I’ve talked about the previous BotVac 80 and if you’re wondering about the difference between the original and this version then scroll down.
Neato says that this has an upgraded motor and brush which supposedly means better all-around performance on carpet and bare floor.
But did it perform up to par?
This is what we will find out below.
Please do not confuse this with the BotVac Connected which is a newer model.
It looks the same but the “Connected” is around $200 more expensive. But it comes with WiFi connectivity and has a Lithium Ion battery so please standby for my review on that.
Update: Neato has two new robotic vacuums ever since they introduced D80. These are the BotVac Connected and the BotVac D7. Both have better navigation thanks to the S.L.A.M. technology and has WiFi. And the D7 also comes with “No-Go” zones that function similarly to a virtual wall.
A quick look at the features
- Similar to the original BotVac series it comes with a side brush
- Still uses a NiCad battery that will give you approximately an hour and a half of run time
- Laser navigation system allows you to use this even on low-lighting situations
- Comes with two blades – a combo brush (for hair) and a spiral brush to clean carpet
- 7 liter dry dirt capacity
- 1 year warranty on the robot and 6 months for the battery
- Comes with 2 brushes for hair and carpet
- Laser guided navigation system allows you to use this even on low light situations
- Large dirt capacity (0.7 liters)
- Side brushes work well to pick up dirt on edges
- Outperformed the BotVac in terms of picking up pet hair
- Efficient navigation
- Slightly more expensive than the better performing BotVac
- Still uses a NiCad battery
- Despite the upgrades is still did not outperform its predecessor the BotVac 80
- Will not go over dark floors or rugs because the cliff sensors think these are “cliffs”
What To Expect From The Neato BotVac D80?
Before anything else, I’d like to stress that the D80 and D85 are the same machine under the hood. This means it has the same motor, brushes and performance. The difference would primarily lie in the accessories included (and also depending on where you buy this).
This is also the same machine as the D75 but the D75 doesn’t come with the spiral brush for carpet.
If you buy this in Amazon, you’ll get two brushes – the combo brush and spiral brush plus a filter.
You’ll also get a magnetic tape to mark off areas that are off limits.
Accessories that come in the package may vary depending on the variant.
You’ll notice that the filter is labelled as a high performance filter but take note that it isn’t a HEPA filter. If you want a robot with HEPA filtration go with the Roomba.
When you look at the dust bin, it is larger than the XV Pro.
And the neat thing about it (no-pun intended) is that it tells you when it’s full so you don’t have to constantly check.
One thing Neato has over other robot vacuums that uses a camera is that it can still maneuver around even when there is little to no lighting because it uses a laser guided system to detect obstacles and the size of the room.
Whereas a camera needs a decent amount of lighting to “see” the room, a laser does not. So if you live in a home where there is very little natural lighting, you don’t need to open the lights for this to navigate properly.
Does a good job avoiding obstacles
Based on video reviews, it will do a good job in avoiding objects and will not bump into them.
The disadvantage of this though is it cannot detect transparent objects. So just in case you have furniture made from transparent plastic or glass, you’ll have to stick a paper on it so this robot can see.
Please remove obstacles
Remove any obstacles like chairs to maximize the functionality of the robot. The more chairs you have, the higher the risk of the robot getting lost.
Another disadvantage is it only sees at its level which means if there is an overhang (e.g. beds or any other furniture) that’s slightly above the laser sensor the Neato will bump into it and possibly scratch the furniture or the robot itself.
To maximize the effectiveness of this, you’ll have to prep the room by removing any chairs, wires and obstacles (toys, rugs, etc.).
Here’s a short video from Neato on the cleaning pattern…
Bare Floor Cleaning
If you look at CNet’s test the BotVAc D85 did fairly well picking up pet hair, sand and rice on hardwood, outperforming in terms of picking up rice and pet hair but still under performing against the cheaper BotVac 85.
The 880 slightly outperformed the D85 in picking up sand.
Remember that the D85 and D80 are virtually the same…
It performed better in picking up rice on mid-pile carpet against the 880, VR9000 and Signature pro but still picked up less than the BotVac 80. On low pile carpet it performed the worst of the 5.
In terms of picking up sand on low and mid-pile carpet, it also performed the worst of the 5. Now you must note that all vacuums will struggle picking up sand on carpet and you have to use an upright vacuum for a proper deep clean.
Pet Hair Removal
If I can give you one reason to buy this it would be for pet hair as it outperformed the 4 other robot vacuums in pet hair tests (yes even the BotVac 85).
Will it Clean Stairs?
Like all Neato robot vacuums you can schedule this to clean once a day for up to 7 days a week even at different times for each day of the week.
It will take roughly 2 hours to fully charge.
As with all robot vacuums you’ll need to clean four parts regularly – the motorized brush, side brushes, sensors and dirt bin. It does come with a brush cleaning tool that will help you remove dirt and dust bunnies from the brush.
The robot tell you when you need to empty the bin (literally). For the sensors, you’ll need to wipe it with a microfiber towel to keep it sharp.
Neato did not specify exactly the run time but if you based it on reviews, it will around 60 minutes.
Neato backs this up with a 1 year warranty and the battery gets 6 years. If you want more peace of mind, Amazon sells extended warranties of up to 3 years.
This robot got a fairly high rating in Amazon, consumers say that it performed well when you compare it to the old Neato XV Pro and the older Roombas. Against the XV, this had a larger dirt bin, a side brush and a more quiet motor that didn’t sound like a jet engine.
As you know the old Roomba used a random cleaning pattern that goes in random directions, the Neato does not.
But there is a caveat, if you have furniture that has a reflective surface, you might want to consider covering that part with paper because it will confuse the laser sensors and the robot might bump into it. Do the same with transparent furniture.
Make sure to remove chairs
If the room you are cleaning has a lot of chairs, please move them. So that the robot will have a clear path and not get stuck (this is a common complaint).
Even though this is advertised as smart, it isn’t a human being that can decipher the space between legs. There’s a huge risk of it wedging itself. It only relies on sensors and the laser sensor.
Cleaning wise, it did a fairly good job on carpet and hardwood
I did mention that CNet did a comprehensive cleaning test on carpet and hardwood using sand, pet hair and rice.
Out of the 3 it did the best cleaning pet hair but it struggled cleaning sand.
There are some limitations to this robot that you need to know before buying this.
First, it will struggle cleaning fringed rugs as the tassels will get “eaten” by the brush roll. Not a big issue, since you can clean these rugs with a hand vacuum.
Second, it will get stuck on cables or wires. So you have a lot in the room, please move them to the sides. This is a good thing since it forces you to tidy up the room.
Where can I buy this?
You can buy this robot in Amazon for less than $400. It’s cheaper than the Roomba 960 and 980. And it’ll be eligible for Amazon’s 2-day free shipping. Amazon also sells extended warranties of up to 3 years of you want that extra peace of mind.
Even though Neato pimps this as an “upgrade” over the previous BotVac, the price difference does not justify the upgrades given to it which is very minor to say the least.
It’s like buying a facelifted Camry with a better looking wheel package. It looks better but performance will be the same but in this case it was worst at least in CNet’s test.
This robot is still cheaper than the Roomba 880 and looks better than the old BotVac.
It did perform well picking up pet hair so if you have a lot of pets at home, this should be in your short list. Other than that it will be hard to recommend this when a cheaper but better performing option is available in the BotVac 80.