Neato Botvac 70e Robot Vacuum Cleaner Review

Neato is expanding its robot vacuum offerings with a new “BotVac” series due in mid-April 2014.

The initial launch will include four models: BotVac 70e, BotVac 75, BotVac 80, and BotVac 85 with prices ranging from $479.99 to $599.99. So, how do BotVacs differ from the $379.99 XV Essential, $429.99 XV-21, and $449.99 XV Signature Pro we’ve tested from Neato’s existing product line-up?

One obvious difference is the color scheme. All of the XV line of bots have different finishes — from the black and dark gray XV Signature Pro to the light gray and purple XV-21 — but every BotVac model will have a white finish with bright orange, green, purple, or blue accents, depending on the model you choose. The more significant updates are a bit harder to spot.

Flip a BotVac over, and you’ll see that Neato has added a side brush to its existing design. That might just fix one of the issues we encountered while testing the XV series. We like the way a Neato bot scans and then systematically makes its way around a room, but it tends to leave debris behind when it changes direction. This side brush seems to solve that problem; the idea is that it will sweep any errant dirt back into the path of the vacuum.

Neato Botvac 70e Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Neato also made a couple of updates to existing design elements. It borrows the XV’s standard and combo brushrolls, but super-sized them for the BotVac models. According to Neato, BotVac brushrolls will be the largest available on any robot vacuum model. The brand even crunched some numbers and determined that the BotVac brushrolls are 50 percent larger than what competitors offer.

But what about Neato’s own XV line? Aren’t the new BotVac brushes also larger than the old XV brushes? Regardless, this sounds like a positive update, since the bigger brushroll should literally be able to cover more ground. Neato even claims that its BotVacs can clean within 10 millimeters of the wall, thanks to the new brush design.

I would like to see how noise factors into this change. Neato robot vacs tend to be on the loud side of the models we’ve tested. So an even larger silicone brush slapping against your hardwood floor has potential to be pretty oppressive.

Neato Botvac 70e Robot Vacuum Cleaner

In addition to the side brush and larger brushroll, Neato is also making the dust bin on its BotVac models larger. This isn’t the most exciting update, but the logic behind the decision is clear. You probably won’t have to clean out your dust bin quite as often, making the whole process even more hands-off. It’s hard not to appreciate that. And like two brushroll styles, Neato is also recycling its standard filter and pet and allergy filter to fit on its new dust bins.

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While I’m looking forward to comparing BotVac performance to the XV Signature Pro, XV Essential, and XV-21, this announcement feels a bit hollow. I really like Neato’s core robot vacuums, but think this small, successful brand could do more on the innovation side. And the new BotVac line kind of sounds like a clever way to repackage the XV with slightly different design features and call it a brand new product (with a higher price point). I do think the addition of a side brush could make Neato even more competitive with pricier robot vacuums like iRobot’s Roomba, though, and I’m all for that.

By: Megan Wollerton / cnet.com

Neato Botvac 70e Robot Vacuum Cleaner Pros And Cons

Pros of the Neato Botvac 70e Robot Vacuum Cleaner

The Neato 70e is smart enough to learn where it can’t go through magnetic strips and drop offs. This model is also upgradable via software, so you won’t have to buy a new and improved vacuum next year to get the better operational software.

It uses the laser guided navigation system to map a room before it starts cleaning. This means it is less likely to bump into furniture, get stuck or clean the same spots repeatedly. The Neato Botvac 70e has three flat sides to allow it to clean corners, along edges and under most cabinets.

The Neato Botvac 70e is smart enough to realize when its battery is running low and return to the charging station before the battery dies, assuming its path isn’t blocked. It can also remember where it stopped cleaning and return to that spot to resume its work after it has recharged.

Read also:  iRobot Scooba 230 Review

Neato has larger dust bins than comparable Roomba vacuums. This means you probably won’t have to empty the dust bin in the middle of the house cleaning. However, if the Botvac says the dust bin is full, empty it. If you don’t, it can spill dirt when it hits carpet to tile transitions or runs into something.

Neato is a better vacuum than the Roomba. The Roomba and Neato are equally good as sweepers on smooth floor surfaces like tile or concrete.

Cons of the Neato Botvac 70e Robot Vacuum Cleaner

The Neato Botvac’s fall prevention software is not yet smart enough to distinguish between a step and a black stripe on carpet in many cases. If you have black squares or stripes of tile wider than the vacuum’s sensor, it won’t cross it to the rest of the room assuming there is a drop off. This may be solved in later software updates or become something you can over-ride.

Neato has excellent customer service. If the new robot vacuum is defective or the battery is bad, they’ll often replace the whole thing. One caveat though is that the replacement vacuum will only have a 90 day vacuum, regardless of the warranty you had on the new one. However, this is far better than Frigidaire and Whirlpool, appliance manufacturers who rarely answer their phones, send techs on several trips to fix a problem and often make you wait days to get replacement parts. Neato is far superior to a Bosch vacuum, a company that often says it takes weeks to get replacement parts from Germany.

Neato Botvac 70e Robot Vacuum Cleaner Features

  • Easily schedule daily cleanings
  • Powerful Vacuum Suction
  • Patented Neato BotVision
  • Scans and maps the room, plans, and methodically cleans
  • Auto-Schedule Daily Cleaning, Instant or Spot Cleaning
  • Auto-Recharge & Resume
  • Upgradable Download Software Updates

Neato Botvac 70e Robot Vacuum Cleaner Specifications

Neato Botvac 70e Robot Vacuum Cleaner Specifications
Product Dimensions
Metric U.S. Standard
Length 32.1 cm 12.7 in
Width 33.5 cm 13.2 in
Height 10 cm 3.9 in
Weight 4.1 kg 9 lbs
Technical
Battery NiMH (nickel metal hydride)
Charger Voltage 110V, 220V
Includes: Blade Brush, 1 Standard Filter, Boundary Markers
Neato Botvac 70e vs XV 25

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Comments

  • Techno ZZTopper 23.04.2015 at 09:04

    Nice little machine, does the job and cleans well.

    There is some quick prep work to be done around the house to make it Neato-friendly, before unleashing it, but that’s fine – it cleans probably almost just as well as I do.
    – It struggles with area rugs with medium to long nap – remove those before turning the Neato on.
    – It also can’t see some horizontal elements, such as the horizontal part of our kitchen chair legs that runs along the floor – I lift the chairs before turning it on. For some other low-profile furniture elements like the bases of my speakers or the horizontal part of the incliner chair, I used the magnetic boundary.
    – Make sure there are no loose charger cables and extension cords on the floor, that your flower pots have no leaves touching the floor and that the curtains do not touch the floor. All these can get the Neato to get tangled and to block.

    It is systematic, not perfect, but pretty good. The first time we ran it, it missed a spot, a third of a big room, but to our surprise after it cleaned all other rooms it came back and cleaned the missed spot. It sometimes repeats certain areas, but that doesn’t hurt – the more cleaning, the better.
    It is fairly gentle – when it approaches the furniture it slows down and if it bumps into something, it’s a gentle bump, very gentle.
    When it starts cleaning, it looks around, it cleans the perimeter counterclockwise (it’s edge cleaning brush is on the right hand side only), and once it cleans the perimeter, it proceeds with the other areas in a pattern, as advertised. It sees the doors and similar room passages, like a corridor, so it cleans one room first, before proceeding to the next one.

    Overall, very happy with the purchase and would recommend it.

    Reply
  • Pierre Yap 13.04.2015 at 07:54

    I bought both Roomba 880 and Neato Botvac 70e replace with combo brush. After using both for 5 days, my observation is as below.

    If your room had mixture of long pile carpet and rug, then get a Roomba 880. The Roomba never get stuck on the carpet or rug. As for Neato, there are suggestions on modding it with slider under the botvac. This doesn’t work with long pile carpet as the pile will get stuck in the roller. Somehow Roomba twin roller design do not have this problem.

    Botvac 70e with combo brush (USD 385) had the advantage in more intelligent navigation system and cheaper price compare to Roomba 880 (USD 700).

    Note: If your Botvac having problem dock with the charger, use compress air to clean the LIDAR laser and lens sensor (The top rotating laser guidance system).

    Reply
  • vap 10.04.2015 at 05:50

    It works, it vacuums carpets. It’s cheap.

    But hey, it’s dumb on his own absolutely unique way!
    When it can’t go forward under furniture because of an orange cap on it’s head, it turns around, goes backwards, tilts(!) and go a bit more backwards so the cap can go under. And then… it returns to horizontal position, effectively locking himself completely.
    When you see this in action for a first time, you can find only a single word to express your feelings: “WHY?!”
    I still have no answer, by the way.

    Magnetic stripe from the box doesn’t work well as neato don’t react on it sometimes. The one bought separately works fine though.
    Cleaning it’s waste bin is a real mess too.

    So I’d give it 5 stars for a quality of cleaning, 5 stars for it’s price, 3 stars for movement logic, and 3 stars for ease of maintenance.
    If you’re looking for a smart and easy to clean robot – try some of the top samsung models.

    However, this one has really best price/performance ratio.

    Reply
  • MooreNotLess 08.04.2015 at 17:56

    Years ago I was intrigued with the idea of having a robotic vacuum. I have owned various Roomba devices and when the Neato was released was very interested in it. Overall I have been very happy with my Neato robots but when one of them recently started acting very strangely I decided it was time to upgrade. I have has this Botvac for a few weeks and at this point I am very happy with it.

    My previous model was an XV-12 which did a great job. It had its quirks, but that is the case with most things. Here is what I love about the Botvac. The suction of this device seems to be very strong compared to the XV-12. The filter is bigger and better. The dust bin is also bigger. The brush belts are now enclosed so hair and other stuff won’t get in there, which is a great improvement. It is also much easier taking the brush on and off to clean it.

    I have noticed that it takes different paths than the previous bot which might speak to the new OS that it is running, but it hasn’t gotten stuck yet and seems to be slightly more aggressive compared to my last bot.

    One great thing is that the docking base is actually a little bit smaller, so it takes up less space.

    One thing I did want to say is that if you decide to make a purchase PLEASE get a warranty. I personally use Squaretrade, but keep that in mind because Neato robots tend to fail over time. There are some things that aren’t worth getting them for, but I think it is totally worth getting a warranty on this device.

    Overall I love this new Neato. It improves upon the old model in pretty much every way and is one of the best ones on the market today.

    Reply
  • J. Woodrow 03.04.2015 at 07:34

    Well, we’ve had our neato for about 5 days now. I’ve been using it almost daily, and the overall performance of cleaning the floors is very good. My house is almost all carpet- some deep plush and some a newer shag type. I also have tile and lenolenum. It picks up tons of dog hair- I have 3 giant breed dogs that shed a crazy amount. The brush that comes with it I think works better than the combo brush I purchased to go with this. I almost never get hair caught in the brush it self, but will have to take it apart and remove the hair that gets around the end of it. I feel vacuuming out the bin and filter and brush after every cycle is an easy thing to do and a very small price to pay to not have to spend 3 hours vacuuming my house each time.
    I do have to clean and empty the dust bin after each time it goes to dock, but the amount of hair I have to empty out is becoming less every day and it’s not as chalked full. I’ve never once gotten a “bin full” warning eventhough it’s been overflowing almost everytime I’ve emptied it.
    The only real complaints I have are these:
    1. The strips it comes with to keep it out of certain areas DO NOT WORK. Neato just pushes them around. Even when I have them tucked under my chair legs, it still just goes right over the top. I’ve reverted to putting a log under my chair since it gets stuck under there otherwise.
    2. every few days when I use it, it keeps getting stupid and just keeps trying to go into the wall or cabinet like it thinks there should be a doorway there. Sometimes it’s after I’ve had to move it for some reason, other times it just does it. Then it says to clear the path when there’s a wide open space. When I move it, it goes right back to being an idot again. I have to turn it off and restart the cleaing process all over. But other days it works just dandy getting all the nooks and crannies.
    So maybe i have a defective neato

    Overall, I’d still buy it again, but would forgo the combo brush since it doesn’t seem to work any better on my carpet. My house has never been so clean! But it does take about 2-3 cycles to do my entire upstairs which is probably 1800 sq ft with 1 large room and 4 additional rooms it gets into. I love that it cleans in an actual pattern and goes back and forth through all my rooms almost never missing a spot

    Reply
  • Steve 02.04.2015 at 20:03

    We’ve had this for a few weeks now and it does a really good job on our hard surface floors and area rugs on the main floor – we haven’t used it on the carpet upstairs or downstairs, that’s not what we bought it for. It’s quite thorough moving from room to room and around furniture etc. Pretty much goes everywhere it can get into where it’s width / height doesn’t create a barrier for it. It even goes under our dining room table and around all the legs without many problems. We have a couple rooms that are larger than it will do at one time, so it breaks them into smaller ‘virtual rooms’ doing each of those sections completely before moving on to the next. We have one light weight rug that it get’s tangled up in so we just put it up before we send it off cleaning. It makes the transitions from our hardwood to heavier rugs to laundry room tile without any problems though.

    It can’t quite do our whole main floor in one charge (about 1800 square feet) but once recharged, it goes right back where it left off and finishes – just like it’s supposed to. We pretty much need to empty the dust bin after one charge anyway, we have a small long hair dog that has enough hair shedding to help fill it – without a pet it would probably go 2 full charges before emptying. I’m actually quite surprised how much it picks up, where the heck is all this stuff coming from! 🙂

    We purchased the lowest cost Botvac on Amazon and then added the alternate brush and 2 higher efficiency filters which was significantly less expensive than buying it with the better brush and filters. The alternate brush is all we use, it is quieter than the flipper brush the 70E comes with, although both are equally effective at cleaning hard surfaces from what we could tell.

    It’s quiet enough to run at night while we sleep with one exception – if it doesn’t “see” something in it’s way it can bump into it at full speed which can be noisy. For things it can see it slows down as it approaches and doesn’t make much noise. Will really depend what you have in the room – small furniture legs are the most problematic for loud bumping.

    When we first plugged it in and turned it on following the instructions it didn’t respond correctly and put any information on the small screen. After fiddling with it including the on/off switch I called the number provided, got an answer quickly from someone obviously in the US who asked some questions and was just getting prepared to set up a return when it came to life finally. I was very happy it didn’t need returned and was also happy to know the customer service was going to be easy to contact in the future if needed -but from what I can tell it won’t be – this little thing just seems to be doing great – much more than I expected.

    I would recommend this for hard surface floors, it does an very good job – I can’t comment on it’s usefulness on carpet – it would probably be effective for light cleaning but would guess you would want a more powerful vacuum for deeper cleaning.

    Reply
  • kk 01.04.2015 at 05:48

    This robot is seriously changing my life!! I love it – I mean what’s not to love? It vacuums for me!! Even more than that, it vacuums all of those places I cannot get to – under the bed, sofa, tables etc. I am blown away by the amount of dust that it picks up daily. I live in a dusty (dry) state so I am quite sure that the Neato will actually save me time dusting as well as vacuuming.
    Granted, there is a learning curve. It takes a few days of hanging around while the Botvac vacuums to see where it might want to get hung up. For me it has been 2 main areas that create issues:
    1. Small rugs, they tend to get pushed around by the Neato. Easily solved by putting the non-slip rug stuff under each rug.
    2. Will try to navigate over the legs of my bentwood (Ikea Poang) chairs, thinking they are floor transitions and then gets broadsided on the legs. Have largely fixed this with felt bumpers under the legs to raise them to a sufficiently high level. Would love to find a more elegant solution (ie let the Neato know these are to be treated as edges to go around rather than transitions to go over). However since this desire to go over them is part of the Neatos awesome ability to move across thresholds and up onto rugs, I don’t see any easy way around it.

    Overall, with a little patience and some adjusting of furniture, the Botvac has become my new best friend!! I LOVE coming home to clean floors and I have had to clean the house significantly less frequently than previously, yet the house looks cleaner in between my cleanings.
    It also forces me to be better about picking up around the house, which also makes everything look more clean & tidy. Whats more to ask??
    Maybe if it could, move the furniture, do a wash of the floors, move the furniture back and then do all the other cleaning around the house!!! 🙂

    One issue which has been mentioned are the terrible air filters. The design is pretty awful. I had originally resorted to using a hand vac to clean off the filter each day, rather than banging it out (and so returning all of the collected dust back to the room) but then happened upon a brilliant solution.:
    I just take a kleenex (long box type is exactly the right length for the filter). I place it on the dust bin before putting the filter back in, then tear the excess off (doesn’t need to be perfect at all). Takes no time at all (less than a minute). It does not appear to reduce the efficiency of the vacuum in any major way (still picks up tons of dust). When I take out the filter I just discard the kleenex and the filter is as clean as ever! How great is that?!!

    Reply
  • Sabrina 01.04.2015 at 05:40

    I was hesitate to choose btw neato and irobot due to poor quality control issues posted by lots of reviews for neato, but I love the smart technology which neato has,therefore I decided to give neato a try, I chose 70e because it’s the cheapest model of neato botavc & it’s only AUD$540 (including shipping fee from US to Australia), it’s less than half price of irobot 880 sold in Australia, my bottom line was if I’m not happy with it, i can give it to my parents & buy irobot 880.

    After one week using neato ( running daily), I’m really happy with my choice:
    1. People said its noisy – I find it’s tolerable, neato mainly works in my second floor, I can still watching TV, eat my breakfast while it works upstairs.
    2. People said its not good with edge clean – I find it at least better than I clean the edge.
    3. People said it might not last longer – I used to pay cleaners $160 once every second week, this machine only costs me $550 in total, if it can last 2 months in my home, it will start to save my cleaner cost. (Ps. My mum said neato does better job than my cleaner)
    4. People said it might have a lot of technical issue – so far neato works smoothly for me. I might update my reviews after 6 months to see how it goes.

    My only concerns so far is if my neato has any issues,who should I contact to get it repaired or fixed as I lived in Australia? Amazon? neato us? Or Neato Australia?

    My home never as clean as now by running neato daily, I have also ordered irobot 380T to help neato, I will give update once it’s arrived. I never use irobot roomba,so my review might not be fair to irobot roomba, but in terms of cost, neato is cheaper than roomba so it worthy to try.

    Reply
  • Carlos F 31.03.2015 at 20:39

    First, I owned a Neato XV for many years. Was very happy with it, but it was showing its years and I decided to upgrade it. I chose the Neato over the Roomba due to its room mapping capabilities, so it could navigate from room to room. It has done the work beautifully, navigating 10 different rooms with no issues. Pure awesomeness.

    This new model is about the same, but with some notable upgrades:
    1. The brush is larger and it gets a lot closer to the edge.
    2. It has an edge brush similar to the roomba.
    3. Much quieter.
    4. The navigation is better and can get out of tight spots easier.
    5. The dirt bin is larger.
    6. The battery is much larger, able to clean on one charge.

    I do see this new model is doing a better job at picking up more, specially along the edges. It actually repositions itself around a corner to better clean the edge. I am very happy I upgraded. If you want real cleaning ditch that randomly cleaning Roomba and get a Neato.

    Reply
  • Arthur B. Cooper Jr. 30.03.2015 at 07:35

    UPDATE
    OK. I came back and changed my rating to 5 stars. I actually really love this Neato vacuum now that I have figured out all of it’s eccentricities. You will find that it generally does a great job and finds its way back to the charger when it’s done vacuuming the house. A few times it has got stuck under a chair, and once it couldn’t find the charger. What I have found is that if/when it gets stuck, it keeps trying to get “free” and in the process, it tends to “chew” the battery more than usual. If this happens, it can get confused and not be able to find its charging base. It has happened once or twice, and when it does happen, I simply pick it up and hand-carry it back to the charger. After it has charged, it seems fine and operates as it should. The final point I want to make is that ALL of these “Robo-Vacs” have issues. Roomba bounces around the house and scars your baseboards. This robot unit will sometimes get a little confused. However, comparing them is easy – the NEATO wins out. It cleans in a much more deterministic way, requires way less maintenance than my Roomba, and it covers the entire house much better than my Roomba. I highly recommend this unit for anyone who is wondering to get this one or a Roomba. Get the NEATO!!

    UPDATE
    After resetting the unit and allowing it to fully charge, all is well with it. It works much better than our roomba, and I will come back and update again should anything good/bad happen. At this time, I’m again happy with the unit. It’s a much more precise way to vacuum your house vs the Roomba way which is sort of bouncing around like a drunk.. This unit actually maps out its path and covers the entire room vs the bumping around of roomba.

    ORIGINAL REVIEW
    When it arrived, I loved it, and it worked great for a few weeks. Now it keeps saying things like “Please Clear Path” when there’s nothing in it’s path. I just contacted Neato, and I am now performing some troubleshooting on the unit. If it works, I’ll come back and update this review. At this time – 3 stars is all I can give it. We were replacing a Pet Series 590 Roomba – and this unit does appear to do a better job. HOWEVER, with it failing this soon after getting it, I am sticking with my 3 star rating. Again, I will update after I see if these troubleshooting steps work. Best case scenario for me will be 4 stars, as anything this new acting defective already doesn’t deserve a 5-star rating in my humble opinion. The lady at Neato stated they do not sell refurbished Neato BotVacs, but the box this arrived in had two QA/Inspection stickers on it. One from like May, 2014; and another from like January, 2015. MeThinks this may have been a “Clunker” that was sent back and re-inspected; but again I can’t really prove that.

    Reply
  • Ron 28.03.2015 at 11:05

    My wife is thrilled with this robot. We have a Mint that mops the laminate, but doesn’t do carpet or vacuum. This filled the gap. We did have some learning curve in that base station placement is important if it is to find it when complete or for a recharge. three ft to the units right (your left when looking at it) is vital. And having the base station back angle at 90° is important (ours is on carpet with a bottom molding, so I put a piece of wood behind the top of the back to keep it at 90°. Noise – we do not think it makes much noise at all, much less than a conventional vacuum, and way less than a dust buster. Impediments – low overhangs that are barely taller than itself but wedge down (like a couch with higher front legs than back), and beds or couches with loose underlining that can drape around the robot after it gets under and confuses the sensor (it has an “I can’t see” message).
    I solved the couch wedge, by adding a bit to the leg height (yes I am a woodworker). The draping thing was as easy as using a staple gun the secure the bottom cover tightly.

    It is obsessive about getting in to every crevice. If you watch it for very long this can drive you crazy, but it doesn’t seem to mind and just keeps on trying every possible attack at odd shapes. Ours lasts at least 90 minutes on a charge and goes back and charges itself if necessary to complete the job. Recharge time is about 3 hours. The book says that it will recharge once to complete, but that is not true. It will keep recharging as necessary to finish the job. First time out it found the entire house (1900 sq ft. 3 bed, 3 bath) and took two recharges and 10 hours to complete. Next day we ran Gracie again and she finished with one recharge (had only 1/2 a bedroom to complete), so apparently, it maps the house and is much quicker after it learns. It gets a LOT of dirt and hair. Don’t be surprised if you have to clean it out once or twice before it completes the first few times. Remember she goes under everything she will fit under: beds, dressers, couches, etc. We have two dogs and the boxer especially wanted to follow it around to scope it out. It was amusing to see the robot encounter him where she didn’t expect an obstacle and go around his legs to complete the job. Day two the boxer is now confident that it is harmless and goes to another room. Some have reported a lot a banging, but perhaps the software has been updated, as our is pretty gentle. Corners – it does as well as any vacuum can do. It doesn’t just round corners, it does try to line up against a side wall to get it’s square nose in as far as possible. The magnetic strips work perfectly if you lay them down flat, she will back off like it was an overhang.
    12/13/14 – A few things I have noticed. The logic of her pattern seems to be to go through the entire house in strips. So, she may enter a room, do half of it and go to the next room and do half of that. She will be back later and do the other halves. The brush is WAY quieter than the rubber paddle, especially on hardwood floors. You can hardly stand the noise of the rubber one if you are in the same room you would have to yell to carry on a conversation. The down side is the brush does collect stings that come from (clothing?), and you have to clean the brush about every second time to keep it efficient. I have found that a metal dog comb does this very well and takes about 5 minutes to do a thorough job.

    Reply