While the D80 couldn't quite claim the top spot, mainly hampered by its complete lack of connected features, it is our favorite robot when it comes to getting the most bang for the buck. This robot does a great job at cleaning both hard and soft types of flooring, as well as navigating all but the tightest of places around your home without difficulty. It does a decent job of collecting pet hair. While it still might be a little too pricey for those on the tightest of budgets, it's our top recommendation for the budget-conscious shopper who still wants a great product.
Neato Botvac D80 Review
Pros: Inexpensive, great at cleaning hard surfaces, solid at navigating
Cons: Doesn’t have any smart or connected features
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The D80 finished in the upper half of the group, doing slightly worse than the Roomba 980 and slightly better than the Roomba 960. We found the Roomba models to be a little more adept at finding their way out of cramped places in your home, but couldn't quite match the performance of the D80 at cleaning hard floors or collecting pet hair. However, both of the Roomba models have much more in terms of smart features, but do cost between $200-$400 more than the D80.
To really review robot vacuums and see which ones are truly worth buying, we bought all of them — so you don't have to — and pitted them against each other in a comprehensive set of side-by-side challenges, ranging from cleaning up Cheerios to comparing their abilities to be piloted remotely. We grouped our tests into six rating metrics, each weighted based on its overall significance, with the results of the D80 described below.
Accounting for the largest portion of the overall score at 30%, Navigation is our most important testing metric by far. We compared how well each robot handled driving around a variety of furniture, as well as successfully docking and traversing flooring with areas of high contrast, which can inadvertently trigger the edge detection sensors on these products that prevent them from driving off stairs. The D80 performed quite respectable, meriting a 6 out of 10 for its performance.
We started off by setting the robot loose in a room furnished with our collection of fake testing furniture, which allows us to more accurately see and photograph the robot as it drives about the room for scoring their navigational abilities. The D80 navigated the majority of the room without issue, though it got a little bogged down in the more confined areas of the room, particularly around the chairs and dining room table.
This robot also very easily finds its way back to its docking station, regardless if it is in a different room or the same room when it is sent home.
The D80 didn't have any issue with low furniture or any areas of high contrast flooring.
It easily traverses under sofas and crosses from black to white carpet and vice-versa without accidentally triggering any of the navigation or edge detection sensors.
For this metric, worth 20% of the total score, we evaluated how much of your home the robot actually cleans, compared to how well it can navigate around obstacles. We scored each robot based on how much of the furnished room it actually cleaned, as well as how easily it handled cleaning multiple rooms and its spot cleaning abilities. Additionally, we also tested the effectiveness of the barrier system for each 'bot if it had one — a handy way to keep your robot vacuum from always getting tangled up in a shoe rack or pushing your pet's food bowl around the house. The D80 did quite well, meriting a 7 out of 10 for its great performance.
This robot did very well at cleaning the majority of our furnished test room, with the exception of around the dining set. The D80, like the other Neato brand vacuums, struggled around the more confined areas around the chairs and table, but it didn't purposefully avoid some these areas like some of the other products.
This robot relies on a physical strip of magnetic tape to demarcate an area that the robot shouldn't clean. This isn't our favorite method, as it isn't the most convenient to lay out the tape, but it is effective.
The D80 has a decent spot clean, though it is a bit smaller than some of the other Neato vacuums, only covering about 35 sq. ft.
However, it does an excellent job at cleaning multiple rooms throughout your home and will pause cleaning to recharge and automatically start up again if the battery becomes too depleted while cleaning.
Now, we move on to discussing the actual cleaning abilities of the Botvac D80, starting with soft flooring. We scored each robot on how well it cleaned up a variety of different types of debris on the carpet, as well as evaluating how closely the D80 could clean in the corners of the room and along the walls, which makes up 15% of its total score.
Starting off, the D80 delivered a strong performance when it came to cleaning in close to the boundaries of the room, only leaving a strip of leftover material about 1" in width behind along the edges of our testing pen. It would leave a bit more in the corners, with a wedge about the length of the robot and a maximum width of about 1.5" from the wall.
Unfortunately, the performance of the D80 plummeted in out next assessment: flour collection. We only did this test on the flatter, low-pile carpet, as it's a bit much to ask any of these products to clean up flour from the fluffy carpet. The D80 left behind tons of flour — considerably more than other vacuums, dropping its score for this test.
Fortunately, the performance of the D80 rebounded in our rice collection test, delivering an almost perfect performance and collecting essentially all of the rice that we laid out on both the low-pile and medium-pile carpet. This robot did almost as well in our oat collection test, leaving behind only minuscule oat fragments after it had completed its cleaning pass.
The D80 finished out our carpet cleaning metric with an alright showing in our large object cleanup challenge. It collected most of the mini-wheats that we placed on both types of carpet, with only the occasional mini-wheat evading capture by bouncing off of the front bar.
Hard Surface Cleaning
Similar to the previous metric, this set of tests is also worth 15% of the total score. We used the same tests as our Carpet Cleaning metric, though this time using a small section of hardwood laminate flooring as our test surface, compared with low-pile or medium-pile carpet. The D80 did quite well, earning an 8 out of 10 for this metric and putting it close to the top of the pack.
This robot again did very well in our corners and edges test, leaving a similar amount of leftover debris as the carpeted version.
This model's performance dropped a little in our flour test, but it still was above average. It successfully collected most of the flour, but left a not insignificant amount of flour behind and failed to clean any of the cracks between the boards.
The D80 did bounce back in our rice and oat test, successfully getting almost all of the rice or oats that we spread out, with the exception of flinging one or two grains to the side and failing to collect them.
This robot also did very well collecting the mini-wheats, only missing a single one, which it probably would have gotten given enough time, as it kept hitting it out of the way.
Next, we evaluated and scored how well each robot did at cleaning up after your household pets, which accounts for 10% of the overall score for the robot. We spread a measured amount of pet hair that we got from a local groomer on a section of flat and fluffy carpet, then based our scoring on the ratio of hair collected to hair remaining on the carpet. The D80 performed about average, receiving a 5 out of 10 for its middle-of-the-road performance at picking up pet hair.
This robot did a little better on the flat carpet, getting about 27% of the hair, compared to the 19% that it successfully extracted from the fluffier carpet.
For the final metric, also worth 10% of the overall score, we compared the various smart features and functions of each robot. Unfortunately, the D80 didn't really pass muster compared to the other products, earning a 2 out of 10 for its poor showing.
This model lacks any sort of network features, meaning that it can't interface with any existing smart home systems and has no companion app. All the controls are right on the robot itself, rather than app based.
These allow you to set a schedule for each day of the week, start it cleaning your whole home or just a spot, or send it home.
While this robot does have a few flaws, it is by far the best bang for the buck that you can get when it comes to these products, offering a solid, all-around performance for less than $500.
If you aren't looking to spend a fortune on a robot vacuum but are still willing to invest for a solid performance, then the D80 is the clear choice for you. This robot gets a little bogged down in the more cramped areas of your home, but overall does a solid performance at cleaning your home and navigating without issue. It still might be a bit too pricey if you are on a tight budget, but it is far less than the top products and sells at a bargain price for its solid performance.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer