I recently had my first experience with a Neato robot vacuum—the top of the line Neato D7. It was a good one and ever since, I’ve been wondering what the other vacuums in the Neato lineup are like, and how they compare. Enter the Neato D6 Botvac connected, an automated vacuum robot. I recently had the chance to test it out and see what it’s like too.
Neato D6 robot vacuum review
What makes Neato D6 different from D7 or others?
Compared to the D7, Neato D6 has just two fewer features: the D6 is without Zone cleaning, meaning you have less ability to specify high traffic areas for extra cleaning.
It’s also missing Manual drive remote control, which lets you steer the robot for special attention or specific cleaning. Other than that, they are virtually identical. The D6 also costs about $100 less than the D6. When you compare it to the more basic Neato D4, it’s a significant upgrade for $200 extra: it’s got extra brushes and several extra features including the ability to have multiple floor plans and to find your robot if it gets lost under some furniture.
Those are the differences in specs, anyway, but I noticed a substantial difference in overall performance. I’ll explain.
How does Neato D6 work?
Neato has what’s called LaserSmart™ technology. It scans and maps your entire house, creating a floor plan for your robot to follow. It moves exactly how a smart robot should, in straight lines instead of a random pattern. Lasers even let it clean in the dark.
Using the Neato companion app, you can set schedules, command at the moment cleaning, or even find your robot. Neato Botvac D6 also lets you use multiple floor plans and it stores up to three floor plans in the app. You’ll love this if you have a multi-story home because you’ll be able to use it to clean all over.
Neato app gives you control & features
The app will also allow you to create areas where you can stop your vacuum from going. Virtual No-Go Lines tell your robot where not to venture. Have a room full of clothes on the floor you would like the robot to avoid? Add a No-Go Line at the entrance of the room right from the Neato app. Problem chair that bottoms out the D6, or pet dishes? You can draw a box around troublesome areas to keep them out of bounds.
If you want to go old school, you can also lay a strip of the included magnetic rail which will prevent the bot from going into some areas. The Neato D6 also has drop sensors to prevent it from falling down steps.
Setting up Neato D6 robot vacuum
The robot is quite easy to set up. You unpack all of the components from the box. Everything is pretty well wrapped, and you’ll see some components that seem like a bit of a mystery.
Let’s get to know Neato:
Inside the box you’ll get the vacuum, the very small and compact base station, a small in mysterious looking comb which is actually for cleaning the filters, as well as some flat tape like substance that is magnetic – these are your boundary markers if you want to use them. There’s also a plug.
Unlike the D6, which comes with two extra filters for the dustbin, you only get the one that’s installed in the device.
Plug the base station into the wall, and connect the metal on the rounded end of the robot to the base station.
Next up download the Neato app and it will walk you through how to get the robot vacuum connected to your homes Wi-Fi. Essentially you’ll push and hold the power button on the device for about 10 seconds or until the blue Wi-Fi symbol lights up. From there, you’ll go to your phone’s Wi-Fi settings, and find the new network created labelled Neato.
The app will step you through this, but your next connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, and the device should do this quickly and easily, as mine did.
I was ready to go in less than five minutes.
Neato D6 vacuum: Brushes and design
Botvac D6 has large core or roller brush. Neato says it’s up to 70% bigger than those on round robots, and in a side by side with another robot, you can see that’s true. Neato says that helps it pick up way more than before. The edge brush, on the other hand, is smaller in comparison.
Neato D6 vacuum robot: Features
Let’s dig in on some of the features of the Neato D6
Neato is compatible with both Google and Alexa so you can easily control Neato robots from your phone, smartwatch, Amazon Echo, Google Home, or IFTTT.
Neato Robot has a D-shape that’s supposed to help it get in closer to walls and corners, it’s a shape other robot vacuums have since adopted too.
What types of floor does Neato D6 clean?
The Neato D6 robot works on all floor types and can easily move between carpet, wood, tile, and laminate floors. I have carpet, tile, rugs and hardwood in my house and the Neato was able to navigate all of it.
Using Neato D6 botvac robot vacuum
Using the Neato D6 is easy, and You’ve got a few ways to operate it:
Push the button on the device and it will go out and clean.
Schedule cleanings in the app; you can set dedicated days and times that it will go out automatically. Handy for a thorough sweep while you’re at the office.
Or ask your digital assistant to send the bot out.
Dustbin alerts: an imperfect science
Neato recommends cleaning the dustbin after every use. In my review period I wasn’t getting any kind of notification that it was full, so after a couple cleans, it was pretty full. I double checked my notifications and made sure they were set to persistent on my iPhone.
It seems like Neato’s dustbin alerts are on a timer, and not geared at actually measuring if the bin is full. The setting called ‘Dust bin reminder’ has a slider bar that gives you a choice of setting a reminder to emp[ty the bin every 30 minutes or up to 150 minutes of run time, so I set it and waited.
I did get a push notification while the app was open, but not while the app was minimized or the phone was standing by.
How well does Neato D6 clean?
The Neato D6, like the D7, hugs edges really, really well. I found the robot to be very deliberate when it cleaned, and did quite a thorough job, and kept pet hair and dust at bay.
I tested the D6 on sweeping up a few common spills: flour, cereal, cracker crumbs and pet hair. The bot gets to things eventually and sweeps thoroughly, but if you’ve got a more concentrated spill to sweep, it takes a while.
Spot Cleaning was too random
I tried using the Spot Clean setting found in the app’s Options Menu, but I didn’t think it worked very well at all. The bot is supposed to do a small square area, according to Neato’s website, but in my case, on test after test it ignored the spot and went off at random. Another robot I tried starts cleaning in ever widening concentric circles from where you put it down, ensuring your spot gets swept, then the surrounding area does. It seems like this might be working in reverse.
Getting caught up & stuck
I do feel like the Neato D6, like the D7 I tested got caught up in things a lot more than some other vacuums I’ve dealt with; things like power bars and bathmats were problematic, and it kept bottoming out on this chair with a half moon base. If it got into my husband’s closet with clothes on the floor, it was a goner. You can remedy this by making places where your D6 tends to get stuck as no go zones in the app using the mapping, or doing as the Neato app suggests and picking up a messy floor first.
Setting up Neato Botvac with Google or Amazon
You can also link your Neato D6 to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa so you can issue voice commands….
With voice control you can ask your assistant to “ask Neato to start cleaning” or “vacuum the living room” and it’ll comply. I had instant connectivity with my assistants and the Neato D6 and it worked really well.
Here’s how to do it:
With Google, Go to add Device (+ sign in top left) and then Set up Device, choose Have something already set up and then look for Neato in the list,. You’ll sign into your Neato account and then you’re basically good to go. In Alexa, go to Skills and Games, and search Neato. Sign into your account and you’re ready.
Is Neato D6 noisy?
I’ll say it up front; most robot vacuums are noisy. Is this one any more or less so than others? Not really. While I don’t think most of us could sleep while it’s on, and you’ll want to take phone calls in another room, it’s not deafening. The sound level is what I’d call average for this type of home gadget.
I did feel like the D6 sounded a little more rattly and clackety than the D7. It had a way of sounding clicky and like things were rattling around on it more so than I remember with the D7. Is there a difference in the way they’re built? I can’t say, but I did notice the noise.
Overall review: Neato Botvac D6
I have a few opinions from my experiences that mean the Neato D6 is not my favourite of the robot vacuums. While the robot is thorough, gets into corners and edges really well and does have good suction, it does take a while to get to some areas and the Spot Cleaning feature didn’t work well for me.
Neato D6 is smart and the voice connectivity worked very well.
When it comes to the dislikes, the more rattly sound of this bot is noticeable, and I don’t like the lack of dustbin full alerts . I do feel like this botvac got caught and stuck a bit more often than I’d like and more often than other bots I’ve tried, but I’m working that out by creating off limits areas in my home. And making sure hazards like clothes are picked up.
I really didn’t feel like I was missing out on those extra features that are in the D7, so if budget is a concern, you could save a few bucks, but with that said, I do feel like the D7 has fewer cons to the device.
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