When you think of robotic cleaners, the name “Roomba” probably comes to your mind. As it has been synonymous with robotic cleaners since the early 2000s when you could buy one at your local stores or by mail order catalog. And, like every trend, when a product becomes popular, more people make similar products.
Hoover, Dyson, and Samsung have recently started manufacturing robotic vacuum cleaners, and they are all big brands of vacuum cleaners or consumer electronics. However, the biggest middle name in the robotic world is Neato. Today, we will take a look at Roomba and Neato to try to decide which robotic vacuum cleaner is better or worse.
iRobot, an MIT company, started producing defense robots under a contract with DARPA. These first-generation robots could be equipped with a number of features, such as explosive removal kits, hazardous material sample collection kits, and acoustic analysis and triangulation kits for shooting detection.
These small machines saw enough action in both Iraq and Afghanistan to help military forces in all kinds of operations and were used in the World Trade Center cleaning campaign after the September 11 attacks. As if this were not enough, iRobot also worked with NASA, deploying robots in various space missions, such as Mars expeditions.
Opening to the consumer markets in 2002, iRobot first created the Roomba, Roomba Pro, and Roomba Elite Pro. It had a modest price of just under 200 euros, which made domestic robotics affordable for housewives of all classes.
The first models included high-efficiency particle vacuum cleaners and cleaning brushes, while the Pro and Elite Pro models included additional features such as side brushes and rubber brushes to increase cleaning power. All models included ladder detection and used a spiral cleaning pattern and a wall tracking algorithm to ensure maximum cleaning coverage.
iRobot would continue to produce improved disk-shaped models through the years until today, including floor cleaning robots and pool cleaning robots. The current generation of robotic vacuum cleaners, the 600-900 series, includes a deep cleaning system, state-of-the-art vacuum technology, and even Wi-Fi connections to allow manual control through mobile phone applications. The name of Roomba is now synonymous with the automation it aspires to.
Neato Robotics is a startup in California, which started producing robotic floor vacuum cleaners for consumer markets in 2010. The company’s concept began at Stanford’s annual Entrepreneur’s Challenge, with the goal of creating a more powerful robotic vacuum cleaner than the one in the market at that time.
More similar to a traditional vacuum cleaner than a Roomba, the Neato series of robotic vacuum cleaners offers a “D” shaped design, high power suction, and a laser-guided navigation system.
After the first generation of Neato vacuum cleaners, the latest models would add features to the already excellent technology. Enhanced filters can be found in the signature and pet series, side brush accessories can be found in some models, and Wi-Fi connectivity is the key feature in current BotVac Connected models. “Connected” models include support for Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Comparison Between Neato and Roomba by Categories
All the latest BotVacs Neato and Roomba (model numbers that start with 9) have designed a linear aspiration. The cheapest Roombas have random cleaning routes that result in longer cleaning times, but also good results. We leave it in a draw.
The Neato BotVacs have a stronger suction and gain in suction power.
The Neato BotVacs is almost as noisy as traditional vacuum cleaners, while the Roombas are significantly quieter. The Roombas win in this field.
Roombas with rubber rollers (models from 8xx or 9xx) are easy to maintain. Hair is rarely tangled in rollers, and when they do, it is an insignificant task to remove them. Roomba win in maintenance.
Approximately the Roomba costs 2/3 more and with similar characteristics, so Neato BotVacs wins at price.
Households with pets
Neato BotVacs picks up more hair, but its rotating brushes are an annoying problem to clean their hair. The same goes for the hair of people with long hair. It stays in a draw.
Homes with children
Newer Roombas (8xx and 9xx models) are slightly better at dealing with toys and other small objects on the ground due to their rubber rollers. Roombas win in homes with children.
All Neato BotVacs and newer Roombas (9xx models) are loaded and resumed.
Roombas with rubber rollers have better results in carpets. Neato BotVacs sometimes have trouble moving on carpets with deep hair. Roombas win on carpets.
Parquet with carpets
Both brands are able to make a smooth transition from the floor or the parquet to the carpets.
As you can see, a recurring theme is that Neato has equipped all its BotVacs with features that iRobot has reserved for its Roombas 800 and 900 series. Here is the final result:
The Neato BotVacs are the same or better in many categories. The only fatal flaw that prevents us from recommending this product is the task of cleaning the hair of your rotating brushes. If you don’t mind having to pull the hair that gets tangled in the vacuum brushes, Neato is the best option.
If you want easy maintenance and at the same time the best robotic vacuum cleaner in the world, get a Roomba 895.
Neato and Roomba: A Comparison Table
|Cleaning Pattern||Yes||No - 900 models only|
|Suction||Higher. Offers dual cleaning modes (turbo and eco) strong with maximum pickup and quieter and durable with energy-saving cleaning||Less. There is no vacuum bag and offer suction like a standard upright, which make it weaker as compared to Neato|
|Sound||Almost as strong as a vacuum cleaner||Less than a vertical vacuum|
|Maintenance||Need more efforts to clean the hair stuck in the rotating brushed||Well-known for its easy maintenance feature|
|Movement on Rugs / Carpet||Sometimes it has trouble moving on a thick carpet||Perform better than other vacuum cleaners due to rubber rollers and the sensors installed in it indicates the presence of black carpet and it won’t go near to that|
|Price range||Less expensive for similar functionality||More expensive for similar functionality|
|Pets||Collect more hair, but it is difficult to clean||It doesn't pick up so much hair, but it doesn't stuck in the rubber rollers.|
|Children||Standard rotating brushes are often not good in dealing with toys and small objects||Rubber rollers make it easy to deal with toys and small objects|
Comparison of specific models: Botvac D80/85 vs Roomba 895
Neato Botvac D85
Quick note: the D80 and D85 are the same vacuum robot, but the D85 comes with additional filters. That is the only difference!
The robotic series of the Neato D80/85 is specifically aimed at owners of pets (cats, dogs, etc.). Its “D” shape makes it reach more corners than other vacuum cleaners in its line. It has an attractive black and white finish, with a cold blue brand cover, and an LED indicator panel.
Unlike the Botvac Connected series, it includes a combination brush perfect for picking up pet hair, a high-performance air filter, and a high-power suction motor, with more than enough power to get all those hair.
As with Neato’s entire line of robotic vacuum cleaners, the D80/85 series is equipped with laser navigation, which uses LIDAR to map your home and determine an efficient cleaning path.
Each Neato includes a charge and resume feature, ensuring careful cleaning of your home, even if the battery ends up in the middle of cleaning. And when we say it thoroughly, we mean it. The D80/85 series includes a side brush to ensure that its skirting boards and corners are also very clean.
Positive Features of the Neato D80/85
- We love laser navigation and cleaning pattern. Neato’s line of robotic vacuum cleaners leaves lines on your carpet like a traditional vacuum cleaner. You can see where it has been, and it reaches everywhere!
- The high power suction motor is impressive.
- The “D” shape of the vacuum cleaner manages to reach all hard-to-reach areas. By producing Neato’s vacuum cleaners with this shape, Neato can include a wider brush that approaches your skirting boards. In addition, the D80/85 series has an angular brush to shake dust and dirt out of the corners and put them into the suction path.
Negative Characteristics of the Neato D80/85
- Pet hair gets tangled in brushes. Using a brush system, long hair and cable or shoelaces can wrap around the brush and cause a jam. The most frequent maintenance with a Neato D80/85 is required.
- The LIDAR navigation system can be a bit picky. If your sofa is as tall, or a little higher than the height of your Neato, the robot may get stuck. Or even worse try to climb over the recliner structure for minutes at a time. However, this can be easily relieved by placing the bounding bands included under your sofa.
- Because the D80/85 uses a brush system, the deep carpet produces more friction, and the Neato uses more energy to cross the surface. Sometimes, when the brush does not move like at the beginning or during navigation to a different section of your floor, the Neato will have trouble turning the brush and will give you a “Stuck Brush” error.
iRobot Roomba 895
With the Aeroforce 3 cleaning system, Roomba 895 removes brushes and replaces them with rubber extractors. These extractors literally turn dirt into a paste, and they do a good job picking up larger hairballs or lint. And normal to do so well, since the Roomba 895 comes with a 500% increase in suction energy compared to previous Roomba vacuum cleaners.
While the Roomba 895 does not include the charge and resume feature, it does include the headlights to allow the robot to clean the rooms in your home that may be out of reach of the base’s charging station. And the 895 offers a high capacity battery, with an operating time of about two hours, to ensure that the Roomba can get a thorough cleaning of your house.
Positive Features of Roomba 895
- The Aeroforce 3 cleaning system is excellent. With no brushes in Roomba 895, it handles the carpet with deep hair very well. And it also handles the long hair of pets very well. Without bristles means that the hair will usually not get stuck in the rollers and on the rare occasions they do, removing the hair is as easy as taking out the rollers and picking up the hair. In fact, the extraction steps do a good job turning pet hair into dust. And because there is no friction added to the brushes, the battery life is still high, allowing the Roomba 895 to cover a large area.
- The Roomba speaks! If an extractor or the side brush gets stuck, the Roomba tells you. While in Neato, you should read the message on the LED screen, the Roomba 895 has a robotic voice that tells you that something is wrong.
Negative Characteristics of Roomba 895
- The most expensive model in the “premium” range. Roomba was the first major manufacturer of vacuum robots and had been producing robots for the government for some years before offering consumer products. They have a great name, and you have to pay for it.
- It has a random floor cleaning pattern. The line of Roomba vacuum cleaners benefits from the programmed feature, because, unless you are cleaning your home on a daily basis, you will not get all areas of your home to be spotless. Sometimes, there are hairballs on one side of the room and acoustic dirt sensors do not seem to find them. The Roombas of the 900 series have advanced guidance systems and vacuum the ground linearly as a human would.
Key similarities between both models
- The Neato D80/85 and the Roomba are excellent at collecting pet hair. Although they achieve this through different methods, both models are excellent for those with pets.
- Neato and Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners cover the same area in a cleaning program. Both will clean approximately the size of a one-bedroom apartment.
- Both robots work very well in parquet, tiles, and carpet of short hair. If these are what your floors are made of, either of the two models will work well for you.
Key differences between both models
- The Roomba 895 works a little better on deep-haired carpets. The use of an extractor tread system instead of a brush consumes less energy, so the battery holds the charge longer.
- Neato D80/85 vacuum cleaners have a more powerful suction motor and collect more dirt and trash.
- The cleaning patterns. The Roomba 895 is completely random and will require more than one cleaning cycle to completely clean a home, while the Neato uses a linear pattern, twice the coverage that achieves everything.
- Neato’s line of robotic vacuum cleaners offers a characteristic of charging and resumption, while only the Roombas of the upper range does.
- The price. Neato costs less. When you compare the features, it seems as if you are paying the name instead of the product when you buy a Roomba.
Get the Roomba 895 for a “hands-free” and easy maintenance experience. Get the Neato D80 or D85 if you like to take more care of clean floors and don’t mind taking the time to remove hair from rotating brushes (or you don’t have pets/long hair!)
With all this information, how can I decide which brand is right for me? The most important thing you need to look at is what features are the most important for your home:
If you have multiple surfaces, including carpets, either brand will be fine. If you have carpet with deep hair or long hair, Neato models provide better cleaning but require more maintenance.
In summary, robotic technology is an interesting and fun way to increase your quality of life. Whatever you decide, we are sure you will not be disappointed.