Neato BotVac review: the best vacuum I’ve ever owned

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The Neato BotVac ($479-599) isn’t just an incredible robotic vacuum, it’s an incredible vacuum—period.

I have so many great things to say about this vacuum I hardly know where to start. That being the case I might as well start with the obvious: how well it cleans. If a vacuum can’t clean, it doesn’t matter much what other features it boasts. The BotVac not only has a lot of interesting features, it also cleans really well. Like, really, really well.

To illustrate just how could of a job Neato’s BotVac did I have to tell the story of the first day I used it. I knew I’d be getting the BotVac on a particular day (which happened to be a day I was cleaning up around the house, coincidentally) and I had purposefully left one room in the house un-vacuumed as a test area for the new robot. The rest of the house, however, I fully vacuumed using our regular vacuum which was only about a year old.

Here’s the funny thing: once BotVac arrived I was so taken with it I couldn’t just limit it to that one test room. I basically let it clean the entire house that night. And the kicker is, it got a TON of extra dirt, dust and pet hair that the other (relatively new and expensive) vacuum had missed just a few hours earlier. Needless to say, I wasn’t just impressed, I was fully blown away at just how well this vacuum cleaned and the extent to which it out-performed my regular vacuum (an Electrolux).

Compared to other company’s robot cleaners, the BotVac seems to be a bit smarter. Rather than bumping around in an apparently random fashion, the BotVac methodically purrs back and forth across the floor creating a satisfying line pattern on carpeted floors. For BotVac, bumping into objects is the exception, rather than the norm, and even when it does so it’s quite gentle compared to other robotic vacuums.

When the Neato vacuums a room it seems to cover about 99% of it. It goes under couches, cruises under kitchen cabinets and circles around potted plants. There are just a few spots where it doesn’t reach consistently. One seems to the area around curtains that touch or come near to the floor. I actually appreciate this. The included instructions ask you to tie curtains up, but of course I wanted ...

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