For years now people have been looking for ways to keep their homes clean with the least effort possible and have turned to robot vacuums to do the work for them.
The problem is most of these machines still aren’t up to the task just yet.
Could the the BotVac 80 stand out from the rest?
Related: Please check my article comparing the whole BotVac product line to see the latest and best options available.
CNet’s Megan Wollerton thinks so.
If you remember my earlier review of the Neato XV Signature series, Cnet gave it the Editor’s Choice seal which means it performed well when it was put to the test in a controlled evironment.
So what did Neato did to already highly rated highly rated XV-series?
First, Neato added an inch to the motorized brush which widened the cleaning path all the way close to the edge.
Second, it added a side brush that improved the performance on edges and corners.
And third, it made the dirt bin and filter larger which means you’ll need to empty it less often.
The first two upgrades, really improved the cleaning performance along the edges which is a weakness of the previous XV series.
A quick look at the features
- Uses the Botvision Laser Guided Navigation System to clean efficiently rooms in a straight back and forth motion
- Works on all types of floors from hardwood, tile, linoleum to carpet
- Uses a wide 10.9” cleaning brush
- Comes with 2 types of cleaning brushes – a combo brush (for pet hair) and the standard blade brush
- Has a corner brush that improves edge cleaning dramatically
- Large 2.96 cup dirt bin capacity
- Uses a NiMH battery that will run for around 1 hour on a single charge
- Comes high performance filters that block allergens from coming back out
- Wider beater bar and the addition of a side brush improves cleaning performance along the edges
- Will work best on cleaning hard wood surfaces where dust bunnies are a common problem under furniture
- Outperformed an already good XV series based on a test done by CNet
- Uses a new QNX OS software that claims improved navigation
- Larger bin and filter means less trips to the trash bin
- More quiet than the XV series
- Runs for about an hour on a single charge
- May not work on high pile carpet
- Will not deep clean carpet
- No remote control
- Still uses an NiMH battery instead of a Lithium Ion battery
What to expect from the Neato BotVac 80?
This isn’t just an upgrade but a brand new robot altogether. It comes with a newer navigation software, brush and a more powerful motor.
Wider cleaning path
The motorized brush is wider at around 10.9″ wide, wider than the XV series that has a 9.8″ wide brush.
It also has a larger dirt bin. In the older XV variants, that only had a 2.54 cup capacity, the BotVac 80 has a 2.96 cup capacity.
Along with the upsizing of the dirt cup, Neato also has a bigger the HEPA filter. Another improvement is the addition of a side brush that improves edge cleaning.
Take note that each of the 4 models of the BotVac family is the same in terms of motor, battery, and navigation features.
The differences are color and the accessories included which I’ll show you in a little bit.
With this new product, Neato has upgraded the operating system. And now uses the QNX OS software which has improved navigation.
Before going further, please be careful not to drop this or it will have catastrophic results like damaging the LDS sensor.
Also once you get this vacuum run it immediately and check for potential defects in terms of its navigation.
So just in case you get a lemon, you’d still be able to ask for a replacement unit.
Based on reviews, navigation has improved. Out of all the robot brands, Neato’s LDS sensor does a great job at avoiding obstacles. But please remove any wires or toys that could potentially inhibit this machine from doing its job.
Re-docking won’t be a problem, again based on reviews from CNet consumers alike, this robot will go back to its home base to recharge without any difficulty whatsoever.
Here’s a video of the Neato in action…
Here’s the difference between the BotVac and the Roomba (navigation)
Will it clean stairs?
It can be scheduled to clean up to 7 times a week (once a day).
It will take around 2 hours to fully charge. Initial charging time is around 12 hours.
Robot clean up and maintenance
You’ll need to clean the side brush and beater bar. Both of these are easy to remove. Here’s a video on how it’s done for your reference…
A full charge will run for approximately for an hour or so. Neato does recommend fully charging and discharging three times to reach its full capacity in terms of run time.
The robot itself and the parts come with a one year warranty while the battery only comes with a 6 month warranty.
See it in action
One of my biggest headaches in our linoleum flooring is dust, no matter how much you sweep or vacuum, dust is everywhere which isn’t good if you suffer from an ailment like asthma.
The BotVac is a lifesaver in these instances because it’ll do the work for you.
The combination of vacuum suction and the blade brush help this pick up dust bunnies and other debris on this surface.
In the rice grain test done by CNET it picked up 2.45 ounces out of the 2.5 ounces of rice scattered on hardwood, second only to the Infinuvo Hovo 510.
Again referencing to the same tests done by CNet, the BotVac did well in terms of picking up rice grains on mid and low pile carpet, outperforming the Infinuvo Hovo 510 and Roomba 880 by picking up 2.45 on low pile carpet and 2.38 on mid pile carpet out of 2.5 ounces.
It didn’t outperform the 880 and the XV signature pro though in picking up sand on low pile carpet.
So overall performance on this surface is mixed but it should give you a benchmark of what to expect.
Here’s a video demonstrating the BotVac’s performance on carpet (this is the BotVac 85)
The 80 and the 85 are the same. The only difference is the attachment that is included in the package.
Avoid using this on high pile carpet as one consumer commented that it struggled moving on it.
On low to medium pile rugs this will perform well. But it will struggle with fine debris like saw dust (as you in the CNet review).
It should not have any trouble transitioning from hard surfaces to most rugs as long as it isn’t very thick.
If it can’t go over a rug, it’ll either go around it (thinking that it is an obstacle) or get stuck trying to go over it.
It performed very well on pet hair, particularly on hard wood picking up every strand of hair that was laid out there but it couldn’t outperform the Neato XV-21 in pet hair clean up on low and medium pile carpet.
Based on the pet hair test, the Neato XV-21, BotVac and Signature Pro are the top 3 finishers which isn’t a surprise because their products are known as very good pet hair cleaners.
The addition of a side brush and larger dust bin has solved most of the shortcomings that the previous XV series had according to consumers.
Those shortcomings include its inability to clean edges and the frequency you need to stop and empty it.
But even with the wider motorized brush and side brush, some consumers say that you still need a hand vacuum to clean up corners because it still will miss spots here and there.
Another improvement that pleased consumers was the noise, old XV series were loud but this one was much quiet.
These two improvements alone are enough to challenge the Roomba 880 as top dog but it still lacks one thing – a remote control.
But for more than $100 I’d take this over the 880 despite the lack of a remote because it is more efficient and you can schedule it.
There were consumers complaining of a 3000 error, which is a navigation error but a majority of people who bought this didn’t get it.
Thie could be faulty units that needs replacing.
While it will work on most surfaces, some consumers cautioned against using this on shaggy carpet because it will struggle even to even move around.
Overall consumers like the performance of the BotVac 80 as an in-between cleaner. But this is by no means a replacement for an upright vacuum that saves you time because it does the work for you.
You’ll have two options for this. First option would be buying it brand new for less than $500. However, considering the new newer BotVac D5 costs the same, the latter would be a better option.
Second option would be buying it refurbished at less than $225 if you don’t mind getting something second hand.
Only the refurbished unit is eligible for free shipping if you join Prime.
Amazon also sells extended warranties (up to 3 years) if you want that extra peace of mind.
This would be great for homes with mostly hardwood or low to medium pile carpeting because aside from suction it has two brushes – a blade brush and a combo brush that will work well with a variety of debris from dust bunnies to pet hair.
Pet owners though would be better off with the XV-21 because it has outperformed this in cleaning pet hair but the difference isn’t a lot.
For other types of debris, it has held its own against other big brands like Infinuvo, iRobot and LG.
Even if the Roomba 880 is more popular in Amazon, don’t sleep on the BotVac 80. Cleaning performance isn’t far off and it’s cheaper.
This will be more efficient because of a more predictable cleaning pattern which allows this to clean rooms faster than the 880.
Noise levels also has gone down, one of the biggest complaints by consumers.
As with all robot cleaners, you’ll need to do your part in preparing your home before using this – that means tidying up all wires, removing scattered toys and stuff on the floor.
If you have a low hanging furniture where you think the robot might not fit in, consider putting on some rubber spacers on the legs to increase clearance.
If you don’t like to pay over $600 for a robot vacuum this would be a good and cheaper alternative.