Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Review

Features a combo brush that is uniquely designed to pick up pet hair—and is quieter, too, especially on hard floors like wood and tile. Patented laser-guided technology scans and maps the room, plans, and methodically cleans, automatically moving from room to room. 50% larger brush, bigger-is-better dirt bin, extra large filter, and precise edge cleaning brush pick up more dirt and debris. Schedule daily cleanings or push a button for instant multi-room or spot cleaning. Automatically goes back to charge base, then returns to where it left off.

Neato’s $599 BotVac 85 is one of four new robot vacuums for the brand. While it’s clear that Neato used its existing XV models as templates for the BotVac line, the company also made significant updates, even addressing some of the complaints we had with the XV models we’ve tested. The Botvac 85 is more than just a refurbished XV, though — Neato added a side brush to the design, a larger main brush and dustbin and, miraculously, made it less noisy.

It also aced its performance tests, doing better overall than any of the three previously-reviewed XV-line bots and about the same as iRobot’s Roomba 880/870. It’s a close call between the BotVac 85 and the identically-priced Roomba 870 (the remote-free version of the 880 model), but the BotVac offers three filters over the Roomba 870’s two, shorter run times, a longer brush, and extremely straightforward magnetic boundary markers compared to iRobot’s fussier battery-powered Virtual Wall barriers. The BotVac also did much better on the pet hair test, making it ultimately more recommendable that iRobot’s Roomba 870.

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Design

The Neato BotVac 85 doesn’t look all that different from the XV-line models we’ve reviewed. It has that traditional Neato rounded back and squared-off front, allowing the brush to tackle corners and edges with ease. Also like the XV bots, the included accessories are the only clear way to differentiate one BotVac model from another — that, and each model’s paint color. Still, there are both subtle and obvious differences that make BotVacs and XVs two clearly distinguishable robot vacuum lines.

While each XV model has a different color combination, all BotVac models are finished in white with a brightly colored accent on the top sensor. Neato currently offers four different models in the BotVac line, including this $599 BotVac 85 with blue accents, a combo brush, a blade brush, and three high-performance filters on down to the $479 BotVac 70e with orange accents, a blade brush, and one standard filter. The design of the sensor has also changed slightly too; it’s more rounded than XV model iterations.

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Design

The “Neato Robotics” name was moved to the left side of the bot, and the display located to the right of the sensor has flat touchpad-style buttons rather than the standard buttons you see on the XV line. Other than that, the options offered on the display screen itself are still essentially the same. You can schedule your bot to clean at a certain time, check the software version, and so on.

Instead of the XV’s start button, BotVac’s have separate home and spot cleaning buttons. The home button both wakes up the bot and initiates a regular cleaning cycle. The spot cleaning button will vacuum in a space 4 feet by 6 feet for a more targeted deep clean. I do wish BotVac models came with a remote — something that Roomba offers that we haven’t seen on a Neato model yet.

Neato also gave BotVac dust bins 2.96-cup capacities: the brand’s own XV line has smaller 2.54-cup bins. To account for the larger dust bins, BotVac models are also equipped with larger filters. The less expensive BotVac 70e comes with one standard filter, while this BotVac 85 model comes with three high-performance filters. They look the same as the XV filters, just larger.

Turn over the BotVac and you’ll see a couple of other differences between this line and the brand’s XV line. While the BotVac 85 comes with the same combo brush that specializes in pet hair and blade brush for regular cleaning, both brushes are larger than the XV line’s versions — 10.9 inches long compared to 9.8 inches long. That means that the BotVac brush is literally closer to the wall and better equipped to tackle those pesky edges.

Those are significant updates, but my favorite feature is the addition of a side brush, similar to what you see on Roomba robot vacuums. This lets the BotVac get even closer to edges than its already-larger main brush can. These changes do mean that this robot vacuum weighs more, though — 9 pounds compared to the XV line’s already-hefty 8.6 pounds. While the BotVac 85 retains a lot of classic elements from the XV line, the BotVac line is a full-fledged new product line for Neato. It’s not just another new unit with minor tweak like we saw with the Neato XV Essential.

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Usability

Using this robot vacuum is a lot like using an XV bot. It’s simple and straightforward. Press the home button once to wake up the BotVac and again to start a regular cleaning cycle. Then, the vacuum will scan the space and decide on its plan of attack. Since it scans the room and maps out a route, it should be easy to predict where it will go. However, as with some of the XV models we tested, we noticed some significant navigational anomalies with this BotVac.

Read also:  Neato XV Signature Review

I completed several runs on the each flooring surface, and the BotVac didn’t always follow the same route, even when it was leaving from the exact same docked location and cleaning in the exact same space. It also periodically maneuvered around a perceived obstacle along the perimeter that wasn’t there. Since the robot would still vacuum the majority of the floor, none of this seemed to significantly influence usability or performance.

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Usability

About halfway through testing, though, I noticed some significant operational problems that would severely impact this bot’s overall usability. At one point, it completely stopped returning to its dock. Instead, it would go through a cleaning cycle and stop just shy of the dock and sort of shift around confused for several seconds and then chime triumphantly, as if it had successfully returned to its dock.

So, I rebooted the system, checked to make sure its software was up-to-date, and cleaned off the sensors but that didn’t solve the issue. It continued to go through an entire cleaning cycle and stop short. When I manually returned the vacuum to the dock, it would respond in various, unpredictable ways.

After describing this to Neato, I learned I had a defective unit and Neato promptly sent another BotVac 85 for comparison. The new BotVac consistently returned to the dock after several repeated tests in various room settings. Still, make sure you’re careful with your BotVac — Neato told me that an accidental drop or other incident could cause significant damage to the laser’s accuracy (making locating the dock a potentially lasting issue, requiring you to send the faulty unit back to Neato for repair).

Neato suggests fully charging and discharging the vacuum two or three times before its first use for it to work as effectively as possible. After that, the BotVac can clean for over an hour on a single charge. It takes up to two times longer than its run time for it to charge. So if you let the vacuum clean for 30 minutes, expect to wait about an hour for it to return to a full charge.

One clear usability improvement is that the BotVac is noticeably quieter than the XV models we’ve reviewed. It would be much easier to carry on a conversation or watch TV with a BotVac in your home rather than an XV Signature Pro or other XV model. Also, the larger dust bin means that you won’t have to empty it quite as often.

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Performance

Since there are plenty of feature and accessory updates with the BotVac 85, I was interested to see how it stacks up against the $450 XV Signature Pro, the $430 XV-21, and the $380 XV Essential. In addition to the Neato robot vacuums we’ve reviewed, I also compare this BotVac’s test results to the $800 LG Hom-Bot Square, the $700 iRobot Roomba 880, the $700 iRobot Roomba 790, the $300 Infinuvo CleanMate QQ5, and the $240 Infinuvo Hovo 510. While the BotVac 85 placed in the top tier of each performance run, it didn’t do significantly better than the other Neato bots or the Roomba 880 on most of the tests.

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Perfomance

The BotVac 85 picked up 2.45 ounces of rice on mid-pile carpet and hardwood, and 2.38 ounces on low-pile carpet, stealing first place from the reigning rice champion, Infinuvo’s Hovo 510. iRobot’s Roomba 880 placed third, and Neato’s own XV-21 came in fourth. I was particularly impressed with the BotVac’s rice results, since this was the only case where the brand didn’t already have a bot in first or second place.

Historically, Neato-brand robot vacuums have been particularly good at tackling pet hair — and the BotVac 85 was no exception. The brand’s XV-21 holds in the lead with 0.18 ounces of pet hair collected on both carpeted surfaces and 0.19 ounces of pet hair on the hardwood floor. The BotVac came in a close second with 0.17 ounces on both mid and low-pile carpets and 0.20 ounces on the hardwood floor. The XV Signature Pro and the XV Essential finished in third and fourth, rounding out the top rankings. This is truly a Neato-dominant category, making Neato’s — either the XV or the BotVac line — fantastic pet hair cleaners among their robot vacuum counterparts.

I also wanted to know how the BotVac 85 would react to smaller debris. SI scattered 1.25 ounces of sand on mid-pile carpet, low-pile carpet, and hardwood and compared the BotVac’s results to the Neato XV Signature Pro and the iRobot Roomba 880 (no more sand and sawdust mix test, hence the smaller list of comparison units). The Roomba 880 did the best overall, picking up 0.35 ounces of sand on mid-pile carpet, 0.58 ounces of sand on low-pile carpet, and 1.25 ounces of sand on hardwood. The BotVac came in second, picking up 0.43 ounces on mid-pile, 0.45 ounces on low-pile, and 1.22 ounces on hardwood, and the XV Signature Pro finished in third. These scores indicate that even a top-performing bot struggles with small, heavy particles on carpet, but does a fantastic job on hardwood (especially the Roomba 880 and the BotVac 85).

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Conclusion

The $600 BotVac 85 is a fantastic robot vacuum, rivaling the brand’s $450 XV Signature Pro. While the performance between the two wasn’t hugely different, the BotVac does have a slight edge. In addition, it comes with a larger brush, a larger dust bin, larger filters, and less noise. Neato also added a side brush to the BotVac’s design and gave it a more modern display with touchpad-style buttons. So, is it worth the extra $150? Sure, if your budget can stretch. But, it’s really more interesting to compare the BotVac 85 to the Roomba 870 — they cost the same, but you get more filters, shorter run times, and an easier setup with Neato’s magnetic room barriers than the Roomba’s battery-powered Virtual Walls.

By: Megan Wollerton / cnet.com

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Pros And Cons

Pros of the Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

One of the most important features of any robotic vacuum is its ability to scan and map out the path needed to clean each room in your home. This vacuum does that with the best of them on the market from any of the big name manufacturers. Some of those other vacuums on the market today don’t take methodical routes throughout your home and often find their way by hitting into things. Anyone that has owned another robotic vacuum before can attest to the comical routes and movements these vacuums will often make. Other products don’t take precise and direct paths to areas that need to be cleaned, the Neato Botvac 85 plans out the most efficient way through your home, which in turn, helps keep your battery from wearing down over time. With some other models, you need to clear the path of all toys, furniture, and more. This product will actually detect these obstacles and will efficiently move around them without missing a beat.

Read also:  Samsung NaviBot SR8980 Review

The suction power on the Neato Botvac 85 is extremely powerful, which when combined with a blade brush, precision edge cleaning side brush, extra-large filter, and bag-less bin, give you the ultimate power and comfort. This vacuum is powerful enough to suck up any dirt and debris found on your floors and won’t stir up any dangerous or hazardous particles in the air because of its high performance filter.

When you get your Neato Botvac 85 and get it programmed to your home, it automatically goes from room to room during its cleaning process. Some other vacuums on the market don’t have this capability, which means you need to be around at all times while it is in use. One positive aspect about this vacuum when it comes to this ability is that if the amount of floor that needs to be vacuumed is too large for the Neato Botvac 85 to complete in one battery cycle, it will return to the docking station and once charged, will return to the same room in which it last appeared, and continue the process from there. For those that have slight differences in height from room to room, this product will bump into these areas and continue to push itself over them.

With just a touch of a button, you can tell your vacuum to clean multiple rooms or just a freshly created mess from your kids or pets. You can also schedule this unit to run daily at any time of day and while in operation, runs quietly so you can schedule it for the middle of the night when everyone is asleep.

Homes that have man’s best friend or other pets are often filled with pet hair throughout. With this vacuum and the easy to swap-out brushes that come with purchase, you will be able get maximum cleaning ability at all times. The unit’s precise edge cleaning side brush is extremely powerful and will easily suck up all pet hair in its way on all types of flooring. The side brush is meant to pick up any and all dust particles in its way, which is especially beneficial for those with severe allergies.

The battery life is quite remarkable on the Neato Botvac 85. Many other vacuums in its class struggle to complete an entire floor plan of a 750 square foot home in a single charge. This vacuum is the complete opposite and will be able to clean that entire home in a single charge.

Cons of the Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

As we covered already, the Neato Botvac 85 does a solid job of moving around obstacles in your home. This is especially the case for a few obstacles here and there. When there is a clutter of obstacles (shoes, toys, etc.), it will have a problem sensing where it should go next. The easy solution to this would be to just clear out as much of the obstacles in its way before use. Another possible issue that may come along from the sensor struggling to find its way is low-lying coffee tables, especially those made of glass. The sensor won’t always read these pieces of furniture and can often become stuck underneath.

The Neato Botvac 85 is advertised to work on any type of surfaces, but those with deep pile carpets will find that it slows down on this surface and could become stuck. When the vacuum is done on the carpet, its tracks will be seen, but those can easily be removed by brushing them out.

When the Neato Botvac 85 was first released, there were several instances when hair would become clumped up behind the bearings of the brush. Over time, this hair was known to cause some melting of the plastic and could often make the vacuum send out a “My Bumper is Stuck,” message. While this could have been a serious issue for the product and the company, Neato has stayed ahead of the game in terms of updates and fixes for known problems and have now sent out an update to update its issues.

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Features

Neato Botvac 85 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Features
  • Equipped with High Performance Filter, Combo Brush, and Side Brush
  • Integrated Charging Base
  • 2 Additional High Performance Filters
  • Boundary Marker
  • Single Touch Operation or Scheduling
  • Quiet and Smooth Operation
Neato BotVac 85 First Action

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Comments

  • kelly coulter 25.03.2015 at 20:11

    This little thing is amazing.
    The Botvac 85 returns to where is left off after needing to recharge.
    It gets the job done.
    I bought more magnetic strips and laid them under a thicker rug (with maybe 20% sticking out underneath) the Botvac struggled to get over. It now avoids wasting battery power trying to drive up on it and tackles the rest of the house without a problem.

    Very happy with this little bot.

    Reply
  • MarkS 23.03.2015 at 19:23

    This is an amazing little vacuum. So far, I’ve used it three times. The first time, I had it do my downstairs (which is 95% hardwood and tile) while I was home so that I could supervise it. I was amazed at how it could get under low furniture and into very tight spaces and still get back out. It really did a great job cleaning and picked up a huge amount of dirt in a house that I didn’t think was all that dirty. For its second run, I cleaned my upstairs, which is all carpet. Again, it performed flawlessly. It avoid falling down the stairs, too, which was cool to watch. I ended up setting up a schedule and when I came home last night, I found my house clean and the Neato back on its charging base. Again, it did a great job at picking up dirt, and the bin is much larger than a Roomba. I love how organized it is when it vacuums. It does the edges first, and then a back and forth pattern in the large open areas. It circles table legs, too. From what I’ve seen of the Roomba, it just bounces around aimlessly. Also, the Neato isn’t too bad about bumping into things. It does, but not really hard, usually. It did push a bar stool around a little, but it had soft sliders and was on hardwood, so I guess that is to be expected. I think this speaks to the robustness of the vacuum and how strong it really is. It uses the laser guidance to avoid hitting things. So far, I’m thrilled with this vacuum.

    Reply
  • Jared 22.03.2015 at 05:33

    I love my wife, but let’s say we’re at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to cleanliness. Her dog sheds like crazy and living in filth is something that doesn’t bother her.

    Our house is about 2400 sq ft and hardwoods throughout (except for the bedroom). I hate walking around and feeling the crunchies under my feet. We have birds as well which aren’t known for their table manners. Anyway, I run this thing every day and the floors stay clean. What can I say? It doesn’t fall down stairs, no more crunchies, and it’s not very loud. The only issue I’ve had is it has a hard time recognizing the dust bin. There is a peg that pushes the button and I don’t think it is long enough. I put a small piece of duct tape on the end to enhance the length and don’t have problems anymore.

    There is one room I don’t let it go in because the rug height causes it to wedge under the furniture so I just clean that room myself. I can’t really hold that issue against the robot itself and I could put down magnetic strips I suppose.

    The price on here is ridiculous though. I got mine at BB&B.

    Neato is my cleaning companion and helps me keep some sanity.

    Reply
  • c_j_l_ 21.03.2015 at 07:51

    I don’t think I’ve ever written a product review before but since I relied heavily on reviews before purchasing the Neato I thought I should add my thoughts. I love the Neato Botvac 85! We have five cats inside and it’s almost embarrassing how much dust and fur Neato picks up – we have him set to run every day and he always comes back at least half full. I couldn’t recommend this product more highly

    Pros:
    – Does a really thorough job – few if any tumble weeds which as cat owners know is difficult to achieve
    – Easy to use – I set and forget apart from emptying the bin every day (only because I run it every day)
    – Battery life lasts for a three bedroom house with no problem
    – Finds his dock every time
    – Reasonably quiet – can still watch TV while its running

    Cons:
    – Loses the magnetic side brush every so often – not really a big deal

    Reply
  • J. M. Lynch 19.03.2015 at 08:37

    Got my robot for Christmas. Charged it overnight and have run it everyday since. We have 4000+ sq ft of hardwood floor and a yellow labrador. You would no longer know we had a dog. The Neato does a superb job of picking up the dog hair that tends to migrate to the baseboards. It navigates around chair & table legs beautifully.

    We do have area rugs:

    Large-scale basket weave wool loop in family room – Neato has no problems navigating on it and does almost as good of job picking up dirt as my standard miele with an electric beater brush head. But does not work as well on the bumpiness of the rug as it does on the smooth surface of the hardwood.

    Oriental rugs with fringe – Neato has not gotten hung up on any of the fringe, yet.

    Bathroom rugs – no problems for with the rugs with rubber backing. Unfortunately we do have 2 rugs on a tile floor that are not rubberized on the back and those do get pushed around by the Neato. I will be replacing those 2 bath rugs.

    So far I have not had any of the problems other posters have mentioned with defective robots. We have named ours Lurch and he has run beautifully. He can not clean our entire house without returning to base to charge. But once he is charged he goes right back to where he left off and finishes cleaning.

    I think our house is pretty ideal for a robot as we do not have a ton of furniture and no dangling electrical cords. I would recommend that you follow your robot around at first to see what things it might get caught on and if there is a preventative measure you can take.

    I wish we had not waited so long to get a Botvac.

    Reply
  • Dtho 17.03.2015 at 07:52

    Received my Neato Botvac, charged it up overnight, when I went to run it it said “My bumper is stuck, please free it” it could not be fixed, I called Neato and they said the Botvac was defective and got me set up to received a new one in the mail. This will be my first Neato, and so far they are living up to their name of poor quality control, will update once I receive a working robot.

    Requested replacement on Friday, received it Tuesday, fast turnaround! Kudos! Also when you call Neato customer support there are no annoying menus, you go directly to the next available agent, love it.

    So, the new robot charged up overnight, ran it the next day. It completed the entire main floor of the house without any assistance, it runs the outline of an area in detail, then zips through the middle of it in zigzags like a champ. It’s navigation is excellent, I would say as good as the LG Roboking and LG Hom-Bot 3.0, which I own or have owned both. The only bot I would like to see it compete against on navigation is the iClebo Arte (which I believe from videos is a very good navigator). Anyway, this thing really blows air out the back, strong vacuum, great brush design. It seems to be well put together, the brush uses a good bearing that just slides on the end of it, much better than having the bearing built into the robot or the brass things the Roombas have traditionally used. It picked up a lot more than the roomba 560 does, more than the LG Roboking, and slightly more than the Hom-Bot 3.0. Overall, the best performance I have seen in a robot.

    I am leaving a star off because I received a junk robot to begin with. Perhaps some day if this little guy lasts for a long time, I will come back and give it 5 stars. The support seems very good, so I am tempted now… but really… who wants to receive a lemon? No one.

    Okay, so second robot had a dirt bin that wouldn’t stay put and kept tripping the chime to put it back, then thanking for putting it back, then chiming again to put it back, all day and all night.

    Third robot boot cycled constantly

    Fourth robot worked great for about two months and the sidebrush stopped spinning.

    All replacements up to that time were free shipping. Apparently to ease their bleeding they have decided to start charging shipping for the replacements. So I will simply take mine back to bed bath and beyond.

    Reply
  • ZS 15.03.2015 at 07:10

    If you had or have rumba and you are tired of it just get this. I have tried rumba, LG square with 2 cameras 3.0 and this. If I haven’t tried LG hom-bot it wold have given this 5 stars. That dust bin is so unpractical on neato compared to hom-bot that it hurts every time I empty it. BUT! This machine does everything else better. It never gets lost in our 180m2 house with 6 rooms and 2 baths. Every single time it returns to the base and navigates flawlessly it’s spooky how smart it is. THE BEST NAVIGATION OUT THERE. It does not matter what comes out for the next 5-10 years this LIDAR thing is the BEST. Dyson uses cameras like hom bot and it will get lost in dark trust me. Hom bot was so sensitive that slightest light source change could trow it off and it got in rumba mode just ping ponging around the room.Useless…
    Neato takes 2x charges to finish our house and the programming / schedule works flawlessly. We have a cat and it cuts our vacuuming to 20%. Every week one time we vacuum our rugs and dust where it obviously cannot get, but it keeps our house clean. First few times you have to follow it around and make you’r house compatible! I lifted our bed 1 cm so it could get under it. Neato could not see our polished steel bar stools so magnets were placed on the leg and it is now avoiding them. Neato you have a lifelong customer here and I am weary impressed with you’r product. I have recommended it to all our friends and family.
    Here is a video of it working and running over cables, and also this is handled weary well by Neato.

    Reply
  • Karen Davis 12.03.2015 at 20:29

    I have never written a review before, but I felt I should add my voice because I read one review that said to get it from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, because dealing with Neato is horrible. The first one I got was defective. My husband insisted on calling Neato. The guy said the problem we were having with the vacuum was a common one. But trying to get a new one from them was a real hassle. So I called Bed, Bath, and Beyond, which is where I got it, thanks to the one review I read. They immediately sent UPS to pick up the defective one and sent me a new one within 2 days. I have given it 4 stars because I have only used it a few times. It may deserve 5 stars, as it does a great job. I wanted a powerful vacuum and I got one, judging from all the dirt I have emptied from the dirt bin. I think it is well worth getting if it continues to do the great job is has been doing. But get it from Bed, Bath, and Beyond!

    Reply
  • Tool User 11.03.2015 at 08:08

    Based on the reviews, I decided to go with the Botvac 85 vs a Roomba. It was fairly simple to setup, but, then again there wasn’t much to the directions. It charged fast and was ready to go. When I started it, I expected the unit to back out of the charger and go. Well, this one was determined to go forward and climb up on the top of the charger. I pulled it off the charger and let it start again. It sat and sat and would go forward and backwards and around. I have eighteen inch tile floors. It cleaned that first tile real good. It then inched it’s way over to the wall and started to climb the wall. I have seven inch white painted baseboards. I wouldn’t mind a botvac that does baseboards, but, this thing marred them up pretty bad. It then tried to climb the piece of furniture against the wall. It proceeded to the four lounge chairs, with legs up. It took about forty minutes to go about fourteen feet. It then tried to go up the next wall. It would beep because it couldn’t. It got up to the front of the room where I have receivers for TV. I have a Tivo and a satellite receiver that sit on a bottom shelf that is about four inches from the floor. The Botvac climbed up and rammed the receivers enough to push them back. ‘Bad Robot!” I must have hurt its feeling because it the stayed in a corner and kept telling me to clear its path. I would move it out to a clear area but would continue to error out with nothing around it. It was time to see if it could find the base station. It was fifteen feet away with clear line of sight. It went a few inched and quit. So after about two hours, the unit cleaned about thirty linear feet and used up all it’s battery. Not once did I see this unit go back and forth in the room. Needless to say, the unit was going back to its maker.

    Reply
  • Shawnald 09.03.2015 at 22:03

    I asked my wife for a state-of-the art Japanese Sex Robot for Christmas and she got me the Neato Botvac 85 instead. At first I was pretty disappointed. When I pouted my wife explained that the Neato Botvac was $400 and it would work for four hours every day. The Japanese Sex Robot was $87,000 and I’d never use it for more than 43 seconds on any given day.

    She’s cruel but she makes a valid point.

    I was a huge skeptic of robot vacuums. We’ve got a big four bedroom Ranch house, and I just could not believe that a Roomba-style vacuum would cover our entire home. No secret that it’s expensive technology. For the price of a new stove or a washing machine, a robot vacuum would have to…

    A. Cover the entire house.
    B. Not require a lot of babysitting.
    C. Actually work.

    Done, done, and DONE!. I absolutely cannot fault the Botvac 85 one iota. We’ve only had it for two weeks, so there have been no service issues or no need to interact with Neato Customer Service.

    But… HOLY WOW, this little baby performs like a champ. The house is finally free of dog hair tumbleweeds. We watched Vacuumin’ Rosie run for the first two (weekend) days of her schedule. That taught us the kinds of things she’s likely to get caught on. (Throw rugs with long, loose thread pulls that require trimming, charging cords for the laptops, certain dog toys, etc.)

    Now before we go to bed, we walk the house and make sure Rosie’s path is clear. If we want a room vacuumed, we leave the door open. If not, we close it. We have had no need for the magnetic barrier strip so far.

    And one day it dawned on me, “Oh wow. The vacuum is tricking me into cleaning my house for her! No wonder the floors look so much better. I’ve stopped leaving clothes piled in the floor and dog toys scattered everywhere.”

    The wife and I assumed that after three or four days of the dust bin being jam packed with crud, Rosie would catch up to the cleanliness level of the house and finish her day with only half a bin full of detritus. Nope. She’s still getting a full load of dog hair and kibble and dust bunnies.

    So far the Botvac 85 is absolutely every thing I needed it to be. My only regret is that we didn’t buy one sooner, but then it would have been a different model and perhaps not as perfected as the Botvac 85.

    I’m trying to keep that in mind in case the Waifu Fembot-2600 undergoes improvements before next Christmas. I hear the next version has a lot of improvements, like they are removing the functionality that allows her to talk! Woot!

    Reply
  • Dfenn 07.03.2015 at 16:14

    I received my Botvac 85 for Christmas this year and so far absolutely LOVE IT! We recently moved into a 2,600 sq ft home that has hardwood throughout the house and carpet in the bedrooms. Owning two dogs and a kitty one of the dogs being part husky, I was swiffering my hardwood floors daily and vacuuming every other day. All in all spending about 8+ hours a week on our floors. I am a person that loves to walk around the house bare foot but cannot stand dirty floors and stuff sticking to my feet. We set up the neato let it charge and now it vacuums the house for me everyday while I am at work. It is like I have my own personal floor maid, I come home from work and have perfect vacuum marks on the carpets and no dog hair tumble weeds! Our only obstacle we had to figure out was we have a 1″ shag rug under our coffee table that it would get stuck on, this was frustrating for the first couple of days because if you pick the neato up and move it off the rug it kind of confuses it and doesn’t seem to map its route as well. But, then I ordered additional boundary markers and slid them just under the rug and since then it has not gotten stuck we come home and he is back on his charging base (yes you will name and give a gender to your neato, it just happens) I swiffered last night for the first time in over a week and picked up minimal dirt/dog hair. Like I said in the beginning of my review I absolutely love my neato!

    Pros:
    -Side brush, really helps along the base boards
    -When Neato’s batteries run low it returns to it’s base then once fully charge returns cleaning where it left off!
    -Schedule, we personally are a busy and furry family we schedule ours to run everyday while we are at work
    -Brushes, they are super easy to access to clean and seem very well built
    -Sensors, we really like that the neato does not run into our furniture or walls. It maps out the room and methodically cleans
    -Versatility, cleans both our hardwood floors and carpet

    Cons:
    -If Neato gets stuck and you have to move it very far from where it was stuck it confuses it
    -We noticed if you walk around the Neato too much while it is cleaning it will confuse it and it drive a little more erratically to avoid you. Not really a con as we prefer to run it while we are away more of an observation
    -If the “chute” from the vacuum head to then bin stuffs up, it still keeps going I may just not have the setting quite right yet for that yet though.

    Buy it, if you use it correctly you will not be disappointed. And no, the cat has yet to ride it.

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  • T Brew 06.03.2015 at 16:19

    Purchased from a local vendor as a gift. This is my first first robot vacuum so I had not basis of comparison. So far LOVE this thing. We have mostly hardwoods and a dog. After comparing the specs/reviews of this and the Roomba this seemed like a better fit, both from getting the dog hair but also being able to navigate our space in a reasonable way. Our main floor is roughly 2500 sq ft and is made up of 6 rooms and a hallway. Some of the rooms are defined rooms with an obvious doorway, others are more extensions of another room. No matter, the Botvac does an amazing job of navigating the house, breaking it into sections and cleaning each part. This process requires that it go back to it’s base mid-clean for a charge and then go back where it stopped and finish. It is able to complete this without fail. Navigating our furniture is also no easy task, we have a dinning table, a breakfast table, some bar stools, and a sectional couch w/ ottoman, none of which would be considered easy to navigate and the Botvac does it almost flawlessly. Beyond that it also seems to do at least a decent job of cleaning the floors. There is virtually no dog hair left on the hardwoods, and the rugs seem hair/dirt free as well.

    There are a few things to note;
    – Based on the reviews I read this vac seems to clean WAY faster than a Roomba, but it is certainly not fast. It takes it about 3 hours to clean our main level. Realistically if you do it manually (ie regular vacuum) it will take you about 20 mins. You are doing this for the convenience of someone/thing else doing the chore.
    – You will likely have a few adjustments to make so that it doesn’t get stuck. We are still feeling our way through this, but so far we have had to raise one table about 1 mm (ie put some felt pads on it) and slide the ottoman away from the couch by about 1 inch. You also need to review your lamp cords and whatnot that it may get caught on. I think it is likely OK to go over cords, what you have to watch for is if the cord will catch on the bot making it pull down/over whatever is plugged in.
    – It is best if you stay decluttered. We have the dog and 2 kids so there is always stuff in the floor. Depending on what that stuff is the bot will either vacuum it (Lego), go around it (shoes or heavy dog toys), or potentially get stuck on it (blankets). Given the cost of the robot I have not experimented to see what it would do if it hits the dogs water bowl. So far we have been picking that up.
    – The Botvac is not as loud as some of the reviews implied, but it is not quiet. You can’t assume that you want to watch TV in the room while it is running. While you can, the vac is loud enough to be annoying, and like I said, it is not fast.
    – I think it is fun/interesting to watch it. It is entertaining to see how it chooses it path and how it tackles certain problems. Maybe it’s just me…
    – It does not replace a regular vacuum fully as there will be some places it can’t get to. What it will do is mean you do not need to vacuum manually anywhere near as often.

    I had never heard of anything but Roomba when I first started looking and was a little scared of this brand when I first decided to get it (mostly just lack of education). Neato should probably do some advertising so people have heard of the brand. So far my experience has been excellent and I would highly recommend this if you think it can make your life easier. Also, there is one major retailer (probably should not mention it by name) that has regular 20% coupons and this Botvac is not restricted from that deal. Great way to save some money

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