Neato XV-21 Review: A Pet Hair Cleaner

At first glance this looks like the Nintendo game console from the 80s.

But it actually is a robot vacuum that will work on carpet or bare floors and claims to pick up pet hair equally well.

Neato XV-21 Review

As dated as it looks it still functions pretty well. And will cost almost half less than the more expensive Roomba and a lot of tech sites say that it does perform better in removing pet hair.

It uses a motorized nylon/rubber brush plus suction to clean, for navigation it uses an “RPS” or Room Positioning System to map out an efficient cleaning path and avoid obstacles.

Allergy sufferers will want to have a long look at this because it uses HEPA filters to keep a majority of allergens from circulating back out.

By the way Neato has a new product call the BotVac Connected.

It has loads of upgrades from the previous XV series such as a lithium ion battery, side brush, WiFi, new motor and better overall performance.

You can check out all of the BotVac robots in this article and see how each variant differ.

A quick look at the features

  • Has a 6 foot magnetic boundary marker (it’s the equivalent to the virtual wall found in Roomba)
  • Uses a HEPA filter to block out allergens
  • Motorized brush picks up dust, dirt as well as pet hair on carpet and hard floor
  • Scheduling feature
  • Returns to its charging base when battery is low
  • Cleans floors in an overlapping back and forth motion
  • Bagless system


  • Good run time
  • Excellent dirt pick up capabilities
  • Has a schedule feature (once a day, seven days a week)
  • Automatically goes back to its charging station when battery is low
  • Cleans with a back and forth overlapping motion
  • Easy to update firmware (through a USB port)
  • Brush roll easy to clean and remove
  • Easy to empty
  • If something’s wrong it’ll beep and notify you through the LCD screen


  • Noisy
  • Can’t reach corners because of the absence of an edge brush
  • No edge cleaning brush
  • Small dirt bin
  • RPS sensors needs frequent cleaning
  • No remote

What to expect from the Neato XV-21?

One of the main features the XV-21 has is a hybrid nylon/rubber brush that allows this to pick up pet hair, in addition to this it uses suction and Neato claims that their robotic vacuums have the strongest suction.

As you’ll notice that a lot of the reviews come from pet owners who simply couldn’t keep up with the amount of hair their pet sheds which is the big reason why they purchased this.

It relies on its RPS sensor to detect potential obstacles around and map out a path, some reviews mentioned that it takes longer to vacuum with this as compared to a Roomba but it did a thoroughly good job.


Before pressing that clean button make sure to clear away all clutter and cords that’ll get in the way. These obstacles can reduce the efficiency of the robot and will not function as well.

Also Neato recommends at least 3-feet of open space around the charging base so there will be no issues in it returning here and some reviews in Amazon recommends increasing that to 5-feet just to be sure.

This robot will return automatically to the dock when it’s done cleaning.

If you have multiple rooms, it’ll be best to clean it one at a time. It won’t run very long (1 hour max) and it lacks the SLAM algorithm that modern robots have to track its location.

The laser navigation is great in low light conditions, even pitch black so you don’t need the lights on for this robot to work.

Compared to the Roomba, its sensors are more sensitive meaning it won’t collide as much as the Roomba and if there’s a bed skirt it won’t go through it rather it’ll along follow its path.

See how the XV-21’s laser maps out the bounderies of a room in this video…

And how it goes back to the base station…

Will it clean stairs?

No, it does not have that functionality.

Scheduled cleaning

You can schedule this robot to clean on its own once a day, 7 days a week.

Charging time

It will take roughly 2 to 3 hours to fully charge.

Filter clean up

Dirt bin is at the center of the robot (violet rectangular top with a holder).

To remove just pull it out and empty. You’ll need to clean the filter once a week. One trick I use to make these HEPA filters last longer is use a handheld vacuum to clean it. Pick one with a soft bristle brush tool to agitate and pick up fine dust.

Run time

Consumers got between 35 minutes to an hour of run time.

Customer service and warranty

While there are complains about bad customer service, the overall consensus is positive.

Neato has a 30 day return policy and a 1 year warranty on all their products. And if something’s wrong, they’ll replace the robot.

Bare floor cleaning

It excels in cleaning bare floors such as tile, wood and linoleum because it has strong suction complemented by the beater bar.

Neato claims that it also picks up large bits like cereal and dander and based on reviews, a lot of people will agree with this though it’ll take hours to finish the whole house with several recharges along the way.

Carpet cleaning

The XV-21 will do a pretty decent job removing dirt and pet hair on low to medium pile carpet but on really fluffy ones it will struggle a bit as with all robot vacuums.

Again the suction and brush roll work well together to clean this surface.

If you have black or very rugs or carpet at home, it may not go over it as some reviews pointed out because sensors may think that it is a hole or cliff.


Transitioning from hard floor/carpet to rugs isn’t a problem as long as the rug isn’t slippery or too thick, it wouldn’t be an issue.

If your rugs has long tassels please tuck it underneath or clean separately because long threads will wrap on the motorized brush.

Pet hair removal

This is hands down the better pet hair cleaner than a Roomba based on reviews here, here and here.

A lot of pet owners are happy with how this robot picks up pet hair. Without it, it’d be hard for them to just rely on a handheld vacuum to pick up all the hair shed by their dogs. Some had as much as 3 dogs.

Please check this detailed article on my vacuum recommendations for pet hair.

It really helped them clean hair shed by their pets and as a result their homes are cleaner…

Remember if you have a litter or milk box, I suggest you move that out of the way first before letting this loose or it’ll scatter what’s inside it.

See it in action

Ben Blades shares his experience with the XV-21 in his home…

If you must, you can use this to clean the bathroom floor, just make sure it’s dry!

Product Specifications

Battery typeLithium Ion
Charger typeCharging Station
Charge time2 hours
Run Time 30-60 minutes
(based on reviews)
Net weight (with battery)8.6 pounds
Shipping weight15 pounds
Dimensions12.5" × 13" × 4"
Multi Room
Self docking
Remote control
Hepa filtration
Cliff detection
Self adjusting
Side brushe
Full bin indicator
Stair Cleaning
Cleaning sessions per week 7
Extra Filter
Containment It uses a magnetic strip instead of a virtual wall.
Brush cleaning toolsN/A
Accessories includedCharging base

Charging cable

6-foot magnetic strip

1 allergy and pet brush

1 standard brush

1 filter

Quick start guide

User manual
Manufactured inChina
Warranty1 year on robot
6 months on battery

Customer Reviews

Over 600 people left reviews for the XV-21 and over 400 gave it the full 5-star rating, it is proof that this vacuum is a good performer.

A lot of people who used this robot were pet owners. Some of them have at least 5 dogs that shed lots of hair. But most were happy with how this robot cleaned up all of the mess.

Some of them gave it a name, a noticed a few named it Rosy after the robot maid of “the Jetson’s” (if you’re old enough to remember that cartoon series in the 80s).

A lady mentioned that she was coming off back surgery and couldn’t really do any cleaning chores and this was a factor in her choosing this robot. Other consumers who also had lower back problems appreciated how this helped them with their cleaning tasks.

Despite all the positive reviews it isn’t without its flaws, it doesn’t clean the edges well because it doesn’t have an edge cleaning brush.

Make sure to clean all the sensors to maintain performance. Dirty sensors will hamper how this robot navigates and will not be as efficient.

There are also reports of lemon units with malfunctioning batteries, broken sensors and jammed wheels.

That’s why it is important to thorough put the robot into its paces to see if there are any potential problems and read their warranty information to know what’s covered.

Reviews from other sites


50 people left a review in Walmart and most of them were satisfied on how it picked up pet hair and dirt on carpet and bare floors.

Transitioning between surfaces isn’t a problem. And what consumers like is how it cleans areas under the bed with ease.

But it has a short run time and the small dirt bin needs frequent cleaning.

Where can I buy this?

You can buy this robot vacuum in Amazon for around $300 but it won’t be brand new. A better option would be getting of the newer BotVac robot because these newer variants have better navigation and will run longer.

To wrap up

This product is great for folks who simply don’t have time in their busy schedules to vacuum frequently enough to maintain the cleanliness of their homes.

This would be great if you have a large home with open spaces because it works best in these areas.

If you’re coming off a debilitating back injury or have chronic back issues that prevent you from lifting a heavy upright or even a canister this will be a godsend since it does all the work for you.

Take note that unlike the Roomba that uses virtual walls, this one uses magnetic boundary markers.

You’ll need to buy more of these if you have a larger home. And a 13 foot marker will cost around $16 in Amazon.

Despite the flaws, folks are still happy with the cleaning performance of the XV-21, especially pet hair. Take note that this variant is already discontinued by Neato and has been replaced by the BotVac Series.

Please check the link above to see details and also check my comparison between the BotVac and Roomba. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.


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About the author: Garrick Dee Garrick is the founder of the Cordless Vacuum Guide has been testing cordless vacuums for the past 10 years, and writes about them on this website. When he’s not writing reviews, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, traveling and tasting different cuisines.