robot vacuum cleaner

You may have noticed that consumer robotics has been getting a lot of attention lately. While futuristic robotic housekeepers are far from being a reality anytime soon, we have definitely made progress on that front with new products that push the boundaries of what's possible coming out every year. One such product is the Neato Botvac Connected robotic vacuum, and we gave it a thorough examination to determine whether it's a worthwhile investment.


What is the Botvac Connected?

The Botvac Connected is the one of Neato's top of the line robotic vacuum cleaners. Like other robotic vacuum cleaners you may have seen, the Neato Botvac Connected vacuums up dust, dirt, and other common allergens you might expect to find on your floors. Its low vertical profile makes it easy to get underneath furniture, and the Neato Botvac Connected works on carpets, tile, and hardwood flooring.


Product Specs  

The Neato Botvac Connected features proprietary LaserSmart technology that allows it to vacuum 5000 square feet per charging cycle. It also features a D-chassis design, letting it get closer to walls and corners than other, more common O-chassis models we're used to seeing. It features two vacuuming modes, Wi-Fi connectivity, and comes with a charging station and boundary markers to virtually "wall off" areas of your home, if desired.


Pricing

You can purchase the Neato Botvac Connected from the manufacturers website and other online retailers such as Amazon. You can find the Neato Botvac Connected for anywhere between $600 to $700 dollars, depending on the retailer.


How it Compares

We picked a few of other Neato robots on the market to see how the Connected compares to its siblings:

  • Neato Botvac D5 Connected Navigating Robot Vacuum
  • Neato Botvac D3 Wi-Fi Connected Laser Navigating Robot Vacuum
  • Neato Botvac D80 Robot Vacuum

Neato Botvac DC02 Connected Robotic Vacuum Wi Fi Enabled
  • Dual Mode Cleaning
  • Precide LaserSmart navigation
  • Ultimate Control from Your Phone

Features

The feature-packed, top of the line Botvac robot.


Price

This is the most expensive model we reviewed, costing anywhere from $600 to $700, a $100 to $200 price increase over the D5, the closest model in terms of features. Several additional features over the D5 help justify the higher price for the Connected, but this will be a major investment for just about anyone.

Ease of Use

We reserved 5 out of 5 stars especially for this model, as it is the only one in the "Connected" line of Botvac we reviewed that allows you to schedule when the robot starts cleaning. That function, along with Wi-Fi connectivity that allows for remote control of the robot, makes it the easiest to use of all the models on our list.

Assembly Time 

Like the D5 and others, the robot itself comes fully assembled. The additional set-up involves programming the cleaning schedule for the Connected, and that is fairly quick and painless.

Design Quality    

The Neato Botvac Connected is full of advanced features that make it stand out over its competitors. First, it features two distinct cleaning modes: Eco and Turbo. Eco is longer running but uses less energy and runs quieter. Turbo, like the name suggests, uses more energy to get through its work faster and run its vacuum on full power, sucking up as much as possible as fast as possible. Turbo mode is also much louder than Eco mode.

The other major design difference between the Connected and the other models in the "Connected" line--the D3 and the D5--is that the Connected features a digital control panel on top to control its settings, making it feel closer to the robots of our imaginations than the sleek but no-nonsense exterior of the D3 and D5.

Like the other "Connected" models, the Neato Botvac Connected has built-in Wi-Fi, letting you integrate the Botvac Connected into existing Smart Home systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. This allows you to activate it through the Neato smartphone app, whether or not you're home.

Warranty 

1-year limited warranty on the robot, a 6-month limited warranty on the battery. It's good to have, but it doesn't go above and beyond what is expected.

PROS

  • Programmable cleaning schedule
  • Two different operating modes
  • Control panel

CONS

  • Price. This is a major investment

Sale
Neato Botvac D5 Connected Laser Guided Robot Vacuum, Pet & Allergy,...
  • LaserSmart technology intelligently navigates and maps your home, cleaning in straight lines instead of a random...
  • D-shape design, large core brush, and side brush finds pet hair and debris where they hide - in corners and along walls.
  • The ultra performance filter captures up to 99% of tiny dust mites and allergens as small as 10 microns.

Features

The workhorse of the Neato Botvac lines of robots.


Price

The Neato Botvac D5 is one step down from the top-of-the-line Botvac Connected, but it will cost you about $100 less. It is the second most expensive model we looked at, but again, not by much. Prices range between $500 to $600, depending on the retailer.

Ease of Use 

The whole reason for the existence of the Neato Botvac series is to make our lives easier, and on this, the D5 succeeds. Like the Connected, it has built in Wi-Fi, so it will integrate into Smart Home technology and features one-touch activation.

Assembly Time 

The D5 comes assembled and takes minimal setup to get running.

Design Quality 

By opting for the D shape over the O shape that most robot vacuums use, the D5 can get closer to walls and inside corners where other robot vacuums can't. Like the Connected, the side brushes sweep along the baseboards, ensuring that it cleans out the tight spots. It is a well-built robot, and it does its job well. That said, it has fewer features than the Connected.

Warranty 

1-year limited warranty on the robot, a 6-month limited warranty on the battery.

PROS

  • Powerful and efficient vacuum
  • Easy to control through the app and Smart Home integration
  • Wide coverage area

CONS

  • Price. You will have to spend at least $500
  • Not as feature-rich as the Connected

Neato Botvac D3 White Connected Laser Guided Robot Vacuum, Works with...
  • LaserSmart technology intelligently navigates and maps your home, cleaning in straight lines instead of a random...
  • D-shape design and large core brush gets into corners round robots can't
  • Perfect for cleaning on any surface - hardwood, carpet or tile

Features

The entry-level model for the Botvac line.


Price

The Neato Botvac D3 brings the price down to be more in line with the average budget, though you will still pay between $350 to $400.

Ease of Use 

Like the Connected, you can activate the D3 remotely through the Neato app, or you can activate it by pushing a button on the top of the chassis. It's as simple to use as the D5, but like the D5, it lacks the ability to schedule cleaning. It also loses a point for having a smaller filter, which you will need to clean more often to keep the robot functioning well.

Assembly Time 

Same setup time as the D5, since it lacks the capacity to schedule cleanings.

Design Quality 

As a lower-end model, the D3 shares a lot of its design with the D5. The D-chassis still makes it possible to vacuum right up to a wall and inside corners, but it lacks the side brushes that come with the D5 and Connected models. This will inevitably lead to some missed dust and dirt along the edges of the baseboards which--while not defeating the purpose of the Botvac--means you will at some point have to go back over the area with a broom to collect anything the Botvac missed. This may be the least expensive model of Botvac, but it will still cost you hundreds of dollars, and for the money, you might feel like the D3 isn't pulling its weight if you have to clean up behind it.

In addition, the total area the D3 can cover on one charge is less than half that of the Connected, or 1800 square feet compared to 5000 square feet. The larger the space being cleaned, the further behind pace the D3 falls behind the Connected. At the Connected's maximum area of 5000 square feet, the D3 will take over 2.7 times as long to clean it, including recharge times between cycles. The more it has to operate on a larger area, the quicker its battery will suffer from the more frequent recharging, shortening its long-term battery life. Replacement batteries are available for purchase, but factor this additional cost into your decision making if considering the D3. If you have a small apartment where the square footage being covered is less than 1800 square feet, this might be a better option for you, since the Connected model will seem somewhat wasted on a smaller space.

Warranty 

1-year limited warranty on the robot, a 6-month limited warranty on the battery

PROS

  • Least expensive model of Botvac on the list
  • Not as feature-packed as the Connected
  • Perfect for smaller spaces

CONS

  • Lack of side brushes
  • Significantly smaller coverage area
  • Smaller filter means more frequent maintenance

Sale
Neato Botvac D80 Robot Vacuum for Pets and Allergies
  • Patented Neato technology - the laser smart mapping and navigation system scans and maps the room, plans, and...
  • D-Shape design with CornerClever technology gets close to walls and into corners offering maximum hair pickup. Picks up...
  • SpinFlow Power Clean technology combines potent suction and precision brushes to leave floors immaculately clean....

Features

An offline model packed with features.


Price

The second least expensive model reviewed, the D80 cost between $350 and $500, depending on the retailer. While the lack of Wi-Fi might be a disappointment for some, for others it will seem like a fair--or even a great--trade-off, considering what you get out of the D80 for this price.

Ease of Use 

The D80 does not have Wi-Fi capacity, so if you want to activate it, your phone will not be any help to you. This model has an LCD screen which allows you to program a cleaning schedule into the robot, so you won't need to activate it each time you want it to clean. The D80 is the only other model besides the Botvac Connected to have this feature and it is a favorite of ours. You must physically enter the schedule into the robot's programming using the panel, but once it's done, you can let it do its thing.

The D80 also has the same side brushes as the Connected and the D5, which means it is less likely to leave anything behind, which means less work for you. The high-performance filter means that it won't need as much cleaning as the D3 needed. The only other thing to note is that the D80 can cover about 3000 square feet on a charge, compared to the Connected's 5000 square feet.

Assembly Time 

The robot comes assembled, and the most time you'll likely spend setting up the robot is programming in its cleaning schedule into the onboard control panel.

Design Quality 

This is the only model of the Botvac we reviewed that looks noticeably different from the others. Where the D3, D5, and Connected models all feature black cases and dark gray accents, the Botvac D80 is downright colorful. The biggest selling point, however, is that Neato specifically designed this robot to capture more hair than the other models. If you have pets that shed a lot of hair, this model of Botvac will save you a lot of time and effort.

Warranty 

1-year limited warranty on the robot, a 6-month limited warranty on the battery

PROS

  • Can schedule cleaning cycles
  • A great value considering its features measured against its price
  • Only Botvac specifically designed to battle pet hair

CONS

  • No Wi-Fi,  so you must program everything on the robot itself
  • Less area covered on a charge than the Connected

Conclusion

Each of the models we reviewed had their positive features, but overall, unless you are living in a small space and have a real problem controlling pet hair, the Neato Botvac Connected is still your best bet.

Best Overall: Neato Botvac Connected

The Neato Botvac Connected has a robust panel of features that set it apart from other models we reviewed. For us, its only real competition was from the D5 and the D80. Ultimately, the D5 is not inexpensive enough to justify the reduced features, particularly the ability to schedule cleaning cycles. The D80, while having an advantage on price and the ability to schedule cleaning cycles, does not have Wi-Fi support, so there is no way to control it without physically handling the robot itself.


The superb design of the Neato Botvac Connected delivers excellent, consistent results, its connectivity allows you to access it from anywhere, and the price point for the Neato Botvac Connected is an exceptional value.


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