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Neato Botvac D80 Review
Price: $500 List | $449.00 at Amazon
Pros: Navigates reliably, excellent at hard floors and collecting pet hair
Cons: Has a harder time with larger particles
Bottom line: The best you can get without blowing your budget
the Neato Botvac D80 is an exceptionally high performing model, tying for the top overall score. This model particularly excels at cleaning hard surface floor types, navigating into tight corners and sweeping up close to edges, as well as collecting pet hair. This model wasn't quite the runner-up when it came to cleaning carpets and navigating around obstacles, more than enough for the majority of households. This performance all comes at a very reasonable price for this category of products, making this model a fantastic value and earning it a Best Buy award.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
We didn't find this model to have any significant drawbacks in our tests and tied for the top score in half of our rating metrics. While this robot didn't deliver any exceptionally standout performance in any one test or category, it did well across the board — enough that we felt we could rely on this robot to clean our house and provide more utility than frustration.
We took 9 of the top robot vacuums currently available and put them to the test to see which model swept away the rest of the competition. We scored over each model's performance against the others, conducting close to 25 individual tests, eventually coming up with an overall score from 0-100. You can see how each robot did in the chart below.
Our testing process was split into six metrics: room Navigation, Carpet Cleaning, Hard Surface Cleaning, Corners and Edges, Pet Hair, and Ease of Use. Each metric had a handful of tests associated with it and each model of robot vacuum received a subscore for each metric. The following sections detail the results for each metric and exactly how the D80 did.
This metric assessed how well the robotic part of the robot vacuums worked. We compared how well these products traversed obstacles — whether or not they became ensnared when cleaning around things like thin blind cords, shoelaces, or tasseled rugs. We also assessed how well these products can navigate, evaluating how they handled the vast space of an enormous empty room (492 sq ft), if they could successfully clean multiple rooms, and how competent they were at maneuvering around an average room filled with furniture — looking at how well they cleaned and if they ever became trapped and needed rescue. The Neato D80 did well in this metric, earning a 6 out of 10 — the second-highest score of the group. You can see how this compared to the other robots in the graphic below.
This model successfully navigated past a thicker, laptop charging cable but became entangled when cleaning around shoelaces, blind draw cords, and tassels. In each case, the robot sucked up the item, which then became entangled in the main extractor and caused an error, requiring human intervention. All of these problems could have been averted by a little forethought and a quick sweep of the room for obstacles before the robot was let loose. For example, Neato recommends folding the tassels on a rug under before the robot cleans.
This model did much much better at navigating, excelling at cleaning in both the large room and multiple room tests. This robot will scan the room, then clean the periphery of the room before finishing the bulk of the interior area with a systematic, back-and-forth lawnmower style pattern. The D80 does a good job at navigating around furniture, though not quite as proficient as the irobot roomba 980. The D80 handles everything except the most confined spaces very well and will eventually make it out of these smaller space the majority of the time. However, it will often take a little while to free itself, and can sometimes scuff up furniture leg when it backs up blindly.
For this metric, we tested cleaning rather than navigating. We spread a variety of different debris types on both low and medium-pile carpet types and compared how much each robot picked up. The Neato D80 once again did well, earning it a 6 out of 10. This was again the second-highest score, lagging behind the Samsung POWErbot's unrivaled carpet cleaning performance. We spread rice, flour, Mini-Wheats, and oatmeal on the test carpets and unleashed the D80 on it to determine scores. You can see how all the robots ranked in the chart below.
The D80 picked up 100% of the scattered rice on both fluffier, medium-pile carpet and the flatter, low-pile carpet. Performance dropped a little bit when it came to flour, with the D80 doing an average job, basically performing identically to the Botvac Connected. This model tended to scoot the Mini-Wheats around on the flatter carpet rather than collecting them, but managed to suck up about half of them on the fluffier carpet. The D80 finished up this metric with a solid performance at collecting oatmeal, picking up practically 100% of the debris on both shallow and fluffy carpet, only leaving some tiny crumbs behind on the shallow carpet.
Hard Surface Cleaning
While the Neato D80 did well in the prior two metrics, it truly excelled in this metric earning the top score of 7 out of 10, tying with the Botvac Connected and the D5. We performed a similar set of tests to our carpet cleaning tests — spreading flour, cereal, Mini-Wheats, and oatmeal and evaluating how each vacuum did. You can see
The D80 collected practically all of the concentrated flour on the hardwood floor, only neglecting to pick up the flour that was pushed into the cracks between the boards.
This model also had a flawless score in our cereal test, collecting every single one of the Cheerios in its path. The D80 did struggle a little with the Mini-Wheats, where it has enough clearance to make it over the Mini-Wheats but they occasionally became trapped in the brush zone rather than making it all the way into the collection bin. This model did finish out the test with a perfect performance in our oatmeal test, leaving no residual grains behind.
Corners and Edges
The Neato Botvac D80 also did an exceptional job with corners and edges, earning an 8 out of 10, once again tying for the top position with the Botvac Connected and the Neato D5. This test was evaluating how close to the edge of a wall the vacuum would clean and how tight it could get into the corners of a room.
We built a robot pen and spread debris around the edges of it, comparing before and after photos to determine scores. We ran this test on both hard floors and carpets. This model, as well as all of the other Neato brand models, do exceptionally well at getting into the corners to clean, due to their D-shaped design and their turning method of driving all the way into the corner, then backing out and turning. The D80 also has a rotating side brush that will sweep debris from along the wall into the main extractor to be collected.
For those of you with a Fluffy or Fido that sheds, you are well aware of the constant struggle that exists to keep the house somewhat clean. You may be considering a robot vacuum simply to alleviate your pet hair problems. If that is the case, then the D80 is a solid choice. This robot tied for the top position with its pet hair collecting performance, earning a 7 out of 10 — the same as the Botvac Connected
This model did a good job at getting the majority of the pet hair into the collection bin but a non-trivial amount did become tangled in the brush head. We found the combination spiral blade brush worked the best at collecting pet hair, much better than the rubber blade only brush.
This model does include both models of brush so you do have some freedom to experiment. It is necessary to use the included cleaning tool on the extractor head much more frequently when the vacuum is used to collect hair or its effectiveness will rapidly drop.
Ease of Use
Our final metric was how easy it was to use these products, making up 10% of the total score. While this wasn't the highest-weighted metric it is still important. These products are designed to reduce the time you spend cleaning and make your life easier — not induce high levels of frustration. The D80 was one of the easier vacuums to use, earning a 7 out of 10 for this metric, tying for the runner-up position with the Botvac Connected and the D75.
To assess this, we looked at how difficult it was to set up these products out of the box, how easy it was to set up a schedule of cleanings, and how much effort was required for regular maintenance. This model has a screen on the device and easy to use cursor buttons rather than a mobile app or touch buttons, which we found to be a much easier interface.
You use this same interface to set up scheduled cleanings. The regular maintenance was also on par with the other models, emptying the collection bin after each use, washing the filter every 15-30 days, and replacing the filter every six months.
This model is a fantastic value, tying for the top score overall with a budget-friendlier price, earning it our Best Buy award.
All in all, the Neato D80 is one of the best robot vacuums currently available on the market. It cleans well and navigates reliably enough that it will actually clean your home autonomously, rather than constantly becoming trapped. This model has all of the critical features you really need in a robot vacuum and omits any fluff that would drive the price up. This is the robot vacuum that we would recommend for those that want the best and don't want to break the bank.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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