Neato D8 vs. Roomba S9+

Neato D8 vs Roomba S9+

After completing the review of the Neato Botvac D8, I feel that it’s the right time to compare it to the Roomba S9+.

Neato and Roomba were the pioneers of robot vacuums, and this comparison should be a good barometer of whether Neato has caught up with iRobot or needs more work.

I’ve spent many days testing both robots, so I have a good grasp of how these robots compare.

But first, here’s an overview of the Neato D8 vs. Roomba S9+

Roomba S9+

Roomba S9+
  • Airflow: 25 CFM
  • Deep cleaning: 93%
  • Navigation: VLSAM
  • Self-empty: Yes
  • Map saving: Yes
  • Number of maps: 10
  • Containment: Yes
  • Selective Room cleaning: Yes
  • Recharge & Resume: Yes
  • Brush roll: Dual rubber extractors
  • Dustbin capacity: 500ml
  • Mopping: No
  • Water tank capacity: N/A
  • Side brush: One
  • Battery: 3200 mAh Li-ion
  • Run time: 75 minutes
  • Noise: 74.1 dB

Neato Botvac D8

Neato D8
  • Airflow: 19.74 CFM
  • Deep Cleaning: 85.7%
  • Navigation: LIDAR
  • Self-empty: No
  • Bag capacity: N/A
  • Map saving: Yes
  • Number of maps: 1
  • Containment: Yes
  • Selective Room cleaning: No
  • Recharge & Resume: Yes
  • Brush roll: Combo brush
  • Dustbin capacity: 700ml
  • Mopping: Yes
  • Water tank capacity: N/A
  • Type: N/A
  • Side brush: One
  • Battery: 2100 mAh Li-ion
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • Noise: 67.9 dB

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Introduction to the Neato D8 and Roomba S9+

Neato D8 vs Roomba S9 intro

Before the likes of Roborock and Ecovacs entered the fray, two brands dominated the robot vacuum industry – Neato and iRobot.

And in this comparison, we’ll have a close look at these specific variants: the D8 and S9+.

Both robots have one thing in common – smart robot vacuums with efficient navigation, but each is unique with how it achieves it.

The Neato D8 relies on a top-mounted LIDAR sensor, while the Roomba S9+ uses a top-mounted camera.

These robots use SLAM, so each can pinpoint its location and have advanced features like recharge and resume, but the similarity ends there.

Best Performing Robot Vacuum: Roomba S9+

Roomba S9

I’ve tested a lot of robot vacuums, and the Roomba S9+ is, by far, the best-performing option available.

It does so with its combination of high airflow, excellent agitation, and the patented dirt detect technology.

The S9+ is the only Roomba product with a D-shaped frame, and thanks to this design, iRobot could put in wider extractors.

This broad cleaning path and high airflow also make it the most efficient.

I’m not sure why iRobot reverted to the round shape with the J7+, but I think they’ve found a winning formula with the S9’s D-shape.

The counter-rotating extractors are another factor why the S9+ cleans well. It’s the only one in the industry with these rollers because iRobot owns the patent.

It’s unique because it doesn’t have any bristles, but a series of ridges, acting as an agitation agent for picking up debris.

Roomba products are excellent at carpet cleaning because of this feature, even low airflow variants like the Roomba E5 and 690.

It’s the only option between these two with a self-emptying feature. iRobot is a pioneer of auto-empty robots, and the S9+ is the best performing variant in their lineup.

Widest Brush Roll: Neato BotvacD8

Neato D8

If you think the Roomba S9‘s rollers are wide, then you haven’t seen the Neato yet.

The Neato D8’s eleven-inch wide brush roll is the widest I’ve seen, wider than a stick vacuum like the Dyson V15 Detect.

Neato D8 vs Dyson V15 Detect brush comparison

This width helps it pick up more debris, thus making it efficient with how much it vacuums per pass.

You could say Neato is a pioneer with D-shaped robots and all their products utilize the same framework.

The D8 is the least expensive of the three new Botvacs (D8, D9, and D10), but it has the smallest battery (only 2100 mAh), so it runs the shortest (100 mins).

Airflow is decent at 19.74 CFM, but cleaning performance is underwhelming for a high airflow robot.

I’ve tested the Neato D8 extensively for a week, and its biggest con is its navigation.

There are glitches to its algorithm that hampers its potential.

The first issue is that it becomes too aggressive in the turbo setting and wedge itself against overhangs.

I’m not sure why the D8 has this issue, but Neato has to address it to compete with emerging brands like Roborock, Dreame, and Ecovacs.

Cleaning performance is decent, especially with deep cleaning (85.7%), but it could have been better with a better algorithm.

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12/16/2021 02:12 am GMT

Similarities between the Neato D8 and Roomba S9+

Next, we’ll look at the similarities between the Neato D8 and Roomba S9.

1. Body Shape

The most obvious similarity is the frame. Both utilize a D-shape frame with apparent benefits like moving the brush position upfront.

2. Wide Brush

Neato D8 vs Roomba S9+ brush roll comparison

Thanks to the D-shaped frame, these robots have a wide brush roll. Neato has a wider brush at 11″, while the S9 is narrower at around 9″ wide.

3. Top-Mounted Dustbin

Neato D8 vs Roomba S9 top-mounted dustbin

The Neato D8 and Roomba S9 have a top-mounted dustbin, but the D8’s capacity is larger at 0.7-liters versus the S9’s volume at 0.6-liters.

Nonetheless, the S9+ (with the clean base station) has a larger capacity factoring in the self-emptying feature.

4. Smart Navigation

The last similarity is that both utilize SLAM to track location and have recharge and resume.

But the Roomba S9 uses a top-mounted camera, while the Neato D8 uses LIDAR.

Differences Between the Neato D8 and Roomba S9

Next, we’ll look at the variances between the Neato D8 and Roomba S9.

1. Dirt Disposal

The biggest difference between the D8 and S9 is their dirt disposal system.

Only the Roomba S9+ has the auto-empty system, while the Neato D8 doesn’t have it.

I’m not sure why Neato didn’t add a self-emptying feature to their product line, but it’s a huge mistake.

2. Brush Roll Design

Neato D8 vs Roomba S9+ brush roll comparison

The next variance is the brush roll design.

Neato uses a more traditional combo brush design with bristles and rubber blade combo.

In contrast, the Roomba S9 utilizes its patented bristle-less rubber extractors.

I like Roomba’s design better since it’s proven to offer better agitation.

Even low airflow models like the Roomba 675 (8.37), 690 (8.2 CFM), and E5 (6.98 CFM) have decent deep cleaning scores.

3. Side Brush Design

Neato D8 vs Roomba S9 side brush comparison

Another difference is the side brush design, both with placement and structure.

The S9 has it in front of the brush, which, in my opinion, is the most optimal.

Roomba S9 side brush top view

In comparison, the Neato D8’s side brush is slightly behind the brush roll.

Neato D8 side brush

You could see the difference in how it picks up debris at the edges (more later), as the S9 was much better.

Another variance is the design, with the S9 having longer prongs versus the shorter bristled D8.

Again, this affects how these robot vacuums perform.

4. Navigation

While both robots have smart navigation, there are subtle differences in how each traverses.

The Roomba S9 has better navigation overall with “dirt detect” and the optional two-pass run.

However, it relies on a top-mounted camera as its primary sensor. So there’s a reliance on light not present with Neato’s LIDAR-based robots.

Turning off all the lights will affect how S9 navigates.

I tried it, and there were instances it went back to home base because it couldn’t recognize its surroundings.

Neato will have no such issues as lasers don’t rely on light.

Unfortunately, the D8 navigation lacks the polish of the Roomba.

It pushed the barrier out of position during the cleaning test, which didn’t happen with the Roomba.

5. Battery Capacity and Run Time

The Roomba S9 utilizes a 3600 mAh Li-ion battery, with a shorter run time of only 75 minutes, while the Neato D8 runs longer (100 minutes) despite having a smaller battery (2100 mAh).

One reason is the S9’s more powerful motor and dual brush system that consumers more power.

That number goes down to 45 minutes with the max setting. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend this in large homes.

6. App Features

While both robots have smartphone apps, the feature set varies. The iRobot app has more, including keep-out zones, clean zones, and selective room cleaning.

Consumers can also set partitions on the map—it’s something lacking in the Neato app.

The D8 uses the MyNeato app, a new release by Neato, but with barebones features.

Neato added the no-go zone, similar to iRobot’s keep-out zones, but strangely they took off the no-go lines.

Aside from the no-go zone, the D8 doesn’t have any feature that stands out. It only has the basics like scheduling, cleaning history, and map saving.

Unfortunately, it only saves one map level. Though it states in the app that multiple-map levels will be available soon.

Regardless, they should have ironed it out before the release.

I’ll enumerate the [important] features of both models.

Containment [Both]

Both options have containment, enabling users to block areas. Roomba calls their version the keep-out zones, while Neato calls it no-go zones.

Neato’s no-go zones look like this.

MyNeato app no-go zone

And Roomba’s version looks like this.

Roomba S9 keep out zones

But that’s it, none of these robots have an invisible wall feature for blocking diagonal areas.

The Neato app has it, but the MyNeato app that the D8 uses doesn’t have it, which is a shame.

Clean Zones [Roomba S9+]

Roomba S9 clean zones

The iRobot app has this unique feature where consumers can specify vacuuming zones.

It’s equivalent to a spot-cleaning feature for other brands, but the option to save these zones is a huge time-saver.

You could place a square on the living room or any high-traffic area and schedule it to clean twice or three times per day (if needed).

Map Saving [Both]

The iRobot app can save up to 10 map levels, the highest number so far (at least from the robots I’ve tested).

Roomba S9 map saving

And the MyNeato app can only save one map level.

MyNeato may saving

I’m not sure why Neato didn’t implement the multi-map feature with the initial release, but it’s a mistake since the Neato app offers the multi-level saving, which should be in the MyNeato app.

Selective Room Cleaning [Both]

Roomba S9 selective room cleaning

The iRobot app has selective room cleaning, enabling consumers to pinpoint a room or area they want to be cleaned.

But unlike other apps like Roborock or Ecovacs that allow users to select an area on the map, the iRobot app lets you check these boxes.

It’s disappointing that the MyNeato app doesn’t have this feature since it utilizes LIDAR.

Robot Options [Both]

The iRobot and MyNeato app has customization options for their products.

However, the iRobot app offers more.

Roomba S9 cleaning preferences

Consumers can adjust the number of pass and suction settings [under the custom option].

The MyNeato app doesn’t have this much flexibility. It only offers these options.

MyNeato app robot preferences

I’m not even sure what these options mean, to be honest. But it’s has something to do with moving the base from its original position.

Other LIDAR-robots like Roborock don’t need this since the robot repositions itself and determines the base’s location during the initial scan.

Again, it’s an oversight from Neato, and they have a lot of work to do. The good news is it is a software issue and easily fixed with a firmware update.

Scheduling [Both]

Users can schedule runs to automate the vacuuming task.

Both apps can schedule multiple runs, but the iRobot app has a minimum gap of three hours between runs, so there’s a limit to how much you can schedule.

Navigation Comparison

These variants utilize SLAM, so these are smart navigating robots with recharge and resume.

The Roomba S9+ relies on a top-mounted camera, while the Neato D8 uses LIDAR.

Both will move in straight lines, but there are subtle differences.

Like most LIDAR-based robots, the D8 starts the run by vacuuming the edges before moving towards the middle areas.

The S9+ does the opposite and starts cleaning the middle zones (first) before going to the edges.

Despite not having the most efficient navigation, my choice would be the Roomba S9.

I’ve talked about the Neato D8 navigational issues earlier, and it is the D8’s biggest Achilles Heel.

It lacks polish and a multiple-pass-run, which is disappointing since Neato has been in the industry for decades.

Coverage Test

The Roomba S9 and Neato D8 did well in the coverage test, gobbling up debris efficiently.

But the S9 offers better pick up based on the eye test, leaving the cleaner result between the two.

The Neato D8 did well, but I couldn’t use the max setting during the test since it kept getting wedged on an overhang.

Another advantage for the S9 is its dirt detect technology that does extra passes on dirtier areas. And this is on top of the two-pass run I selected in the robot settings.

Neato doesn’t have a multi-pass option, and its quirkiness in the max setting hampers its cleaning potential.

Airflow Comparison

Power setting
Roomba S9+
Power setting
Neato D8
Low
11.33 CFM
Eco
13.74 CFM
Mid
14.52 CFM
Turbo
19.74 CFM
Max
25 CFM

I use an anemometer for all airflow tests with robot vacuums.

It’s an excellent method of gauging robot vacuum performance since most high airflow robots clean well, especially on carpet.

The Roomba S9+ has the highest airflow of all robot vacuums I’ve tested at 25 CFM, and it’s a significant reason why it did well in the cleaning experiments.

The D8 wasn’t bad at 19.74 CFM. It’s at the same level as the Roomba 980, another excellent performing robot vacuum.

Cleaning Performance

Model
Roomba S9+
Neato D8
Overall
97.93%
93.93%
Hard Floor
99.5%
96.6%
Sand on hard floor
100%
96.5%
Carpet (Surface Pickup)
99.25%
96.92%
Carpet (Deep Cleaning)
93%
85.7%

The cleaning performance scores mirror the airflow results, with the S9+ doing better in every category.

One reason for the discrepancy is the inability of the D8 to navigate in its max setting.

As I’ve said, I tried using the turbo setting during the cleaning tests, and it moved the barrier out of place.

And this issue also arose with the eco setting, so Neato has some bugs to fix.

So the results above are from the Eco setting, which is decent but not great.

The eye test also confirms the numbers as the S9+ had cleaner passes and left no debris fragments during the experiments.

It’s a testament to its high airflow and superb agitation, lacking in the D8.

I had high hopes for the D8, and its results were a disappointment.

The S9 didn’t have such issues, and it navigated within the barrier without any hitch.

Which robot is better on hard floors?

Without a doubt, the Roomba S9 was better with the test results and eye test.

It did better in every hard floor test I did, and one barometer I use is the sand on hard floor test.

The S9 was perfect with a 100% score, while the Neato D8 only picked up 96.5%.

And the eye test confirms that the S9 picked up every crumb of sand I scattered.

Roomba S9 sand on hard floor

It wasn’t the case with the Neato D8, which left remnants.

Neato D8 sand on hard floor

You won’t see it in the before and after shots, but there are traces of sand.

Edge cleaning comparison

One benefit of a D-shaped robot is its pick-up on the edges. We’ll look at how well each variant did in this zone.

The Roomba S9+ was nearly flawless, picking up every crumb.

Roomba S9 edge cleaning

And it got most of it after the first pass, which is the impressive aspect.

The Neato D8 didn’t do as well, leaving a chunk at the edges.

Neato D8 edge cleaning

This is where the side brush placement and design come into play. I said earlier that the S9+ had the better design and position in front of the primary brush.

And these results are proof of my analogy earlier.

Hair wrap comparison

Next, we’ll look at how well each robot resists hair tangles from five and seven-inch strands.

Model
Roomba S9+
Neato D8
5-inch strands
81%
94%
7-inch strands
82%
45%

The Neato D8 is better with shorter five-inch strands picking up an excellent 94% score, with barely anything wrapping on the brush.

Neato D8 5-inch hair

Here’s a shot of the S9 rollers after the five-inch test.

Roomba S9 five-inch hair on axles

Most of the hair is wrapped on the axles. So the bristle-less rollers aren’t maintenance-free, as claimed by iRobot.

While it’s good at resisting tangles, you still need to check for hair wrap, especially on the axles.

However, the S9 is much better with longer seven-inch strands, picking up over 80%.

Roomba S9 seven-inch hair on axle

The Neato D8 didn’t do well with longer 7-inch strands, only picking up 45%.

Neato D8 seven-inch test

Overall, the Roomba S9+ is better, factoring in longer hair strands and something I’d recommend for pet owners.

It’s one of the best robot vacuums at picking up hair.

Which is better on carpet?

Again, based on test results and the eye test, the Roomba S9+ is a notch higher than the Neato D8.

Its superior airflow and navigation made it better with surface and embedded debris.

The dirt detect, and agitation from its dual extractors are significant factors why Roomba products excel on this surface.

Run Time Comparison

The Roomba S9+ has a shorter run time, at only 75 minutes, despite having a larger battery (3600 mAh).

It’s a drawback for high airflow robots like this variant, and consumers should think about this tradeoff before purchasing it.

The Neato D8 has a claimed run time of 100 minutes, the shortest of the three new Neato Botvac products.

It has the smallest battery of the three (2100 mAh), so it’s only suitable inside small to medium-sized homes.

Nonetheless, both have recharge and resume, which mitigates the shorter range.

Noise Comparison

One issue with both variants is the high noise level. It’s not surprising since these products are high airflow.

I use a sound meter to check the noise levels from a few feet away, and here are the results.

Power setting
Neato D8
Power setting
Roomba S9+
Eco
64.6 dB
Low
66.3 dB
Turbo
67.9 dB
Mid
68.5 dB
Max
74.1 dB

The Roomba S9+ is the noisier option, breaching 70 decibels, which isn’t surprising since it also has the highest airflow.

In comparison, the Neato D8 is the less noisy option, but it’s still annoyingly loud (67.9 dB).

Maintenance

Robot vacuums require more upkeep than stick or handheld vacuums because they rely heavily on sensors to function.

I’ll enumerate the items you need to clean or replace and their corresponding timelines. These products are expensive, and maintenance is one way to stretch their lifespan.

  1. Primary brush: It’s the most abused component since it’s responsible for debris pick-up. Check and clean once a week to clean any dirt and hair buildup around the roller and axles.
  2. Side brush: Next to the main brush, another part that needs cleaning is the side brush. The frequency is similar – once a week. You’ll have to remove to clean any hair wrapped on the base.
  3. Dustbin: Empty the dustbin after every run to prevent dust mites from breeding. This isn’t applicable if you have the S9+ (with the clean base station) since it has the self-emptying feature.
  4. Filter: These robots have filters inside the dustbin. Check them once or twice a month and tap them against a solid object to dislodge debris on the folds. Replace the filters after three or four months.
  5. Drop sensors: All robot vacuums have drop sensors that prevent them from falling off cliff points (e.g., stairs). Use a clean microfiber towel to wipe these sensors once a month to prevent any error codes from firing and disabling the robot.
  6. Clean base station (S9+ only): Ensure the port isn’t blocked and throw the bag once full.

Availability of Parts

Roomba products have the advantage over most other brands with parts availability. You can purchase any iRobot component stores like Amazon and eBay. Its popularity is a huge reason why third-party manufacturers sell items like the battery. Even obscure parts like the side wheel assembly or even drop sensors are available.

Neato robots also have a decent pool of replacement parts, but they don’t have the vast selection of iRobot. It’s harder to find more obscure parts for Neato products like the wheel or brush assembly.

Product Specifications

Model
Roomba S9+
Neato D8
Roomba S9+
Neato D8
Width
12.6"
12.71"
Height
3.5"
3.99"
Filter
High-Efficiency
High-Efficiency
Navigation
Smart Navigation
Smart Navigation
Run time
75 mins.
100 mins.
Recharge and Resume
Yes
Yes
Map Saving
Yes
Yes
Number of Maps
10
1
Dustbin capacity
500 ml
700 ml
Auto empty capacity
2.5-liters
N/A
Airflow
25 CFM (Max)
19.74 CFM
Warranty
1-year limited
1-year limited
Price

Where can I buy these robots?

You can purchase the Roomba S9 and Neato D8 in online stores like Amazon. Check the links below for the latest pricing information.

Disclaimer: I will earn a commission if you purchase through any of the links above, but at no extra cost to you, so it’s a win-win for us!

Which is the better option, the Neato D8 or the Roomba S9+?

The Roomba S9+ is the better product overall but costs much more.

So it’s a question of going for the S9’s performance or the D8’s cost savings.

I’ll enumerate the reasons for each variant to help you decide.

4 Reasons to choose the Roomba S9+

  1. Superior performance: The Roomba S9+ beat the Neato D8 in all the cleaning tests. There’s no doubt that it’s the better vacuuming robot.
  2. Better navigation: Despite having LIDAR, the Neato D8 has a lot of issues with its navigation. The Roomba S9+’s navigation is more thorough and efficient.
  3. Self-emptying feature: Only the Roomba S9+ has the auto-empty option. Neato did not implement this feature in any of their new products.
  4. Better app features: The iRobot app has more helpful features like selective room cleaning and clean zones, absent in the MyNeato app.

Reasons to choose the Neato D8

  1. Much cheaper: The D8 costs three times less than the Roomba S9+. If budget is a high priority, then go for this option.
  2. LIDAR: Laser sensors don’t rely on light, so the D8 will function even in dark conditions.
  3. Large dustbin: The D8’s 700-ml dustbin is the largest of all the robot vacuums I’ve tested.

The Verdict: The Roomba S9+ Is the Better Option But Costly

The Roomba S9+ is the clear winner between the two. It performs at a higher level in every category, except for pitch-black navigation, since it relies on a camera sensor for navigation.

It’s also the more expensive option, with the plus variant costing three times more.

If cleaning performance is a high priority, the Roomba S9+ is the better option.

The Neato D8 design offers a lot of potential, but the navigation issues hold it back. Until Neato fixes these bugs, it’s hard to recommend this option.

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