Neato vs. Roomba – Choosing The Best Robot Vacuum

Neato vs Roomba

In today's world, we're continually looking for automated solutions to make our day easier. The way we clean is no different. While Roomba vacuums have been around for a while, Neato is a newer brand catering to the robotic cleaning market.

Which one is a better fit for your needs?

They both have plenty of similarities and distinct advantages.

We tested both Roomba and Neato vacuums to give you a thorough look at the features and benefits of each so you can see which is the better fit for your home.

Review Category

Winner

Suction

Neato Botvac Series

Shape

Neato Botvac Series

Neato BotVac 7

Noise

iRobot Roomba

iRobot Roomba I7

Battery

Tie

Cleaning Efficiency

Tie

Smart Features

iRobot Roomba

iRobot Roomba I7

Here's the bottom line:
Let’s look at a quick breakdown of the critical points between each of these robotic vacuum brands:

Roomba vacuums are more established as a brand and have a reputation to match. While they are more costly than other options, they require very little maintenance and do a thorough job.

The newer model of Roomba vacuums also contains an optional self-emptying feature if you choose to purchase the accompanying base, which is a significant cut down on maintenance. If you have pets that are constantly shedding, and you want to be able to let your vacuum take care of itself, the Roomba is a solid investment.

Roomba 650 (lower End Model)

Roomba I7 (Higher End Model)

Irobot Roomba 650
iRobot Roomba I7

Neato BotVac D3 Connected (Lower End Model)

Neato BotVac D7 Connected (Higher End Model)

Neato Botvac D3
Neato BotVac 7

Neato vacuums work with somewhat more structure and often include more features even in their more standard models. They don’t have a self-emptying feature and may require occasional assistance if pet hair gets tangled in the side brushes.

They do offer more powerful suction and in general are much more affordable. Neato robotic vacuums often contain standard built-in features (such as auto-resuming cleaning after self-charging) that Roomba vacuums include only in more high-end models.

Now onto the details....

Roomba Vacuums vs. Neato Vacuums

Before we get too deep into the details of their vacuums, let’s take a moment for a brief overview of the companies:

Roomba vacuums

Roomba 880 Cleaning

Roomba has been creating robotic vacuums since 2002. While their first releases may have left a lot to be desired, they did start as the pioneers in the industry. Roomba has come a long way since premiering their first model.

Because Roomba has the longest legacy of robotic vacuum companies, their models are highly varied in features and function which can be a bonus for people that like contrasting choices.

Related Content: Bobsweep Vs. Roomba - Read More

Neato vacuums

Neato Robot vacuum cleaning

Neato, a robotics company produce Neato vacuums. They released their first robotic vacuum in 2012. While they haven't been around as long as iRobot, the producers of Roomba, Neato still boasts an impressive track record with enough experience and success for consumers to trust.

Their models often seem more streamlined regarding included features, so they’re easier for first-time robotic vacuum buyers to compare models within the brand.

>> Related Content: Best Roomba Alternatives

Roomba vs. Neato: how do they stack up with essential features?

Suction

Certainly, one of the biggest concerns when you're buying a new vacuum is how the suction power performs. First, let's look at the different methods these two brands use to provide suction:

Roomba

The earlier Roomba models and current standard levels were made with traditional vacuum brush roll suction systems. Since then, iRobot has started using a new system that they claim gives up to 500% more suction power. They've updated their new models with a stronger motor and replaced traditional vacuum brushes with rubber tines.

Neato

Neato vacuums stick more closely to a traditional vacuum brush setup, employing one main vacuum roll brush. This brush is interchangeable to allow you to switch to a rubber brush combo to maximize cleaning on low surfaces.

Verdict

While we noticed a marked difference in suction power between the two brands, it's worth noting that suction power also varies between the different models of the two brands. For example, a 3 or 4 series model Roomba won't offer nearly the suction of an 8 or 9 series model.

Neato vacuums, however, tend to be more uniform in their suction power throughout their models. Some of the newer top end Neato models like the Botvac D7 do offer variable suction by allowing you to choose between regular, turbo, and silent modes.

Which robotic vacuum gave us the most suction power?

Even on regular mode or using a standard model, Neato Robotics’ vacuums gave us more suction and gathered up more, and heavier debris.

Best Suction: Neato Botvac Series

Neato BotVac D3 Connected (Lower End Model)

Neato BotVac D7 Connected (Higher End Model)

Neato Botvac D3
Neato BotVac 7

Shape

For those of you that haven't had the opportunity to use a robotic vacuum, the shape probably seems like a purely aesthetic feature. What we've realized through testing these is that shape can play a big part in how effective your robotic vacuum is at cleaning tough spots.

Roomba vacuums are easily recognized by their circular shape while Neato vacuums sport a D shape.

So which is better for efficiency?

Verdict

Once we started using the vacuums, this one quickly became obvious. While the round shape of the Roomba may be more appealing to some, it inhibits its ability to clean corners and tight spaces. The Neato vacuums win this one with their D shape that allows them to reach tight, tough spots.

Most Efficient Shape: Neato Botvac Series

Neato BotVac D3 Connected (Lower End Model)

Neato BotVac D7 Connected (Higher End Model)

Neato Botvac D3
Neato BotVac 7

Noise 

Families with kids and pets tend to be more conscious of vacuum noise, but everybody likes to be able to relax without feeling like a construction site is in their living room.

Both Neato and Roomba offer models that give users options for a quieter running setting with less power. That being said, neither is exactly whisper silent although both show some noise reduction.

Verdict 

Neato vacuums typically sound like a regular upright vacuum without using a quiet mode:

Not unbearably loud, but not silent either. The Roomba vacuums were usually quieter than Neato's on regular settings. On quiet settings, the difference is more obvious. While both are audible, the Roomba vacuums win this one.

Quietest: iRobot Roomba

Roomba 650 (lower End Model)

Roomba I7 (Higher End Model)

Irobot Roomba 650
iRobot Roomba I7

Battery life

When we're talking about these brands’ batteries there are a few things to consider:

How long can the vacuum cleaner on a single charge? Once the battery is low, how long does a full charge take? How does the cleaning surface affect battery endurance?

First, the earlier Roomba models had notoriously long charge times compared to their cleaning times. A 12 hour charging time for about 2 hours of cleaning is dismal at best.

Luckily, the newer models have improved upon this with a charging time of about 2 hours and around 90 minutes to 2 hours of cleaning time.

The Neato vacuums, in general, take about 2 to 3 hours to charge and offer about 2 ½ hours of cleaning time. This depends on whether you use regular, turbo, or eco mode.

Of course, battery life for both brands is longer for hard floors and low carpets. Likewise, both brands have less battery endurance for higher pile carpets.

Verdict

Both Roomba and Neato are pretty much on par with one another in terms of battery function. There are only a couple differences and they don’t make too much difference in your regular use.

The higher-end models of Roomba will go back to their charging station in the midst of a clean if their battery gets low.

The difference between the brands is that all Neato Botvacs automatically go to their charging stations whereas only some Roombas do. For battery function, these brands are at a tie.

>> Related Content: iLife vs. Roomba

Battery Life: TIE!

Roomba 650 (lower End Model)

Roomba I7 (Higher End Model)

Irobot Roomba 650
iRobot Roomba I7

Neato BotVac D3 Connected (Lower End Model)

Neato BotVac D7 Connected (Higher End Model)

Neato Botvac D3
Neato BotVac 7

Cleaning efficiency

When you’re looking at buying a robotic vacuum, it’s also important to check out how it structures cleaning. Roombas tend to work in a spiral pattern expanding outward to map out and clean the room. Neatos, on the other hand, work in a logical, linear structure going from one wall to the next, much like mowing a lawn.

Both brands have features that ensure the vacuums don’t go into areas you want left alone and that they do stay in the area until it’s clean.

Roomba has a dirt scanning feature included, which we could clearly see from how it would roll over spots several times. It seems that this feature may only extend to debris located underneath it, however, as it would continue going over the same spot while ignoring larger debris near it.

Neato BotVacs actually use laser scanning to assess the room (and mess!) around them and keep themselves from falling over ledges.

Verdict

While the Neato BotVacs work in a more logical pattern, laser scan the area, and leave clean vacuum line evidence of their cleaning, they can trip up on long pet hair after a while. It doesn’t happen frequently, but it can be a pain when it does since the vacuum has to stop mid-clean.

Roombas work in a spiral pattern while avoiding toys and larger objects, but don’t scan for dirt and debris unless it’s underneath the vacuum. The Roomba has a distinct advantage with its ability to surpass tangles that may eventually stop cleaning on a BotVac.

The verdict for this one is another toss-up depending on your needs, pets, and the kinds of messes you need to be cleaned.

The BotVac seems to get a more thorough clean throughout because of its structured cleaning pattern and laser scanning. The Roomba however, requires less monitoring, especially if you have pets with longer hair that shed a lot. So depending on your needs, the winner of this one will vary. 

Cleaning Efficiency: TIE!

Roomba 650 (lower End Model)

Roomba I7 (Higher End Model)

Irobot Roomba 650
iRobot Roomba I7

Neato BotVac D3 Connected (Lower End Model)

Neato BotVac D7 Connected (Higher End Model)

Neato Botvac D3
Neato BotVac 7

Smart Features

Now that basically everything we use is connected to an app, these robotic vacuums are no different. Both brands have models that include smart features and the apps can be downloaded from your app store whether you use iPhone or Android:

Neato’s app allows you to map out cleaning areas, track where the vacuum has cleaned, schedule cleanings, and designate areas for the vacuum to stay away from.

Roomba’s app allows you to turn the vacuum on and off, schedule cleaning times, set up the Imprint Smart Mapping to make very specific cleaning routines, and it works with voice-activated smart devices such as Alexa.

Verdict

Neato and Roomba both really bring convenience to the table with their smart features. Both apps cover most of the same staple features, although the voice activation of the Roomba app is especially appealing for those of us that get robotic vacuums for their convenience.

They’re pretty equal in features and quality, but for the voice activation and super specific mapping:
Roomba wins this one.

Best Smart Features: iRobot Roomba

Roomba 650 (lower End Model)

Roomba I7 (Higher End Model)

Irobot Roomba 650
iRobot Roomba I7

Roomba models vs. Neato BotVac models: a summarized comparison

Because both iRobot and Neato Robotics have so many different models with different features, it’s only fair to take a look at some of the individual models and their capabilities:

BotVac D7 Connected:

  • Contains smart technology compatible with Neato’s app
  • Removes allergens and tiny particles
  • Comes with a boundary marker
  • Can be monitored and managed through the app
  • Automatically charges when the battery is low
  • Connects to Roomba app 
  • Contains an extra high-efficiency filter
  • Has self-emptying feature with smart base so you hardly ever have to empty out debris
  • Has a dual mode virtual wall barrier
  • Quieter than most vacuums, robotic or otherwise
  • Can clean entire level and map your home
  • Returns to charging base when battery is low and resumes cleaning when charged
  • Connects to app for easy scheduling and management
  • Brushes designed for picking up pet hair
  • Cleans almost 2000 square feet in a single session
  • 1-year warranty
  • 3 hour charge time
  • Returns self to base when battery is low (this model does not automatically resume cleaning after being charged)
  • May be started manually or set for a week of cleaning (although this is on the device, not app)
  • Comes with side brushes
  • Comes with 1 virtual wall to block areas off from cleaning or keep the vacuum in the room until cleaning is complete
  • This model does not come with a sensor to detect dirt or debris

Conclusion

The vacuum you buy should ultimately be based on your needs and your home’s regular debris accumulation. In general, Neato BotVacs are more affordable but need more maintenance.

All the vacuums we’ve reviewed have proven themselves capable and durable, although you will have to weigh the importance of including certain features vs required maintenance vs the level of dirt left behind from your home’s occupants.

Now it's your turn!

Which robot vacuum model are you going to go with and why? Let us know what features you're looking for in the comments section below.

Neither of these doing it for you? Check out our post about the best vacuums of 2018 to see some more great options.

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