In this 2014 Neato Botvac 85 review, we’ll look at the pros and cons of this popular robot vacuum cleaner.
Neato Botvac 85 Pros
- The Neato Botvac sports three flat sides to ensure a good cleaning as it travels along the floor boards and even gets the corners.
- The Botvac does a better job of avoiding obstacles and getting stuck in a tangle of chair legs. This is due to its laser sensors.
- The Botvac has a display for scheduling the robot, such as programming it not to activate until you’ve left for work Monday through Friday but waiting until the afternoon on weekends.
- The Neato Botvac has a larger dust bin than the Roomba 880.
- The Neato Botvac BV85 uses sensors to alert it to a drop off. This means it won’t fall down the stairs. And the light sensitive sensors mean it is also less likely than a Roomba to be fooled by dark stripes on the carpet or lines of dark tile, mistaking them for a “cliff”.
- The Botvac 85 sports sensors that actually allow it to identify objects like crumbs and bits of food to clean up. It is capable of identifying and then going after messes it can see.
- Unlike the Roomba, the Botvac doesn’t bounce around at random. The Botvac plans a path with the intent of covering every inch of the floor. The Roomba in contrast just covers the same area multiple times in criss-cross patters in the hope that it gets every inch of the floor.
- The Botvac 85 has better suction than the Roomba.
- Botvac has both a clean house button and spot clean button. The Spot Clean button essentially tells the vacuum to target a four by six foot area for a more thorough cleaning. What if the battery runs down before it finishes? The Botvac 85 can remember where it stopped cleaning and return to that point after charging.
- Botvac 85’s silicon bristle brush is good at picking up pet hair, and is also is specifically marketed to pet owners.
Neato Botvac 85 Cons
- The Botvac 85 has trouble on shag carpets, but so does the Roomba.
- The Neato Botvac 85 sometimes has trouble docking on its charger. However, the Neato Botvac does a good job of returning to its charger before the battery runs out.
- The Botvac and the Roomba are equally loud. However, the Botvac 85 is quieter than previous Neato models like the Neato XV.
- There isn’t much documentation on the Neato Botvac, for any model. This can make deciphering error codes confusing.
- The vacuum sometimes gets tangled up on carpet fringe. The robot is smart enough to try to untangle itself, but it isn’t always successful.
Observations about the Neato Botvac 85
The Botvac doesn’t have a remote, something some owners prefer with the Roomba. Then again, the spot cleaning function almost takes it place because you can use the spot clean option to tell it to re-vacuum a spot instead of trying to maneuver it like a remote control car back to that area and re-clean it.
The Botvac uses magnetic strips to act as boundaries instead of Roomba’s lighthouses. On one hand, the boundaries will never need their batteries replaced like the iRobot light houses. On the other hand, the magnetic boundaries are rendered useless if they are covered up by a throw rug or child’s blanket. The magnetic strips are around thirty dollars a roll, while the Roomba comes with two or more light houses, depending on the package you purchase. You can literally go the distance with the magnetic strips by cutting the magnetic tape in the middle and using half as much width to get twice as much length.
Neato only covers battery failures if they occur in the first six months of ownership. If the battery fails after that point, you’ll be out $75 to $100 for new batteries.
The Botvac 85 can run up to an hour and a half between recharging. Note: One sign the battery is failing is that run-times diminish after charging. The company suggests running the battery all the way down before you completely recharge it to improve battery life. You should charge the Botvac battery for at least twelve hours before running it for the first time.
Neither the Roomba nor the Botvac can pull sand out of a thick carpet. If your kids have a moon sand table or the pets track in sand from the litter box or outside, a robot vacuum like the Botvac is not right for you.
How the Botvac 85 Differs from the Botvac 80
The Botvac 80 and Botvac 85 came out late 2013. This Neato Botvac 85 review wouldn’t be complete without a comparison with the model’s cheaper sibling, the Botvac 80.
The Neato Botvac 85 costs around $600. In contrast, the iRobot Roomba 880 is around $700. However, the Moneual H68 Pro, a newcomer to the robot vacuum market, is only around $500. The Botvac 80 is comparably priced to the Moneual price range.
The Botvac 80 and 85 have similar capabilities, including the same programming. One of the biggest differences is the number of filters you get with the vacuum and the Botvac 85 is better at pet hair pick up.