There’s nothing worse than spending your days off from work cleaning up messes around your house. At the end of a long week, we all wish we could simply push a button and the entire house would be totally spotless. While we are not quite at that utopian level of technology, the latest advancements in robotic floor cleaners are getting pretty close to the mark.
With industry leaders like Roomba and Neato adding Wi-Fi capabilities to their robotic vacuum cleaners, you can now control the cleaning of your floors with the push of a button, the slide of a finger or even the sound of your voice. This means that we are on the verge of no more backbreaking work pushing around a vacuum cleaner. The next generation of highly functional, yet truly affordable robotic cleaners are here.
If you like a heavyweight prize fight then you will truly enjoy the battle between these two state of the art robotic cleaners. Roomba has been in the business since its inception and boasts many years of successful functionality and customer support. Neato came onto the scene much later than Roomba but they feature quick strike ability when it comes to churning technological advancements. Let’s get to it.
The Quick and Dirty Analysis
If you are ready to cut to the chase and buy yourself a new state of the art product, here is the down and dirty on these two Wi-Fi connected robotic vacuums.
Why buy the Neato Botvac D3 Wi-Fi Connected Laser Navigating Robot Vacuum?
Why buy the Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi?
Key Features - Neato Botvac D3 Wi-Fi Connected Laser Navigating Robot Vacuum
If you have ever seen a robotic vacuum before then you will instantly notice something distinctly different about the Neato Botvac D3 Connected.
Gone is the classic circular design that looks like a mini flying saucer roaming around on your floors. Instead, Neato has come up with a unique looking D-shaped design for its entire line of robotic vacuum cleaners.
Neato Robotics is a Silicon Valley technology company that was founded in 2010. They have made good use of the large engineering and technical talent pool available to develop several generations of their robotic cleaners.
They are a smaller company in comparison to Roomba, but they make up for it with technical innovations.
Among their many "firsts" Neato can boast of being the first robotic vacuum to be laser navigated. In addition to being the first D-shaped cleaner, they are also the first to offer a Wi-Fi connected, app-enabled model. They were also the first to offer support for Amazon Alexa, FB Chat Bot, and SmartWatch. As a company, Neato continues to push towards a future that has a number of helpful robotic devices assisting with household maintenance.
In terms of total product offerings, Neato has two different types. The D series has many of the powerful cleaning capabilities without the Wi-Fi connectivity. The Connected series adds Wi-Fi capabilities as well as different brushes and battery sizes. Other primary differentiators are technical advancements such as the FloorPlanner™ with virtual 'No Go' Lines.
Getting back to the Neato Botvac D3, we will first take a look at how it cleans floors. The vacuum uses a combo brush that is designed to pick up dirt, debris, and pet hair on all floor types. It is made of materials that help to reduce noise while the vacuum is operating. The brush is capable of cleaning all types of flooring including carpet, hardwoods, and tile. The D-Shape design allows for an extra-large dustbin as well.
The suction motor on the Neato Botvac is sufficiently powerful. Using its Spin Flow Power Clean system, it can easily pick up both small and large debris from all floor surfaces. Because of its D-shape design, it can fit snug to walls and baseboards, even get deep into corners. It is still roughly the same size as most robotic vacuums measuring 13.2 inches long, 12.6 inches wide and 3.9 inches high.
All Neato robots, including the D3, come with two cleaning modes. The first is the economical Eco mode that provides for a longer, quieter operation. If you really need to get after it then you can select Turbo mode to get a super-powered clean and the maximum of suction the Botvac is capable of.
When it comes to finding its way around your house, the Neato Botvac D3 uses a LaserSmart Mapping and Navigation System. This technology uses a 360-degree laser scanning to map out the most efficient path to vacuum your room.
This scan allows the Neato to sense objects such as furniture, toys, and stairs so that it can automatically maneuver around objects, even those accidentally left on the floor.
This all happens in a turret-shaped fixture on the top of the vacuum. From this vantage point atop the unit, the laser continuously scans and makes adjustments. So even if your child decides to leave a toy in a room after the Neato Botvac has started cleaning it can easily make a coarse adjustment. This technology also allows the robotic vacuum to work in low-level lighting.
The interesting result in this is the seemingly logical movement of the robot as it cleans your floors. Historically, robot vacuums have taken interesting routes while sweeping up your dirt and pet hair. They could often be seen zig-zagging their way around the rooms somewhat aimlessly.
The Neato Botvac D3 on the other hand typically moves around the room the way you might if you were pushing a traditional vacuum. The patterns seem to work along the edge and then go back and forth in straight lines. Of course, this all depends on how you have your furniture arranged but the pattern does tend to be more efficient in terms of time and battery usage.
The Neato is comfortable working with all types of messes on all types of floors. If you are a pet owner you will find that it not only gets pet hair out of the carpet effectively, but it also seems to do a good job of getting hair that sneaks up under cabinets and in corners. Spills of cereal or sugar can also be handled fairly simply by the D3. If you find that you have a particularly large spill of a fine substance like sugar you can always crank it up to Turbo to try and get the mess cleaned up.
The lithium-ion rechargeable battery will give you about one hour of cleaning operation, depending on the mode you choose. The D3 has an auto recharge feature that will have the robot scurrying back to the charger base when the power gets low. Since it can recharge itself, you can schedule cleanings with the D3. The schedule can be set to clean up to 1 time per day for all 7 days in a week.
To set up the schedule you will need to use the Neato smart app. With the Neato app, you can perform several functions. For instance, you can view a summary of your robot vacuums cleaning history. The app will also provide you with a Coverage Map of where your D3 robot has cleaned. You can also perform the standard operations of starting, stopping, and scheduling the D3 using the Neato app. Most folks will find the installation of the app to be fairly simple and the user interface is easy to understand.
When it comes to integration into your smart home, Neato gives you several different options to choose from. As the first to enable Amazon Alexa support for their robotic cleaners, Neato allows you to use voice commands to start and stop your D3. You have the same capabilities with Google Assistant as well.
Neato has also released the capability to integrate with ChatBot. This unique feature allows you to type commands on your smartphone, such as "Start Cleaning", into the Neato Chat Bot. This will trigger the D3 to start working. And because you are doing it on your smartphone, you can do it from anywhere and at any time. Neato is also integrated with IFTTT technology and is compatible with Nest.
Key Features - Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi
Roomba is a line of vacuuming robots from the company iRobot. Founded in 1990 by an MIT roboticists, iRobot is a company that specializes in consumer robot products. They released the first Roomba robotic vacuum back in 2002 and have continued to advance its technology ever since.
These powerful cleaners combine a 3 step cleaning system with state of the art navigational controls that enable the robot to work its way throughout your home while you focus on other priorities.
The three-stage cleaning system is one aspect that sets the Roomba apart from its competitors. The first stage is where the robot moves along the edge of your room.
Using a specially engineered edge brush, it sweeps dirt out of corners and away from baseboards.
During the second stage, the Roomba uses two powerful brushes that rotate towards each other to lift and grab dirt away from your floors. The third and final stage of the cleaning process makes use of powerful suction motors to pull the dirt into the dustbin.
Dirt and other debris are then filtered from the air that is now released back into the room. The Roomba is touted to eliminate up to 99% of dust mites and other allergen particles.
The Roomba is capable of navigating smoothly throughout your use with the use of an advanced set of smart sensors. These sensors allow the Roomba to sense objects, furniture, walls and ledges such as stairs. As a result, the Roomba can avoid objects in the floor, such as toys, and even navigate under furniture to make sure every part of your floor gets clean.
Dirt sensing technology is another key feature of the Roomba family of robot vacuums. This technology senses larger messes such as food spills or high traffic areas and directs the vacuum to make multiple passes to make sure the entire mess is taken care of.
Perhaps the unique part of the Roomba series is its integration with other smart home technologies. The intuitive iRobot HOME app allows you to control the vacuum remotely in addition to scheduling cleaning times. You can even use your Amazon Alexa to control your Roomba robot.
Roomba offers a number of different robotic cleaning models. The primary difference is Wi-Fi connectivity and technical advancements. They also offer the Braava line of robotic floor mops.
Now let’s take a look in more detail at the Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum that features Wi-Fi connectivity. We will start with the most important aspect of the robotic vacuums and that is its ability to clean. Like all of the Roomba series of vacuums, the 690 model uses the three-stage cleaning process that involves cleaning the edges, brushing the floor surface and sucking it through the powerful motor. This is a cornerstone of the Roomba technology and the 690 does not disappoint here.
Going a little deeper down the cleaning path, you will discover that the Roomba 690 also features the Dirt Detect sensors that tell the robot vacuum to focus in on bigger messes and high traffic areas. This feature along with the three-stage cleaning process allows this vacuum to pick up both large and small debris with relative ease. The Edge Sweeping Brush is also a nice feature that helps to pull dust and debris out of corners and away from walls. It is specifically angled at 27 degrees to give the optimal sweeping motion to capture the most debris.
Another key feature of the Roomba 690 is its ability to adjust to the surface it is getting ready to clean. This robotic vacuum features automatically adjusting cleaning heads. These heads will adjust their height depending on the floor type. It will lower itself when working on hardwood or tile floors and then raise itself up for a different pile of the carpet. This helps to ensure the proper level of cleaning and brush engagement on the floor surface.
While its ability to clean is certainly impressive, it's the Roomba's ability to navigate and integrate into your home that truly sets it apart. Taking advantage of its Wi-Fi capabilities, you can connect your Roomba directly to your home network. This allows you to control the vacuum with a number of options. iRobot offers an intuitive HOME app that allows you to control and schedule the cleaning of your home at any time and from any location. Connect in from work to make sure you come home to a clean house or log in from your favorite vacation spot to ensure your vacation bliss is not cut short by a messy home.
If you are part of the new age trend of making your home smarter, the Roomba will fit right in. It is capable of integrating with a number of smart home components such as Amazon Alexa. This gives you the convenience of voice control to tell your Roomba to clean the room or go dock itself on the charger. Imagine having a lazy Saturday where you don’t even have to get up to start the cleaning process.
The Roomba is also very skilled at making its way around your home. Using a number of smart sensors, this vacuum cleaner can make an incredible 60 decisions per second. These sensors allow the Roomba to detect objects and safely navigate around them. You don’t have to worry about the Roomba aggressively bumping into walls or banging into furniture. The unit is equipped with bumpers to protect the vacuum and your furniture in the event of a minor collision.
Speaking of furniture, the Roomba can navigate under furniture assuming, of course, your furniture sits up high enough. The vacuum requires about a 4-inch clearance to safely go under couches, chairs and other furniture. When it comes to table legs, the Roomba can simply circle tightly around them and get back on its cleaning path. Falling down stairs or off of other ledges is also not a concern. The use of edge sensors allows the 690 model to avoid such pitfalls.
You can use the Roomba to vacuum all types of surfaces including carpet, hardwood, and tile. The two brushes on the bottom of the vacuum work in conjunction to loosen and then lift dirt and debris away from flooring. While not specifically designed for pet hair, the 690 model does an adequate job of picking up after Fido. Its infrared sensors also seem to be able to handle navigating on dark colored carpets and tiles surfaces.
The battery on this unit is a lithium-ion battery that gives about 60 minutes of life before needing 2 to 3 hours to recharge. It should last you for about 2 to 3 years depending on how often you use it. The HEPA filter will need to be replaced about every two months. The Roomba unit is durable although the brushes will likely need to be replaced annually.
And the Winner is…
As you can tell from all that information selecting a single winner is going to be tough. On one hand, you have the younger, up and comer that is blazing trails in technology. On the other hand, you have a seasoned veteran that virtually launched the automated robotic cleaner industry. Both offer a ton of features and integrate with your smart home components.
But since we can only select one, we have to go with the Neato Botvac D3. The unique D-shape design and larger dustbin give the D3 a slight edge over the Roomba in terms of cleaning corners and other tough to reach places. This is especially true when dealing with pet hair that has a tendency to find its way just underneath the bottom of cabinets or deep into corners. The D3 simply fits in those spaces better allowing for better use of the side brush and powerful suction.
The Neato also has better battery life or at the very least more floor coverage per charge. That is perhaps due in small part to the laser navigation system that is constantly seeking out the best route to follow. Add to that the fact that you do not need to empty out the dustbin as often and the Neato Botvac D3 further extends its lead over the Roomba 690.
The features that really put the Neato robot vacuum over the top are the highly integrated smart home features. Neato was the first to the party and they continue to improve on the technology with each version of their product. The ability to command your robot with voice commands from inside your home or with a written command from anywhere in the world is just too cool to ignore, especially in this age of ever-improving smart home technology.