I posted this on my Amazon Reviews page too, but I figured it was worth a blog post as well.
I cannot emphasize how much I love the Neato Botvac 80! It’s still early days and we’ve only had it for a month or so, but the Botvac 80 is absolutely perfect for our family.
We have a large house. It’s around 1100 square feet per level and we have 3 levels. We’ve had a Neato XV-11 for 3 years now and it has some very major design flaws. The belt and gear assembly underneath, where the brush is, is exposed and not protected. This means that the belt and gear are constantly getting clogged with hair. The only way to clean this area is to get a very long sharp pointy thing (I use an exacto knife) and a very long pointy set of tweezers. And then you spend, I kid you not, at least 15 minutes each time the XV-11 gets clogged and tells you “my brush is stuck”, cleaning it out. I used the XV-11 to clean our upstairs carpet and the first time through, I had to clean its belt and gear area 6 times before it finally got through. This is just irritating beyond belief. Here’s a YouTube video that shows what I’m talking about:
The display on our XV-11 finally completely died and all we have now is a bright white square that tells us nothing when there’s problems. So it was time to look for a new robot vacuum. I looked at the Roomba line and was hoping that they’d fixed the major design flaw that drove me to buy a Neato originally: Roombas run out of battery and go back to their charging station… and call it a day. They don’t go back out and finish the job. You either have to start them manually again or wait for their next scheduled time to run. And they’re going to start from the very beginning again, either way, so they’re probably going to run out of battery before they finish the job again! Neatos, on the other hand, will return to their charging station, charge back up again, and go back out to right where they left off and finish the job. Like it should be!
Even the latest Roomba models have not fixed this yet.
Also, Roombas use little lighthouse stations that you have to buy and stick D batteries in to block off areas for the vacuum. Neatos, on the other hand, use a simple magnetic strip that you can put anywhere, even under carpet, to block off areas for it not to cross over. And since it’s a simple magnetic strip, you can make your own magnetic strips and not have to buy them from Neato. We do this often, either temporarily or seasonally (to keep it from going under the Christmas tree, etc.).
So I looked at the Neato Botvacs and tried to see if they’d addressed the gear/belt design flaw. I couldn’t find any reviews that said they did. I also found a lot of people making negative reviews, saying that the Botvac is just a rebranding of the XV line and not worth the money. BOY WERE THEY WRONG!
The Botvac 80 has completely addressed the gear/belt design flaw. This area is completely enclosed now and cannot possibly get clogged with hair. They’ve also improved the brush design, the size and quality of the dust bin, the HEPA filter, the interface, button layout, the charging station, used ball bearings to help the brush spin more freely, and even the noise level is MUCH better (quieter) than the XV-11 that we have. They also added a side brush, like the one the Roomba has, to make sure the robot can get the entire surface of the floor, up to the edge of the walls, and even under the edges of furniture. Oh, and they made it shorter, so it fits under more furniture now and cleans better.
I hate spending money on things that do simple jobs. Especially large amounts of money ($400 or so) for something as “simple” as sweeping/vacuuming. But I can tell you that I am 100% satisfied with the Neato Botvac 80. I will be buying at least one more for the upstairs and basement. It is SO worth the money spent.
Neato still seems to be the underdog in the Vacuum Robot wars. Roomba has made some really nice products and has a lot of brand recognition. But I wholeheartedly recommend the Neato Botvac, especially if you’re coming from an older Neato XV model like we were. It will blow you away with how good it is. Disclaimer: I’ve had absolutely zero contact from Neato, spent $400+ of my own monies, and this is not a paid review in any way. That being said, I’d LOVE to test any of Neato’s products in the future,. =:D
Well done, Neato. I’ve fallen in love with your robot… again.