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Neato BotVac D7 Review: Is this the Best Robot Vacuum Right Now?

One of the biggest criticisms that consumers had for Neato products was the need of a magnetic strip of tape to block it from going into areas that are off limits.

This is the reasons why the Roomba 980 or 960 was a better option in most cases because of this.

But that’s no longer the case.

Neato has finally heard these complaints and now you have the ability to add “No-Go” lines in the smartphone.

These “No-Go” lines are virtual magnetic strips of tapes that block the D7 from going into areas you don’t want it to go to.

Finally it’s here, the BotVac D7, it Neato’s latest and perhaps the best robot vacuum to date.

Not only does it has the “No-Go” lines, it has the improved navigation system and app. And now the robot is compatible not just with the app but also with the Apple watch, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT and more.

Before I go on, let’s look at the features of the BotVac D7…

  • Wi-Fi enabled robot allows you ultimate control
  • LaserSmart Mapping and Navigation allows this robot to navigate efficiently and clean thoroughly not just one but multiple rooms
  • Lithium Ion battery will run for up to 120 minutes
  • Laser guided sensors help this robot navigate and avoid obstacles
  • Wide 10.9 inch cleaning path
  • Amazon Alexa compatibility
  • Two suction modes – normal and turbo mode
  • 0.7 liter dirt bin
  • 5Ghz compatibility
  • One year warranty

Pros

  • Above average suction and cleaning performance
  • Efficient and thorough navigation and cleaning
  • No-Go lines allow you to block the robot in off limit areas without having to buy a magnetic strip of tape
  • Fast app with 5Ghz compatibility – this means faster response times
  • Good run time
  • Low profile design means it’ll go under a lot of furniture
  • Laser navigation will work even in pitch black conditions

Cons

  • Very expensive (currently at around $800)
  • Wide cleaning path means it’ll not go in narrow areas between furniture

What to expect from the Neato BotVac D7?

On the outside the BotVac D7 looks like its predecessors the – BotVac Connected, D5 and D3 robots. It has the same D-shape exterior, wide 10.5 inch beater bar and single side brush.

But all the goodies come under the hood so to speak.

No-Go Zones

First and perhaps the biggest upgrade in this robot would be the “No-Go” zones. This is a feature that’s long overdue and the first of its kind I should say.

While the second generation RoboRock has “zone cleaning” that defines an area (within an area) you want to clean, the “No-Go” zone, allows you to virtually set roadblocks so that this robot does not go past those areas.

The downside is you can’t use the “No-Go” lines the first time you use the app so Neato adds a “discovery mode” where the robot will go around the room with the vacuum motor and brushes off.

This is a much faster way to create the map and use the “No-Go” feature.

Here’s a demo of how it works…

The beauty of this feature is you can set multiple “No-Go” zones and you don’t have to buy extra magnetic tapes.

This feature will save you some $$$ and the hassle of setting the physical barrier.

It does all this virtually through the app. However you do not have access to this feature outside the app.

App

Since the release of the BotVac Connected, Neato has slowly improved the responsiveness and usability.

The new app features a more sleek and intuitive design with the main screen showing the name of the robot and status.

At the bottom left, you’ll see the battery status and how much power is left. And at the bottom right you’ll see a small square grid that’ll show the previous cleaning sessions once you tap it. The app will save data up to 20 cleaning cycles.

Navigation

Watch this video to get a feel on how this robot navigates.

It is very similar to the previous BotVac connected and Xiaomi RoboRock in terms of how it navigates around a room. It’ll start by cleaning the edges then cleaning the center of the room. In the video above, you’ll notice that the robot divided the room into two quadrants to be more efficient.

Cleaning modes

Other features of the app include access to cleaning modes that include House, Spot and Manual cleaning modes.

The House cleaning mode is the default mode and will clean all rooms that it has access to. You’ll also have two options in this mode – normal and turbo mode.

The former will have less suction but will last longer (up to 120 minutes). And the latter would be a better option on carpet.

If you have expensive furniture then you’ll appreciate the “Extra Care” navigation that will be gentler on obstacles versus in default mode.

In spot cleaning mode, you will have to set the area it’ll spot clean.

My Floor Plan

On the main screen, tap the three-bar icon to access a feature Neato calls “My Floor Plan”.

Once you’ve run the robot around your home, this map will be drawn and saved in the app. You’ll only have access to the “No-Go” lines feature once the map is drawn.

Magnetic tape

Despite having the “No-Go” feature, Neato also threw in a strip of magnetic tape for good measure.

If prefer not to use the app (for security reasons), this would your other option to block the robot from no robot zones other than using furniture.

Design

The D7 Connected retains the same as older Botvac robots. This means it has the same dimension, shape and cleaning path.

It measures 12.5 inches wide and 3.9 inches tall – around .3 inches taller than the Roomba 980. That’s because of the Laser navigation on top of it.

One difference would be the absence of the small screen on the upper right side of the robot. Since the robot already has an app, this feature wasn’t a need anymore.

In the place of the screen is a single button at the lower left side. Tap once and you’ll engage the default cleaning mode. Or tap it twice to spot clean and the robot will clean a small area 4 x 6 inches.

Dirt Bin

At the middle part of the robot is a large dirt bin that can hold up to 0.7 liters of dry dirt. Inside it is a high performance filter that Neato says can filter out up to 0.3 micros of dirt.

Opposite of the dirt bin is a handle that makes carrying the robot easier. But make sure that your palm is facing the front of the robot or you’ll dislodge the dirt bin.

Bottom

Flip the robot over and you’ll see that the design remains the same.

The D7 has a single side brush and a 10.5” cleaning path. It still uses the same combo brush as previous Botvac robots. One reason being is that performance has been outstanding so why fix something that isn’t broke?

Data Privacy Concerns

There have been stories about robot manufacturers potentially selling private information. Please read Neato’s privacy policy to understand what information they collect and what their policies are. In a nutshell, Neato says that they’ll only have access to daily metadata – that means when you start the robot, how long it runs and error codes (if they come up).

You can email them to delete your personal data if you wish.

Smart device compatibility

Not only can you control this robot through a smartphone app, this robot is also compatible with devices such as Alexa, IFTTT, Google Home and Neato Chatbox for facebook.

Having all these options makes life much easier in terms of connectivity with the robot. And a good reason to buy Alexa.

Cleaning Performance

Neato does not specify whether or not this robot has a more powerful motor so I’m guessing it has the same motor as the BotVac Connected. Performance between these two robots will be the same.

In the reviews I’ve seen, this robot will perform quiet well on a myriad of surfaces such as low pile carpet, rugs, tile, hardwood, etc. The only thing that this robot will struggle with is thick carpet or rug.

PC Mag says that the D7 has about the same power as the Roomba 960.

However, it does not have as much power as the Dyson 360 Eye. But here’s the clincher, this robot will run almost thrice as long or around 130 minutes versus the 360 Eye’s 45 minutes.

Even with the D-shape design and the side brush, this robot will struggle a bit when it comes to edge and corner cleaning. It will clean edges better on straightaways versus corners.

In default mode, this robot is pretty aggressive bumping furniture. If this is a concern you will need to turn on the “extra care” mode. Remember that features like the “No-Go” and “extra care” mode is only available when you use the app. You won’t have access to it if you use Alexa.

Product Specifications

Battery typeLithium Ion
Charger typeCharging Station
Charge time2 hours
Run Time Up to 130 mins
Doorsill crossingapprox. 5/8"
Net weight (with battery)9 pounds
Shipping weight15.5 pounds
Width13.2 inches
Height3.9 inches
Multi Room
Yes
Self docking
Yes
Remote control
No
Hepa filtration
Yes
Cliff detection
Yes
Self adjusting
Yes
Edge brushes
Yes
Full bin indicator
Yes
Stair Cleaning
No
Cleaning sessions per week 7
Extra FilterN/A
Containment Magnetic tapes and "No-Go" feature in the smartphone app
Brush cleaning tools
Yes
What's in the boxHigh Performance Robot Vacuum

Ultra Performance Filter

Spiral Combo Brush

Side Brush

Integrated Charge Base

Power Cord

Boundary Markers

Brush & Filter Cleaning Tool
Voltage110v
Manufactured inChina
Warranty1-year on robot
6-months on battery

What consumers say?

When it comes to performance, there is no question that the BotVac D7 performs. This robot will clean bare floor and low pile carpet equally well. In the eyes of a lot of consumers, the D7’s laser navigation is crisp and even better than the Roomba 980 that relies on a camera.

Smart navigation

It’s also smart enough to go over a whole area that includes multiple rooms with little risk of getting lost. You won’t be able to use the “No-Go” lines on the initial run because the robot has to have the room layout in first before allowing you to set those no robot zones.

But once the map is drawn, you can set multiple “No-Go” areas. Some consumers say there are quirks. If you don’t draw the line properly the robot will avoid a larger area that it should.

Also the app can only save one map at a time. There is no feature yet that allows it to save multiple maps.

Resume feature

Let’s say you live in a large 5,000 square foot home, when battery is low, this robot will dock and recharge. After charging, it will go back to the exact area it left before recharging.

All of this is possible thanks to the internal map, laser distance sensor and SLAM algorithm inside it.

Some issues

One potential issue with this would be cleaning thick plush rugs and carpet.

Decent power

This robot does not have enough power to clean such. It will be an issue with most (if not all) robot vacuums as these machines don’t have enough agitation and power for this task.

If you need something that’ll deep clean then I suggest you check out our list of the best upright vacuums for your reference. Robot vacuums are great for in-between maintenance clean up tasks.

The app itself is very stable and responsive. Though some folks have had trouble setting “No-Go” lines, a majority does not seem to have this issue.

Where can I buy this?

You can buy this from Amazon for just a shade under $800. And this will be eligible to the 2-day free shipping if you enroll in Prime. If the short one year warranty is a concern, don’t worry not because Amazon also offers extended warranties up to 3 years.

To wrap up

The Neato D7 with all the improvements will challenge the Roomba 980 as the best robot vacuum. It now has the “No-Go” feature that virtually blocks the robot from going into off limit areas.

And you don’t need a virtual wall or magnetic tape to do so. Though, Neato was kind enough to include a magnetic tape in the package. A lot of the upgrades are inside the app where it will save up to the last 20 cleaning cycles.

You can also view the map, schedule, check the status of the robot and set “No-Go” zones. This robot is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple watch and more. Does this justify the $800 price tag? That would depend on how much you are willing to spend.

When you compare it to the Roomba 980, this robot is actually close to a $100 cheaper! So between the two, the choice is obvious for me. If you want the latest robot technology, decent cleaning performance and razor sharp navigation then the Neato BotVac D7 is a great choice.

Garrick Dee
 

Garrick is the founder of the Cordless Vacuum Guide that originally focused on cordless vacuums but he has now expanded to reviewing corded vacuums and carpet cleaners to be able to provide a more complete guide in terms of choosing the right cleaner.

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