The Neato D5 is a fantastic vacuum, but didn't quite perform well enough to topple the throne of its older cousin, the Neato Botvac Connected. This model earned the second highest score out of the bunch, and did well across the board — although we found it was a little difficult to use and didn't clean carpets as well as we would have liked.
Neato D5 Connected Review
Pros: Great at corners, edges, and hard floors, navigates well
Cons: Average at carpet, little harder to use
Our Analysis and Test Results
The D5 tied our Editors' Choice award winner in three of our metrics, and only lagged it by a point in the remaining 3. This model didn't quite match the performance of the Connected in our carpet cleaning tests, collecting pet hair, and in ease of use, but also retails for about $100 less.
The D5 overall did very well — enough to earn it the runner-up position.
Though it didn't quite have the same cleaning performance and was a little more difficult to use than the top model, it does an excellent job of navigating around your house and at collecting pet hair. A more detailed analysis of its performance is below, broken down into 6 metrics.
This model earned a 6 out of 10 for room navigation, similar to all other Neato brand models that we tested. We evaluated how the robot could navigate a room similar to what would be found in a typical house, how it handled both exceptionally large rooms and whether or not it could successfully clean multiple rooms. In addition, we also assessed how the robot managed to overcome specific obstacle — if it could maneuver past or clear them, or if it became trapped and required rescuing.
The D5 successfully cleared thresholds between rooms, and could usually drive over thicker cables, like a laptop power cord without becoming stuck or entangled and displaying an error. However, it was a much different story when it came to skinnier cables or cords, as shoelaces, tassels on rugs, and the drawcord from a set of blinds would entangle the robot enough that it required aid to continue cleaning.
The D5 cleans in a very ordered way, running a perimeter along the edge of the room and then doing the remainder with a systematic, back and forth pattern. It will also dock and recharge, then resume cleaning if the battery becomes depleted. This allows the robot to do a good job at cleaning both large rooms, which it would subdivide into smaller chunks, and for cleaning multiple rooms. It also does a decent job at navigating around furniture, though it might take it a little while to escape the tightest squeezes and can be a little rough on your furniture in the process.
To see how it did at tackling messes on carpet, we spread out a variety of debris, including flour, rice, cereal, and oatmeal on both shallow, and fluffier, medium-pile carpets and saw how much it managed to actually collect in its bin. The D5 did about average, earning a 5 out of 10.
This model successfully collected all of the rice on the shallow carpet, and only skipped over a few grains that were deep down in the crevices on the fluffier carpet. It did about average at collecting flour off the surface of both styles of carpet, but did quite poorly at extracting flour that had been rubbed into the carpet.
However, this is typical of most robot vacuums, as they aren't really intended for deep cleans, only frequent surface cleans. The D5 did great at collecting all of the oatmeal, only leaving a single flake behind. It did quite terribly at our large particle test, only barely picking up a single Mini-Wheat on fluffy carpet and neglecting all of them on the shallow carpet.
Hard Surface Cleaning
The D5 did very well when it came to cleaning up our messes on hard surfaces, earning a 7 out of 10 that put it in a tie for the top performance in this test. This model picked up every Cheerio that we laid out on the test grid, and collected about 95% of the flour. It did about average at collecting Mini-Wheats, and a great job at collecting oatmeal.
Corners and Edges
The Neato D5 also did exceptionally well in this metric, once again tying for the top score with an 8 out of 10. We spread both rice and flour along the edge of our robot "pen", and evaluated how close the robot got into each corner and how near the edge it could effectively clean, performing this on both carpet and hard floors.
The rotating side brush proved invaluable on this test, doing an outstanding job at collecting rice, approximately getting 77% of it. It also did a solid job on hard floors and carpet with flour, only leaving some in the corners of the testing pen.
Keeping the floors clean when your furry friends are shedding can be a monumental task, but one that a robot vacuum can alleviate. The D5 did better than average at collecting pet hair, meriting a 6 out of 10.
It did a great job at picking up hair on the hard floors, though we did notice that some hair became tangled up on the bristles of the brush. It did a little worse on the carpet, with the robot picking up a decent amount of hair, but the majority of it was on the brush rather than in the bin.
Ease of Use
It was of about average difficulty to use this robot vacuum, earning it a score of 5 out of 10 for this metric. For this model, and the D3 Connected, Neato moved a lot of the control and adjustability to the mobile app. While this does have the added bonus of being able to remotely command the robot to start cleaning, it also limits you to needing your phone to discover what error message is occurring, or to set a schedule.
While you can still do some functions on the device — like start cleaning — the one-button interface makes it difficult to do much else, as it's necessary to remember a sequence of holds and presses on the single button. This robot is easy enough to set up out of the box, and requires identical regular maintenance as the other Neato brand vacuums: Clean the bin and filter off after each use, replace the filter every 1-2 months of use.
This robot isn't really a value pick, as it does have a decently high retail price. Rather than paying a premium for the best, you pay about $100 bucks less for a small drop in performance for the D5
The D5 is a great pick for those that want a good product for slightly less, rather than paying for the best of the best. This also is a good pick for those that are comfortable with their phones, and have it on them at all times, as this group will find the shift of control to the mobile app a trivial problem.`
— David Wise and Austin Palmer