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Hands-on Gear Review
Neato Botvac D75 ReviewPrice: $449 List
Pros: Inexpensive, cleans corners and edges well, easy to use
Cons: Poor at pet hair removal, mediocre at carpet
Bottom line: Great at navigation, but has a second tier cleaning performance compared to the top scorer
The Neato D75 surprised us, giving a solid performance at less than half the cost of its competition. The D75's older sibling, the Neato Botvac Connected, won our Editor's Choice award, but is $250 more than the D75. The only noticeable gap in performance when it came to our tests was with cleaning pet hair. The lack of a bristled brush really hurt the D75 in this category, also reducing it to an average performance in the carpet cleaning category. However, a brush kit for this robot vacuum can be purchased to upgrade it, making this a fantastic option to maximize cleaning performance.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
While not the top performing robot that we tested, the Neato D75 was as solid performer. The D75 ranked just behind the highest end models, and also has the potential to upgrade the main extractor to the combination brush. The D75, with the upgraded brush, is the model that I would purchase to clean my home.
The only difference in navigation and cleaning that we found between the D75 and the Neato Botvac Connected is the main extractor brush, and, as such, it performed identically well to the Connected in our tests. As far as we could determine, the frame and the navigation system is exactly the same as the Connected. We found it had an above average performance, able to easily clear thresholds between room and larger cords without becoming trapped or entangled. It faltered on smaller cords, like the other robots that we tested, becoming tangled on the blind cord and the tasseled rug. However, the manufacturer does recommend that you tuck any tassels under a rug prior to cleaning.
The D75 usually could work its way out of even the tightest spots, given enough time. Below you can see how well the D75 does at cleaning under a table and chairs, an effective forest of legs from the perspective of the robot.
We noticed that the Roomba 650 and Roomba 980 were more effective at cleanly leaving the tightest spots, relying less on their bumpers than the Neatos. The D75 runs an identical cleaning programs as the Connected, doing a perimeter sweep of the room, and then a systematic back and forth pattern for the bulk of the floor space. The D75's room navigation ability did instill confidence in us that it would actually clean the entire house, and get the job done without us having to intervene.
The D75 scored lower than its competitors, but we still felt it did an acceptable job cleaning, especially when taking its substantially reduced price into account. The D75 did deliver a sub-par performance when it came to cleaning debris that was deeper in the carpet, really highlighting that the rubber blade only extractors just didn't seem to perform as well in our tests as the combination blade/bristle types.
We also noticed that the D75 had the same problem as the Connected, with the largest particles becoming wedged in the intake of the collection bin, rather than actually making it into the bin.
Hard Surfaces Cleaning
The D75 did very well with hard surface cleaning, earning a tie for 2nd place with the Samsung POWERbot and closely following the Connected. It performed exceptionally well with picking up flour and oatmeal from out tests.As shown by our flour line test, the D75 left no visible flour after it completed its pass.
The D75's only noticeably poor performance was with the mini-wheats, lacking the power to fully crush them enough to collect the debris in the bin. However, it was middle of the road when it came to picking up the cheerios in our test, averaging 27.3 out of 30 cheerios, compared to our top performer that picked up all the cheerios every time.
Corners and Edges
Once again, the D75 mirrored the Neato Connected, earning the top place in this category. The outer shape of the robot, the rotating side brush, and the main extractor brush reaching so close to the edge of the robot lead the D75 to dominate this category. We used flour spread out along the edge of our robot pen to provide a good visual reference for this test, and it really highlights the difference between the Neato and Roomba models when it comes to cleaning the edges and corners of a room.
The Neato D75 disappointed us with its below average performance when it came to picking up pet hair. We found that the tufts of hair got caught between the plastic brush flaps and would not get sucked into the collection bin, with most of the pet hair falling out when we removed the brush. It did get some hair all the way into its bin, but no where near as much as the other vacuums.
If you are primarily looking at getting this for pet hair removal, then we would recommend looking at a different model, like the Neato Connected--our Editor's Choice--or the Samsung POWERbot. We found that having bristles on the main extractor was a key requirement for being able to effectively clean up after shedding pets.
Ease of Use
We particularly appreciated how easy the D75 was to use. We scored it a close second to the Roomba 650, only finding it a little more difficult to schedule. There is an easy to read menu on the device, and we found it a simple task to navigate through and set up different options. The D75 does not offer smartphone connectivity, which we found could be a benefit: We struggled the most to set up this feature on the vacuums that did offer it. The D75 also has large charging contacts on its back, making it much easier than some of the other vacuums to manually align the robot on its charging base.
The Neato D75, in out opinion, is the least expensive robotic vacuum that you can buy and be confident that it will get the job done. The transition to mapping based systems really improves the overall usefulness of a robotic vacuum, making it more likely to actually be used. This is a great vacuum right out of the box if you are primarily trying to keep your hard floors clean, and pet hair isn't a huge concern for you. If the lower price of this model appeals to you, but you need to pick up pet hair and/or clean lots of carpet, then we recommend purchasing the combination bristle/blade extractor (linked to below) to get the most out of the D75.
The D75 has an exceptional value, and it closely followed the Connected, the Editor's Choice, in scores. We really liked the fact that upgradeable features are available, allowing you to purchase exactly what you want and meter out the spending over time.
This is probably the robot vacuum that is the most appropriate for the majority of us. While losing some of the more advanced features and customizable options, this will keep your house clean, and will do an above average job doing it. We really liked this model, and found that is had most of the features we wanted, and nothing was a major deal breaker.
Other Versions and Accessories
Neato Botvac D Series Brush Kit
Neato Boundary Marker
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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