Does it seem that there’s not enough time in your life? Do you find it difficult juggling between household chores, your job and looking after your kids and pets? If yes, an automatic vacuum cleaner may be just what you need to help lighten your tasks. It at least takes care of vacuuming your floor while you can attend to more important things.
While there are lots of droid vacuum cleaners to choose from, there are two leading competitors in the robotic vacuum market today. They are the Neato Botvac D80 and the Roomba 980. Both have their pros and cons, which you need to, analyze and compare Neato vs. Roomba to find the best for your vacuuming needs.
For example, the Neato is a better option if you have pets at home as it can efficiently scoop up even the tiniest pet hairs. However, the Roomba 980’s battery doesn’t run low as it keeps recharging itself till its programmed task is done.
Both vacuums follow a grid pattern to clean your home with the Botvac having a slight edge as it cleans everything twice. Both robotic vacuum cleaners also have a Wi-Fi app to use for scheduling cleaning, give cleaning notifications and initiates spot cleaning.
Regarding differences between Neato Botvac vs. Roomba, they use different vacuuming systems. The Botvac Connected vacuum utilizes a brush system and powerful vacuum motor while the Roomba 980’s rubber tread extraction system is better for cleaning deep pile carpets or long pet hair.
With the automatic charging and resuming feature of the Roomba 980, it docks onto the charging base wherever it is and whenever required, to clean the entire floor of your home. The Neato Botvac however needs its charging station to be centrally located so that it can locate where it is.
There are lots more features that the two automatic vacuums boast of where one droid vacuum outclasses the other in some areas while the other is better in some other areas. So here’s a brief introduction to the two robot vacuums, and a thorough comparative analysis that should help you make your final decision.
About the Neato Botvac Connected
This is a D-shaped robotic vacuum cleaner from Neato Robotics that runs on CornerClever technology. Other notable features are its LaserSmart navigation, two cleaning modes, Wi-FI connectivity and it being able to clean all floor types.
About the iRobot Roomba 980
The Roomba 980 comes from iRobot, a famous manufacturer, and distributor of robotic equipment. It runs on AeroForce 3-stage cleaning system and uses High-Efficiency Filters. Other noteworthy features are its precise navigation, laser barriers, Wi-Fi connectivity, high-performance battery and ability to clean any floor type.
Now here’s an in-depth analysis of Neato Botvac vs. Roomba 980, with a focus on its features and specifications.
The Neato Connected vs Roomba 980
- Better performance by Roomba 980
When you compare the two, the Botvac Connected seems to be a more aggressive vacuum that’s serious about its job. It’s this aggressiveness that makes it land in unwanted places and sucks objects that are too large for its comfort. So there’s a high chance of it trying to suck any of your kids’ forgotten or hidden toys, and getting stuck in places the Roomba wouldn’t.
The Roomba 980, on the contrary, is opposite and more naive in functioning. It is more sensitive to things around it and tries to avoid getting stuck or ending up in unwanted places. Though it may not do a thorough cleaning job as it skips the covered floor portions, it does complete its cleaning chore without getting stuck at all. So it looks like this is a winner for you if you usually have a few things like toys lying on the floor.
- Neato Botvac offers better navigation
While it’s relatively easy getting into compact areas, what’s essential is navigating in those spots and backing out again. The Roomba series robots always seem to drive in a fixed direction. They prefer knocking into walls and then turning in the opposite or other direction. With the robot repeatedly moving this way, you will need a longer time to clean your home.
This is why the Roomba 980 is upgraded with the unique iAdapt 2.0 Responsive Navigation with Visual Localization Technology. You can find a camera positioned on its top that lets the Roomba look around, and use sensors for a more intelligent, quick and efficient clean.
Despite this upgrade, the Roomba keeps depending on bumping into obstacles and barricades, and moving away. And though the Roomba tends to slow down on reaching any obstacle, it‘s only after hitting them do they realize they have reached a dead end.
The Neato, however, navigates better with its laser-guided Precise LaserSmart navigation technology. It first uses sensors to scan and map your house for nearby objects before starting.
It then smartly avoids objects like chair legs. Though the Botvac also bumps into objects like the Roomba, it’s not very frequent. With the laser guiding the droid vacuum, the Botvac moves around accurately to give your home a more accurate and thorough clean.
- Both Neato and Roomba can clean all floor types
As different homes have different kinds of floors, it’s important you buy a vacuum cleaner that cleans your floor type. As mentioned earlier, both the Neato and Roomba 980 can clean all floor types as they can adjust their brush heights based on the floor type.
- Both Roomba 980 and Neato have a low profile
An excellent robotic vacuum is one with a small height for easy maneuvering under furniture, deep corners and beds. Both the Neato and Roomba 980 have a low-profile where the Neato stands at 3.9 inches tall and the Roomba 980 at 3.6 inches.
- Roomba 980 has better brushes
Like most vacuums, the Neato Botvac Connected has a rotating, curved traditional brush and a flat ribbon that’s made of silicone in its cleaning head. They work together to dislodge particles on the floor from whatever’s grabbing at them.
This is a drawback as works only on some surfaces, and sometimes long strands of hair and other similar objects get stuck to the bristles. It has to be periodically dislodged and cleaned using a comb, which is a somewhat tedious procedure.
The Roomba 980, however, has a roller system comprising of two different silicone rollers that rotate inwards to shove specks and fragments towards the valve located in its center.
They are called ‘brushless extractors’ that pick up all the strands of hair and any other particles in their hollow sides. Though it needs periodical cleaning, it doesn’t disturb the robot from picking up things like in traditional brush rollers.
- Both Neato and Roomba 980 have two large wheels for mobility
Both vacuums have two large deeply threaded rubber wheels extending a few inches above the ground. This helps the vacuum lift off the floor to cover uneven surfaces. The Roomba 980 has two additional pairs of rollers that keep it moving straight and steady around the house.
It can automatically adjust its height to 2 inches on either side to clean throw rugs and accommodate carpet height differences. However as the wheels don’t carry the unit up to a ledge, the Roomba can’t climb stairs or do anything similar. The wheels let the droid rotate in a circle instead of moving forward and backward.
The Neato Botvac’s wheels only look like the Roomba but function differently. It lifts the Botvac up so that it reaches higher and more places than the Roomba. It assumes a smaller profile while lifting its rear up and, with the brush, easily wedges into difficult-to-reach spots like behind toilets and under chairs that the Roomba finds difficult to reach.
It’s however not clear how each vacuum cleans corners as while the Botvac’s D-shape design comfortably fits into corners, its rollers don’t reach the edge. And as it has a small side brush, it can’t contact anything in corners as expected.
The Roomba 980 is circular in design, making it logically impossible for it to fit into triangular corners. It, however, uses its extra long rotating side brush to reach into corners and throws out objects to pick up later. So thanks to its side brush, the Roomba can grab pieces the Neato couldn’t get in corners.
- Neato Botvac has better filters and dustbin
Like any vacuum cleaner, these robots also need regular maintenance like emptying the trash and cleaning filters with each use to ensure the vacuums’ peak performance. The two automatic vacuums have different parts in this system that work differently.
In case of the Roomba 980, it has a HEPA type of filter located at the AeroForce cleaning system edge. It’s where all the particles that are sucked from the floor accumulate, and particles as small as 10 microns are filtered out.
It’s not easy removing the Roomba 980’s dustbin as there’s the risk of breaking the latch that holds the bin. Besides, the force used sometimes leads to spillage of some of its contents which the dustbin’s hinge works to prevent.
While opening the container for cleaning purposes is easy, it’s not that easy to clean the filter. Though there’s a tiny stub on the filter for its easy removal, it quickly clogs and has to be frequently blown out. And as there’s a chance of dust flying away while removing it, it’s better to clean the filters outdoors.
The Botvac Connected looks at having a better system where the dustbin is situated atop the droid and is easily lifted away for cleaning purposes. Just ensure there’s no tipping towards the bin’s opening as it may lead to most of its content spilling out before emptying. Besides, the Neato uses an ‘ultra’ filter that is so fine that specks small as 0.3 microns are easily filtered out.
- Roomba 980 sets better boundaries
While it’s nice that your vacuum roams and cleans your house, there are some places you don’t want it to go and vacuum things like cables that may stop your vacuum. There’s a solution for this in both droid vacuums in the form of barricades that keep them away from unwanted places. However, they are different in design and functioning.
A big bundle of magnetic ‘tape’ accompanies the Neato Botvac Connected, and it’s placed around forbidden spots like your house’s entertainment unit. The tape overlaps the furniture legs and prevents the robotic vacuum cleaner from suctioning up cables which can end up damaged. However, the tape is useless in places where there’s no support available for the strips.
While the Botvac is designed to stop immediately upon touching the magnetic strips, it has to negotiate along its perimeter to locate the borderlines. So sometimes the droid ends up pushing these strips along the floor. The probability is higher when the strips are placed on wood or tiled flooring and thus are not as effective as should be.
iRobot has however done a better job by using a laser that acts as a boundary to prevent the Roomba 980 from reaching near boundaries. These walls are little towers measuring six inches, which based on where the side switch is placed, can be used in two different manners.
In case of the top method, the camera lens that you find in the front of the droid emits an invisible, straight laser beam that marks areas the Roomba shouldn’t cross. This helps block thresholds or corridors.
The bottom mode protects equidistantly whereby the Roomba is prevented from entering a distance of 10” of the tower’s radius to a maximum circumference of 20” from the tower.
There’s a disadvantage that the laser barrier needs two batteries sized AA while the Botvac doesn’t. However, this drawback is nothing compared to the Roomba’s other advantages of it being accurate and easier to use than magnetic tapes.
- Roomba 980 has a better Smartphone connected app
A Smartphone application is the best upgrade for both robotic vacuums where each app is differently designed in its navigation and functioning. Both can be remotely started, paused, stopped and returned to its stand for charging purposes. They can also schedule the vacuum to clean your home on a weekly schedule automatically.
Both of the applications also have free tutorials which help you use the vacuum at its maximum potential. They even send notifications if the droid gets immobile or is done with a job. Despite these many similarities, both apps also have lots of differences.
You have to sign into your account if you use Neato’s app after which the automatic vacuum is paired with your account. You can thus sign into the account on various devices and use any of them for handling the robot. It also helps you keep watch on of all Neato devices in addition to other extra vacuums.
It has another unique feature where it’s possible to control the Botvac Connected manually using the help of the application. This feature lets you have complete control where you can use something like a jotter to direct the robot to clean areas requiring extra effort. There’s also an enclosed Android Wear and Apple Watch where you can use your wristwatch to manage your vacuum and to receive notifications.
However, the Neato doesn’t provide information about your vacuum or fix settings. Anything you may have missed can be found on the droid’s display and have to be set here. A remote upgrade of the vacuum’s firmware is also not possible. It has to be downloaded first onto a device, dropped onto a memory drive and then plugged to the Botvac.
iRobot Home works differently as it doesn’t use account systems but pairs with the vacuum cleaner. If you want to locate the vacuum in a specific area, you first have to open the app while using the phone to control the device.
Though this is a bit inconvenient when compared to devices that function with just an account system, it does not depend on the number of phones that are used for remote controlling of the vacuum. Manual controlling is however not possible, so you just rely on the spot or mechanical cleaning.
The app, however, provides a destination spot that can be used for all linked iRobot devices. It delivers vital information like if the bin needs emptying, if the onboard sensors need cleaning and if it’s time to clean the extractors.
You are thus reminded about the regular maintenance of the robot, and are provided with instructions and videos to help you clean and repair the devices. This is unlike the Neato that just steers you to its support site upon opening your browser.
It is also possible to use the iRobot Smartphone application to set the Roomba 980, which is helpful as there’s no other way to connect with the vacuum. iRobot also maintains statistics of everything the Roomba 980 does like the number of times it has cleaned the house, the amount of area that it has cleaned and how many cleaning jobs it’s done. You are thus aware of all the chores the vacuum performs, and are provided with all the required data and statistics.
So though Neato’s app’s feature that lets you control the droid manually, the accounts it manages, and it’s Android Wear support are great features, the iRobot Home’s other features easily eclipse them as they are much more useful features.
- Roomba 980 produces different sounds
While the Neato Botha Connected emitting sounds are nothing new, they sound somewhat similar. It is thus difficult to tell the differences between the sounds because of errors or other notifications.
The Roomba 980, however, emits different sounds for messages and commands. It also makes cute noises while moving from the stand after charging to start cleaning floors. In other words, the various sounds the robot emits let you know what it’s trying to tell you.
- Roomba 980 has a better cleaning system
Vacuum cleaners use different methods for cleaning floors and it’s this system which dictates its usage. Some are meant for giving your home a regular cleaning and others also clean hair that pets shed and hair and antigens. Here the Botvac cleans with Spin Flow Power Clean, and the Roomba cleans with the AeroForce Cleaning System.
The Botvac’s Spin Flow Power Clean system uses a Turbo Suction system for boosted suctioning. It has a flexible brush structure which gives a thorough cleaning by picking up the smallest debris, including pet hair. The combination brush picks up the fallen hair of pets and antigens while the winding blade brush cleans deeply.
The Roomba 980’s AeroForce Cleaning System cleans in three stages. It first uses its 27-degrees inclined brushes to catch rubbish and dust from nooks and edges. Then the two anti-clockwise rotating brushes remove dust and trash, and it’s in the third stage that everything it has collected is sucked and sieved by its powerful motor optimized for the job.
- Roomba offers longer battery and robot warranties
Like any other electrical appliance, a droid vacuum too has not one, but two types of guarantees- a robot warranty and a battery warranty. While the Neato Botovac has a six months warranty on its battery and a year’s warranty for the robot, the Roomba has a one year guarantee for both the battery and robot.
- Roomba 980 can be used to deep clean carpets
The Botvac has two options you can use as per your vacuuming requirements. There’s the Eco mode for regular cleaning and the Turbo mode which helps clean filthy rooms but consumes extra energy.
The Roomba 980 has no complex cleaning options but can change between different cleaning types which are Carpet Boost, Edge Cleaning, and Cleaning Pass mode. The Carpet Boost is best suited for deep carpet cleaning as the motor provides ten times more suction power than normal mode, for proper suctioning.
- Roomba 980 has dirt sensors
This is a new technology that uses the help of sensors to detect the dirty areas and then gives these areas a deep cleaning. It, however, exists only in the Roomba 980 and is a big plus for it while comparing Roomba 980 vs. Neato.
- Neato Botvac has an LCD panel
LCD panels in most of the latest vacuum cleaners provide for easy control. While the Botvac Connected has a small LCD panel with some settings, the Roomba 980 does not.
- Both Roomba and Neato can auto recharge
All robot vacuum cleaners have an auto charge, or recharge and continue the application feature, where they automatically head to the charging base when they need recharging. Once it is fully charged, it immediately proceeds with its cleaning duty by heading back to the same spot where it had stopped cleaning. The Neato Botvac Connected and Roomba 980 charge themselves with this feature.
- Roomba offers better Voice Activated control
Technological advancements let you have control over most appliances using a voice-controlled system like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Both the Neato and Roomba have this feature that enables you to instruct your automatic vacuum cleaner with its chores. While Roomba 980 works well under Alexa and Google Assistant, the Botvac Connected is compatible under Alexa but a bit slow with Google.
- Neato Botvac has a better battery life
Though vacuum cleaners self-charge once the battery loses its charge, its cells have their individual battery life. Knowing how long the vacuum cleaner runs on a single charge helps you schedule your cleaning as you know approximately when it next needs charging. While the Botvac Connected lasts for about two hours in Eco mode and one and a half hours in Turbo mode, the Roomba 980 lasts for 120 minutes.
Unique features of the Botvac Connected
- Cleaning modes – You can choose the right cleaning mode between Eco and Turbo mode based on the cleaning you have to do. Eco is better for everyday cleaning while the Turbo mode is better for intensive cleansing.
- Design – The Neato is D-shaped with CornerClever Technology that lets it give corners and walls a deep cleaning.
Unique features of the Roomba 980
- Carpet Boost – This is a feature the Roomba 980 has, but the Neato lacks. It gives ten times the extra suctioning power necessary for a deep cleaning of carpets.
- Navigation – The iAdapt Responsive Navigation Technology used for steering the Roomba 980 is much more meticulous and exact than Neato’s LaserSmart Navigation Technology.
- Laser Barriers – While the Neato uses actual magnetic tapes to mark its boundaries; the Roomba 980 has lasers which are more precise in function.
- Dirt sensors – The Roomba 980 has electric eyes for dirt that can sense the presence of dust and then thoroughly cleans the area.
Neato Botvac Connected vs Roomba 980 – Which is the better choice?
After analyzing and comparing Roomba vs. Neato, it’s evident that the two are somewhat similar in function. While the Botvac can clean walls and corners with a more efficient battery and two cleaning options to choose from, the Roomba 980 has more superior features like laser barriers, dirt sensors, and Carpet Boost which offers better performance. However, if you compare rates, the Botvac Connected is lots cheaper than the Roomba 980.
While both the Neato Botovac Connected and Roomba 980 are excellent robot cleaners, the Roomba 980 does have an edge with its unique features. You have to make the final decision based on your budget and cleaning needs.
If you need a machine that thoroughly cleans then it’s the Roomba 980 for you. Of course, if you can’t afford to spend too much, then the Botovac is a more worthy purchase for your pocket!