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Neato Robotics – Neato XV Signature Pro Review – Vacuum Robot

Vaccuming. My most-hated chore and yet, in my view, the most worthwhile as it makes the house feel the cleanest. We’ve never been able to keep up with it and with two fluffy cats, full-time jobs and more interesting pursuits to occupy our time with, we’ve been considering a robotic vaccum cleaner for a while.

I’d been set on a Roomba, for no particular reason other than it’s the most synonymous with robotic vacuum cleaners. I’d scoped one out at John Lewis and was (finally) prepared to part with a substantial wedge of dosh to get one, but the John Lewis store I visited didn’t have the model I wanted in stock.

A few days later, my husband was talking about the Roomba excursion when a friend told him about the Neato Robotics vacuum they had. It ticked all the boxes and to my mind was a better proposition in terms of price and functionality. After some research, the Neato was clearly the machine for us.

Household

  • 2 humans
  • 2 cats
  • 2 bedroom flat across 3 levels – mostly carpet

Neato model purchased

I should say that I’ve never owned a Roomba, but I’ve gleaned the following pros and cons of a the Neato vs Roomba we were comparing before we bought the Neato.

Neato vs Roomba Vaccuming Robot Comparison

Neato

Neato XV Signature Pro

Roomba

iRobot Roomba 770

Uses laser-guidance to systematically cover all areas of a room Uses random pattern and bumpers to cover all areas of a room
Uses laser-guidance to minimise bumping into furniture (also has a sprung bumper) Uses bumpers to bump into furniture and walls to guide itself
Squared front edge to get into corners for better edge cleaning Completely round
RRP £449.99 RRP £479.99
1 year warranty included 1 year warranty included

It’s worth noting that the Neato claims to be the most powerful robotic vacuum cleaner on the market. While I can’t do a direct comparison, I was astounded by the power of this little machine.

First Impressions

Within 5 minutes of the Neato arriving (when we’d finally pried Giles off the box) it was plugged in and charging. We had to leave the house to stop ourselves playing with it before it was ready. I advise you to do the same as the temptation will be too great.

On our return, the Neato was flashing green and ready to go. We simply pressed the start button twice and off it went. No difficult setting up process, no long manual to read or programming required. Incredible. As it did the first tour of our home we noticed it was:

Quiet – You can still have a normal-volume conversation when the vacuum is working. It’s barely audible when you’re in another room.

Powerful – More powerful than any other vacuum cleaner we’ve owned. As the pro pet model, we’re astounded at how much fluff and dust it picks up. The dirt tray was full after just one room (oh, the shame).

Purposeful – I love the way it works methodically and predictably, using its laser guidance. You can see its progress and know when it’s going to declare the job done and head off back to its charging deck to sleep recharge.

Quick – Probably related to the above, but it takes no longer than 20 minutes to clean an entire room (our living room is quite large and oddly shaped).

The cats were a little unsure and skittish at first, but now they just stay out of its way and sleep as it trundles beneath them while they snooze.

How the Neato works

Neato has a few functions, allowing it to clean on a schedule, or as required.

Clean house – Manually starts the Neato cleaning an area. Takes 2 clicks of a button.

Scheduled cleaning – Neato automatically cleans an area at a pre-selected time. Very easy to set up.

Spot cleaning – Manually starts the Neato cleaning an area a few metres square. Takes 2 clicks of a button.

Whichever mode it’s in, Neato uses lasers to locate itself and ‘decide’ how to clean the area. It rotates, scanning the area and then appears to work methodically in squares. It cleans the outside edge of a square, then cleans everything within that square. It then locates the next area to clean and repeats the process until it has covered the entire area – whatever its shape. When it’s finished, it returns to its charging station (or its starting location if you started it away from its charging station).

It does not have lighthouses like the Roomba, but the Neato comes with a length of magentic strip that will prevent it entering an area. Our flat has a main thoroughfare with the kitchen, bathroom and spare room on one level. We then have the master bedroom and living room on two separate levels. We’ve put magnetic strip across the bedroom and living room thresholds so Neato is scheduled to clean the main area every day (which gets the most travel and muck). We then put the Neato to clean the bedroom and living room as we want it – for example, when we’re preparing dinner (bedroom) or washing up after dinner (living/diving room) as its barely audible from the kitchen.

Neato-proofing the house

I would not trust any robot vacuum without first watching how it handles the obstacles unique to your own home. Here are some of the challenges our Neato faced, and how we’ve Neato-proofed the flat to ensure efficient cleaning and no amber-lit pleas for assistance:

– The Neato does not like the IKEA Poang chair. The Neato can clamber over the base and eventually figures it out, but it really does make a meal of it and it’s painful to watch it rearing up and down over the base. We’re looking in to modifying the chair slightly.

– The Neato got wedged under a blanket box which was exactly the same height as the Neato, where it had just enough room to get underneath it but not enough to manoeuvre once under it. To remedy this, we’ve propped the blanket box up, so it’s taller and no longer a problem. Funnily enough, this box was also from IKEA… (not all our furniture is 😉

– The Neato got upset when confronted with two long coats hung in the spare room. It managed to sit between them, panicking and looking left and right. Its lasers thought it was trapped. To remedy this, we’ve put all the long coats together (rather than long coat, short coat, jacket, long coat) so it doesn’t attempt to get itself into a tight spot.

– The Neato tried to eat the carpet in one place at a threshold (admittedly it’s an old and frayed carpet). We’ve now properly secured the edge of the carpet and glued the fraying parts. It was, ahem, quite amusing to see the carpet unravelling row by row into the Neato – I managed to intervene before it did much damage to the carpet or itself, but this is why I would recommend watching it during the first run or two. Just in case…

1 Week On

It’s hard not to personify the Neato and ours has been named Romeo, as he’s impossible not to fall in love with as he roams around making our home more pleasant.

It’s amazing to be able to kneel and crawl on the floor without being covered in fur. We can tell it’s already making an enormous amount of difference to the fluff levels in our home. While we’re proud to be crazy cat people, it’s nice to have clothes not entirely smothered in the evidence.

Now, there are a few cons.

  • Obviously, we had to Neato-proof the flat so it doesn’t immediately work perfectly.
  • The dirt tray is a little fiddly to remove, and I always fear I’m going to snap it.
  • The magnetic strips are a bit low-tech and annoying to install, but worth the compromise for the lower cost.
  • We haven’t yet had to replace any filters or brushes, so not sure how easy/difficult they will be to get hold of

So far we adore Romeo, but it remains to be seen how long the relationship is going to last… hopefully a very long time!

Update: still not bored saying it.

Any questions?

Do feel free to leave any questions about the Neato in the comments below, or tweet me @frolickingfood. I’ll do my best to reply!

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