PROS / This robot vacuum cleans close to edges and around furniture.
CONS / Pet hair sticks to the bristle brushes easily, which makes cleaning your robot vacuum a bit more time-consuming than other bots on our lineup.
VERDICT / The Neato Botvac Connected combines almost all the features you could want in a robot vacuum: It has powerful suction, its design allows it to get close to walls, and it includes a smartphone and tablet app that lets you choose its schedule – even if you’re not home.
As technology advances, our homes get smarter with each new device we add to it. The Neato Botvac Connected is one of those smart home additions that let you clean smarter, not harder. This robot vacuum connects to your Wi-Fi at home and creates a connection with the Neato app you download to your smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android, only), and it gives you 100 percent control over your robot.
Just like the Neato robot vacs of the past, this one performs well on carpet and hard surfaces, sucking up most debris in its path. Its unique D-shaped design allows it to get closer to walls and edges of furniture than other robot vacuums. Although it kept some of the same accessories and behaviors as previous models, it has improved vastly in other areas, making this the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner.
The first thing we noticed about the Neato Botvac Connected is how it moved about the room. It moved along the perimeter of our test room methodically while vacuuming before cleaning the center of the room. We also noticed that the robot approached each obstacle (tables, couch and walls) slowly and rarely bumped into objects, but it hugged those borders closer than other robot vacuums had.
This robotic vacuum cleaned well on both carpet and hard surfaces – especially when we used the Turbo mode. The Neato Botvac Connected has two modes. Turbo is louder, more powerful and performs very well when you need it to pick up lots of debris and especially fine particles, such as dust or flour. The Eco mode is quieter and less powerful, but it vacuums for a longer period.
Each test we put the Neato Botvac Connected through was mostly successful – it sucked up the majority of each mess we made. It rolled over dense piles of debris and vacuumed all that was in its path and kept rolling along. We found that it missed a few patches of carpet after a full cleaning of the room, but you can instruct this Botvac to make another full pass of the room, if necessary. This robot vacuum cleaner handled larger pieces easily – cereal was no match for the Neato Botvac Connected.
One of the most frustrating messes to clean up is cat litter on linoleum or tile, and the Neato Botvac Connected managed to pick up all of the tiny bits of litter and dust in its way. Like the dust on the carpet, though, the Botvac left a strip of litter untouched.
We were prepared to help this robot vacuum over the tall threshold between the carpeted area and a linoleum floor, but the Neato Botvac Connected drove right over the threshold with no problem at all.
The battery that the Neato Botvac Connected uses is lithium-ion, which maintains a charge longer than its predecessors. In fact, using the Eco mode, and depending on the surface it is vacuuming, it can run for up to two hours continuously. Once your robot returns to dock, the charge time can take up to three hours.
There is very little by way of assembly with the Neato Botvac Connected. Once you pull it out of the box, you just have to set up the charging station and plug it in. The bot needs to be charged before you can get started with cleaning. There are two buttons on the Neato Botvac: a home button that has four functions, including nudging your bot awake, instructing it to clean your house, pausing the vacuuming and resetting your bot. The second is a spot-cleaning button that you can press to start a spot clean or pause that cleaning. There’s also a control panel on the bot that allows you to choose a language and set up Wi-Fi.
The Neato Botvac Connected is a bit shorter than previous models, which means it can easily slide under low tables and couches; however, it views couch flaps and bed skirts as walls, so it won’t push through and go under those areas.
Keeping your bot clean and working at peak performance means daily maintenance. We found that after only two passes of our test rooms, the Neato Botvac Connected needed a good cleaning itself. And you won’t have to guess whether it’s time to clean it – the Botvac lets you know. After emptying its large dustbin and shaking the dust from the filters, we turned the bot over and started the task of cleaning the brushes. This vacuum has a few different rollers, including a combo brush that has bristles. These work great for picking up hair from your floors, but it also acts like Velcro, especially with soft tufts of pet hair.
As you’re waiting for your bot to charge the first time, you can download and familiarize yourself with the app. The app works on a smartphone or tablet (iOS and Android) and it uses your Wi-Fi connection in conjunction with a separate connection that your bot creates. It isn’t particularly difficult to use the app, but it took some time for us to set up the schedules and figure out what we could do with the app. It’s actually a simple app that allows you to name your bot (we named ours The Bear) and instruct it to clean or pause. You also have the option of manually controlling your bot with the app to clean a specific spot – or you can race it around the room for fun. Once your bot finishes cleaning, you get notifications to your phone letting you know it has completed its task.
Like other Neato bots, this one comes with a magnetic boundary marker. You can place it under rugs and at thresholds to prevent the bot from entering rooms you don’t want it to wander off to.
Warranty & Support
Neato offers a one-year guarantee that your bot is free of defects in parts or labor. If you find something wrong with it within the first year, you can send it back to the manufacturer to get it repaired or replaced. The manufacturer gives its customers several useful guides and support from its website. You can find a quick start guide, an important information guide for the Neato Botvac Connected, and you can watch very helpful how-to videos.
Although the Neato Botvac Connected did not pass each test with flying colors, it performed very well and made up for any missed particles with second and third passes. In particular, we were impressed with this robotic vacuum’s approach to walls and furniture, because it cleaned closer to these borders better than other robots we tested. The Neato’s smartphone and tablet app make keeping your home clean more convenient than ever, making this the best robot vacuum cleaner in our lineup.