Review: iRobot Roomba vs Neato Botvac

irobot roomba vs neatoAre you in the market for a robotic vacuum? If so, you’ll find that there are lots of autonomous vacuum robots available on the market, two of the most popular being the iRobot Roomba and the Neato Botvac. So let’s take compare these two models and see how they stack up.


Features on the iRobot Roomba and Neato Botvac

The Roomba 880 is the newest iRobot model. This brand is perhaps the best known in the industry, as Roomba was the very first robotic vacuum to hit the market place.

The Roomba 880 touts an AeroForce Performance cleaning system, designed to collect up to 50% more dirt, hair and debris from a range of floor types, including carpet, hardwood and tile. It’s also programmed to clean an entire room before moving on to the next and it has a range of different brushes, including side brushes to get right up against baseboards.

Pet owners have reported that the Botvac is a bit better at cleaning up pet hair and it’s programmed to back up in an attempt to un-tangle carpet fringe. But it also has a tendency of leaving a dirt trail when it makes a turn on a soiled floor.

Roomba is better when it comes to battery life, with about three hours of battery life to the Botvac’s 90-minute battery life.
Both models have a larger dirt collection bin than the earlier models. Both robotic vacuums may also need to be emptied before the bin is full.

The iRobot Roomba 880 uses lighthouses to create a digital fence of sorts. But the ‘fence’ must necessarily be a straight line, whereas the Neato Botvac uses tape that can be utilized to create boundaries of any shape. But the tape must be left in place; if it’s removed, it can be re-stuck once, but the adherence is significantly lessened.
Artificial Intelligence of the Roomba and Botvac

Both models are very clever, as they’re equipped with sensors to help detect the edge of a floor at the top of a stairs. They’re programmed to look for a light colored area of flooring, followed by a darker colored area of flooring (assuming the darker area is darker due to a drop off). This can pose problems if you have floor tiles with a lot of contrast. Many users report that the Botvac is a bit better at deciphering the difference between a floor pattern and a drop off.

The Botvac has a tendency of stalling when it encounters a perceived floor edge, whereas the Roomba is a bit smarter; it’s programmed to back up and change direction so it can continue on its merry way.

The Roomba is also a bit smarter when it comes to getting out of a difficult area, such as the forest of table and chair legs in your dining room or kitchen. It’s programmed to make a 15-degree turn, then move forward in an attempt to get un-stuck. This continues until the Roomba is freed. The Botvac tends to give up, waiting for human rescue.

But the Botvac has been found to be more effective at creating a virtual room map, which means it is more thorough at vacuuming the entire room. The Roomba reportedly has a tendency of missing areas, especially near the center of the room.


Prices of the iRobot Roomba and Neato Botvac

Price is a major consideration for many consumers and when it comes to these two robotic vacuums. The iRobot Roomba 880 comes in at $699.99. Two lighthouses are included. Roomba filters are priced at around $8.00 each.

The Neato Botvac 80 is available for $499.99. There’s also an additional fee for replacement filters, which cost about $5.00 each. A 13-foot roll of boundary marker tape is $25.

So which is better? The Neato Botvac 80 or the iRobot Roomba 880? It depends on a few factors like your flooring type, whether you need to set boundaries, and the number of potential obstructions.