Is there anything more satisfying than watching a robot vacuum your floor? Outside of watching a robot do our laundry or wash our dishes, we don’t think so. So when we got our hands on a couple robotic vacuums, we jumped at the opportunity to do a write up on both.
This article compares two specific models, Neato’s Botvac Connected (check Amazon price) and iRobot’s Roomba 980 (check Amazon price). If you want to know a little bit more about the brands overall, read our detailed overview of Neato vs Roomba here.
- Cleaning pattern – Both the Neato Botvac Connected and the Roomba 980 robotic vacuums utilize a grid pattern to clean your home. We still feel the Botvac has the edge here, as it cleans everything twice.
- Charge and resume – With the Roomba 980 adding this feature, both robotic vacuums provide a thorough cleaning of a large area, unhampered by battery life.
- Wifi connectivity – Both robotic vacuums utilize a wifi app to schedule cleaning, initiate spot cleans, and give notifications about the cleaning process. We feel the Neato smartphone app has a slight edge here, because remote control robotic vacuums bring us one step closer to personal battle bots.
- Vacuuming method – The Botvac Connected still uses a brush system and a high powered vacuum motor to power through your carpet. We feel the Roomba 980’s rubber tread extraction system works better on deep pile carpets or with long pet hair.
- Extended range – The Roomba 980 is able to fully clean an entire level of your home because of the charge and resume feature. The Neato Botvac still requires you to place your charging station in a central location so the robot can figure out where it is.
Neato Botvac Connected
What do you get if you take a Neato D80/85, give it a higher capacity battery, upgrade the air filter, give it an Eco/Turbo mode, give it wifi, and attach it to a smartphone app? The top of the line Neato Botvac Connected.
What we liked:
- Taking everything awesome about the D80/D85 and make it more awesome is exactly what Neato did. They removed the two-tone color scheme and made the Botvac Connected all black. OK, we liked the two-tone white and black, but the all black model is no slouch, either.
- Neato Includes the combo brush with the rubber spiral brush, gives you an air filter with an upgraded filter material and filter screen capable of trapping particles 0.3 microns in size. And Neato even includes a filter cleaning tool.
- The Neato Botvac Connected offers the same great clean as the D80/85 series on hardwood, tile, and short pile carpet, but also includes an Eco Mode, which powers down the vacuum motor for more battery life and quieter operation. This is in contrast to the full power Turbo Mode, which sounds just like a vacuum.
- The newest feature, however, is the ability to pair the Neato Botvac Connected with the Neato smartphone app, available on iPhone and Android. This is the “connected” part of this robot’s name. The smartphone app allows you to set up scheduled cleaning, start or stop a house cleaning or spot clean, and gives you notifications about the status of your clean. Oh, and another thing: you can control your Botvac from your smartphone like an RC car.
What we didn’t like:
There are some great Roomba deals on Amazon today:
- $50 off on the Roomba i3
- Pros: brushless rollers, smart navigation, good basic vacuum, good price
- Cons: no "keep out zones" feature found on higher end Roombas
- $289 off on the Roomba i7 <-- hot deal
- Pros: efficient cleaning, logical navigation
- Cons: no front camera for obstacle avoidance, no auto-empty
- $200 off on the Roomba j7
- Pros: front camera for obstacle avoidance, best "bang for your buck"
- Cons: no auto-empty
- $200 off on the Roomba j7+
- Pros: obstacle avoidance, auto-emptying
- Cons: none
- $200 off on the Roomba s9+
- Pros: strongest suction, wider brushrolls, improved corner cleaning, auto-emptying
- Cons: price
Or see all current robot vacuum deals
- Sharing a platform with the D80/85, however, still leaves a little to be desired. The Botvac Connected still uses a brush cleaning system, so deep pile carpet and long pet hair will still give this vacuum issues. The LIDAR navigation system still does a great job of mapping your home, and can still get caught up in certain places. In short, the Neato Botvac Connected still requires manual intervention on occasion, which could nullify the smart features.
We like the upgrades, and we like playing with the smartphone app. We still don’t like how hands on we have to be with the Neato Botvac Connected, but for the efficiency and suction power, we’re willing to put up with it.
We’re talking about the elephant in the room, the reigning world champ, the top of the line Roomba 980. One of the most expensive robotic vacuums on the market, the Roomba 980 takes that signature UFO shape, slaps on a couple features not found in the other Roomba models, and calls it a day.
When iRobot was designing the Roomba 980, they probably sat around and decided this would be their crowning achievement. Every feature we wanted in the less pricey Roomba models shows up here, and they even gave it a wifi connection.
What we liked:
- A More Linear Cleaning Pattern: Check. iRobot has added an algorithm which gives the Roomba 980 a back-and-forth grid pattern. This means a more thorough clean of your home, with less missed areas. Bravo.
- Charge and Resume: Check. This is a feature included in every Neato model, and since iRobot started including extender beacons with the 800 series, this was a feature noticeably missing from the Roomba line of robots. But now, coupled with the extender beacons and grid cleaning pattern described above, the Roomba 980 gives an extremely thorough cleaning experience.
- A More Efficient Air Filter: Check. While the basic air filter included in the Roomba 860 performed very well, the upgraded air filter is welcome. While the 10 micron rating is significantly lower than the 0.3 micron rating in the Botvac Connected, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
- Smartphone App: Not to be outdone, iRobot also gave this bad boy a smartphone app. After pairing your Roomba 980 with the smartphone app, you will be able to schedule cleanings, start or stop a full house clean or spot clean, and receive status updates about your cleaning program. Sadly, iRobot forgot about the remote control feature.
What we didn’t like:
- Two words: the price. While we are super excited to see iRobot add essential features to the Roomba 980, does it really justify a price tag just shy of $1000? If Neato can provide these features on even their lowest price model, why can’t iRobot?
Although the 980 is arguably the best robot vacuum on the market today, iRobot seems to have priced it right out of most people’s budgets.. If you must have the best of the best and don’t mind the cost, go for the 980.
The Roomba 980 will provide a more “hands-off” experience and easier maintenance. However, it is almost prohibitively expensive for most people. If you don’t need to budget and just want the best of the best, get the Roomba 980, it is simply the best robotic vacuum on the market today if you don’t care about price.
The Neato Botvac Connected is much cheaper and has a more powerful vacuum, but taking the time to extract hair out of the rotating brushes is a bit of a pain. Get the Botvac Connected if you don’t have pets or long hair, or if you don’t mind pulling the hair out of its bristles.