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Neato Botvac Connected Review

The Neato Botvac Connected  our Best Buy award winner.
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $700 List | $699.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Great for pet hair, cleans tight corners and edges, navigates well, good at hard floors
Cons:  Expensive, App can be hard to set up
Bottom line:  Best all-around cleaner for most homes
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Neato

Our Verdict

The Neato Botvac Connected performed well across our arsenal of tests, earning it our Editor's Choice award. The Connected lead the way against the other competitors, demonstrating exactly what we looked for in a robotic vacuum cleaner: Reliable room navigation and good cleaning performance. It was only outperformed by the Roomba 980 in our room navigation test, and the Samsung POWERbot in our carpet cleaning trials. All in all, this is the vacuum that we would recommend to a friend that wanted the best available.

Still want the best, but want to save a couple bucks?
The Neato Botvac D5 Connected.

The Neato Botvac D5 Connected is very similar to the Connected, but retails for about $100 less, due to its 25% shorter running time between charges, and lack of a spiral blade brush included.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Robot Vacuums of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
David Wise and Austin Palmer

Last Updated:
Tuesday
October 25, 2016

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The Neato Botvac was the leader or the runner-up in all of our testing categories, and there were no major drawbacks that made us hesitate in recommending it. It is a solid, all-around home cleaner, and had a nice blend of features that improved its performance and made it easier to use. This product really excelled, and demonstrated what we would expect out of a robot vacuum.

Performance Comparison


The Neato Connected  reveling in the glory of winning our Editor's Choice Award  after cleaning our floors.
The Neato Connected, reveling in the glory of winning our Editor's Choice Award, after cleaning our floors.

Room Navigation


The Botvac Connected gave an above average performance at reliably cleaning without needing rescue. It was able to traverse small obstacles, like a threshold between rooms and a large diameter laptop power cord, but became entangled when driving over shoelaces or the tassels on a rug. The Roomba models were more aggressive and able to free themselves some of the time, but had a much higher potential to wreak havoc and potentially damage themselves in the process.

Flipping over the Neato Connected to free its main extractor brush.
Flipping over the Neato Connected to free its main extractor brush.

The Connected did well in our navigation tests, beginning its cleaning program by running the border of the house, creating a map, and then running a systematic "lawnmower" pattern over the bulk of the floor. The navigation system works well, and it could usually work its way out of any confined spaces that it wandered in to. While able to free itself, this product definitely struggled with the tighter spaces, and it probably would be very beneficial to try and open up some of the more cramped spaces in your home to maximize the cleaning efficiency of this product. Below you can see a video of the Botvac Connected as it cleans under a dining room table.



It can be a little rough on furniture when getting out, and leave some small scuffs.
The Neato Connected backing up into an obstacle. It can be a little rough getting out of confined spaces  and leaves some light scuffs on furniture.
The Neato Connected backing up into an obstacle. It can be a little rough getting out of confined spaces, and leaves some light scuffs on furniture.
Nevertheless, we would feel confident that this would get the job done without us having to intervene.

Carpet Cleaning


While not the standout performer in the carpet cleaning category, the Connected performed above average on all of our tests, doing particularly well with cleaning our medium size test particles (ice and oatmeal). It did not perform as well as some of the other models we tested with our fine and large test particles, but still did a perfectly acceptable job cleaning them. It is also worthwhile to note that our cleaning tests were very much "torture tests" for these vacuums, with a much higher concentration of debris than you would encounter on a daily basis.

The Neato Connected about to attempt our Concentrated Flour test on our low-pile testing carpet.
The Neato Connected about to attempt our Concentrated Flour test on our low-pile testing carpet.

One feature that we particularly liked that seemed to set it apart from the competition was the combination rubber blade and bristle extractor brush. It did a much better job at pulling particles out of the carpet, especially the fluffier, medium pile carpet. One drawback that we did notice with the Botvac Connected was that larger particles, like mini-wheats, had a tendency to become lodged in the collection bin intake.

Hard Surface Cleaning


The Connected was our top performer in this category, leaving all other competitors in the dust. The combination of the suction force, and the combination extractor brush really seemed to be an exceptional combo when it comes to cleaning ability. The only drawback that we found was similar to the carpet cleaning test, in that the largest particles in our tests, the mini-wheats, would become captured in the intake to the collection bin. We did notice that the Botvac Connected did a much better job at actually sucking up debris from a hard floor, when some of the other robots had a tendency to push debris around rather than actually pick it up. This model redeemed its somewhat poor performance at cleaning flour from the carpet with how well it did with flour on the hardwood floor. There was essentially no flour left, only a tiny bit visible under close examination, really emphasizing how well the cleaning performance is on hard surfaces.

Corners and Edges


Here is really where the Neato models excel above and beyond the rest of its peers. The D shaped design, wide main extractor, and side brush allow it to perform the best overall in really cleaning close to the edges of a room, as well as tight corners. We tested each robot with flour on a hard surface to provide the best visual measure of which one would perform the best. This model thoroughly outperformed the competition in our tests.

Our edge and corner cleaning testing setup  with the Botvac Connected ready to go.
The finished results of the Neato Connected after the completion of our edge and corner cleaning test.
 

Pet Hair


The Neato Connected was our top scorer for picking up pet hair, and is definitely a good selection if that is your primary reason for getting a robotic vacuum. Most of the other products struggled with actually getting the hair into the collection bin, rather than having it become entangled on the side brush, the intake area, or on the main extractor. The Connected performed admirably in our Pet Hair Torture Test, and really exceeded our overall expectation on how much it could pick up.

Our Editors' Choice award winner  the Connected  prior to our pet hair cleaning test.
The aftermath: The Connected did well at collecting hair  with the majority of it ending up in the bin  and not tangled on the brush heads.
 

Ease of Use


By far, we found the most difficult part of using the Connected was getting the Connected part to actually work. This trend carried across with the other smartphone connected model, the Roomba 980 that we tested. It really made us wonder if it really is necessary for a robot vacuum to have that kind of connectivity. Fortunately, it is entirely possible to use the Neato--without ever pairing it to your smartphone--for all the basic cleaning functions. The onboard interface was really easy to use and understand, and the touch sense buttons were extremely responsive. There are two mechanical buttons on the front that are used to start either a spot clean, or a home cleaning cycle. We also particularly liked that is easy to manually align the robot with its charging base.

Value


While the Neato Connected was our top overall performer, we did feel that it was a little more expensive than it necessarily needed to be. The large jump in price between the D75 to the Connected seems to be based solely on the combination brush and on the addition of the smartphone features. We feel that while the smartphone feature is useful, it may be a little easier on the budget to upgrade our Best Buy award winner, and forgo the connectivity

Conclusion


The Neato Connected is a great robotic vacuum, doing a good job keeping our floors cleaner than we normally would. It is a decently expensive purchase (MSRP of $699 at the time of writing) but it can be a good investment with the amount of time it can save you cleaning.
David Wise and Austin Palmer

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