In 2010, Neato launched its first robot vacuum, the XV series. The device came with no side brushes, like their primary competition, Roomba. The XV robots were very efficient in regards to the amount of time it took to clean an area of a room, but with no side brush, cleaning tight corners and edges resulted in subpar cleanings.
Things changed in 2014 when Neato unveiled its line of Botvac robot vacuums. The Botvacs were more than a facelift to the XV series. They were a complete makeover. Neato added side brushes to its robot, something many devoted users had been requesting for a while.
Props to Neato for taking the time to listen to what their customers want, and then adding it to their devices. There are additional upgrades to the Botvac line that the average user may not be aware of. One thing consumers will notice is that all Botvac series robot vacuums have the same dimensions and the same motor under the hood.
The difference in these devices lies in the accessories that accompany each. So let’s take a look at the best Botvac models, and how they compare with one another. Then you’ll have a better idea of which one is the right fit for you.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Navigation
- 2 Brush Roll
- 3 No Lighthouse
- 4 Botvac 75 and Botvac 85
- 5 D80
- 6 D3 and D5
- 7 Botvac Connected
- 8 BotVac D7
- 9 Comparison Chart
- 10 Conclusion
Every single Botvac robot vacuum comes with a proprietary navigation system referred to by Neato as S.L.A.M., which stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. Interestingly, this is the same software that Google’s self-driving vehicles use, but of course on a much smaller scale.
The Botvac robots use an onboard computer for creating a map and then using the map to determine where it is. Using the technology, the Botvac devices create a map of the interior in your home, which it uses to provide a thorough clean.
Neato was one of the first robot vacuum players to use the S.L.A.M. algorithm and technology and is still only one of few that uses the laser-guided system. Companies like iRobot and Dyson use a camera-based mapping system to determine the location in an area that is being cleaned.
The problem with navigating via a camera system is that the device has to rely on light. As a result, when you turn the light, the robot vacuum may not be able to see where it’s going, or what it’s doing. A laser-guided robot has no such problems, as it can navigate in the darkest conditions since it doesn’t rely on light.
The internal mapped saved to the onboard computer lets the Neato Botvacs perform a cleaning no matter what time of day. So if you want to start a cycle at night with all the lights turned out, you can do so.
An upgrade to take notice of is the motorized brush that reaches out toward the edge on the side of the robot on which it resides. The placement of its brush roll is perhaps one of the most significant advantages that the Botvac robot vacuums have over their competitors.
As opposed to placing the brush rolls between the wheels of the robot vacuum, Neato chose to attach it more toward the front of the device. This is an area where more room is available to attach a brush that is wider than you typically find on robot vacuums.
Combined with its well-known “D” shape, the wider brush roll provides a distinct edge cleaning advantage over other robot vacuums. The length of the wider brush roll is nearly 11 inches, which is almost as wide as some upright vacuums.
Thanks to their wider brush roll, Botvac robot vacuums create a wider swath as they clean, which means a more efficient clean, and a larger area covered with a single pass.
One complaint that many users still have with Neato Botvac’s is the lack of a virtual lighthouse to sit atop the devices. The lighthouse feature gives devices the ability to set boundaries and limits without the use of boundary markers. Boundary markers are strips of magnetic tape which are placed on the ground to prevent a robot vacuum from entering a specific area.
To block additional areas in your home, you’ll need to purchase more markers, which of course adds to the overall costs of the robot vacuum. Making matters worse is the fact that the boundary markers don’t work very well on the carpet, so if you have a lot of carpet in your home, you may encounter some problems.
Botvac 75 and Botvac 85
First off the line for Neato were the Botvac 75 and 85 robot vacuums. Neato’s website sells only these two versions of the Botvacs; however, if you take a look at Amazon, they offer additional models like the 70e, 75, 80, and 85. Keep in mind, that these are only variants of the same products. The primary differences are which accessories come with which robot vacuum.
The Botvac 75 robot vacuum is an excellent device for those that have a lot of carpet in their home since its only accessory is it blade brush. It also comes with a pair of high-performance filters which holds dirt within the bin. Unfortunately, the filters are not HEPA filters.
Its partner, the Botvac 85, also focuses heavily on homes with carpet floors and pets, since it contains three high-performance filters. You’ll also find that it comes with a brush combo that is specifically designed to clean up pet hair while it agitates the carpet.
Botvac’s D80 is mainly a cosmetic update from the company’s line of robot vacuums. However, instead of an all-white finish, these devices come in a two-tone of black and white. Additionally, Neato has added a redesigned its motorized brush that is great at picking up pet hair throughout the home. It does, however, having trouble picking up finer items like rice or sand.
Due to its Nickel Cadmium battery, the D80 is limited to a 60 minutes runtime, which isn’t very strong when compared to other robot vacuums. It doesn’t hold a charge very long, which means it has to return to its base to recharge often.
One area in which the D80 does have an advantage over other robot vacuums is its spiral brush combo. The spiral brush attachment works great for homes that have carpet as it is perfect for picking up pet hair.
D3 and D5
The D3, D5, and the Connected all have the same S.L.A.M. navigation technology mentioned previously. All have the same auto-charge feature which allows the robot vacuum to return to its dock when its battery is low, and once fully charged, will continue where it left off on its cleaning cycle.
The primary difference is that the D3 does not offer the 2x Spot Clean option that other BotVac robot vacuums offer. This feature instructs the robot vacuum to clean a specific spot in a particular area twice.
The D3 and D5 both make use of a lithium-ion battery. The D5, however, has a larger capacity battery than the D3. Comparing run times, the D5 runs about thirty minutes longer than the D3, 90 mins vs. 60 minutes.
The Neato BotVac D3 comes with what Neato refers to as its high-performance filter. Its D5 robot vacuum takes things up a notch with its ultra-performance filter. The difference between the two systems is that the D5 provides a superior clean and filtration system that helps relieve allergies and keeps fine dust and allergens trapped inside the dirt bin.
Neato mobile application
With the BotVac Connected, you’ll have a full list of features that includes the cleaning history, 2x spot cleaning, scheduling capabilities, and coverage map.
The D3 and D5 mobile application do not offer the cleaning history or the coverage map features. It does, however, keep the ability to schedule cleanings. Only the D5 has the 2x spot cleaning, whereas the D3 does not have that option in its app.
The D5 mobile app does have one feature that the Botvac Connected does not. Its Find Me feature helps you locate your robot if you can’t find it. With this feature, the robot vacuum will play a voice prompt and flash its lights to help you find it in the event it doesn’t return to its home base.
The overwhelming majority of users in the United States have a smartphone. As a result, many companies are looking for ways to integrate their product with all types of devices as a way to make their lives simpler and more manageable. You can control your thermostat with your smartphone. You can manage your lights with your smartphone. Why shouldn’t you have the ability to control your robot vacuum with your smartphone?
Connecting with wifi
The Neato Botvac line was not the first the first robot vacuum to integrate wifi into its devices, but they have now provided the capability for its users with its Botvac Connected. Some argue that the Botvac Connected is perhaps the best robot vacuum on the market today. This is not only due to how well it performs wirelessly, but also how well it performs when stacked up against other robot vacuums.
While newer models of the Botvac have wifi connectivity, there are a few additional features that have been updated with should be given consideration when talking about Neato’s robot vacuums.
Newer Botvac robot vacuums have done away with the nickel cadmium batteries that faded during use. They now use lithium-ion batteries, which provide a longer charge, better power, and they are less likely to drain as quickly. Additionally, lithium-ion batteries have a longer life cycle than their nickel-cadmium counterparts, which means you won’t need to replace it near as often.
The updated BotVac connected has multiple cleaning modes. Turbo mode increases suction on the robot vacuum, so you’ll get a more thorough clean. However, it uses additional power, so the cleaning cycle time drops down to an hour and a half.
Eco mode, on the other hand, extends the run time of the robot vacuum up to nearly two hours, but you won’t get a good thorough cleaning. The additional modes are nice to have though, so now you can decide what type of cycle you want your robot vacuum to run.
If you have an Amazon Alexa device in your home, the Neato BotVac Connected is compatible. Simply tell your Alexa device to start a cleaning, and your Botvac Connected will start on its cycle right away. It’s a nice feature to have if you’re hands are full, or you don’t have your smartphone with you.
If you don’t have an Alexa device, don’t worry, you can still use your smartphone to turn on or schedule a cleaning. Using wireless connectivity, you can have your Connect Botvac do any of the following things:
- View logs of the past two cleaning sessions
- Control the robot vacuum much like you would a remote control car
- Create a schedule up to seven times per week
- Review a summary of which rooms have or have not been cleaned
- Turn on the robot vacuum and start a cycle no matter where you are
Previously we mentioned the magnetic strips other Neato robot vacuums used to create boundaries and limitations within your home. All of that has changed with the D7. The BotVac D7 Connected is one of Neato’s most recent releases, and features several upgrades and features consumers will enjoy.
The vast majority of the upgrades on the D7 are in the mobile application. You now have access to “No-Go” areas, which create a virtual wall that restricts where the D7 can go. You’ll also notice a feature called My Floor Plan, which shows the layout of your home as though you were looking at it on a map.
Unfortunately, the Neato mobile application only has the ability to save one floor at a time, so there are some drawbacks to the My Floor Plan functionality. If you have a multi-level home, this might be frustrating, but at least the capability exists.
For the most part, those are the primary differences between the D7 and the other newer BotVac models. The same brush, battery, and motor are used in all of these robot vacuums, so really you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the extra money for the upgrades within the mobile app.
The D7 is also compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and IFTTT (If This Then That), so if the app upgrades aren’t enough to convince you to go with the D7, then perhaps functionality with a variety of smart assistants will be.
No more boundary markers
With the BotVac D7 you no longer have a use for the boundary markers required with earlier BotVac versions. The previously mentioned “No-Go” feature eliminates the need for those annoying magnetic strips.
You will, however, have to have the app to use this feature, which is only available on the D7 and Botvac Connected. The D3 and the D5 are cheaper options than the top of the line BotVac Connected and D7.
We’ve discussed the models of Neato’s BotVac robot vacuums, and how they differ from one another. Many have similar features and functions; however, they also have their differences as well. Now that we’ve looked at these robot vacuums a little closer let’s take a look at how they compare when lined up next to one another.
|BotVac||BotVac D80||BotVac D3||BotVac D5||BotVac Connected||BotVac D7|
|Virtual No-Go Lines||No||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Battery Type||Nickel Cadmium||Nickel Cadmium||Lithium Ion||High Capacity Lithium Ion||High Capacity Lithium Ion||High Capacity Lithium Ion|
|Run Time||60 mins||60 mins||60 mins||90 mins||Eco: 120 mins Turbo: 90 mins||Eco: 120 mins Turbo: 90 mins|
|Manual Remote Control||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|2x Spot Clean||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Filtration||High Performance||High Performance||Standard||Ultra Performance||Ultra Performance||Ultra Performance|
|Auto charge & resume||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
It’s hard to decide which Neato BotVac model is the best one since there are so many cool and exciting features available nowadays. The choice will primarily depend on your budget and preferences. Each BotVac has its own unique technology and filtration systems, so it’s tough to determine which one may be right for you.
If you have a larger house, you may want to consider the D7 or BotVac Connected. If you want a robot vacuum that obeys voice commands, consider the D3, D5, Connected, or D7. There are a wide variety of features and options available throughout the BotVac robot vacuum line. Which one is best for you?