Neato Botvac D8 Review

Neato Botvac D8 Review

In this review, we’ll be looking at one of Neato’s latest robot vacuums, the Botvac D8.

It’s one of three new releases from Neato, and I’ve put it through a series of tests to find out how good is it and how it compares to other brands.

The Botvac D8 retains the same D-shape frame as other Neato Botvac options, but it doesn’t have a self-emptying feature, which is surprising since most brands have added this to their products.

But it does have one of the largest dustbins of any robot vacuums, mitigating this omission.

Lots Of Promise, But Lacking In Several Critical Features

Neato Botvac D8

Neato Botvac D8 Review

The D8 is one of three new Neato Botvac variants, with this having the smallest capacity battery, so it’s most suitable inside a small home. After testing it extensively, I don’t see much difference between the D8 and the older Botvac variants. All utilize the same LIDAR sensor that’s a staple with all Neato robots. The only difference I see is that the newer Botvac series app uses the newer MyNeato app, while the older variants use the older version. Still, I feel it lacks functionality, which we’ll look at later in this review. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the self-emptying feature available in most brands. Somewhat surprising for an established brand not to include this feature.

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Pros

  • One of the least expensive LIDAR-based robots
  • Excellent deep cleaning performance (above 85%)
  • Large capacity dustbin (0.7-liters)
  • Widest brush roll in the industry (over 11″)
  • It’s excellent at avoiding obstacles within the LIDAR’s point-of-view

Cons

  • Sub-par navigation despite using a laser sensor
  • The app lacks critical features (e.g., multiple-pass runs, multi-map saving)
  • Navigation tends to be aggressive if you use the turbo setting

Introduction to the Neato Botvac D8

The Botvac D8 is one of three new Neato products released this year, but strangely none of them comes with an auto-empty feature.

I’m not sure what Neato is trying to accomplish with these three, but it has fallen behind. One thing going for the D8 is it’s one of the least expensive smart robot vacuums with LIDAR, but how good is it?

I’ve spent many days testing this robot, putting through my usual series of tests to check its performance and how it compares to other brands.

First, let’s look at its features.

LIDAR sensor

A staple for all Neato Botvac products is the LIDAR or laser distance sensor.

One advantage of using such is it’s not reliant on light, so it’s possible to use LIDAR robots in pitch dark conditions.

Another advantage of LIDAR is its efficiency at tracking location and drawing maps since using a laser is precise.

Unfortunately, the MyNeato app doesn’t have a live map feature, unlike other LIDAR-based robots such as Roborock and Dreame.

D-Shape Frame

Neato D8 top

The Neato brand was the first brand to implement a D-shape frame. One advantage of utilizing such is that it enables a wide brush roll to be fitted.

Robots with a square front tend to do better at cleaning corners and edges with the roller and side brush placement close to the front.

Wide 11″ Brush Roll

Neato D8 underneath

Utilizing a D-shaped frame gives it enough space to put a wide brush roll. And the D8 has the widest in the industry at around 11″.

Neato D8 vs Roomba S9 brush comparison

It’s wider than the Roomba S9+ and even a full-sized stick vacuum like the Dyson V15 Detect.

Neato D8 vs Dyson V15 Detect brush comparison

This width helps it pick up more debris per pass than any other robot vacuum I’ve tested.

Side brush

Neato D8 side brush

The D8 side brush sits behind the brush roll, unlike the Roomba S9+ behind the rollers.

And like the Roomba S9, it has a five-pronged side brush but mostly bristles.

I’m not a fan of this placement since it hampers its ability to reach the very edges, which you’ll see later in the edge cleaning results.

One plus with the placement is that there’s no risk of scattering debris since it goes through the primary brush before reaching the side brush.

Dustbin Design and Capacity

Neato D8 top dustbin

The Neato D8 utilizes a top-mounted dustbin with an extra-large 0.7-liter capacity.

It’s one of the largest in the industry, but it needs every ounce since this robot doesn’t have an auto-empty feature.

Neato D8 dustbin and filter out

Since it doesn’t have a door, consumers will have to empty it by removing the filter, which can be tricky since it’s very wide.

MyNeato App

MyNeato app interface

With the Botvac D8, D9, and D10, Neato also released the new MyNeato app.

It’s a newer version of the old Neato app with a few wrinkles.

New interface

MyNeato vs Neato app

The first thing you’ll notice with the MyNeato app is the new interface with five bottom tabs for easy access to the different functions: history, scheduling, cleaning, map, and robot settings.

However, the core functionality remains the same, and there’s not much that Neato added except for the no-go zones feature.

No-Go Zones

MyNeato app no-go zone

The most significant add-on to the MyNeato app is the No-Go zone features. It’s Neato’s answer to Roomba’s keep-out zones.

This feature lets consumers draw boxes or rectangles as “no-entry” zones.

But here’s a head-scratcher for me. Neato removed the no-go lines, which they should have kept.

Neato app no-go lines

No-go lines act as a virtual wall for those unfamiliar, blocking the robot from going past it.

The beauty of it is that you can draw diagonal lines, which is helpful in specific zones where a rectangle isn’t practical.

History

MyNeato history tab

The history tab shows the previous cleaning cycles and the corresponding maps. There’s not much functionality here except for showing the mileage of the robot.

Scheduling

MyNeato scheduling tab

The MyNeato app has a scheduling feature that automates the vacuuming process.

One pro is you can schedule multiple runs per day, which mitigates the one-pass-only run cycle.

MyNeato scheduling

Robot Preferences

MyNeato app robot preferences

This tab enables consumers to adjust the robot settings, but the MyNeato app only has one customization option.

There’s only one option: clean the area even if it doesn’t recognize it or cancel cleaning.

Map Saving

MyNeato map saving

Currently, the MyNeato app can save one map level. It does say in the app that a multi-level feature will be available soon.

MyNeato may saving

However, I hoped Neato would release the feature during the product release without making consumers wait.

No Live Map

MyNeato no live map

Unfortunately, the MyNeato app doesn’t have a live map. Instead, it only shows a graphic of a robot during the run.

For a LIDAR robot, this omission is disappointing since most laser robots I tested have this feature in the app.

How does the Neato D8 navigate?

Next, we’ll look at navigation, and as I’ve said earlier, the D8 relies on LIDAR or a laser distance sensor.

I like LIDAR-based robots because these products are precise with how they navigate.

But not all LIDAR robots are created equal, so some perform better than others.

If I’d put brands into tiers, I’d rank them in this order: Roborock, Dreame, Ecovacs, then Neato.

Like those brands, the Neato D8 utilizes LIDAR and SLAM, enabling it to move in straight lines.

However, I find it lacking in several aspects, and it doesn’t have the polish of a Roborock and even an Ecovacs.

The first issue is it only has a one-pass run, unlike the other brands with a multi-pass run.

Another issue is that it becomes more aggressive with the Turbo setting, sometimes getting stuck on overhangs.

I was expecting more from Neato since it’s one of the pioneering brands, disappointing.

How much power does the Neato Botvac D8 have?

Airflow is another critical factor in robot vacuum selection, and I use an anemometer to measure it in all robot vacuums I test.

Here are the results for the Neato D8.

  • Eco: 13.74 CFM
  • Turbo: 19.74 CFM

The 19.74 CFM figure is exactly the same as the Roomba 980, which is impressive since this robot is one of the least expensive smart navigating robots.

However, the navigation issues hamper its cleaning performance as it only goes around once.

The app doesn’t have the provision to adjust the number of passes.

Cleaning performance

I put all robot vacuums through a grueling series of tests on various debris types like sand, quaker oats, quinoa, coffee grounds, pet litter, hair, etc.

Here are the results.

  • Overall: 93.93%
  • Hard floor: 96.6%
  • Sand on hard floor: 96.5%
  • Carpet: 96.92%
  • Deep cleaning: 85.7%

The results above are disappointing for a high airflow robot. Again, one reason is the navigation issues I outlined earlier, especially with the turbo setting one.

I did these experiments mostly with the Eco setting because of the navigation issues with the Turbo setting.

It pushed the barrier out of position on several occasions, and it’s a microcosm of the issues plaguing this robot.

Hard floor results

Neato D8 hard floor results
  • Quaker oats: 100%
  • Coffee: 88.2%
  • Quinoa: 99.8%
  • Pet litter: 98.4%

It did well with most tests, except for coffee grounds where some debris didn’t go past the brush.

Neato coffee grounds on brush roll

Using the turbo setting would resolve this issue, but I couldn’t use it with the navigation issues.

Sand on hard floor

Neato D8 sand on hard floor

The Neato D8 did fairly well in the sand on hard floor test, picking up a decent 96.5%, but it’s a notch below the Roomba 980 that picked up 100%.

There is a combination of things why the D8 didn’t do well. First, the lack of passes and the wide turns.

The Neato D8 had wider turns with less overlap than the Roomba 980.

Another reason is the Roomba 980 has dirt detect, so it does extra back and forth passes when it detects more debris.

And that’s on top of the two-pass run. Plus, I used the 980’s max power setting, which helps a great deal.

Edge Cleaning

Neato D8 edge cleaning

One benefit of a D-shape robot is its edge cleaning performance, and the D8 didn’t disappoint.

I scattered this much on the test area, and theD8 picked up most of it.

But it didn’t pick up everything 100%. It left this patch of debris close to the edge. 

One reason could be the side brush placement or the shorter bristles that didn’t do much at dislodging debris in this area.

Hair Wrap

Next, we’ll look at the hair wrap results where I test the D8 on how well it resists tangles from five and seven-inch strands.

Here’s the result after the five-inch test. There’s not much wrapping on the brush.

Neato D8 5-inch hair

It did well, picking up 94% but struggled with longer seven-inch strands, only getting 45%, with most of it wrapping on the brush.

Neato D8 seven-inch test

Carpet Tests

Next, we’ll look at how the Neato D8 did on low and mid pile carpet, where I tested it on the same set of debris.

Low pile results

Neato D8 low pile result
  • Quaker oats: 97%
  • Coffee: 86.8%
  • Quinoa: 99.6%
  • Pet litter: 99.2%

The D8 did quite well with most tests, except for coffee grounds. Again, the issue is my hesitancy in using the max setting as it pushes the barrier aside.

Using the D8 in the highest setting will surely help with debris pick-up.

I’m hoping Neato will address this as it is a software issue, and I think it’s easy to update through the app.

Mid pile results

Neato D8 mid pile result
  • Quaker oats: 96.4%
  • Coffee: 98.2%
  • Quinoa: 100%
  • Pet litter: 98.2%

You’ll notice with the results above that the D8 did much better with coffee grounds.

It’s because I’m able to use the turbo setting, helping it pick up more.

I mentioned that using the turbo setting may cause some issues with navigation, but it doesn’t happen at every run, but the erratic nature of how the robot traverses is a source of frustration.

It shows the potential of this robot if Neato can iron out the kinks with its new app and navigation.

Deep Cleaning

The Neato D8 is one of the better deep cleaning robots based on tests. It picked up an average of 85.7% in two tests.

This figure is in the upper echelon for robot vacuums in this category.

How noisy is the Neato Botvac D8?

One issue with high airflow robots is their tendency to be noisy. Fortunately, the Neato D8 isn’t as noisy.

I used a sound meter to test these robots a few feet away.

  • Eco: 64.6 dB
  • Turbo: 67.9 dB

It only maxed out at 67.9 decibels and didn’t breach the 70-decibel level mark, which was the case with the Roomba S9 and 980.

Product Specifications

ModelNeato D8
ManufacturerNeato
Battery2100 mAh Li-ion
Run timeUp to 100 mins.
Dirt Capacity (dry)700 ml.
Auto empty capacityNone
Width12.71 inches
Height3.99 inches
Smart NavigationYes
Recharge and ResumeYes
HEPA FiltrationNo
Side BrushYes
Extra FilterYes (2)
Manufactured InChina
Warranty1 year
PriceCheck Price

Where can I buy the Neato Botvac D8?

You can purchase the Neato D8 in online stores like Amazon. Check the links below for the latest pricing information.

Disclaimer: I’ll earn a commission if you purchase through the link above, but at no extra cost to you, so it’s a win-win for us.

Is the Neato Botvac D8 Worth It?

Yes, the Neato D8 is one of the least expensive smart robot vacuums available, and the low cost makes it a compelling option.

One issue hampering it is the navigation issues that affect everything else.

If Neato could tighten the loose screws and fix this, I’d recommend this robot. But until that happens, I wouldn’t recommend this over a Roborock S5 Max or even an Ecovacs T8 AIVI.

3 Reasons to Choose the Neato D8

  1. Budget Smart Robot Option: The Neato D8 is one of the cheaper LIDAR-based robots, cheaper than the S5 Max.
  2. Wide brush roll: The 11″ brush is the widest in the industry, wider than a full-sized stick vacuum like a Dyson V15.
  3. Extra-large dustbin: This robot has a larger dustbin capacity at 0.7-liters, but it doesn’t have a self-emptying feature.

The Verdict: Strong Potential, But Lacking in Critical Features

The Neato D8’s design has a lot of promise on paper: 11″ brush roll, large 0.7-liter dustbin, and LIDAR navigation.

But after testing it extensively, I found it to be lacking in several critical areas, and most of it is navigation-related.

There are a lot of quirks with how it traverses, and these issues affect how it picks up debris.

Neato, if you’re reading this, please improve the algorithm to compete with the likes of Roborock and Roomba.

The same goes for the MyNeato app. Otherwise, it’s hard for me to recommend this over something like a Roborock S5 Max, even a Roomba 980.

Lots of Potential, But Lacking in Critical Features
  • Navigation - 90%
    90%
  • Surface Cleaning - 96.67%
    97%
  • Deep Cleaning - 85.7%
    86%
  • Quality - 95%
    95%
  • Design - 96%
    96%
  • Value - 94%
    94%
93%

Summary

The Neato D8 has a lot of potential with its D-shape frame and ultra-wide brush roll. There’s no question that this robot will pick up debris well, but the biggest issue for me is its navigation. It’s quirky and tends to get stuck if it approaches a wall at the wrong angle. Also, it’s lacking thoroughness with its one-pass-only run. Plus, it’s got no self-emptying feature. Neato has to address these if it wants to compete with the likes of Roborock

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