In this post, we are going to introduce the Neato Botvac D85, one of the latest robot vacuums of Neato Robotics. We will first present the robot and its accessories. Then we will tell you how to set it up and how to use it. And finally we will tell you about our experience with it. So first, let’s unbox it !
The packaging is well adapted to its content. On the right side you will find the robot, almost “ready to use”. On the left side, there is the charging station beneath the spare accessories.
The charging station is a “dock” where the robot will come and go automatically to recharge its battery at the end of a sweep or during one if it has not enough power left. The vacuum will indeed memorize the position of the charging station (if the cleaning starts from there). If it is launched from elsewhere, it won’t be able to find the station alone. There are 2 stripes in the front of the station used for electrical contact.
The Neato Botvac D85 is the most complete vacuum of the D Series. The only differences with the D75 and D80 are the coloring and the accessories. The D85 comes with the following :
– A combo brush (already mounted)
○ This brush is recommended if you have a pet at home or different types of floors like carpets and hard floors. This brush will also reduce the noise during the cleaning compared to the spiral blade brush.
– A spiral blade brush
○ This brush works better on hard floors.
– 3 High-Performance filters (1 already mounted in the dust bin). There are 3 different types of filters for the D Series :
– the standard filters
– The high-performance filters (included) are better to catch pets’ hairs
– The ultra-performance are best if you have allergies (they catch really small dust particles and allergens)
– A side brush (already mounted)
○ This is one of the D series evolution. The side brush will spin up, helping to catch the dust along the walls.
– A boundary strip
○ The robot has a powerfull guiding system. It adapts itself to your room’s configuration. But by installing a strip on the floor, you can prevent it from going somewhere.
– A cleaning tool (like a comb)
○ This tool is well conceived. The cutter will help you cut the hair wrapped around the brush. The comb will help you clean the filter and the combo brush.
The first (and almost only) thing to do with the vacuum is to turn it on. There is a switch inside, accessible when the dirt bin is out. It is well explained on the sticker and also in the quick start guide. The combo brush and the side brush are already mounted on the Neato ! Neato Robotics recommends to charge it 12 hours the first time to optimize the battery life and capacity. It is also advised to charge and discharge the battery completely for the first 3 times.
When charging, the home button will :
- blink in orange when the robot is not charged enough for cleaning
- blink in green when not fully charged but enough for cleaning
- be solid green when fully charged
The first time you will turn the Neato on, you will need to do a quick setup. First you will be asked to choose the operating language :
The screen is not a touch-screen but there are sensitive buttons around the screen to go up, down, select and go back. The navigation in the menu is quite easy and intuitive. Then, you will need to setup the time and day. Those settings will be used to schedule cleanings.
The last thing you may want to do is to setup scheduled cleanings so that the vacuum will clean when you are away. For example, if you want your house to be cleaned every Thursday at 4:00 pm :
You can only schedule one cleaning time per day of the week, but you can choose different hours for each day.
If you are too thrilled to wait till the next cleaning scheduled, there are 2 buttons on the top of the Neato to start cleaning :
A spot button :
This will clean a spot of 4′ x 6′ in front of your Neato. Ideal if you’ve just spilled flour on the kitchen floor !
A home button :
This will start a complete cleaning of the house. You can also use the boundary strips to clean only a room or a part of the house.
The Neato Botvac D85 is equipped with a rotating distance sensor laser. It can map an entire room, memorizing the furniture and objects in order to optimize the cleaning.
It also has 3 other sensors :
– 2 drop sensors in the front bottom (on the top-right and top-left corners of the picture below) able to detect a cliff. That way, it will not fall down the stairs. They also detect the boundary strips mentioned previously.
– 1 proximity sensor on the left, right next to the side brush so that the robot can go along the walls.
We have had the Neato botvac D85 for about 4 months now and the first thing to say is that it really saved us a lot of time.
We have a cat at home who only lives inside, leaving all his hairs around so we had to vacuum 1 to 2 times a week. We have scheduled Neato to clean 2 times a week and the place is much cleaner. It really catches perfectly dust and cat’s hairs. We still use our old “regular” vaccum every 3 weeks to clean the spots where Neato can’t go.
That being said, the first times we used it, it always got stuck somewhere so we were a little bit disappointed because we had to unblock it and resume the cleaning. We noted the spots where it got stuck. It was for example stuck under our chairs’ legs because the space between them are almost the same size than Neato. Once it stopped in the kitchen on a bar stool because they have a cone-shaped base. Another time a little object got under the brush and blocked Neato. Before each schedule, we “improve” the place by getting rid of obstacles, putting the chairs on the table, etc. and now it never gets stuck.
Of course this depends on your house configuration, it is possible that you won’t have to do any of those things. Our advice is to try it first and adapt if necessary.
We also had a little issue with the first side brush which is attached to the robot with a magnet. We noticed a defect with the magnet and contacted the Customer Service who sent us right back a new brush. And no problem with that one !
Finally we recently had another defect with the main laser which wasn’t spinning correctly. There was an error code on the screen every time we tried to launch a cleaning. So once again we contacted the Customer Care. After answering a few questions, they sent us a coupon to return the broken Neato and sent us a brand new one back within 2 weeks. So first, we want to thank Neato Robotics Customer service which is really “pro” and responsive. And we have to say that we really missed our Neato during 2 weeks. So once you get one, you can’t no longer live without it.
There is another recent Botvac called connected. The main differences between this one and the D series is that it has a more powerful battery, and that it is connected. It means that you can start cleaning from an app on your phone, pause it, change the schedule or also get notifications when the cleaning is done. You can also integrate it in your home automation installation so that, for example, it will only start when you are away and automatically stop when you get home.
You will ask why didn’t we choose the Connected version ? The Neato Botvac D85 costs $499. The Connected version costs $699. Even if we love to automate and integrate everything at home, we think that spending $200 more is a slightly expensive to control Neato from a smartphone or get notifications. We would have choosen the Connected version if it offered more possibilities, like choosing which room to clean or if the sensor could send a notification if it sensed a movement. But for our every-day use, the schedule on the Neato D85 is sufficient.
The Neato Botvac D85 is the right cleaning companion if you own a pet or if you want your place to be clean at all times. It is really easy to setup and use. This version lacks connectivity which is included in the Botvac Connected version but we find this feature too expensive.