When you start researching robot vacuum cleaners, it quickly comes down to iRobot Roomba Vs Neato Botvac, assuming you’ve given up on asking the kids to vacuum the floor or are tired of beating back dust bunnies yourself.
Roomba or Neato Botavac – Which is Better?
Pricing – The Neato Botvac 80 rivals the iRobot Roomba 700 in price at around $500. The Roomba 880 is almost $700.
Accessories – Both the latest version of the Roomba and the Neato robot vacuums have side brushes, so that it can clean the baseboards as it travels.
Both vacuums have a variety of brushes from the standard roll to a heavier brush to give you more flexibility when cleaning the floor.
Both robot vacuums use non-standard batteries. A replacement battery for the Roomba is seventy to eighty dollars. For the same price, you can buy a set of replacement batteries for the Neato.
Neato filters are ten to fifteen dollars each. Roomba air filters are comparable in price. For both manufacturers, pet and allergy filters cost more than the standard ones.
The Neato Botvac uses magnetic tape boundary markers in contrast to the sensor / lighthouses Roomba uses.
Artificial Intelligence – The Neato Botvac and iRobot Roomba have sensors to recognize potential falls, as identified by a dark area following a lighter section of floor. This can cause problems for those who have light and dark patterns on the carpet or black lines of tile. The Neato Botvac is slightly better at recognizing contrasting floor patterns instead of assuming that line of black tile will send it tumbling into the abyss.
The Neato often stalls when it thinks it is on the edge of an overhang, even if it is a dark square in the middle of the rug. The Roomba will try to back up first.
The Roomba 880 follows a motion control algorithm that causes it to turn fifteen degrees to the right and try to go straight to get out when it is trapped. If it has ended up under the dining room table, this means it won’t get out and will die there until you find it and put it back on the charger.
The Roomba will bounce around like a ping pong ball through a room, though the lighthouses may keep it in the room until all the area has been vacuumed at least once.
The Neato does a better job of actually building a map of the room and not leaving large portions near the center of the room untouched.
Vacuuming – Both vacuums do a good job vacuuming tile and wood floors. Neato Botvac does a better job picking up pet hair.
Neato Botvac 80 handles fringe carpets better than the Roomba. It has the sense to back up to try to untangle itself. Neato does a better job actually vacuuming carpet.
The Neato is prone to leaving a trail of dirt when it changes directions on a dirty floor.
Both robots will continue cleaning though the dirt cup is almost full.
The Neato Botvac 80 has a larger dust cup than its predecessor, as does the Roomba. However, both the Roomba and Neato will sometimes need to have the dust bin manually emptied as it is part way through the cleaning job.
Battery Life – The Neato Botvac 80 lasts around an hour and a half between recharging station visits. If the floor has been picked up and the Botvac doesn’t have to circle back around furniture, it could clean up to seventeen hundred square feet. The Roomba 880 model has twice the battery life of its predecessor and rivals the Neato in battery life.
For both types of robot vacuums, you can extend the battery’s life by keeping it cool, fully charging it and turning it off when you aren’t using it. In the case of the Roomba, you can put the Roomba 880 in vacation mode.
Setting Limits – The Roomba 800 series gives you more lighthouses as you move up the price scale. However, the tape boundaries are more versatile than the Roomba virtual wall lighthouses. The iRobot lighthouses may keep a Roomba in a specific room until it is clean or act as an electric fence the robot shouldn’t pass. Because you are using two guard posts, it can only be used in doorways or across a room. The magnetic tape marker for the Neato can be used to demarcate a curved boundary equidistant to the fireplace or an uneven path around the cat’s play tower. The tape markers can be moved and re-used, though they won’t stick as well the next time.
Each roll of tape is about thirty dollars. Each roll contains thirteen feet of tape. If you have several appliances like natural gas heaters, fireplaces or pet areas you want to cordon off, you may spend a hundred dollars on boundary marking tape. You may be able to cut the tape in half lengthwise to literally double its range, but then it might not be as effective at stopping the Neato. One of the better uses of this tape is demarcating fringed rugs or shag rugs that would stall the Neato, but this depends on whether or not you’re willing to use the tape on your rug.