The Neato vs Roomba debate has heated up with the popularity of robotic vacuums increasing rapidly. Arguably the two best brands on the market, I will review them head to head.
I’ve been around robotic vacuums from almost the beginning (starting with my Roomba 400 series). I’ve owned both Roomba’s and Neato’s and have loved some of their models and struggled with others. For the original comparison series, we contrasted the Roomba 770 vs Neato XV-21, but we’ve also denoted “updated” assessments for the latest series’ at the bottom.
The Main Differences Between Neato (Botvac) vs Roomba
The main differences between Neato (Botvac) vs Roomba are:
- The Neato Botvac is constructed with some cheaper plastic but still looks nice, whereas the Roomba has a more high-quality, industrial finish.
- The Neato Botvac is a great price with a lot of value for its features, whereas the Roomba is more expensive yet it is made to last.
- The Neato Botvac is great at handling corners with it’s ‘D’ shaped design, whereas the Roomba’s round design makes getting into corners a bit trickier.
Bottom Line up Front: If you just want to take my word for it (without reading the whole article)….
- If Money is no object (and you just want the best)… Go with the Roomba i7+ available here.
- If you want the best MIX of Value + Features…
Go with the new Botvac D6 available here.
- If you want the most reliable BUDGET (Cheap) robot…Go with the Roomba 690 available here.
First a little bit about the two companies…
Roomba: The company behind the Roomba – iRobot – originally had its start creating robotic solutions to bomb disposal in the early 1990s. Since then, the company has expanded to included a wide range of both defense industry and domestic product offerings. Their robots range from rugged military devices to automatic pool cleaners as well as vacuums. Here at All Home Robotics we track the domestic offerings from the company.
Neato: Neato Robotics is a much smaller company than iRobot, but draws from the Silicon Valley expertise of technologists and engineers specifically dedicated to robotic vacuums. Founded in 2010, Neato Robotics has released a number of generations of their best selling Neato vacuum already. What Neato Robotics lacks in size, it makes up for in focus and technology implementation.
For the purposes of this comparison we will be using the latest models of each line. While Neato Robotics has since released a “signature series” and “botvac series” the last best selling version is still XV-21 and we will compare that to the 700 series vacuums, still the best selling series from iRobot.
Model Specific Comparisons
While this article compares the iRobot vs Neato brands more broadly, we have also compared many of the specific models directly over the years:
- Botvac D7 vs Roomba i7+
- Botvac D7 vs Roomba 980
- Botvac D7 vs Roomba 690
- Botvac D6 vs Roomba 690
- Botvac D5 vs Roomba 960
- Botvac D3 vs Roomba 890
- Botvac Connected vs Roomba 980
- Botvac D4 Connected vs Roomba 690
- Botvac D6 vs. Roomba 960
- Roomba e5 vs. Botvac D5
- Roomba i7+ vs Botvac D7
- Roomba i7+ vs Botvac D5
- Roomba 675 vs Botvac D7
- Roomba s9 vs Botvac D7
- Roomba e5 vs Botvac D7
- Neato Signature Pro vs Roomba 880
- Neato Signature Pro vs Roomba 650
- Roomba 880 vs Neato Botvac 80
- Botvac 85 vs Roomba 880
Neato XV-21 vs Roomba 700 Series
To compare these two brands side by side, we will break it down by the following categories: Design, Cleaning Technology, Charging, Maintenance, Accessories, and Price.
Both the Neato and the Roomba pride themselves on a sleek modern design. It kind of goes with the territory when you are a robotic vacuum cleaner. What really matters is the functionality of the design. Here is where the two vacuums contrast.
Both robots are about the same size, a sensitive touch bumper around the front and two steering wheels on the underbelly. However, there are some important distinctions between the two devices.No products found.
Neato: The Neato XV-21 has a square front with a rounded back (see pictures above). This helps it round corners more effectively and sets this little machine apart from its competitors. In terms of the “curb appeal” the Neato appears to be constructed with some cheaper plastic; whereas the Roomba is a more industrial finish.
The XV-21 model comes standard with a large dustbin, larger than the Roomba 700 and even slightly larger than the 800 series cleaners. In fact, the Neato has the industry-leading largest dust compartment for robotic vacuums.
The Neato is about 4 inches tall which can get stuck under some low hanging furniture.
Let’s see some of the pros and cons…
Roomba: One of the complaints about the Roomba is that the circular design provides less cornering ability than the Neato. Still, the Roomba has a sleek modern design with a relatively small footprint. The outer finish comes in two shades of gray that mitigate any visible scratching to device.
One of the biggest draws for the Roomba 700 and 800 series is the significantly quieter motor and relatively advanced touch screen controls. This is where the Roomba stands out as a more “polished” machine.
One of the advantages of the circular design of the Roomba is that it can switch directions on a dime while the Neato has to turn itself to face front (a slight time waster).
Another small bonus is that with a height of 3 only 3 inches, the Roomba can get under more varieties of furniture than the Neato.
Winner? It is pretty close. But, in this category, the Neato features a more functional design. While the quick direction changes with the circular Roomba design and the low clearance are nice, the lack of dusty corners from the Neato’s horizontal back is more useful. If you have to go back with the dust buster to get the corners, that takes time and effort. Similarly, a larger dust bin simply means less work for you. One point Neato.
This is the most important test of a robotic vacuum. How well does the technology work? Behind all the frills, this is the ultimate test of a good device. Thankfully, both the Neato and the Roomba are market leaders when it comes to the latest technology. Unfortunately, this also makes it difficult to compare them.
Neato: The Neato has the best suction of any robotic vacuum on the market. Including the Roomba. This powerful suction easily sets the Neato a part as the industry leader. The rotating silicone brush also means less cleaning for the user. Because of the set-up, pet hair, dander, dirt, and dust does not clog up the cleaning mechanism easily.
Perhaps the only downside to the Neato cleaning technology is the noise it makes. It is significantly louder than the Roomba and similar machines.
Roomba: While the Roomba may not have the suction of the Neato, it does try to make up for it in different ways. If the Neato has the best suction, the Roomba is a close second. The Persistent Passing technology makes up for the less powerful suction, imitating the method traditional vacuums (and vacuumers) employ by passing over sections repeatedly to ensure they are cleaned. Update: The new Roomba 800 series makes some good strides with the new AeroForce patented cleaning system. It’s about 50% better at picking up dirt and debris than the 700 series models. Although we haven’t had a way to definitively prove this, we have seen a noticeable improvement.
While the Roomba makes up for the Neato’s power suction advantage in many ways, the Neato still wins this category, especially with the unveiling of the newer models. Of course, this is a hotly debated subject and it could easily change with the upcoming models. For now, suction is what counts. One point Neato.
This might not be the first feature that springs to mind when considering a robotic vacuum. From the perspective of a long time user (Yours Truly) it has become one of the most important specs I look at. Not all home robots have auto-scheduling. Thankfully, both the Neato and the Roomba have the ability to do automatic scheduling, but they are by no means equal to the task.
Neato: The Neato offers a paltry 15 minute interval presets. Meaning you can set it to 12:00, 12:15, 12:30, 12:45, 1:00. This is probably sufficient for most users; however, when compared with the Roomba it seems like an unnecessary limitation.
Roomba: The Roomba allows complete freedom to schedule any times that you like. Because of this, Roomba sweeps this category. One point Roomba.
Just like with any other remote appliance, battery life can make or break an otherwise good system. Similarly, robot vacuums with longer battery life are obviously more desirable assuming all other things are equal.
Neato: The Neato is able to find its power “dock” automatically which in theory means owners do not need to worry about recharging their device. However, navigating to the charging station is a skill in and of itself. The Neato can get stuck when it attempts to navigate to the dock which can be a huge inconvenience. When it does find the dock, the process is actually quicker than the Roomba (but this can be small comfort if your Neato gets stuck frequently). In my testing, I got my Neato up to close to 70 minutes on one charge.
Roomba: While the Roomba takes longer to charging station itself, it has much better path finding ability. The Roomba will always find the dock because it uses a “virtual lighthouse” that constantly communicates with the Roomba to help it problem-solve and find the best path. This provides peace of mind, which is a nice bonus. Finally, I’ve been about to get close to 4 hours on one charge. Clearly the Roomba has the edge here. One point Roomba.
Maintaining a robotic vacuum ideally should not be difficult. A device smart enough to clean your house should be smart enough to take of itself, right?
Neato: The larger dust bin on the Neato immediately gives it a headstart in the Roomba vs Neato head-to-head test. However, the Neato is especially problematic if the bin starts to reach capacity. It will proceed to spread dark streaks around your carpet. This is counter-productive to say the least. Strangely enough, the larger bin does not mean you have to empty it less frequently. In my experience, you still have to empty it about once per week (on average).
Another problem with the Neato is that you will probably end up having to clean the sensors every 8-10 uses because they can become blocked by dust particles.
Roomba: The new AreoVac dust bin on the 700 series is actually not too shabby. With steady daily use, you probably won’t have to clean out the bin more than once per week…even with the smaller bin. This is probably due to superior technology; however, the explanation is far from clear.
With the Virtual Lighthouse, you will never need to touch your Roomba (except to change the bin). Both the Lighthouse and the Roomba turn on automatically per the schedule you set.
For whatever reason – probably better engineering and quality control – the Roomba is generally more reliable than the Neato. The Neato is no chump, but it just can’t quite keep up with the Roomba in this area.
UPDATE: Another aspect that I didn’t consider when I first wrote this article is the marketplace for replacement parts. This obviously isn’t something a new customer might think of, but I’ve found it to be incredibly important (many battery packs and filters later)! Thankfully, both the Neato and Roomba do have a fair selection of replacement brushes, batteries, and filters (and more) to choose from. Whether its due to market share or some other reason, iRobot has the most abundant market for replacement parts. There are quite literally dozens of replacement batteries to choose from, for example. You can even find selections that are better than the default batteries that ship with a new Roomba.
One point Roomba.
Both the Neato and the Roomba come standard with a few similar accessories. Namely, they both come with a home dock and and the assorted user guides needed to get you familiarized with your device.
Neato: The Neato comes with magnetic marker strips to delineate “no-go” zones in your house. The neato also comes standard with two replacment brushes. The marker strips are okay, but not nearly as “sexy” as what the Roomba can offer (below).
Roomba: The Roomba comes standard with one Virtual Wall (Lighthouse). It emits an invisible beam that tells the Roomba not to clean certain areas (you can order additional Virtual Wall’s if you need them). The beam can cover up to fourteen feet of open space. Thankfully, the can be autoset to start up automatically when the Roomba starts so you can keep them in place. The Roomba also comes standard with three replacement filters. The Virtual Wall alone makes the Roomba the clear favorite. One point Roomba.
Let’s not beat around the bush; price is frequently the determining factor.
Neato: The Neato XV-21 retails for a fair price. However, on you can get a savings by ordering through this listing on Amazon. That brings the tag price down to a certain amount with FREE shipping included. The high end latest Neato “Botvac” 85 can be had for a decent amount here.
Roomba: The Roomba 760, 770, 780, and 790 are progressively scaled up with slightly better features. The latest 790 can retail for a hefty price tag for most. You can find it for a fair amount on Amazon. The lower base model 760 can he had for even less on Amazon. More recently, Roomba has introduced the 800 series which makes a number of improvements, including a noticeably more powerful cleaning suction technology. You can now find the Roomba 880 on Amazon, as it has previously proven hard to find.
On price alone, the Neato is the clear winner. If you are on a budget but desperate for a good robotic vacuum, it’s a safe bet. One point Neato.
Put simply, the Roomba is a better device when compared head to head. It is a close one, but the Roomba wins the head-to-head comparison 4-3.
To get a good sense of the key features of all of the robotic vacuums currently on the market, you can check on this comparison article and chart here.
UPDATE 2015: Roomba 800 Series vs Botvac
With the release of the next generation of robot vacuums from both companies, I wanted to update this page with my evaluation.
Both the Roomba 880 and 870 have some nice improvements over the 700 series. While none of the improvements are ground-breaking or game-changing, they certainly were enough to make me upgrade to the Roomba 880. For starters, it is up to 5x more effective at picking up dirt and debris than the 700 series vacuums and has a 60% larger dust bin to go along with it.
The Neato Botvac series also has some improvements. Namely, a 50 percent bigger brush, a larger dust bin, and an enhanced filter. Overall – however – the improvements are not as impressive as the Roomba 800 series. I think the release of the Botvac series had more to do with a “rebranding” effort. Still, the improvements are nice and the core technology is still very comparable to the Roomba. If you can save a few hundred dollars on a Botvac vs Roomba, it’s probably worth it.
Bottom line: the improvements in both new generations do not fundamentally change my evaluation. I still give Roomba a slight edge.
You can read our head to head comparison of the Botvac 80 vs Roomba 880 here.
UPDATE 9/10/15: New Botvac “D” Series and Roomba 880 Pricing
In a relatively surprising move, Neato released their Botvac “D” series shortly after re-branding to “Botvac” from just “Neato”. At first I though this was just another gimmick to drive sales with a new release. While some of this is probably true, there are some notable improvements. The Botvac D80 that I tested featured a sleek design, but I was more interested in the inner workings. The main improvements? 1) Better suction power and 2) a revamped main brush. With the plain Botvac series, the vacuum featured a nonsealed bearing at the end of the brush. This led to frequent problems with pet hair and human hair getting tangled and jamming the device. The new mechanism is a simple brass bearing which has alleviated this problem. The additional suction power and better brush ARE an improvement, but not necessarily a game changer. When compared to the Roomba 880, it’s a lot closer now.
Roomba Pricing Adjustment: While Roomba has been quiet on a new series release, they have just recently dropped the price on the top line Roomba 880 by a certain amount (see here for details). This is likely to prepare consumers for the Holiday shopping season which will likely not feature a new Roomba. A price reduction IS appreciated, however. My main gripe with the Roomba 880 to this point had been the cost. Now it’s a bit more competitive with the Botvac and others.
UPDATE: 9/18/15: A New “Connected” Roomba!
So, I quickly have to eat my words. Roomba just released their new flagship Roomba 980! It features a WiFi enabled device that can be controlled from a remote web app? So, now I can press “clean”, monitor the battery/dust bin, etc… from work. This is the next evolution in home robotics. Rumor has it that other brands will be moving in this direction soon as well (see Neato press release here). Still, the Roomba 980 is the first to market with this feature. It also boasts a stronger, longer lasting, battery (good for up to 2 hours), recharge and “resume” functionality (automatic), a better navigation system (VSLAM), and better suction power, especially for carpets and rugs. You can read my full review after a few days of use right here. The Main Downside? As always, PRICE. It’s an investment right now (available here). In my estimation, it’s the best Roomba yet. Until the competition catches up (namely the Dyson Eye and new Connected Neato Botvac), the 980 is the best in class. Period.
UPDATE 11/30/15: A New “Connected” Neato!
It didn’t take long for Neato to release their own WiFi enabled robot. Like the Roomba 980, it offers a Smartphone app to schedule, monitor, and start/stop remotely, so long as you have a WiFi connection. You can read my full review of the Botvac Connected right here.
Here’s a quick summary…
Other notable improvements are the “eco mode” and “turbo mode” which can either extend the battery life or clean a specific area more quickly and thoroughly (2x). Other benefits include the ability to operate in the dark (doesn’t use an on-board camera), although this has some limitations on the “mapping” side. The new Botvac claims to clean “up to 50% more” than competitors, but I have been unable to verify this in numerous tests.
Bottom line: The Botvac is still better at handling corners than the Roomba, mainly due to it’s “D” shaped design. It also uses the same methodical approach to cleaning and mapping. In other words, it’s not bumping around – seemingly – randomly like the Roomba’s. Most importantly: It’s cheaper than the Roomba 980 (see this listing here for live data).
Where to Buy
It can be incredibly difficult to find the Neato or Roomba models in retail stores. Whether you go with the Neato or Roomba, you will find the best prices online. I have purchased both my Neato XV-21 and my Roomba 770 and 880 online. You can find almost all of the latest Roomba versions (and a number of the 600 and 500 series) over at Amazon for a good price.
UPDATE: For my very latest robot vacuum ratings, be sure to check my annual ratings guide here.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a lot of great Roomba vacs out there, but my favorite is the Roomba S9+ but if you are looking for a more affordable Roomba that can still get the job done, I recommend the Roomba 690 as well as a mix of value and features (my mid-grade pick) you can’t go wrong with the Roomba 960.
In my experience, depending on which Roomba you invest in, it is definitely worth the money and can save you so much time cleaning the floors (more time for me to test more robot vacs), but not every Roomba is designed the same so you really have to know what to look for.
iRobot owns Roomba so there really is no comparison, it’s the same company so again, my top pick would be the Roomba S9+ — enjoy!
Devi Brown says
Liked the article, clear and simple very informative. I am desperate to buy a robotic vac, but because of the cost I’m doing my research. I’m wondering as a consumer, what product do you like and why?
Patrick Sinclair says
To be honest, both companies have great track records. iRobot is the more established company with more models to choose from, but Neato has a strong track record. To help narrow your choice, try and determine what price range you are comfortable with. At this point it is a lot easier to compare the pros and cons. Check out this page for a good comparison chart.
Thomas Gentile says
I currently have a roomba older machine which has served quite well but would like to get a newer more updated robot but they are just to dam expensive. I would be willing to consider the neato because it seems more affordable. I would love a brand new roomba but it just seems far out of reach for me because of the price. My battery in the current roomba seems to be malfunctioning and the machine will know longer return to it’s charging station on its own, Approximitley $75.00 fot a new battery. I need to make a decision soon. I think I am going to change brands
Kevin B says
“Strangely enough, the larger bin does not mean you have to empty it less frequently. In my experience, you still have to empty it about once per week (on average).”
What?! That’s not strange, if anything it points out the fact that the Neato with it’s bigger bin is doing a better job than the roomba. It is picking up more, thus causing you to empty the bin more frequently.
Neat won on the following
Roomba won on the following
battery life/charging (arguable, my neato has no problem finding the doc and has good battery life)
Maintenance (Have had no problems with anything mentioned, easy to clean as well especially with pet hair)
So the Neato has a great price, is good at cleaning and a better design. Where as the roomba can schedule well, and come with sweet accessories… Which is more important?
Patrick Sinclair says
The reality is, both brands are very close. The differences I have found are not dramatic ones at all. About the larger bin: you could be right, but I think a split test is in order to find out! *added to my to-do list*
Absolutely agree with Kevin regarding the different weights of your 1 point. I have both Neato and Roomba, and I can say for sure lower maintenance of Neato. I can confirm Kevin’s point that Neato picks up much more, which led to it filling up its larger bin more quickly. What’s annoying about Roomba is that you often not only need to clean the bin, but also need to take out the brush and rollers to untangle the hairs etc. So the maintenance experience is much less pleasant and takes longer.
Think More says
The reality is, you gave the Roomba points for such useless abilities. The ability to schedule your Roomba to start at 1:07 is not equal to the Neato’s stronger cleaning abilities, yet you gave “one point” to each. I was halfway expecting you to give Roomba another point for having more letters in its name. I genuinely believe you were trying your best to make Roomba the winner.
Patrick Sinclair says
That is an entirely fair point, but users have different needs. For some, the ability to schedule is more important than the suction ability. Readers can “weight” there scores however they like; however, I’m not going to make assumptions about what feature is “more important” to users. It’s like debating the finer points between a BMW and Mercedes… You really can’t go wrong with either, but if you are struggling to make a decision, here is some criteria to judge.
Thomas Gentile says
I would rather have a machine that cleans better than caring if it turns on automaticly
I have to disagree – if the Neato can be scheduled at 2pm, and the Roomba can be scheduled at 2pm.. there’s no difference. If the Neato can “only” be scheduled for 2:15 but the Roomba can be scheduled for 2:07… is that really a difference worth mentioning in the real world?
Frankly I think that’s possibly a point to Neato – in that its fewer button presses to set a schedule time.
Patrick Sinclair says
Andy, in most cases you are probably right… it won’t make a difference. However, there are likely unique situations where it might make a difference to have the additional flexibility. Not a deal breaker, but more customization is generally better.
Which company has better customer service?
Patrick Sinclair says
This is a tough one because both companies have excellent service. I have not experienced – or heard of anyone experiencing – any problems with the customer service. They are both very reputable companies. Perhaps iRobot has a more sensitive public image as a public company and might work harder to please the customer, but that is just speculation.
Excellent point! That’s number one for me!
After 2.5 years my Neato still amazes me. Roomba amazes me too, but only that its has survived as a bump and spin sweeper for so long without any real navigation or mapping skills. If I was to choose between housemaids, I’d not pick the blindfolded one. OK, given long enough, the pantry floor would be well swept, but there’s a whole house to do!
Points I’d debate –
Design: the Neato is a ‘timewaster’ because it has to turn and face forward before heading in another direction? A Roomba typically takes anywhere between 5 – 10 times as long to sweep just one room, compared to a Neato, so I’m not sure a second or two in a turn really matters.
Scheduling: We’re not recording a TV show or reheating leftovers, so why fiddle about with minutes? Does anyone really need their Roomba to set off at 11:17AM? A point to Neato for having scheduling, but keeping it simple.
Charging/Battery Life: my Neato rarely fails to dock, even when returning from under a bed at the other end of the house, and with the dock in a cluttered study without the prescribed clearances. Better still, after recharging, it heads off again to resume vacuuming at the very point in the house that it left off. While the Roomba gets better runtimes, it needs to because of its random cleaning strategy, and a weak suction motor helps too. Roomba’s lighthouses requires frequent battery replacements while Neato uses passive magnetic strips with no cost to run – they can even be hidden under carpet or mat. Since a Neato can be left alone to vacuum a large house unattended it surely wins over a Roomba which typically needs assistance to get between multiple rooms. For efficient and hassle-free full house vacuuming with mid-task recharge/resume, a point to Neato.
Maintenance: I rarely clean out the beater/brush of my Neato despite having a hairy pet, however it’s an iRobot recommended Roomba practice to clean out tangles after every run! Also I rarely clean the sensors – maybe once every 6 – 8 weeks – yet I vacuum 2 – 3 times a week. And my bin fills up on every run – it’s a real vacuum, not a sweeper. I certainly couldn’t let it run a week without emptying it! However, when full it usually beeps and I’ve never seen any streaks from a full bin. By not requiring a clean and untangle after every run – one point Neato.
Accessories: To block off a room, I prefer to close a door. However, if it’s a choice between a battery powered obstacle I could trip over or bump, or a passive, even hidden, strip, then the strip wins. I’ve snipped my strip into 2 short lengths for doorways (when I want them left open) and a long one for across hallways or rooms. I’ve effectively made two more ‘lighthoses’ for nothing – try that with a Roomba! And I believe I could buy 4 long strips for the price of an extra Roomba lighthouse. Keep it simple – one point for Neato.
I should add that I have 3 or 4 friends who have or have had Roombas – I’ve played with them all. One aquaintence has a Roomba and a Neato, so can offer a single site comparison. He prefers his Neato. The Roomba lies in a cupboard, now unused. One point Neato.
I liked the article as well and have been a little suspicious of any review site that compares these two machines with one machine coming out as the constant winner on every level. I’ve bought both machines in the last six months; bought one and returned it for the other.
For many aspects I preferred the Neato which I bought originally. It maneuvers well, does not bump hard into furniture, is amusing how it navigates, cleans wonderfully. Problem was it could only find it’s way to base about fifty percent of the time and it’s base, according to instructions had to have a major clearance in front and to the sides. I followed instructions and did have to put it in a spot that I was not crazy over plus had to move furniture to accommodate. I live in a condo and having this type of space for the docking mechanism is not that easy. Additionally without exception the Neato got caught up under a sofa or was stuck trying to climb the bases of four of my pedestal type chairs.
The reason why I bought a robotic vacuum was not only to clean but to set it and forget it; sadly in my experience the Neato did not fill the second requirement. It took me about four more months to consider either trying another Neato (maybe mine was a lemon, but that is bad enough in itself) or trying the Roomba.
I have the Roomba now. It is a set it and forget it type of vacuum. It cleans well, does bump and go willy nilly to clean a room but it does hit every spot easily on a single charge and finds it’s way home without exception. It doesn’t get caught up in cords or stuck anywhere….ever.
I think of Neato as a princess and the Roomba as a hard working drunken sailor. The princess may be more refined and sophisticated, but you have to send her a cab to get her home and do extras for her, the hardworking drunken sailor gets the job done, may but into furniture a bit but will get itself home.
I see the demos online even from reviewers. I don’t want to see a course such as a lab or just plain carpet. I want something like my place that has computer cords, awkward furniture and tight spaces. Yes, I want a real life simulation for these two contenders. If I lived in an empty room with plush carpet I’d choose the Neato, but I don’t.
Btw, that 4 cm less height for the Roomba made a major difference in my experience. I would suggest before deciding which product to buy, take out a tape measure and measure the clearance for your sofas etc. If it can’t get under your sofa, it won’t be cleaning there.
Felt the need to comment on this site because I did choose the Neato first because of reviews. Some sites suggest Neato is the clear winner but there are elements that some testers have not taken into consideration. Was happy that this reviewer mentioned that the height of the product is something to consider. For me that element was crucial.
Glad I gave the robotic vacuum idea a try after being disappointed with the Neato. May be better for other types of places. My place has hardwood floors, a rug that has a low pile, a complicated floor plan, and many cords.
Hope this helps anyone reading.
THANK YOU! This was super helpful. We had a Neato for about a year before it died, and I observed many of the issues you mentioned. Now I’m trying to decide whether to replace it with the Botvac or go for Roomba. The randomness of the Roomba was what sent me to Neato in the first place, but always finding the Neato stuck somewhere in the morning got old fast.
Patrick Sinclair says
Rebecca, thank you for commenting. For me, the Botvac series offered mainly cosmetic improvements over the original Neato’s (depending on what version you had). I’d give a Roomba a try. I’d be curious to hear about your “before” and “after” experience with it.
I also had issues with the Neato getting caught up with wires and cords, but i still loved it and the main reason i am back here considering the Roomba now is because the sensor cleaning issue ended up causing me to return the Neato, it went blind after a month. Not sure if this was a rare occurrence, but sensitive sensors in a basement apartment is a big setback. If the vacuum is sensitive to dust then your asking for trouble, it cleaned everyday and i had to empty daily as i have a big lab that sheds a lot (one of the main reasons i bought this). Brushes will get stuck occasionally when running over something stringy but i have to say the suction was amazing and it cleaned my ceramic tiles wonderfully. So now after seeing the price differences i’m still wondering if i should shell out the extra cash on the Roomba, or are those sensors better on certain models.
Patrick Sinclair says
Sensor issues are common on some of the older models. What model Neato do you have that was having the issues?
With each iteration, both the Neato and Roomba improve their sensors, battery life, etc… The top line Neato’s tend to be less expensive than the Roomba’s (in general.
I’ve had the Roomba for 3 months now with no issues whatsoever. I’ve added an update review. Can understand why it’s hard to leave the Neato, the suction probably is better but have a feeling that the brushes are better with the Roomba, and just perhaps allows both to clean well. That little side brush thing on the Roomba does make a difference as well. If the Neato keeps handling cords the way it did I could never have one. I got my version the 780 because it specifically mentioned that it’s improvement was the cord issue. I was so sad to return the Neato and it took a couple of months, maybe three, to try a robot vacuum again. If anyone finds that the Neato fixes it’s issues with cords I would like to be the first to know. I like these things so much, yeah…I’d buy a second for a different floor.
I had the Neato Robotics XV Signature Robotic Vacuum, i purchased it just before x-mas and had to return it sometime early Jan.
Patrick Sinclair says
Soner, have you checked out the new Neato Botvac 80 (or 75, etc…)? I’m not saying that’s the solution, but I have not heard any complaints about their sensors. See my review here. It’s pretty new, so not a whole lot of track record to go off of. It’s understandable if you’d switch to Roomba. The 880 is outstanding, but it’s a steep price to pay.
I have heard no mention yet of how either of these units deal with area rugs. Do they jump upon fearlessly or shy away. We have terrible dog hair issues throughout the house of hardwood floors, thought there are wool area rugs in all the rooms. Any experience with this?
Patrick Sinclair says
Hi Robbi, Good question! For most area rugs there will not be a problem for either the Neato or Roomba. I’ve seen my Neato XV-21 sometimes struggle with area rugs that have long tendrils. On some of the older Roomba models, they also struggled with tendrils, but I’ve noticed an almost complete improvement with the 800 series. There is always the potential for “unique” area rugs – particularly with “tendrils” – to trip up either of these machines. At best, they may slow down as they detect he area rug and adapt to the new surface. In your situation, I wouldn’t worry about a standard wool rug. Either the Roomba or Neato should handle it well, especially the most recent models.
I had the Roomba and the Neato for a complicated area with hardwood floors and a low pile area rug; both didn’t skip a beat between surfaces, Neither are shy!
Writing again with an update.
Seems the topic of price has come up and realized I didn’t mention the model I had. I have the 780 Roomba.
Noticed that Roomba has come up with newer versions which will bring the cost of buying my version down.
How is it doing? Quite terrific I’m happy to report. It always picks up something and I clean the bin when I remember. It does my kitchen area as well and I am a messy cook and not only does it pick up small things but bigger things without missing a beat! It still doesn’t get caught up in cords, finds it’s way back to base 98 percent of the time and never needs to recharge during cleaning. (The Neato did).
I’ve had no problems with the brushes.
It took a lot for me to try another robot vacuum after buying the Neato and my strongest suggestion to anyone considering either product for the store’s return policy to be one of the best and save your receipt and box for awhile. I really loved how the Neato worked and was thinking of buying a robot vacuum as a housewarming gift. Even if personally I would give the Neato another chance, buying it for someone else I would have to be absolutely sure it was dependable. Have to go with the Roomba.
Three months in and absolutely no problems with the Roomba; works like it did day one.
Patrick Sinclair says
Thanks for the Update! The 780 is definitely one of their stronger models.
Jeanne Wong says
Great and extremely helpful information! I guess if I had the money, I’d go with the Roomba, but really can’t afford it. I am considering purchasing the Neato made specifically to pick up animal hair and dander. I’m not very clear about the differences in all the series, although I am guessing that the higher the price, the stronger the suction(?) and quality of vacuum??????????? We don’t wear shoes in the house and carpet isn’t high, so, basically I just need a vacuum that can pick up the animal hair. Again, great website.
Patrick Sinclair says
Hi Jeanne, Yes generally the more expensive the more advanced the system. BUT, some of the new features are not always worth the money. Sometimes you can find good VALUE for the money by going with one of the better older models. For example, if I had a limited budget, I would check out the Roomba 700 series or look into buying a refurbished model on Amazon. In short, the new features are nice but not always necessary depending on your needs.
Jeanne Wong says
Thank you. Good advice. I don’t need more features. I liked the fact that the Roomba is not as high as the Neato, which I don’t think would go under my couch. I didn’t know Amazon sold refurbished models, & I will check it out, esp. if it has Amazon guarantee. Thanks again!
John Moore says
Well, I can give you a year-long report on the Neato vacs…..
First of all the setting: Built in 2006, 2000 square foot ranch home. Kids grown and gone. Myself, my wife and 1 Black Lab/Golden Retriever (Flatcoat) are the only residents. Both my wife and I work out of the home and (since I own a business) the dog more often than not goes with me. Also the dog is professionally groomed once a month so while there’s some dog hair it’s not piles.
The machine was set to sweep the carpeting in the 22’x16′ living room and the 4’x25′ hallway daily at 10am while we were gone. Very rarely (once a month MAX) did we leave out master bedroom door open to allow it to clean there and even more rarely was it allowed to run on the tile kitchen and dining area. Dust bin is emptied almost always daily and the brush/bushings/sensors cleaned weekly.
May 2013 purchased XV14 with all the extras for pet hair.
1st machine lasted about a month and a half. During this time it would only make it back to the base 50% of the time (when it did work it did a very nice cleaning job) and then began loosing time on it’s clock (several hours a day) and we began to find it simply stopped in the middle of the room dead. Contacted Neato and went through diags…. end result was a replacement unit sent out.
2nd unit (a refurbished unit) was received around mid-July and operated well with only occasional “hangups” for about 2 months. We began to get a “vision blocked” fault displayed. We cleaned machine thoroughly (including the upper range finder lenses) but it began happening more frequently and was accompanied by a strange whirring noise. CS was again contacted and finally another unit was sent out.
3rd unit (another refurb) was received in November and immediately out of the box would not see the base nor charge. I finally found the power cord connection inside the base was not plugged in! I plugged it in and charged the unit. It worked for 2 days and then we found it sitting in front of the base (within 2 ft) dead. When placed against the base it wouldn’t charge. Wiggled and shook it around a bit (rubbing against the contacts) and it began charging. As this issue got worse we would find it backed up to the base as it normally would but not charging and dead. By the time CS was contacted again and another machine was sent out it was late DEC.
4th machine was received in December and we were surprised to find that it had been upgraded to a Signature Pro. Hoping the ills were solved we enjoyed nearly 4 months of WONDERFUL operation. Yes, there were the rare hangups but that’s expected. Then in April we found a “vision blocked” fault. We thoroughly cleaned and reset it and it worked for a couple of days then the same thing. It began to do it daily and even after resetting it many times it would fail immediately again. I contacted CS again and this time got MANY run-arounds, promises for call backs that never happened and finally rather than replace it again they simply said there’s nothing else they could do and would refund my purchase price and sent me a return shipping label.
As we speak the last unit is on it’s way back to California and I am awaiting the refund.
What would you do???? They tell you that the BotVac is essentially the same hardware/software in a larger case with a bigger dust bin and brush. I wonder if the Roomba would be a better choice???
Patrick Sinclair says
John, thank you for sharing your story! Hopefully others will find it helpful. I would definitely try out a Roomba after your disappointing experience with Neato. You are right that the new Botvacs are essentially more of a rebranding of the signature pro system. At this point I would try out a Roomba 700 series model. It’s a similar price point to the new Botvacs. The Roomba 880 is great, but it’s a steep price right now. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
I’ve had very similar experience with Neato. The replacement unit that they sent me only worked for a couple of months, then she couldn’t find her way back to the base, and then she died. After several months of grieving the loss of my two robotic vacuums (Neato 1 and Neato 2), I’m ready to get back in the market. BUT, even though I’ve read (and had own good experience) with Neato’s superior pet hair pickup, I’ve not received enough (or any) reassurance that Neato quality control has improved enough to invest in the new BotVac. Roomba here I come.
I’ve written here before and want to say very few people actually have tried both Neatos and
Roombas; obviously both John and I have. I want to buy a few for christmas gifts for close family members and even though I thought the Neato seemed stronger the Roomba was by far the more durable. I have the 780 Roomba and it doesn’t get caught up in cords, finds it’s way home and is working for the greater part of the year now. I had the Neato for a couple of weeks, it was my first try at robotic vacuums. I hated to have to return it; I had such hopes of an easier cleaning life. It was so unreliable I am surprised that I actually went for the Roomba. My strongest advice? Whatever anyone buys, buy from a store with the easiest return policy. Not sure if I am allowed to say a store but Costco accepted the return no questions asked. Bed and Bath says it has a good return policy, haven’t tried them but….if you sign up for their newsletter you will get 20 percent off a one time purchase on a single item. I used that to buy my Roomba. I was so freaked out by the Neato not working, I kept the box for my Roomba for awhile in case it broke down. It hasn’t. It works great and has a longer lasting battery life. Roomba is more of a trial and error mapping thing, it eventually gets to the kitchen. Neato was more methodical but who cares if it won’t dock or continually gets stuck on cords and on furniture. Plus the Roomba is just a tad shorter and that does make a difference for my furniture. It doesn’t get stuck.
Patrick Sinclair says
Thanks for the opinion, Mickey. I think the Neato has a lot of promise but isn’t quite ready for prime time. I know there are a lot of people who swear by their Neato and have nothing good to say about Roomba, but I still think Roomba is the “safer” purchase for the reasons you stated. I like Amazon as well because they have the A-Z guarantee. Sometimes the iRobot store also has some great promotions. I’m counting on some good Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals this year…
I am now on my second Roomba. My first, a 530 lasted for just over 4 years, just requiring a couple of new batteries in that time and the odd brush. It eventually was retired as the brushed would stop spinning. I could probably have had it repaired but I thought it best to retire it.
That was replaced with the 760 and I could not be happier. It always finds its way back and does an excellent job. As a previous commentator stated, it really is a leave and forget machine. Yes it does wander around randomly and bump into things but it gets under all the furniture and has never got stuck or tangled. Maintainance is low and you really notice the improvements on the later models. Brushes now come with shields to stop fluff and dirt getting to the bearings. The dustbin is bigger and easier to empty. Gone is the weird filter from the 530 to be replaced with two sturdy HEPA clip in filters. I have had this one just over a year and all I have had to buy is new filters. Battery is still going strong and brushes are in perfect condition. I should add we only have tiled floors but it does have to cope with a cat.
The scheduling function is great and very easy to use. The remote I have hardly used and I cannot see much use, except from time to time annoy the aforementioned cat.
I have no experience of the Neato but was curious to see what the competition is like. From what I see the Roomba is still no. 1 and highly recommend it.
Patrick Sinclair says
Thanks for sharing! I think your assessment is fair enough. Obviously there is tons of disagreement and rabid fans on both sides, but I think there is a strong case to be made for the Roomba 800 series at least being a half-step ahead of the new Neato Botvac’s. I’m most excited to see what Dyson has up their sleeves with their recent announcement of a robot vacuum in development… I’ll be monitoring that closely here…
I had the Neato for the last 2 years and finally got too frustrated with it. So, just got the Roomba pet series model from Costco to try something new. Time will tell if any better.
With the Neato, it did a good job when it worked, but it broke down many times. First time it broke within a few months, and had to get entire new unit from Neato. But then after 1.5 years, the batteries failed and now out of warranty. I figured maybe this was just the life of the batteries. I had two new battery packs made at BatteryPlus which were stock to the originals. Unit ran for another 2 months, and then it burned those batteries out. So I think the charging unit had some issues in the whole battery problem. Finally just returned to Costco and I am starting over with the Roomba
Other things I noticed with the Neato is that it had a higher height than the Roomba so it would get stuck under more furniture. Second, it had a harder time navigating under chairs. Not seeing the same issue with the Roomba on the same chairs or coffee table.
I liked how Neato would work an entire room before moving on compared to the random action of the Roomba. But my Roomba unit came with the electronic sensor that you can place on the ground to keep it contained to a certain area. I have also not tried spot clean mode yet.
I was thinking about buying the Neato but was wondering which one was best for cleaning pet hair?
Patrick Sinclair says
Thanks for commenting! I actually recommend most Roomba’s over the Neato if you are specifically looking for something that will effectively pick up pet hair and dander. Even some of the 700 or even 600 series Roomba’s do a better job of picking up pet hair than the latest Neato’s. Because of the way the brushes work, my Roomba’s always seem to do a better job with hair. If the Roomba is a bit too expensive and you are set on a Neato, I would go with at least the XV-21 or Signature Pro (nothing earlier). Hope this helps!
I’ve had a Neato XV-11 for a few years. It runs daily, automatically charging twice during three forays out into my house. The rubber beater blades are essentially uncloggable with the dog hair and long human hair it encounters. I empty it’s collection bin daily, and the bin is about 75% full each time (lots of dog hair). I’ve never owned a bounce-around type of vacuum like a Roomba, but figured I’d chime in with my high impression of the Neato. I doubt a Roomba would be able to clean the multiple rooms the Neato reaches each day. I’ve got a very good upright vacuum, and have used it to test how well the Neato is actually cleaning. I’m quite happy with the Neato.
Patrick Sinclair says
Thanks for sharing Steve! No doubt, there are a lot of happy Neato owners out there. I’m fairly confident 90% of folks would be happy with either.
I had a neato xv signature. Had problems with the battery life. If it vacuumed my short pile carpet it would drain quickly. I returned it to best buy and upgraded to the neato botvac 80. I am amazed at the improvement in the battery life. My botvac 80 is vacuuming my living room, kitchen, bathrooms, office with carpet, bedroom with carpet on the first charge! It is also quieter. The bin is bigger and has been full. I just got this vacuum 2 weeks ago. I also like the boundary markers. I had considered a roomba, but the thought of having to have lighthouse towers to either keep a roomba out or help it go to another room seemsed like a lot of trouble. Not set and forget. My botvac 80 has gone over cords and not got stuck on any of them. I also love how it goes under dressers and comes back out. It also finds its way back to the home base when full. If the roomba’s weren’t so expensive I would buy one to test it out. I think it would be more fun to watch. But the neato cleans so good. I hope it will last.
I want to make an update. In my last post, I had bought the neato botvac 80 and was so impressesd with how much dirt it picked up and how much longer the battery lasted compared to the neato xv signature I had before. Unfortunately, at 30 days, I heard a cry for help in the bedroom and my neato was stuck against the fake ficus tree. I moved it and it started banging against the wall repeatedly. I picked it up and moved it and it was erratic. It took it back to the charger and it placed it on the charger and it gave a message that said my battery is low, please charge me. I’ve been through this song and dance before. This is my 3rd Neato in less than 2 years. When they work they are awesome! They just have real quality control issues. I will also say that I tried to register my new botvac 80 and I had forgotten my password. I tried to reset it. The site kept telling me it had sent me an email to reset my password, it never did. I tried this over and over. Finally I called neato customer service. I waited on hold for 40 minutes to talk to someone. All I wanted to to was register my botvac. When I did get a person, she said I had to do that online. I did not let her hang up. Told her I had already tried that. She put me on hold and finally came back and said she had sent a message to some corporate people or something and she would get back to me personally. Never happended. With the bad customer service and website not working, plus defective unit again. I boxed up the Neato and took it back to best buy (their extended warranty is awesome!). I told them I wanted to try a Roomba. I got the Roomba 870. So far I like it. It does not bang into furniture hard, it slows down before, my floors look really clean, well, the hardwood and tile floors do. It goes over my carpet but when it is finished, there is not near as much in the bin as the neato would have. The Neato just really picks up more dirt, at least on the carpet. If the Neato was more reliable I would stick with it. But I do like the Roomba 870. I like that it has the rubber extractors instead of the brushes.
Patrick Sinclair says
Thanks for sharing your experience, Charles. As a much larger publicly traded company, iRobot definitely has more resources for QA and testing.
I agree with your review and personally I would take the Neato over the Roomba in a second
“IF” it performed as a capable robotic. It doesn’t.
Weird how we get attached to our robot vacuums. I feel like a traitor having a Roomba. Hopefully the Roomba 870 will be a durable Robot and give me many years of service.
Just getting ready to purchase a robot vac. Reading all the opinions does make it confusing . Currently between Neato xv21 & Roomba 530. Any last suggestions, or do I cross my fingers and go ?
Patrick Sinclair says
Paul, if you’ve narrowed it down to those two it looks like you targeted a certain price range. I generally prefer the new Roombas over the new Neato Botvacs, but in this case the XV-21 is a bit ahead of the 500 series Roombas in terms of features. It’s really a coin toss. Roombas are generally more reliable and have a better market for replacement parts and accessories, if that’s a concern.
Has the newer roombas improved? I had at one time a 560 and had to shelve that thing because it would turn around by sensors and run into furniture with full force causing scratches on some antique furniture I had in my living room. This was just not acceptable to me at the time.
Patrick Sinclair says
Absolutely! I’d say the difference is night and day. The 800 series in particular is much more consistent, effective and durable than the old 500 series.
Which is better for hardwood floors?
Patrick Sinclair says
Shea, You really can’t go wrong with either. Sometimes it varies with carpeting, but both main offerings from Neato and Roomba are excellent on hard floors. If you primarily have hardwood flooring and are trying to decide between the two, I’d go with the best price right now. They are both having deals this time of year, it’s just about finding the right one at the right time. I’m assuming you just need the vacuum feature and not mopping (see the Scooba and Braava for that).
Just looking for comments from the pet owners on one particularly unpleasant aspect. We’re very keen to try either a Neato or a Roomba but our cats (3) have an annoying habit of vomiting in the middle of the dining room (for example). This happens perhaps once every month to 2 months by one of the cats (they eat, then they tear around the house playing on a full stomach and BLAT). How do these units deal with nasty encounters such as this? Will we be faced with checking the vac on a daily basis to see if it has vacuumed up vomit? This could be a deal breaker for me.
Patrick Sinclair says
A lot would depend on the “dimensions of the vomit” (wow, never thought I’d say that…). In short, if the Roomba or Neato can detect as an obstacle that it will avoid it. Having had a few cats over the years, I think both machines would probably just vacuum it up.
But, I’ll defer to the audience on this one. Anyone out there have experience with this?
It will ‘pick it up’. And if sufficient volume, it ‘will’ mess up the wheels/gears and (worst case) mess up the electronics.
Had that happen with urine. Decontaminated the entire vac (Roomba 780), but it back together with new wheel assemblies, and now some kind of electronic ‘issue’.
I see another purchase on the horizon rather than what I expect to be steep fees for servicing and repair.
When I first got my Roomba, I only ran it when I was home, mostly out of sheer curiosity, but also because I knew I would have to empty it more than once while my carpets were being “conditioned”. I read this in the manual. I fully intended to begin programming it for when I was not at home. This has never happened and I now see no need for it. I just turn it on every day when I walk by it and let it do its’ job. It is neither too noisy or intrusive, I just get out of the way. This may well work for you as well. Do a visual to ensure your cats have not barfed anywhere . . . then do your vacuuming. Don’t get too hung up on the idea of the programming. Hope this helps.
Patrick Sinclair says
Love the review and all comments. I am first time buyer and would like to have your advices on what robot to buy. We have apartment as big as 100m2, all hard tile floor, we need a robotic vacuum that can clean the whole area in one go. Actually we would like to buy a floor scrubber from Irobot but it can only mop a 300sqf (=27sqm) area in one charge (4 hrs???) and that turns me off. Any advice on what wet mop robot meets our need or if there is none available, what brand and model of robotic vacuum cleaner should we go for. Budget is not a big problem for us, we would like something that really works to keep our place clean, long battery life is a bonus but it must work well first. Thanks to all.
Patrick Sinclair says
Thanks for the comments. This is a very common problem. iRobot’s solution is for you to buy a Roomba and either the Scooba or Braava. The Braava’s are more lightweight and not a full mop replacement, but they can do the job nicely. I would recommend investing in a Roomba as a standard vacuum replacement, first. Even though you have hard tile, you’ll still need something like a Roomba to vacuum up the larger debris and get the area coverage your are looking for. I think your key decision point is probably whether or not a Scooba or Braava is a better fit for your needs as a 2nd robot. A Braava is far less expensive and is good for maintenance cleaning, but if you need a full wet mop that disinfects fully, etc… the Scooba is the best in class floor mopping robot. Other brands do have “2 in 1” solutions, but what usually ends up happening is that one or both features are inadequate.
Sorry forget to add that we have no pet at all, there are only 3 short-haired adults in the house, only dust come from outside. Tks.
Thanks for your advice. I’m just curious if anyone has tested and compared the bots vs. standard vac. cleaners. We have a Hitachi SVH20V which has been working well for the last few years. If there is any comparison or review between these two kinds of vac. cleaners, appreciate any links… Tks again.
Patrick Sinclair says
That’s a good point and something I haven’t delved into, yet. You have given me some inspiration for a future series, however. Most of our audience is people who have already decided that robots are the future, but I think there is room for some quality comparisons for those folks are on still on the fence. I’ll do some research and start working on some traditional vacuum vs. robot vacuum articles! I’ll do my best to hide my bias…. Excellent point!
First time robot vac owner- Received my refurbished Neato XV-RSHP and have run it for whole house vacuuming and several ‘spot cleanings’ that appeared to me as having amazing results. After reading all the reviews I will watch with great interest how my Neato lives up to it’s reputation.
Patrick Sinclair says
Welcome to the robot owning family! Keep us posted with your results/experience.
Patrick Sinclair says
Hey Helene, thanks for commenting. Glad I could help!
Regarding the new Roomba 980, I’ve done a full review of it here, but this is just MY opinion/experience. Also curious to see what readers think.
Hi, I have had my Neato XV-21 for 3 1/2 years and it is still going strong. I love that it can clean my whole house (1100 square feet) in around 45 minutes to one hour. I run it almost every day, as it is important to me to have my floors very clean.
I did have to replace the batteries one time when I began to get a “battery low” issue, but batteries run out of juice and this is to be expected at some point. Customer service went through troubleshooting steps with me and determined that was the problem, so I ordered the green “genuine” Neato brand ones from aimtofind, a website Neato recommends. The replacement batteries did the trick.
I have pets and I also have long hair, and therefore I take some preventive steps to keep the Neato from having navigational errors. I almost always clean the brush after each vacuuming has completed. I have never had any trouble with the sensors, but I do give them a quick wipe. I also remove the single brass ball bearing and orange plastic end cap from each end of the brush and make sure to remove any hair that may have gotten wound up in there or around the steel tips on the ends of the brush.
My Neato wants to climb a large cat tree, but I prevent it from doing so by wrapping a magnetic strip around it. I have smaller cat trees that it will climb for a few seconds and then move off of. A beam of sunlight shining creating a “glare” effect on the floor can also cause any Neato to act up; not all sunlight, just if there is a “glare,” especially when a shiny floor is in the sun; closing the blinds solves that problem. Cords can occasionally be a challenge for the Neato, but I simply block access to under my computer desk. I don’t mind doing this since the Neato is finished cleaning within 45-60 minutes.
If for any reason I have not vacuumed in several days, the Neato may not clean the house in one sitting. It may vacuum, return to base, recharge and then complete, but usually on the second run it has only missed a very small spot in the entire house cleaning, and since I have learned this, often when it returns to base I just stop the cleaning cycle as there is no need to tax the battery to have it return to clean one small spot. Also if you want to get the most out of your battery life, let the bin fill up at least halfway full and run it like that; you’ll get longer runs from your Neato before it needs to return to its base.
* Fast clean! Not vacuuming for hours and hours. Does my home in 45 minutes to one hour (depends on how dirty your floors are but if you regularly use your Neato you will have less and less build-up as time goes on)
* Price! Much lower than the Roomba
* Loud, like any regular vacuum.
* I would like to see a corner/edge brush attachment as it does not clean edges as well as I would like. I get around this by occasionally sweeping against the edges with a broom and then the Neato picks up whatever it may have missed.
* I recommend, in order to keep the Neato in tip top navigational shape, to clean the brush, wheels, and anywhere clumps or strands of hair could be after every vacuuming. If your Neato starts behaving “erratically,” it is likely due to hair that has not been removed; at least, this has been the case with me almost every time there has been an issue. If, for example, a hair is wound around something and preventing it from turning freely, that could create a navigational issue, but it is simply remedied by keeping the vacuum clean.
Overall, I really love my XV-21 and am very pleased to have it. I have never tried a Roomba, but the idea of something taking HOURS to clean my house and doing it in a haphazard manner — and I am not sure whether it would remove as much dirt as the Neato does — I am not sure. I like the idea that the Roomba is quieter but I don’t want to spend more on an automatic vacuum and I am very happy with my Neato.
I will add that I am generally home when I run the Neato. I know the few places it has been known to have “trouble” so I either block access to those places or put an object there so it will avoid the spot. It has not been difficult. Also if you have pets, make sure to remove their water bowls from the floor! Neatos and water do not mix.
Five stars for my Neato.
Brand new Neato D80 ( Costco $399 last PM). Did a pretty good job of vacuuming. This is my first Robo Vac. Some interesting observations.
1) Got stuck multiple times at the edges of fringed oriental carpets. This happened with small and big fringed edge consistently. The message requires cleaning brushes. Very small amount of caught thread causes the unit to stop and raise the alarm. Couple of times, the unit had no fiber caught, it still kept on alarming.
2) Had difficulty negotiating the dividing wood strip between the tiled and the regular carpeted areas. Multiple times it would try going over and around, it was unsuccessful. The unit gave up and kept on vacuuming the previously vacuumed area repeatedly. It has mechanism to lift and go over. This was easy to see when a small ( 4 ft x 3 ft) thick synthetic doormat was in the way. This was negotiated without much difficulty. I suspect the thinner, hardwood strip may be interpreted as an,” obstacle”.
3) The vacuuming ability appears to be far superior than the regular central vacuum. The house was professionally vacuumed and cleaned less than 1 week ago. The waste container on this unit picked up significant amount of lint, dirt, food particles, and few other things. I had to empty the waste container twice in less than 1220 SF area ( mix of tiles, carpet, and oriental carpets).
4) I would like to read about consumers using Roomba, and it’s ability to negotiate tiled and carpet area transition. Roomba and any issues dealing with the oriental carpet fringe?
I bought a Neato from Costco too! I was thrilled that their return policy was fantastic. The problem I had was it got caught up in cords and couldn’t find it’s way home. Took me about four months later and I bought a Roomba 780. It is a bit shorter and has no problems with cords and I imagine fringes. It acts like a drunken sailor and seems to have no rhyme or reason but it covers the entire area it needs to. Currently I’m bringing it in to be fixed but it lasted years working very hard. I am very much considering buying another one; let’s see how the place I’m bringing it to fixes my old one. Having this chore done automatically does make a great difference. Roomba over the seemingly higher tech Neato any day.
Hi, thanks for the thorough review.
I’d appreciate your advice on which would you recommend with pets.
We have a dog with quite long hair, and it’s all over the place. So we’re about to buy one of these robotic cleaners. Can you advise on this as well?
Patrick Sinclair says
Sari – I’d recommend newer models. It WILL take some trial and error as each pet hair potentially has different effects. However, I’d go with a Roomba 800 series that come with the tangle free extractors (860, 870, 880, 980) or later or a Botvac “D” series or later (D80, D75, D85 or Botvac Connected). Each generation becomes marginally better at handling a wider variety of debris, including pet hair.
Cathy Eichelbelberger says
I am in love with my Neato D80 Botvac.
john sites says
Go to Amazon and read all the one star reviews on NEATO. There is a very well documented problem with early capacitor failures on the mother board (fix, if you’re up to it, is to tear down the machine, de-solder, remove, and replace the C10 capacitor…and the other 6 capacitors as well.)
In my opinion it is shameful that NEATO does not offer a replacement motherboard program for this known problem. This company does not deserve your money…… the lemon rate is unacceptably high, amazes me that they can remain in business.
Neato sig pro xv dead at 4 months…..continuously throws error message 3000 related to laser vision problem…troubleshooting tips don’t remedy….online help unresponsive, I’m screwed as Amazon won’t allow returns….was fun while it lasted, but am now very displeased!
Patrick Sinclair says
Scott – That’s too bad! The XV series is now a bit dated relative to the new bots from both companies. I’d give Roomba a try.
I am wondering which one is better for cleaning a large area with multiple rooms? does either have a function that docks and resumes when battery is low if they are unable to vacuum the entire area?
Patrick Sinclair says
Yes, the later versions of both Neato and Roomba have the option to “return to base” to charge. The Roomba 980 – for example – can even return to base, re-charge, and resume where it left off.
I gave owned both. The Roomba and the Neato did a great job. However, Roomba was very much more prone to constant error messages. The Roomba was more aesthetically pleasing to look at. Additionally, Roomba could be damaged much more easily. Overall, the Neato wins hands down.
Grant B says
What about hang-ups and other stoppages??
I had a high end Roomba a few years ago. It would get wedged UNDER things now and then and it would eventually give up and shut off. My new D85 seems to want to crawl OVER everything and gets hung up on furniture where it just revs itself to battery exhaustion. (something like this: http://s.ecrater.com/stores/54622/4d2675636a7ac_54622n.jpg) The large tires are alreadu showing wear from this! I’m not sure I can keep the thing if I can’t find a solution. I’ve tried multiple felt pads under the furniture to try and elevate but the Neato is way too aggressive.
Patrick Sinclair says
Grant – no easy solution unless you put the boundary markings (magnetic tape) around your low lying furniture. This is a common problem with certain furniture. You almost have to “robot proof” your house. Or you can try your luck with one of the newer robots. My hunch is that the new Roomba 980 or even Dyson 360 wouldn’t have this issue (although the Dyson wouldn’t be able to go under most furniture as it’s very tall).
Roomba is still shorter than the Neato and I had taken the Neato back because it had been less dependable by getting stuck a lot more. Currently my Roomba is not working and I’m bringing it somewhere that says it fixes Roombas. There is one sofa type chair that causes problems and I’ve thought of the magnetic tape. I am considering buying a new Roomba and hopefully keep my old one for a different floor, upstairs.
Update: I made the plunge.
As mentioned before my Roomba 780 wasn’t performing nearly as well as it did when I bought it, I was going to bring it in to a Robotics repair shop, got lazy and decided to open it up myself and give it a good clean. The front wheel was tied up, so to speak. (I would be interested to hear about experiences in Roomba repair; is it worth it for a 700 series?, understand it’s not for a 400 series)
It’s good enough for my second floor right now, not perfect but for a less complicated and small floor plan it’s workable.
Today I bought the 980!
I ran the 980 over the area that my 780 had struggled through getting stuck, finding it hard to make transitions and insofar having to be babysat a lot now that it is older.
My 980 does better than the 780 dealing with pedestal type furniture when it was new, just figures it out quicker. Considering the 980 went over the same area as my old 780 I was interested in how much extra dirt would be in the bin. Result, not a heck of a lot more- however fine particles were picked up; I’m sure this would be of importance to those with allergies. It’s not important to me.
Apples to apples comparing the 780 to the 980, both being new, in my experience, not a lot. I have a small condo that has three levels so I imagine battery life is more important to others. My 780 did have to recharge, but if I wasn’t home who cares; I like the scheduling element of all of them for this. I don’t really see the mapping element working all that better in the 980, although it is less enamored with my pedestal furniture. The aging Roomba 780 still does not get caught up in cords.
Earlier I mentioned that Bed, Bath and Beyond regularly sends out coupons for a 20% off of a single purchase; I bought my 780 that way. Seems that they are not offering that for recent specific items, the Roomba 800 and 900 series are currently exempt from the discount. Bed Bath and Beyond have earlier series for sale that are not included in the fine print. I inquired about this and they said that Roomba is pretty strict about discounts, I don’t know about this for sure, check it out, but I do know that it is uncanny how most big box stores quote the same price….exactly. If you are on the mailing list you will be offered this discount about four times a year.
That being said…
I was trying to find the best price and all were the same for the Roomba 980 except for one that was priced 100 dollars more. That big box store had a price match policy so I was able to get the price matched and a ten percent discount in store credit. Since it was a big ticket item I did sign up for their credit card. All said and done, 22 percent off of a product whose price seemed static. There seems to be no deals or sales on most recent versions anywhere so I felt it was worth the extra effort.
Those with deep carpets, and/or pockets, might disagree with me about the improvements of the 980. I have hardwood to low area carpeting in a complicated area with a kitchen island and stairs going to a lower level. When my 780 was new I could run it on a table and it would figure it all out. I have dark hardwood floors and although I am not sure if the last model is worth it for my needs, I can absolutely say that having a robotic vacuum is.
I suffered through not having a workable Roomba for about three months and every time I came home at the end of the day it was kind of depressing; it was like having a potato chip party every day in my place without having a party!
Why wasn’t I invited? Dark floors show everything, accuse me of not liking housework but sweeping every day is for people that find that sort of thing relaxing.
I would love to say that I was open to give the Neato another try but I was so disappointed with the machine originally, I just can’t do it. It just didn’t navigate a complicated floor plan and return to base and handled cords so badly that I had almost given up hope.
I would love to see the latest versions in a head to head test, not in an uncomplicated room but in a room with fringed rugs, different surfaces and cords.
Before one gets to the cleaning aspect I think one has to deal with the “set it and forget it” element, that is why people are choosing robotic vacuums. If the robotic aspect doesn’t work, why even look further?