Neato Robotics D7 robot vacuum review

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Erin Lawrence

Neato, d7, botvac connected, robort, vacuum, review, how to

I’ve had the good fortune through this blog to test out a variety of vacuum and mopping robots. I feel like over the years of testing and setups, I’ve come to know what makes not just a good vacuum robot, but a great, efficient one. When the makers of the Neato line of vacuum robots asked me to review their new Neato D7 robot vacuum, I jumped at the chance.

Review: Neato Robotics D7 botvac connected

This is my first experience with Neato, but this California company has been around since 2010. The Neato D7 is a remote controlled smart automated vacuum robot with an onboard dustbin. It’s got a D-shape with a square front and rounded back that’s supposed to make it better at getting into corners. The Neato D7 can be sent out any time for spot cleanup, or scheduled at regular intervals.

Why get a vacuum robot?

In a word; time. Having a vacuum robot can cut down on your overall cleaning time significantly, and more so if you run the vacuum daily or every couple days. The less time you spend sweeping and vacuuming, the more time you have for other things. There are a host of other reasons too, like sanitary reasons, or keeping pet hair at bay. With today’s smart vacuums, you can schedule them to clean certain rooms on certain days, just your hallways, or just the busiest rooms. You can also schedule cleanings when it suits you; while you’re home making dinner or doing other chores, for example, or while you’re out of the house.

Installing boundary markers and creating no-go zones

If you want your robot to keep out of certain areas, you have two options; lay the included magnetic boundary markets with tape onto the floor (not ideal in my opinion) or use the Neato app and your specific floorplan. Inside the app you can mark out of bounds areas and the robot will avoid them.

How to set up Neato D7

Neato, d7, botvac connected, robort, vacuum, review, how to

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. More on those in a second.

Once you’ve got everything unwrapped including the silica packs removed from various crevices in the machine and the base. 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 already to go in less than five minutes.Neato, d7, botvac connected, robort, vacuum, review, how to

Getting to know Neato D7: What’s in the box?

Inside the box you’ll get the vacuum, the very small and compact base station, two extra filters for the dustbin, 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.

How does Neato work?

Neato D7 uses invisible lasers to see its way around your house. Neato calls it LaserSmart technology. The laser visualization and mapping is what lets the bot scan and map your entire house, creating a floor plan for your robot to follow. It’s what gets the robot  to move in straighter uniform lines instead of a random pattern. Lasers even let it clean in the dark.

So let’s dig in…  those lasers and the LaserSmart technology let the robot create a detailed map of your home. It learns your home’s layout. It can navigate around furniture and some obstacles. You can view and adjust your floor plans, and see where your robot has cleaned at any given time.

Features: Neato home mapping

The Neato botvac connected D7 robot has several special features. It has a floor plan or advanced mapping and cleaning system, that learns your home’s layout. You can view and adjust your floorplans, and see where your robot has cleaned at any given time. The robot is said to be able to clean an entire level of your home using what’s called auto charge and resume.

With this, the Neato robot returns to the base station to recharge, then picks up where it left off until the floor is done. You can also add no go lines on the floorplan where the robot will keep away from; that’s great for troublesome rugs or pet dishes.

In order to delineate rooms and place boundary markets, you do need to do a special mapping run; the app will tell you about it. Let it do its thing and when it’s done you can label your floorplan.

Neato Robot has a D-shape that;’s supposed to make it get in closer to walls and corners, it’s a shape other robot vacuums have since adopted too.

Neato, d7, botvac connected, robort, vacuum, review, how to

Where will my Neato robot vacuum clean?

The Neato D7 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 the Neato D7

Using the device is easy. 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.

Ask Google Assistant or Alexa to send Neato out. I’ll get into that in a sec…

Neato recommends cleaning the dustbin after every use. In my early tests I wasn’t getting a push notification that it was full, so after a couple cleans, it was pretty full. Similarly, I was constantly forgetting when the robot had gone out and then finding the dustbin absolutely bursting. I’m not sure if I have some notifications not set correctly, but I don’t know why there’s no message to empty the dustbin. I dug in and found a setting called ‘Dust bin reminder’ with a slider bar that gives you 30 up to 90 minutes, but of what , it doesn’t explain. I presume it’s 30 minutes of run time, so I set it and waited.

Neato, d7, botvac connected, robort, vacuum, review, how to

How to empty the Neato D7 dustbin

To empty the dustbin, pull up on the little lip on the silver panel covering the centre of the vacuum. Take the bin to the garbage and remove the filter by pinching the small plastic clip and dump it out. Tap the filter out to clear fine particles, or use the small included comb to brush it through and use the cutter on the comb to cut through hair or fibres.

Neato D7 also has a small round brush that digs into corners. In my review period, the robot got stuck on something and the brush popped off. It seems to be magnetic so I clipped it back on and all seemed to be well. That could be troublesome, however if it gets detached under a bed or a piece of furniture.

How well does Neato Botvac Connected D7 clean?

The Neato 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 do feel like the Neato D7 got  caught up in things a lot more than some other vacuums I’ve dealt with; things like power bars and bathmats were problematic. While it did seem to be able to extricate itself from some situations like cords, in others it was hopelessly wound up on things or bottomed out. You can remedy this by making places where your D7 tends to get stuck as no go zones in the app using the mapping.

Even so, it was frustrating how often this robot got stuck; I’d say at least once or twice per clean. And that’s one thing if you’re home but if you’re out, that’s the end of the job. I generally don’t like to compare brands, but another robot vac I’ve tried is almost never stuck.

Neato, d7, botvac connected, robort, vacuum, review, how toNeato D7 Cleaning Settings

Neato D7 has a host of settings you can configure for your own home:

Whole home clean

This setting will instruct the robot to clean your whole home according to the floorplan. You’ll see a light shaped like a wiggly line in a square light up.

Spot cleaning

Touch the Home button twice to access Spot mode. A light shaped like crosshairs will light up, and the robot will clean a 7’ square area around where you place it.

Turbo clean

The default mode, Turbo has the brush and motor on high for strong suction and a more thorough clean.

Eco Clean

The quietest mode, Eco Clean sets the brush and the motor on medium, and it will clean a larger area on a single charge.

Extra Care

Got delicate furniture or areas where the robot has trouble navigating? Extra Care mode dials back the robot, so it navigates more carefully around objects and obstacles. It will leave a wider buffer area so you might notice the clean is less through.

How to set cleaning schedules for Neato D7

Setting a schedule is simple to do. In the app, go to the hamburger menu on the top left, click Robot Schedule and use the easy interface to choose your days and times.

Neato D7 botvac Maintenance

It’s pretty easy to keep your robot vacuum clean. Wipe it with a damp cloth to keep dust down, and make sure the sensors are clear and the wheels and brushes are free of obstacles, thread and debris.

There are two drop sensors on the bottom of the bot that are meant to detect stairs and other precipices. Keep them free of dust and dirt by wiping them regularly.

Neato, d7, botvac connected, robort, vacuum, review, how to

Using Amazon Echo Studio for voice control

How to set up Neato voice control with Alexa & Google

You can link your Neato D7 to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa so you can issue voice commands. Go into your Google Home of Amazon Alexa app.

Google Assistant & Neato set up for voice control

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.

Amazon Alexa & Neato set up for voice control

In Alexa, go to Skills and Games,  and search Neato. Sign into your account and you’re ready.

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 D7 and it worked really well.

Is Neato D7 noisy?

I’ll say it up front; all 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.

Neato, d7, botvac connected, robort, vacuum, review, how to

Overall review of Neato D7 robot vacuum

Initially, I really liked my Neato D7 experience, but did have some troubles. The robot is thorough, gets into corners and edges really well. It’s smart and the voice connectivity worked very well.

I’m still working on getting those dustbin full alerts configured better and I do feel like this botvac got caught and stuck a bit more often than I’d like, but I’m working that out by creating off limits areas in my home. And making sure hazards like clothes are picked up.

After a few weeks I was getting annoyed by the constant “help I’m stuck” alerts. This actually impeded the cleaning progress. If I had to be home to supervise it, I feel like that’s missing the point.

I’m really on the fence about this robot; between the subpar dustbin alerts, the frequency of it getting stuck, and the pop-off corner brush, those are big cons, but the great cleaning job it does and the ease of set up and use are pretty big pros. I’ll leave it to you to weigh the pros and cons with price to decide it it’s for you.

Neato D7 Botvac sells for about $900-1000CAD from places like Best Buy, here on Amazon and Canadian Tire.

 

*A note about Affiliate Links: Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you chose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using this link.

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