watching TV or listening to music while the vacuum is running. You can avoid this issue by schedule cleanings when you’re not at home.
A Great Option for Budget-Conscious Buyers
The value of the Botvac D3 isn’t as great as the D4, but it is cheaper and provides connectivity features that are useful, meaning it’s a good robot vacuum for those who want the cleaning convenience without the cost of higher end models. It offers hands-free cleaning with efficient corner navigation and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Botvac D3 Pros:
- Wi-Fi, Google Home, and Alexa connectivity for easy controls
- Infrared navigation for easy avoidance of obstacles
Botvac D3 Cons:
- Could have trouble cleaning under low furniture
- Short battery life
|Botvac D4||Botvac D3|
|Auto-charge and resume||Yes||Yes|
|Quick Boost charging||Yes||No|
|Extra Care Navigation||Yes||No|
The Way to Go
Each Neato Botvac robot vacuum provides hands-free cleaning with a variety of features like a D shaped design, mapping and navigation, rechargeable battery, a smartphone app, Wi-Fi connectivity, cleaning schedules, personal assistant integration, recharge and resume capability, bagless filters, and a one year warranty.
If you’re looking for a more affordable robot vacuum solution with all of these features, the Botvac D3 is a great choice. All robot vacuums tend to be more expensive than traditional vacuums, but on the robot vacuum spectrum, the D3 is very affordable.
If you want extra features, you’ll pay a little bit more, but get a great value from the D4. It includes things like No-Go lines, Extra Care Navigation, IFTTT applets, and Quick Boost charging to get the most out of your robot vacuum experience.
Neato builds quality vacuums, and no matter which one you choose, you’ll be pleased with the ease with which you can schedule cleanings or start them manually using the app or voice commands. They offer hands-free solutions for almost everyone.
D3 has gantle Care and no-go lines (as an update right after d4 was released)