The improvements in robotic vacuum technology have been enormous in the past few years.
Today we will be looking at two of the latest – Neato BotVac Connected and Roomba 980.
These two robots are the best we have on the market. I dare say better than the Dyson 360 Eye – I have a section for this below.
All of these products use the latest mobility algorithm called SLAM or Synchronous Localization and Mapping.
SLAM is basically the “brains” of these robots that help map the area being cleaned.
By having this map, the robot can locate it using whatever navigation tool it has and know exactly where it is and how to get back to the home base to recharge.
Google’s self-driving car (or Waymo) also uses this technology, so it’s pretty high tech.
But the similarities between them end there.
These smart and sophisticated robots are able to clean even large homes with minimal interference.
But sophistication comes at a cost, but if you can afford to spend between $700 and $1,000, these are great helpers that will make your home a cleaner environment to live in.
The first obvious difference from bats is the shape.
The BotVac uses its patented D-shaped design since the first Neato as it was manufactured. Roomba has a round shape.
The interface of the 980 is very simple with only 3 buttons – home, location, and clean. You will also notice that it has a camera in the middle that helps it track its location.
Although the use of the camera has a downside. It may not work in backlit environments because the camera is light dependent.
Neato also has a very simple interface with two buttons, Clean and Location located at the bottom. At the top right is an area where you can schedule.
Unlike Roomba, Neao doesn’t use any optics. Since it first appeared, it relies on a laser sensor for navigation.
Personally, I prefer this over a camera based system as it is not light dependent.
View from the bottom
The motorized brush is one of the biggest differences between these two machines.
The first difference is the size. The BotVac brush is much wider than the Roomba brush, if you look at them side by side they are almost twice as wide.
But Roomba has opposite rotating brushes that work best at “snatching” dirt. And it doesn’t have any bristles, so it requires less maintenance.
A wider side brush has a huge advantage because it is more efficient. And since the brush is close to the side, it will clean corners and edges better.
It has perhaps the widest robotic brush available on the market. Wider than the eye of the Dyson 360.
The first generation of Neato robots had no side brushes. Since their robots were so efficient in terms of how to navigate, they felt they didn’t need one.
But when he released the Roomba 980 with an upgraded navigation system, Neato had no choice.
But times have changed. From the first BotVac onwards, all Neato robots have a side brush.
When the Roomba debuted, it used a series of infrared sensors to detect obstructions. This system was simple and relatively cheap to produce.
The navigation of the first generation Roombas was very aggressive which means it doesn’t slow down even when something is in front of it.
While it cleaned well, it left a lot of scuff marks, so iRobot had to modify it in future versions. The 800 series has a developed algorithm where the robot slows down when it detects obstacles.
They revamped the entire system in the 980. Instead of relying solely on infrared sensors, it now has a top-mounted camera that tracks location like GPS but still relies on the bumper to detect obstacles.
The redesigned navigation improves efficiency from a randomized pattern to a more predictable pattern that improves efficiency.
On the other hand, Neato relies on the laser distance sensor installed on top.
This sensor rotates at more than a thousand revolutions per minute per second, and constantly determines its location with the help of the SLAM algorithm.
Already known for his efficiency, Neato did not change anything.
Watch this video to see the nuances of how these two navigate…
When it came to spot cleaning, the Neato covered more space compared to the 980. She was able to even go under the table and go cleverly around the legs. 980 didn’t even get past the legs because it was a semicircle in that area.
Roomba spot cleaning wouldn’t be a problem cleaning a wide open space but in tight areas with a lot of obstructions, the BotVac seems to perform better as it can cover a much larger area.
default cleaning mode
iRobot with its camera-based system is a bit tricky. He begins by cleaning the middle parts of the room and then cleans the edges.
I noticed the 980 was a struggle in terms of how it handled obstacles and missed some places in the kitchen while Neato was oblivious to it and went about his business to cover just about every square inch.
Neato is a little more methodical. This may be due to the lack of dirt-detection sensors that the Roomba has.
Cleaning the edges of the room starts first before moving towards the middle of the room.
This version of BotVac is more comprehensive compared to its older siblings. It goes through a cleaning cycle at least twice and covers more space than Roomba.
If you have more obstacles at home, Neato will do a better job with its laser guidance system. For homes with less clutter and more open space, Roomba will have less difficulty navigating through.
Another difference between these two robots is containment.
Neato uses a strip of black magnets that you map to the ground that essentially tells the cliff sensors that the area is off-limits.
You can actually use any piece of black body like electrical tape because it won’t go over anything black.
iRobot uses a device called a virtual wall that emits an infrared signal to block the robot’s path. This signal has a range of 10 feet so you can block almost any entry point in a small to medium sized home.
It requires a pair of AA batteries to function.
A virtual wall looks like a better solution compared to magnetic stripe tape because there are fewer children sitting.
Unless you stick the duct tape to the floor, you’ll have to keep an eye on it to see if it’s still in place.
This is useful in areas where there is no physical boundary separating two different areas. Good examples are the kitchen and dining room.
For example, you can place a virtual wall in front of the kitchen entry point and allow the robot to clean the dining room while cooking.
I call this twenty-first century multitasking with a robot.
On paper, the BotVac looks great with its more powerful motor and wide motorized brush.
But the Roomba 980 had a few tricks up its sleeves.
The number one feature that makes it work better on both surfaces is the opposite-spin rubber extractors that work together to “snatch” dirt off the surface.
This design is more complex than the traditional Neato design and requires more maintenance.
It is shorter in size but did not affect the cleaning performance because it was more thorough.
You’ll notice in the cleaning test portion of the video earlier that the 980 performed better in the carpet cleaning test.
It was able to capture almost 100% of the sand while BotVac picked up half of it.
The interesting part of the cleaning test was the paper portion of it.
It’s not something you normally clean in doors but testing showed the Roomba was able to dump all of that inside the container while the BotVac only dumped half of it leaving the other half in the intake area where the brush is.
Neato also struggled to clean comfortable areas of tile, and even with the wider motorized brush, it didn’t clean everything on the edge like I’d hoped it would.
The Roomba 980 appears to be better equipped when it comes to cleaning small and large debris thanks to its counter rotating straws that capture these particles rather than just sweeping. The dirt and carpet detection system also forces the robot to clean dirty areas more thoroughly.
wifi and app
In the age of smart mobile devices and apps, it is good to see manufacturers take advantage of this technology.
These bots have a WiFi connection that allows remote communication in a cloud environment.
Once the bot is connected to your home WiFi and the app, you can now access all the bots functions even outside your home.
I recently published an article about WiFi powered robotic vacuum cleaners, so please check it out!
These applications are not the same and will have nuances.
Neato probably has the most stable app due to its simplicity. It doesn’t have the fancy Dyson features like real-time tracking or battery status.
After you connect the bot to your home WiFi, it asks you to name the bot.
You can also register it with Neato for warranty claim purposes.
The app itself is pretty basic – it allows you to schedule, start a cleaning cycle, and control the robot like an RC but that’s just about that. It gives you the option of using eco or turbo mode.
An economical position will be sufficient on the bare floor. But on the mat, you’ll need to use the turbo mode for extra suction.
You can’t monitor the progress and it doesn’t have a lot of previous cleaning cycles.
If the motor brush gets confused or something malfunctions, the app simply flashes an “error” message without any details.
Roomba is very similar to Neato in terms of simplicity. It comes in the same clutter-free design with a large “clean” button in the middle. You can schedule different cleaning times for each day of the week or you can just use the default cleaning mode by pressing the clean button.
But there are some unique nuances like toggling edge cleaning, spot cleaning or having them switch multiple passes.
And if you can’t find Roomba, hit the locate button and ask it to play a sound.
Comparing Roomba 980 and BotVac connected to the Dyson 360 Eye
No other robotic vacuum cleaner makes a great mist like the Dyson 360 Eye. Now the waves have calmed down and we’ll take a better look at how this product performs.
Surprisingly, the Dyson didn’t perform as well as the Roomba or Neato in cleaning tests. Put in the past on everyone
So this is clearly a huge disappointment and it is reflected in customer reviews.
The 360 Eye is much narrower and longer and that’s both good and bad.
Being narrow allows it to fit into tighter areas where the other two may not fit.
But when it’s more than 4.5 inches high, it won’t fit into low-profile furniture and that’s a big trick.
The main reason people buy a robot vacuum cleaner is autonomy and cleaning the areas under the furniture which is something a robot cleaner should be able to do. Unfortunately, Dyson will not be able to do this.
That’s because of the motor Dyson used, the V2 – the same motor found in the DC44. So it’s pretty surprising that he didn’t perform well.
|Roomba||Roomba 980||Neato BotVac Conected||Dyson 360 Eye|
|the show length||
Eco mode: 120 minutes.
Turbo mode: 90 minutes.
These robots are priced between $700 and $900 and you will get the absolute best deals on Amazon.
The Roomba 980 will cost approximately $900, but a cheaper version, the 960 is also available for a few hundred dollars less.
It keeps the same navigation, WiFi, and app but has a smaller battery and motor, so there’s less power.
The 980 will be better suited for homes with a lot of carpet due to the carpet reinforcement feature, while the 960 works well in homes with only bare floors.
All three have the same WiFi capability and have a smartphone app that allows you to schedule and control remotely.
The D3 is the cheapest at around $400, but it doesn’t have any side brush, has the smallest battery and doesn’t have a HEPA filter.
The D5 is $200 more expensive but comes with a HEPA filter, side brush, and a larger lithium-ion battery that lasts longer.
The Roomba 980 and Neato BotVac Connected are two of the best performing robotic vacuums available today.
Surprisingly, both outperformed the more expensive, high-tech Dyson 360 Eye in one of these tests.
The Roomba 980 performed better in cleaning tests thanks to anti-rotating rubber extractors that provide better agitation over BotVac bristles. This is even if it has less power and a narrower whisker bar.
It also has acoustic sensors that detect the areas with more dirt and focus more on those areas. But she struggled with obstacles as she lost a few points.
To maximize the 980’s cleaning performance, you should make the room as clutter-free as possible.
BotVac Connected has a more predictable pattern compared to the 980.
It does not have any sonic sensors but compensates for it through a two-time cleaning cycle.
Despite the added accuracy, it still lags behind in cleaning tests especially on carpets.
But it’s $200 cheaper, which is a lot of money and can be a deal breaker for some.
For daily cleaning operations where you only need to clean small dust and dirt, Neato would be a good choice. But in homes with a lot of carpet, a Roomba would be a better investment.